Nuclear power is our best hope to ditch fossil fuels | Isabelle Boemeke - Transcripts

September 19, 2022

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Nuclear power is our best hope to ditch fossil fuels | Isabelle Boemeke


It's Ted talks daily, I'm Elise you. Okay, you're likely familiar with fashion influencers, beauty influencers and product influencers of all kinds but Isabel Benecke is a different kind of influencer and in her ted 2020 to talk, she explains her unconventional yet effective way of educating people about a clean energy source, how does technology influence the way we think, act and live our lives and how can we reimagine technology to serve humanity? I'm tristan Harris, I'm Raskin and together we host your undivided attention. A podcast from the Ted Audio collective. We've talked with Sapiens author Yuval Noah Harari about the co evolution between technology and democracy and with facebook whistleblower Francis Hogan about making the biggest disclosure in social media history. Find your undivided attention wherever you listen. Support for Ted talks daily comes from Atlassian how teams work is just as important as what they create and the entire concept of collaboration teamwork and how to get things done is evolving. Meet us at the forefront of this shift at our newest event at Lassen presents work life, join an innovative group of business teams from Fortune 500 companies and collaboration experts from Atlassian learn how to manage all aspects of modern work from best practices, new workflows, team culture technology and more challenge, conventional thinking and learn why teams that work differently together, make history, see you at Atlassian presents work life at san Francisco's chase center on september 29th or attend digitally register now at www dot dot com slash work life. Ted talks daily is brought to you by progressive. Have you tried the name your price tool yet it works just the way it sounds you tell progressive how much you want to pay for car insurance and they'll show you coverage options that fit your budget. It's easy to start a quote and you'll be able to find a rate that works for. It's just one of the many ways you can save with progressive get your quote today at progressive dot com and see why four out of five new auto customers recommend progressive progressive casualty insurance company and affiliates price and coverage match limited by state law.

My life completely changed. With one tweet. This was back in 2015 when Twitter was mostly a place we went to see what Kanye was mad about but then I saw it a tweet by a scientist. I deeply admire dr Carolyn porco. Wait, I thought nuclear energy was bad yet here's the scientist and a ted speaker making it sound good. He sent me on a journey. I spent years reading papers talking to scientists and I always ask them the same question. What do you think about nuclear power? Their responses were shockingly similar. It's good. We need it. People hate it in the last seven years.

I've seen climate change go from being a scary thing of the future to being a scary thing of the present. My wake up call came after seeing the fires ravaged the world in California and Australia and in my home country of brazil. I decided I wanted to turn my growing sense of anger and despair into something helpful and productive. So I had an unusual idea. I should be a nuclear energy influencer. I wanted to make nuclear energy cool. Inspired by internet culture, I created a digital version of me and called her ice a dope. She's Sassy a little weird, but she always tells the truth. Hey guys. So a lot of you have been asking about my makeup routine. The most important thing is to make sure you wash your face really well because we want those sports as clean as we want our electricity. And the best way to get that is to use this cleanser called stop shutting down nuclear plants for christ's sake.

It's carbon free emission free pollution free electricity. Then I use this plant based serum called when a nuclear plant is shut down, it is replaced by fossil fuels. That's bad. Eisen dope is like a dealer of good memes when I say meme what I mean by it is a fixed belief or idea good or bad that spreads from person to person and defines how we see the world. For example, people should have equal rights. Birds aren't real. It's a thing. Nuclear energy is bad when it comes to nuclear power. The world has been sold a bad meme, an outdated one. Let's go back in time. It all started with the anti nuclear movement of the 19 seventies. The movement was driven in large part by an understandable fear of nuclear weapons and I get it.

It must have been terrifying to grow up in the fifties and sixties fearing a nuclear attack. But here's the problem. Their logic was, nuclear bombs are bad. Therefore nuclear energy is bad, which if you think about it is like saying the electric chair is bad. Therefore electricity is bad. The case against nuclear power was never based on science. But the anti nuclear meme was very catchy in the decades that followed, aspiring engineers didn't choose nuclear engineering, politicians got points for closing nuclear plants, even though it always lead to higher carbon emissions. In the last 10 years, we have spent trillions of dollars on renewables yet we only get 8% of our electricity from wind and solar. Now don't get me wrong, I love renewables, but to me it's clear that we need more. We need a source of energy that's clean and works 24/7 to complement them. And it's been sitting right in front of us this whole time. But we have ignored it because we're too blinded by the meme.

Now, most people today aren't exactly anti nuclear as much as their not passionately against it, but they've heard of Chernobyl, they've seen images of leaking green barrels. They have a vague feeling. It's bad. And remember that's where I used to be until I saw this chart. The only thing you need to take away from this chart is that nuclear power has the lowest lifecycle emissions of all energy sources, producing only three tons of CO2 per gigawatt hour of electricity. And I could keep talking like this all day long. But let's be real. This is not changing minds on social media. So I do things a little bit differently. The reality is that nuclear is one of the safest forms of energy. The problem is that nuclear accidents are dramatic while fossil fuel damage is boring, I'm literally falling asleep talking about it. Recent studies say that 8.7 million people die from burning them every year.

This would be like having 5.8 or nobles a day. I'm just a humble influencer. But I think this means fossil fuels are worse. Most people have a feeling airplanes are more dangerous than cars because when a plane crashes it makes the headlines. It's it's memorable. Of course, we know the opposite is true planes are significantly safer than cars. Just like nuclear power is significantly safer than fossil fuels. In this next video, ISA dope will address the idea that we don't know what to do with nuclear waste. I'm sure you don't know what to do with it. But there are people who spent decades studying this issue. They're called scientists. Penland is almost done building the world's first nuclear waste repository.

They're storing it deep underground in geologically stable locations. Sweden is about to do the same. I know you're worried about what might happen 19,000 years from now. But again, just a humble influencer but we might not make it that far if we keep burning fossil fuels now. A more modern objection to nuclear power is that it's too slow. It takes too long to build. Well, I'm sure Isaac has something to say about that. Finally, an argument that isn't older than me, unfortunately, it still sucks in the seventies France. Built 45 reactors in 15 years. But recently Japan china and Korea have built reactors in six years or less. So this means BTS is blow drying their hair with clean energy. Even if it takes 10 years to build one.

Nuclear power plants can make clean and reliable electricity for at least 80 years. This this idea that it takes so long to build plants is confusing considering we're going to need energy forever. You know, the best time to build nuclear plants was 10 years ago. The next best time is today. Now we've finally arrived at the most fashionable objection at the moment, nuclear power is too expensive. I'm gonna take that one. A little weird to say something is too expensive to save the future of our species. But I get it costs matters. Here's the thing. We know how to make clean energy cheaper. It's not rocket science. You build the same thing over and over and over Solar 10 years ago was also considered too expensive.

But we decided it was cool and invest in it Like magic. The cost dropped by 90%. one way to make nuclear cheaper is with small modular reactors, china just finished building their own version, Poland will use a similar technology to convert their aging coal plants into nuclear plants. They'll use the same building the same transmission lines, even retrain the same workers. But now making clean energy instead of buying dirty fuels from dictators, which leads me to a crazy idea. What if instead of viewing nuclear power as destructive, we view it as a force for energy independence and even peace. What if this technology offers our best hope for the future. A future where wars aren't funded by our addiction to fossil fuels. A future where energy is clean, A future where electricity finally makes its way to the 700 million people on Earth who still don't have access to it. The idea that nuclear power is bad is costing us that future and it's time to let go of it. I'm not asking you to build a reactor. I'm not even asking you to sign a petition on change dot org.

All I'm asking you is to please join me in spreading the mean nuclear energy is cool. Thank you. Support for ted talks daily comes from capital one ready for a new ride but not sure where to start meet the tool that makes car shopping and financing easier with capital One auto Navigator, you can find a car and get prequalified instantly, you'll get you a real rate and monthly payment without affecting your credit score. It's so simple, you might feel like you're taking the easy way out, that's because you are capital One, what's in your wallet terms and conditions apply, find out more at capital One dot com slash auto Navigator.

This episode of Ted talks daily is brought to you by Brown, which means we're able to hear from them about how good design can lead to a better future for both people and Planet. Welcome to Benjamin Wilson, industrial designer and Communications Director of Design and Technology. Benjamin tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to be in this role. I've an industrial designer, I've been at Brown now for over 20 years and I have sort of made it my mission over the last few years to sort of help people understand what makes Brown. Brown has become my passion area to sort of share ideas and insights into the way Brown does things why the way we do things that Brown is today more relevant than ever because it leads to a certain type of product and leads to better products and Brown we believe good design is simple, useful and built to last and that in, let me say in a throwaway economy means a lot moving forward. Um, and it's not just buzzwords or marketing words, it's founded on literally doing things a certain way for over 100 years now. And if you create products with these three principles, a simple use of built to last mentality. It leads to products that stand the test of time utilizing fewer resources, producing quality products that last longer, making sure that environmental footprint is reduced to the max right from the beginning. That's something which has been our ambition from the beginning and something we practice and live by every day. Now. The rams was obviously head of Design Brown for over 40 years and I think it's really interesting that when you look at his 10 principles for good design, he included good design is environmentally friendly, but also it's long lasting, it's understandable. You know, there are so many things in those 10 principles that lead to sustainability.

The 10 principles obviously almost a summary of what the way Brown worked and the foundational thinking was developed by Irvin and Arthur Brown and a gentleman called fritz ice. Like he's basically the original hipster, they together put their brains together with the womb school and really tried to work out what does a better future look like. They literally wrote the book of what the future needs in the fifties, it's quite a stunning futurist utopian vision of the world where every human should have access to the highest quality products, even everyday objects, a simple thing, like a shaver toothbrush etcetera, etcetera. Everyone deserves high quality products in their everyday life. Obviously the elephant in the room is the waist, right waist is a global problem in 2019. Approximately 50 million tons of e waste was generated worldwide. That's the equivalent to the weight of 350 cruise ships. Can you tell us how much of the design process at Brown is driven by the desire to reduce the waste and whether that design process starts with the aesthetic of the appliance or whether it starts by looking at the working part. Brown obviously a very specific way of doing design. Again, the process of actually creating products tends to always like all good design processes should begin with solving a problem or someone's gotta frustration. We're going to provide a solution to help that frustration be alleviated. Design needs to be core right at the beginning, the role of the designers to work with the R and D.

Teams, the quality teams looking at what raw materials and technical performance is needed for for whatever product and what matters most for that product, that that is really key. The key role of the designers to look at what matters most to help achieve a type of product that is again durable, repairable and recyclable. And finally, can you see a future that waste? Will there come a time where we just see what we currently call waste as an opportunity or as a second life material. It's happening. It's been happening for quite some time. I mean Brown getting those materials with our part of the land bill out of the product streams, ensuring that materials are recycled. There's also been the idea of circularity flowing into some of the larger corporations on this planet. Talking about circularity you wouldn't have expected. I mean, being w launched a car recently, a concept car with a hole through lines about circularity, so less decoration, less little chrome bits, a car being able to be tore down into its individual parts and those materials flow flowing back into into material streams. These are huge things that really gives me hope as an industrial designer. But in everyday life humans, young generation are sort of opening up their minds and understanding that these topics are more and more important, moving forward, thank you so much.

Benjamin. If you'd like to learn more about Brown Head to the website at brown dot com.

R. X.