110 Angelica Oung says the world needs more CANDU reactors

[00:00:00] Angelica Oung: If we join together, amplify each other, hold each other up, explore each other tech technologies with curiosity, even if it’s not our own pet solution, then we are gonna be a more formidable force in the world. And there’s frankly, like our biggest enemy is not anybody who’s pro-nuclear at all.

[00:00:22] Al Scott: The Rational View is a weekly series hosted by me, Dr. Alan Scott, providing a rational evidence based perspective on important societal issues.

[00:00:35] Soapbox Media LLC : Produced by Soapbox Media.

[00:00:39] Al Scott: Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Rational View. In this episode, I’m interviewing a fellow supporter of nuclear energy, who, although not a Canadian, she posted an article on Canada Day singing the praises of the CANDU reactor. I think can do is an underappreciated technological wonder similar in a, in a way, to the aro [00:01:00] arrow.

[00:01:00] It is also at risk of going down that same path unless Canadians rise up until their MP’s and PP’s that we need more of them. If you like what you’re. Please press like on your podcast app and share it with your friends. I’d love to hear comments from you on my Facebook group, The Rational View.

[00:01:20] Angelica Un is a journalist specializing in Asia and energy matters, living in Taipei Taiwan. In her spare time, she’s a nuclear energy enthusiast and advocate, known as the manic nuclear scheme girl on her subs stack. Angelica, welcome to The Rational View.

[00:01:38] Angelica Oung: Hi Al. Thank you so much for having me. It’s always a great day to talk about nuclear.

[00:01:44] Al Scott: So I’ve seen you on, on the internet, on social media. You’re very active. Can you tell us us a little bit about yourself and your background and how you got interested in nuclear energy?

[00:01:57] Angelica Oung: Well, I, it all actually [00:02:00] started when I started working as a business reporter in Taiwan about two years ago. Before that I had very basic normy views on nuclear energy.

[00:02:09] I thought it was dangerous. I thought it was contaminating. I thought it was on the way out. But mostly I didn’t think much about it at all. But then I started being a business journalist in Taiwan where The power crunch is real. We are, we don’t have enough electricity capacity for the amount of industry we have going on in our little island.

[00:02:33] And I realized that one of the main reasons why this is so is because we are retiring nuclear energy. The quite early, earlier than expected. Basically, we planned a whole bunch of nuclear capacity, including a brand spanking new advanced boiling water reactor. That has just never been used because the current administration decided to phase out nuclear by 2025.

[00:02:59] The more I [00:03:00] learned about nuclear, the more I realized that it really wasn’t as scary as everybody made it out to be. I, myself shocked when I found out that nobody actually died in Fukushima in 2011. And basically I realized that not everybody has. The advantage of a midlife career change, to put them in front of the information, the facts that actually clearly states something is not as it seems.

[00:03:28] So that is why in my spare time I have become something of a nuclear energy advocate. I think it’s that important and most of. You know, other, I, I don’t, I’m actually not a huge I’m not a huge activist in other aspects of my work. I’m just a journalist. I do some reporting. I do some analysis. My work has appeared in The Telegraph.

[00:03:52] I used to work for the Type A Times. And I actually do a lot of my bread and butter comes from my work in the offshore wind supply [00:04:00] chain. I’m an industrial reporter but my passion is nuclear because I simply think that it is one of the very rare occasions in life where it really is that easy.

[00:04:13] Thanks to the great work done by our fellow humans before us we basically have something that is low-carbon and highly, energetically efficient and dense and can solve a lot of our problems. And we’re simply not recognizing it. It’s a huge free lunch that is not getting eaten.

[00:04:35] Al Scott: It’s great to have journalists on side with nuclear energy.

[00:04:38] Time and again you find that they’re basically just swallowing the story that’s out there about nuclear not being green or that they’re, you know, swallowing the, the, the rhetoric from, from the anti-nuclear lobby. So it’s great to have critical minds out there reporting on this. Do you get any blowback or any feedback for [00:05:00] taking what is an unpopular, potentially an unpopular opinion in your, in your journalism?

[00:05:06] Angelica Oung: Oh, absolutely. Before I go into that, let me explain to you a little bit about how the sausage is made, journalistically speaking. Right now I’m more concentrating in, in several, a couple of areas in my journalism. But before, as a business reporter, I basically carried energy as a part of my I wasn’t really that specialized in nuclear.

[00:05:32] I don’t think there are that many reporters that are that specialized in nuclear. So, you know, I could be writing one story that’s about one aspect of; let’s say I could be writing a story about laptops one day and offshore one the other, and then to have a story about nuclear. And it’s very difficult when you’re going into a topic that’s highly controversial . It can be [00:06:00] hard for a journalist that only has to write a story about nuclear maybe once a year or a couple times a year to truly have

[00:06:09] The, the working knowledge that’s required to actually play it fair down the middle. So they end up listening to one side and. Listen to the other side, and they, they just kind of take a little bit from this and a little bit from that. And unfortunately that’s, that’s how a lot of the mainstream news gets made.

[00:06:30] But I also think it’s, it’s, it’s interesting know sometimes I would post a mainstream piece and like, this is a good piece of nuclear. And my nuclear advocate’s friend was like, What are you talking about? There’s all this untruth in it. And they listened to this guy who was like full of BS, And whatever.

[00:06:45] I’m just like, No, no, this is, this is good. If you have to look at the placement, where’s the critic coming in? Where is the nuclear advocate coming in? Is the nuclear advocate getting more air time? And if on balance you know they’re [00:07:00] getting good air time and good placement that piece is positive for nuclear overall.

[00:07:05] In my personal life, obviously when I’m writing professionally, I, you know, I’m not an advocate, so know I could be writing about anything. I don’t bring up nuclear advocate, you know, out of sort of out of context. So it’s really been getting more blowback personally rather than professionally.

[00:07:25] The platform where I. You know, I would say 90% of the blow back and hate is actually Facebook, and it’s from people who are strongly anti-nuclear who are my friends. And that actually makes it a lot more hurtful because they would accuse me of being paid for. Big nuclear, like excuse me, where’s my check from

[00:07:52] Big nuclear? I’ve been waiting and there’s, there’s no checks from big nuclear. Meanwhile, I am like, and I don’t want him [00:08:00] align the industry because obviously I believe that I’m. You know obviously I am working in it, but, you know, offshore wind has been extremely lucrative for me in terms of subscriptions and sponsorships for my work in it.

[00:08:14] And I do good work. I’m proud of my work, but nobody ever questions it. Whereas nuclear where all my work. Absolutely just out of love and as an advocate people question my motivations. People question. My ability quest people question my knowledge and I find that very disappointing coming from friends.

[00:08:35] But I can also accept that this is how deep. Anti-nuclear sentiments have gone that they would question a friend that they know is a respected journalist and they would never otherwise question her integrity or intelligence, but they will do it in the context of nuclear power.

[00:08:52] Al Scott: That’s sad. Yeah. I was also going to ask if you’re getting paid for this because you put together recently a Happy Candidate Day [00:09:00] article praising the CANDU reactors and you know, we, Canadians are always suspicious about foreign praise.

[00:09:06] We have something of an inferiority complex here living next to the US all the time, which, you know, get the, the majority of the news and the. Things happening to them. So thank you for, for that wonderful article that you wrote on the CANDU . And you’re not a shield, This is, this is real heartfelt praise for the CANDU  reactor.

[00:09:25] So thank you very much.

[00:09:27] Angelica Oung: No, no, and I’m totally like, I’m not opposed by the way to getting paid in the future of my work in nuclear at all. I think there’s a absolutely a you know, if I can’t do what I do for offshore wind in nuclear, I would be a happy woman, by the way. And what I do for offshore wind is I’m a supply chain reporter, a reporter on the supply chain, and I would absolutely love to do that for nuclear.

[00:09:51] There simply hasn’t been the opportunity yet for me. But in terms of the CANDU, the reason I focused on it is [00:10:00] simply because it’s such a great story. That’s how I first caught my attention. The story of a bunch of scientists basically in. During World War II when the Nazis begin to make gains, you know, all the sciences ran from the continent to Britain and then Britain started looking not necessarily safe.

[00:10:23] So they all decamped to Canada so that they can continue their work. And they ended up in Chalk River. That’s how Canada ended up with one of the most dead down the road for me. Oh yeah. Yep. Legendary nuclear laboratory. Yeah. And they did a lot of good work there. And at the end of World War II, you have to remember back then nuclear is not like the way it is now.

[00:10:46] It was really the future everybody wanted to be in on it. And Canada didn’t really have. The heavy industry to produce nuclear power plants the way everybody else was doing it, which is with those [00:11:00] heavy duty reactors reactor vessels that requires forging abilities that they simply didn’t have back in the day.

[00:11:08] Actually, they don’t have now. Actually a lot of countries don’t have now. The US used to do it. They kind of forgot. It’s amazing. But any. Canada back in the fifties, certainly didn’t have the ability to make that vessel. That’s basically at the heart of every other nuclear power plant. But it just so happens that in Chalk River, down the road from you they were during the war they were making experimental reactors with heavy water as a moderator and vacuum tubes.

[00:11:43] This is. Totally different structure from other nuclear reactors. And they, they thought, well, maybe we can take this research reactor and turn it towards power use. And this has interesting ramifications later on, but, Back [00:12:00] then, I believe I did it for two reasons, simply because it’s easier to manufacture the vacuum tube if you have a lower industrial base.

[00:12:08] And the other reason being the heavy water is a much more efficient moderator for the nuclear react efficient reaction. And you can use natural uranium rather than Enrich Uranium Canada is rich in mineral resources, including a lot of Uranium. In the enrichment of uranium isn’t, not.

[00:12:29] Al Scott: Before we go on, Yeah, just, I, I want to explain what you mean by moderator for neutrons.

[00:12:36] So when you have a vision reaction the uranium splits into and releases these very fast neutrons and the neutrons escape from the uranium. And they, they just, they go through just about anything. They don’t do much. If you want them to create a chain reaction, you have to slow them down. So that they spend more time in the uranium.

[00:12:56] So they’re more likely to create another vision reaction. And this is how you get a [00:13:00] chain reaction or a critical, a critical state in the, in the core. And the heavy water slows down those fast neutrons so that they can make more vision products so they make more energy, more heat, and provide, provide more energy.

[00:13:12] So I just wanted to just do it a little aside for everyone who doesn’t know all of the, the technology and the technology I think of CANDU , you know, it, it’s a wonderful design. What, what are the advantages of, of the CANDU  design?

[00:13:28] Angelica Oung: Well, well, thank you. Thank you Al, for slowing up. That’s a great you’re great educator and reminds me not to completely run away without addressing the fundamentals.

[00:13:38] So, first of all, let’s, let’s look at the name, right? CANDU , what does it stand for? Canadian, deuterium, uranium, and the deuterium part is the heavy water. And I ha I have to try and you know, fast forward to you know, a year ago I wouldn’t know what deuterium is at all. It’s basically water with [00:14:00] one of the hydrogens with a extra neutron on it.

[00:14:03] So, as you were, you know, very clearly. And loosely describing when you have this fusion chain reaction and you have these neutrons zipping about you need to have a way to slow them down so that they can cause more fusion reactions and have more neutrons come out. And what happens is if you have a lot of neutrons zipping about and they knock into

[00:14:27] water. A regular light water particle, the water could just swallow up the neutron. And then that’s the end of your neutron and your neutron economy is not gonna be that good. That is why you have to enrich uranium with more of the FISA isotope, uranium 2 35 in order to sustain a chain reaction.

[00:14:50] Now what happens when you use heavy water or deuterium as a moderator is that a deuterium already has an extra neutron in there. It’s like [00:15:00] they’re already holding some things, so when you throw a ball at them, they can’t catch it. So instead of them catching this extra neutron and then holding onto it, then you know, neutron economy goes down.

[00:15:13] The neutron just kind of bounces off this deuterium particle and it slows down ready to knock into. Another uranium and causing another chain reaction. And this is why you can actually not only use natural uranium, of course that would sustain the reaction but also nuclear waste from other reactors or maybe we can call it, in this case, just nuclear spent fuel.

[00:15:42] If it’s spent in a normal pressurized water reactor or boiling water reactor. It actually still has more fissile uranium 2 35 in it than natural uranium. So you can actually just go ahead, feed it into a [00:16:00] CANDU  and get another 30% or so of energy out of it. Theoretically now it hasn’t. Been like worth it to do almost yet because uranium is so plentiful.

[00:16:13] But it’s absolutely something that should be explored and that would get you more energy per volume of nuclear waste produced.

[00:16:24] Al Scott: Hmm. So the CANDU  can burn what’s called nuclear waste from American reactors effectively. We can use that, we can get even more energy out of it without doing anything to it.

[00:16:35] Well, not, yeah. Wow. Yeah. That, that’s, that’s amazing.

[00:16:39] Angelica Oung: Yep. It’s, it’s ready to go. I mean, obviously, obviously it needs to be in the right form and, you know I, I don’t know what it takes to do that, but it’s ready to go in terms of just feeding it Yeah. Right shape, right bundles and, Yeah. The, the CANDU  uses these few bundles that are almost like logs, [00:17:00] in shape and size.

[00:17:01] You know, it’s like you, you have, if you lift it up, it looks like you’re lifting a log. And then you look at it, it’s like, it’s a bundle of, of zircaloy  channels and inside are the little pellets. And they’re constantly feeding into to, to help you visualize the can-do. It, instead of a centralized reactor, it’s horizontal and all those vacuum tubes are like a bunch of channels in a much bigger, imagine a big bundle of imagine getting.

[00:17:29] Big bundle of chopsticks together and then turn it on on its side. And that’s kind of like the shape of the can-do reactors all contained in a big drum called the calandria. And each of those fuel channels take those bundles of fuel. And you are basically always fueling and refueling. Because we talked about using the natural uranium.

[00:17:53] So this here comes another. Another reason why CANDU’s  [00:18:00] different, radically different from the other family of light water reactors for every other reactor in the world. You fuel it up. You seal it up, you let it go for months, and then you have to refuel. And the refueling process can take a month where during which your reactors not producing any power for the can-do.

[00:18:24] The refuelings done differently. You need to refuel much more often. But to counter that, they have. Horizontal refueling system that allows you to refuel continuously on one end and the spin fuel it comes out of the other. So while you are fueling and refueling your, your reactor never goes offline.

[00:18:47] And so I, I think it, it’s maybe the Darlington, one of the Darlington units that has the record for being like their nuclear reactor being longest, continuous. Online, and I [00:19:00] forgot the exact date, but length, but maybe it’s like 900 days. Something really ridiculously long like that.

[00:18:47] Al Scott: I think it, I think it’s over a thousand?

[00:19:07] Angelica Oung: Yeah. And. Oh wow. Okay. Maybe, maybe I, I would not be surprised because while, you know, I read that piece, but it was still going strong then. So that obviously is an advantage for the grid. You don’t have a big nuclear reactor plant going on and offline, but yeah, that, that is a unique, unique aspect of the CANDU  reactor.

[00:19:33] Al Scott: and because that you’re not using enriched uranium, the spent fuel from the, the CANDU  also doesn’t last as long is not radioactive or as dangerous as long as the, the light water reactors, the pressurized US designs that are, that are so common. So the, the CANDU’s  I think are, are something like.

[00:19:55] 10% you had said of all reactors in the world or can do reactors, is [00:20:00] that correct?

[00:20:02] Angelica Oung: Well it’s correct to the extent that I went to Wikipedia, looked up all the reactors in the world that they have listed, which is about 440. And if you come up the CANDU’s there’s. It, it comes out to around 10%. If you count the Indian CANDU  clones.

[00:20:20] They’re called the Indian heavy in Indian, indigenous heavy water reactor, something like that. And they are can-do ask, so I count them as can-dos. But yeah, there are not that many of them left. And it, in addition to being a very small percentage of the total number of reactors there aren’t that many coming online, which I find really worrying because I think for, not just for all the reasons we discuss, but they’re just, there’s still a lot of innovation left in that design that we haven’t realized yet.

[00:20:58] Al Scott: Yeah. You, you [00:21:00] highlighted in your article the fact that you had a friend, I think it was a Canadian friend that wasn’t even aware of the continuing existence of can-do reactors despite the fact that they produce like 60% of Ontario’s electricity and 15% of Canada’s overall electricity. This, this is a common theme.

[00:21:18] Canadians underselling themselves and their technology. Those of us who understand the field of nuclear energy realize that the CANDU is like the Avro Arrow of nuclear. I don’t know. Have you heard of the Avro Arrow?

[00:21:31] Angelica Oung: No. No. What is it?

[00:21:31] Al Scott: This was a, a fighter jet that Canada, that Canadians developed back in the sixties.

[00:21:38] It was like a world leading fighter jet and was the, the fastest and the. This the, the best fighter jet of its time. But Canada decided that because nuclear weapons were suddenly become inter intercontinental ballistic missiles were becoming a threat that no one would need fighter jets anymore.

[00:21:54] So they stopped it and burnt the plans and discontinued the pro the whole [00:22:00] process. And I feel like we’re at risk of the same thing with can-do. We’re going along that same path and we need to stop it. .

[00:22:08] Angelica Oung: Yeah. Well, You know Al, I truly believe that, when something amazing is created it doesn’t just belong to your country anymore.

[00:22:21] It is the heritage of the whole world and the country that. You invented it or developed it, is only you know, keeping it and guarding it and developing it. But it is a heritage of the world and the Canadians absolutely the CANDU  so good. I believe the Canadians really have a responsibility to keep this technology alive and develop it for the good of humanity.

[00:22:48] It is Basically something that we, technology that we badly need for our future. And no Canadian modesty cannot get in the way of, of [00:23:00] human’s future. And, and I, I have to tell you, talking to my friend, I was just so amazed by how dismissive he was of the cans. It was like something. Was ancient history that didn’t concern him and might even be somewhat uncool.

[00:23:20] It’s just Oh, oh, CANDUs. They still make those, Are there still any around? Wow. I haven’t heard about them since I was a was in school. Wow. Wow. They’re still going. Yeah, and to me it’s kind of incredible because not only is it a great story Cool technology that, that still has so much left to give and it’s being treated shottedly by the Canadian government, I believe.

[00:23:51] So basically we know that you know, we know that can Canada actually is making plants [00:24:00] for more nuclear plants. And they are going with the GE Hitachi, Brx 300 small modular reactor design. There’s nothing wrong with that reactor. It’s a great reactor. It’s going to be a workhorse for the nuclear industry going forward.

[00:24:17] But why are the Canadians not championing their own technology? Why are they not supporting the CANDU with a supply chain that is 96% Canadian? And they’re supporting, Don’t get me wrong, I love the Brx 300. It’s, it two has got championship DNA and, but I don’t think it’s anymore, like if you.

[00:24:46] Two two kids of equal potential in front of you, but one is your kid. Which one are you gonna be supporting and hopefully championing and setting up for success in the future? I, I just find it [00:25:00] perplexing, especially when they are still trying. I agree to, Yeah. And here’s the. They’re still trying to sell the CANDU to other countries as an export item.

[00:25:12] And this is, you know, for obvious reasons, of course, you want to sell your own technology, but how does it look to your potential buyers if you are trying to sell them this technology, trying to tell them how good it is? Meanwhile, you’re not using it at home. You’re not championing it at home. , that’s,

[00:25:32]  I don’t think that’s, that’s a great look.

[00:25:32]Al Scott:  The governments drop the ball. Yeah, I think back just after the Fukushima accident, the government provided an exclusive license to SNC Lavalin on its techno, on all the CANDU technology. And they provided this for 15 million dollars, basically peanuts. After all the, you know, decades of development

[00:25:54] Angelica Oung: Oh, God. Oh God. That’s just giving away the store and I hear it’s not even such a great company.

[00:25:58] Al Scott: Yeah, it’s, it’s political. [00:26:00] Toxic right now because they’ve had some scandals, basically. That’s all I’ve heard. Yeah. And a couple years later I. Ontario was planning on building two more can dos it’s Darlington site, but the, the, the government of the time decided to cancel the planned expansion. And they, they had this big fanfare.

[00:26:17] They introduced a Green energy act where they would subsidize solar and wind and this was gonna be the, the. The, the, the green ticket for Ontario, and of course it continues to saddle us with billions of dollars in debt due to these 20 year fixed rate contracts for wind and solar, which are not much good in Canada.

[00:26:37] I mean, solar having a capacity factor below 15% in most cases, and wind. Produces out of sync with demand. So basically it’s, it’s all just curtailed. I think 25% of our wind energy is just curtailed or sold at a loss to the us. So I think after the first four or five years of this, GEA. We, we [00:27:00] were 37 billion in debt with negligible impacts to our overall green production of electricity.

[00:27:08] And the, the several, the, the weird thing about this is that several mainstream political parties in Canada is still anti-nuclear. How does this happen?

[00:27:16] Angelica Oung: Well, I, to me, that is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard in my life. You always think somewhere along the line, somebody. Is a grown up in government and they’ll put their foot down when you’re doing something completely ridiculous and adding more wind and solar to a grid that is already low carbon is just the stupidest thing I can think of because you are adding intermittent source of.

[00:27:44] Energy, albeit low carbon to a grid that’s already stable and low carbon. And from what I understand between the CANDU’s and the hydro Ontario was fine. I just don’t understand how the government could be that. [00:28:00] Financially irresponsible.

[00:28:01] Al Scott: Every solar panel you add to the grid on Ontario makes our grid dirtier

[00:28:06] Angelica Oung: Wow. Wow. And this is, this is, this is the power of radio phobia. This is the power of decades of anti-nuclear information. Because I, I, I can’t believe that you could do that to any other source of energy. Unless people just. Such an inbuilt reaction against it being bad. And that’s, I, I, I really do believe that is a way forward is that, you know, you can’t get political parties to change until you get.

[00:28:35] Public opinion to change and public opinion needs to change for you know, it’s, it’s, it’s gonna be a leading indicator. The public opinion is actually gonna change before the politicians. And then they’ll slowly get on board because they need the votes. So it, it all starts with changing hearts and minds one at a time.

[00:28:54] And it, it can be so discouraging, but no, just, wow, this. That [00:29:00] is such a own goal for the climate, such a own goal for Canada, for the Canadian taxpayers. Just about every way you slice it. I’m, I’m afraid the same thing is happening in Taiwan. We have nuclear reactors that we’re shutting down prematurely or not opening at all.

[00:29:16] And Now we’re in a power crunch and we are going in heavily for solar and offshore wind as, as well. That is in fact my job. I hope nobody from my main job is listening, but I, I don’t think it’s, it’s actually doing a very good job of replacing base load energy because again There’s the out of face issue.

[00:29:36] But I think what’s actually more important is the intermittency, because if it’s out of phase with demand, you can always take some gas offline. That’s, you know, at least in Taiwan, where, oh, we are, we’re projected to go up to 50% gas. Which is not very clever in a world where gas is becoming so expensive, okay?

[00:29:57] You can always take some gas offline if it’s, [00:30:00] if it’s out of phase with demand. But the problem is it’s out of phase plus, it’s very intermittent. You never know when the wind’s going to be blowing. And while gas has some ability to you can switch it on and off up and down to some degree, it’s just not optimal to always be adjusting to intermission demand.

[00:30:20] Unfortunately.

[00:30:21] Al Scott: Yeah, you, you basically need a full fossil backup. And I, I fear that, you know, The, the, the, the way to replace wind these, or to, to fill in for solar and wind when they go dead is, is gas peaker plants. And of course, by putting more of this on the grid, you need more of the gas. And it’s a, it’s a vicious circle and I think Germany is finding this out.

[00:30:47] Europe in fact is finding this out right now with their the inner juve end of, of Germany. Where they shut down their nuclear and built as much wind and solar as they could over the last 15 years. [00:31:00] They’re completely dependent on Russian gas for their energy now, because they have no stable source. And I, I just expect people to see this because I’m aware of it.

[00:31:11] Why isn’t the world where, how do we make the world aware of what’s happening and what the solution is?

[00:31:19] Angelica Oung: Well, I have to say. It’s one of those things where I always try to think back to two years ago, you know, when I was just, you know, starting as a business reporter and I wasn’t necessarily very aware of the nuclear issues before my, my journey. What could I have said to my past self?

[00:31:37] And it’s, it’s very difficult because sometimes If somebody holds an opinion and you tell them they’re wrong, they just double down on that on that initial wrong opinion. It’s really an art to insert counter programming in a way that doesn’t set off that human reactive response of, you know okay, you says, I’m, you said, you just told me I’m wrong.

[00:31:58] I’m, you know, and [00:32:00] I am offended now, and I’m gonna tell you, you are wrong. And once you’re locked in that dynamic, There’s basically no way to resuscitate it. They’re, you know, even if you do somehow convince them rationally that you’re right, they’re not going to be feeling warm and fuzzy about you or your technology.

[00:32:23] So I’ve discovered that the best way to think about, to talk about nuclear, of course, we should point out the fact that, you know, the Germans really did you know, did do Create a huge mess for themselves. We should point that out. We should point that out in the context of why nuclear is good.

[00:32:39] But I’m always talking up nuclear for its positive qualities. I’m always talking up the technology of nuclear. I’m always getting people to see nuclear as a well rounded technology with a lot of. That’s why, you know, I, I talk about the different kinds of reactors. I get people to see how nuanced [00:33:00] and interesting and full of potential nuclear is.

[00:33:03] I talk about the CANDU reactor. Goodness. Another great thing about them is because they have that online refueling, they, they do have, still have that, some of that research reactor dna. You can make a lot of medical isotopes in there because you can take, put things in and then take things out on the other end.

[00:33:21] So when people catch details like that, they’re just learning a neutral  piece of information like, Hey, did, did you know that? You know, the CANDU  Reactor is the only commercial reactor where you can make short lived medical isotopes. And they’re like, Well, well, yeah, I, I guess, I guess I do use a lot. The, the, when I go to the doctors, they do use a lot of isotopes for medical care.

[00:33:48] I, I guess my, my father going in for his prostate cancer treatment, did, you know, they, they did need to use some new TCM or whatever. I, I make that connection when they’re [00:34:00] in a emotionally neutral or. Space, and that’s actually the connections that you need to make so that they can challenge their prior assumptions without feeling like they themselves are being attacked.

[00:34:17] I think that is the way to go, but it’s not always easy.

[00:34:22] Al Scott: That’s a good strategy, if for those of us who are in the trenches fighting this battle day by day and hearing the same tired arguments over and over again. We must sound crazy to the people who have been fed the main line. You know, if I tell someone, no, nobody died in Fukushima, no.

[00:34:41] Chernoble will actually save more people than it killed by offsetting coal for 14 years. People look at me like I’m crazy, and it’s like, no, these are all evil things. These are horrible things . But you know, you have to ease people into these facts.

[00:34:57] Angelica Oung: Yeah. Yeah. I, I, I think [00:35:00] that’s a problem. Mm-hmm. , you have to ease people in.

[00:35:04] And another thing is people really do shut down if you just throw too much information. At once, you need to create that internal curiosity that gets them to want to reach for that next piece of information. Like I did when I was starting to explore nuclear, and it was really like an adventure for me.

[00:35:27] It was like no, I was like a detective because I felt like a detective because, you know, I was meeting up with pro nuclear activist and you know, we’d be, You know it, it’s funny because when I, when I, if I may post for one minute, I am actually not just working in offshore wind in Taiwan. I’m Taiwan’s number one offshore wind influencer.

[00:35:48] And I can waltz to like any industry function and everybody wants to buy me a drink. It’s like, oh my God, Angelica’s here and. But when I [00:36:00] meet up with nuclear activists, I, you know, we all buy our own beers in this dingy little bar, and they’ll just be like, Oh yeah, and this is what I look, this is what I learned.

[00:36:10] This is what’s going on. And it’s, it’s exciting. It actually feels more like reporting and, and, and, you know, that’s to, to, to, to bring people along with you on this journey of discovery. It’s a lot more fun and a lot more effective. And you know, I, I’m not living this every day. I’ve been called a nuclear bro many times on Twitter.

[00:36:33] It happens. And sometimes, sometimes it’s required, Sometimes, you know, you can’t be too polite. If somebody’s full of bullshit, you should absolutely call them out on their bullshit and you know, especially if they. You know, just a bad faith person online, the best thing you can do is just nail their bullshit to the wall.

[00:36:52] But you don’t wanna do that when it’s your friend. You don’t wanna do that when it’s somebody just parroting. Some, [00:37:00] some piece of you know, those, those. Those ideas almost become like memes and they get passed around without a lot of reflection. And when somebody presents you with a piece of that information, how you react in that moment can be so powerful.

[00:37:15] And if you can react in a playful way, a, a joking way or a, a lightweight that. Introduces another piece of information without the, the kind of, No, you’re wrong, no you’re ignorant energy. Then you might have just made, made an ally rather than, you know, somebody who’s gonna clam up. You know,

[00:37:37] Al Scott: It requires, requires infinite patience.

[00:37:40] And yeah, stay away from the ad hominems, listen to their concerns and address them logically and with facts and don’t, Yeah, I’ve, I’ve had some success doing that. And sometimes you’re, you’re arguing for the people that are listening. In fact, [00:38:00] most of the time you’re arguing for the, for the silent people listening majority who are.

[00:38:05] You’re not going to convince the people that have come out loudly against nuclear because it’s too much of a personal change in a lot of cases too, for people to accept once they’ve positioned themselves as an enemy of nuclear on the internet. To, to go back on that is very difficult and there are few.

[00:38:22] That I’ve done that and I praise them for, for, for being able to do that. That’s, that’s a difficult and challenging thing to do, just to admit that you’re wrong about something. So I really respect people that are, been able to do that.

[00:38:37] Angelica Oung: Yeah. And it’s so important. I would say this, you know, I feel like we are 40 minutes into this podcast.

[00:38:44] If you’re listening to this, you’re probably pronuclear. And if you, if you are pro-nuclear and a part of the pro-nuclear community, I beg you, please. There’s a lot of people who are in this community because they are able to stand up to social pressure for what’s [00:39:00] right and then becoming right, become so important to them and they start making that a part of their identity to be right on every little thing.

[00:39:10] And then when you have a movement, You essentially have a bigger tent and then you have a lot of people who are at loggerheads with each other, even though they agree on 90, 95% of everything, but one has a pet technology. It’s like, Oh no, we should use multi salt reactors for everything. Oh no, we should use this other technology And no, we know, and it’s so unnecessary.

[00:39:36] I, I, I really. Sorry, . Oh my God. Theorem bros. So we, we really need to find a way to to say yes and yes. And, you know, it’s like, oh yes, you know, that, you know, most and salt reactors can be great and, and this can be great and that can be great. And if we join together, and [00:40:00] amplify each other, hold each other up, explore each other’s tech technologies with curiosity, even if it’s not our own PET solution, then we are gonna be a more formidable force in the world.

[00:40:12] And there’s frankly, like our biggest enemy is not anybody who’s pro new career at all. Even the ones that we think are, you know, not on the right path or you. It’s the vast vast percentage of Normies who just simply are a bit oblivious. They might be anti-nuclear, they might be even just, you know, nuclear oblivious.

[00:40:39] And that’s the inertia we have to overcome to get nuclear rolling in this world.

[00:40:46] Al Scott: That takes a lot of just individual conversations and patience and an army of people willing to, to go out there and talk to, to these people and, and just give them these [00:41:00] facts.

[00:41:01] Angelica Oung: And, and I, I’m gonna sound a little bit, I know this is the irrational mind, but I’m gonna go a little bit of woo woo here.

[00:41:07] Al, I believe that you know, you really, it’s, it’s when you go down, get down to it. Let’s, let’s talk about love. Let’s talk about love for this technology. I really do believe that love is infectious, and when you truly love something, you don’t get tired of defending it. You don’t get tired that you’re not getting, like, you’re not meeting your KPIs or something.

[00:41:32] Because you truly I truly believe this technology is so cool. I truly believe this technology has so much potential. Just talking about nuclear power gives me more energy to keep talking about nuclear power. So I am a self sustaining chain reaction in and off. Myself and to the extent that I can make an impact in the world, that’s great, but you have that love that’s self sustaining.

[00:41:57] You reach out to community, so your [00:42:00] community becomes self sustaining, self nourishing. It becomes, and I have found this to be true, like the pro crew community. Yes, there are a few, like oddballs, whatever, but in general, very friendly, very nice, very mutually supporting. And then you just, Take that energy and you spread it outwards and hopefully it can we can reach a stage when, when people think about the pro nuclear community, they’ll think, Oh my God, they’re so amazing in that they’re, you know, willing to share information willing to sit down and explain and just radiate that, that, that, that love for fact and knowledge and truth and of technology, of course, but also for each other and for ultimately, What nuclear can do for the world because, you know, ultimately it’s a technology.

[00:42:50] And technology is useful because we as human beings, we have needs and I believe that nuclear ultimately can lift [00:43:00] so many people out of poverty. To electrify the world to the extent that people want to, in order to save the planet. We’re talking about not just replacing the current grid.

[00:43:13] We might have to three times, four times our grid to electrify our transportation, electrify our heavy industries. And I believe that nuclear has the ability to do that. Give us a, let us keep our standard of. and give those in the third world a decent, comparable standard of living through, through abundant power.

[00:43:36] Ultimately. That’s what it’s about. That’s a great

[00:43:39] Al Scott: That’s a great message. Angelica, thank you so much for, for coming on my show and chatting with me about nuclear energy and, and your advocacy. So that was Angelica mm, journalist from Taiwan discussing nuclear advocacy and communicating for energy policy in [00:44:00] a polarized medium.

[00:44:02] We got cut off at the end there. Internet between Ottawa and Taiwan went down for a little bit. But I’d like to thank Angelica for joining me on the Rational View. I’m gonna fire off a t-shirt to her for coming on this show. Thank you for listening, and I hope you stay tuned to the Rational View.

[00:44:23] If you’d like to follow up with more in depth discussions, please come find us on Facebook at the Rational View and join our discussion group. If you like what you’re hearing, please consider visiting my patronPage@patron.podbean.com slash the Rational View. Thanks for listening.

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