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What AI thinks about nuclear: A conversation with OpenAI’s ChatGPT

Does Canada need more nuclear energy? What would the world look like without nuclear? Is achieving net zero possible without nuclear?


And what would the lyrics of a Taylor Swift song about nuclear sound like?


These are just a few of the questions that we asked OpenAI’s ChatGPT model.

The model has become a popular among technology enthusiasts and social media users alike. From obscure explanations of quantum computing to Christmas party conversation starters, ChatGPT has been making waves and going viral with users sharing their fun interactions with the chatbot.


Given the hype, we wanted to check in and see what ChatGPT thinks about nuclear energy, about nuclear’s role in achieving net zero carbon emissions, and more. Our goal was to see what the technology already knows about nuclear and whether the artificial intelligence platform still has more to learn.


We also decided to have a little fun with the platform toward the end of our interview(!). Here is a transcript of our conversation with ChatGPT:

Chad: Can we reach net-zero carbon emissions without nuclear energy?

ChatGPT: It is possible to reach net zero carbon emissions without relying on nuclear energy but doing so would require a significant shift away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.


This would involve a combination of increased renewable energy generation, improved energy efficiency, and the use of technologies such as carbon capture and storage to reduce emissions from existing sources. However, achieving net zero carbon emissions without nuclear energy would likely require more significant changes to how we produce and consume energy, and it may be more difficult to achieve this goal without the added generating capacity that nuclear power provides.


Ultimately, the decision to use nuclear energy as part of a strategy to reduce carbon emissions is a complex one that will depend on a variety of factors, including the availability and feasibility of renewable energy alternatives.


Chad: Does Canada need more nuclear energy?

ChatGPT: Whether or not Canada needs more nuclear energy is a complex and controversial question that depends on a variety of factors, such as the country's energy needs, its overall energy mix, and its climate and environmental goals.


Some people argue that Canada should increase its use of nuclear energy because it is a clean and reliable source of electricity that can help the country reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and transition to a low-carbon economy. Others argue that Canada should focus on other sources of renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, because they are safer, more cost-effective, and more sustainable.


Ultimately, the decision on whether or not to expand Canada's use of nuclear energy will be made by the government and other decision-makers based on a careful consideration of all the relevant factors.

Chad: Why is Ontario’s electricity grid so clean?


ChatGPT: Ontario's electricity grid is considered one of the cleanest in the world because the province has made a concerted effort to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and transition to renewable sources of energy.


In recent years, Ontario has phased out coal-fired power plants and replaced them with a mix of wind, solar, hydroelectric, and nuclear power. This has significantly reduced the province's greenhouse gas emissions and improved air quality.


Additionally, Ontario has invested in energy-efficient technologies and conservation programs to reduce energy demand and further reduce its environmental impact. These efforts have made Ontario's electricity grid one of the cleanest and most sustainable in the world.


Chad: What would the world look like without nuclear energy?

ChatGPT: Without nuclear energy, the world would likely rely more heavily on fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas to generate electricity. This would result in higher greenhouse gas emissions and an increased risk of air and water pollution. It would also be more difficult to meet the growing demand for energy, particularly in developing countries.

As a result, the world would face greater challenges in addressing climate change and ensuring a sustainable future.

After this series of questions, we learned the following about ChatGPT’s views on nuclear energy:

  • The platform knows that nuclear is an emissions-free source of electricity generation.

  • It takes a cautious approach to nuclear, citing that its use must be “carefully considered”.

  • The platform acknowledges that achieving net-zero carbon emissions without nuclear would be more difficult.

  • It knows that nuclear is a part of what makes Ontario’s electricity grid so clean but it doesn’t quite grasp the extent of the role that nuclear played.

  • It knows that a world without nuclear power is one that would rely more heavily on fossil fuels and would “face greater challenges in addressing climate change and ensuring a sustainable future.”

But what about communicating about nuclear? We asked ChatGPT some pointed questions and gave some specific commands on how to talk about nuclear. Here’s what the platform had to say:


Chad: Write 25 words about nuclear energy and its importance in electricity production.


ChatGPT: Nuclear energy is a clean, reliable, and scalable source of electricity that can help us combat climate change and meet the growing demand for energy. It is an essential part of a sustainable future.

Chad: Write an inspirational quote about how we need nuclear to fight climate change.


ChatGPT: "The future of our planet depends on our ability to embrace clean, renewable sources of energy. Nuclear energy, with its unparalleled ability to generate massive amounts of electricity with zero greenhouse gas emissions, must be a key part of the solution to climate change."


Not bad—the chatbot does a pretty job of hitting the mark when it comes to communicating the benefits of nuclear energy!


And now for some fun stuff...


Chad: Write a limerick about nuclear energy.


ChatGPT:

There once was a plant called a reactor That produced clean energy factor It provided us power For hour after hour With no greenhouse gases to be a detractor.


Chad: Write a haiku about nuclear energy.

ChatGPT:

Nuclear energy hums Clean and powerful, it thrives Powering our lives


And, since Taylor Swift’s recently released Midnights album is on a continual loop in our household (my wife is a big fan... as am I, if I'm being completely honest)—so I wanted to see if the platform could channel some inspiration from the world-renowned artist and produce some lyrics for a T-Swift single about nuclear energy.


Here’s what it came up with...


Chad: Write a Taylor Swift-inspired song about nuclear energy.


ChatGPT:

We're living in a world that's getting colder But we can still make things better With nuclear energy, we can light up the night And make everything all right

It's clean, it's efficient, it's the future we need So let's embrace nuclear energy With each passing day, we'll find our way To a brighter, cleaner tomorrow

Nuclear power, it's the answer we've been seeking So let's start the change we've been needing With nuclear energy, we'll take control And build a better world for our souls

So let's embrace the power of the atom And unlock the potential of nuclear energy Together, we can build a brighter future With nuclear power leading the way

I couldn’t have sung it better myself.

 

Chad Richards is the Director of the Bruce Power Centre for New Nuclear and Net Zero Partnerships.




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