The Nuclear Energy Option: An Alternative for the 90's

By Bernard L. Cohen | Go to book overview

Chapter 1

/ NUCLEAR POWER—
ACT II

In the mid-1980s, nuclear power seemed to be an idea whose time had come and passed. The public seemed to have rejected it because of fear of radiation. The Three Mile Island accident was still fresh in their minds, with annual reminders from the news media on each anniversary. The Chernobyl accident in the Soviet Union in April 1986 reinforced the fears, and gave them an international dimension. Newspapers and television, on several occasions, reported stories about substandard equipment and personnel performance at nuclear power plants.

Newly completed plants were found to have been very costly, making nuclear power more expensive than electricity from coal-burning plants for the first time in 20 years. Who needed them anyhow? We already had an excess of electricity-generating capacity.

As we enter the 1990s, however, many things have changed. Environmental concerns have shifted dramatically into other areas like global warming due to the greenhouse effect, ecological destruction by acid rain, air

-1-

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