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

By Bernard L. Cohen | Go to book overview

Chapter 4

/ IS THE PUBLIC READY
FOR MORE NUCLEAR
POWER?

We have seen that we will need more power plants in the near future, and that fueling them with coal, oil, or gas leads to many serious health, environmental, economic, and political problems. From the technological point of view, the obvious way to avoid these problems is to use nuclear fuels. They cause no greenhouse effect, no acid rain, no pollution of the air with sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, or other dangerous chemicals, no oil spills, no strain on our economy from excessive imports, no dependence on unreliable foreign sources, no risk of military ventures. Nuclear power almost completely avoids all the problems associated with fossil fuels. It does have other impacts on our health and environment, which we will discuss in later chapters, but you will see that they are relatively minor.

However, regardless of such rational arguments, we must recognize that acceptance of nuclear power is largely an emotional issue. Nuclear power cannot have a future in the United States unless the public at large is ready to

-39-

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