In an article from this week’s edition of Newsweek, George Will builds a case using fact and figures for why nuclear energy—an industry whose reputation has been marred by scare-tactics and misunderstandings— should be an option for the United States. He points out “the fact that the number of Americans killed by accidents in 55 years of generating electricity by nuclear power is: 0. That is the same number of Navy submariners and surface sailors injured during six decades of living in very close proximity to reactors.”
Will notes that “China is starting construction of a new reactor every three months,” but the country that pioneered nuclear energy, the United States, has not constructed a new reactor in more than 30 years.
“America’s nuclear industry was a casualty of the 1979 meltdown of the Three Mile Island reactor in Pennsylvania, which was and is referred to as a ‘catastrophe’ even though there were no measurable health effects. Chernobyl was a disaster because Russians built the reactor in a way no one builds today—without a containment vessel.”
By addressing some of the issues and constraints that also face renewable energy sources, he emphasizes that “it is a travesty that the nation that first harnessed nuclear energy has neglected it so long because of fads about supposed ‘green energy’ and superstitions about nuclear power’s dangers.”
There is no perfect answer to the America’s need for clean energy, but it is clear that it’s a variety of sources including nuclear energy and renewables have important parts to play in building CO2-free energy for tomorrow.
For the complete story, read Will’s piece “This Nuclear Option is Nuclear; the costs of fads and superstition.”
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