The world commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant catastrophic accident in Ukraine on April 26, 2016.
On March 11, 2011, following a massive earthquake and a devastating tsunami, the cores of three of the reactors at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant melted down with horrific results. Radioactive cesium, with a half-life of 30 years, contaminated almost 12,000 square miles of the country.
How do these events inform us about the future of nuclear power, or its place in addressing climate change? One view is that nuclear power is safe and cost-effective, with long periods of stability and reliability interrupted infrequently by accidents. The other view is that power from the atom is unsafe and costly, with catastrophic accidents separated by periods of stability leading to a false sense of security.
While the history of support and opposition to nuclear power has been largely defined by the series of accidents that have brought safety into question, nuclear energy's role in preventing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions has also been important in decision-making around nuclear development.
Three Mile Island Considered to be the most serious nuclear incident on U.S. soil, the accident at Three Mild Island in Pennsylvania
Instead of a punitive process that monitors compliance with minimum standards, peer-to-peer evaluations are thorough, confidential and -- importantly -- voluntary.
In the early 2000s, Units 2 & 3 needed new steam generators of their own. In the usual grasp for more profits, Edison chose
The list of crippled, non-competitive and near-dead reactors lengthens daily. Few are more critical than San Onofre Units Two and Three, perched on an ocean cliff in the earthquake-tsunami zone between Los Angeles and San Diego.
While the world seems to have overlooked the consequences of the debacle at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the fact remains that the global nuclear power industry continues to suffer from several threats unknown to more conventional power stations.
Many proponents of nuclear power are the same "let the market work" advocates in economics and politics today. If the market were allowed to function in this case, would any new nuclear power plants be built in America -- or existing ones re-licensed -- if Price-Anderson were repealed?
Indeed, human error is a big part of what can go wrong at a nuclear power plant. However, even without human error, nuclear power is fraught with the potential for immense catastrophe.
You can't experience this book without thinking of Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima. But it's not, in the end, a
Have we become ready since then? I think we have been living on borrowed time. To have really safe nuclear energy, well, there's
The problem with nuclear power is not simply one of safety. It is one more of economics. So long as we depend on OPEC oil supplies, OPEC can drop its prices and make plant investments uneconomic overnight.
Only one Democratic president has lost a reelection bid. What combination of factors must come together to cause a catastrophe for Obama politically that would result in his defeat?
Germany could well become the first major industrial power to abandon nuclear energy entirely.
George Orwell argued that controlling language was the ultimate tool for getting people to accept the unacceptable -- like the catastrophic risks of operating nuclear power plants.
But as the radiation arrives here, we are also obliged -- for all our sakes -- to make sure this never happens again. If
What will it take for our world to recognize the dangers that nuclear scientists and even Albert Einstein were warning about at the "dawn" of the nuclear age?
If you're still not convinced that nuclear energy should be an unacceptable risk for any nation, I've got a mothballed nuclear reactor sitting in Central Pennsylvania that I'd like to sell you.