To this day, few topics inspire heated debate like nuclear power, even though the technology is more than half a century old. The dangers nuclear radiation pose continue to loom large in the public's imagination.
Meltdowns at Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and now, Fukushima, captured the world's attention--and, at least in the case of Chernobyl, resulted in tragic deaths and ongoing suffering in the region. After news spread about the crisis in Fukushima, panicked Americans quickly bought up disaster rations, so acute was their fear of nuclear fallout.
And yet, many still champion the great promise of nuclear power: abundant emissions-free energy at the cost of a relatively small amount of resources. And with the acceleration of climate change, the arguments of nuclear proponents are suddenly more appealing. Climate change, after all, is caused primarily by the burning of fossil fuels worldwide--if we hope to slow down global warming, we'll have to make a swift transition away from coal, oil, and gas.