Nuclear Power and the Global Energy Crunch

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photoDecades after the worst-ever nuclear power plant accident at Chernobyl and the tragedy at Three Mile Island, nuclear power is back in vogue.

Seventeen countries around the world depend on nuclear power for at least a quarter of their electricity. China is talking about building dozens of new plants. Finland, the first western European country to approve a new reactor after Chernobyl, expects to bring its next-generation model online in five years.

In the United States, where energy demands and supply disruption anxieties are high, pro-nuclear momentum is growing. The Bush administration is pushing nuclear power as part of its energy package. Even some environmentalists who picketed power plants are switching sides, saying nuclear power can cut air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

But not everyone is jumping on the nuclear bandwagon. Safety and security concerns persist, along with bigger questions about our energy future.

Hear a discussion on the current global energy crunch and whether nuclear power is the solution.


Matthew Wald, New York Times energy and transportation reporter

Michael Corradini, professor of engineering physics at University of Wisconsin at Madison

David Lochbaum, nuclear safety engineer at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, D.C.

This program aired on April 20, 2005.


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