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The Pros and Cons
of Nuclear Energy

Don't let the PROS CON you!




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Page Updated:
August 26, 2020

• Nuclear Industry News
Nuclear News Stories

Read the latest news stories on nuclear power

What went right - and what went WRONG?

Click now for that section on this page.


• Nuclear Plant
Accident Timeline
Events to Make You
Distrust Nuclear Power:

Read the BBC account of the varous nuclear accidents beginning in 1957.

Click now to learn more.



Of Interest

  • TerraPower: Nuclear Innovation
    (Striving to Improve the World)
    We Need Advanced Nuclear Now
    TeraPower Says It's Rready

    TeraPower-TerraPower’s founders entered the nuclear energy arena to meet growing electricity needs and lift billions out of poverty. Advanced reactors and other isotopic applications are now possible with technology and enhanced computing capabilities that were unimaginable just a few decades ago. TerraPower says that they are ready to build the clean energy of tomorrow - today.

    One of their founders, incidentally, is Bill Gates.

  •  The Hanford Nuclear Leak Is Irreparable  
    D.O.E. To Permanently
    Close Damaged Hanford Tank

    Jan. 2, 2018 - The Energy Department says it will permanently close a damaged radioactive waste storage tank on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

    The department says that Tank AY-102 has widespread damage and should not be repaired.

    Click now for more on this earthFix story.

  •  The U.S. Backs Off Nukes - But Not Georgia 
    The U.S. Backs Off Nuclear
    Power. Georgia Wants to
    Keep Building Reactors

    Aug. 31, 2017,  The New York Times - Even as the rest of the United States backs away from nuclear power, utilities in Georgia are pressing ahead with plans to build two huge reactors in the next five years — the only nuclear units still under construction nationwide.

    Click now for to learn more.

  • Uranium Mining in the Grand Canyon?
    Keeping Uranium Mining
    Out of the Grand Canyon

    The Grand Canyon is an irreplaceable natural treasure. Its stunning vistas, ancient geology, and winding Colorado River are world renowned — drawing over 5.5 million visitors to the park each year. Moreover, more than 40 million people and 4 million acres of farmland depend on the Colorado River for clean, safe water.

    Yet, irresponsibly operated uranium mines located on federal public land just miles from the North and South Rims threaten to permanently pollute the Grand Canyon landscape and the greater Colorado River.

  • What's the NRC Hiding on Palo Verde?
    Nuclear Leaks: The Back Story
    the NRC Doesn’t Want You to
    Know about Palo Verde

    June 14,2017 - One of two emergency diesel generators (EDGs) for the Unit 3 reactor at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generation Station in Arizona was severely damaged during a test run on December 15, 2016.

    The operating license issued by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) allowed the reactor to continue running for up to 10 days with one EDG out of service. Because the extensive damage required far longer than 10 days to repair, the owner asked the NRC for permission to continue operating Unit 3 for up to 62 days with only one EDG available. The NRC approved that request.

  • The USA's 10 Riskiest Nuclear Power Plants 
    Where Are They - And
    What Are the Dangers?

    March 18, 2011 - As we watch the continuing catastrophe in Japan unfold with no clear expectations of the outcome, one thing is for certain: The safety of nuclear power has become a hot topic of conversation. While some countries are shutting down plants, many other are reevaluating the safety of theirs and strategizing over future plans.

    Click now to read the complete article.

  • Is The Energy of the Future Finally Here?
    World’s Largest Nuclear Fusion
    Experiment Clears Milestone

    July 24, 2019,(Scientific American) -A multination project to build a fusion reactor cleared a milestone yesterday and is now 6 ˝ years away from “First Plasma,” officials announced.

    Yesterday, dignitaries attended a components handover ceremony at the construction site of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor in southern France. The ITER project is an experiment aimed at reaching the next stage in the evolution of nuclear energy as a means of generating emissions-free electricity.

    Click now for more.

  • Old Nuke Plants Are Dragging Down Clean Energy
    Why America’s Old Nuclear
    Plants Could Be Dragging Down
    Clean Energy Development

    Apr. 25, 2017 -New York and Illinois are investing billions to keep old facilities in action, and Connecticut, New Jersey, and Ohio are among states contemplating the same idea. It’s an expensive process, though it does mean that new natural gas plants aren’t required to fill the gaps left by wind and solar.

  • Revisiting the Three Mile Island Meltdown 
    Documentary:Meltdown at Three
    Mile Island 40 Years Later

    EnergyCentral Mar. 28, 2019 -The Three Mile Island accident on March 28, 1979 is still considered the worst at a U.S. nuclear plant in history. Due to a series of human and technical errors, the core of the Unit Two reactor at TMI partially melted down.

    Though debated and controversial, research over the past 40 years concluded only a small amount of radiation escaped into the atmosphere and didn’t result in any deaths or injuries.

    This documentary details what happened inside the containment building at TMI on March 28: the chaos, confusion, miscommunication and fear in the area surrounding the plant afterwards and the legacy of TMI after the accident.

  • British Nuclear Project Becomes Messy
    Huge British Nuclear
    Project Becomes a
    Diplomatic Flash Point

    Aug. 15, 2016 -Once considered a vital part of Britain’s clean-energy future, the beleaguered Hinkley Point nuclear plant project looked further than ever from becoming reality this week as a row erupted between the three countries developing the massive facility: the U.K., France, and China.

  •  Does Fail-safe Nuclear Power Actually Exist?   
    Could We Actually Have
    Fail-safe Nuclear Power?

    Aug. 2, 2016 -The Shanghai Institute’s effort to develop molten-salt reactors, a technology that has sat all but forgotten in the United States for decades, reflects just how daring China’s nuclear ambitions are. Already, the government has invested some two billion Chinese renminbi ($300 million) over the last five years in molten-salt R&D. Building actual plants will require tens of billions more.

  •  Florida Power & Light Sued For Radio-Active Leak 
    Florida Nuclear
    Plant Operator Sued for
    Polluting Drinking Water

    July 15, 2016 -Environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against Florida Power & Light Co., operator of the Turkey Point nuclear facility, saying that the company violated the Clean Water Act by discharging contaminants from the plant, impacting nearby drinking water.

    Click now to read the story
    (Hint: Bring your Geiger Counter).

  • The Protrusion of Confusion Over Fusion
    The Real Problem With
    Fusion Energy

    May 27, 2016 -The longstanding joke about fusion — that it’s the energy source of the future, and always will may not be the field’s biggest problem.

    Click now for what
    might be encouraging news.

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Resources

  • All Things Nuclear
    Fukushima: Taking On the NRC

    Union of Concerned Scientists - If the Nuclear Regulatory Commission balks at implementing new safeguards in a reasonable time frame on the grounds that it does not have enough information about what happened in Japan, then the agency also cannot have enough information to relicense operating reactors or license new ones...

    More by clicking now.

  • Russia Criticized For Its Arctic Nuclear Activity
    Nuclear Security: Power
    Plants Are Poorly Protected
    Against Malicious Acts

    Oct. 10, 2017   Greenpeace - The nuclear power plants around us are “The Sword of Damocles” over our heads.

    A new report by independent experts, submitted to authorities in France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Luxembourg, questions security at French and Belgian nuclear facilities and points at their vulnerability to outside attacks. These experts are particularly concerned about a certain type of facility at nuclear plants: the spent fuel storage pools.

    These pools tend to contain the highest volume of radioactive matter in a nuclear plant and are very poorly protected. Rather than wait for the worst to happen, let’s address this issue and take action.

  • Dangers of Densely Packed Nuclear Waste Pools
    The Case for Moving U.S.
    Nuclear Fuel to Dry Storage

    Apr. 14, 2011   M.I.T. Technology Review - One of the lesser-noted facts of the Fukushima nuclear disaster—where loss of coolant in spent-fuel pools has resulted in massive radiation releases—is that some fuel at the plant was stored in so-called dry casks, and these casks survived the March 11 earthquake and tsunami intact.

    This fact is likely to result in new calls to move some spent fuel out of water pools at reactor sites in the United States—where it is packed more densely than the fuel in the stricken Japanese pools—and into outdoor dry casks, experts say.

    Worried? Click now to get radio-active.

  • Links Between Nuke Power and Weapons
    The Links Between Nuclear
    Power and Nuclear Weapons

    - Nuclear weapons and nuclear power share several common features. The long list of links includes their histories, similar technologies, skills, health and safety aspects, regulatory issues and radiological research and development. For example, the process of enriching uranium to make it into fuel for nuclear power stations is also used to make nuclear weapons. Plutonium is a by-product of the nuclear fuel cycle and is still used by some countries to make nuclear weapons.

    There is a danger that more nuclear power stations in the world could mean more nuclear weapons. Because countries like the UK are promoting the expansion of nuclear power, other countries are beginning to plan for their own nuclear power programs too. But there is always the danger that countries acquiring nuclear power technology may subvert its use to develop a nuclear weapons program.

    Click to read more from
    the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.


Decades have passed since the first power plant of this type went on line, and no viable solution for the storage of this contaminant has yet to emerge.

Industry spokespersons have long touted nuclear energy as cost-effective when compared to fossil based fuels, but their conclusions fail to consider the cost of decommissioning a plant when it has reached its maturity.

Recent studies have revealed that greenhouse gasses resulting from nuclear power may
be even higher that those produced from the burning of natural gas (latest findings).
U.S. Nuclear Power Plant Locations
Worldwide Nuclear Leaks

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Nuclear Power or Nuclear Danger News
(In the past year)

  • Climate Threatens U.S. Nuclear Reactors
    An Unforseen Result of Climate Change

    Scientific American, Aug. 20, 2020 -Soaring temperatures, intensified flood risks and heightened water stress will threaten 57 U.S. nuclear plants over the next 20 years, forcing operators to take additional resiliency measures, according to a new report.

    “The consequences of climate change can affect every aspect of nuclear plant operations—from fuel handling and power and steam generation to maintenance, safety systems and waste processing,” said the analysis, which was published yesterday by Moody’s Investors Service.

    Analysts used data from Four Twenty Seven, a Moody’s affiliate that provides climate risk intelligence, to examine threats to operating nuclear plants.

  • Ohio House Speaker Arrested for Bribery
    The Speaker and Four Others
    Were Attempting to Bail
    Out the Ohio Nuclear Industry

    July 21, 2020,(POWERGRID INTERNATIONAL)-The powerful Republican speaker of the Ohio House and four associates were arrested Tuesday in a $60 million federal bribery case connected to a taxpayer-funded bailout of Ohio’s two nuclear power plants.

    Hours after FBI agents raided Speaker Larry Householder’s farm, U.S. Attorney David DeVillers described the ploy as “likely the largest bribery scheme ever perpetrated against the state of Ohio.”

    Householder was one of the driving forces behind the nuclear plants’ financial rescue, which added a new fee to every electricity bill in the state and directed over $150 million a year through 2026 to the plants near Cleveland and Toledo.

  • Germany to Wave 'Bye-bye' to Coal and Nuclear
    Germany: First Major Economy
    to Phase Out Coal and Nuclear

    July 7, 2020,(PowerGrid.com) -German lawmakers have finalized the country’s long-awaited phase-out of coal as an energy source, backing a plan that environmental groups say isn’t ambitious enough and free marketeers criticize as a waste of taxpayers’ money.

    Bills approved by both houses of parliament Friday envision shutting down the last coal-fired power plant by 2038 and spending some 40 billion euros ($45 billion) to help affected regions cope with the transition.

    The plan is part of Germany’s ‘energy transition’ – an effort to wean Europe’s biggest economy off planet-warming fossil fuels and generate all of the country’s considerable energy needs from renewable sources. Achieving that goal is made harder than in comparable countries such as France and Britain because of Germany’s existing commitment to also phase out nuclear power by the end of 2022.

  • Philippine Nuclear Plans Fizzle
    A Nuclear Plant, and a Dream, Fizzles

    June 18, 2020,(Energy Central) -In many ways, the Philippines is a good case study of the effect of public perception and response to the establishment of a nuclear power program. The country’s first and only attempt at nuclear power development was the 621-MW Philippine Nuclear Power Plant in August 1977.

    It was supposed to be the first of two nuclear plants to be built in the northern province of Bataan. It was also the first nuclear power plant in Southeast Asia, and deemed as a promising solution to the 1973 oil crisis that had adversely affected the global economy, including the Philippines.

    Click now for the complete story.

  • Finland's New Nuclear Reactor - Not So Safe After All
    Finland's New Nuclear
    Reactor Hit By Valve Leak

    May 25, 2020 (REUTERS)-Finland’s long-delayed Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) nuclear reactor was hit by another setback after the nation’s safety watchdog reported valve problems in a component involved in the cooling process.

    The reactor in western Finland was built by a consortium of France’s Areva and Germany’s Siemens and had been due to start producing electricity in November this year.

    “A leak was observed in the mechanical control valve of one of the pressuriser safety valves,” nuclear watchdog STUK said in a statement on Monday, adding that a full investigation is required before it can issue a nuclear fuel loading permit.

  • U.S. Nuclear Agency Wants To Relax Radioactive Waste Rules
    Do We Really Need Rules on
    Nuclear Waste? NRC Says "No"

    May 7, 2020 (The Guardian) - The federal agency providing oversight of the commercial nuclear sector is attempting to push through a rule change critics say could allow dangerous amounts of radioactive material to be disposed of in places like municipal landfills, with potentially serious consequences to human health and the environment.

    “This would be the most massive deregulation of radioactive waste in American history,” said Dan Hirsch, president of the Committee to Bridge the Gap, a nuclear industry watchdog non-profit, about a proposal that would permit “very low-level” radioactive waste to be disposed of by “land burial”.

    Click now to make your Geiger counter flutter.

  • Fukushima: Ocean Dumping Ground For Radioactive Waste
    Fukishima Legacy:
    A Radioactive Dumping Ground

    Mar. 11, 2020 (Deutsche Welle) -The nuclear disaster at Fukushima sent an unprecedented amount of radiation into the Pacific. But, before then, atomic bomb tests and radioactive waste were contaminating the sea — the effects are still being felt today.

    Almost 1.2 million liters (320,000 gallons) of radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant is to be released into the ocean. That's on the recommendation of the government's advisory panel some nine years after the nuclear disaster on Japan's east coast. The contaminated water has since been used to cool the destroyed reactor blocks to prevent further nuclear meltdowns. It is currently being stored in large tanks, but those are expected to be full by 2022.

  • Delayed Safety Steps Take Japan Nuke Reactor Offline
    Japan Nuke Reactor
    Taken Offline Due
    to Delayed Safety Steps

    Mar. 17, 2020 (Energy Central) -Heighten safety regulations, compliance problems and exposure of its decades-old corruption cause delays. According to the article, 'The anti-terror safety requirement was adopted in 2013 after the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdowns that exposed a significant lack of safety culture and transparency among nuclear operators, and lax oversight by nuclear regulators, prompting a major overhaul and reforms.'

  • Is There Such a Thing as Safe Nuclear Waste Storage?
    The Containers the U.S.
    Plans to Use for Nuclear
    Waste Storage May Corrode

    Feb. 3, 2020 (Science News)— Containers that the U.S. government plans to use to store dangerous nuclear waste underground may be more vulnerable to water damage than previously thought.

    Millions of liters of highly radioactive waste from the U.S. nuclear weapons program are currently held in temporary storage units across the country. The government’s game plan for permanently disposing of this material is to mix radioactive waste into glass or ceramic, seal it in stainless steel canisters and bury it deep underground. Such a nuclear waste dump may be constructed under Yucca Mountain in Nevada, but local opposition has stalled the project.

    Now, new lab experiments reveal another potential snafu in the scheme. When a nuclear waste package is exposed to groundwater, chemical interactions between a stainless steel canister and its glass or ceramic contents may cause the materials to corrode slightly faster than expected, researchers report online January 27 in Nature Materials. That corrosion risks exposing the radioactive waste stored in the container.

  • Indigenous Community Says No to Nuke Waste Bunker
    Indigenous Community Votes
    Down Proposed Nuclear Waste
    Bunker Near Lake Huron

    Feb. 1, 2020 (CTV News)— An Indigenous community has overwhelmingly rejected a proposed underground storage facility for nuclear waste near Lake Huron, likely spelling the end for a multibillion-dollar, politically fraught project years in the making.

    After a year of consultations and days of voting, the 4,500-member Saugeen Ojibway Nation announced late Friday that 85 per cent of those casting ballots had said no to accepting a deep geologic repository at the Bruce nuclear power plant near Kincardine, Ont.

    "We were not consulted when the nuclear industry was established in our territory," SON said in a statement. "Over the past 40 years, nuclear power generation in Anishnaabekiing has had many impacts on our communities, and our land and waters."

  • Nuclear Power Has Diminished in the Last Year
    Global Nuclear Power
    Down From Last Year

    Jan. 6, 2020 (Energy Central)-Global nuclear generating capacity stood at 392.4 GWe net at the end of 2019, down slightly on 2018, according to data from World Nuclear Association. Six power reactors were added to the grid last year and construction of three large reactor projects started, while nine units were permanently shut down.

    Six new nuclear power reactors with a combined generating capacity of 5241 MWe came on line in 2019. Two of these - Taishan 2 and Yangjiang 6 - were in China. Unit 4 of South Korea's Shin Kori plant was also connected to the grid, as was Russia's Novovoronezh II unit 2. Russia's first floating nuclear power plant, the Akademik Lomonosov - comprising two 32 MWe reactors - was also connected to the grid towards the end the year.

    In 2018, 10,420 MWe of new nuclear generating capacity was connected to the grid, while 3345 MWe was added in 2017.

  • Thyroid Cancer - Yet Another
    Problem With Nuclear Accidents
    Thyroid Cancer Study
    Re-Ignites Debate over
    Three Mile Island Accident

    Jan. 3, 2020 (Allegheny Front)-2019 was the 40th anniversary of the partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant. In September, the Three Mile Island nuclear facility officially shut down, and Exelon Generation, which operated the plant, cited a lack of government subsidies to keep it open. It will take years to clean up the site, and remove the radioactive materials stored there. Excelon has asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to scale back its role in emergency planning at the plant starting in 2021. Three Mile Island Alert, a watchdog group opposes the request and has asked for a hearing.

    Three years ago, a Penn State School of Medicine study found that a certain type of thyroid cancer was common to people who had been near the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in the aftermath of the partial meltdown in 1979. As part of a look at T-M-I 40 years later, Transforming Health’s Brett Sholtis examined how the study has re-started the discussion around health effects due to the incident.

  • Is Thorium the Nuclear Answer?
    Thorium Nuclear Reactors
    Mentioned by Andrew Yang

    Dec. 23, 2019 (energycentral)- Andrew Yang mentioned Thorium Nuclear Reactors as one of the advanced nuclear fission reactor concepts. Yang has also talked about making a prototype thorium reactor by 2027. There is a US startup working on a Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor. If Flibe Energy was fully funded then they could build their planned 20-50 MW modular nuclear reactor by 2027. China also has an extensive molten salt and thorium reactor program. It is also possible to have more conventional reactors or pebble bed reactors adapted to use some thorium.

    Yang has proposed nuclear subsidy—$50 billion over five years. If there was that level of subsidy, then the other advanced nuclear projects would complete for it. There would be a lot of push for the molten salt reactors that use Uranium. The Thorcon molten salt reactor seems like a design that could scale to 100 GW per year of construction. In the rest of this article, I will review the status of the US, China and Indian Thorium reactor projects.

  • Safe Nuclear Power in Small Doses
    The Next Nuclear Plants
    Will Be Small, Svelte, and Safer

    Dec. 13, 2019  (WIRED)-For the last 20 years, the future of nuclear power has stood in a high bay laboratory tucked away on the Oregon State University campus in the western part of the state. Operated by NuScale Power, an Oregon-based energy startup, this prototype reactor represents a new chapter in the conflict-ridden, politically bedeviled saga of nuclear power plants.

    NuScale’s reactor won’t need massive cooling towers or sprawling emergency zones. It can be built in a factory and shipped to any location, no matter how remote. Extensive simulations suggest it can handle almost any emergency without a meltdown. One reason is that it barely uses any nuclear fuel, at least compared with existing reactors. It’s also a fraction of the size of its predecessors.

  • FPL and the Renewal of an Old Nuke Plant
    FPL Could Get Ok to Run
    Turkey Point’s Nuclear
    Plant For 80 Years

    Oct. 29, 2019  (Miami Herald)-The Turkey Point nuclear power plant has moved a key step closer to receiving a 20-year extension to remain in operation through 2050, after the Nuclear Regulatory Commission released a favorable environmental impact statement Monday.

    In 2018, Florida Power & Light became the first power company in the U.S. to apply for a second 20-year extension for two reactors. If granted, the reactors would be operating twice as long as the original 40-year license. Federal regulators have previously extended the lifespan of Turkey Point’s two reactors, which went into operation in 1972 and 1973, granting a first 20-year extension in 2002.

  • Three Mile Island Last Nuclear Reactor Shut Down
    Three Mile Island Nuclear Power
    Plant Shuts Down Last Reactor

    Sept. 20, 2019 (GIZMODO)-The last reactor at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania—the site of the worst nuclear plant meltdowns in the U.S.—is officially dead as of Friday.

    Plant operator Exelon Corp. announced the closure was coming back in May, and now the day has finally come. The plant’s closure comes some 40 years after Unit 2 reactor at the site partially melted down on March 28, 1979, due to human error, equipment failure, and design issues, releasing radiation into the environment. That event not only exposed the public to higher levels of radiation—it also set back public trust in our ability to do nuclear right.

    Click now for more.

  • Duke Energy CO2 Reduction Could Come at a Nuclear Price
    Duke Energy Seeks to Renew
    Nuclear Plant Licenses to Support
    Its Carbon Reduction Goals

    Sept. 20, 2019 (EnergyCentral)-Duke Energy will apply for 20-year license renewals for all six of its nuclear power plants in the Carolinas, potentially extending their working lives to eight decades.

    The announcement Thursday followed Duke’s pledge earlier this week to cut its CO2 emissions in half by 2030, compared to 2005, and to zero net carbon emissions by 2050. Nuclear power plants don’t directly release carbon dioxide and generate nearly half of Duke’s electricity in the Carolinas.

    Editorial Comment from the editor of this website:How safe is extending the life of a nuclear plant well beyond its original expectancy?

    Click now for the story.

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