Nuclear Energy: Failed Source of Energy

4 April 2015
This paper explains how the United States’ nuclear power program failed.

This paper explains the reasons behind the halt in nuclear power plant construction in the United States. Factors in the decline of nuclear power plants include raising costs, disposal of nuclear waste, concern for safety, declining public opinion and governmental programs and decisions not favorable to the nuclear power industry. Footnotes.
After a period of rapid growth in the nuclear power industry, resulting in over a hundred nuclear power plants being constructed in the United States alone, in the early 1970’s the industry began to slow and even began to decline in the 1980’s, while the rest of the world continued to increase their nuclear industry capacity. In the mid-1970’s the Atomic Energy Commission predicated that by the year 2000 there would be more than 1,000 nuclear power plants in the United States.[1] No new nuclear power plants have been ordered in the United States since 1973 and several plants have gone off-line since.[2] Between 1990 and 1995, 20 additional nuclear power plants came online outside of the United States, with an additional 36 under construction. Furthermore, Robert Newman, the President of ABB Combustion Engineering Nuclear Systems, in a October 6, 1996 New York Times article suggested that his company had been approached by the government of China with a plan to build as many as 150 nuclear power plants over the next 40 years.[3] Currently, there are over 437 nuclear power plants operating around the world.[4] Hence, while the rest of the world is increasing their dependence on nuclear power, the question becomes, why is the Untied States making a rapid reversal in its dependence on nuclear power? Several tangible factors have been suggested: the rising costs of construction of a nuclear power plant, the increase in time that it takes to construct a nuclear power plant, the disposal of low grade and high grade nuclear waste, public safety of living near a nuclear power plant, declining public support for nuclear power, and the fear of nuclear power plants contributing to the proliferation of nuclear weapons around the world.
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