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Nuclear Power, Getting Perspective - Blaming 40 Year-Old Technology

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Some of the arguments against nuclear power relate only to the 40-year old designs which were the last built in the U.S.

To put that in perspective, if you are over 50, remember what your cell phone looked like 30 years ago when the last U.S. nuclear plant was built (since it took years to construct the design was even older).

What about your personal computer? What was it like in 1970? I actually had a computer in 1970. More accurately it belonged to a company but I had access to it. It had core memory, gigantic tape decks, cost millions of dollars, weighed tons, and had its own dedicated AC system. We fed it punch cards. There wasn't even a video display, just printers.

Think hard about that and then consider whether nuclear reactor design might have advanced a bit in 40 years.

A lot of people are against building nuclear power plants but most of their concerns simply aren't well thought out or apply equally or more to other power generation systems.

Decades of propaganda against nuclear power along with a very low-level of science education in the U.S. are probably to blame.

Some of the concerns are simply based on totally incorrect understanding or deliberate twisting of facts such as the idea that nuclear plants somehow destroy vast quantities of water.

As I showed in my recent article, although a lot of water passes through all power plants, none of it is destroyed or even lost except for the small amount which evaporates and comes back as rain or snow.

Others worry about accidents such as Three Mile Island, where no one was even injured despite the primitive technology.

Now even formerly "fanatic" anti-nuclear environmentalists have realized that if we are to remain a civilized technologically advanced country without destroying the environment, nuclear is the obvious choice.

Consider the creator of The Whole Earth Catalog. You can't get much greener than Stewart Brand and he has been a strong supporter of nuclear power since he wrote a mea culpa article for MIT's May 2005 issue of Technology Review.

Unfortunately this article is no longer available online for free but it is worth paying $2 to read.

John McCormick is a reporter, /science/medical columnist and finance and social commentator, with 17,000+ bylined stories. Contact John through NewsBlaze.

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