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Unformatted text preview: Mark Mallozzi Friday, February 18, 2011 UW20: Telling Truths; Making Mythologies Power for the Future is Slowed by the Past Think of the word nuclear power, what comes to mind? Is it the 100,000 fatal cancers associated with the events of Chernobyl ? If not, maybe its the near disaster of 1979 that occurred at Three Mile Island or perhaps it is the multibillion dollar price tag that accompanies modern reactors. Whatever it may be, it is most certainly not the fact that nuclear power presents a high output, low emission, sustainable source of energy. Why is this the case? In February 1985, a year before the events of Chernobyl, Forbes magazine ran a cover story called Nuclear Follies that called American nuclear power the largest managerial disaster in business history, and said that, only the blind, or the biased, can now think that most of the money has been well spent. . This article was inspired by a growing disappointment in nuclear technology, much to the fault of Americas own nuclear disaster that occurred at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. This disappointment from many quickly turned to concern following the events of Chernobyl that devastated the Ukraine and surrounding areas. The resulting events and media coverage has has impacted the publics perception on this technology to this day. Despite its critics, nuclear power may be the solution to many of Americas current energy and environmental issues by providing a clean, safe and efficient source of power. It is therefore imperative that this technology shed the stigma that is commonly associated with it. With critics already abundant before the events of Chernobyl, the attention that nuclear power received following these events was in itself a complete meltdown. As the transition is made into what may be the most crucial time period in modern history with regards to our environment, outlooks like these still linger over nuclear power, hampering any major advancement in the use of this technology. Safe Energy Communication Council executive director Scott Denman points out that after the events of Chernobyl, all those reporters who had been focused on safety issues after Three Mile Island, then the cost, and then safety issues again Mallozzi after Chernobyl, began to drift away. As events in the industry quieted down, so did the regional reporting, and nuclear power faded from public view. . The reporting that was conducted with regards to nuclear power was overwhelmed with accounts of and reactions to the events of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl but was silenced before context could be provided for either of these accounts. In the years that have followed, this negative final impression that the American public was left with has caused the use of nuclear power to be thought of as almost taboo. The generalization seems to be that it is a technology with tremendous potential but an overwhelming...
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This note was uploaded on 11/07/2011 for the course UW 1002 taught by Professor Bernstein during the Spring '11 term at GWU.
- Spring '11