Authors

Pod(s)

Earth, Home Life, Pollution, Energy

Module(s)

Nuclear Energy

Abstract

Nuclear energy was going to make the world a much better place during the 1950’s. The promise of an almost limitless supply of cheap energy that did not produce any soot or atmospheric pollutants almost seemed to good to be true. During the 1960's and 1970's, the United States nuclear industry expanded, as fears of a looming end to oil and gas reserves fueled construction. But by the late 1970’s, though, the wheels had come off of the nuclear wagon. The cheapness of the energy never did pan out, as prices of electricity from nuclear energy rivaled those of fossil fuels. Furthermore, the fear of a major catastrophe caused some to question the prudence of using such a lethal source of energy. In March of 1979, the movie “The China Syndrome”, a fictional tale about a near meltdown in a California nuclear power plant, was released to theaters. At the time, it opened up a debate about the safety of nuclear power and whether such an incident as portrayed in the film could ever occur. Less than two weeks after the release of the movie, an accident occurred at the Three Mile Island nuclear facility that caused a shutdown of the system and a small release of radioactive steam.