Five years after it happened, the calamitous nuclear reactor accident at Chernobyl in the Soviet Union continues to cloud the future of nuclear power worldwide. In the United States, it has reinforced anti-nuclear sentiment dating from the 1979 Three Mile Island power-plant mishap; no U.S. utility has ordered a new nuclear plant in more than a dozen years. Nonetheless, the development of safer reactors and rising concern over the global warming associated with the burning of fossil fuels could spark a revival of interest in commercial nuclear power before the end of the century.
This issue of Editorial Research Reports concerns the nation's nuclear-powered electricity generating plants. It does not deal with their military counterpart—the 17 major plants, in 12 states, that produce components for ...