E103-The Politics of Nuclear Energy

Anti-Nuke Protest in Japan Nuclear energy has been a roller coaster ride. For many, the first use of nuclear energy was the mass destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. This was followed by a two-pronged approach to nuclear energy. The first was the effort to sell us on the idea that the promise of nuclear energy was in producing inexpensive electrical power that would power our future. The second was the nuclear arms race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union (and eventually others) that resulted in the testing of hundreds of atomic weapons.

This two-pronged approach caused many people to view nuclear weapons and nuclear reactors as the same kind of threat as the photo above suggests. Is this a photo of a demonstration against nuclear weapons or nuclear reactors? They look so similar.

This presentation follows the nuclear story along a timeline to the present. Modern-day nuclear power is far safer, cleaner, and more efficient than reactors of the past but anti-nuke sentiment is a political obstacle to its deployment.

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C100Numbers (or equivalent knowledge)
Suggested pairings:
E101Renewable Energy Primer
E102Safe Nuclear Power

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