After decades of shutting down nuclear plants across the country, there is now a sudden growing political movement to hit the brakes, with much of it being led by environmental scientists.A study from Pew Research Center found that nuclear power was barely more popular than coal and oil among the U.S. public, as vast majorities of respondents were instead in favor of increasing wind and solar energy intake. Despite this, the Biden administration announced $6 billion to keep current nuclear plants operational, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom is now pushing to keep the state's last remaining nuclear plant, the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, open. So, how has the debate around nuclear energy changed, and why are we seeing this sudden shift for a less popular energy source?In the postwar period, nuclear power plants began springing up around the country, encouraged by President Dwight D. Eisenhower who famously made his "Atoms for Peace speech at the U.N. But, that wasnt enough to calm the fears of nuclear armament and attacks as the U.S. headed into the Cold War. Nuclear power plants depend on fuel rods where fission occurs, or in other words, the splitting of an atom. The rods are surrounded by water which helps keep them cool. The fission creates heat, which boils the surrounding water to make steam. The steam is what powers a turbine to make energy.If, for some reason, the fuel rods get too hot, that can cause a meltdown.In 1979, the first major accident happened at a U.S. power plant. The Three Mile Island incident was a partial meltdown of a plant in Pennsylvania, where cleanup took over 20 years. Conflicting studies havent conclusively determined whether the disaster led to health problems, such as a rise in cancer in the area, but the image was already set in the publics mind. The number of nuclear plants being built and kept open plummeted.Further high-profile disasters made a lasting impact worldwide: In 1986, the Chernobyl disaster in the Soviet Union had horrific and deadly consequences. Then in 2011, Fukushima plant meltdown only added to the list, even though there were no reported deaths. These disasters also reinforced national security concerns about plants being potential targets of terrorist groups or wartime enemies, like Russia in Ukraine.There are a number of things that have changed in recent years: Safer technology is being developed for future facilities, and now that China and Russia have overtaken the U.S. in the number of …
Join the flipboard community
Discover, collect, and share stories for all your interestsSign up
More stories from Editor's Picks
Tiffany Haddish is our newest cover star and she never holds back, even (especially?) in her Cosmo Quiz. In her words, "If there's no vulgarity, you'll know it's been edited." A queen, truly.
Could you be friends with a robot?
Are we in the future yet? Buzz60’s Tony Spitz has the details.
Some burned out workers are doing the bare minimum to get by at the office. Here's why.
"Breaking Bad" is already a great show, but it's been interesting to see how events in "Better Call Saul" have impacted it. For this list, we’ll be looking at plot points connected to “Breaking Bad” that were expanded upon or given a whole new perspective in its prequel series. Better keep in mind we’ll be breaking out the spoilers.