The generation of electrical power by nuclear reactors has been an elusive objective in recent decades. It has always ranked high among the potential peaceful uses of atomic energy, and a surge of interest took place after the oil crisis of the early 1970`s.
Originally touted as generating electricity "too cheap to meter," nuclear facilities turned out to have much higher than expected costs. An ambitious program of publicly owned nuclear power plants in Washington state, home to the Hanford Reservation, known as the Washington State Power Supply System (WSPSS, pronounced "whoops" by almost everyone) went bankrupt. The accident at the Three Mile Island plant caused consumer concerns about safety and new licenses for nuclear power plants came to a virtual halt.
In recent years, interest has risen as new technologies have promised safer designs and the low "carbon footprint" of nuclear power has been attractive in the face of potential climate change.
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Atomic America: How a Deadly Explosion and a Feared Admiral Changed the Course of Nuclear History by Todd Tucker.
On January 3, 1961, nuclear reactor SL-1 exploded in rural Idaho, spreading radioactive contamination over thousands of acres and killing three men: ...