Nuclear power a less toxic subject

A chain-linked fence secures a gate to the shuttered Zion Nuclear Power Station in Zion, Ill.

TEXT OF STORY

Renita Jablonski: Tomorrow is the 30th anniversary of the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island. After three decades, there's renewed support for the industry. Danielle Karson reports.


Danielle Karson: Nuclear power was a political pariah for years. But there's been a huge shift in how the industry is perceived these days, according to Tom Kauffman with the Nuclear Energy Institute:

Tom Kauffman: And I think a lot of that is due to the fact the industry learned its lessons. It has put all of its focus on safety, and I believe Americans see that.

In fact, a recent Gallup poll finds nearly 60 percent of Americans support nuclear power. It now produces about 20 percent of the country's energy.

Seventeen companies have applied for permits to build new plants. But the cost is prohibitive. And there's also the problem of disposing radioactive waste.

Pietro Nivola is an energy specialist at the Brookings Institution:

Pietro Nivola: That is certainly a major obstacle, and it's going to have to be resolved in order to reduce the level of uncertainty for the industry.

Developing more nuclear power could be a challenge without a long-term plan to store nuclear waste. Especially now that President Obama has scaled back funding a nuclear waste dump in Nevada.

In Washington, I'm Danielle Karson for Marketplace.

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