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Why We Still Need Nuclear Power

Making Clean Energy Safe and Affordable

Steam rises from the cooling towers of the Electricite de France nuclear power station of Le Bugey in Saint-Vulbas near Lyon, April 13, 2015. Robert Pratta / Reuters

In the years following the major accidents at Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986, nuclear power fell out of favor, and some countries applied the brakes to their nuclear programs. In the last decade, however, it began experiencing something of a renaissance. Concerns about climate change and air pollution, as well as growing demand for electricity, led many governments to reconsider their aversion to nuclear power, which emits little carbon dioxide and had built up an impressive safety and reliability record. Some countries reversed their phaseouts of nuclear power, some extended the lifetimes of existing reactors, and many developed plans for new ones. Today, roughly 60 nuclear plants are under construction worldwide, which will add about 60,000 megawatts of generating capacity -- equivalent to a sixth of the world's current nuclear power capacity. 

But the movement lost momentum in March, when a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the massive tsunami it triggered devastated

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