OXFORD – Japan’s nuclear crisis, and the approaching 25th anniversary of the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl, have incited heated new discussions about the desirability of nuclear power. By awakening dormant fears, this debate threatens to halt what to many had seemed like a budding nuclear renaissance.
The stealth-like nature of radiation taps into deep-seated human anxieties. But, however well founded those fears might be, they are probably the wrong reason to oppose nuclear energy. There is an even stronger argument than safety alone for why a nuclear renaissance is neither likely nor necessary: cost.