For voters who believe splitting atoms in nuclear power plants is an energy source with great potential, given growing evidence that global warming poses a greater danger than radioactive waste, there's a lot to like in the slate of candidates vying to be the next U.S. president.
All Republicans support nuclear power (though they differ on how and whether to subsidize the industry with government money), and Democrats all say it should, or could, be part of the energy mix (though they say so with frequent caveats, and would emphasize research and development of renewable energy sources first).
But the lone hard-line opponent of nuclear power is John Edwards, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis.
Nuclear power could be near a resurgence, as new plants are on the drawing board for the first time in a generation, since the 1979 Three Mile Island near-meltdown domestically, and the Chernobyl catastrophe in the Ukraine, soured the public on use of nuclear power.
Even if the safety record has been solid since then, there are still major criticisms. Aging plants are a growing concern in host communities, particularly highly populated places like New York's Westchester County, just miles from New York City. There is the threat of terrorism. And there is the thorny issue of nuclear waste, which remains dangerously radioactive for generations.
Traditionally opposed to nuclear power, environmentalists have, in some cases, given it a second look since the threat of global warming has become so acute. Unlike burning fossil fuels, nuclear power generates no air pollution (once the mining and processing of fuel is accounted for). And unlike existing renewable energy sources, like wind and solar power, nuclear power can produce a lot of electricity on a small amount of land.
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