Maintaining Nuclear Energy Options: Focus on Safety. Tom Ortciger, Illinois Department of Nuclear Safety, Springfield, Illinois 62704

Notwithstanding events of September 11, 2001, conventional wisdom as applied to the nation's contemporary nuclear power industry circumstances could lead one to conclude that we are evolving toward a renaissance of nuclear power. For many, this represents a heartening prospect because it could add significantly to our electrical generation capacity. However, this view represents a narrow perspective that ignores the broader influences of related factors other than power production. To some the equation for re-exercising the nuclear power option is a straightforward evaluation of supply and demand evaluated in the context of the cost of generation with modest attention paid to improvements in the safety and security of reactor designs. This conventional view is a notable over-simplification of the matter that largely ignores a number of important issues serving to significantly influence whether nuclear power can become a safe and sustainable energy source for the future.

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