In Tuesday’s episode of “Boston Legal,” a judge ruled in favor of a citizen suing her town for attempting to build a nuclear power plant. The lawyer used the same anti-nuclear rhetoric that has been used for years, claiming that cancer was prevalent near Three Mile Island, that radiation caused by a nuclear power plant inflicts serious health problems, and that there is no solution to nuclear waste. The fallacies purported in this episode suggest that nuclear power is dangerous and that citizens will react unfavorably to the “threat” of new nuclear build.
The episode at Three Mile Island is hardly the monster anti-nuclear advocates make it out to be; the fact remains that not one person was killed or injured in the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island, and the radiation the population received was approximately 1 millirem — hardly significant in comparison to the household radon average per year.
As for the issue of waste disposal, even though bureaucracy failed to put in place a legitimate waste disposal program, it doesn’t mean it’s infeasible. Indeed, the United States currently holds approximately 56,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel; however, this fuel has enough energy to power every household in the U.S. for 12 years. Recycling occurs safely and efficiently in other countries every day and the same could be accomplished domestically. (See Heritage’s complete disposal of nuclear energy myths.)
Interestingly enough, at the end of “Boston Legal,” the judge ruled in favor of the protesting citizen primarily because his mother lived in that town. Yet, more Americans are recognizing and supporting the role nuclear should play in America’s energy portfolio. The Nuclear Energy Institute reported last year that nearly 7 of 10 Americans favor nuclear and 68% support building a new reactor at the existing nuclear power plant closest to where they live. With energy demand rising and government proposals for carbon caps, nuclear energy is without a doubt crucial for America’s future.