Environment: The Peaceful Atom: Friend or Foe?

WITH every new demand for electricity, U.S. generating plants belch more smoke into the nation's dirty skies. In theory, the cure is nuclear power—a vision of clean, cheap electricity and smog-free air. Now that vision is being challenged by a growing coalition of conservationists, laymen and legislators who raise disturbing questions about the dangers of the peaceful atom. The critics are vocal and active—and they are getting results.

Increasing public opposition has already been responsible for halting the construction of several reactors; orders for new atomic plants have dropped from a peak of...

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