Planet Of The Year: Nuclear Power Plots a Comeback

But safety comes first in new reactor designs

The primary purpose of the $3.6 billion nuclear plant that the U.S. Department of Energy wants to build in Idaho Falls, Idaho, is to help replenish America's dwindling supply of tritium, a vital component in atom bombs. But if approved by Congress, the Idaho facility could play an even more important role in the civilian use of nuclear power. For it is based on what proponents claim is a fail-safe technology, one that virtually eliminates the danger of a meltdown.

Nuclear plants have the potential of providing abundant supplies of electricity without spewing pollutants into the atmosphere. But the nuclear- power...

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