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In any event, the three engineers decided on their move last December, but did not act immediately. Aware that their resignations could help the anti-nuclear cause, they planned their move with another C.I.F. member, James Burch, who is also president of Project Survival, a citizens' group currently urging Californians to cast antinuclear votes in June. Burch helped them to orchestrate their announcement for maximum effect. GE officials quickly attempted to downgrade the significance of the resignations, pointing out that there are hundreds of people in the nuclear industry who are convinced that nuclear reactors can be designed to operate safely. Still, the defection to antinuke forces by three nuclear engineers with good technical reputations and impeccable records is bound to impress the publicwhich, according to a recent poll, still favors nuclear power by better than a 3-to-1 ratio.
If nuclear proponents do not counter growing antinuke sentiment with clear and convincing arguments of their own, first Californians and then other Americans may well begin to vote away one of the best hopes for meeting U.S. energy needs in the last two decades of the century.