APR: your source for nuclear news and analysis since April 16, 2010

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Public attitudes toward nuclear energy from WASH-1250

Today I'd like to announce a very important addition to APR's permanent list of separate or "stand alone" pages, which you can see linked from the right side margin bar. This new page includes all of the content of Appendix III of AEC report WASH-1250; this appendix covers the entire history of public opinion on nuclear energy from inception until the time WASH-1250 was printed in final draft form in July, 1973.

This document is, in this author's opinion, of deep and fundamental importance. This AEC treatise is essentially the history - from the AEC's perspective - of the development of anti-nuclear sentiment in the nation. It is highly significant to note how many things mentioned in this treatise still exist, and how some of the predictions made in it came true.

I would highly suggest everyone in the nuclear industry who is in a position to communicate with the public give this a thorough read all the way through.

Click here to access "Public Attitudes toward Nuclear Energy / WASH-1250"

Remember that this link is always available on the right margin bar of Atomic Power Review.

I am developing a supporting page for the content just placed on APR, which will give a great deal of background on, and insight into, the document (Appendix III) itself and make quite a number of parallels to the world we find ourselves in today.

10:10 AM Eastern Wednesday March 14, 2012


  1. Will:

    Thanks for this. Very helpful.

    Ed Kee

  2. Will - what so few people seem to realize about this controversy is that "the public" has always included "the competition". The infant nuclear industry and its scientifically minded regulator have always been outmatched in public relations by the established energy industry. After all, that business had been dueling over market share and vacillating between boom and bust driven by imbalances between supply and demand for more than 100 years by the time fission was first discovered.

    It is sadly amusing to remember that some of the first issues successfully raised against nuclear energy plants was "thermal pollution", which is common to all heat engines. It is weird to go back to old books and to see how worried some were about heat rejection from nuclear plants while never mentioning that as a problem for coal, gas or oil plants.

    There are even examples of that issue being raised in engineering text books - since nuclear steam plant tend to be operating at slightly lower efficiency than the most modern coal or gas plants.

    Anyway, thank you for the historical perspective. I just wish that "the nuclear industry" would have come out swinging and taken on its competition by helping more of the sincere environmentalists to understand that nuclear may have some issues but it is certainly better for the environment than the alternative of burning more fossil fuel.