Oct 25, 2009 7:06 AM by Associated Press

Nuclear energy becomes pivotal in climate debate

Nuclear energy was once vilified by environmentalists -- but not so much lately amid the push to
curtail greenhouse gases.

Nuclear energy has become a pivotal bargaining chip as Senate Democrats seek Republican votes to pass climate legislation. The nuclear industry's long-standing campaign to rebrand itself as green appears to be gaining acceptance.

Nuclear power still faces daunting challenges, including what to do with radioactive waste. Reactors also remain a tempting target for terrorists.

But 104 power reactors in 31 states provide a fifth of the nation's electricity while producing essentially carbon free power and no greenhouse gas emissions. It's something the nuclear industry has been pushing for nearly a decade. But it's only recently begun to resonate, not only among supporters, but some skeptics as well.




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