Environmental Engineering Reference
The nuclear power industry began
with great excitement. Then, the
industry stopped growing for many years
because of worries about dangers and costs.
Some countries cut back or shut down their nuclear
industries. In the United States, planning for new nuclear plants
stopped. The turning point was the March 1979 accident at the
Three Mile Island power plant in Pennsylvania. More recently,
the industry has started growing again.
Scientists keep looking for ways to make better power reactors.
Several countries have joined a program launched by the United
States in 2000. The project aims to develop six types of new
“fourth-generation” reactors. First-generation reactors were
those used in the early days of nuclear power, in the 1950s and
1960s. Today's reactors are more modern in design and belong
mostly to the second generation of reactors. If they are even
more modern, they belong to the third generation.
Six types of fourth-generation reactors are being developed.
These reactors will come closer to the ideal of sustainability .
This involves making sure that people in the future will have the
resources to meet their needs. As an energy source, fossil fuels
are not sustainable because they are being used up. Nuclear
power can be thought of as sustainable since it is possible to