ABSTRACT

Introduction Electricity has been generated using nuclear energy since 1954. Although initially viewed as a cutting edge technology that promised to deliver virtually limitless power, it has had a very controversial history. The industry has had many problems, but Chernobyl in 1986, represents what many opponents of nuclear would view as its worst moment. Interest in nuclear energy was declining at that time through a combination of problems and public concerns compounded by competition from fossil fuels and it seemed likely that nuclear power would be consigned to the scrapheap of history. More recently nuclear power has experienced a renewed surge of interest with many countries either building new plants or planning to do so. Driving this resurgence of interest is a number of factors. These are discussed below. It should be noted that there is no single issue that is driving this resurgence, but combinations of these that are influencing the debate.