The difficulty of disposing of nuclear waste is a huge part of the reason why nuclear energy is a risky proposal. However, there are several other important reasons, too, and it isn’t at all clear that nuclear power would make a good environmental or economic choice, even without the waste problem. For one thing, nuclear power plants are extremely expensive to build. Current proposals for new plants have had difficulty finding investors willing to finance them, partly because these projects often end up costing much more than originally projected, and in many cases do not make economic sense. Even more importantly, however, a surge in new nuclear power plants would inevitably mean a spreading of nuclear technology around the world (if the US starts building dozens of new plants, other countries will wonder why they can’t do the same). This creates an increased risk that dictatorships and unstable regimes around the world could get their hands on the technology needed to build nuclear weapons, as well as generate energy. If worldwide reliance on nuclear energy increases substantially, it will probably be impossible to prevent many countries that don’t now have nuclear weapons to gain access to the technology for developing them.
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