Living Near Nuclear Power Plants

Anne and Paul Ehrlich discuss the problems associated with living near nuclear power plants.

| May/June 1978

  • How dangerous is it to be living near nuclear power plants?
    How dangerous is it to be living near nuclear power plants?
    Photo By Fotolia/jesse welter

  • How dangerous is it to be living near nuclear power plants?

How dangerous is it when homesteaders are living near nuclear power plants? These experts share their thoughts on the subject.

Living Near Nuclear Power Plants

Read part 2 of this series on nuclear power plants: Living Near Nuclear Power Plants Part 2.

Paul Ehrlich (Bing Professor of Population Studies and Professor of Biological Sciences, Stanford University) and Anne Ehrlich (Senior Research Associate, Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford) are familiar names to ecologists and environmentalists everywhere. As well they should be. Because it was Paul and Anne who — through their writing and research — gave special meaning to the words "population", "resources", and "environment" in the late 1960's. (They also coined the term coevolution, and did a lot to make ecology the household word it is today.) But while most folks are aware of the Ehrlichs' popular writing in the areas of ecology and overpopulation (most of us — for instance — have read Paul's book The Population Bomb) . . . far too few people have any idea of how deeply the Ehrlichs are involved in ecological research (research of the type that tends to be published only in technical journals and college textbooks.) That's why it pleases us to be able to present — on a regular basis — the following semi-technical column by authors/ecologists/educators Anne and Paul Ehrlich.

Is it Safe to Live Near a Nuclear Power Plant?

What if your utility company were to decide to build a nuclear power plant near your home? Should you worry about it? Should you put a "For Sale" sign on your house and move to another neighborhood?

To hear the power companies and government agencies tell it, a nuclear plant poses no more danger to a community than a new playground, and the answer to the last question should be "no". If you're like us, however, you may start to get somewhat suspicious whenever Big Business and Big Government team up to tell you that something is good for you. And in this case, you would be justified in feeling apprehensive . . . because one of nuclear power's major unresolved technical problems is that of reactor safety.


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