Illustration by Wade Mickley

Nuclear power has a well-proven record in other countries such as France. Our focus on energy development should be multi-faceted, with the goal of eventually eliminating all oil dependence. However, we should recognize that oil will continue to be a needed resource until we get other energy sources developed for large-scale usage. Nuclear is one important part of the puzzle.

—Mark Stover, Weaverville, N.C.

Population in the Southeast has increased greatly in recent years, which has caused a greater need for more energy. Hopefully by building more nuclear plants we can fulfill the growing demand.

—Pat Brodbeck, Kingston, Tenn.

Nuclear is the only alternative fuel that has a chance of making a significant dent in our appetite for oil and coal. Given proper storage safeguards for spent fuel, I’d much rather have a nuclear power plant in my neighborhood than a coal-fired one.

—Jon Oliver, Charlottesville, Va.

The harmful health and environmental effects of coal, which constantly pollutes our air and water from mining to burning, far outweigh the slim possibility of a nuclear accident. Additionally, commonly-used fuel rod reprocessing techniques, long blocked by public fear of nuclear power in the U.S., would drastically reduce the amount of waste produced by nuclear plants.

—Spencer Ellsworth, Virginia

We must stop building fossil fuel plants. We are 30+ years behind European countries in clean air technology. France has one of the lowest carbon footprints, mainly due to getting 90% of their power from nuclear power.

—Sandy Blakely, Knightdale, N.C.

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The environmental destruction caused by the mining of uranium is as devastating as mountaintop removal mining. Nuclear power plants also raise water temperatures and damage watersheds. And nuclear power is by far the most expensive form of energy. A nuclear power plant proposed today won’t produce power for at least 10 years, while wind and solar are safer and can be put online to produce power today.

—Drew Stockdreher, Fairfax, Va.

Our energy solution must come from solar and wind technology. They are safe, renewable, and can be installed quickly for immediate energy relief. Who wants a nuclear plant in their backyard? Give me solar panels any day.

—Esther Godfrey, Asheville, N.C.

The numerous problems with nuclear energy put all of us at serious risk. Berlin gets the same amount of sunlight as Anchorage, and yet the Germans are putting up solar units as fast as they can. If it is cost effective to put solar panels up so far north, how much more benefit would we get here?

—Bev Jern, Poolesville, Md.

The Southeast’s natural energy resources are wind, solar, and small-scale hydro. These are what we should develop to create regional energy self-sufficiency. Nuclear energy uses and creates more radioactive products, which lasts for hundreds of thousands of years. It is beyond my comprehension how we can saddle our planet and our public health with additional radioactive burden for which there is no safe method of containment.

—Cicada Brokaw, Asheville, N.C.

There is absolutely no way to make nuclear power safe. Anyone versed in science, human frailty, and statistics knows this. Nuclear power is a convenient political red herring with today’s energy and economy concerns.

—Rodney Hytonen, Pennsboro, W.Va.

Solar, wind, and geothermal energy have the least impact on the land and should be explored to exhaustion before we jump on the nuke wagon. The money it takes to build a nuclear plant would be better invested in renewable energy, which is a lot less expensive and far more dependable and long-lasting.

—Mark Smith, Jonesborough, Tenn.

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36% say yes

64% say no