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US History – The Environment and Natural Resources, 1968-80

4. Nuclear Power

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this module, We will then turn to look at the history of nuclear power in the US. Some environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, supported the building of nuclear power stations in the 1960s and early 1970s because, unlike coal-fired power stations, they generated zero atmospheric pollution. The Three-Mile-Island nuclear accident in 1979, however, revealed technical and administrative problems and provoked bitter protests. Utility companies shied away from the technology after 1979 because it created for them a public-relations nightmare. The persistent radioactivity of used fuel rods created a severe disposal problem that could not be solved. A much worse nuclear accident, at Chornobyl in the Soviet Ukraine (1986) worsened the image of nuclear power.

Course

In this course, Professor Patrick Allitt (Emory University) explores how the issue of the Environment and Natural Resources were dealt with during the period 1968-1980. In the first module, we will examine how in the late 1960s environmentalism became a mass movement in the United States. We will then turn to see how politicians responded to this movement. In the third module, we will see how American views on the environment changed when the economy began to slow in the 1970s. We will then turn to look at the history of nuclear power in the US and how it’s growth slowed after the Three Mile Island accident. After this we turn to the issue of natural resources and examine how academics disagreed over this issue. In the penultimate module, we will explore how Republican and Democrat views on the environment began to splinter in the 1970s. In the final module, we will explore the policies of Ronald Reagan towards the environment.

Lecturer

Patrick N. Allitt is the Cahoon Family Professor of American History at Emory University. He specialises in American intellectual, environmental, and religious history; and has authored seven books, including A Climate of Crisis: America in the Age of Environmentalism.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Allitt, P. (2021, November 18). US History – The Environment and Natural Resources, 1968-80 - Nuclear Power [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/us-history-the-environment-and-natural-resources-1968-80/nuclear-power

MLA style

Allitt, P. "US History – The Environment and Natural Resources, 1968-80 – Nuclear Power." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 18 Nov 2021, https://www.massolit.io/courses/us-history-the-environment-and-natural-resources-1968-80/nuclear-power

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