Nuclear Power: HOW Do We Know?

Nuclear Power: HOW Do We Know?

For some time now, the Newsweek columnist George Will has been praised as a civilized conservative. He tries to reason, he doesn’t often rant, he looks good by comparison to William Buckley (a modest enough test). But he remains a conservative ideologue, and what that entails can be seen in a column he wrote early in April attacking the movie The China Syndrome. The tenor of his attack is suggested by its subtitle: “There is more cancer risk in sitting next to a smoker than next to a nuclear power plant.” With contempt dripping for the no-nukers, the simplifiers who are “anti-technology,” Will came out happily, aggressively for the virtues of nuclear power.

This was all very well, except for a slight mishap—a few days later came Three Mile Island. Will’s self-advertised rationality and complexity of mind could not keep him from writing like any other right-wing ideologue prepared to entrust the future of the human race to private energy corporations and their friends in government who are supposed to regulate them. His rationality and complexity of mind did not keep him from minimizing grave dangers to future generations, nor from sneering at those who had publicly raised an outcry about those dangers.


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