Changing Attitudes About Nuclear Power

Relatives place photos of Chernobyl victims around a monument to victims of the Chernobyl explosion in Ukraine's capital Kiev, Thursday, April 25, 2002 CBS

This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
So I remember when nuclear anything was looked at with disdain. Remember Three Mile Island?

The anniversary of the explosion of the nuclear reactors at Chernobyl is tomorrow. It was a cataclysm. In the '70s and early '80s, the Cold War still raged on and the United States and the Soviet Union were both talking peace and beefing up their nuclear arsenals at the same time.

I remember seeing an artists' exhibit once depicting the number of nuclear warheads on both sides. Using clay replicas, the mini-nukes covered a gym floor. Yeah.

We all lived in fear of a nuclear winter, no matter how it happened. As result, we haven't had a new nuclear power plant in this country in years. But with the cost of fossil fuels, their effect on the environment and the growing sentiment to become more energy independent, guess what?

See today's paper. The co-founder of Greenpeace and former EPA director Christie Whitman both say the time for nuclear power is now.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.

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