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How To Play The Nuclear Power Renaissance

Back in the 1950s, when nuclear power became a thing, it was seen as the great hope for mankind, a new source of energy in a world where consumption was increasing rapidly. There was some skepticism initially in the West given that the first functioning nuclear power plant was built in the Soviet Union, but later in that decade and on into the 1960s the nuclear age became a big thing. The association with the Soviets meant that it was more popular on the political Left than the Right, but it was generally seen as a kind of much-needed and almost inevitable progress.

By the time I was a teenager growing up in London in the 1970s, however, there was a badge, or button as the Americans say, that was popular among those whose politics tended towards the Left. It was a sunburst-type design in yellow, red, and orange with the words "Nuclear power? No thanks!" It was worn with pride and, while small and unobtrusive, was instantly recognizable as an identifier of someone with a left-wing mindset. Looking back, the funny thing is that the Left's opposition to nuclear power back then was in part because of their support for the coal industry, or at least coal miners. Coal was and still is the dirtiest energy source, but that was of less concern than the fact that miners and their unions were under attack from the political Right, the same group that now talks about retaining miners' jobs and often attacks alternative energy sources.

I mention this not to ridicule anybody or…

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Editorial Dept