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Nuclear Energy

  • By: Lisa Marshall
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Images of the electric grid, cooling towers, atomic bombs, and Hollywood productions serve as examples of what may come to mind when “nuclear energy” is mentioned. It has a complex narrative, occupying a noteworthy place in society.

What nuclear energy represents to current debates on solutions to increasing energy demand, reduction in carbon emissions, energy independence, and national security is juxtaposed with arguments of nuclear proliferation, radioactive contamination, nuclear accidents, and “not in my backyard” sentiments. With a growing presence around the globe with 440-plus commercial reactors in operation or being built, an argument is being made that there is a 21st-century nuclear resurgence in the making. Nuclear energy engages the subatomic realm, natural landscapes, and geopolitical space in particular ways—an engineered solution to some and ...

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