Nuclear power has had a good run in the last 20 years or so. With 9/11 inspiring Americans to think more about how to ween the nation off Middle Eastern oil, atomic energy maybe even had a hey day in recent times.

After all, it's clean power. So long as it doesn't melt down and make a hole in the earth (and in your brain).

With the problems at nuclear plants following Japan's 9.0 earthquake Friday, some stateside are saying it's time again to question the safety of such power sources.

It's been a long time since Three Mile Island (1979) or Chernobyl (1986).

Sky high fuel prices and the vogue of eschewing gas-powered cars (or anything else for that matter) have also helped to give nuclear a new kind of glow.

The hey day of 'clean' nuclear might be over.

The hey day of 'clean' nuclear might be over.

The Wall Street Journal:

Industry executives and their political allies promote nuclear power as “clean energy,” because, unlike coal or natural gas, it does not produce the greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

The Journal reports that there are 20 new permits for reactors pending the U.S. as we speak.

And the U.S. actually has plants that are designed in the same way, for example, as Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, which has seen three blasts, one fire, and the release of radioactive material since the quake.

A New York Times letter writer opines that it's time for a second look:

… We are witnessing the extreme dangers of nuclear power plants. Every time there is a serious explosion at a nuclear power plant people within a large radius of the site have to be evacuated for long periods of time, or indefinitely, as was the case with Chernobyl. Nuclear power plants are a far greater danger than any prospect of another world war. The fewer that are built, the safer we will all be.

What do you think?

LA Weekly