Are you worried about a nuclear disaster in the U.S.?

On a clear day in Chicago, from the right vantage point, one can spy the Cook nuclear plant on Lake Michigan’s eastern shoreline. It sits on a tract of land that is “part of the world’s largest formation of freshwater dunes,” according to the plant’s website. I used to see the plant when I lived in Chicago, and now I live in the state where it’s located. The reactors at the Cook plant are almost as old as the ones at Fukushima.

Should I be worried?

The majority of Americans (58%) are not worried about a nuclear disaster in the U.S., according to a just-released Gallup poll. One third of the country is worried.Even though most Americans were more concerned about nuclear safety right after news of the Japan disaster, it’s noteworthy that most are not worried about a nuclear disaster here. And, Gallup finds, attitudes about the safety of nuclear power are not different now from ten years ago.

Environmentalist George Monibot would applaud the American majority who believe that nuclear power is safe. In a startling turnabout we talked about this week, Monibot now supports nuclear energy because the results of the worst-case scenario—what actually happened in Japan—are much less than anti-nukes predicted. He also says that key figures in the anti-nuke movement have misread, misunderstand, or even misrepresented the dangers of nuclear radiation.

When I was writing this post, my 9-year-old son came into my study and asked me what I was writing about. When I told him, he said, “Places that have tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, and that thing that shakes the ground [earthquakes] should not have nuclear power plants.”

A good perspective, don’t you think?

Please Comment below.

Do you agree with the majority in the Gallup poll?

With the minority?

With my son?

(Originally published at, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.)

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