Nuclear power – the pros and cons of nuclear energy | DW Documentary

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US President Dwight D. Eisenhower's 1953 "Atoms for Peace" speech reframed the nuclear debate. His vision was to transform one of the world’s greatest destructive forces into a boon for everyone -- in the form of atomic power. But nuclear weapons continue to pose a very real danger.

From the 1950s onwards, many scientists and politicians saw nuclear power as the technology of the future. Around the world, energy companies seemed eager to exploit its possibilities. But this was sometimes a front: many nuclear plants were not supplying energy, but plutonium for the production of nuclear weapons. Plutonium is not only dangerous; it is also polluting. The risks are made clear whenever there is an accident, such as the Windscale fire in 1957 - the worst nuclear accident in British history - or the Three Mile Island accident in 1979, when a partial meltdown of a reactor in Pennsylvania caused the worst radiation leak in US commercial nuclear power plant history.

These disasters contributed to the rise of an anti-nuclear movement, which sprung up in Germany and spread around the world.

This documentary is an action-packed tour through the history of one of the most controversial subjects of the twentieth century - nuclear power - as told by those who experienced it first-hand. Focusing on events in the US, UK, France and Germany, it charts its social and political development from the early days of post-war atomic euphoria, through to the struggling ‘nuclear renaissance’ of the present day.


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