You Decide

Produced by KQED

image montage: nuclear energy plant and cooling towers, green and red backgroundsImage CreditResources and Credits

Research Sources

We’re grateful to the following resources for providing background information for this activity:

California Air Resources Board
“Climate Change Proposed Scoping Plan,” October 2008
California Energy Commission
“Comparative Costs of California Central Station Electricity Generation Technologies,” CEC Staff Report, June 2007
Congressional Budget Office
“Nuclear Power’s Role in Generating Electricity,” May 2008
U.S. Department of Energy
“Technical Report Confirms Reliability of Yucca Mountain Technical Work,” February 2006
“France’s Radioactive Waste Management Program,” Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, June 2001
“Average Price and Quantity for Uranium Purchased by Owners and Operators of U.S. Civilian Nuclear Power Reactors by Pricing Mechanisms and Delivery Year,” May 19, 2008
“Electric Power Annual,” 2007
“Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman; Renewing America’s Nuclear Power Partnership for Energy Security and Economic Growth,” October 8, 2008
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
“Radiation Protection,” updated August 27, 2008
U.S. Government Accountability Office
“NRC’s Oversight of Fire Protection at U.S. Commercial Nuclear Reactor Units Could Be Strengthened,” June 2008
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

“Backgrounder on Radioactive Waste,” April 2007

“Fact Sheet on the Three Mile Island Accident,” updated December 2008

United Kingdom, Office of Climate Change
“The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change,” 2006
Articles and Background
American Lung Association,

“Protecting the Nation from Air Pollution,” ALA State of the Air, 2007

Associated Press, The
“San Onofre Nuke Plant Battery Inoperable 4 Years,” December, 22, 2008
Brown, Lester,
“The Flawed Economics of Nuclear Power,” Earth Policy Institute, October 2008
“A Waste of Energy,”, October 29, 2008
Clean Air Task Force,
“Dirty Air, Dirty Power: Mortality and Health Damage Due to Air Pollution from Power Plants,” June 2004
Cleantech Group,
“Study Says Nuclear Power Isn’t as ‘Safe and Clean’ as Bush Claims,” March 5, 2008,
“Four Score Organizations Express Opposition to Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Dump,” January 11, 2008
Dunn, Collin,
“Warning: Effects of Global Warming Include Death,”, April 11, 2008
Electric Power Research Institute,
“Room at the Mountain,” 2007
Eureka County Yucca Information Office,
“DOE Releases EIS on Yucca Repository and Nevada Rail Routes,” Nuclear Waste Update, Winter 2008
European Commission,
“Calculating the Environmental Cost of Uranium Mining,” DG Environment News Service, May 29, 2008
Fairley, Peter,
“Nuclear Wasteland,” IEEE Spectrum, February 2007
Goodell, Jeff,
“Black Gold of Black Death,” The New York Times, January 4, 2006
Greenpeace International,
"Chernobyl Death Toll Grossly Underestimated,” April 2006
Hansen, James,
“Clock Running Out on Irreversible Climate Change,” YaleGlobal online, April 16, 2008
Hansen, James, et al.
“We Must Phase-Out Coal Emissions by 2030 and Stabilize At or Below 350 ppm,” Climate Progress, October 31, 2008
Hertsgaard, Mark,
“The True Costs of Nuclear Power,” Mother Earth News, April/May 2006
International Atomic Energy Agency,
“An International Peer Review of the Yucca Mountain Project TSPA-SR,”
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2002
“Nuclear Proliferation and Terrorism,” 2004
Johnson, Keith,
“It’s the Economics, Stupid,” The Wall Street Journal, May 2008
Larsen, Janet,
“Coal Takes Heavy Human Toll: Some 25,100 Deaths from Coal Use Largely Preventable,” Earth Policy Institute, August 24, 2004
Lovins, Amory; Sheikh, Imranl and Markevich, Alex,
“Forget Nuclear,” Rocky Mountain Institute, April 2008
Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
“The Future of Nuclear Power,” Interdisciplinary Study, 2003
Moore, Patrick,
“Going Nuclear: A Green Makes the Case,” The Washington Post, April 16, 2007
Natural Resources Defense Council,
“Commercial Nuclear Power,” October 2005
“How Safe is Yucca Mountain,” January 2008
“Statement of Thomas B. Cochran … on the Environmental, Safety, and Economic Implications of Nuclear Power,” testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives, Science and Technology Committee, released April 23, 2008
Nuclear Energy Institute,
“Frequently Asked Questions: Yucca Mountain and Used Fuel Management,” retrieved January 2009
“Common Objections to the Yucca Mountain Project, and What the Science Really Says,” 2005

“The Cost of New Generating Capacity in Perspective,” August 2008
Oxford Research Group,
“Secure Energy? Civil Nuclear Power, Security and Global Warming,” March 2007
Public Broadcasting Service,
“Tracking Nuclear Proliferation,” The Online NewsHour, September 2008
“Why the French Like Nuclear Energy,” Frontline, 1997
Public Citizen,
“Tritium Leaks at Nuclear Plants Contaminate Groundwater,” retrieved online January 2009
Rauber, Paul,
“Why Not Nukes: Reconsidering the Nuclear Option,” Sierra Magazine, January/February 2007
“Global Warming Deaths on the Rise,” September 30, 2003
Roland-Holst, David, and Kahrl, Fredrich,
“California Climate Risk and Response,” November 2008
Sawin, Janet,
“Another Sunny Year for Solar Power,” Worldwatch Institute, May 2008
Sierra Club,
“The Basics of Nuclear Power,” April 2008
Smith, D.A.,
“Going Nuclear: Groundwater Contamination Proves One Thing,”
Charleston City Paper, August 29, 2007
Solar Electric Power Association,
“Solar Electricity in the Utility Market,” January 6, 2009
Spease, Joe,
“The Problems With Nuclear Power,” Sierra Club, Kansas Chapter, April/May 2007
Spencer, Jack,
“Recycling Nuclear Fuel: The French Do It, Why Can’t Oui?” Heritage Foundation, December 28, 2007
Tagliabue, John,
“Remote Finnish Island City Thrives Amid Nuclear Power Plants,” The San Diego Union Tribune, November 16, 2008
Times Online,
“Death Toll from Chernobyl Was Overestimated,” September 5, 2005
Union of Concerned Scientists,
“Nuclear Power in a Warming World,” report, December 2007
“Nuclear Reprocessing: Dangerous, Dirty, and Expensive,” January 2006
Webb, Eric,
“Uranium Outlook 2008,” Ux Consulting, March 2, 2008
Woodall, Bernie,
“U.S. Wind Power Grew 45 Percent in 2007: AWEA,” Reuters, Jan. 17, 2008
World Nuclear Association,
“The Economics of Nuclear Power” and “Nuclear Power in France,” November and December 2008

More Information

Earth Policy Institute
Electric Power Research Institute
International Atomic Energy Agency
Nuclear Energy Institute
World Nuclear Association
Natural Resources Defense Council
Rocky Mountain Institute
Sierra Club
Union of Concerned Scientists

Image Sources

Step 1 image montage:
  • iStockPhoto file #3023224 by AccesscodeHFM

Step 2 image montage:
  • iStockPhoto file #2518128
  • iStockPhoto file #3023224 by AccesscodeHFM
  • iStockPhoto file #2551437 judwick

Step 3 image montage:
  • iStockPhoto file #3023224 by AccesscodeHFM
  • iStockPhoto file #2551437 judwick

Step 4 image montage:
  • iStockPhoto file #3023224 by AccesscodeHFM
  • iStockPhoto file #2551437 judwick
  • iStockPhoto file #2518128

Step 5 image montage:
  • iStockPhoto file #3023224 by AccesscodeHFM

Special Thanks

  • Carl Zichella, Sierra Club
  • Tom Kauffman, Nuclear Energy Institute


  • Researched and written by Chris Raphael
  • Produced and edited by Malcolm Gay
  • Designed by Rick Elizaga and Eric Westby
  • Created by KQED Interactive
  • In memory of Sean Fagan