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Mike Gray on: Nuclear Energy in the 1970s
Mike Gray Q: Was nuclear energy considered a cutting edge technology by 1970?

MG: Well, in the 1970s, nuclear power was thought to be the answer. I mean we had just gone through a tremendous oil crunch. The economy was devastated by the Arab oil embargo and suddenly energy prices doubled and the country was in terrible shape. And it was seen quite clearly that nuclear power might be the salvation. There were plants being ordered and built all over the country at a fairly prodigious rate. In 1979, the future really never looked better for nuclear power. Let me tell you how I got into this. I was trained as an aeronautical engineer. I went to Purdue University and I'm a fan of technology. I think that technology is great and in 1979, I was one of a handful of people who had an actual word processor. It was about as big as a house, you know, and the floppy disks only held 12 pages, or something like that. But, I was Mr. Cutting Edge, or at least I thought I was, and I was a fan of nuclear power. I thought Good Neighbor Nuke. And I happened to pick up a book called "Poison Power" by John Goffman, he was a physicist who had worked on the atomic bomb, and he questioned some of the fundamental concepts of nuclear power. And these were things that I had never really thought about in terms of the down side potential. I began checking into it and, in the early '70s, I had a television commercial production company in Chicago. And I had a client there, Commonwealth Edison. We used to do their TV commercials. So I knew the public relations people and I called up one day and I asked if I could have a tour of one of their nuclear power plants. So they set it up. I went out to the Zion Nuclear Power Plant, out north of Chicago. It's actually close enough to Chicago you can see it from the loop.

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