Thirty years on, memories of the meltdown at Three Mile Island have receded, and global warming is the new doomsday obsession. As a result, nuclear power--which, like solar and wind energy, produces no greenhouse gasses, but has the extra advantage of working in any weather--has become hot again.
For this week's cover story, Laura Onstot traveled to Hanford, home to Washington's only existing nuclear power plant, and caught up with the man who's trying to rally our state to go big in nuclear (by going small). Jack Baker, a veteran of the notorious WPPSS, is already finalizing a lease on 20 square miles of federal land, where he hopes to put new "backyard reactors" that, he says, would be cheaper and cleaner.
Plenty of environmentalists disagree, of course. But the green movement is split on the issue. Obama's on board with nukes. So is Gregoire. Even Bill Gates is backing a nuclear startup (and paid a recent visit to Hanford himself, to give his son a little atomic education). We could be at the dawn of a new nuclear age.