Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Science and Policy

First Advisor

Elizabeth Garland




Indian Point Energy Center, Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant, nuclear power, activism, protest, climate change, existential threats, energy


Nuclear power has had a long and controversial history leading people to have many different views on the topic. Even though nuclear power does provide the nation with a significant portion of its electricity, many still fear its risks, especially after the events at Fukushima last spring. This thesis explores how public opinion, current events, and anti-nuclear activism have shaped nuclear power in America today. After reviewing the literature on nuclear energy in the United States, I discuss the past and current state of United States nuclear energy policy, and then describe changing American attitudes toward nuclear power over time. My final chapter focuses on anti-nuclear activism in the United States, looking in depth at the controversy currently surrounding two specific plants: Indian Point Energy Center and Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. In conclusion, I have developed my own opinion on the role of which nuclear power should play in American energy policy and its future.