By Bob Burton on November 15, 2006

Jim Rogers, the Chief Executive of Duke Energy, a power company that is keen to build nuclear power plants in North and South Carolina, told reporters at an energy conference that he was "cautiously optimistic on nuclear, but public opinion turns on a dime." The nuclear industry faces considerable hurdles. Nuclear plants are prohibitively expensive, have long lead times before they deliver any power, lack support from private investors, increase the risk of nuclear proliferation and haven't yet solved the problem of long-term disposal of nuclear waste. If those hurdles aren't enough, the safety of nuclear plants remains a persistent persistent problem. "One bad event anywhere in the world could impact the future of nuclear," Rogers conceded. One more "bad event" - such as the meltdown at Chernobyl - could also cause numerous deaths and irreparably damage the environment.