Thereafter, the nuclear industry created jobs, focused on safety, and public concerns mostly waned.
In the last decade, however, with growing public awareness about climate change and the critical role that carbon dioxide and methane emissions plays in causing the heating of the earth's atmosphere, there has been a resurgence in the intensity of the nuclear power debate.
In 2015, new power generation using solar power was 33% of the global total, wind power over 17%, and 1.3% for nuclear power, exclusively due to development in China.
For some countries, nuclear power affords energy independence.
Data from the International Atomic Energy Agency showed that nuclear power plants globally produced 2,346 terawatt-hours (8,450 PJ) of electricity in 2012 – 7% less than in 2011.
The figures illustrate the effects of a full year of 48 Japanese power reactors producing no power during the year.
Modern society demands always-on energy to power communications, computer networks, transportation, industry and residences at all times of day and night.
In the absence of nuclear power, utilities need to burn fossil fuels to keep the energy grid reliable, even with access to solar and wind energy, because those sources are intermittent.
Compared to 2010, the nuclear industry produced 11% less electricity in 2012.
Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain and the U. now all generate more electricity from non-hydro renewable energy than from nuclear sources.