Powering America: What’s It Like to Live Near a Nuclear Facility?

What’s it like living in the shadow of a nuclear reactor? Not how you may think, according to Americans who make their homes in the communities surrounding nuclear power plants.

“Living Near Nuclear Facilities” is part of The Heritage Foundation’s “Powering America” documentary project. The video vignette looks at two communities. The first is Waynesboro, Georgia, near the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant. The second is Middletown, Pennsylvania, near the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station, which in 1979 was the site of the largest commercial nuclear energy accident in U.S. history.

The people interviewed stressed the value that nuclear energy brought to their areas — the jobs, the tax revenue and the electricity generation. They also consistently emphasized how safe they felt living near the reactors.


“The fact is, research shows that living near a nuclear power plant poses no particular safety or health risks,” according to The Foundry, a Heritage Foundation blog. “Indeed, nuclear facilities provide significant economic benefit at almost no public health or environmental cost. That is why communities that have nuclear power plants tend to support nuclear power and are in many cases clamoring to get additional units built.”

Mary Land, a teacher at Edmund Burke Academy in Waynesboro, succinctly stated the importance of nuclear energy to her community:

“It has given many people in this area — within five counties of Waynesboro — an opportunity for a job that they might not have had otherwise.”

>>Watch the full video here.

>>Read a guest post from Jack Spencer, Senior Research Fellow for Nuclear Energy Policy at the Heritage Foundation.