An Analysis of the Antinuclear Movement as a Political Interest Group
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As the issue of nuclear energy has emerged in the political arena, it seems only natural that organized opposition is contesting nuclear advocates in this same spectrum. Although the nuclear industry protests that the antinuclear movement has unjustly singled the nuclear industry as an evil threat to society, a retrospective look shows that environmentalists have protested oil spills, coal pollution, and other industrial contamination that threatens the environment. The antinuclear movement has succeeded in organizing nation-wide opposition to nuclear energy through the use of various tactics that publicize atomic energy dangers and educate the public on the perils of that energy source. As a group, the nuclear opponents have many traditional political interest group qualities. Numerous practices of traditional interest groups identified by David Truman in The Governmental Process are noticeable in the movement against nuclear energy. The group has centralized its plan of attack, albeit not a totally unified effort, that has aided in the sharp decrease in scheduled plant construction. The Atomic Industrial Forum, a reputable publicist of pronuclear sentiments, predicts that no new nuclear plants will be licensed in the 1980's. The antinuclear movement has played a crucial role, although many times not direct, in the projected moratorium on. nuclear plants. This paper will analyze the rise of antinuclear activity and its effectiveness as a political interest group. The nuclear question cannot singly be categorized as a political, technical, social, or economic problem. These facets mesh so closely that it takes people with expertise in each field to sort the issues of nuclear feasibility. Yet, each facet cannot be treated as equal. It is politicians who implement change in society, and it is these men that the country looks toward to make decisions about energy strategies.