Powerful arguments are now being made for a return to nuclear power as a major source of energy.
It is, proponents say, the only way Britain can meet its promise to cut carbon emissions and guarantee the security of its supply.
But those considering nuclear energy's future might do well to look at its past.
The pathway of nuclear power in the second half of the last century was paved with good intentions but fraught with economic and environmental difficulties.
Denys Blakeway talks to the scientists who shared the dream, the engineers who built the nuclear reactors and the politicians who were seduced by the idea of limitless energy.
He discovers the factors which led Britain to embark on an ambitious programme of nuclear power, only to be thwarted by cheaper electricity generated by coal and gas and an increasingly sceptical public worried about leaks and radio-active waste.