Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-5-2022

Faculty Advisor(s)

Julie Shafer


There are currently 96 commercial nuclear reactors spread across the United States, located in 30 different states. The first nuclear reactor built in the US was constructed in 1954 in Simi Valley California. Nearly all the nuclear reactors in the US were either built or proposed in the following two and a half decades. During the 1950s and 1960s nuclear power was still in its infancy and the general public was mesmerized by the wonders of this new form of energy. Throughout the 1970s, only about 20-30% of the general public opposed nuclear power. After the Three-Mile Island partial core meltdown, which occurred in 1979, and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which occurred in 1986, there was an increase in the public opposition to nuclear power to over 50%. During the 1980s nearly 60% of the planned nuclear reactors in the US were cancelled before construction had even begun.My intention with this body of work is to explore and highlight the history of public opinion of nuclear power in the United States. I strive to dig into the history of nuclear power in the United States and its intimate relationship with the general public. The visual photographs show the locations of 7 of Los Angeles’ current, decommissioned, and cancelled nuclear reactors, only one of which continues to supply Los Angeles with power today. Each imposed nuclear reactor is made of infrared imagery of the same location, representing what cannot be seen but what could have been.


Presented at the Spring 2022 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.