Nuclear Power in Springfield
A Chemistry Web Quest

Introduction | The Task | The Process | Resources | Conclusion | Evaluation

Atom An Introduction

Last year, a major manufacturing company in Springfield closed its operations. Four thousand jobs were lost and the once prosperous town of Springfield quickly slipped into recession. In an effort to revive the economy in Springfield, a group of concerned citizens has lobbied the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and convinced them that Springfield would be an ideal location for the state's next nuclear power plant. The citizens of Springfield have been left with two choices: Vote to accept the power plant and all of its benefits or reject the proposal because of the negative aspects of living with the danger of a nuclear power plant in their backyard.

Atom The Task

The city council of Springfield has decided to gather a team of specialists to investigate the opening of the power plant. Each specialist will present their report at a town meeting. It has been decided that the team will consist of between four and six members:

Your task in "Nuclear Power in Springfield" is to form a Web Quest Team of between four and six people each of which will take on one of the roles listed above. You and your teammates will work together to create a Special Report for the town meeting that makes sense out of the complex issue of nuclear power.

Atom The Process

What is nuclear power? How does it produce electricity? Why are some people against using it? Think about how you feel about nuclear energy. Do you really know enough about the subject to be for or against it? Does it have a better reputation in Europe? Why? What is the current policy regarding nuclear power in the United States? Can nuclear power plants explode? What is the China Syndrome?

You live in a world where non-renewable fossil fuels dominate the energy scene. The fossil fuel energy solution is convenient, but will it satisfy the energy demands of the next century? "MORE POWER" seems to be the phrase of the day. Could it be possible that nuclear power could provide society with the solution to the energy crisis?

So if we're faced with a difficult challenge, we must:


  1. Each classroom team member will pick a role listed below. Click on the link for the role to read more information about the person and their perspective.
  1. Once you have decided on which of the roles will be assigned to which team member, open the link for your role to read more information about your perspective.
  2. Read the information in the link to get a feel for your tasks. Analyze how your role relates to the other members on the panel.
  3. Brainstorm a list of the types of resources/information that you think would be useful to gain insights on nuclear power.
  4. Explore the "Resources" below (as well as any available at headquarters - i.e., the Library) to see which might match with your brainstormed list.
  5. Add any internet resources that you think might be valuable for your search. Be sure to keep a list of all references used in this project.

On the Net: Virtual Investigation

  1. Explore the resources that you think would be most appropriate for your branch.
  2. Collect (Copy & Paste) relevant information for your perspective. Make sure you know why each piece of data will help your position.
  3. Answer the "Status Report" and "Values Assessment" questions in your dossier.
  4. Once you have finished your search, choose the best information for your topic.

As a Team of Experts

  1. Bring the best artifacts together and examine them as a team.
  2. Each expert must explain the significance of his or her artifact.

The "Action Plan"

Now you must discuss, persuade, argue, deal, and brainstorm a team action plan. As it says in your dossier, you as an expert want to find the best solution for your topic. The problem arises that what is good for business is not always good for the environment. What is good for the job rate is not always good for the health of the citizens. What's good for the state may not be good for the local community. The town is waiting for your report. (Note that if a reasonable amount of time has passed and no unanimous verdict has been reached, a Dissension Statement can be created - see "The Special Report" section, below.)

The Special Report Each Team member must submit their own individual report relating to their role. The Collective Team must create additional items jointly:

Atom Resources

Use the resources below to conduct your search. You are free to use other resources (i.e. other websites, books, videos, etc.) to fortify your position. There are no right answers to this exploration. See if you can add some real understanding and insight into nuclear power.

Internet Resources

CNN News: Y2K countdown could mean nuke reactor shutdowns

Poems: Chernobyl Poems by Liubov Sirota

PBS: Meltdown at Three Mile Island

Nuclear Energy Institute: Nuclear World

Nuclear Information and Resource Service: Nuclear Power Plant Fuel -- a source of Plutonium for Weapons?

The Quick Virtual Nuclear Power Plant Tour: The Virtual Nuclear Tourist

US Department of Energy: Nuclear Age Timeline

University of Missouri American Nuclear Society

New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution

Green Peace: Pathways to Destruction

Sierra Club: Nuclear Waste Guide

World Nuclear Power: Economics of nuclear power

Stanford Formal Reasoning Group: FAQ about nuclear power

Atom Conclusion

In the United States this year,

we can:
Demonstrate little concern for the dwindling fossil fuels.
we can:
Take for granted the energy we so easily receive in our homes.
we can:
Continue to pollute the environment.
we can:
Take ownership in our government and vote.
we can:
Write to politicians with whom we want to share our beliefs.
we can:
Make a difference in the world.

You now have a better understanding of nuclear power than the vast majority of United States citizens. There is a saying, "Knowledge is Power." Now that you have this power, what will you do?

Atom Evaluation

Each Web Quest Team member can receive a maximum of 5 extra credit points for completing this Web Quest. Three points shall address the perspective statement created by each individual Team member, and two points shall address the group work used to complete the paper.

Grading shall be based on neatness, spelling errors, accuracy of information gathered, quality of list of references, and similar criteria. In addition, each participant shall anonymously complete an evaluation form for each Team member which will affect the final grade. For more information, contact the instructor.

Introduction | The Task | The Process | Resources | Conclusion | Evaluation

WebQuest originally developed by Keith Nuthall and adopted as appropriate by Michael Russell