The Atomic Energy Commission once envisioned that America would have 1,000 nuclear reactors online by 2000. Public protests and safety concerns following Three Mile Island trimmed those hopes dramatically. Today, America boasts 104 reactors at 64 commercial nuclear facilities, some near major cities such as Boston, Los Angeles and New York City.
Do good nukes make good neighbors? It seems so, judging by the 2010 U.S. Census, which found that the number of residents living within 10 miles of a nuclear plant increased by 17 percent over the last decade. If you expand the radius to 50 miles, one in three Americans (116 million) now lives within the nuclear neighborhood.
Most plants are located on bodies of water away from large populations, two natural draws for many homebuyers.
Miller says it's ironic that suburban sprawl is closing in on America's once-remote nuclear plants.
"Ours are remotely sited; some of us in the industry think maybe to excess," he says. "In Europe, some plants are located fairly near towns where (nuclear) waste heat is actually used for heating and industrial purposes."
Then again, nuclear housing markets are always just one plant accident away from a meltdown.