Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved licenses to build two new nuclear reactors Thursday, the first authorized in over 30 years. CNN looked into safety at U.S. plants. There are 23 nuclear reactors in the United States that use the General Electric-designed Mark 1 containment housing, which is similar to the design at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant. Readers talked about the safety of U.S. plants.
Some readers thought the concerns were overblown. This was the most-liked comment:
Jack Baker: "We have been using nuclear power for over 50 years, and there have been very few serious incidents, and only a couple of incidents with injuries or radiation release. And considering that the quantity of waste by-product is significantly less than any other type of power generation, including natural gas, how can people be so adamant against nuclear power?"
There were many who responded in turn to Jack Baker's coment.
MK54: "I believe that rendering a portion of the Earth uninhabitable for centuries, maybe more is a tremendous and unacceptable disaster, because of the persistence, even if no person is directly killed. The scale of a disaster is not always just in people killed. Earth is a beautiful and hospitable place, but it is up to us to keep it that way."
pwrphoto: "Many people would say that it's because of ignorance but I think it is mostly due to the subjective nature of how we, humans, perceive risk. Risk has two components: likelihood and impact. Your comment focuses on both risk and likelihood but most people only look at the impact. That is, they don't care if having a nuclear accident is very unlikely. They just care that if there is an accident the consequences are extreme. It is for the same reason that airplane accidents attract more attention than each individual road accident."
PatriotEagle: "Also, unlike Japan we don't get tsunamis. And France is completely energy because they run the whole country on nuclear energy and there's not been one nuclear problem to my knowledge in France."
One reader replied to the "Why?" and wondered why other kinds of energy aren't being explored.
LPLove: "Because when you have a technology that has been buried by the nuclear industry for 50 years, thorium reactors, you realize you cant trust them at all. The commoditization of uranium was the sole goal back in the '50s and the guiding principal that pointed us to use nuclear, even though thorium is a far superior, cleaner, more efficient technology. Welcome to America, where you wont even be offered the best solution, only the most profitable one."
Can the U.S. and Japan be compared fairly?
HeyDummy1: "This is like living in San Diego and worrying about your pool freezing because you saw someone's pool freeze in Canada."
Some commenters thought there are bigger things to worry about.
Patrick N. Smith: "Hmmm. A worst-case disaster, and nobody was killed ... in fact, no one was even injured. I would think we'd find something more realistic to worry about ... like maybe the 2012 end of the world, or impact from a massive asteroid, as it's completely obvious even these older plants are incredibly safe. But you know how the Luddites are. Any excuse to try to trash anything really productive and helpful. Nothing new there."
But others wondered about the safety of nuclear power.
kinderlove: "When did they ever have to permanently evacuate 100,000 people from their homes because of coal or natural gas?"
What about the nuclear waste?
Giantsfan17: "Keep in mind we have no idea what to do with the waste it creates (which has a half life of over 1,000 years), but lets ignore that."
This commenter said they aren't all that worried about living near a site.
Danams42: "I do live near the Brown's Ferry site, and it really doesn't worry me. The track record on safety of the industry is very good over all. Even after a record tornado outbreak less than a year ago, including damage to that area, the worst that happened was that the reactors were shutdown for a time to prevent to possibility of a meltdown if damage was sustained. Of course, we are not near a fault line and far enough inland that things like tsunamis are not an issue. If I was near a reactor that was close to a fault line or in an area that has to worry about tsunamis then I might think differently."
But another person said perhaps research energies should be diverted elsewhere.
chuckhoffman: "They should be more concerned about the 60-year nuclear power plant that is built on a fault line in Mineral, VA. Especially since there was a massive earthquake there last year in which they had to shut down the plant."
What do you think? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.
Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.