We could soon repeat a contest from the 1970s, a time of popular protest against nuclear power.

(Soundbite of song, "No Nuke Blues")

Ms. BONNIE RAITT (Singer): (Singing) These nukes we've been seeing, baby, they're bound to kill us all.

INSKEEP: The protest three decades ago included five concerts at Madison Square Garden with some of the biggest rock stars of the era: Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen and Bonnie Raitt.

(Soundbite of song, "No Nuke Blues")

Ms. RAITT: (Singing) There's one thing they don't count on is that the people still have a say.

INSKEEP: Since the '70s, no new nuclear plants have been approved in this country. But the industry is poised for a comeback and so are those rockers. They will be in Washington this week to lobby Congress as NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports.

ELIZABETH SHOGREN: It's been 28 years since the No Nukes concerts, but Bonnie Raitt still remembers how they galvanized the public.

Ms. RAITT: We felt part of a movement and we were. And a lot of it was spearheaded by the accident at Three Mile Island and the success of the movie "The China Syndrome." We really felt part of something incredibly powerful.

Ms. RAITT: So with Congress pushing energy legislation and with 31 reactors on the drawing boards, Raitt says she and other artists started getting e-mails from their activist friends, saying, we need you.

This time, they figured the way to reach the most people isn't at Madison Square Garden; it's on Youtube.

(Soundbite of song, "For What It's Worth")

Mr. BEN HARPER (Singer): (Singing) I'm telling you, we've got to beware. It's time we stop. Hey, what's that sound? Everybody look at what's going down.

Ms. RAITT: (Singing) It's time we stop. Hey, what's that sound? Everybody look at what's going down.

SHOGREN: That's blues rocker Ben Harper. He, Raitt and others got together and rewrote the famous '70s protest song "For What It's Worth." Harper is the only one in the video who doesn't qualify for AARP. They've also started petition drives.

Jackson Browne explains why.

(Soundbite of YouTube video)

Mr. JACKSON BROWNE (Singer): There's a new energy bill that supports clean energy - only language has been inserted in the bill that supports nuclear power which is not clean and not safe.

Mr. HARPER: Let's get it off the bill now.

Mr. HARPER: (Singing) What a field-day for the nukes.

Mr. BROWNE: (Singing) What a field-day for the nukes.

SHOGREN: The Nuclear Energy Institute has fired back with its own Youtube video. It doesn't quite have the pizzaz.

(Soundbite of YouTube video)

Ms. ELIZABETH KING (Manager for Economic Policy, Nuclear Energy Institute): We should move beyond the emotional arguments of the past 30 years.

SHOGREN: That's a young Nuclear Energy Institute staffer, Elizabeth King. She says she's a musician, too.

(Soundbite of YouTube video)

Ms. KING: "For What It's Worth" is a great song with a powerful message. It reminds us to stop, look around, and question what's going on.

SHOGREN: But not, she says, to let emotions rule. After all, King adds, nuclear power doesn't emit the greenhouse gasses that cause climate change.

(Soundbite of YouTube video)

Ms. KING: So, for what it's worth, I support clean and safe nuclear energy for me and for future generations. Maybe you should, too.

SHOGREN: Bonnie Raitt knows that global warming and the fact that there hasn't been a major nuclear accident for years makes their message harder to sell this time.

Ms. RAITT: Harder but not impossible. I mean, the reason why the artists are speaking out is number one, we're citizens and we have to live in this planet. And we want to survive as well as our children. And we just feel like one side has been presented and the other side needs to step up to the plate.

SHOGREN: Of course, the graying rock stars may not have the drawing power they once did with the younger masses. But Robert Dreifus(ph), a long-time contributor for Rolling Stone magazine, says that may not be what they're going for.

Mr. ROBERT DREIFUS (Contributor, Rolling Stone magazine): It's important for baby boomers to reach out to other baby boomers. Because in fact, right now, they're the ones in the positions of power. And I think those are, in a way, kind of the people you want to reach.

SHOGREN: The question this time is whether those people will listen.

Elizabeth Shogren, NPR News, Washington.

(Soundbite of song, "For What It's Worth")

BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD (Singer): (Singing) I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound? Everybody look what's going down. There's battle lines being drawn. But nobody's right if everybody's wrong.

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