Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Obama is Selling Out by Supporting Nukes

Calling something “clean” and “green” doesn’t make it either. President Obama has drunk the Kool-Aid™ by promising eight billion dollars in loan guarantees to the nuclear industry to build a plant in Georgia. This is a good time to review why no nuclear plants have been built in the U.S. for over 30 years.

Nuclear power plants take forever to build and always cost more than is initially budgeted for them. They are not “clean” in any sense of the word, as they produce highly-toxic and very long-lived radioactive waste that can kill, maim, and/or mutate humans and other living things for hundreds of thousands of years into the future. How can a dysfunctional national government that can’t even deal with the on-rushing prospect of huge structural deficits be counted on to plan and implement a solution that needs to last for a quarter of a million years?

Nuclear power plants need uranium for fuel, and the US needs to import that uranium, putting this source of energy into the same category of dependency as already exists for oil.

Nuclear power is not safe, or green, or clean or good for energy independence. It IS good for the nuclear industry. Should we allow yet another case where private greed trumps the public good?

As a founding member of RANE (Roses Against a Nuclear Environment) at Stanford University in the early 1980s, I learned about and made these same arguments against nuclear power proliferation at that time. In part because of our efforts and those of others, and the examples at that time of the nuclear accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, no nuclear power plants have been built in the U.S. since then.

These arguments were valid then and they remain valid today. Thirty years is a sliver of time compared to the eons that toxic waste from nuclear power plants need to be sequestered. As long-lived as these waste products are, so too are the arguments against making more of them.

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