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Climate Change

Nuclear power is counterproductive to efforts to address climate change effectively and in time. Funding diverted to new nuclear power plants deprives real climate change solutions like solar, wind and geothermal energy of essential resources.

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Saturday
Jul232011

"Flirting with Catastrophe: Atomic Power in a Destablized Climate"

An op-ed by Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps has been published by Counterpunch. Prompted by historic floods in Nebraska threatening atomic reactors on the Missouri River, as well as historic wildfires in New Mexico threatening plutonium-contaminated wastes at the Los Alamos nuclear weapons lab, it describes how the location of atomic reactors on seacoasts, rivers, and the Great Lakes makes them vulnerable to worsening severe weather caused by the accelerating climate crisis. Beyond Nuclear has prepared two backgrounders on this issue: "Far from 'solving global warming,' atomic energy is too risky to operate in a destablizied climate," and "Climate chaos and nuclear power." Previously, Beyond Nuclear's Paul Gunter also wrote "Natural Disasters and Safety Risks at Nuclear Power Stations." The vulnerable locations of the 104 operating U.S. atomic reactors are mapped in Beyond Nuclear's pamphlet "Routine Radioactive Releases from Nuclear Power Plants in the United States: What are the Dangers?"

A recent op-ed in the New York Times by Heidi Cullen of Climate Central, "Sizzle Factor for a Restless Climate," reveals that extreme weather such as the current heat wave across most of the United States will become the norm if we don't solve the climate crisis. IEER's Insurmountable Risks: The Dangers of Using Nuclear Power to Combat Global Climate Change, written five years ago by Dr. Brice Smith, debunked the Nuclear Energy Institute's false myth that nuclear power is any kind of solution to the climate crisis.

Adding a one-two punch at Counterpunch, Beyond Nuclear board member Karl Grossman also published an article entitled "What Could Truly End the Space Program: A Nuclear Disaster Overhead" in the same weekend edition.

Monday
Jul042011

Far from "solving global warming," atomic energy is too risky to operate in a destabilized climate

In response to the freakishness of historic floods on the Missouri River in Nebraska threatening the Fort Calhoun and Cooper atomic reactors simultaneous to a historic wildfire in New Mexcio coming dangerously close to tens of thousands of 55 gallon barrels of plutonium-contaminated wastes, Beyond Nuclear has published a new fact sheet entitled "Far from 'solving global warming,' atomic energy is too risky to operate in a destabilized climate."

Monday
Jul042011

Dr. Michio Kaku discusses extreme weather and radioactive risks

Dr. Michio Kaku (pictured left), a professor of theoretical physics at City University of New York, a radio host, and popular t.v. personality who has been interviewed extensively by national news media regarding the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, has written "United States Hit With a Triple Nuclear Threat - How Dangerous is it?" and "Preparing for the 100 Year Storm and Wondering if the Three Simultaneous Nuclear Crises are an Accident?". Kaku questions whether global climate change could account for the severe weather extremes currently threatening nuclear facilities simultaneously -- historic floods on the Missouri River putting the Fort Calhoun and Cooper atomic reactors in Nebraska at risk; historic wildfires in New Mexico that nearly overtook the Los Alamos nuclear weapons lab. He warns that "we might have more 'unprecedented' nuclear crises due to historically bizarre weather patterns." Far from solving the climate crisis, as the nuclear industry would like everyone to think, nuclear power is too risky and unsafe to operate in a climate crisis.

Thursday
Jun302011

"Nuclear power is too risky to operate in a destabilized climate"

In an online post entitled "Flooded Nebraska nuclear plant raises broader disaster fears," Steve Hargreaves at CNN Money has quoted Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps on the growing risks to nuclear power plants from severe weather events caused by the climate crisis. The story reports:

"With the vast majority of the world's climate scientists predicting more extreme weather events in the years ahead as the planet warms, activists are calling for the at-risk plants to be shut or, at the very least, strongly reinforced.

'Each one has its own pathway to disaster,' said Kevin Kamps, an activist at the watchdog group Beyond Nuclear. 'Nuclear power is too risky to operate in a destabilized climate. We think it should be phased out.'...

...The Missouri River is flooding as a result of a particularly snowy winter in Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas, as well as heavy spring rains.

Kamps brought up the possibility of any one of the half-dozen dams upstream from the plant failing, calling that event a 'nightmare' scenario that would push the water well past the 1,014-foot level the facility was built to withstand.

In that event, power to the plant from either its grid connection or back-up diesel generators could be lost, resulting in an inability to circulate water to keep either the reactor core or the spent fuel pool cool, said Kamps."

Beyond Nuclear's pamphlet, "Routine Radioactive Releases from Nuclear Power Plants in the United States: What Are the Dangers?," contains a map showing the locations of the 104 operating atomic reactors in the U.S. Dozens of reactors are located on rivers, potentially at risk from floods. Dozens of reactors are on the sea coasts, potentially at risk from hurricanes or storm surges -- and, eventually, from rising sea levels. And dozens of inland reactors, including those on the Great Lakes (and there are an additional 20 reactors on the Canada-side of the Great Lakes), are at risk from such natural disasters as tornadoes -- potentially exposing the drinking water supply for 40 million people to catastrophic radioactive contamination. Beyond Nuclear's backbgrounder, "Climate Chaos and Nuclear Power," prepared in Feb. 2008, shows clearly that nuclear power is not safe in an ever worsening climate crisis.

Saturday
Jun252011

"Nuclear power is counterproductive to efforts to address climate change effectively and in time"

Scientific American has re-posted E-The Environmental Magazine's Earth Talk blog post entitled "As the World Reconsiders Nuclear Energy, the U.S. Remains Committed to Its Expansion," which quotes Beyond Nuclear and our board member Karl Grossman. The post reports:

"...According to investigative journalist Karl Grossman, Obama changed his tune on nuclear as soon as he took office, “talking about ‘safe, clean nuclear power’ and push[ing] for multi-billion dollar taxpayer subsidies for the construction of new nuclear plants.” Right away, Grossman says, Obama brought in nuclear advocate Steven Chu as energy secretary, and two White House aides that had been “deeply involved with…the utility operating more nuclear power plants than any other in the U.S., Exelon.”

...But just because nuclear energy isn’t a fossil fuel doesn’t make it green, given the ongoing risk of radioactivity. Also, reports the non-profit Beyond Nuclear, “Nuclear power is counterproductive to efforts to address climate change effectively and in time…funding diverted to new nuclear power plants deprives real climate change solutions, like solar, wind and geothermal energy, of essential resources.”