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Thursday
Oct032019

Vigilance needed against nuclear snake oil salesmen!

The nuclear power industry's PR machine has long tried to cynically hitch its wagon to the climate crisis. As but one recent example, WAMU (NPR's Washington, D.C. station) has been, yet again, running regular Nuclear Energy Institute, NuScale (a so-called Small Modular Reactor vendor), and other atomic sales pitches, during major climate protection events in the nation's capital. Unfortunately, those who should know better seem to be falling for it. The nuclear power lobby has long had its way with Congress, the White House, and federal agencies like NRC, DOE, EPA, etc. But the likes of climate scientist James Hansen, and even 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben, have not only fallen for it, they have joined the promotions. Even CNN host Van Jones, Obama's green jobs czar, recently praised U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, for his "brave" stand in support of nuclear power. This, despite Booker's close association with Holtec International, whose CEO made racist statements against his own African American and Puerto Rican workforce in Camden, NJ, just a year ago, and whose consolidated interim storage facility for 173,600 metric tons of highly radioactive, irradiated nuclear fuel in southeastern New Mexico targets already heavily burdened Hispanic communities, not far from the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation. As former EPA environmental justice head, Mustafa Ali, said on a Sept. 5, 2019 Democracy Now! interview, the high-level radioactive waste shipments to such targeted, environmentally unjust dump-sites out West, would themselves pass through countless low income, people of color communities en route, making this yet another environmental racism burden. As Beyond Nuclear founding president Helen Caldicott, to be given a PSR lifetime achievement award next month in D.C., put it 15 years ago, nuclear power is not the answer. As Dr. Brice Smith of IEER put it in 2006, nuclear power costs too much, and takes too long, to solve the climate crisis, and has a long list of insurmountable risks all its own, from nuclear weapons proliferation, to catastrophic releases of hazardous radioactivity, to the unsolved radioactive waste dilemma. And as Dr. Arjun Makhijani of IEER put it in 2007, carbon-free and nuclear-free is the roadmap for U.S., and even global, energy policy. Nuclear power cannot be allowed to hijack the Green New Deal! If it does, it would be an irreversible, fatal mistake. It will not solve the climate crisis. But it would waste the precious resources -- in time, and money -- needed to implement genuine clean energy solutions to the climate crisis, namely renewables like wind and solar, and energy efficiency, before it is too late.