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ARTICLE ARCHIVE

Nuclear Power

Nuclear power cannot address climate change effectively or in time. Reactors have long, unpredictable construction times are expensive - at least $12 billion or higher per reactor. Furthermore, reactors are sitting-duck targets vulnerable to attack and routinely release - as well as leak - radioactivity. There is so solution to the problem of radioactive waste.

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Tuesday
Mar162010

Illinois votes to reverse ban on new reactors

With little debate, according to news reports, and even less press coverage, the Illinois State Senate voted to reverse a ban on building new nuclear power plants in the state. Illinois is already the state with the most reactors - 11 - in the country. There was a loan vote against the reversal from Sen. Jeff Schoenberg, D-Evanston. The condition of the original ban was that no new nuclear plants could be built "until such time as the federal government has an operational disposal facility for the dangerous and long-lived high-level radioactive wastes (HLRW) they would generate," according to Dave Kraft of Nuclear Energy Information Service. Kraft decried the vote, stating: "Beware the Ides of March – and the ignorance of the some Illinois legislators on nuclear matters."

Monday
Mar012010

Alec Baldwin says "no" to new nukes

Writing in the Huffington Post, Alec Baldwin decries the Obama decision to fund construction of new reactors an gives a tip of his hat to Beyond Nuclear board member, Karl Grossman.

Tuesday
Nov172009

"Nuclear Retreat" continues while senators try to revive dying industry

The Office of Budget Management is holding firm to its contention that the risk of default by nuclear utilities on proposed federal loan guarantees is too high. Meanwhile, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Jim Webb (D-VA), are proposing loan guarantees of $100 billion for new reactors, potentially burdening U.S. taxpayers with enormous debts if, as the OMB declares, the industry defaults on more than half the loans. The $100 billion figure dwarfs the already problematic $18.5 billion in federal loan guarantees set aside late last year for new U.S. reactors and which the OBM has contended is a risky financial venture. Beyond Nuclerar issued a press release today condemning the bill. Beyond Nuclear asserts that Alexander and Webb are out of step with the reality of climate change while condemning their constituents and others to massive and futile debts. "Senators Alexander and Webb are prepared to gouge their own constituents and others to the tune of potentially more than $50 billion dollars in debt for an industry that cannot meet even the most conservative cost, timeline and safety targets," said Paul Gunter in the press release.

Wednesday
Jul292009

Ten Big Lies! Deadly Gamble: Nuclear Power and You

Karl Grossman debunks nuclear industry-propelled myths from nuclear power in France to new reactor designs to health effects of nuclear power in Hustler. October 2009.

Thursday
Jun042009

The Argument Against Nuclear Power 

  • Climate Crisis: Nuclear energy cannot address issues connected to the greenhouse gas buildup. Nuclear power plants are too costly, take too long to build, and are too expensive to operate to affect the problem in time. In fact, investments in nuclear power deprive other efforts, such as conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy, of much-needed funding.
  • Routine Radioactive Releases: All reactors release radiation into the air, water and soil and cannot be described as “emissions-free.” Children are especially vulnerable and cannot be shielded from cancer-causing radiation in the environment. In fact, national radiation protection standards fall short of protecting those most vulnerable to the harmful effects of radiation, basing their evaluation on impacts to a “standard” healthy, young, white adult male.
  • Terrorism: The opportunity for theft by terrorists of nuclear materials usable in even a "dirty bomb" would susbtantially increase if nuclear power is expanded. This could result in a level of destruction hitherto unenvisaged. Reactors are themselves terrorist targets and current ones are not even defended to the level of the 9/11 assault – 19 men in four teams, including air attack scenarios. Thirty-two U.S. reactors have fuel pools on the upper levels of the reactor building, shielded only by sheet metal and an open invitation to air attack.
  • Radioactive Waste: The entire nuclear fuel chain, from mining to milling, processing, enrichment, fuel fabrication, and fuel irradiation in reactors, generates radioactive waste. Nuclear reactors produce large amounts of long-lasting, deadly radioactive waste. There is no operating repository site anywhere in the world for high-level radioactive waste. “Low-level” radioactive waste, a misnomer, is dumped into landfills or incinerated, contaminating our water and air. Efforts to recycle it into consumer goods threaten our health.
  • Exorbitant Cost: Cost estimates for new reactor construction continue to soar and are unpredictable. Congress has already awarded the nuclear industry $18.5 billion in federal loan guarantees for new reactor construction and nuclear boosters are pressing for far more. When the utilities default on these loans, taxpayers will foot the bill. Nuclear power has already been subsidized to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars over the past 50 years.
  • Accidents: New reactors, like old ones, are at their most vulnerable to accidents. Yet in the event of an accident, existing evacuation plans have been found to be unrealistic. Furthermore, the Price-Anderson Act ensures that the liability of an accident to a utility is capped at $10.8 billion. A serious reactor accident could cost as much as $600 billion, the balance of which would likely be paid by taxpayers.
  • Reactors and Bombs: Reactors and the nuclear fuel chain facilities they are connected to set the stage for atomic weapons production. Therefore the world cannot free itself from nuclear weapons while reactors and nuclear fuel chain facilities such as uranium enrichment and reprocessing factories exist. The tensions over Iran, North Korea, India and Pakistan perfectly illustrate this point.
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