Greens call Obama’s nuclear subsidies his “worst idea yet”
WASHINGTON, DC — Green Party leaders and candidates are calling President Obama’s resurrection of nuclear power with a multi-billion-dollar taxpayer-funded subsidy for a Georgia plant his “worst idea yet” and warned about serious public health threats posed by mining, waste transportation, and waste storage. The Green Party disputes the myths that nuclear power is ‘green energy’ or a solution to the advance of climate change.
“The twin nuclear reactors in Burke County, Georgia, would be financed with $5.4 billion in loans from the Federal Financing Bank with money of the US Treasury. According to the GAO, this investment has a 50/50 percent or worse chance of failing. President Obama wants taxpayers to assume 80% of the financial risk to turn the southeast Atlantic states into a big open-pit radioactive barbeque. This investment is a terrible idea — President Obama’s worst yet,” said Lisa Green, Green candidate for California Assembly Candidate, 53rd Assembly District (http://www.votelisagreen.net).
“If built, the plant will be a financial disaster because of high construction expenses and likely cost overruns, compared with other sources of electrical power. As the first of a new generation of nuclear power plants, it’ll carry huge technical risks. Even more ominous is the problem of mining, waste storage, and waste transportation through populated areas, which carry huge public health dangers,” added Ms. Green.
Greens noted that, in the US, more people have died from contamination from uranium mining, from causes such as water sources polluted by mine tailings, and from uranium transportation than from all the causes after materials reach the first processing plant (http://www.hcn.org/blogs/grange/what-the-nuclear-boosters-dont-tell-you / http://www.hcn.org/issues/371/17708). Energy Secretary Steven Chu recently told a Senate committee that, for the foreseeable future, the plants will probably store spent fuel rods on site. No long-term plan exists anywhere for storing commercial radioactive waste.
“We are already seeing tritium in the wells in Girard Georgia, and the cooling ponds at Plant Hatch are filled to overflowing,” said Patricia Crayton, co-chair of the Georgia Green Party (http://web.greens.org/georgia). “The fuel cycle which feeds the power plants in Hazlehurst and Waynesboro is intricately linked to the one which feeds the bomb plant across the Savannah River near Aiken. $5 billion could better serve setting Georgia on a sustainable energy path worthy of our children.”
“In addition to a cornucopia of biochemically and radiologically hazardous waste materials, the proposed powerplants will also manufacture plutonium-239, raising the question of whether the Obama administration’s underlying intent is to provide electricity to Georgia citizens or to further escalate the nuclear weapons race,” said Douglas Campbell, Green Party activist and a former nuclear engineer in Ferndale, Michigan.
“If Republicans and Democrats really believed in the free market, they would strenuously oppose nuclear power, which is enormously expensive and carries astronomically high liabilities. But they don’t believe in the market. They believe in targeted, special interest handouts and guaranteed profits for favored corporations, despite flawed corporate agendas. That’s why they want nuclear plants built with taxpayer dollars, with utility ratepayers in states like Georgia and Florida assuming the financial risk and local residents assuming the health risk,” said Nicholas Ruiz III, Green Party candidate for Congress in Florida’s District 24 (http://intertheory.org/nriiiforcongress2010.html).
Greens are fighting dangerous nuclear projects across the US. In Florida, the Green Party praised a citizens’ suit filed by members of the Citizens for Ratepayers Rights against nuclear cost recovery charges, and urged Floridians to sign a petition protesting unconstitutional rate hikes (http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=296).
In Illinois, Greens strongly opposed a legislative move to repeal a moratorium on nuclear energy (http://www.ilgp.org/groups/media/ILGPpress-releasses/greens-blast-legislative-move-to-repeal-nuclear-moratorium-call).
“Building a nuclear plant is no substitute for enforcement of the Clean Air Act in Georgia, where pollution from poor construction and dirty coal plants has caused asthma in children and other health emergencies — or in Maine or in any other state,” said Lynne Williams, Green candidate for Governor of Maine (http://www.lynnewilliams2010.org). “Nuclear power proponents are gambling that Americans have forgotten the Three Mile Island Meltdown in 1979. We haven’t forgotten it. Nor are we ignorant about the risk of breast cancer and other ailments that uranium poses.”
Greens insist that clean energy, not nuclear power, must replace fossil fuels in the effort to fight climate change. The Green Party supports socially equitable carbon taxes; incentives, legislation, and reforms to provide renewable energy technologies; rejection of environmentally destructive ‘alternative’ fuels produced from unsustainable or toxic feedstocks; rejection of ‘clean coal’; comprehensive planning to protect and conserve water resources; and an absolute limit on CO2 emissions through a dramatic reduction of fossil fuel use.
“President Obama is calling for major investments in nuclear, coal, and natural gas, when we should drastically reduce the use of such energy,” said Carl Romanelli, 2006 Pennsylvania Green candidate for the US Senate. “Here in Pennsylvania, we have cancer clusters in the eastern part of the state due to too many nuclear plants (http://www.sott.net/articles/show/201699-US-Report-finds-high-rate-of-thyroid-cancer-in-eastern-Pennsylvania-blames-nuclear-power-plants / http://carbonwaters.org/polycythemia-vera/p-vera-media-coverage/20090203-researcher-identifies-cancer-cluster-in-eastern-pennsylvania/). Considering advancements in renewable technologies, it would make more sense for our energy resolve to be applied to these industries, not filthy and destructive forms of energy production so touted by the President. The president continues to act as if fossil and nuclear is the only manner in which energy is produced.”
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“Energy Sec Unaware That Nuclear Loans Have 50 Percent Risk of Default”
By Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones, February 16, 2010
“Nuclear Loan Guarantees Aren’t Just Guarantees: They Are Actual Taxpayer Loans”
Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), February 17, 2010
“Fed loan guarantees may boost nuclear power return”
Associated Press, February 16, 2010
“Obama’s nuclear error: $54 billion in loan guarantees make little policy or political sense”
Climate Progress, February 1, 2010
“A quarter of US nuclear plants leaking”
AP: “27 of 104 plants leak radioactive tritium, a carcinogen, raising Concerns about nation’s aging plants”
Climate Progress, February 8, 2010
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