Please Sign Public Citizen's Petition Against Nuclear Power Subsidies
Back in 2/17/10, Kate Sheppard wrote in the Guardian about President Obama's reprehensible sellout of our country to the dangerous and irresponsible nuclear power industry.
In his first state of the union address last month, Barack Obama declared that creating new clean energy jobs "means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country". The following week, his administration proposed tripling the amount of money available for loan guarantees for nuclear power, to $54.5bn. And today, the administration took the next logical step in their plan to kick-start the nuclear revival in the United States, announcing that they will award the first loan to two new reactors in Burke County, Georgia – marking the first expansion of nuclear power in the United States in three decades.
The Obama administration's big payouts to the nuclear industry will be essential for expanding nuclear power; the industry has made it clear that there will be no nuclear renaissance unless the US taxpayer foots the bill. The economics of the nuclear industry are so dicey that Wall Street, no strangers to high-risk investments, have for years refused to finance new plants unless the government underwrites the deal. The nuclear industry has made its reliance on the taxpayer clear. "Without loan guarantees we will not build nuclear power plants," Michael J Wallace, co-chief executive of UniStar Nuclear and vice president of Constellation Energy, told the New York Times in 2007.
If jobs were Obama's real concern, he would have chosen the safer and more patriotic option of public transportation. Obama is perfectly aware of the fact that terrorists could easily attack any nuclear power plant in this country and create a nuclear disaster at least as bad as Chernobyl. Yet, he doesn't care because the only thing that matters to him is selling out America to big money campaign contributors.
And, the earthquake in Japan demonstrates just how vulnerable nuclear power plants are. Here are some relevant facts to keep in mind about earthquakes and nuclear power plants.
1) Earthquakes of the magnitude of the Japan quake happen a few times per century.
2) There are far more nuclear plants throughout this country and the world than most people realize. There are 442 nuclear power plants operating in the world, and over 100 nuclear reactors operating in 31 US states.
3) The epicenter of the recent earthquake in Japan was 60 miles from Japan's coast, and even farther from the nuclear power plants in catastrophe mode. A somewhat lower magnitude earthquake whose epicenter was closer to a nuclear power plant would do at least as much damage or more than Japan is experiencing now.
4) Alternative energy and conservation could make phasing out nuclear power plants out easy, given a decent amount of government spending.
Why does the nuclear industry even need insurance from the government? Private insurers have placed very narrow limits on what they will cover, limits that are far below the actual damages caused by even a relatively small nuclear disaster. The private sector recognizes that nuclear is too risky, and this government subsidy of powerful corporations and their wealthy owners is the only way to keep the nuclear industry operating.
That's why I find it so bizarre and hypocritical for "free market" conservatives and libertarians to defend the nuclear industry.
Please Take Action Towards Ending the Threat of Nuclear Power to Our Country!