September 30, 2009

Dear Clean Energy Supporter:

Senate Environment Committee chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) today introduced their long-awaited climate bill. As yet unnumbered, it is called the ''Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act."

The response from nuclear power fanatics was swift:

"When asked by Reuters if he could support the Democrats' bill Senator John McCain said: "Of course not. Never, never, never." McCain complained that the Democratic bill merely paid lip-service to the nuclear power industry."

McCain and his pals, like Lamar Alexander (R-TN), will try to lard the bill with billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies for new nuclear power-and then they're going to vote against any bill addressing climate change anyway.

That's the kind of attitude we're all going to have to fight the rest of this year.And we're going to be seeing the same kinds of lies and deceit, exaggeration, and corporate deception that characterized the health care issue all summer. Except in this case, it will be on behalf of dirty energy like nuclear power and coal.

Your help is essential if we're going to stop them. Please contribute as generously as you can so we can out-organize and out-mobilize the dirty energy interests and prevent billions of your dollars from streaming to the nuclear power industry.

And start preparing now for the National Don't Nuke the Climate Call-In Day on Thursday, October 15. Start spreading the word, start getting e-mail lists and phone trees together, plan call-in parties at your home, a local restaurant or pub, on-campus, or anywhere it's easy to gather people together. Note: send us info on any such event you'd like us to publicize, and we'll do so!

On October 15, NIRS will be on Capitol Hill, distributing the list of more than 600 U.S. organizations that have signed the statement on nuclear power and climate. Check one more time to make sure your organization is on that list. If it isn't, please sign by October 12 to be included.

And we'll also be hand-delivering the thousands of postcards to your Senators that you have sent in. We'll need all postcards in our office by October 14--but that still leaves you time to distribute some more, so if you'd like some, call (301-270-6477) or send us a quick e-mail.

Back to the climate bill: you can read the full 821-page text here.

As Sen. Boxer announced a couple of weeks ago, the bill contains a nuclear title aimed at garnering support from some "moderate" Senators. But if the reaction from McCain is any indication, they needn't have bothered. And, of course, there shouldn't be a nuclear title in a climate bill at all. In any case, it provides support for job training programs for nuclear workers; requires DOE to start a new research program on reactor aging--dangerously suggesting that DOE should help find ways to extend reactor licenses beyond 60 years; and authorizes an unspecified amount of money for research and development of radioactive waste technologies--including reprocessing.

For those following along, the nuclear title runs from pages 111 to 119 of the bill.

Thank you to all of those of you from California and Massachusetts who called Sens. Boxer's and Kerry's offices yesterday. Your efforts succeeded in making some 11th-hour changes to the text. For example, nuclear power is no longer falsely described as a carbon-free energy source, as was the case in earlier drafts. There is no longer an assertion that renewables cannot be baseload energy sources. And, importantly, the NRC has been removed from a promotional role with DOE in the research program on reactor aging.

And thank you to everyone who has donated to NIRS recently, both online and by mail. We appreciate your support--we can't do this without you. But if you haven't contributed recently,please do so now, as generously as you can. Help us stop the upcoming efforts by nuclear fanatics to add billions of dollars of your money to this bill for new reactors.

Indeed, we are going to have to fight not only the McCains and Alexanders of the world, but apparently Energy Secretary Stephen Chu as well, who was recently quoted as saying he'd be happy with another $20 billion in taxpayer loan guarantees for new reactors! Let's make sure he doesn't get a dime of it!

Again, please start organizing for the October 15 National Don't Nuke the Climate Call-In Day. Let us know what you're doing and how we can help you. And spread the word as far and wide as you can....

Together, we will achieve a nuclear-free, carbon-free future.

Thanks for all you do,

Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service