October 14, 2009
Dear Friends,
Tomorrow is the National Don't Nuke the Climate Call-In Day!
Please call both of your Senators offices and tell them to keep nuclear power out of the Senate climate bill. Recent events, like the John Kerry/Lindsay Graham op-ed in Sunday's New York Times calling for more nuclear power in the bill, add to the urgency of this call-in day.
Help keep the Senate's phones ringing all day long!
Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121.
And keep your letters and faxes to your Senators coming, and keep forwarding the action url to all of your lists:
Post it on your Facebook pages, Tweet it, spread the word every way possible. More than 4,000 letters already have been sent to the Senate this week--but we'll need more than that to beat the nuclear lobbyists. And with 16,000+ people on this e-mail list, that means a lot of you haven't yet taken action, and haven't yet helped reach the millions more people across this country who also want to keep nuclear out of the climate bill.
So take action today. E-mail and/or fax your Senators here. Then spread the word to every list you have, everyone you can think of.
And take action tomorrow. Call both your Senators offices at 202-224-3121.
The basic talking point is simple. If you only get 30 seconds with your Senators' offices, or an answering machine, just tell them: No nuclear power in the Senate climate bill, no more taxpayer dollars to support the failed nuclear industry.
But if you get a little more time, below are some talking points you may want to use. These also will be useful for drafting letters to the editor, op-eds, blog postings and the like--all of which will be very helpful as well. The more noise and publicity we can make, the better off we'll be.
Talking Points
*Nuclear power already receives a competitive advantage when a price is placed on carbon. If the nuclear industry cannot compete with such an advantage, that's its own problem, taxpayers should not be expected to provide more help to the industry.

*Projected costs for new reactors are stratospheric. In early 2006, the Nuclear Energy Institute predicted costs for the first few new reactors would run $2,000/kw, going down to $1,500/kw over time. Instead, recent estimates include Turkey Point (Florida) at $8,200/kw and Calvert Cliffs-3 (Maryland) and Bell Bend (Pennsylvania) at about $9,000/kw, or $13-15 billion. For example, see:

*Cost overruns have been a constant with the nuclear industry. A 1986 Department of Energy study found the average cost overrun for the first 75 U.S. reactors was 207%. Reactors coming online after 1986 typically experienced even larger overruns. The only two reactors now under construction in the West-Areva reactors in Finland and France-are currently 75% and 20% over-budget, with years to go before construction completion.

*Electricity from new reactors, as expected with such enormous costs, would make the 1980s concept of "rate shock" seem quaint. An August 2009 report from the California Energy Commission, for example, predicts kilowatt/hour costs for nuclear electricity as high as 27-34 cents/kwh-nearly a tripling from today's prevailing rate of less than 12 cents/kwh. This report is available at:

*Nuclear power is not carbon-free. The nuclear fuel chain is responsible for fairly significant carbon emissions--at least three times those of wind power, for example. A recent study by Virginia Tech professor Benjamin Sovacool on this subject is available here:

*Nuclear reactors use enormous amounts of water, and water will become an increasingly precious resource in years to come, especially as we grapple with a warming climate. Allocating water to nuclear reactors now means less water for people and agriculture down the road. An August 2009 Virginia Tech study notes 36 states are projected to experience water shortages during the next decade.

*Nuclear power is not even the only baseload alternative, as some in the industry claim. As cited in the August 6, 2009 Wall Street Journal for example, Spain is building large baseload solar thermal power plants for about $5,200/kw. While expensive, this is still $2,000/kw cheaper than the current low estimates for new reactor construction.

*Congress must not pre-judge the administration's re-evaluation of radioactive waste policy, which has not yet even begun. Specifically, no money should be spent on expensive, dangerous technologies like reprocessing, especially when the future direction of waste policy is unknown.
Tomorrow, NIRS staff will be going door-to-door in the Senate office buildings, delivering the thousands of postcards you sent to us (Thanks!) and the list of 629 U.S. organizations that have signed on to the simple statement on nuclear power and climate change. We hope to hear those phones ringing in every office we visit!
Thanks for all you do, but this week, let's all try to do just a little bit more....
Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service