To: The 110th United States Congress
We ask that all members of Congress join us to remove from the appropriations process massively expensive loan guarantees currently earmarked for the building of many more nuclear power plants. We also ask that you join us in opposing all proposed subsidies for building new reactors that may come in future legislation.
The tragedies of September 11th, 2001, underscore how vulnerable atomic reactors are to terror attacks by airplanes and missiles. Chernobyl and Three Mile Island remind us that major nuclear accidents can also be caused by human error.
The problem of radioactive waste remains unsolved. All reactors create deadly by-products that must be isolated for centuries. These wastes will have to be moved throughout the nation on trucks and trains, which could themselves have accidents and become terror and proliferation targets. There is no storage site even planned for the wastes that would come from new reactors. The controversial dump under construction at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, which may never open, cannot handle even the waste from reactors already in existence.
Huge quantities of energy are used for nuclear fuel enrichment, transportation, construction and waste storage. This is no solution to global warming. Reactors in Alabama and France have already shut because they are super-heating nearby rivers and streams.
The "new generation" nuclear plant now being built in Finland is already 2 years behind schedule and $2 billion over budget. This is a design planned for our country. If construction begins here, tax and ratepayers will be stuck with the bill.
The 2007 Appropriations Bill earmarked some $18.5 billion for DOE loan guarantees to build new reactors. There is a likelihood additional legislation will be proposed to subsidize further reactor construction.
The industry needs these guarantees and subsidies because after fifty years, atomic power has been rejected by the marketplace. The first commercial nuclear reactor opened in 1957. But after fifty years of proven failure, Wall Street will not independently invest in more of them, and still no private insurance company will underwrite the possibility of a major reactor disaster.
In fact, nuclear power has been left behind by a profitable revolution in safe, clean, renewable energy sources, and in energy efficiency. Wind, solar, bio-fuels, geothermal, ocean thermal and more are shaping a green-powered Earth that produces jobs and sustainability. This is the true solution to global warming.
These wasteful reactor loan guarantees and subsidies would siphon away resources better spent on truly competitive sources of power.
So we ask that they be removed, so the full resources of our nation can go to what really works: renewables and efficiency.
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