No New Nukes
How can we possibly be thinking about building new nuclear reactors? Just one of the following would be reason enough for "No New Nukes!"An Economic Disaster
If the nuclear industry and Wall Street financiers are unwilling to assume the economic risk of constructing new nuclear power plants, why should the American taxpayer?
Perhaps the Senate is betting that these new reactors will be better than the one hundred and three reactors that already exist? But consider the economic and safety meltdown experienced by the nuclear industry over the past thirty years. The Department of Energy (DOE) compared nuclear construction cost estimates to the actual final costs for 75 reactors. The original cost estimate was $45 billion. The actual cost was $145 billion! Forbes magazine recognized that this "failure of the U.S. nuclear power program ranks as the largest managerial disaster in business history, a disaster of monumental scale." According to Forbes, "only the blind, or the biased, can now think the money has been well spent." Despite the $100 billion cost overrun, Senator Pete Domenici wants to again give the nuclear industry billions in taxpayer dollars and guaranteed loans.
However, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the prospects for a second generation of nuclear reactors are equally abysmal. According to the CBO, the Department of Energy could provide loan guarantees for up to 50% of the construction costs for seven new nuclear power plants. However, the CBO considers the risk of default on these loans to be very high - well above 50 percent. It is little wonder that the three nuclear corporations that are attempting to site new nuclear reactors, Dominion Resources, Entergy and Exelon have stated that the numbers for new nuclear construction just don't add up.
The Most Dangerous Means to Boil Water
But bad economics is only part of the problem. The government's nuclear advisers have determined that these new nuclear designs constitute "a major safety trade-off" because they lack containment domes, the last line of defense protecting the public from a catastrophic release of radiation.
Nuclear power already is the most dangerous and expensive means yet devised to boil water. But when you add to this danger the threat of a terrorist attack, the continued support of nuclear power becomes unconscionable.
Terrorists Aren't Targeting Windmills or Solar Panels
Nuclear power is dangerous enough when trained professionals are attempting to operate reactors without incident, accident or atomic catastrophe. However, when you add to this danger the threat of nuclear terrorism, the continued support of nuclear power by the U.S. government becomes unconscionable. Rather than attempt to construct new, unsafe and uneconomical reactors on the back of the American taxpayer, the federal government should phase out the remaining nuclear reactors and replace them with clean, renewable sources of electricity that do not threaten our families, homes and communities. After all, terrorists aren't targeting windmills or solar panels.