Statement by Jim Riccio, Greenpeace Nuclear Policy Analyst, on President Bush's Visit to Limerick Nuclear Plant

Media release - May 24, 2006

"This is the President's second visit to a U.S nuclear power plant.  His visit today took place in spite of the fact that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda have repeatedly voiced interest in turning our nuclear plants into well-positioned weapons of mass destruction.  The president can continue to attempt to paint nuclear power as an alternative to our oil addiction, but the reality is that this unsafe and unstable source of energy poses a serious risk to our national security.

The White House chose the Limerick plant for its public relations tour, as opposed to the three Exelon-owned plants that are leaking radiation into Illinois groundwater, and did not tour the site of the former Three Mile Island nuclear facility. He also did not speak at the Trojan reactor owned by his friends from Enron, because it would be hard to claim that nuclear power is the wave of the future when that plant has been shut down for over a decade and earlier this week, its reactor's cooling towers were imploded.

Even though the Limerick nuclear power plant poses a potential risk to the people of Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland should an accident occur there, don't worry about the President's safety.  The Limerick reactor was better defended today than on any day before or since 9/11. This is the one piece of good news today, especially because government documents show that General Electric reactors like Limerick are vulnerable to an airliner attack.  

In order to protect the President, the government today instituted a no-fly zone around the Limerick reactor.  Unfortunately, for the millions of people at risk during a meltdown, that no-fly zone will expire shortly after the President leaves Pennsylvania.

Despite the claims made in the President's speech, nuclear power is a deadly and dangerous technology that has proven to be exorbitantly expensive.  The first 75 reactors built in the U.S. had cost overruns of more than $100 billion, even before the Three Mile Island meltdown.  If nuclear reactors were economically viable, the government wouldn't have to subsidize their construction, and the President would not have to constantly shill for the nuclear industry.

The President's Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) is a high-risk venture. Increasing commerce in nuclear bomb materials will not make America safer, but rather create opportunities for theft and diversion and will provide even more targets for terrorists. President Bush's nuclear policy is dangerously wrong, and hopefully it will not take a dirty bomb or a mushroom cloud to make him realize it."

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Exp. contact date: 2006-06-24 00:00:00

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