Nuclear power is dirty, dangerous and expensive. Say no to new nukes.
Nuclear energy has no place in a safe, clean, sustainable future. Nuclear energy is both expensive and dangerous, and just because nuclear pollution is invisible doesn’t mean it’s clean. Renewable energy is better for the environment, the economy, and doesn’t come with the risk of a nuclear meltdown.
© Greenpeace / Vinai Dithajohn
Greenpeace got its start protesting nuclear weapons testing back in 1971. We’ve been fighting against nuclear weapons and nuclear power ever since.
High profile disasters in Chernobyl, Ukraine in 1986 and Fukushima, Japan in 2011 have raised public awareness of the dangers of nuclear power. Consequently, zeal for nuclear energy has fizzled. The catastrophic risks of nuclear energy — like the meltdowns of nuclear reactors in Japan or Ukraine — far outweigh the potential benefits.
New nuclear plants are more expensive and take longer to build than renewable energy sources like wind or solar. If we are to avoid the most damaging impacts of climate change, we need solutions that are fast and affordable. Nuclear power is neither.
We can do better than trading off one disaster for another. The nuclear age is over and the age of renewables has begun.
The Dangers of Nuclear Energy
Meltdowns like the ones in Fukushima or Chernobyl released enormous amounts of radiation into the surrounding communities, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate. Many of them may never come back. If the industry’s current track record is any indication, we can expect a major meltdown about once per decade.
The possibility of a catastrophic accident at a U.S. nuclear plant can not be dismissed.
There is still no safe, reliable solution for dealing with the radioactive waste produced by nuclear plants. Every waste dump in the U.S. leaks radiation into the environment, and nuclear plants themselves are running out of ways to store highly radioactive waste on site. The site selected to store the U.S.’s radioactive waste — Yucca Mountain in Nevada — is both volcanically and seismically active.
Beyond the risks associated with nuclear power and radioactive waste, the threat of nuclear weapons looms large. The spread of nuclear technology and nuclear weapons is a threat for national security and the safety of the entire planet.
Nuclear Energy’s True Costs
Nuclear energy isn’t just bad for the environment, it’s bad for our economy.
Nuclear power plants are expensive to build, prompting Wall Street to call new nuclear a “bet the farm” risk. Every nuclear plant under construction in the United States is well behind schedule and at least $1 billion over budget.
This is even before taking into account the astounding cleanup and health costs caused by radioactive waste pollution and nuclear meltdowns. Cleaning up Fukushima, if ever possible, will cost at least $100 billion and could be more than double that.
Why invest money in a dangerous, unsustainable form of energy when we can have clean, renewable energy for less?
What We Need: No New Nukes
Nuclear energy is diverting attention and investment from the sustainable energy solutions we need. It’s time to stop building new nuclear facilities, phase out the ones that exist, and focus on clean energy for the future.