Nuclear Power? Still, No Thanks!

There was an explosion this week, at the Indian Point nuclear power plant, about twenty-five miles north of New York City.  Officials in the four surrounding counties opened their emergency response centers, in case a regional evacuation was necessary.  Indian Point Reactor Number 2 was shut down.  The explosion occurred in a massive transformer, weighing about 900,000 pounds.  Thankfully, there was no leakage of radioactive materials, and no on was hurt.  For more information, click here.
Also this week, in Vernon, Vermont, the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant was forced to shut down.  Radioactive water was found to be seeping from a leaking pipe.  For more info, click here.
This is my first post on Peace and Justice Online.  It was kind of neat to dig out one of those “Nuclear Power?  No Thanks!” graphics that were so great on buttons and tee-shirts thirty years ago.
Unfortunately, the bad news is that we need those buttons and tee-shirts once again, today.  The good news is that there are so many activists, working to ensure that no new nuclear plants will be built, although several are now in the planning stages.
Nuclear power is both expensive and dangerous.  Additionally, the resurgence of the nuclear industry delays our transition to a safe, affordable, and sustainable energy program.  Global warming is a serious threat, and the construction of nukes dangerously sidetracks us from implementing the essential transition to safe, carbon-free energy sources.
Here is a link to a fact sheet, entitled, “Nuclear Power and Climate: Why Nukes Can’t Save the Planet.”  This and a wealth of other resources are available from the Nuclear Information and Resource Service.  A description of the organization, with a link to its site, is one of the first entries in the new Peace and Justice Online Directory of Resources.
No Nukes!
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9 Responses to Nuclear Power? Still, No Thanks!

  1. marty smith says:

    the arms race is the driving force that built the reactors,
    we are stuck with them and their waste, (social obligation to the future)
    but now we know better, we can just not build any more. OPG is in hearings to get permits to build new reactors. send the message to queens park, thanks, no thanks!

  2. Andy Liberman, Coffee House Teach-Ins says:

    Know where we can get “Nuclear Power NO THANKS”
    buttons, t-shirts, and stickers….
    thanks.
    Coffee House Teach-Ins

    • Andy- Donnelly/Colt offers a great selection of buttons, tee-shirts, stickers, etc. They have a number of No Nukes items. They will also custom make these items for you. They are activists themselves, and they have been producing and selling these items for quite some time. You can check them out at http://www.donnellycolt.com Good luck. -Bob for Peace and Justice Online

  3. veggiedude says:

    Nuclear Power is not expensive! It is far cheaper and reliable than solar or wind power. If I want to outfit my home with solar panels, it will cost a minimum of $20k, and upwards of $40k. It would be twenty years before I get a return on my investment. Currently, the life span of the equipment is thirty years. Then there is the problem if the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow. Nuclear Power has a good safety record with zero deaths over 30 years (eastern block nations excluded) and doesn’t pollute, unlike fossil fuels. In China alone, 20,000 people die each year (wikipedia). Where’s the outrage with that? Most of our electricity comes from dirty coal – which emits dangerous radiation into the atmosphere (scientific america) and contributes to global warming.

    • Veggiedude- Thanks for commenting. You focus on two of the most important issues regarding nuclear power, cost and safety. Nuclear power is actually extremely expensive. It is so costly that the private investment community will no longer provide the necessary backing for it. You will find that the only nukes that are currently being built, anywhere, are those where the government is operating the plants, as in France, or where there are huge public subsidies. Our Congress, for example, is now considering providing $36 billion in loan guarantees to the nuclear industry. Nuclear power plants cost a fortune to build, to fuel, and to operate. The insurance costs and the long-term waste storage costs are immense.
      You point out that solar-generated electricity, from a home-based system, is paid for after 20 years of the system’s 30 year lifespan. I know that, here in NY, the payback period is much shorter. Still, this means that, after breaking even, for a full one-third of the system’s useful life electricity is being produced free of charge. That is quite inexpensive. Keep in mind that expansive wind and solar farms utilize far more advanced equipment, and produce huge amounts of electricity at minimal cost. Also, cloudy days and days without wind are not a problem, as you suggest. The electricity is still produced, but at a lower rate. Electricity is stored. It is also shared across the grid.
      Nukes do pollute. If radiation could be seen or smelled, we would ban nukes in a moment. You mention fossil fuels. I agree that they pollute. We should quickly phase them out. One of the problems with the use of nuclear power plants is that this impedes our efforts to implement safe, renewable energy production through wind and solar.
      Nuclear power does not have a good safety record. 985,000 people died as a result of Chernobyl. As a result of the Three Mile Island accident, people died and children were born with birth defects. (And, of course, I am also critical of China’s use of nukes.) We don’t know how many cancers have been caused by the many other “minor” releases of radiation over the years. Ignoring these deaths, as you suggest, is like saying that we should not be concerned about nukes because no one has died because of them, except when people have died because of them. Additionally, we know that, with all technology, sometimes things just go wrong. There is human error, mechanical error, natural disasters, terrorism, etc. In the case of nuclear power plants, the potential magnitude of the disaster is just too great for us to risk.
      Thanks again for commenting. -Bob for Peace and Justice Online

    • marty smith says:

      Electricity generated at nuclear power stations is not the least expensive, nor is it cleanest electricity. The economics of nuclear power is not profitable. After the expense of mining uranium, which is more costly than mining coal, the processing of the ore and fabrication of fuel is especially complex and costly because the material is radioactive. The environmental impact of uranium mining and fuel fabrication waste, also incurs future management cost associated with the radioactivity of the waste. Every step of the uranium fuel procurement process consumes fossil fuel. After the fuel is made, and the reactor is built, add to the ordinary management operating cost of electric power generation a higher premium due to the specialized staff required to operate a nuclear reactor and handle radioactive material. Electricity generated at nuclear reactors is the least cost effective of all possible ways to generate electricity.

      If capitalism is not a player…who promotes nuclear?

  4. Juan says:

    Bob
    Thanks for sharing your site.
    Peace and Justice
    Juan

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