The recent surge of interest in nuclear power is less a nuclear renaissance than a nuclear relapse [July issue, “A nuclear renaissance”]. Nuclear energy is neither clean nor viable. Instead, it is toxic and both economically and environmentally unsustainable. New nuclear reactors simply should not be built.
Take the proposed nuclear reactor at North Anna. In May, the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League filed a petition against the third reactor, claiming that Dominion Virginia Power lacks a realistic radioactive waste plan and the plant could be a target for terrorist attacks, among many other problems.
It’s not looking good for the new reactor at Calvert Cliffs [in Maryland], either. Because the new EPR [Evolutionary Pressurized Reactor] design has not been certified in the U.S., the proposed reactor will be pushed to the bottom of the list for loan guarantees by the Department of Energy. And without those loan guarantees, it probably won’t be built because it would just be too expensive.
According to the former Maryland Public Service Commission chairman, H. Russell Frisby Jr., energy demand by 2012 will overwhelm the existing network, creating brownouts and blackouts. However, the design for Calvert Cliffs hasn’t even been certified, and 2016 is the earliest that the North Anna reactor could come on line.
We need real clean and safe solutions now. The billions of dollars allocated toward the building of nuclear reactors needs to be redirected to the implementation of sustainable renewable energy sources, like wind and solar.
The writers are interns with
Public Citizen, a consumer
advocacy group in Washington.