Bush’s Gift to the Nuclear Lobby

| 12/27/2007 9:17:01 AM

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Nuclear Power 2Christmas came late for the nuclear lobby this year, but President Bush gave them something good. His present was a provision about renewable energy hidden inside a massive, $500 billion spending bill signed by President Bush on December 26. A renewable energy provision might sound good to environmentalists. In reality, reports" href="http://www.democracynow.org/2007/12/17/spending_bill_includes" target="_blank">Democracy Now reports, the provision provides $24 billon in loan guarantees to the nuclear lobby. “It’s a total scam,” says anti-nuclear activist Harvey Wasserman.

The scam may be working on some environmentalists, according to Jason Mark, writing for Earth Island Journal and reprinted in the January-February issue of Utne Reader. The nuclear lobby recently launched a massive PR attack aimed at convincing environmentalists that atomic energy is a green alternative to fossil fuels. Prominent green advocates, including Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, and James Lovelock, who developed the Gaia-theory, have bought into the atomic pitch. What the nuclear advocates often don’t acknowledge is the massive price tag, environmental dangers, and the fossil fuels needed to support the nuclear industry.

That’s why the nuclear-power advocates need these new loans. “Wall Street will not finance new nuclear construction,” says Wasserman, so the nuclear industry needs massive government subsidies to stay in business. Although Wasserman dismisses any dissent among the environmental movement in favor of nuclear power, he acknowledges the power that nuclear advocates have to block real environmental change. Nuclear power is the “finger in the dam," according to Wasserman, "because once everything breaks, it’s all going to go to renewables, and we’ll have a transformed world.”

Bennett Gordon

justin smith
3/17/2008 6:41:31 PM

I worked in a nuclear plant, and actually understand the nuclear process and engineering behind modern nuclear plants. Uneducated people can draw comparisons between Chernobyl and Three Mile Island to the current technologies and practices, but it would be much like comparing the safety of a 1920s Model-T to a current automobile. Nuclear Power today is very safe. Nuclear power has progressed in nearly every other country capable, but no new nuclear plants have been built in the US in the past 20 years due to the uneducated stigma on the energy by coal and oil industries. Nuclear power is the cheapest energy after start up costs, makes no air pollution, and waste is controllable. Nuclear power is renewable and the answer to our energy crisis. No other form of energy can ween us off of foreign oil faster. Get the facts before you spread your ignorance further.

tim kearney
1/6/2008 6:31:52 PM

I don't see how anyone (whether they be an environmentalist or not) could possibly be for nuclear power. Those that are (other than those who stand to profit economically from it) must have very short memories indeed (a good friend of mine family lives close to Chernobyl and they haven't forgotten how absolutely horrible nuclear power can be).

yankee doodle
1/5/2008 10:42:15 AM

There are actually a great many alternatives, ones that would help American industry and the American economy, preserve and even increase our standard of living (it is slipping in this "service economy"), and improve our national security by rebuilding our industrial capacity -- and do all of this while becoming far more ecologically friendly and sustainable. The trouble is that the guys who call the shots are jealously guarding their empires, and don't have any imagination or vision to see the possibilities. If they had a brain, they could turn a hell of a profit doing all those things I mention in the first paragraph, and nearly everybody would be cheering them on.

sal digiacomo
12/29/2007 5:26:47 AM

I have been a green since the first Earth Day in 1970 and have demonstrated in my home state of Texas against the nuclear power plant in Glen Rose Texas. What is obvious is that Greenwashing is just more palpable. I noticed in the 1990's when a plus on an agressive PR or Lobbyist's resume was a couple of years with a Green/environmental organization. I knew that things were dicey when one of the original founders of Greenpeace became a spokesperson for Union Carbide the people who devastated a portion of India. Any green person on the planet knows that nuclear power is not the answer to global warming and paying for carbon footprints is only allowing the dirty industries more time to pollute. People are really not that stupid to think that nuclear power is a clean energy. The only answer is a personal, grassroots, renewable approach. -Sal DiGiacomo