Global environmental challenges
Clean tech nuclear seduces White House
We’re told that President Obama is getting ready to propose a tripling of government loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors to the tune of more than $54 billion.
The move is likely to win over Republicans who want to see nuclear power playing a larger role in a climate bill for the country. Another group of Senators earlier this week said they would support a comprehensive climate bill based on Obama’s State of the Union speech that opened the possibilities of nuclear expansion.
Certainly, the Nuclear Energy Institute would agree the technology is the United States’ largest source of clean-air, carbon-free electricity, producing no greenhouse gases or air pollutants.
The problem, of course, there’s no such thing as a small nuclear accident, and what are we supposed to do with all that radioactive waste, argue opponents.
More than two decades following the accident at Chernobyl, discoveries are still being made of horrific carcinogenic aftereffects.
And many Americans still remember the Three Mile Island accident of 1979, in Goldsboro, Pennsylvania, with memories awakened just last year with a non-threatening leak of radiation.
Staunch opponents of nuclear technology, including Greenpeace, say it is an expensive diversion from the task of developing and deploying renewable energy. They point to geothermal as one safe and viable alternative required for a low carbon future.
Friends of the Earth president Erich Pica said it’s disheartening. “President Obama’s support for all these dirty energy sources was a big win for corporate polluters and their Washington lobbyists, but it was a kick in the gut to environmentalists across the country.”
What do you think? Is this the way to go?
File photo shows a view of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant from Goldsboro, Pennsylvania, March 22, 1999. REUTERS/