Clean tech nuclear seduces White House

January 29, 2010


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/


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Nuclear Power is not safe….it may be nominally safe but so is the space shuttle. One major accident could leave an entire state uninhabitable for decades or even centuries. If France ever has a major reactor failure half of Europe may have to be evacuated! We can not even agree on how or where to store the atomic waste we have already generated, much less the waste from future nuclear plants. I also think NIMBY (not in my backyard) will be the major obstacle to any future construction. There should be no publicly backed loan guarantees for any nuclear power plants. Profit should never ever trump the safety of our nation and her people!

Posted by roughrider | Report as abusive

America will turn to nuclear power in time.

Once the oil shortages start, it will have no other choice. At least no practical ones.

Posted by Anon86 | Report as abusive

nuclear energy is considerably safer than rising sea levels. Pragmatism needs to overcome green zealotry on this though the development and consequent implementation of cost-efficient solar and wind technology is really the only way to get out of the cycle of using some technology until it comes back to bite us in the butt and should be the primary focus of future spending.

Posted by theinfamoushw6 | Report as abusive