Tuesday, April 5, 2011

As Fukushima Nightmare Unfolds, Obama Wants to Hand Out 55 Billion in Federal Loan Guarantees for New Nukes

If President Obama is truly concerned with turning back global climate change, he should be investing only in truly clean, green, sustainable, safe, renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind and geothermal.  Instead, he wants to offer 55 billion dollars in federal loan guarantees to companies to build new nuclear plants.  If the loans are defaulted on, the government would cover up to 80% of the cost.  By “the government”, I of course mean you and I, the American taxpayer.

Consider the following quote from a 4/5/2011 DW-World article (bold emphasis added):

“...as part of its energy agenda, the Obama administration has called for the construction of new nuclear power plants as a way to combat climate change and become less dependent on foreign oil at the same time.  To push utilities to build new reactors, Washington wants to hand out loan guarantees to the nuclear industry totaling $55 billion (39 billion euros) to construct up to a dozen new reactors. Should a plant operator default, the government would cough up up to 80 percent of the loan. Until now, the Energy Department has conditionally awarded only one loan guarantee of eight billion dollars for two reactors.  The administration's nuclear loan plans require Congressional approval. But the chorus of voices calling for a review of US nuclear policy is growing daily.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my taxes to go to build new nuclear power plants.  Nuclear energy, despite Obama’s skillful attempts to spin it as being ye olde “friendly atom”, i.e., clean and green, is most decidedly neither, as I have shouted from this cyber-rooftop before.  How anyone can look at what is unfolding right now in Japan, never mind what the world has already experienced with previous nuclear disasters, and say with a straight face that nuclear is “clean” energy, is totally beyond my ken.

There is enough solar energy that could be harvested in Algeria alone to power the entire world.1  And that is just solar.  And just from Algeria.  I’m so sick of the argument that we somehow need nuclear energy, let alone that we need fossil fuel, for that matter.  We need neither and we can afford neither anymore.  We need to transition off fossil fuel and existing nuclear plants, and we certainly do not need new nukes.  What will it take for us to realize this?  What will it take to realize both that renewables certainly CAN meet our energy needs, and that we must commit to that path and invest in it immediately, because the environment cannot sustain the path we are on?

Granted, the infrastructure is not in place, for example in the case of my Algeria reference, to power the whole world with renewables right this very moment, but the potential—the actual renewable energy itself—is there for the taking, all around us!  What say, President Obama, that we take that 55 billion you want to make available to the extremely dangerous, toxic nuclear industry and instead invest it in solar, wind and geothermal right here at home?  We have desert, just like Algeria.  Why not invest in harvesting sunshine, wind, and geothermal instead of investing in something that is proven to produce extremely toxic waste that we can’t dispose of, and is also proven to malfunction in ways that in no way fit any model of acceptable risk-to-reward ratio?  Again, I direct your attention to the unfolding, out-of-control, extremely toxic situation in Japan, that is spreading worldwide as I write this.  And you, President Obama, want to encourage and subsidize MORE nuclear plants?  That is not clean and it’s not green.  It is not facing reality.

We need to move off fossil fuel and nuclear energy with all deliberate speed.  I urge everyone reading this to write to President Obama and to all of your elected representatives.2 Tell them America cannot afford anything about nuclear energy and we certainly don’t want our tax dollars invested in new nuclear plants.  We welcome our tax dollars being invested in a truly clean, green, sustainable future.  Tell them that we must harness and work in harmony with nature, not continue to violate it.  Tell them to invest our green in green:  sun, wind and geothermal, before it’s too late.