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Nuclear Reactor Proposal: What a Waste!

The Taos News, "My Turn"
Published Wednesday, March 3, 2010

President Obama has proposed to offer $54 billion in loans for construction of new nuclear reactors. This should come as no surprise to his supporters because throughout his presidential campaign he said he was in favor of nuclear power. So here we are.

It’s a nice deal if you are a nuclear power corporation. You keep all the profits, but if you fail to repay the loan, the taxpayers pay for it. According to Nuclear Information and Resource Service, 50% of new reactors do fail.

Nuclear reactors are not as clean as they are touted. In New York City just this past Christmas season, I was appalled to read in the New York Daily News that a stuck valve caused the Indian Point nuclear plant in Westchester County to leak toxic steam for two days last November in a cloud over New York’s densely populated lower Hudson valley.

Jay Gould describes his book, Deadly Deceit, as an "epidemiological whodunnit, with the suspect revealed by Chernobyl in 1986, and the web of circumstantial evidence traced back to 1945 (with the start of nuclear bomb detonation and testing)." What Gould demonstrates so clearly with population statistics is that "low-level radiation from nuclear power and weapons plant reactors have consistently been followed by large number of ’excess’ deaths."

What do nuclear power plants do with their mounting waste? Fox Channel’s "24" currently has its protagonist Jack Bauer tracking down terrorists who have nasty plans for a dirty bomb on U.S. territory with stolen fuel rods from a nuclear reactor. In real life, on the issue of nuclear reactors as military targets, the late Admiral Eugene Carroll recalled a quip: "You don’t have to take the bang to the enemy; the bang is already there when you take out his nuclear plants."

No matter what the politics are of the nation where nuclear reactors are located, the by-product of nuclear energy is always material that can be turned into plutonium for nuclear weapons. Nuclear reactors were originally created to make the stuff that nuclear weapons are made of. Nuclear reactors are hardly the "peaceful use of nuclear energy" that the nation’s father-figure President Dwight Eisenhower hoped they would become. We need more heroes like Louis Reyes of Kit Carson Electric, a Johnny Appleseed of solar energy.

It’s not too late to let your Senators and Congressman know that President Obama’s proposal to offer $54 billion in loans for construction of new nuclear reactors is not acceptable.

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