Nuclear Plant Pre-Bailout: Obama's Dumbest Move Yet?

After about 50 years of bad experience, that the question of nuclear power's suitability would have been settled long ago. You'd think that anyone with a lick of sense would have figured out that nuclear power brings with it enormous risks to... <li>Health
</li><li>Safety
</li><li>Environmental contamination
</li><li>Vulnerability to terrorism (and in order to protect against that, major threats to our civil liberties
</li><li>Unreliability
</li><li>Economic disaster (including significant danger of default by utilities on our US government investment)
</li><li>Vast power losses in the course of mining, milling, fuel rod production, transmission, and waste processing (including transportation)--turning the industry, by some accounts, into a <i>net consumer</i> of energy

Yet President Barack Obama announced <a href="http://www.mcclatchydc.com/226/story/85452.html">$8.33 billion in loan guarantees to build two new nuclear power plants in Georgia, and projects another $36 billion in the 2011 budget, or enough for seven to 10 reactors</a>.

Nuclear power is something I know something about. I did a major research project on it in college, and several years later, wrote first a monthly column, and then my first book on it. Yes, the new plants would be a new and better design—but not better enough!

You cannot convince me that the waste products can be safely isolated from the environment for a quarter of a million years (think—pretty much the oldest human artifacts in existence are only 1/10 as old)...that centralizing so much energy, and the powerful, highly toxic fuels that power these plants, does not present unacceptable risk at the hands of our enemies, who could create a disaster that made 9/11 look like a fender bender...that driving these toxic stews around the country doesn't present grave risks just from normal everyday road behavior...that these plants with their terrible reliability record, frequent outages, gross safety violations, and multiple complexities of power generation, plumbing, electricity, and computer systems can be expected to solve our energy problem...that the nuclear power system as a whole, with its dirty mining and milling, its very imperfect waste processing, its reliance on transportation of dangerous substances over very long distances is going to significantly lower either our carbon footprint, our emissions, or our power needs.

Nuclear power is not necessary. It is not sensible. It opens great risks for small returns that can be much more easily achieved in other ways. It is a gift to the terrorists, a robbery from the taxpayers, a diversion of resources away from <a href="http://www.frugalmarketing.com/dtb/amorylovins.shtml">better and far more proven technologies that could meet all of our energy needs safely</a>, and a serious threat to the well-being of future generations.

This "plan" must be stopped.

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