Nukewatch Quarterly Fall 2014
WASHINGTON, DC — The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s draft proposal for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, released in early June, treats nuclear reactors as “zero carbon” power sources and includes them in the baseline “clean energy” production statistics above which state reduction targets are set. Effectively, this would force states with aging reactors to keep them open or pay the extra penalty of making up that share of “zero-carbon” energy production through other sources — on top of meeting their regular target goals.
The proposal does not consider the toxic legacy of radioactive waste, high likelihood of further catastrophic accidents and security breaches, high levels of water use and waste, dirty process of uranium mining, or routine radiation releases that come with nuclear power. It also ignores research that has shown nuclear to be six times more carbon-emitting than wind power and at least twice as emitting as solar (both of those proportions go up as the efficiency of renewable technology increases). Hydropower, which is comparable to nuclear in many respects as a non-fossil-fuel power source, is not included in the proposal at all.
The nuclear power industry spent more than $650 million on lobbying, campaign contributions, and advertising from 2000-2010. Still, there is an opportunity for citizen voices to be heard before the final carbon rule goes into effect: the public comment period for the EPA proposal extends through October 16. A guide and link for submitting comments is available at www.nirs.org. — NIRS briefing, July 2014; Greenwire, June 2 & Aug. 8, 2014