Backing Nuclear: Administration “Disconnected from Reality”

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Backing Nuclear: Administration “Disconnected from Reality”

WASHINGTON - Bloomberg reports today: “The Obama administration will press ahead with efforts to expand loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors while investigating the failure of Japan’s power plants after an earthquake, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said.”

NORMAN SOLOMON
Available for a limited number of interviews, Solomon is president of the Institute for Public Accuracy and a senior fellow at the new group RootsAction. He recently wrote the piece “Nuclear Power Madness,” which states: “Like every other president since the 1940s, Barack Obama has promoted nuclear power. Now, with reactors melting down in Japan, the official stance is more disconnected from reality than ever.” Solomon’s books include Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America’s Experience With Atomic Radiation (co-authored with Harvey Wasserman). He is also former director of the landmark National Citizens Hearings for Radiation Victims held in Washington, D.C. in 1980.

LLOYD DUMAS
Dumas is professor of political economy, economics and public policy at the University of Texas at Dallas. Formerly a professor of engineering at Columbia University, he is an expert on technological disaster. His most recent book is The Technology Trap. Dumas just wrote the piece “Shadow Elite: ‘Safe’ Nuclear Power? No Such Thing.”

TYSON SLOCUM
Slocum is director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program, which recently issued a statement: “Despite the assurances of our elected officials and the industry, there is no way to guarantee the public’s safety when a natural disaster or terrorism strikes commercial reactors. The Japanese are arguably the best prepared to deal with earthquakes, yet they failed to adequately plan for the impact of a tsunami. This demonstrates the difficulty in planning for both the ‘known unknowns’ and ‘unknown unknowns’ that impact nuclear reactors from natural disaster and terrorism. There are alternatives. Had Japan invested in rooftop solar and wind turbines to the degree it spent maintaining and building nuclear reactors, the country wouldn’t be grappling with the potential of a full-scale nuclear meltdown.

“U.S. policymakers should watch events in Japan closely and understand the implications to public safety of committing U.S. taxpayer resources to building new nuclear plants. We call on the federal government to do the following:

1) Immediately stop activity relating to re-licensing aging U.S. reactors;
2) Halt all activity geared toward building new reactors; and
3) End federal subsidies — such as loan guarantees — for commercial nuclear power, which total $500 billion to date.

“Instead, the U.S. should focus on developing wind power and assisting families in the installation of rooftop solar systems.”

CHRIS WILLIAMS
Williams just wrote the piece “The Risks of Nuclear Roulette,” which states: “Sentiment in this country remains solidly anti-nuclear. A recent poll in the Wall Street Journal showed that three-quarters of Americans back the elimination of tax credit for oil and gas companies to reduce the federal deficit, and 57 percent deem it ‘mostly’ or ‘totally’ acceptable to ‘significantly cut’ subsidies to new nuclear power plants. This is in direct contrast to President Barack Obama’s offer of new loan guarantees to the nuclear industry.”

Williams is author of Ecology and Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Ecological Crisis and is a professor of physics and chemistry at Pace University.

More resources: commondreams.org/japan-earthquake

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A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.

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