Boxer-Kerry Climate Bill Greenwashes Nuclear Power

Bowing to pressure from the pro-nuclear lobby, Senators Boxer and
Kerry have included nuclear power into their bill to address climate
change. In their proposed legislation, the Senators claim that "nuclear
energy is the largest provider of clean, low-carbon, electricity...."
Funny we've heard that before. In fact, the bill's nuclear section
reads like it was lifted off the Nuclear Energy Institute's (NEI)
website, despite its lack of veracity.

Over a decade ago,
environmentalists challenged the nuclear industry's propaganda that
they were clean and green. As a result, the Better Business Bureau's (
BBB ) National Advertising Division found that the Nuclear Energy Institute's ads falsely claimed
that nuclear reactors make power without polluting the air and water or
damaging the environment. The BBB said that, "The nuclear industry
should stop calling itself 'environmentally clean' and should stop
saying it makes power 'without polluting the environment.'" The
director of the division said such claims were "unsupportable." The
bureau agreed with environmentalists that nuclear fuel is made using
electricity from coal plants and that nuclear waste poses a threat to
the public health and safety.

The nuclear industry's brazen
disregard for the BBB prompted the environmental groups to bring NEI
before the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC found that

the discharge of hot water from cooling systems is known to harm the
environment, and given the unresolved issues surrounding disposal of
radioactive waste, we think that NEI has failed to substantiate its
general environmental benefit claim.

Unfortunately those same false claims have now found their way into the legislation offered by Senator's Boxer and Kerry.

Even Andrew Kadak, "Professor of the Practice" at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has acknowledged that nuclear power contributes CO2
to the environment. In a speech before the American Physical Society
entitled "A Renaissance for Nuclear Energy?" Kadak bemoaned the fact
that the international community had already rejected nuclear power as
a solution to climate change. However, Kadak recognized that:

many years, nuclear energy, while arguably a -CO2 emitting energy
source, has been judged to be unacceptable for reasons of safety,
unstable regulatory climate, a lack of a waste disposal solution and,
more recently, economics.

If the Senators
actually want to abate climate change rather than merely enriching
nuclear corporations, we need solutions that are fast, safe and
affordable, and that rules out nuclear power. The Congressional Budget Office has already determined
that the risk of default on the nuclear loan guarantees congress will
supply to the nuclear industry is well above 50%. Is it really the
Senator's intent to support the next taxpayer bailout?

Mid American, a subsidiary of Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway, has already conducted their economic due diligence on a new nuclear plant
and determined that it does not make economic sense to build. If the
"world's greatest investor" will not waste his resources on new nuclear
power, perhaps the Senate should listen.

But Warren Buffet's
corporation isn't the only one who thinks nuclear power is an economic
non-starter. In April, Jon Wellinghoff, the chairman of the Federal
Energy Regulatory Commission, stated that new nuclear and coal plants are not needed.
Renewable energy like wind & solar and improvements in energy
efficiency will provide enough energy to meet our future energy
demands. Wellinghoff concluded that nuclear and coal plants are too

In June, Moody's Investor Services released their analysis of new nuclear generation
and determined that nuclear power was a "bet the farm" risk. Why should
the American taxpayer be expected to support such an investment?

The history of nuclear power plant cost overruns that led Forbes magazine to call nuclear power the "largest managerial disaster in business history"
is repeating itself with the current generation of nuclear reactors.
Last month, the French nuclear giant, Areva announced that they had
lost 550 million euros, a 79% drop in their profits, due to
construction delays with their reactor in Finland. According to Areva, the 3-billion euro nuclear plant
has now accumulated 2.3 billion euros in estimated losses. Does the
Senate really want to repeat this fiscal fiasco in the U.S.?

Nuclear power is a deadly and dangerous distraction from real solutions
to climate change and our energy needs. Nuclear power is unsafe,
uneconomical & unnecessary. Rather than greenwashing nuclear power,
Senators Boxer and Kerry should cut the nuclear title from their bill
and work to oppose any attempts to support this failed experiment.

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