There's again a move to "revive" nuclear power. Every decade or so those
with a vested interest in this deadly dangerous technology have sought to
get the public to swallow the nuclear pill--and it's happening again.

That promotion has consistently been based on falsehoods. For example, in a
heavy push years back--during a gasoline shortage that included long lines
at the pump--the claim was that if we had nuclear power, somehow this wouldn
't happen again. In fact, only 3 percent of electricity in the United States
is generated with oil. Nuclear power has nothing to do with oil and gas.

Currently, as the global warming crisis is acknowledged (after years of the
vested oil interests denying it) the big pitch is: Nuclear plants don't emit
greenhouse gases and thus don't contribute to warming.  In reality, the
overall nuclear cycle--which includes uranium mining and milling,
enrichment, fuel fabrication and disposal of radioactive waste--produces
greenhouse gas emissions that play a significant part in global warming.

As Michel Lee of the Council on Intelligent Energy & Conservation Policy
notes: "The dirty secret is that nuclear power makes a substantial
contribution to global warming." The claim that it doesn't "is a fiction
that has been a prime feature of the nuclear industry's and Bush
administration's PR campaign."

As a petition being circulated by the Nuclear Information and Resource
Service, which numerous environmental and safe-energy groups and thousands
of individuals have signed onto, declares: "we do not support construction
of new nuclear reactors as a means of addressing the climate crisis.
Available renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies are faster,
leaner, safer and cleaner strategies for reducing greenhouse emissions than
nuclear power."

The last order for a nuclear plant in the United States not subsequently
cancelled was in 1973. The 1979 Three Mile Island accident and the 1986 Cher
nobyl disaster gave the lie to the nuclear establishment's claim that a
catastrophic mishap was extremely unlikely--despite a PR campaign since then
trying to deny the impacts of these events.

Fortunately, a majority of Americans remain strongly against nuclear power,
realizing how lethal it is. Indeed, a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
report, "CRAC-2," projects consequences of a major accident at each the 103
nuclear power plants now operating our country, estimating "peak early
fatalities" as high as 100,000, "peak early injuries" even higher, and
property damage as much as $300 billion.

Post-9/11, with al-Qaeda acknowledging that it has been eyeing U.S. atomic
plants, every one is a target--and a potent nuclear weapon for terrorists.

Moreover, "It doesn't take an accident for a nuclear power plant to release
radioactivity into our air, water, and soil. All it takes is the plant's
everyday routine operation, and federal regulations permit these radioactive
releases," stresses Kay Drey of Beyond Nuclear.

How would the scores of would-be new nuclear plants be financed? You and
other taxpayers would be expected to pay heavily. Some $15 billion in
taxpayer subsidies have already been arranged and an energy bill now before
Congress authorizes $50 billion more for new nuclear plants.

"Renewables Are Ready" is the title of a 1999 book written by two staffers
of the Union of Concerned Scientists. Today, they are more than ready. Wind,
solar, hydrogen, bio-fuels, geothermal and other safe, clean renewable power
can, along with energy efficiency, easily provide the energy we need. The
resources are vast. Researchers at Stanford University estimate global wind
energy potential at 72,000 gigawatts--10 times as much electricity as the
world now uses. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory says seven U.S.
southwest states could provide more than 7,000 gigawatts of solar
power--seven times the existing electric capacity in the United States from
all sources. And renewable energy technologies are now highly developed--on
the shelf and ready to be widely utilized.

But those who push nuclear power would threaten us with losing out lives and
money--unnecessarily. They must be stopped.


Karl Grossman, professor of journalism at SUNY/College at Old Westbury
(N.Y.), is author of "Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About
Nuclear Power," and TV documentaries, including, "The Push to Revive Nuclear

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