Barack Obama’s Nuclear Ambitions

Another Automaton of the Atomic Lobby

It is fast becoming one of the most important issues of the 2008 presidential campaign. Oil prices are expected to rise to even higher levels as the United States dependence on foreign crude is becoming increasingly unstable. And the perceived threat of global warming is making even the most skeptical of politicians nervous. The future of planet Earth, they claim, is more perilous than ever. Al Gore has made an impact.

But the Gore effect is like a bad hangover: all headache no buzz. The purported solution to the imminent warming crisis, nuclear technology, is just as hazardous as our current methods of energy procurement. Al Gore, who wrote of the potential green virtues of nuclear power in his book Earth in the Balance, earned his stripes as a congressman protecting the interests of two of the nuclear industry’s most problematic enterprises, the TVA and the Oak Ridge Labs. And, of course, Bill Clinton backed the Entergy Corporation’s outrageous plan to soak Arkansas ratepayers with the cost overruns on the company’s Grand Gulf reactor which provided power to electricity consumers in Louisiana.

The Clinton years indeed saw an all-out expansion of nuclear power, not only in the US, but all over the globe. First came the deal to begin selling nuclear reactors to China, announced during Jiang Zemin’s 1997 visit Washington, even though Zemin brazenly vowed at the time not to abide by the so-called “full scope safeguards” spelled out in the International Atomic Energy Act. The move was apparently made over the objections of Clinton’s National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, who cited repeated exports by China of “dual use” technologies to Iran, Pakistan and Iraq. The CIA also weighed in against the deal, pointing out in a report to the President that “China was the single most import supplier of equipment and technology for weapons of mass destruction” worldwide. In a press conference on the deal, Mike McCurry said these nuclear reactors will be “a lot better for the planet than a bunch of dirty coal-fired plants” and will be “a great opportunity for American vendors” — that is, Westinghouse.

A day later Clinton signed an agreement to begin selling nuclear technology to Brazil and Argentina for the first time since 1978, when Jimmy Carter canceled a previous deal after repeated violations of safety guidelines and nonproliferation agreements.

In a letter to congress, Clinton vouched for the South American countries, saying they had made “a definitive break with earlier ambivalent nuclear policies.” Deputy National Security Advisor Jim Steinberg justified the nuclear pact with Brazil and Argentina as “a partnership in developing clean and reliable energy supplies for the future.” Steinberg noted that both countries had opposed binding limits on greenhouse emissions and that new nuclear plants would be one way “to take advantage of the fact that today we have technologies available for energy use which were not available at the time that the United States and other developed countries were going through their periods of development.”

The atom lobby during the 1990s had a stranglehold on the Clinton administration and now they seem to have the same suffocating grip around the neck of the brightest star in the Democratic field today: Barack Obama.

Barack, for the second quarter in a row, has surpassed the fundraising prowess of Hillary Clinton. To be sure small online donations have propelled the young senator to the top, but so too have his connections to big industry. The Obama campaign, as of late March 2007, has accepted $159,800 from executives and employees of Exelon, the nation’s largest nuclear power plant operator.

The Illinois-based company also helped Obama’s 2004 senatorial campaign. As Ken Silverstein reported in the November 2006 issue of Harper’s, “[Exelon] is Obama’s fourth largest patron, having donated a total of $74,350 to his campaigns. During debate on the 2005 energy bill, Obama helped to vote down an amendment that would have killed vast loan guarantees for power-plant operators to develop new energy projects … the public will not only pay millions of dollars in loan costs but will risk losing billions of dollars if the companies default.”

“Senator Obama has all the necessary leadership skills required to be president,” says Frank M. Clark, chairman of Exelon’s Commonwealth Edison utility.

These gracious accolades come from one of Exelon’s top executives, despite the fact that Obama proposed legislation in 2006 that would require nuclear plant operators to report any hazardous leaks. While introducing the legislation Obama noted the failure of Exelon to report a leak of radioactive tritium into groundwater near one of their Illinois plants. But the senator’s criticism of nuclear power goes only so far.

During a Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works hearing in 2005, Obama, who serves on the committee, asserted that since Congress was debating the negative impact of CO2 emissions “on the global ecosystem, it is reasonable — and realistic — for nuclear power to remain on the table for consideration.” Shortly thereafter, Nuclear Notes, the industry’s top trade publication, praised the senator. “Back during his campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2004, [Obama] said that he rejected both liberal and conservative labels in favor of ‘common sense solutions.’ And when it comes to nuclear energy, it seems like the Senator is keeping an open mind.”

Sadly for the credibility of the atom lobby, some of their more eye-grabbing numbers don’t check out. For example, as noted in a report by the Nuclear Energy Institute, the nuke industry claims that the world’s 447 nuclear plants reduce CO2 emissions by 30 percent. But the true villain behind global warming is carbon. Existing nuclear plants save only about 5 percent of total CO2 emissions, hardly a bargain given the costs and risks associated with nuclear power. Moreover, the nuclear lobby likes to compare its record to coal-fired plants, rather than renewables such as solar, wind, and geothermal. Even when compared to coal, atomic power fails the test if investments are made to increase the efficient use of the existing energy supply. One recent study by the Rocky Mountain Institute found that “even under the most optimistic cost projections for future nuclear electricity, efficiency is found to be 2.5 to 10 times more cost effective for CO2-abatement. Thus, to the extent that investments in nuclear power divert funds away from efficiency, the pursuit of a nuclear response to global warming would effectively exacerbate the problem.”

Clearly Senator Obama recognizes the inherent dangers of nuclear technology and knows of the disastrous failures that plagued Chernobyl, Mayak and Three Mile Island. Yet, despite his attempts to alert the public of future toxic nuclear leaks, Obama still considers atomic power a viable alternative to coal-fired plants. The atom lobby must certainly be pleased.

Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: The Politics of Nature and co-edits CounterPunch.org. Joshua Frank is the co-editor of Dissident Voice and the author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush. Together they are the editors of Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots Resistance in the Heartland, published by AK Press. Read other articles by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

29 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Billy Buntin said on July 4th, 2007 at 6:54am #

    Not surprised, Barack Hope-ama has TRULY proven himself to be no different than the rest of the presidential apirants. With brown skin, he will put a black face on American imperialism and we already understand that the key to successfully raising funds in this country is to prove yourself incapable of saying or doing anything interesting, that might alter the status quo. It’s time for my black people (and everyone else) to reach the political maturity, looking past the trite pro-black rhetoric, the church visits, the skin color… and recognize Hope-ama as just another candidate.
    HERE’S A GREAT ARTICLE: http://www.slepton.com/slepton/viewcontent.pl?id=329

  2. Luis Dias said on July 4th, 2007 at 9:11am #

    This is utter nonsense. With Peak Oil coming in, we’ll have major energy crisis. This is no time to put away alternatives to Oil. Frig the climate. Renewables need still a decade or two. May the nukes come in. Else, the entire western civilization may face its final collapse.

  3. Kendy Madisha said on July 4th, 2007 at 10:35am #

    I would have been very disapointed if Obama did not prefer to have the nuclear energy option on the table. Nuclear has its shortfalls, but with the current climate challenges, fossil fuel security, bio fuel land farming limitiations, and economics as well as availability of other renewables technologies it makes a lot of sense not to close out nuclear as an option. The truth is, the demand for energy is ever increasing and the production capacity will fall short in a way that will require us to get hold of as much as possible to generate electrical energy and to produce synthetic transport fuels. Let alone the environmental concerns, energy security is a big factor on continuing the American dream and the “successfull” American way of life. Renewables alone will not fill in the energy demands of the future, so big-ups to Obama for realizing this!

  4. Matthew Kennel said on July 4th, 2007 at 12:36pm #

    “Yet, despite his attempts to alert the public of future toxic nuclear leaks, Obama still considers atomic power a viable alternative to coal-fired plants. The atom lobby must certainly be pleased.”

    That’s because nuclear power IS the viable alternative to coal-fired plants—plus all of the renewables and efficiency we can take.

    We can’t wish away the laws of physics. And in practice we can’t wish away realities of human society—getting all the efficiency improvements (which I totally support) in place among millions of installation locations is even harder than building a nuclear plant.

    In real reality, when the shortages come, the cheapest and easiest alternative is always dirty coal. That’s what will happen (and is already happening in many places) when the lights go out or raw economic forces meet political power. We need to keep carbon geologically sequestered as unmolested and permanently unmined coal.

    Anti-nuclearists can imagine a beautiful world where everybody behaves differently from reality and then criticize them when they inevitably react to problems with the predicted short-termist behavior.

    Because of climate change and peak oil, we need to deploy all tools—both the best and the OK-for-now.

    If wind plants were deployable in many places and generated 30 times as much power as they did, 24 hours a day, there would be no desire for nuclear of course. We can’t wish away reality.

  5. K said on July 4th, 2007 at 1:52pm #

    This article is much appreciated. While I would like to believe as Luis suggests that Obama’s just playing along until he gets in… How do we know that? Once someone starts accepting those checks it’s hard to say “No”. I like Obama, but this definitely gives me reason for concern…

    Also, to address the comment by the person who suggests we embrace Nuclear power just because we need energy alternatives is being a bit naive. What is not mentioned in this article is the amount of energy required to store the nuclear waste. How about the cost of clean up if an accident occurs? Unfortunately, I believe the energy required for moving and storage is going to be an issue (nuclear waste trains/trucks are going to be a tempting target for those wishing ill will)…

    Besides, I think one accident (Chenobyl/Three Mile Island) and any gains are going to be forgotten very quickly…

    Here’s a link for additional consideration:

    –K

  6. Max Fields said on July 4th, 2007 at 2:58pm #

    Richard Hildner: “Don’t pay attention to anything he says about policy or politics…it’s all just rhetoric to win this thing…look at the man himself and put two and two together!!”

    Ok, then he’s a f??king lier. Well ain’t that sweet.

    Now, we’ve already got a “winning” is more important than anything else – it’s call Hillary Clinton (aka wolf in sheep’s clothing). A real pro compared to Barak in the tell em one thing, wink, wink and give the other. And she got that from her bud Bill who actually thinks he beat George B. I and thinks he’s got such “winning ways”. And what did we get, a neoliberal, who caused the deaths of over a million Iraqis, and oversaw the biggest finanical bubble hoax. And then he beat the dead-beat Repub retread, Dole (now there’s a sacrificial lamb if ever I saw one).

    Nuclear power is the most bogus issue. It’s been debunked – incredible cost, wouldn’t touch our need for electric energy, majore security risk, only deals with electricity which is the smallest portion of our real CO2 problems (fossil auto emissions is number one and nukes don’t touch it).

    Luis Dias the nukes won’t /can’t sake “us”. It takes years to build ‘em to boot. We can cut our consumption, focus on tested renewables, and pray if peak oil hits before we’ve got our “house in order”.

    So, now Obama is going to take a page out of the Clinton play book? Wow, watch it he’s coming at yah. Look since he’s a lier its pretty hard to offer any info about what he’s said in print – since it is just a bunch of hide and seek crap. In any case, he took the time (I hope it was hes’ time and not a staffer) and wrote this in Foreign Affairs (speaks to his military astuteness and world-view (yes he’s kinder than GWB, but dropping bombs with kindness is still a bitch, just as those in Bosnia).

    http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20070701faessay86401/barack-obama/renewing-american-leadership.html

  7. Ian Rees said on July 4th, 2007 at 4:17pm #

    Even with maximum conservation and full use of renewables, the world takes tremendous amounts of energy, and will take even more in the future if we want to extend quality of life improvements around the world. The major problem with nuclear, waste storage or reprocessing, has known solutions that have been implemented in more forward-thinking countries such as France and Sweden. Actual cost analysis, including full externalities (e.g. externe.info) demonstrates nuclear is not only cost-effective, but far and away the best choice overall when CO2 is factored in. Contrary to what the article above says, life-cycle CO2 emissions from nuclear are around 5% of coal, about the same as life-cycle from wind.

    Nuclear transforms about 1/3rd of its thermal energy into electricity available to do work. Another 3rd can be captured from the excess heat and used for industrial processes, one example being alternative-fuel chemistry. Synthetic fuels made from carbon captured from the atmosphere are one-step towards retiring the other half of fossil fuel usage in the world. The heat could also be used for district-heating, which has already been demonstrated to work well, lessening the need for fuel oils. So, yes, it’s a broader solution than suggested here.

    Chernobyl is irrelevant because of the reactor physics. It is not applicable to non-RBMK designs. Most other reactor designs have a number of active and passive safeguards against this kind of accident (negative void coef., full containment structure, etc.). TMI was an accident, but the public health impact was effectively zero. So it’s something we’ve learned from, and the engineering has improved.

  8. Bill Reiswig said on July 4th, 2007 at 4:33pm #

    This entry is too hard on Mr. Obama. Climate Change, by even the very conservative estimates and modeling of the most recent release of the IPCC, will be far worse and more dangerous than some of the (real) dangers presented by nuclear energy. Other modeling of climate change from James Hansen, the top climatologist at NASA, suggests that rapid deglaciation of Greenland and Antartica could be very soon in our future. Peak Oil too, is a real possibility that will have potientially devastating effects on an all-too-oil dependent world.

    As an environmentalist, I have been skeptical of the nuclear industry, but this form of energy seems to be something that France has conducted with some real level of safety. It is not the primary solution… we need wind, solar and geothermal as fast as they can grow. Fewer and far more efficient cars, more local agriculture, much less suburban development…. More bikes, solar water heating, insulation, rainwater catchment systems…. BUT BUT BUT… Nuclear should be an option on the table because of the amount of energy they can produce… Nuclear plants produce a massive amount of electricity on the order of 1 GW or more.

    I did not see any refrencing to the author’s statements that nuclear energy only saves 5% of CO2 emissions. Would it be possible to be more clear exactly the accounting of such statements, and could you reference a study? Such assertions don’t help the reader to determine thier validity.

    Finally, a word about Mr. Obama. My gut instinct likes him a great deal, but I have only given money thus far to Mr. Edwards and Mr. Richardson because they seem to have the best plans for dealing with what is for me the greatest issue facing us… climate change and energy depletion. Mr. Obama further supported legislation to support Coal to Deisel Fuel plants… which might be good for cutting foreign oil dependence but is horrible for climate change. Recent pressure from the environmental lobby caused him to reconsider this position and change it, however. This at least suggests that he will listen to either A) Reason or B) the people who will likely vote him in.

    Bill

  9. Max Fields said on July 4th, 2007 at 4:47pm #

    Rees,

    I don’t think you understand: most of the CO2 is created by auto emissions, not electicity. Nukes only deal with electricty. So, so-called “fixes” with nukes doesn’t begin to touch the problem of global warming OR peak oil. Our food – today – is almost ALL oil based. How in the hell are your nukes going to deal with that unless we rethink our farming and food distribution?

    Obsessing over nukes is like a child who really wants to make that gadget work, in spite of the little value it will bring once it does. The only other people who care are those looking to make a killing on building these suckers.

    So, yea, there’s a whole bunch of other reasons that make nukes a marginal at best source of energy. Our consumptive habits should not be taken so lightly. Much of those are on completely needless goods that keep a pathological and dysfunctional economic machine churning for the very rich.

    I guess what I’m saying is you need to understand the “problem” in its totality to come up with feasible and valuable solutions. And by that measure, nukes don’t cut it.

  10. Max Fields said on July 4th, 2007 at 4:54pm #

    One other thing regarding problem solving: by not paying attention to sustainability, that is consumption (along with production), we are simply shifting the problem from oil to a seach for the world’s plutonium and uranium.

  11. Max Fields said on July 4th, 2007 at 7:51pm #

    Richard Hildner,
    To the France nuclear program – let me see…how big is France? What is it’s consumption of energy per capita?

    Let’s get real. To understand the problem in the US is to understand, as it stands, the enormity of the energy utilization we’ve become addicted to. This is not some tiny nation-state (France pop. 60 mil, 212,935 square miles), with mostly small fuel efficient vehicles, $11/gallon gas prices, where most inhabitants are within urban centers, walking is thus common, as are bicycles, and mass transit is in the form of highspeed rail.

    This (US of A) is a 300 million people spotted over a 3,537,438.44 landscape for godsake! With massive interstates, no real mass transit, criss-crossing with 16 wheelers for goods transport (minimal rail), suburban sprawl up the ying-yang. (What’s worse, at least thus far, this is the model that’s been exported to China where the dimensions are 100 times worse!)

    And we’re suggesting France as our model (not for mass-transit and the other sustainable energy measures, but for nukes)?

  12. KenG said on July 5th, 2007 at 7:13am #

    Max Fields,

    You are mistaken on the CO2 impact of electricity. In the US, electricity generation is the single biggest source of CO2, followed by transportation in second place.

    Also, Bill Reiswig asked for a source for the CO2 lifecycle emissions of nuclear. It can be found here:
    http://neinuclearnotes.blogspot.com/2007/05/crunching-numbers-on-nuclear.html
    Follow the links for the source studies.

  13. Max Shields said on July 5th, 2007 at 10:11am #

    I stand corrected. Auto emissions is number 2. But let’s see the forest for the trees (no pun intended). The point is not to embark on a religious war about nuclear energy but to correct the course we’ve taken.

    Nuclear energy, as we know it (promises aside) would not begin to touch the extent of the US consumption of energy.

  14. Janet W. H. said on July 5th, 2007 at 10:54am #

    How can a government ‘by the rich for the rich’ be called “democracy’?
    If we want to have real democracy, we have to outlaw financial assistance our politicians receive from multinationals and the other powerful lobby groups such as AIPAC. Otherwise, we will keep on electing people whose first priority will be to serve the multinationals and the other lobby groups.

  15. Patrick Swailes said on July 5th, 2007 at 12:07pm #

    Max,

    I think you are quite mistaken about nuclear energy. I would assume you are basing efficiency numbers on the current reactors we are using in the US, which by mandate, are all over 25 years old. There is no reason why we couldn’t take a similar energy policy to Europe and switch to nuclear breeder reactors. A lot of nuclear plants would have to be built, yay jobs!, and our overall environmental impact would go down significantly seeing as the only real waste product is excess heat and, of course, nuclear waste. We have a temporary (1000 year) solution to the nuclear waste problem, in the form of Yucca Mountain, and hopefully somewhere in those thousand years we will have a more realistic solution to the problem of nuclear waste, just check out what these mushrooms in chernobyl can do!

    http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/677/

    So, in my opinion, nuclear power is the most obvious solution for the near future; and heck, we may even be able to use that nuclear waste as an energy source in the next 50-100 years!

    I am also a big proponent of taking advantage of undersea currents as a source of power, but the whole problem of international waters makes this a bureaucratic nightmare for now.

  16. Max Shields said on July 5th, 2007 at 3:11pm #

    Patrick Swailes,

    First, my “argument” is based on an understanding of the “problem”. The problem is not nuclear reactors, it is, instead, the consumption model the US has been taken to the nth degree (endless unsustainable growth). Patching that up with technology does NOT solve the problem. That’s fundamental (and I mean no insult) problem solving 101.

    Second, if we are to take the assertion that we have better technology, i.e., science has brought us along from 25 years ago when we were all using an abacus, then I would ask: Under what conditions would such technology be appropriate?

    I don’t think we’re looking at the problem in its entirety, nor asking the right (or any) questions. We are simply doing what we’ve always done: looking for easy ways (technological fixes) to have our cake and eat it to. There comes a time when there’s just no more cake and we need to rethink what this is all about…instead of running full throttle down the cliff. (Consider the “decision” to go down the fossile fuel route about a century ago. Who woulda thunk!)

    When you size the problem – the great thrust of India and China for instance (or are they not allowed their cake?) not to mention our own energy “needs” the nuclear waste problem becomes enormous. The cost of security, enormous… Now, at least according to most writers on this topic (Lester Brown is one) the infrastructure cost alone is prohibitive. But let’s say he’s working to the old nuke model. We are not France (and they are the only one’s of any “size” who has gone in the nuclear direction (to the extent they have). But again, I’ve posted on France and tried to use reason to demonstrate that France in no way compares to the US regarding our consumption habits. If the world follows your suggestion and goes nuclear (and we need to think in those global terms) then we’ve shifted – as I’ve said – the issue to uranium and plutonium (one is better than the other don’t remember which). We’ll be scouring the globe for every last bit just to keep the baker making the cake that we keep eating at faster and faster rates.

    There comes a time when you need to step back from the problem. (btw, I think the current solution (tho in its experimental stages is worth pursuing). Green solutions (non-nuke) create jobs, too. The word sustainability has to begin to resonate. It means something and it doesn’t mean just keep looking for new nonrenewable sources of energy – that aint sustainable!

  17. Max Shields said on July 5th, 2007 at 3:24pm #

    By “current solution” I meant underwater turbines.
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story%20php?storyId=6344642

  18. Rich A. said on July 5th, 2007 at 6:37pm #

    “As wolves in sheep’s clothing”? Excuse me folks, but what is wrong with good, old-fashioned straight talk? Why would anyone even ponder accepting anything but the truth?

    Some may view “…wolves…..” as a pragmatic approach. That is sad. When decency and principle are compromised in the name of “pragmatism”, where does the line get drawn? Who gets to decide which “sacrifices of truth” are acceptable?

    Watch out! “Newspeak” is upon us! The words of Edward R. Murrow, “All I can hope to teach my son is to tell the truth and fear no man” will fade into oblivion unless we have the collective courage to demand what all politicians owe us: the truth….the uncompromised truth.

    Others – more learned than I – have hit the nail on the head. They warn that too many of us act as if it’s the other guy who has to provide solutions without disturbing our perceived freedoms. What is wrong with simply passing a law requiring automobiles, pick-ups, SUVs, etc. etc. etc., to get 50 miles per gallon as a condition being driven on our highways? I know auto makers will whine, and the oil cartel will whine, but that last time I looked “America the beautiful” is supposed to be a nation governed of, by, and for the people.

  19. Carlgh said on July 5th, 2007 at 7:15pm #

    It appears that the anti-nuclear dissident voices tout decentralized electric generation, fewer automobiles, more bicycles, and locally produced organic food.
    I am proud to live within sight of a 1300 megawatt nuclear power plant that does not stench the air.
    There is a transportation future using plug-in hybrids, and hydrogen fuel cells. These options will need abundant electricity; and at the present time, this increased capacity will, for the most part be provided by coal and nuclear – and in my backyard frankly – I prefer nuclear.
    I commend Senator Obama for the sensible statement, “it is reasonable — and realistic — for nuclear power to remain on the table for consideration.”

  20. mj said on July 5th, 2007 at 7:33pm #

    This is a good piece. You might also have mentioned that Al Gore is no longer supportive of nuclear energy. He says there are too many unknowns and its lead to the spread of WMD’s. It’s sad to see the way people just ascribe whatever they want to believe to Mr.Obama. I take him at his word and his words leave me unable to support him.

  21. David A. Smith said on July 6th, 2007 at 8:21am #

    Progressives? Hah! Why aren’t any of you questioning the fundamental growth ethic that underlies your debate? The question is not how we can replace (and ultimately add to) the energy we currently consume. The question is how do we tear down the economic structures that have us consuming unsustainable amounts of resources and destroying the environment at the same time.

  22. Max Shields said on July 6th, 2007 at 2:01pm #

    David,

    I”m with you, see my umpteen posts on this subject. The root issue is a self-centered economic system that has bled into our culture and our relationships. Our endless wars, our endless growth mentality, our free market fundamentalism, the our poisoning of the air we breath and the spare nothing mentality to satisfy our greedy habits, whatever it takes to keep the capitalistic machine going, no cost is too much, whether it be the sanctity of the planet or the lives of innocent men, women and children. These are all expendable, because in the end we must have stuff to buy to keep the glutoneous economy on its path of pathological growth. We will chance nuclear annihilation to satify this demand…this beast knows no limits. Ideology, religions, fear are all pretexts for the god of greed. Wherever capitalism reigns, its fangs and torn bodies follow – all collateral waste.

    Barak Obama seems almost incidental (or at least he should be).

  23. Rod Adams said on July 13th, 2007 at 1:06am #

    Like several other people who have commented, I am glad that Obama does not oppose atomic energy. It is a proven, viable means of producing reliable, moderate cost, emission free electricity.

    It is hard to imagine that people who consider themselves progressive can be opposed to electricity – it would be difficult to find a single other product whose availability has improved more lives and freed more people from a life of drudgery. One of the most important and effective components of the New Deal was the Rural Electrification Agency – it delivered electricity to people that previously depended on candles, chopped wood, and kerosene.

    In the developing world, there are billions of people who must depend on gathering firewood, have no lights by which to read and educate their children, and have no way to power refrigeration so they can preserve food or medicines.

    In the developed world, power failures are headline events and there are often fatalities reported because of failed oxygen supplies, heat stroke, or CO intake from improperly vented alternatives like kerosene or candles.

    Conservation is important, but so is reliable supply. Progressive people that care about the environment should understand that atomic fission is clean enough to run inside sealed submarines and reliable enough so that some very smart people willingly spend months at a time sealed up with a reactor as their immediate neighbor.

    Please spare me from citations referring to the work of the Rocky Mountain Institute. It is a tool of the fossil fuel industry that pays most of its bills through consulting contracts and publication fees.

    During the 30 plus years that Amory Lovins, RMI’s founder and two time college drop out, has claimed so many opportunities for energy savings, the world’s energy consumption has more than doubled. That is pretty logical – the world’s population has also more than doubled and the live saving benefits of electrical power have been spread to a larger portion of the population. That growth in electrical power supply should have been from well built, well operated nuclear fission reactors, but thanks to Lovins and others like him, the coal industry gained the lion’s share of the market.

  24. Barrie Machin said on August 31st, 2007 at 9:43pm #

    This indicates how important it is for the whole antinclear movement to combine effectively see my http://www.peacesource.net/.
    It is noteworthy that it has come to light that Reagan told his staff that he would in no circumstancess even retaliate with nuclear weapons they are fundamentally immoral. Hos start wars policy ws meant to bring the USSR to its economic knees. Burning other famileis does not help.
    66% of Americans do not want nuclear weapons.
    The candidates should use this to promote the MPT.

  25. Barrie Machin said on September 10th, 2007 at 5:07am #

    This indicates how important it is for the whole antinuclear movement to combine effectively see my http://www.peacesource.net/.
    It is noteworthy that it has come to light that Reagan told his staff that he would in no circumstances even retaliate with nuclear weapons because they are fundamentally immoral. His Star Wars policy was meant to bring the USSR to its economic knees. Burning other families does not help.
    66% of Americans do not want nuclear weapons.
    The candidates should use this to promote the Non Proliferation Treaty. This means all countries get rid of and renounce the use of nuclear weapons
    Sorry about the earlier errors. It is worth looking at the NPT see links on my website and http://www.motherearth.org/news/news.php

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  27. Sara said on September 19th, 2008 at 4:55am #

    For those of you who want more nuclear energy, think about this. Would you want this in your backyard? Would you want to raise your children near this? Its not as safe as you think. I live near the West Valley Demonstration Project, which is a nuclear waste management facility. It is where they dump whats left over after making nuclear power. It is being closed down now. Read this:
    http://www.nirs.org/radwaste/decommissioning/wvexhumationmemoatt42805c.pdf
    Letting the public know of any leaks is too late, we need to stop it now.

  28. Brad said on October 13th, 2008 at 6:38pm #

    Nuclear power is safe. It is one of the most regulated industries in our country. The individuals who operate the plants are continuously enrolled in sophisticated systematic training programs which include ongoing examinations to illustrate their abilities to operate the plant in a manner that places the safety of the health and public as top priority. The current energy “crisis” that our country faces is a “real” problem. A problem that requires a long term solution that includes reducing the amount of oil that we as a nation consume. Alternatives such as wind and solar are great solutions as well. However, they will not support the energy demand of our society alone. Nuclear power is a solid variable in the equation of energy stability. It currently provides 20% of our nations energy. Along with other energy alternatives, nuclear power is tool that we must not discount as we move away from oil dependence.

  29. Quin said on November 13th, 2008 at 9:35am #

    To anyone interested in global warming and energy I suggest Frontline: Heat – http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/heat/

    Nuclear is the only technology we have that can serve as a reliable base energy source without producing greenhouse gasses. Solar, wind, and hydroelectric are also good supplements to this. Bioenergy technology is not viable yet, although this is a good option to invest in research for the future. See: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080603102752.htm