The Amy H Remley Foundation  

November 30, 2008

Nuclear-generated power is not the way to go.

published in the Citrus County Chronicle.

Certainly, taxpayers must attend the meeting with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, at the Crystal River Armory on Thursday, December 4th, and ask tough questions of that commission about the Progress Energy nuclear plants proposed for Levy County. Just as the lady featured in the banner position of Monday's CC Chronicle front page said we should (on page four).

Remember that Sunday's CC Chronicle front page sported an apologetic by the President and CEO of Progress Energy on the same subject.? Be alert that that lady is spokesperson for the Coalition of which Progress Energy is a member. Is this a snow job? We must be aware of the world around us too.

In 2002, the United Nations declared, "Water is a limited natural resource and a public good, fundamental for life and health”, and, " The key now is to put people first, and the environment second, but to remember that when you exhaust resources, you destroy people."

E.F.Schumacher, in Small Is Beautiful (1973), cites fossil fuel together with "living nature" as natural capital – the latter including plankton in the oceans, the green surface of the earth, clean air and water. He asserts that squandering fossil fuel threatens civilization, but squandering the capital of living nature around us threatens life itself.

Bishop Lesslie Newbigin, writing a dozen years later asserts, in Foolishness to the Greeks, "Growth ... for the sake of growth...(is) the exact phenomenon which, when it occurs in the human body, is called cancer."

Deforestation (whether of uplands or wetlands) is likened to cancer of the "lungs of the planet", and land degradation likened to melanoma of the very fabric of our land. Our modern society consumes the very basis upon which it has been erected, living on irreplaceable capital, which it happily (foolishly) treats as income. Ask the NRC how much of our earthly lungs are being committed as cancer.

Our local environment is fragile, having been severely strained by years of drought and population growth. Land use maps over a period of time clearly show a coincident depletion of our natural resources. Why now deplete it further ? Ask the NRC.

Our capital markets avoid nuke plants as too risky and not economic. Power companies successfully lobbied Florida's Congress to slide into law FS. 366.93, allowing them to exact capital contributions from customers (a tax?) to pay up front for construction of nuclear generation and distribution facilities. Their shareholders, bond holders and executives benefit – at taxpaying customers' expense. This iniquity is not the American way. Ask the NRC.

In Sunday's Chronicle Mr Lyash (Progress Energy President and CEO) tells us, “While offering cheaper power in the long run, a nuclear plant ... In the long term, this means a reduction on the customer' price,” Not true, unless one ignores billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies,costs to tear down and make safe on decommissioning worn out plant, safely disposing of waste toxic fuel (almost a billion dollars per reactor, assuming no further increases), and accident insurance costs. Catastrophic accident losses are capped at $10.2 billion per operator. Such a loss liability has been estimated at as much as the recent $700 billion treasury bail out. So, everything above the $10.2 billion falls upon the taxpayers (again).

Notwithstanding these omissions comparing as close as possible like with like, nuclear generated electricity cost about 14 cents per kilowatt hour compared to 9 cents per kilowatt hour ( and lower) for clean renewable sourced power. Ask the NRC to say why the economic balance has not already moved in favor of wind, solar and geothermal electricity generation.

A mix involving existing nuclear plants for a transition period may be a reasonable policy but not at added taxpayers' expense, nor at the expense of competing alternative sources.

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