News from Beyond Nuclear
May 6, 2008
Sky-Rocketing Reactor Costs Hit Europe: Several weeks ago we revealed that cost estimates for new U.S. reactors were soaring to more than $12 billion, well above the commonly touted $3-4 billion per unit. This week, Wulf Bernotat, the head of the world’s largest power company, Germany’s E.ON, predicted that new reactors proposed for Great Britain could cost at least $9 billion apiece, double their original estimates. The prices do not of course include the potentially massive costs of decommissioning reactors, once closed, nor dealing with the nuclear waste they produce.
Our View: Dr. Bernotat’s projections are to be taken seriously as his company is already enduring the bitter experience of a partnership in the new French reactor under construction in Finland. That reactor – also slated for the U.S. – is reportedly already more than $2.5 billion over budget but Dr. Bernotat predicts a final price tag of almost $7 billion.
What You Can Do: Join with us as we work to prevent obscene giveaways that would Bandaid over the nuclear industry’s financial woes using as much as $500 billion of taxpayer money. That’s the amount potentially hidden in the Lieberman-Warner so-called climate change bill about to come to the floor of the Senate. Call your senators and urge them to oppose and eliminate all nuclear subsidies – whether in the bill or offered as amendments.
Nuclear Renaissance A Sham: Beyond Nuclear is in Chicago this week with our colleagues from Nuclear Energy Information Service to continue to expose the nuclear industry’s preposterous claim that it is enjoying some kind of “renaissance.” As we are sure you have noticed, the nuclear industry is now on a permanent road trip using highly-paid shills to advance its fraudulent claims of regeneration. Beyond Nuclear and NEIS conducted press outreach to coincide with this week’s annual conference of the industry’s trade group – the Nuclear Energy Institute. Coverage includes the Chicago Tribune and National Public Radio.
Our View: The nuclear industry cannot be allowed to get away with its spurious claims unchallenged. As our first story illustrates, the only way the nuclear industry can survive its enormous costs is to once again milk the public purse. Its renaissance is in reality a relapse, a costly habit enabled entirely by federal funding. Without it, the nuclear industry would find itself in the throes of sudden death, a far cry from a “renaissance”.
Hot Legacy: In a central chapter of his intriguing book, The World Without Us, Alan Weisman examines abandoned nuclear sites that have become apparent “havens” for wildlife. But as Weisman points out, the abundance of species in the Chernobyl zone and at the former Colorado nuclear weapons complex at Rocky Flats, may paint a misleading picture. In his chapter, Hot Legacy, he writes of Rocky Flats:
Regardless of the grim business that went on here, these animals seem to be doing fine. However, while there are plans to monitor the human wildlife managers for radiation intake, a refuge official admits doing no genetic tests on the wildlife itself.
“We’re looking at human hazards, not damage to species. Acceptable dose levels are based on 30-year career exposures. Most animals don’t live that long.”
Maybe not. But their genes do.
Great Lakes United: Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear serves on the Nuclear-Free/Green Energy Task Force of Great Lakes United (GLU), a coalition of 170 U.S., Canadian, and First Nations organizations. On May 2nd, GLU passed three anti-nuclear resolutions at its annual general meeting: to end subsidies to nuclear power and fossil fuels, instead investing those taxpayer funds in real answers to the climate crisis such as energy efficiency and renewables; to prohibit uranium mining in the Great Lakes Basin; and to block turning radioactively contaminated former nuclear reactor sites, such as Big Rock Point in Michigan, into state parks as a clear attempt to transfer liability and risks from the polluters onto the public. Beyond Nuclear joined GLU as an organizational member, and looks forward to its continued collaboration with the largest environmental coalition in the Great Lakes Basin.
Will You Paws for Peace? Beyond Nuclear will be putting together a 2009 calendar that will also serve as our first Annual Report. The calendar is called Paws for Peace and a Nuclear-Free World. It will be available in the fall. It features quality black and white photos of the animals that belong to our friends, family and colleagues. Your favorite animal could be one of them! Simply submit a high-quality black and white photo (or a good quality color photo we can convert) as a JPG file to: firstname.lastname@example.org with a short description about your animal, yourself and your efforts to achieve a world beyond nuclear. We will select from the best of the bunch. No snail mail submissions please. (Friendly tip: the higher quality photos will be given preference.) The deadline is June 30, 2008.
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Beyond Nuclear aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abandon both to safeguard our future. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an energy future that is sustainable, benign and democratic. Beyond Nuclear staff can be reached at: 301.270.2209. Or view our Web site at: www.beyondnuclear.org
Beyond Nuclear at NPRI
6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 400
Takoma Park, MD 20912
Tel: 301.270.2209 Fax: 301.270.4000