Front Porch Blog

Nuclear Won’t Shoot Straight with Georgia

The Southeast Climate Action Network puts out a newsletter, and I thought that this was one of the more interesting things in this issue. But they are worth checking out. Liz Veazy has quite a track record.
Nuclear energy continues to smokescreen people in the southeast.

Citizens who attended a public meeting held by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on May 11, failed to get reassurance from the federal regulators on a host of pressing issues such as nuclear waste, security risks, safety issues and environmental concerns. The meeting was held to discuss plans for at least one additional reactor at Southern Company’s Nuclear Power Plant Vogtle. Some present were concerned that the new permitting process is confusing and relatively untested. No one at the meeting addressed what will be done with additional nuclear waste, nor did they discuss the speculation that under the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), the high level nuclear waste from the new plant and other nuclear plants across the country may be stored nearby at the Savannah River Site.

A lot of people tout nuclear energy as the next big thing. They say that windmills are an eyesore, and that nuclear energy is clean. “Even environmentalists want nuclear energy!” I’ve heard them say.

They’re wrong. Firstly, I grew up across the Tennessee River from the Sequoyah Nuclear power plant, talk about an eyesore.

It also emits a Mordor-ish orangey/red glow at night, blocking out the stars.
Then there’s the issue of storage. Surely Yucca Mountain isn’t the solution. 621 significant earthquakes since 1996? Highway transportation of radioactive materials through 43 different states?

No thanks. Ill take windmills.

Environmentalists think that nuclear energy production is an improvement over coal and other fossil fuels. Environmentalists also understand that a diverse, localized energy system is the only way that we will make the American energy system stable, sustainable, and entirely domestic. Wind, solar, biomass, and a host of others all have a place in the American energy equation. Perhaps nuclear and coal do to. But I’d prefer to see them go the way of the elephant bird.

Also, the Savannah River Site is a 310-square-mile facility built to help manage nuclear waste. Not exactly ringing my “environmentally friendly” bells.

To wrap up the Southeast Environmental Action Network article:

The audience also learned that Southern Company is not required to evaluate the need for power or alternative energy sources in the Early Site Permit (ESP). Additionally, once the ESP is awarded it is valid for 20 years, meaning if Southern Company decided not to construct the nuclear reactor right away they could hold the permit for two decades, regardless of new scientific findings or changes in the needs of the community.

Hmmm…at least they’re consistent.




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