Friends of the Earth, along with the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada and the Sierra Club, launched a coordinated media campaign last week warning that transporting dangerous nuclear waste to the proposed Yucca Mountain waste dump is a recipe for disaster.
Friends of the Earth and the Union of Concerned Scientists discovered the failure of an experimental plutonium fuel assembly test at a South Carolina nuclear plant that has national implications. A test to demonstrate the safety of special fuel processing at Duke Energy’s Catawba nuclear reactor was aborted a year before scheduled; the fuel assemblies grew abnormally long in the reactor. This is a major concern as similar processing is poised to get underway in locations across the U.S.
Friends of the Earth filed a petition with the South Carolina Public Service Commission urging it to reject a request Duke Energy for approval of "preconstruction costs" associated with planning two new nuclear reactors in Cherokee County.
The petition was filed on behalf of South Carolina Friends of the Earth members who are at risk of incurring higher energy costs from the reactors' construction and who are also concerned about potential environmental harm. The "petition to intervene" requests that Friends of the Earth be allowed to become a party of record in Duke Energy’s application process, noting that "Friends of the Earth advocates the pursuit of less risky and less costly alternatives including conservation and efficiency over the unjustified pursuit of costly, dangerous, and unreliable new reactors which create yet more nuclear waste for which there is no safe disposal option."
Under the guise of fighting global warming, the nuclear power industry and its allies in Congress are pushing a plan to construct the first new nuclear power plants in the U.S. in decades, and this plan's lynchpin is to pass federal legislation making taxpayers the unwilling financial underwriters of new plants, through federal loan guarantees.
Did you know that experts estimate that we would need to triple our number of nuclear reactors to make a serious dent in global warming? With just over a hundred reactors currently online in the U.S.A., and at a cost of around $5 billion per reactor, that would require at least $1 trillion (assuming we didn't replace aging plants). Given that cost, and the fact that it takes up to ten years to build a new plant, it would take decades to start meeting the threats of planetary climate change with nuclear power. And that's not even taking into consideration the risk taken by the public with triple the threat of nuclear disaster.