I’m Tom, Friends of the Earth's southeastern nuclear campaigner, writing to you from Columbia, South Carolina, where I’m working to stop dangerous nuclear reactor construction. New reactor projects in Georgia and South Carolina are leading the way nationally. If these projects are approved, they will open the door to more construction around the nation.
Here's what we're up against: the nuclear industry wants to build a new, untested, unlicensed reactor design -- the Westinghouse AP1000 -- in South Carolina, Georgia and several other sites around the country. There are serious safety concerns about the AP1000, but the industry is pushing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to approve the design without asking important questions.
You can help. Join me in telling the NRC to suspend their fast-tracked approval of the AP1000. Send your comments to the NRC now!
We've got a big fight ahead of us. The nuclear industry has a lot of money and politicians on its side. For example, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) received nearly $45,000 in donations from the nuclear industry and energy companies during the previous election cycle -- when he wasn’t even running.
Last month, I asked Sen. Graham about those donations at an event at Duke Energy's Onocee nuclear plant in South Carolina, and he boasted, “The reason people in the nuclear power industry support me is because I believe in what they do.” He did not mention that with his support, the U.S. Senate has provided billions of dollars in potential preemptive bailouts and insurance for the nuclear industry over the last few years.
The state legislatures in Georgia and South Carolina have both passed laws that allow utility companies to raise customers’ rates to pay for reactors that haven’t been built -- and to keep the money if the company cancels the project. Not only do people have to bear the health and safety risks of a nuclear disaster, but they’re also being asked to bear the financial risks of building new reactors, which could cost from $5 billion to $10 billion each, or more.
Add your voice to the conversation. Tell the NRC that you don’t want an untested nuclear reactor to be built in South Carolina -- or anywhere in the United States.
The NRC's 75-day public comment period on the AP1000 design started in February, three weeks before the disaster began in Japan. Even though they have pledged to review all U.S. reactors in the wake of the crisis, the AP1000 licensing process continues to barrel along. If the NRC is truly concerned about safety, it will put the AP1000 -- and all new reactor applications -- on hold until it has learned the lessons from Fukushima.
Although the nuclear lobby’s money and power have been frustrating at times, it’s encouraging to see that more and more people are coming together, hungry for finding good solutions to problems. I am sure that if more of us stand together for safe, inexpensive energy solutions -- especially efficiency, conservation and renewables -- we’ll be able to have an honest discussion about our energy future.
Will you stand with me? Tell the NRC to stop the AP1000 license application now.
Thank you for your continued support,
Friends of the Earth