October 14, 2009
Tomorrow is the National Don't Nuke the Climate Call-In Day!
Please call both of your Senators offices and tell them to keep nuclear
power out of the Senate climate bill. Recent events, like the John
Kerry/Lindsay Graham op-ed in Sunday's New York Times calling for more
nuclear power in the bill, add to the urgency of this call-in day.
Help keep the Senate's phones ringing all day long!
Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121.
And keep your letters and faxes to your Senators coming, and keep forwarding
the action url to all of your lists: http://org2.democracyinact
Post it on your Facebook pages, Tweet it, spread the word every way
possible. More than 4,000 letters already have been sent to the Senate this
week--but we'll need more than that to beat the nuclear lobbyists. And with
16,000+ people on this e-mail list, that means a lot of you haven't yet
taken action, and haven't yet helped reach the millions more people across
this country who also want to keep nuclear out of the climate bill.
So take action today. E-mail and/or fax your Senators here.
Then spread the word to every list you have, everyone you can think of.
And take action tomorrow. Call both your Senators offices at 202-224-3121.
The basic talking point is simple. If you only get 30 seconds with your
Senators' offices, or an answering machine, just tell them: No nuclear power
in the Senate climate bill, no more taxpayer dollars to support the failed
But if you get a little more time, below are some talking points you may
want to use. These also will be useful for drafting letters to the editor,
op-eds, blog postings and the like--all of which will be very helpful as
well. The more noise and publicity we can make, the better off we'll be.
*Nuclear power already receives a competitive advantage when a price is
placed on carbon. If the nuclear industry cannot compete with such an
advantage, that's its own problem, taxpayers should not be expected to
provide more help to the industry.
*Projected costs for new reactors are stratospheric. In early 2006, the
Nuclear Energy Institute predicted costs for the first few new reactors
would run $2,000/kw, going down to $1,500/kw over time. Instead, recent
estimates include Turkey Point (Florida) at $8,200/kw and Calvert Cliffs-3
(Maryland) and Bell Bend (Pennsylvania) at about $9,000/kw, or $13-15
billion. For example, see: http://www.bellbend.com/faqs.htm
*Cost overruns have been a constant with the nuclear industry. A 1986
Department of Energy study found the average cost overrun for the first 75
U.S. reactors was 207%. Reactors coming online after 1986 typically
experienced even larger overruns. The only two reactors now under
construction in the West-Areva reactors in Finland and France-are currently
75% and 20% over-budget, with years to go before construction completion.
*Electricity from new reactors, as expected with such enormous costs, would
make the 1980s concept of "rate shock" seem quaint. An August 2009 report
from the California Energy Commission, for example, predicts kilowatt/hour
costs for nuclear electricity as high as 27-34 cents/kwh-nearly a tripling
from today's prevailing rate of less than 12 cents/kwh. This report is
available at: http://www.energy.ca.gov/2009publications/CEC-200-20
*Nuclear power is not carbon-free. The nuclear fuel chain is responsible for
fairly significant carbon emissions--at least three times those of wind
power, for example. A recent study by Virginia Tech professor Benjamin
Sovacool on this subject is available here: http://www.nirs.org/climat
*Nuclear reactors use enormous amounts of water, and water will become an
increasingly precious resource in years to come, especially as we grapple
with a warming climate. Allocating water to nuclear reactors now means less
water for people and agriculture down the road. An August 2009 Virginia Tech
study notes 36 states are projected to experience water shortages during the
next decade. http://www.nirs.org/reactorwatch/water/sr46waterdependency.pdf
*Nuclear power is not even the only baseload alternative, as some in the
industry claim. As cited in the August 6, 2009 Wall Street Journal for
example, Spain is building large baseload solar thermal power plants for
about $5,200/kw. While expensive, this is still $2,000/kw cheaper than the
current low estimates for new reactor construction.
*Congress must not pre-judge the administration's re-evaluation of
radioactive waste policy, which has not yet even begun. Specifically, no
money should be spent on expensive, dangerous technologies like
reprocessing, especially when the future direction of waste policy is
Tomorrow, NIRS staff will be going door-to-door in the Senate office
buildings, delivering the thousands of postcards you sent to us (Thanks!)
and the list of 629 U.S. organizations that have signed on to the simple
statement on nuclear power and climate change. We hope to hear those phones
ringing in every office we visit!
Thanks for all you do, but this week, let's all try to do just a little bit
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
Seth R. Gunning
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