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Obama Misses the Mark On “Clean” Energy

01/28/2010

President Obama revealed last night during his state of the union speech  that he still appears to receive his energy policy talking points from Chicago-based Exelon Corp. In addition to being one of two companies agreeing to pay $1 billion in 2007 to settle allegations of electricity market manipulation, Exelon operates  the largest fleet of nuclear power plants in the country.
 
Obama said, “. . . to create more of these clean-energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives, and that means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country.”
 
Well, here’s a news flash: the only reliable jobs that will created by the multi-billion dollar boondoggle that is nuclear power are the bonuses for top nuclear power executives and more staffing for the French government. Why would Obama repeat the type of misinformation blathered by the Nuclear Energy Institute and others when empirical research shows that roof-top solar, wind, geothermal and energy efficiency are THE cost effective, job-creating solutions to climate change.

Further, all the PR in the world does little to change the fact the nuclear is not “clean”.  In looking for viable solutions to climate change, let’s not swap one bad fuel for another.  Our current nuclear fleet as well as the next generation of reactors that are being proposed are fueled by uranium. Uranium like coal is a finite resources that is mined.  To be used to power nuclear reactors it also requires milling and enrichment of uranium for fuel. All of these processes cause widespread environmental contamination along with serious health and safety hazards. 

Lastly, nuclear power produces radioactive waste that remains dangerous for several hundred thousand years.  Repeat after me: Nuclear Power is not Clean Energy

Tyson Slocum is Director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program

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