The Nuclear Reader was written
with the intention of bringing into focus information known and unknown
which surrounds the use of nuclear energy.........
1. Hazards of Low Level Radioactivity
This chapter discusses some
of the Many hazards of low level radioactivity.
Chapter 2. Nuclear Power is Bad
This chapter dispells the
myth that nuclear power is economically viable.
3. The Petkau Effect
This chapter explains the
health damaging effect of low-dose radioactivity.
4. Health Damage from Radioactivity
This chapter clarifies that
there is no safe dose of radiation.
Medical literature on radiation
6. Depleted Uranium
This chapter looks at depleted
uranium as a part of the nuclear energy cycle with attention to military
7. Photos of Radiation Damage
This chapter contains photos
of plant deformities and infant deformaties.
8. Radioactive Waste
This chapter discusses the
fact that there is no plan for long term storage of radioactive waste.
9. Toward Clean Energy
Thsi chapter explores clean
renewable energy sources.
Email: NuclearReader at gmail.com
CHAPTER TWO: NUCLEAR POWER IS BAD BUSINESS
THIS CHAPTER DISPELS THE MYTH THAT NUCLEAR POWER IS ECONOMICALLY
The failure of the U.S. nuclear power program
ranks as the largest managerial disaster in business history. The
utility industry has already invested $125 billion, with an additional
$140 billion to come before the decade is out – and only the blind, or
the biased, can now think that money has been well spent.
It is clear by now that nuclear power is not economically
viable. However, there IS money to be made along the nuclear fuel
cycle for those in uranium and those in plutonium and those who make bombs
and those who use plutonium in space, and those who make depleted uranium
(DU) armaments (see chapter 5 re: DU). But the fact is that nuclear
power, which provides about 15% of the world's electricity, is such an
economic disaster that in the 1970's banks decided they would no longer
invest in nuclear facilities. The nuclear backers then went to the
government for support and received loan guarantees.
Forbes Magazine, February 1986
Robert Alvarez, an Institute for Policy Studies senior
scholar, who was senior policy advisor to the Energy Department from 1993
to 1999, states:
“Wall Street has refused to finance nuclear power
for more than 30 years, rendering new construction impossible. The
Obama administration, in a move to placate Senate Republicans, proposes
to fund new power reactors with some $54.5 billion in federal loan guarantees.
The actual loans will be made by the Federal Financing Bank out of the
U.S. Treasury. Last year, the Government Accountability Office estimated
that these loans have more than a 50-50 chance of failing. Because
of skyrocketing costs, these loans might pay for five reactors and merely
expand the nations electrical supply by less than 1 percent.”
A report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, Nuclear Power:
Still not Viable without Subsidies (Feb. 2011 Doug Koplow
catalogues for the first time the full range of subsidies that benefit
the nuclear power sector. They not only financed the construction
of the nations reactors in the first place, they also enabled their operation
for decades. A major goal of the industry now is to shift the vast
economic risks and costs associated with nuclear power and radiation waste
onto the public. These ongoing subsidies contribute to the perceived
cost advantage of nuclear power.
This 100 page report explains that government subsidies
to the nuclear power industry over the past 50 years have been so large
in proportion to the value of energy produced that in some cases it would
have cost tax payers less to simply buy kilowatts on the open market and
give them away!
The subsidies come in many forms, including tax breaks,
accident liability caps, direct payments and loan guarantees. To
read the report go to: www.ucsusa.org/publications.
Nuclear power companies can ignore the financial aspect
of insurance and corporate liablility in the case of an accident, which
is one less business expense. The Price-Anderson Act of 1957 limits
the amount of insurance that nuclear power plants must carry to about two
percent of the estimated cost of a serious accident, which could be $200
billion or more. This leaves the U.S. Government and taxpayers responsible.
An article in Rolling Stone (Jeff Goodell “The Fire Next Time” Rolling
Stone 1130 (5/12/11): 35-38) points out that nuclear industry regulators
are ignoring risks and boosting industry profits and proposes:
“An idea might be to simply repeal the Price-Anderson
Act and force the nuclear industry to take responsibility for the risks
of running these old plants, rather than laying it all off on the taxpayers...if
nuke owners had to put their own money where their atoms are, the crumbling
old reactors would get cleaned up or shut down in a heartbeat.”
While the numerous subsidies are a financial determinant
in favor of nuclear power, it is the lobbyists who shape opinion.
An article in the Boston Globe points out that “the nuclear power industry
has mounted a concerted lobbying push on Capitol Hill this week to reassure
members of Congress who are concerned about the Japanese nuclear plant
accident” and has been conducting a “media blitz” as well as increasing
political contributions through the political action committee of the industry
arm Nuclear Energy Institute. (Theo Emery and Donovan Slack “Lobbyists
step up efforts to reassure on nuclear energy” The Boston Globe (March
17 2011). Obviously, through these methods lobbyists can steer political
power away from the citizens. If most citizens decided that nuclear power
is not an appropriate energy; even then would we have any say in the matter?
Some people have observed that corporations now own the legislators and
that the rest is just for show. Some even say that Congress is beholden
to those who fund their campaigns and no longer responsible to their constituents.
The damaging ramifications of nuclear power have been
accepted even though they go against the human instinct towards the preservation
of life because nuclear power allows businesses to profit while our life
energy deteriorates . (See chapters 1, 3, 4 and 5). Nuclear
power is profoundly damaging to human health and the “health” of the planet,
and developing and using it requires a willful misunderstanding of the
basis of life, as well as a prioritizing of corporate profits above all
Dr. John Gofman, medical doctor, nuclear chemist and co-discoverer
of plutonium, was a government funded health researcher until he found
conclusive data on radiation health damage that officials did not want
publicized and his lab was closed down in the 1960's.
Dr. Gofman tells us in his elegantly direct book Poisoned
Power (Rodale Press 1979) that:
“The really important questions about nuclear
power are ethical: The use of lies and deception by the nuclear industry
in order to manipulate public opinion, in order to use people, even kill
people, for the benefit of that industry; The acceptance of random murder
and denial of the inalienable right to life as the cost of 'progress';
The need to hold industry employees personally responsible for implementing
hazardous and murderous policies, even if such policies are advocated by
Congress and the President.”
Appeals to ethics are one thing, but an appeal to the bottom
line is another. To quote Forbes magazine of February, 1986:
“The failure of the US Nuclear Power Program
ranks as the largest managerial disaster in business history, a disaster
on a monumental scale. The utility industry has already invested
$125 billion in nuclear power, with an additional $140 billion to come
before the decade is out, and only the blind, or the biased, can now think
that most of the money has been well spent.”
In blatant disregard of these facts there is an ongoing effort
to create a 'nuclear renaissance'. As of fall 2010, 30 applications
for new nuclear reactors are pending. At the same time an article
in the New York Times (Matt Wald, Oct. 16, 2010) points out:
“Low natural gas prices, high new reactor
construction costs and the on-going economic recession have dimmed the
nuclear power industry's hope for a “renaissance” as one of the lead new
reactor proposals at Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant on the Chesapeake
Bay in Maryland may very likely be cancelled.”
There is another example of false optimism in the Olkiluoto
nuclear reactor in Finland, which has been plagued with difficulties.
Slated to cost $4 billion, it has now nearly doubled in price to $7.2 billion.
It is four years behind schedule. The French engineering company
Areva is suing its Finnish customer TVO and TVO is countersuing Areva.
Finland's nuclear regulatory agency found that welders had violated procedures:
the cement used was not the correct grade and the piping did not conform
Researchers from Beyond Nuclear (www.beyondnuclear.org)
point out that the nuclear industry, despite federal backing, was a financial
catastrophe even before the Three Mile Island (Pennsylvania, US 1979) and
Chernobyl (Prypyat, Ukraine 1986) nuclear accidents, due to cost overruns,
construction problems and delays. At the same time that the nuclear
power industry and associated political supporters proclaim a revival,
the financial failure of this industry is crystal clear.
Some key points illustrating this failure are made by
the group Beyond Nuclear:
• A 2009 study by Dr. Mark Cooper of the Institute
for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School, projected that
100 new reactors would cost between $1.9 to $4.4 trillion more than
it would take to meet the equivalent electricity demand with efficient
and renewable energy sources.
Note: As of Spring 2011 the Yucca Mountain repository
for nuclear waste is cancelled. There is no long-term plan for storage.
• Another 2009 report by Citigroup Global Markets Inc.
entitled "New Nuclear - The Economics Say No," identified that construction
costs, power price and operational costs for new reactors are large
and variable enough so as to be dubbed "The Three Corporate Killers."
• All U.S. nuclear reactors, of the current operating
generation, ordered after 1973 were canceled, largely due to excessively
high costs and financial risks.
• During the 1970s and '80s, the nuclear industry abandoned
121 reactors either before or during construction (with sunk costs
in the tens of billions of dollars passed onto shareholders and electricity
consumers) and those that were completed led to still larger increases
in electricity rates.
• A total of $18.5 billion has been congressionally approved
in loan guarantees for potential new reactors. However, President
Obama has requested a total of $54.5 billion in loan guarantees for
new plants and has already awarded the first $8 billion for two new
reactors in Georgia. The Department of Energy has also now awarded
$2 billion in federal loan guarantees to the French corporation,
Areva, for a uranium enrichment facility in Idaho.
• In 2009, Moody's viewed the nuclear industry's "bet
the farm" adventure as such a gamble that the financial service would
take a "more negative view" of companies seeking to build new reactors.
Moody's added that federal loan guarantees "will only modestly mitigate
increasing business and operating risk profiles."
• By 2010, nine of the 26 new reactor units applied for
by U.S. nuclear power companies since 2007, have been cancelled or
indefinitely suspended including new construction applications submitted
by the Missouri-based utility Ameren and Chicago-based Exelon Nuclear.
• More than $30 billion in rate payer funds have gone
into the Nuclear Waste Fund even though no viable solution for the
radioactive waste problem has yet been found. More than $10 billion
of the Fund has already been wasted on the halted Yucca Mountain
Everything considered, let us encourage the emerging clean
energy industries such as wind, geothermal, and solar. It is up to
us. Grasp this moment!
A project of the Physicians for Social Responsibility
addressing the economic and safety realities of the development of new
Beyond Nuclear aims to advocate and activate the public.
A lot of up-to-date information.