eNewsChannels COLUMN: The Obama Administration wants to triple the already $18.5 billion appropriated for new nuclear reactors to $54.5 billion in America’s 2012 Budget, which is being decided any day. Plus Coloradans have a deadline of March 15, whether to fund a Nuclear Plant in Pueblo. The alternative is to insist those billions be shifted to develop a sustainable Green Powered America with renewables: wind, solar, biothermal, and tidal turbines.
Here are some mind-blowing latest numbers and scientific and spiritual breakthroughs and to help determine which energy sources are authentically cost-effective, clean, and safe, to wisely merit investing our hard earned billions. Both are landmark decisions since they take us down paths that affect tens of thousands of generations of children. Therefore it is a moral imperative to choose wisely.
Pope Benedict recently joined the late Pope John Paul 11, an avid skier, in addressing our integrity with Nature, urging humanity, “To resist the temptations of productivity and profit that work to the detriment of the respect of Nature. We need a healthy balance with Nature to avoid putting people’s lives at risk.”(AP) After also warning about the (suicide) Genetically Modified Seeds, Pope Benedict joined other spiritual leaders in making an historic decree related to water.
Shall we further invest in nuclear energy that provides some energy and jobs? Or go the way of other G8 countries, which are now opening their massive wind, solar, and geothermal projects that are solving their energy needs. Its citizens are also proud and relieved they are preserving their clean air and water for their children while getting off the grid so that their businesses could bounce back in case Nature or Man knock out electricity for weeks or more and with it computers, phones, gas stations and food supplies. Plus they have reduced worry about risk of a Chernobyl or Gulf Oil spill.
While many G8 countries also have supplemental nuclear energy, America ranked 7th out of 8th in green progress at the UN’s 2010 Copenhagen Climate Summit. Yet at the 2011 Cancun Summit, the U.S. wisely agreed to contribute $100 billion toward funding renewable energy, (not nuclear), for developing countries to prevent them from going our ‘high emissions’ way that would destroy Earth’s biosphere. What about the same for Americans? Which begs the question, is there any safe nuclear?
A TRAIN OF NUCLEAR WASTE COULD REACH AROUND THE EQUATOR
Russian President Gorbachev made some amends for their Chernobyl and nuclear proliferation by founding the Green Cross to warn humanity about the extreme dangers of all things nuclear, including about the massive radioactive waste since no one has found a way to stop radiation leaks into the environment and communities.
Time Magazine’s Peter Essick described the U.S. and world’s nuclear storage dilemma: “Load these tailings (transuranic waste, low and mixed low-level waste, and tailings from nuclear energy, bombs, uranium mines and mills) into railroad cars, then pour the 91 million gallons of the wastes into tank cars, and you would have a mythical train that would reach around the equator.” Plus experts remind us of Murphy’s Law, a Chernobyl or 3 Mile Island could be just a human error, budget shortage, or terrorist act away.
100,000 YEARS OF RADIOACTIVE CONTAMINATION
I am embarrassed to say that I did not know that our American Nuclear plants have been contaminating the water and man for 100,000 years or more. And that radiation kills all life forms it comes in contact with. Yet we have seen how Nuclear Reactor Meltdowns and explosions have created generations of deformed children around Chernobyl and a high incidence of cancer in workers and surrounding communities. A Navy veteran who worked on a nuclear powered facility in Antarctica just died riddled with 200 tumours. www.newsnet5.com/dpp/news/local_news/investigations/nuclear-plant-leak-suspected-of-causing-cancer
POPE BENEDICT DECLARED, “IT IS A SIN TO POISON THE WATER.”
Thanks to researchers in 11 countries and a Nobel Prize winner in the YouTube video, WATER – The Great Mystery, we know a lot more about how precious the purity of our water is: “The last original water on Earth in Venezuela has 40,000 X the body activation as bottled or tap water. Radiation is the biggest threat to water and therefore all life forms, including humanity since we are mainly water. Radiation (in microwaves and nuclear anything), weakens in our brains our drive to survive. It is likely a contributor to our tribes having the high suicide rate in America per capita since nuclear plants, mills and dumps contaminate the water and air, and many are located near reservations without tribal consent, like the uranium mine under the Laguna Pueblo and on the Lakota reservation depicted in the South Dakota film “Thunderheart.”
Since there is no technology that can purify water of the most dangerous toxins: radiation, mercury, pharmaceuticals and pesticides, to safely drink or be used in agriculture and Nature, such as snowmaking, we need to stop contaminating our water, the key to life, in the first place. These are some of the many reasons, including suicide being against most religions, that renowned Seneca Elder, Robert John Knapp, whose Iroquois have a water prophesy, inspired Pope Benedict in 2008 to declare, “It is a sin to poison the water.”
WHICH IS MORE COST EFFECTIVE, NUCLEAR OR RENEWABLES?
I had thought that people would only consider putting their communities and children’s health and future at risk by going nuclear if they couldn’t afford the safe, clean, risk free renewable way to go, especially in this economic downturn, where everyone is trying to save even pennies. In looking into the economics, I was shocked: WIND ENERGY COSTS 1 CENT PER KOLOWAT-HOUR.
“When clean, no-risk wind energy first began to grow in California,” a Native American Elder pointed out, “it cost 38 cents per kilowatt-hour. Today it is one cent.” And that’s according to President of the Institute of Energy, Dr. Arjun Makhijani. His studies found that “The US could have low-carbon energy without nuclear power, and that wind and solar energy would be cheaper and safer than nuclear since there is no risk of catastrophic downside and phenomenal cleanup costs.” earthsky.org/energy/arjun-makhijani-believes-nuclear-power-is-too-costly-too-risky .
Time magazine notes corroborated that: “Nuclear plants’ capital costs are out of control and conclude that: Most efficiency improvements have been priced at 1¢ to 3¢ per kilowatt-hour, while new nuclear energy is on track to cost 15¢ to 20¢ per kilowatt-hour. And no nuclear plant has ever been completed on budget.” www.americanprogress.org/issues/2009/01/nuclear_power.html .
“US and foreign corporations are allowed by Congress to build high risk nuclear-related projects, which contaminates our waters and air, yet U.S. tax payers fund these projects for millions and billions, without receiving any royalties, yet the corporations receive huge profits. And it’s all in exchange for corporations contributing millions to Congressional campaigns.” – Ralph Nader`s “Cutting Corporate Welfare.”
That includes the Pueblo Plant, as well as the proposed Canadian uranium mill in Paradox, in Southern Colorado, which plans to sell ‘yellow cake’ used in nuclear bombs to Asia, including Korea.” (www.denverpost.com/news/ci_16943858). Nuclear proponents even admit the water can never be restored to its original levels of purity, yet communities end up spending billions on the clean up since the owners don’t live up to their promises. Many also do not provide a community evacuation plan. So ask.
LEADING SOLAR ENERGY STATES
Joan Seeman, Sierra Club’s Colorado Guardian, praised Colorado’s Ken Salazar, President Obama’s Secretary of the Interior, for approving Solar Energy Projects on BLM land in California. His press release reports “that jobs will be created and it promotes clean energy…. with minimal threat and cost to the planet and the public.” There was also a public hearing on March 7th in Alamosa Colorado on an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for a BLM solar project. Salazar is now taking steps to preserve Colorado’s world renowned Snow Sports and Eco and Mesa Verde tourism, and providing jobs harnessing this Sunshine state to become a leading Solar Energy State!
The city of Wray in Colorado is already using wind energy through their electrical provider from the super windy Great Plains thanks to Native Energy, which won a World Clean Energy Oscar in Switzerland recently. Fifteen tribes in the Upper Great Plains are standing by to implement that award winning plan of their Intertribal Council on Utility Policy (COUP), for tribal wind on the WAPA grid. COUP has proposed a CLEAN Contract policy to bring tribal wind onto the federal grid through rate-based, long-term, fixed-priced stand offer contracts for wind power as their part of fulfilling President Obama’s goal: “80 percent of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources.” indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/ict_sbc/clean-contracts-for-indian-country/ .
Thanks to Aspen Ski Company’s green leadership: Solar restaurant, some wind powered lifts, and biodiesel snowcats plus mass transit, along with Ute and Tibetan ceremonies, Aspen has been blessed with consistently abundant snow. Nuclear fallout from increased nuclear protects may disrupt those hard earned rebalanced snow cycles.
RENEWABLES WIN HANDS DOWN ECONOMICALLY
Shifting the billions budgeted for nuclear energy to renewables right now, including Solar in Colorado, can finally bring its costs down to that of wind. “Once panels are installed on the rooftops, solar costs nothing because it needs zero maintenance not even cleaning!” said a delighted owner.
So not even counting the unfathomable costs of catastrophes like Chernobyl and the Gulf oil spill, added to skyrocketing nuclear waste storage, water and crop contamination, melting of the glaciers, plus the cost to health and ongoing clean up costs of nuclear, which are also the downsides of oil and coal, renewables win hands down for America.
WARNING – NUCLEAR INDUSTRY SPENT $650 MILLION ON MARKETING & SELLING CONGRESS
Many of us Americans have not known these safety and cost comparisons as a result of: “Nuclear Industry Spending $650 million over the Last Decade to Sell Public and Congress on New Reactors.” That was the 2010 headlines of the Union of Concerned Scientists, which included Stanford’s late 2007 Nobel Prize Winner, Dr. Stephen Schneider, a skier and consultant to Aspen Ski Company and partner of our North American Elders. They scientists warned, “DON’T BE TAKEN IN BY CLAIMS THAT THE NEW NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS ARE ‘CLEAN ENERGY’ OR ‘EMMISIONS FREE.’”
They revealed how “The nuclear industry has latched onto CO2 as a selling strategy, but more informed people know that CO2 is only one of many greenhouse gases. These claims only refer to CO2 output (carbon dioxide gas), and on closer examination are false. The water vapour from cooling towers, (the worst greenhouse gas), at the nuclear plants generates massive thermal waste heat.”
Given there are over a thousand nuclear reactors worldwide, 104 in the U.S., this heat adds up to nuclear energy being a significant contributor to melting our glaciers, a little know fact, similar to the tar sands oil extraction in Canada that is together heating up and killing our North American forests. Yet the licensing process for Nuclear Plants is being fast tracked in Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas, and thousands planned.
$36 BILLION TO SUBSIDIZE NUCLEAR ENERGY IN 2012 BUDGET
“Nuclear power is so destructive to the environment and extraordinarily expensive to build nuclear utilities, that is why they can’t find private money to build new reactors, and want you to lend them the money for new reactor construction,” says NukeFree.org, “Unfortunately, President Obama wants you to lend them the money too. His 2012 budget proposes tripling the nuclear loan program, adding $36 Billion to the $18.5 Billion approved in 2007 — $10.2 Billion of which is still unspent. He also wants to spend $500 million over the next five years to develop new ‘small modular reactors.’”
NukeFree.org says, “If those reactors were commercially viable, they would be developed on their own. The nuclear industry is wealthy– it could spend that money if it wanted to, but they would rather you paid for it through cutting programs for the poor, health, children and sustainable environment. After all, the industry has spent $650 million just on lobbying and campaign contributions over the past decade.”
SEC STOPS DEVELOPER OF PUEBLO NUCLEAR PLANT FROM BUILDING IN IDAHO
Idaho is a prime example of the destruction: SunValleyOnline.com reported that the SEC blew the whistle on the economic misrepresentation of their nuclear developer: “SEC Suspended AEHI Stock Trading: Feds Probing Nuke Developer’s Finances” on December 14, 2010.” sunvalleyonline.com/2010/12/14/sec-suspends-aehi-stock-trading-feds-probing-nuke-developers-finances .
This happened after their world famous ski communities realized the downside of Idaho’s National Laboratory, a huge nuclear waste Superfund site near magical Sun Valley, where I once lived. Millions of cubic feet of radioactive waste contaminated tens of millions of cubic feet of soil and the Snake River Aquifer 600 feet below.” As a result, the developers could not find investors or even one community site that wanted more nuclear heartaches.
AEHI is the same developer of the proposed Nuclear Plant in Pueblo, which will be decided on March 15. Colorado sportsmen and ranchers can now learn from Idaho’s costly lessons, misinformation, and legal challenges. “Now a spokesperson for ‘Puebloans for Energizing our Community’ is promoting the nuclear power plant, after distancing himself from AEHI, claiming they were actually a major consultant, and there could never be a Chernobyl or Three Mile Island here.”
SWEDEN SHIFTS FROM NUCLEAR TO RENEWABLE ENERGY
Generations of Russians are still suffering from Chernobyl’s nuclear meltdown and along the thousand mile path of fallout that even wiped out the reindeer herds, the subsistence food of the Laplanders in the far North. All from once thinking that nuclear is a safe clean alternative. Those are some of the reasons why Onondaga Iroquois Chief Oren Lyons convinced the Prime Minister of Sweden, home of the Nobel Peace Prize, to switch back from nuclear to renewable energy. That makes Sweden’s “highest standard of living in the world” sustainable, and so should America.
PENDING PUEBLO COLORADO NUCLEAR PLANT – March 15th Decision Day Despite the SEC setback, the Nuclear Power Plant in Pueblo, Colorado may be built unless Colorado citizens tell representatives now, NO NUKE ENERGY. Idaho, as well as Houston’s radioactive drinking water, is a preview of things to come for Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, unless informed citizens stand up for their children.
“COLORADO’S REAL ESTATE PRICES COULD PLUMMET”
Having lived in Telluride and Aspen, attracted to the majestic pristine Rockies, my Colorado ski friends, including Natives, asked me to help. One is Telluride Ski Instructor, Rabbi Michael Saftler, the self appointed guardian of their wetlands and beaver pond. I was shocked hearing that there is radioactive uranium mill tailings in Durango on one side Telluride and on the other Paradox’s leaking uranium waste dump, and now the proposed Canadian uranium mill next to it, as well as the proposed Pueblo plant. Approval of either project “could open the floodgates of the industry, and reopen many Colorado uranium mines,” proponents say.
Saftler, also a real estate broker, says “Given the 100,000 years of contamination there is no going back. I pray that fellow mountain communities take this critical moment to prevent their homes and land prices from plummeting, so it’s got to stop NOW. Who wants to come ski, vacation or live in an irradiated zone?”
FIVE NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS WEIGH IN
Five Nobel Prize winners, Ethical Scientists and the North American Elders agree that it is critical to stop poisoning and start purifying our water and mountains in this eco crisis to rebalance Mother Nature’s cycles so she doesn’t have to around 2012. Investing in renewable energy also protects our standard of living with sky rocketing oil prices from Middle Eastern people bravely fighting for their rights to prosperity.
THE GOOD NEWS!
The Nuclear Information and Resource Service reported that “President Obama made a proposal last year for $36 Billion for new reactor loan guarantees, and thanks to public opposition he didn’t get one dime of it.”
57 percent of AMERICANS WANT TO CUT NUCLEAR SUBSIDIES FROM BUDGET
The great news is that the “Wall Street Journal/NBC News public opinion poll released on March 3, found cutting subsidies for new reactors is the Americans People’s single most popular possible budget cut, with 57 percent agreeing.”
If it makes common sense that the nuclear industry shouldn’t get one more penny, click to sign the petition that tells your representatives to: Demand the Senate delete this $54 billion Nuclear energy giveaway from the 2012 Budget and the 2011 Continuing Resolution: www.beyondnuclear.org/actnow/ .
By phone tell them to shift those billions to renewable energy, with some left over going to restore programs for the poor, environment, sustainable organic farming (including in Colorado), children, students and Planned Parenthood. Then tell the White House what you want: 202-456-1111.
Coloradoans, please call Congressmen Scott Tipton, and Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennett at 202-224-3121. Tell them not to mess with Colorado’s Ski Mecca – that’s millions of jobs, compared to approx 150 jobs at nuclear facilities – so NO on the Pueblo Nuclear Plant” – deadline March 15. And NO on the Canadian-owned Paradox Uranium Mill, and NO to the Senator Udall’s Nuclear Power 2021 Act (S. 512),for small modular reactors, and to SHIFT that money to renewables. All these could be decided any day.
Thank Secretary Salazar for assisting Colorado and California become Solar Energy leaders, and to offer nuclear challenged communities, like Pueblo and Paradox, healthy solar job alternatives to protect the children and economy of Colorado. (202) 208-3100, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org .
This is how to be heroes to our children and Earth Family as it takes a Village! And kids, keep telling your parents what you want. Because they love you and want the best for you, they will listen and act! And bless you for spreading the word that enjoying a Green-powered Earth is just a click and call away.
PHOTO Caption: Stunning Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride, a source of the first clean electric AC, (replacing flickering DC), developed by Tesla and Westinghouse, which revolutionized the world. Here’s the next leap in “Clean Energy.” Photo credit: Suzy Chaffee.
Article is Copr. © Suzy Chaffee. All rights reserved. Opinions expressed by author do not necessarily reflect opinions or position of this magazine on any topic presented.