The Newspaper of the San Francisco Bay Chapter
November - December 2007
Don't sign nuclear power initiative
Circulators are gathering signatures for an initiative that seeks to enable construction of more nuclear power plants - the so-called "Power for California" initiative.
Since 1976, California has forbidden new reactors until a way has been found to permanently and safely store high-level radioactive waste. The nuclear lobby has been unable to meet the terms of this law or find a way around it, and so now the industry hopes to vote it out, telling us that nuclear power is the solution to global warming, so let's just get rid of that silly old law and its unpleasant reminder that after 50 years of trying we still don't know what to do with all that ultra-toxic waste.
The Sierra Club, along with virtually every environmental and consumer group in the state, is opposing the initiative. Statewide opposition to the initiative is growing, and signature-gathering appears to be moving at a snail's pace, yet its author, Assemblymember Chuck DeVore (R - Irvine), is so determined to build nuclear reactors in California that on Sep. 26 he introduced a bill to allow the Energy Commission to site new nuclear reactors if 20% of the energy produced is used for desalination.
In fact, building more nukes doesn't help prevent global warming. Even if you're willing to accept the risks - the waste, spills, quakes, meltdowns, proliferation, terrorist strikes, etc. - the plants aren't worth the money. Building nuclear power plants to save us from global warming is like building a pier to save a drowning man. While the pier contractor was arguing their case, you'd be thinking that there must be a better, faster, cheaper way.
The next 10 years are the most critical time for pulling back from the brink of global warming's worst impacts. That's 10 years if we're lucky - 10 years, starting now. The average time to get a nuclear power plant designed, permitted, built, and operational is - 10 years. That's a deal-breaker.
The GRACE Energy Initiative has prepared a report called "False Promises: Debunking Nuclear Industry Propaganda" which effectively summarizes additional reasons for avoiding the nuclear route.
California is the linchpin of the nuclear lobby's hoped-for alternative to a truly sustainable and renewable energy future.
We need to reach out. Tell everyone you know: don't sign it, and don't vote for it.
We have started an informational e-mail listserv to educate people and to bring them together to stop this initiative. Sign on at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nonewnukesca
Together we can defeat this initiative.Rochelle Becker received Sierra Club's 2007 Alliance Award.
© 2007 San Francisco Sierra Club Yodeler
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