Tuesday, October 16, 2007

John Edwards and his Backwards Anti-Nuclear Energy Stance

Presidential candidate John Edwards was endorsed by Friends of the Earth Action last Sunday primarily because of his stance against nuclear power.

Mr. Edwards, accepting the endorsement, said: “I am opposed to the building of new nuclear power plants, which is different from the position taken by Senator Clinton and Senator Obama.
FOEA’s president Brent Blackwelder had this to say:
“Edwards is razor sharp and clear: we don’t want to go the route of nuclear power plants,” said Mr. Blackwelder, whereas Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton wanted to explore the nuclear option.

“We intend to run an independent campaign to educate the voters,” Mr. Blackwelder said. The canvassing, advertisements and seminars will take place mostly in New Hampshire, where the nuclear issue has resonance because of the nuclear power plant at Seabrook, as well as in other states.

Educate the voters? I wonder if they’ll include these educational facts on nuclear in New Hampshire? In 2006, the only nuclear plant in the state, Seabrook, generated 42 percent of the state’s electricity. Gas generated 27% of the state’s electricity; coal generated 17%; hydro, 8%; renewables, 5%; and oil 1%.

I wonder if Edwards knew those numbers. I would guess no because why would anyone advocate shutting down a nuclear plant that generates the state’s largest bulk of electricity while producing zero greenhouse-gas emissions?

Let’s try a tougher one. According to EPA’s 8-hour ozone designations, parts of the counties of Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham and Strafford in New Hampshire are in non-attainment. For those who don’t know, “ozone contributes to smog, which can lead to asthma attacks and respiratory impairment in young children and the elderly” (NEI NH fact sheet). The Seabrook plant located in Rockingham County helps alleviate this ozone situation by producing emission-free power to the area.

It appears Edwards and FOEA have their priorities backwards. Why spend time educating voters about the “so-called” dangers of nuclear power when there are important issues such as how to reduce air emissions and reliably meet our growing energy needs? Nuclear plants and nuclear used fuel have not injured or killed one person in the U.S. Yet emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels kill everyday.

By rejecting new nuclear plants in the U.S., Edwards will essentially make it impossible to reduce emissions in a way that doesn’t harm the economy. There’s a reason why the Electric Power Research Institute, the National Petroleum Council and Princeton University, to name a few, say that nuclear power must be expanded. It’s because it’s the only base-load, emission-free source of power that has demonstrated it can be built on a large-scale to meet our growing energy demands.

2 comments:

Matthew66 said...

Fortunately, for the north eastern USA, the Canadian Province of New Brunswick is studying the feasibility of adding another reactor to Point Lepreau to export electricity to the USA.

Norris McDonald said...

I have known Brent Blackwelder for 28 years. Brent is a great person. I consider Brent to be a friend. Brent is wrong on nuclear power. So is John Edwards.