Skip to main content

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.

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.

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

Nuclear Is a Long-Term Investment for Ohio that Will Pay Big

With 50 different state legislative calendars, more than half of them adjourn by June, and those still in session throughout the year usually take a recess in the summer. So springtime is prime time for state legislative activity. In the next few weeks, legislatures are hosting hearings and calling for votes on bills that have been battered back and forth in the capital halls.

On Tuesday, The Ohio Public Utilities Committee hosted its third round of hearings on the Zero Emissions Nuclear Resources Program, House Bill 178, and NEI’s Maria Korsnick testified before a jam-packed room of legislators.


Washingtonians parachuting into state debates can be a tricky platform, but in this case, Maria’s remarks provided national perspective that put the Ohio conundrum into context. At the heart of this debate is the impact nuclear plants have on local jobs and the local economy, and that nuclear assets should be viewed as “long-term investments” for the state. Of course, clean air and electrons …