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THE SENATE'S LESSON FROM FUKUSHIMA IS: MORE NUKES?
TELL YOUR SENATORS TO STOP, TAKE A LOOK AROUND, AND START WORKING FOR AMERICANS, NOT THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY!
May 6, 2011Click here to send a message to your Senators and tell them to wake up: not one more taxpayer dime for nuclear power--small, large or in-between!
For some in the U.S. Senate, it's as if Fukushima never happened--isn't still happening....
Certainly, a lot of Senators haven't gotten around to understanding that there just may be some lessons from Fukushima we need to learn--and quickly.
Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said it is likely that a bill to encourage the development of "small modular reactors" will be voted on this month. So the first post-Fukushima legislation to emerge from the U.S. Senate will be a bill to force taxpayers to pay for development of new nuclear reactors?
The text of the bill, S. 512, is here.
The bill would force taxpayers to pay 50% of the design cost for two new reactor designs, one of no more than 300 Megawatts, the other no more than 50 Megawatts. In addition, taxpayers would have to pay 25% of the costs to get these designs licensed by the NRC.
The NRC would be required to approve the designs by January 1, 2018 and approve licenses by January 1, 2021 (so much for the idea that the NRC might have to reject a design or license....).
Small does not mean safe, of course. At 439 MW, Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1 wasn't much bigger than one of these reactors. But its explosion, and melting of 50-70% of its fuel, has been heard around the world.
And the idea behind small modular reactors (SMRs) is to put a lot of them--10 or so--in one location. One clear lesson from Fukushima is that crowding reactors together makes multiple reactor accidents more likely, and makes it more difficult to fight the consequences of an accident. This entire concept behind the SMRs must end.
Small also does not necessarily mean cheap. Reactors grew large because of economies of scale--building smaller ones wasn't cost-effective in the past, and it won't be cost-effective now. Thus, taxpayers are once again being asked to spend their money on an uneconomical technology that the utilities themselves won't spend their money on.
Click here to send a message to your Senators and tell them to wake up: not one more taxpayer dime for nuclear power--small, large or in-between!