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ON THURSDAY, SENATE ENERGY COMMITTEE TO TAKE UP BILLS PROMOTING SMALL MODULAR REACTORS, NUCLEAR LOANS, AND MORE
THE LESSON OF FUKUSHIMA IS NOT SMALLER NUKES--IT'S NO NUKES!
July 12, 2011
We have learned that on Thursday, the Senate Energy Committee is slated to vote on several bills, including its first post-Fukushima nuclear legislation.
Unfortunately, this legislation (as we noted a few weeks ago) isn't about nuclear safety; it isn't about implementing safe, clean alternatives to dirty, dangerous nuclear power; it isn't following the lead of Germany, Italy and elsewhere in ending the threat of nuclear catastrophe in the United States.
It's about pretending Fukushima never happened. It's about building more nuclear reactors in the U.S. And it's absolutely unacceptable.
Tell the Senate now: We will not accept more nuclear power in the U.S., whether small or large, and we certainly won't pay for it!
There are three bills the Senate Energy Committee is likely to consider on Thursday:
S. 512 would require the Secretary of Energy to carry out programs to develop and demonstrate two small modular nuclear reactor designs, one of 300 MW maximum and one of 50 MW maximum. By comparison, new reactors being ordered by utilities are 1,000 MW or more, but several problematic early U.S. reactors--like Yankee Rowe, Big Rock Point, LaCrosse and others--were actually smaller than 300 MW. Fukushima Unit 1 was only 460 MW--not a lot larger than these "small modular" reactors.
Here is a factsheet from our friends at IEER & PSR on some of the problems with "small modular reactors."
S. 1067 would waste $250 million taxpayer dollars over the next five years on a hopeless effort: it would create a new Department of Energy program to try to reduce the manufacturing and construction costs of both large and small new reactors.
And the Committee also may resume consideration of CEDA (Clean Energy Deployment Administration) legislation. This would set up a "clean energy" bank to provide taxpayer loans and loan guarantees to eligible technologies. This legislation does not yet have a bill number, and we haven't seen the full text yet. While there appears to be some improvement over earlier versions (it may not allow unlimited taxpayer loans), it still perpetuates the fiction that nuclear power and some types of coal are "clean energy." Until these dirty and dangerous technologies are removed from the definition of clean energy, this type of legislation must be opposed. Otherwise, the "clean energy bank" will simply become another mechanism to channel taxpayer dollars into large, polluting and irresponsible companies that produce lethal radioactive waste, destroy mountains and generally are not deserving of any support.
You can take action here to tell the Senate that none of these bills are acceptable. Note: while only the Senate Energy Committee is considering these bills at this point, we are targeting the entire Senate because Senators do talk to each other.... But if one of your Senators is on the Energy Committee (list below), we encourage you to also call his/her office (202-224-3121) to register your opposition to these bills.
Finally, we want to thank everyone who has taken action over the past few months against President Obama's proposal for a $36 Billion increase in the taxpayer loan program for new reactor construction (100,000 letters to Congress so far this year!). Your actions have been working: the good news is that the energy appropriations bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee does not contain any increase in the nuclear loan program! We will continue to monitor the situation closely as the bill goes to the House floor and through the Senate and let you know if there is a need to take more action.
Thanks for all you do,
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
Your contributions make our work possible: on radioactive waste; on preventing new reactor construction; on seeking shutdown of dangerous existing reactors; on building a nuclear-free carbon-free energy future. Please make a tax-deductible contribution here, or after you've sent your letters.
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Senate Energy Committee
Chairman Jeff Bingaman (NM)
Ron Wyden (OR)
Tim Johnson (SD)
Mary L. Landrieu (LA)
Maria Cantwell (WA)
Bernard Sanders (I) (VT)
Debbie Stabenow (MI)
Mark Udall (CO)
Jeanne Shaheen (NH)
Al Franken (MN)
Joe Manchin (WV)
Christopher A. Coons (DE)
Lisa Murkowski (AK)
John Barrasso (WY)
James E. Risch (ID)
Mike Lee (UT)
Rand Paul (KY)
Daniel Coats (IN)
Rob Portman (OH)
John Hoeven (ND)
Dean Heller (NV)
Bob Corker (TN)
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