In a strange, Orwellian misuse of language, a proposal in the NYS Clean Energy Standard would define nuclear energy as “clean.” By doing so, ratepayers would be obliged to subsidize the nuclear power reactors in upstate NY which are losing money. Rather than the companies which own these facilities taking the consequences of their failing business, we ratepayers would have to bail them out.
The worst part is that keeping these plants open perpetuates the potential disaster we all face by living near these aged, dangerous reactors. I and others spoke about this at hearings held by NYS in May to solicit comments on the Clean Energy Standard plan before it is finalized. Here are just some of the testimonies:
Tommy Rock, a Navajo from Flagstaff, Arizona, spoke about the radioactive uranium dumps on his reservation that are polluting the water. These dumps result from the first step in the nuclear fuel cycle. Since nuclear reactors have to be periodically refueled, the continued operation of reactors such as the 4 in upstate NY will add to the desecration of Native American land.
Kristina Andreotti, staff with Citizen Action, testified while holding her baby son. She often looked at him as she spoke tearfully about the radioactivity he can be regular exposed to being downwind of nuclear reactors. She also agonized over what world we are leaving him and others of his generation since there is no solution for the safe storage of radioactive waste, some of which is active for hundreds of thousands of years.
I pointed out that NYS is already host to a nuclear dump at West Valley (near Buffalo). When the company operating the dump went out of business, we taxpayers were left with the responsibility for an attempt at cleanup. This attempt has been going on for years, with no end in sight, while leaky containers threaten nearby water.
I also stated that both FitzPatrick and Nine Mile Point 1 nuclear facilities have the same flawed GE Mark 1 containment vessel design as failed at Fukushima, Japan a few years ago. A meltdown of the fuel rods resulted when electricity failed and the cooling water couldn’t be sent through the system. This ended with a massive release of radioactivity throughout a large area of Japan. The same catastrophe could happen in upstate NY because a terrorist attack or a severe ice storm in Oswego County could knock out the electricity and backup generators. A reporter on the scene in Fukushima provides an idea of how difficult, if not impossible, a cleanup is.
“The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) is slowly dismantling the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant, a process that’s expected to cost at least $15 billion…. (Chief Decommissioning Officer of TEPCO) Masada estimates that decommissioning the Fukushima Daichi site – removing all nuclear and radiological hazards – will take three to four decades, although he acknowledges that the technologies required to scoop melted fuel out of the damaged reactors don’t even exist yet. Engineers are studying the problem, he says… There’s a huge risk involved. If you make one small mistake, it might cause a huge problem for the local people, or even worldwide.” (from the May 13, 2016 issue of THE WEEK magazine, excerpted from POPULAR SCIENCE)
CONTACT GOV. ANDREW CUOMO
Gov. Cuomo needs to hear that the renewable energy portion of the Clean Energy Standard is good but the nuclear subsidies should be removed from the proposal as well as any other plan the state might come up with to keep these aged facilities limping along. Please leave a message at (518)474-8390. To leave a recorded message, press #2. To leave a message with a person, press #3.
Linda is active with the Sierra Club and with People for Animal Rights. For more information, contact her at LDESTEFANO3@twcny.rr.com or (315)488-2140.
Translated into Spanish by Rob English