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What would a Chernobyl or Fukushima disaster at Indian Point mean?

9:42 am in Uncategorized by Philip Radford

Twenty-five years ago the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded, sending plumes of radiation around the planet and devastating the area surrounding the plant to this day.

The world learned firsthand then about the dangers of nuclear power. Today, the ongoing nuclear disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant is a tragic reminder of the threat that nuclear plants pose to nearby communities and the environment.

Yet many in Washington appear so captured by the nuclear industry that they are still seeking to run old nuclear reactors longer and harder than ever before, and still trying to subsidize the nuclear industry so it can build new reactors.

Will it take a Chernobyl or a Fukushima on US soil before our lawmakers understand that nuclear power is unnecessary, dangerous and expensive?

Despite the spin from the nuclear industry, the truth is that every nuclear reactor has the potential for a Chernobyl-scale release of radiation. Can we imagine what a catastrophe would look like at one of the 104 nuclear reactors in the United States?

1 in 3 Americans live within 50 miles of a nuclear plant, and many plants threaten major cities. More than 17 million people live within 50 miles of New York’s Indian Point, an old nuclear plant in an active seismic zone north of New York City. What would happen in New York City if an earthquake, terrorist attack, or accident led to a catastrophic release of radiation?

We don’t have to live with this threat. Instead of allowing these old reactors to run decades beyond their licensed life spans, we should be shutting them down. Instead of wasting taxpayer dollars to subsidize the construction of new nuclear reactors, we should be investing in safe solutions like renewable energy and energy efficiency.

These technologies are ready now – in the last four years, 30,000 megawatts of wind and solar power have been built in the United States, and 0 megawatts of new nuclear power. Our global energy scenario shows that we truly can meet our energy needs and phase out nuclear and coal power.

Let’s take the lessons from Chernobyl and Fukushima to heart, and phase out nuclear power before the next catastrophe. Read the rest of this entry →

Thoughts on Whose Ass Obama Should Kick

6:39 am in Uncategorized by Philip Radford

President Obama asked yesterday "whose ass to kick" over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. I have a few ideas.

1. Tony Hayward. BP CEO Tony Hayward and his company should be criminally charged for the reckless endangerment of their workers, for violations of the Clean Water Act by dumping millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf, and for stealing the income of the people who rely on the Gulf for their livelihoods. Instead, seven of my colleagues are being aggressively charged with felonies for peacefully calling on the President to stop offshore Arctic drilling. Arrest the real criminals.

2. Lisa Murkowski. Senator Lisa Murkowski is just one of many of our elected officials who seem to be working for the fossil fuel industries instead of in the interest of the American people. As the Gulf Region watches in horror at the impacts of the oil spill on its coasts, its waters, and its economy, the US Senate is scheduled to consider a proposal tomorrow from Senator Lisa Murkowski that would protect oil companies and other big polluters by gutting America’s Clean Air Act.

3. His Own and His Staffs’. Obama and his top staff must take responsibility for their distinct lack of vision in a time of oil, national security, and climate crises, clinging to weak Senate climate legislation instead of pivoting towards a vision of getting the U.S. off of oil by 2030. A smart first step would be to call for all cars to be plug-in electrics by 2030.

The Energy [R]evolution

To eliminate the risks of another BP Deepwater Disaster, we must look away from the dinosaur fossil fuel companies of our past and towards a bright future of clean, renewable energy. It is possible right now to make the changes we need for that future. Don’t believe those who tell you that it’s too hard or too expensive.

Today, my colleagues at Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council released the new Energy [R]evolution report to illustrate the way forward. The report is one of the most comprehensive plans for future production and distribution of sustainable energy systems.

The report provides a detailed practical blueprint for cutting carbon pollution while achieving economic growth by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy and energy efficiency. This phase-out of fossil fuels leads to energy security, independence from world market fuel prices, and a reduction in pollution-related illnesses.

The Energy [R]evolution shows how by 2050 renewable energy sources could provide around 96% of electricity produced in the USA and 74% of our total heating demand, accounting for around 71% of our overall primary energy demand. The blueprint would create about 800,000 jobs in the renewables sector alone, by 2030. The total fuel cost savings in the scenario described could reach a total of $4.5 trillion, or $107 billion per year.

Lack of vision by politicians and a pocket full of corporate contributions has held us back for too long. Our children are counting on us to leave them a planet free from the threat of rig explosions, devastating oil spills, and unchecked climate change, and we have that power. The Energy [R]evolution is here.

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