Clean energy bill anti-nuclear? If only... | Wis.Community

Clean energy bill anti-nuclear? If only...

Great news for people concerned that the proposed Clean Energy Jobs Act will open the door to more nuclear reactors in Wisconsin: State Rep. Mike Huebsch, an Onalaska Republican who's been trying for years to repeal the state's so-called nuclear moratorium law, says the bill is "anti-nuclear" and "a wish-list penned by Madison’s environmental fringe," one that "obliges the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, CUB, Clean Wisconsin and others..."

That certainly comes as a surprising revelation to WNPJ and other members of a Carbon Free Nuclear Free coalition who have strong objections to the bill, which eliminates the requirement for a federal nuclear waste repository before new reactors can be built. WNPJ and its allies have been working for a year to try to keep the current, common sense law on the books.

The proposed new clean energy bill is a big step backward and will make it much easier to expand nuclear power in the state, which is why the nuclear industry and utilities and pushing so hard for it.

Huebsch sounded off on The Inside Scoop, a conservative website, in a column filled with inaccuracies and misstatements. Read it here. A sampling:

The Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice advocates a “carbon free, nuclear free” state but offers no plan for generating 100% of our electricity from renewables when in-state capacity is currently under 2% according to the most recent Public Service Commission Strategic Energy Assessment. The Networks’ members include the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) and Clean Wisconsin whose representatives served on the governor’s task force...

Politics, not science, is standing in the way of nuclear waste disposal. The safe storage of spent fuel pellets is possible with proven technology. Sixteen years ago, U.S. scientists were on the verge of perfecting technology that would use today’s nuclear waste as fuel, but President Clinton abruptly halted the project. Nuclear power is not part of Governor Doyle’s bill because the 174-page document is a wish-list penned by Madison’s environmental fringe....

Where to begin?

First of all, CUB and Clean Wisconsin are not members of WNPJ, although we would welcome them and other environmental groups. We have worked with them on nuclear issues, specifically in opposing Huebsch's attempt again this session to repeal the "moratorium" law. They support the Clean Energy Jobs Act in its current form; WNPJ wants the nuclear section of the bill taken out or at least strengthened.

There is indeed, a plan to use renewable energy to make the country, including Wisconsin, carbon free and nuclear free by 2050. It's Carbon Free Nuclear Free, a book by Dr. Arjun Makhijani, a blueprint for a 100% renewable energy policy. Huebsch no doubt knows that.

Despite what Huebsch and other nuclear advocates say, there is no safe, permanent way to dispose of high-level radioactive waste, which is deadly for hundreds of thousands of years.

The process he touts to "use today's nuclear waste as fuel" is known as reprocessing, and it does not solve the waste problem. What it does do is separate plutonium and uranium from other nuclear waste contained in spent nuclear fuel. The separated plutonium can be used to fuel reactors, but also to make nuclear weapons. Reprocessing would not reduce the need for storage and disposal of radioactive waste. Worse, reprocessing would make it easier for terrorists to acquire nuclear weapons materials, and for nations to develop nuclear weapons programs. It's why we don't want Iran to have nuclear power reactors.The Union of Concerned Scientists calls reprocessing dangerous, dirty and expensive.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act is far from the anti-nuclear proposal Huebsch portrays. WNPJ wishes it were anti-nuclear, and will continue to push to make the protections for our citizens and environment as strong as possible.


February 27, 2010 - 10:44am