ADVOCATES FOR CONSUMERS AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Ohio Citizen Action * Earth Day Coalition * Environmental Health Watch * Portsmouth/Piketon Residents for Environmental Safety & Security *
League of Conservation Voters Education Fund * Ohio Sierra Club * Citizen Power * Citizens Protecting Ohio * Ohio Environmental Council *
Coalition for a Safe Environment * Toledo Coalition for Safe Energy *
Ohio Public Interest Research Group * Safe Energy Communication Council
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACTS: see signatory list below
Tuesday, January 29, 2002
STATEMENT OF OHIO ORGANIZATIONS OPPOSING
HB 414, THE NUCLEAR ENERGY STUDY COMMITTEE
Thirteen of Ohio’s top consumer and environmental organizations today announced their formal opposition to the passage of Ohio House Bill 414, which will study “the feasibility and desirability of an expanded role for nuclear energy to meet the future energy needs of Ohio and, if the committee determines it necessary and appropriate, to identify specific policies that this state should undertake to remove barriers to or provide incentives for such an expanded role.”
As advocates for consumers and the environment, we strongly oppose the waste of both time and money the Ohio Legislature proposes to expend in examining nuclear energy.
No more study or research is needed. Research already abounds for this industry and the results are in: Nuclear Power is Not Clean, Not Cheap and Not Safe.
Billions of dollars have been invested in an industry disproportionately reliant on government handouts and ratepayer subsidies to meet its bottom line.
· According to the Congressional Research Service, federal spending on energy research and development for the half century from 1948 to 1998 focused primarily on nuclear power. In 1999 dollars, 59% of cumulative R&D spending went to nuclear.
· Despite this massive infusion of federal funds (and billions more for indirect subsidies, such as the Price-Anderson Act's limits on nuclear industry liability for accidents), nuclear power meets only 19% of our nation's electricity demands.
· Burdened with an aging fleet of reactors that is wearing out much faster than predicted, the U.S. Department of Energy predicts that nuclear power’s share of electrical generation will fall even further to 7% by 2020.
· Extensive study and examinations of the nuclear industry already exist. There is no reason for Ohioans to invest more to study a failing industry.
· Following September 11th, early investigations quickly revealed that nuclear power plants rank high on the list of potential terrorist targets.
· Security evaluations by U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) demonstrate that nearly 50% of the country’s nuclear plants have failed security tests when teams of privately contracted mock terrorists have
· repeatedly defeated perimeter security detection at atomic facilities, in some cases entering the control room with a fake gun and pretending to destroy key safety components of the reactor to simulate core damage.
· The NRC admits nuclear power plant containment structures were not designed to survive a commercial airline crash.
· While other states deploy the National Guard and call upon the U.S. Coast Guard to protect citizens from what are now regarded as top terrorist targets (nuclear power plants), why would Ohio’s Legislature, in a state which has taken no government action to further protect its families, choose instead to “study” placing Ohioans in the crosshairs of an expanded target?
· CO2 is emitted at each step of the nuclear fuel chain, including uranium mining, milling, enrichment, fuel fabrication, construction of the reactor, transportation and storage of radioactive waste, and decommissioning of old reactors - at least four to five times above emissions from any renewable technology.
· Nuclear power plants produce the deadliest and longest living wastes ever created, with absolutely no technology to dispose of it safely.
· Every year a 1,000 MW nuclear generator (FirstEnergy’s Perry plant is 1,250 MW) produces:
ü 30 metric tons of spent fuel, which is one million times more radioactive than when it was loaded, and
ü 500 pounds of Plutonium. The half-life of Plutonium-239 is 24,110 years, enough to make 40 atomic bombs.
· About 70 dry storage casks are in use at reactors, and there have already been numerous failures and defects in just the first decade of use.
· Lacking a means of permanent disposal, spent-fuel storage plans have emerged necessitating the transport of the lethal garbage thousands of miles to Yucca Mountain.
· 10,300,000 Ohio residents may be impacted by the transportation of high-level nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain. (It is interesting to note that three of the eight sponsors of HB 414 live in an area of the state where no lethal garbage will be transported). In all, it will take 25 years to transport the currently existing 77,000 tons of high-level radioactive waste, which will pass through 43 states within half a mile of 50 million Americans.
· If nuclear power use expands, Yucca Mountain in Nevada could end up with five to 10 times the amount of radioactive waste that has been set by law.
· There is disturbing scientific evidence of the adverse health effects on the surrounding community of routine emissions from nuclear plants, according to a recent report by Joseph J. Mangano, MD, of the Radiation & Public Health Project.
· Once touted by the Atomic Energy Commission, forerunner of the NRC, as “too cheap to meter,” nearly a half century later it is clear that nuclear power plants have failed the test of the marketplace.
· Today, nuclear power stands as one of the most expensive ways to produce electricity. Without ratepayer and government subsidies, nuclear power would fall from the weight of its own debt.
· New nuclear power plants cost about $1,800-$3,000 per kilowatt of capacity, while conventional or even alternative sources of generation like wind are less than half that amount.
· No new nuclear plants have been ordered since the 1970s for economic reasons, not as a result of government policy.
· Customers of FirstEnergy, owners of Ohio’s only nuclear generators, have long been burdened by excessive electric rates 30 to 50% higher than the rest of the state, which often poses an insurmountable hurdle for the continuation or start-up of businesses
· Under Ohio’s electric utility deregulation plan, FirstEnergy customers are paying nearly $9 billion to bail out bad nuclear power plant investments for the investor-owned utility.
· No new studies are needed to discover that nuclear is the most expensive power on the grid. Just ask Northern Ohio consumers to tell you how much they’re paying on the line of their bill marked “transition costs” to get a clear idea what nuclear energy costs an Ohio family each month --- in some cases over 50% of monthly electricity charges.
· With no insurance company willing to risk the liabilities of nuclear disaster, U.S. taxpayers have been forced to bear yet another nuclear burden in the form of government subsidized insurance.
· The Price-Anderson Act, authorized to provide the insurance to an uninsurable industry, is an enormous subsidy unparalleled in any other American industry. Yet even this insurance provides an $ 9.1 billion cap, less than the amount Northern Ohio customers of FirstEnergy will contribute to the company’s so-called “stranded or transition costs.”
· A government safety study estimated that a major nuclear accident could cause $14 billion in property damage alone, while other studies predict a figure up to $300 billion.
· Instead of relying on dirty, dangerous mature technologies, Americans need faster, cheaper, safer options that emit little or no pollution, while minimizing the impact on global warming.
· The United States is the largest consumer of electricity in the world, representing more than 25% of the world's net electricity consumption. Clearly we have a responsibility to lower consumption. The fastest, cheapest and most effective way to do that is through the increased use of energy efficient technologies.
· Implementation of energy efficiency measures is seven times more effective at reducing greenhouse gases per dollar spent than is nuclear power (source: Rocky Mountain Institute).
· The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that increasing energy efficiency throughout the economy could cut national energy use by 10% or more in 2010 and about 20% in 2020, with net economic benefits for consumers and businesses.
· Efficiency is the only resource that can reduce CO2 emissions in this decade. Ohio abounds with opportunities to invest in energy efficiency measures that not only will save consumers money and reduce pollution, but will create new jobs, as well. According to the Ohio section of a recent report “Repowering the Midwest,” energy efficiency investments, at a cost of 2.4 cent/kWh (far less than the cost of generating, transmitting and distributing electricity) will:
1. Reduce net electricity costs by $1.5 million by 2020.
2. Save 72,417 GWh of electricity - equal to about 25 large power plants - by 2020
3. Reduce electricity demand by 17 percent in 2010 and 29 percent by 2020.
· At 3.5 to 4.5 cents/kWh, wind-powered generation now stands as the one of the least expensive and fastest-to-build sources of electricity.
· Fully utilizing existing renewable energy technologies - hydrogen fuel cell technology, wind turbines, photovoltaic modules, solar thermal, low-impact hydro, soy diesel, and other biomass fuels - could increase generation by these renewable sources by 75% by 2030. This combination of demand reduction and increased usage of renewables would be enough to replace nuclear power by 2030.
· Diversification of Ohio’s energy portfolio to include energy efficiency and the development of emerging technologies like wind, solar, biomass, low-impact hydro and geothermal, combined with a movement toward distributed generation and fuel cells, will improve electricity reliability and energy independence as the state moves away from a centralized power production at coal and nuclear plants.
SIGNATORIES AND CONTACTS ON FOLLOWING PAGE
Christine Patronik-Holder, Ohio Coordinator
660 Crackel Road
Aurora, Ohio 44202
Shari Weir, Consumer Issues Director
614 Superior NW #1200
Cleveland, Ohio 44113
Chris Trepal, Co-Executive Director
Cleveland, Ohio 44113
OHIO SIERRA CLUB
Ned Ford, Energy Chair
3420 Stettinius Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio 45208-1204
OHIO PUBLIC INTEREST RESEARCH GROUP
Bryan Clark, Legislative Advocate
36 W. Gay Street # 315
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Kurt Waltzer, Clean Air Program Manager
1207 Grandview Avenue #201
Columbus, Ohio 43212-3449
Lodge, Convenor and Chair
316 N. Michigan St., Ste. 520
Toledo, OH 43624-1627
Greenberg, Executive Director
Bridge Ave. #104
Cleveland, OH 44113
LAKE COUNTY CONCERNED CITIZENS
38531 Dodd’s Landing Drive
Hills, Ohio 44094
David Hughes, Executive Director
2424 Dock Road
Madison, Ohio 44057
735 Euclaire Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43209
Marnie Urso, Ohio State Director
2012 W. 25th St., Suite 708
Cleveland, OH 44113