As we strive to become independent of dirty energy sources like coal, it's vital that alternatives are safe, affordable and can quickly be integrated in the grid. None of these stipulations are true for nuclear energy, which is why the Ecology Center does not consider nuclear energy a clean energy source. Calling it clean is a dangerous designation that ignores nuclear energy's inherent toxicity and potential for catastrophe. Additionally, nuclear energy is not cost-effective. Building a plant is a slow-moving process that racks up billions in administrative costs which ultimately fall on consumers, not utilities. The Ecology Center supports work by the Alliance to Halt Fermi 3 which is campaigning to halt the development of nuclear power plants in Michigan.
Nuclear power plants rely on a fission process that "splits the atom" to generate energy. It also generates intensely radiated nuclear waste. As of right now, there's no way to dispose of this waste, which means nuclear power plants are piling up dangerous and toxic waste every day. It's simply stored, which can leave it susceptible to leak into local waterways. Exposure to radiation leads to an increased risk of cancer and other public health concerns.
While the potential for failure with nuclear power plants is small, the possible repercussions are disastrous, as seen in Fukushima, Japan. We've also seen it locally with the partial meltdown of the Fermi-1 reactor in Detroit in 1966, which ultimately closed in 1972. The Alliance to Halt Fermi 3 has found that nuclear projects in Michigan have racked up multi-billion dollar price tags, most of which are ultimately paid by consumers. With other alternative energy sources like wind and solar available at cheaper prices, it doesn't make sense to pursue an energy source with that toxic and potentially disastrous properties.
Published on January 19, 2017