When I read the headline in the Burlington Free Press recently that nine new consortia are applying for 19 new nuclear reactors, I thought that Vermont was again positioned to snatch defeat from the mouth of victory with the current anti-nuclear campaign. Yes, we have legitimate issues related to safety and waste storage. We can and must deal with these. What we cannot deal with is eliminating one-third of our base load energy supply and thinking that wind, solar and other renewables can backfill. Those are intermittent and unpredictable sources, which cannot backfill. Nuclear is neither intermittent nor unpredictable.
When Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace, articulated a cogent argument in 2006 in support of nuclear power, people sat up and took notice. When he spoke to the Vermont legislature last session, he caused a stir. According to this preeminent environmentalist, the more than 600 coal-fired electric plants in the U.S. produce a full one-third (36%) of the globe’s CO2 emissions, the primary gas responsible for climate change. Nuclear energy is the only large-scale, cost-effective energy alternative that can reduce these emissions while continuing to satisfy a growing demand for power. That should resonate strongly with Vermont’s espoused values around clean air and clean energy supply.
“CASE”, the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, which is co-chaired by Moore and Christine Todd Whitman, former NJ Governor and Bush EPA Administrator, has 740 organizations and 915 individuals among its members, and has developed a campaign to provide factual information about nuclear energy. Vermonters who are interested to learn the Top 10 Facts or The Basics of nuclear energy or to read Moore’s arguments to go “clean, green & nuclear” are encouraged to visit www.cleansafeenergy.org.