We can still save Illinois & California nuclear — but only if true environmentalists show courage and take action.
Statement by Environmental Progress President Michael Shellenberger:
Exelon's announcement that it will close Quad Cities and Clinton nuclear
plants is just the latest indication that we are in a clean energy
emergency. If Quad and Clinton are closed, Illinois will lose
one-quarter of all its clean energy, over 1,500 jobs, and its standing
as a clean energy leader.
we lose all 13 nuclear plants at high-risk of closing in the next two
years, we will wipe out three times the solar electricity we generated
in 2015. If we lose all plants at risk of closing before 2030 we will
wipe out 43 percent of the emissions reductions in President Obama's
Clean Power Plan.
plants are in trouble everywhere for the same reason. People believe
that nuclear energy is something it is not, and cannot see it for what
it is. Nuclear is our safest way of generating electricity, and our only
reliable clean energy source. Many of our nuclear plants can operate
for another 20, 30 and even 50 years. But many people have come to
believe the opposite.
result is that nuclear suffers from double discrimination. Nuclear
plants are excluded from the federal subsidies and state mandates for
solar and wind, either of which would be more than enough to protect
nuclear energy .
is not too late to save Quad and Clinton. But will require that
moderate environmental groups show courage and break from the
dogmatically anti-nuclear groups that openly say they want to replace nuclear plants with natural gas.
Quad and Clinton will cost less than half the cost of the federal wind
subsidy, and will protect Illinois rate-payers from future price shocks
when natural gas prices, today at a historic low, go up.
happens next will reveal whether Environmental Defense Fund, NRDC and
Sierra Club care more about addressing climate change than continuing
with their counterproductive and outmoded effort to dismantle our
largest source of clean power.
also urge President Obama, Congress and the Department of Energy to
take swift action. Talk is not enough. Protecting clean energy and the
climate will require real world actions.
we urge true environmentalists who support all clean energy sources to
take action, and especially participate in the Rally and March for
Environmental Hope! this June 22 - 24. We can still save our largest source of clean energy — but it will require real-world action.
[Press release on the March follows]
For Immediate Release: Julia Pacetti, JMP Verdant Communications, (718)399-0400, Eric Meyer, March for Environmental Hope!, (218)384-1645
With Nuclear Plant Closures Increasing Emissions, Environmental Coalition Announces Historic Protest, June 24 - 28, SF - Sacramento
CLOSURES OF NUCLEAR IN VERMONT AND CALIFORNIA INCREASED EMISSIONS, THE DATA SHOW
13 US NUCLEAR PLANTS AT RISK OF CLOSURE PRODUCE 3 TIMES MORE ELECTRICITY THAN ALL US SOLAR IN 2015
June 2, 2016
— With 13 nuclear plants at risk of closing and taking the United
States backwards on climate change, a coalition of environmental groups
is announcing a historic pro-nuclear protest march from San Francisco to
Sacramento, June 24 - 28.
we lose all 13 of the nuclear plants at risk of premature closure we
will wipe out three times more clean power than all of our solar
provided in 2015,” said the March’s Lead Organizer, Eric G. Meyer. “If
you care about renewables, clean energy and climate change, you should
support keeping nuclear plants open.”
Illinois, a coalition of anti-nuclear groups including by Environmental
Law and Policy Center (ELPC), Sierra Club, and NRDC blocked legislation
that would have saved two of the state’s nuclear plants, Clinton and
has said it wants to replace the nuclear plants with natural gas, and
gradually wind and solar. "Everybody looks with excitement when a new
natural gas plant is built," ELPC head, Howard Learner recently told a journalist when
explaining why he supports closing Clinton and Quad, an extraordinary
statement coming from a self-professed environmental activist.
groups should be forgiven for they believe nuclear energy is something
it’s not, and can’t see it for what it is,” said Alan Medsker of
Environmental Progress, Illinois. “But we cannot allow them to shut down
Quad and Clinton. It’s time for Sierra Club, the Citizens Utility Board
and Environmental Defense Fund to break from ELPC. There’s still time
to pass legislation that would invest not only in renewables but also
protect our largest source of clean energy.”
Clinton and Quad close, 1,500 workers will lose their jobs and carbon
emissions will increase the equivalent of adding two million cars to the
road. The proposed subsidy for distressed nuclear plants is less than
half the cost the wind production tax credit.
evidence is clear: nuclear is far more effective at replacing fossil
fuels and reducing pollution and carbon emissions than solar and wind.
To exclude it from any clean energy standard in the face of irreversible
climate devastation is simply unethical,” said Meyer.
a mathematical certainty that closing nuclear plants results in more
fossil fuel burning and emissions,” says Oscar-nominated documentary
filmmaker Robert Stone, whose award-winning film “Pandora’s Promise”
documents the conversion of many environmentalists from anti-nuclear to
pro-nuclear. “California’s reputation as a leader in the fight against
climate change is at stake if Diablo Canyon is shut down.”
vitally important for any of us that care about the environment--
progressives or conservatives-- to share that message with Governor
Jerry Brown,” said Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The
Making of the Atomic Bomb. “People fear nuclear power largely because
they associate it with nuclear weapons, but the two don’t equate.
Nuclear power is not only an important part of the answer to climate
change. It has outstanding public health benefits as well, greatly
reducing air pollution.”
The March will occur in the run-up to a Tuesday, June 28,
California Lands Commission meeting, where Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and
two other members could deny a critical permit to Diablo Canyon,
California’s biggest source of clean energy.
coalition members includes Mothers for Nuclear, Thorium Energy
Alliance, Environmental Progress, Pandora's Promise, and Energy for
Humanity — all are organizations independent of energy companies and
can’t let irrational fears put our children at risk,” said Mothers for
Nuclear co-founder, Heather Matteson, an environmental activist who was
once anti-nuclear but changed her mind and now works as a reactor
operator and procedure writer at Diablo Canyon.
13 nuclear plants at high risk of premature closure produce three times
more electrical power than the US produces from solar. Diablo Canyon
produces 11 times more power than the world’s largest solar farm, Solar
Star, will produce.
than simply replacing fossil fuel use, as nuclear plants do, plants
like Solar Star increase the demand for natural gas when the sun is not
shining which is on average more than 75 percent of the time.
G. Meyer, 28, quit his job as a nurses union organizer and drove to San
Francisco from Minnesota last month to be the Lead Organizer of the
March. “My heart breaks every time they announce nuclear plant closure,”
said Meyer. “We’re going to fight hard to save every last one of those
13 plants. This is going to be remembered as the summer that we saved
our largest source of clean energy.”