Don’t Pay for Next Generation Nukes


Did our government learn nothing from the terrible nuclear disaster at Fukushima? Little more than one year later, the federal government has opened negotiations with Southern Company – one of the worst-polluting electric utilities in the country – to provide $8.3 billion in loan guarantees for two new nuclear power plants. Tell Congress: No nuclear loan guarantees »

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The True Cost of Coal

The American Economic Review has just published a paper, “Environmental Accounting for Pollution in the United States Economy,” which highlights the economic costs of air pollution versus economic benefits for several industries.  While the paper is fairly dense (and there is a cost to download it), the authors make clear that the economic harms of coal-fired power far outweigh its economic benefits.  In fact, coal has the worst cost benefit ratio of several polluting industries profiled, including solid waste combustion, sewage treatment, and stone quarrying (which also create more economic harms than benefits).  The authors of this study are just looking at the air-pollution harms of coal, which leaves aside the many other health and environmental harms caused by coal-fired power plants.  If you add those in, it is exceedingly clear that coal has a major negative impact on the US economy. In fact, a study published earlier this year by the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, and written by faculty at the Center for Health and Global Environment at  Harvard Medical School, found that the true cost of coal is up to ½ trillion dollars per year, when all environmental and health impacts are added in.  Based on this true cost accounting, all clean energy sources are much cheaper than coal.  Of course, if you consider the fact that some of the economic harms of coal literally result from people dying, the need to transition our energy mix away […]

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Tell Southern Co. and Dominion Power: No New Nuclear Power!

Despite the ongoing disaster in Japan, two of the largest utilities in the United States are planning to move ahead with new nuclear reactors, adding to those they already have in service. While nuclear may be a low carbon energy source, it most definitely is not clean, yet Southern Company and Dominion are still moving ahead with plans for new nuclear plants: Southern Company plans to add two new reactors at Plant Vogtle, where there are already two nuclear plants in operation. The design of the proposed reactors has been criticized because the shield building may not be able to survive an earthquake or plane crash, which could result in a catastrophic meltdown. Dominion is planning to build a new reactor at its Lake Anna complex in Virginia. The new plant was recently delayed for 18 months so that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission could re-do seismic analysis of the reactor. Virginians are also concerned about the impact on Lake Anna of additional discharges of heated water. Nuclear power is not a safe and clean alternative to fossil fuels. Between the risks of catastrophic accidents, ongoing environmental impacts, and the fact that nuclear waste will remain radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years, nuclear power should have no role in our energy future. Take action at

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