Apologies to John Lennon. But that refrain was in my brain after reading Tom Still’s plea that Wisconsin consider nuclear power. “What do we have to lose?” he asks. (More on that later)
Still, president of something called the Wisconsin Technology Council, thinks it’s a crying shame that Wisconsin has a moratorium law on the books that won’t allow the state to even consider nuclear power as an option.
It will come as a surprise to many — but not, I suspect, to Tom Still — to learn that there is no nuclear “moratorium” in effect that bans more nuclear power plants in the state.
What is on the books is a perfectly reasonable law that says if you want to build a new reactor here, there are two requirements that must be met first:
(1) There must be a federal site to dispose of the dangerous, high level radioactive waste the reactors produce, and
(2) The Public Service Commission must find that nuclear power makes economic sense.
That’s no ban or moratorium. It merely sets some reasonable requirements. But since the law was passed in 1984 the nuclear industry has not been able to meet those tests. So now it wants to relax the law.
It has been more than 50 years since the US began generating nuclear power — and nuclear waste. Fifty years and still no way to dispose of the deadly end products, which the Environmental Protection Agency says must be kept away from humans for up to a million years.
If, as the industry would have us believe, a solution is just around the corner, what’s wrong with waiting until we turn that corner?
Lifting the moratorium doesn’t mean Wisconsin will be build a new plant tomorrow. But it does mean the state can be ready for the inevitable day that science produces a cleaner, safer and more efficient reactor.
Well, why don’t we just wait until that day comes?
In the meantime, just last week a new study found that it would cost taxpayers and ratepayers about $2- to $4-trillion more over the life of 100 new nuclear reactors than it would to generate the same electricity from a combination of more energy efficiency and renewables.
Available renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies are faster, cheaper, safer and cleaner strategies for reducing greenhouse emissions than nuclear power.
If you agree, please sign our online petition here to keep Wisconsin’s sensible laws on the books.