2009/04/07:The Capital Times: Don't ease state's nuke power laws - Bill Christofferson and Cham Nusz

Don't ease state's nuke power laws
The Capital Times
Bill Christofferson and Chamomile Nusz  —  4/07/2009 12:26 pm

Dear Editor: As co-chairs of the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, a statewide network of 165 organizations working for social justice and a sustainable world, we ask Gov. Jim Doyle and members of the Legislature to continue Wisconsin's long-standing and reasonable limitations on the construction of nuclear plants.

Although Doyle's Task Force on Global Warming recommended changes to the nuclear power plant law, we believe that the current law provides vital protections to Wisconsin's consumers, environment, and future generations -- protections the proposed change would remove.

Current law requires that before the Public Service Commission can authorize the construction of a nuclear plant, "a federally licensed facility … with adequate capacity to dispose of high-level nuclear waste from all nuclear power plants operating in this state will be available, as necessary, for disposal of the waste."

For more than 50 years, the nuclear industry and the federal government have failed to solve this critical problem.

More dangerous, high-level radioactive waste is being produced every day, and being stored on-site next to the reactors, with no permanent solution. Licensing even more nuclear plants to produce more waste without a permanent disposal site is worse than irresponsible. It is unconscionable.

The radioactivity in the waste is so dangerous to humans that it must be kept out of the environment and away from people for as long as 1 million years, the Environmental Protection Agency has ruled. To put that into some perspective, a "mere" 15,000 years ago Wisconsin was covered by glaciers.

Nuclear power makes no more sense today than it did when the law was passed in 1983. Wisconsin must address the climate crisis, but renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies are faster, cheaper, safer and cleaner strategies for reducing greenhouse emissions than nuclear power.

Bill Christofferson, Milwaukee and Chamomile Nusz, Amherst; co-chairs, Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice