(RightWing.org) – According to some experts, the United States may be on the verge of an explosive expansion of nuclear power plants to provide electricity throughout the country. It’s being touted as a way to generate future energy needs without huge CO2 emissions, which some say are a major contributor to climate change. If it happens, nuclear energy would be a winner for the environment. But is it really?
What She Said
The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) website describes itself as having:
- The vision of a world powered by clean and reliable energy.
- A mission to promote the use and growth of nuclear energy through efficient operations and effective policy.
- A voice before Congress, the executive branch, and other governmental bodies all the way down to the local level to accomplish its mission.
Their lobbying dollars and efforts are spent to sway legislators on both sides of the aisle, according to opensecrets.com which is a site that tracks political monies. Other statistics about NEI show that almost 54% of money spent in the 2022 election cycle went to the politicians and that 18 out of 25 (72%) of the lobbyists themselves once worked at some level of the government.
NEI’s President and CEO Maria Korsnick spoke at the 2023 Nuclear Energy Assembly on May 15, about what she sees as “a once-in-a-generation moment [where] communities across the country are demanding affordable, reliable, clean energy.” She energized the crowd with her vision of the future of nuclear power, not only in America but around the world when she welcomed a high-level guest in attendance from the Czech Republic.
Korsnick spoke of the “unprecedented” support the industry is seeing in Washington, DC, and touted a recent headline on the Axios news site declaring “CONGRESS LOVES NUCLEAR POWER.” She made sure to exclaim all the carbon-free aspects of using nuclear energy which will help businesses reduce their carbon footprint.
What Was Left Unsaid
As would be expected in this type of speech, Korsnick made sure to extol the real virtues of nuclear power plants providing savings to the end-users while reducing the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. However, more than 20 years ago the NEI was taken to task by the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus as well as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The 1999 letter from the FTC noted that the NAD concluded that claims of “no negative environmental impact are not substantiated” because there was no “permanent disposal system for radioactive waste.” It also noted other greenhouse gas emissions exist. Both of these issues still hold true today. A scientific study out of the Netherlands from 2019 provides insight into how the claim of carbon-free electricity generation doesn’t fully explore the effects on the planet.
The report pointed out that emissions from nuclear plants include other “greenhouse gasses [that have] a global warming potential thousands of times larger than CO2…” Special attention was brought to the radioactive isotope krypton-85, which, if released into “the atmosphere, gives rise to unforeseeable effects for weather and climate.”
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