Obama Sells Out Human Health and the Environment By Making Nuclear a Centerpiece of Climate Policy

Obama has made nuclear energy a centerpiece of his climate push.

In reality, nuclear is .

Mark Jacobson – the head of Stanford University’s Atmosphere and Energy Program, who has written numerous books and hundreds of scientific papers on climate and energy, and testified before Congress numerous times on those issues – notes that nuclear puts out much more pollution (including much more CO2) than windpower, and 1.5% of all the nuclear plants built have melted down.  Jacobson also points out that it takes at least 11 years to permit and build a nuclear plant, whereas it takes less than half that time to fire up a wind or solar farm. Between the application for a nuclear plant and flipping the switch, power is provided by conventional energy sources … currently 55-65% coal.

No wonder a former Commissioner for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says that building nuclear plants to fight global warming is like trying to fight global hunger by serving everyone caviar. More information here, here and here.

Zoe Loftus-Farren explained in the New Republic in January

The EPA’s proposed power-plant regulation provides a carbon credit to states for maintaining nuclear energy production at current levels: in other words, a carbon subsidy for maintaining the nuclear status quo. Following the release of the draft rules, EPA administrator Gina McCarthy made clear that the credit is meant, in part, to help the struggling nuclear industry. “There are a handful of nuclear facilities that, because they are having trouble remaining competitive, they haven’t yet looked at re-licensing,” she said at a roundtable discussion with business leaders in Chicago. If nuclear energy plants begin closing, she warned, “It’s a lot of carbon reduction that needs to be made up for a long period of time.”

Maintaining nuclear power production at current levels isn’t the EPA’s only goal. “Nuclear power is part of an all-of-the-above, diverse energy mix and provides reliable baseload power without contributing to carbon pollution,” the EPA said in a emailed statement. “Nuclear power from current and future plants can help the U.S. meet its goals.”


Why is this worrying? In the fight against climate change, anything is better than dirty coal, right?

For starters, nuclear energy isn’t clean. Although nuclear fission is itself a low-carbon process, the lifecycle carbon cost of nuclear energy production is anything but, with greenhouse gas emissions stemming from uranium mining, milling, processing, enrichment, and transportation, not to mention the years-long—sometimes decades-long—process of actually constructing nuclear reactors. “From our perspective, the longstanding problems with nuclear waste, nuclear nonproliferation [and] safety really set nuclear apart from other low carbon energy sources,” says Matthew McKinzie, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Nuclear Program.


Rather than prop-up a struggling industry, the Obama administration, and whichever administration follows, should eliminate nuclear from its all-of-the-above energy arsenal, relegating it to the category of dirty energies that, if we don’t curtail now, will leave future generations cleaning up our environmental mess.

The odds of a melt-down at a U.S. nuclear power plant are higher than you might assume.

And even a little radiation can be very harmful to your health. And see this.

Postscript: The Onion parodies Obama’s climate plan by pretending that it:

Creates $500 tax credit for homeowners who install rooftop nuclear reactors


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  • jadan

    We have no leadership and no vision of a future that could sustain what we have now. The embrace of nuclear power is not merely stupidity, it is a death wish.

    • What if it is all tied into reducing the human global population, and our carbon footprint and not energy? Then it begins to make sense a little more!

      CO2 makes up .036% of the atmosphere. Tiny, miniscule, practically unnoticeable. Got to be a Religion if you believe it makes the other 99.964% warmer.

      Carbon and Life

      It is hard to overstate the importance of carbon; its unique capacity for forming multiple bonds and chains at low energies makes life as we know it possible, and justifies an entire major branch of chemistry – organic chemistry – dedicated to its compounds. In fact, most of the compounds known to science are carbon compounds, often called organic compounds because it was in the context of biochemistry that they were first studied in depth.

      What makes carbon so special is that every carbon atom is eager to bond with as many as four other atoms. This makes it possible for long chains and rings to be formed out of them, together with other atoms – almost always hydrogen, often oxygen, sometimes nitrogen, sulfur or halides. The study of these is the basis of organic chemistry; the compounds carbon forms with metals are generally considered inorganic. Chains and rings are fundamental to the way carbon-based life forms – that is, all known life-forms – build themselves.

      • jadan

        Do you recall the silicon-based life forms that motivated John C. Lilly to try to warn LBJ’s White House? Computers. AI. Ultimately Lilly’s isolation tank visions gave rise to Skynet and Agent Brown’s disgust with carbon-based lifeforms. Just a note!

        As to population reduction: I’ve never taken this too seriously because you can’t target nuclear pollution, just as you can’t target chemtrails. Does the elite want to destroy the Pacific breadbasket to reduce the population? Not rational. Pandemics are a better means, not pollution.

        On the other hand, if the universe has a Manichean conflict between carbon-based life and silicon-based life, the silicon life forms may not give a damn and would practice indiscriminate destruction of the carbon-based environment. The machines really don’t like the stink!

  • rwburden

    99.99% of nuclear power pollution comes from green apes throwing their shit at it. One pound of fission fuel has the power of 3 million pounds of coal. Calculate how many pounds of windmills or solar panels would have to be built and maintained for how many years to produce that, then calculate how many pounds of batteries would have to be built and maintained for the same number of years in order to store the power from wind and solar until it was needed. Finally, calculate how much dumber everyone would become if we did the latter, depriving ourselves of the benefits of the isotope economy, such as nuclear medicine. Truly, earth would be the planet of the apes.

    Because of the perpetual shit bombardment from the green apes, we’re not allowed to build breeder reactors or practice spent fuel reprocessing, with the result that only about 1% of the power in the mined uranium is used before it is declared “waste”, and thorium, at least three times as abundant as uranium in the earth’s crust, cannot be used at all. The Hanford research reactor was destroyed — there goes our cheapest source of our most important medical isotope, Molybdenum-99, as well as valuable leads into methods of producing other useful isotopes and eliminating radioactive isotopes that we don’t want.

    Finally, any leak of radioactive material, however slight, is treated as world-threatening. Never mind that the universe we live in is fiercely radioactive. Our atmosphere shields us from most of the sun’s x-rays and gamma rays, and our earth’s magnetic field captures most of the charged particles, but cosmic rays from supernovae still penetrate, and their intensity fluctuates wildly on time scales as short as days — look at the astronomical records on the crab nebula. The sun also fluctuates wildly, its flares menacing our astronauts and creating all kinds of troubles on the surface of the earth. Also, the radioactivity from the earth’s crust, without human artifacts, varies over a hundred-fold from one location to another, and a hundred-fold increase in space radiation relative to the average near sea level is experienced by anyone who rides in a commercial jet at 30,000 feet. Our bodies cope with this quite well. After all, ordinary metabolism does a lot of damage to our chromosomes, which would cease to function before we were born without an active repair mechanism. (Which does not imply that slowing our metabolism by starvation will make us live longer, as metabolism is also what maintains and defends our bodies).

    The green shit-throwing apes will never understand this until they are shamed into being human again. Once that happens, the permitting process for new nuclear power plants will be completed in less than three weeks and construction in less than 3 years. I realize that your kowtowing to the green apes is what gives your website the franchise to talk about NATO aggression and the threat of nuclear war being launched by the West, but you really shouldn’t let them (NATO, the West) bully you like that. If all of the world’s people are to be allowed a life of human dignity, with unrestricted access to modern science, technology, and progress, we must remove the restrictions on nuclear fission power NOW.

    • diogenes

      Who does this person work for, one wonders. One wonders, has he heard of Fukushima? Hanford? Chernobyl? Does he know that epidemiologists have established — with positive statistical proof — that on the order of one million people have already died from the radiation released by Chernobyl? Does he know that there is NO method of storing nuclear waste safely for the lengths of time it needs to be sequestered? Does he understand why? Does he know that nuclear power, when all costs of production and maintenance are factored in, is always, economically, a losing proposition? DOes he understand why this is? Does he understand the difference between the health effects of radiation versus the effects of ingesting radioactive substances — despite his chatter to the contrary? Doesn’t he know any of these basic facts of the subject upon which he pontificates and vituperates and smeers (“green shit-throwing apes”)? Or does he prefer to ignore them? And if so, why?

      • Marek Edelman

        Can we store all that “green ape-sh!t” nuclear waste in his house?

        What a waste of an education….

      • rwburden

        Because the earth contains potassium-40 and various isotopes of uranium, thorium and their radioactive decay products, such as radon and radium, the radioactivity of which varies over 100-fold in the portion of the earth’s crust inhabited by humans, we have historically been exposed, internally as well as externally, to widely varying doses of radiation from these substances, long before Marie Curie began to isolate and identify them. As for health effects, the effects of gamma rays or X-rays that penetrate your skin are the same as those of ingested radioactive substances that remain in the body for the same duration and release the same intensity of radiation. The effect is, of course, dose-related, and not necessarily negative, as is the case with exposure to ultraviolet. If the dose-rate is below the body’s ability to repair it, or if the duration is short enough and the body is allowed to recover afterward, it does no harm at all, and may, as is the case with ultraviolet, trigger defensive measures, analogous to tanning.

        Some have argued that alpha particles (e.g. from radon) are extremely dangerous when ingested, whereas when they remain outside the body, they fail to penetrate our skin and therefore do no harm. Again, the dose, and the dose-rate, are what matter. Bathing in concentrated radon gas for many hours while wearing a respirator and not much else will do severe damage to one’s skin and likely cause skin cancer, while inhaling the amount found in any basement that isn’t so airtight that you can’t get enough oxygen and is not placed in or above a uranium mine or a not-yet mined concentration of uranium, or a place like Ramsar, Iran with an extraordinary concentration of radium in the soil, will have no adverse effect. The damage done by such a small number of alpha-emitters is analagous to suffering a minor cut or bruise once a month. Our chromosomes repair themselves just like our skin and other body parts.

        Rest assured, any fuel that gives you 3 million times the power by weight as coal and even more by volume, is going to be much safer and cleaner to use, because of the vast reduction in mining and transportation required (unless the substance is so rare and so dispersed that you have to process 3 million pounds of rock to get a pound of it. Such is the case with radium, but not uranium or thorium). And any fuel, even coal, whose release of energy you control is better than the sun and wind, which you don’t control! Hydro-power is better than sun and wind, for the same reason, as long as your reservoir doesn’t go dry. Yes, nuclear power plants need a lot of concrete and steel, as do dams, but it’s all in a few places, while wind farms need millions of metal towers spread out over thousands of square miles, plus a mass of batteries about equal to that of the windmills, if you refuse to invest in more reliable and controllable sources of power. Solar panels must be spread over similar huge areas and require a similar mass of batteries. Anything so widely spread and of necessity exposed to the elements will be prohibitively expensive to maintain – bird droppings, insects, dust, all impair function — and will also be harmful to wildlife.

        I refer to the environmentalists opposed to the increase of man’s mastery over nature as “green apes” who throw shit, as apes are known to do, because they are preventing people from doing what will secure the perpetual survival of our species and possibly of the earth itself: developing into a galactic species that can master galactic forces. To do that, we’ve got to master nuclear fusion, but if we refuse to use fission, we’ll never get there.

  • Judy Cross

    If it were Thorium reactors, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. Unfortunately, that is unlikely. The Nuclear/Military helped invent the Climate Scam. and they want more Plutonium. Climate Modeling was an outgrowth of tracking nuclear fallout. The Climate Scam is based on looking at models of climate rather than reality. It hasn’t warmed for 18 1/2 years in spite of a 10% rise in CO2, but the propaganda continues until they get what they want, i.e., centralized control under a technocracy after the inevitable population reduction. We are in the beginning of a prolonged cooling and probably more volcanic activity. Food production will become more difficult and expensive, even without the various carbon taxes and trading schemes.

  • Marek Edelman

    There is absolutely no solution for the safe storage of nuclear waste.

    But the Generals will be licking their chops with an unlimited supply of depleted uranium for radioactive weapons that cause birth defects from that waste…

  • awb22

    I found the article a bit misleading and that the same construction techniques must be employed to build solar and wind plants when compared to the output capacity of a nuclear plant solar and wind come up short.

    The article displays a wide amount of bias.