FL Green Party calls for safety shut-down & phase-out of nuclear power plants in state

Cites Fukushima disaster and unacceptable risks & costs to public

As the worst nuclear power disaster in world history continues to unfold at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear site, and as we face the likelihood of multiple reactor meltdowns and failures of radioactive fuel pools, the Obama administration continues to provide the nuclear industry with billions in taxpayer subsidies and loan guarantees for new nuclear plants. During his trip to South America, President Obama signed new nuclear agreements with Chile and other countries, designed to enhance profits of the US nuclear industry.

The Green Party of Florida calls on President Obama, Governor Scott and the Florida legislature to immediately shut down Florida’s aging nuclear reactors for comprehensive safety inspections and evaluation of these facilities’ vulnerability to damage from equipment failure, storms or terrorist attacks, to be followed by a planned phase-out of nuclear power in Florida. Public health and safety must take priority over corporate profits.

The tragic destruction and loss of life in Japan, caused by the massive earthquake and the tsunami that followed, has been compounded by the grave threat to public health posed by the nuclear accident at Fukushima, which grows progressively worse by the day. Florida can only avoid the potential for such a catastrophe by phasing out nuclear power in the state and investing instead in safe, clean and sustainable energy solutions, and also by investing in aggressive conservation and efficiency measures to reduce demand for electricity.

“Floridians must tell President Obama and Governor Scott, as well as our elected representatives in Tallahassee, that we oppose any further public subsidies for the nuclear industry,” said Jayne King, co-chair of the Green Party of Florida. “The public and the government should not be guaranteeing profits for the companies building more nuclear reactors in the state,” King added, “because there are plenty of safer and less expensive options for meeting the state’s energy needs.”

There are currently five nuclear reactors in operation in Florida, with two at Turkey Point on Biscayne Bay, two in Port St. Lucie, and one at Crystal River. The Crystal River reactor (CR-3) has been shut down for repairs since September 2009, when a large crack was discovered in the concrete and steel containment vessel. In recent weeks, just as the plant was being prepared to go back online, new cracks were discovered. All five aging reactors in Florida, including CR-3, are being given 20-year extensions in a rubber-stamp re-licensing process by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which means they will all be operating far beyond their intended life span. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent to “uprate” these old reactors, and keep them in operation to generate profits for their owners.

Nuclear power is the most expensive way to produce energy, when all costs are factored in. Wall Street considers it too risky to invest in, so nuclear power can’t compete in the marketplace. Instead, the industry must resort to extorting giveaways from the public, diverting scarce public resources that would be more wisely invested in building an urgently needed new green economy/ For example, thousands of jobs could quickly be created by installing solar thermal hot water on all residences and business, weatherizing buildings, and developing clean, safe renewable energy options.

According to Steve Showen, a Miami-Dade Green who has organized opposition to the nuclear power expansion planned by Florida Power & Light at Turkey Point, “It is reckless and irresponsible to spend billions on building more expensive and dangerous nuclear power plants in the state, which will also rob our  green energy future.” Showen adds, “Gov. Scott and the legislature need to begin planning for a nuclear-free energy future for the state that will also generate thousands of jobs. Don’t let nuclear suck the wind out of solar and other green energy options!”

The 104 nuclear reactor facilities in the US are now approaching the end of their life span. It is reckless and irresponsible to re-certify these aging reactors so utility companies can keep generating profits from them for 20 more years.The public is already on the hook for the cost of storing and safeguarding  the deadly wastes from these plants FOREVER.

Public health and safety demands that they be phased out, beginning with the immediate shut down and decommissioning of all plants located on seismic faults or in densely populated areas where effective evacuation would be impossible. March 28th marked the 32nd anniversary of the 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island near Middletown, Pa.,which was the most serious accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant operating history. Let’s prevent the next nuclear disaster, by doing the right thing and pulling the plug on these dangerous and expensive facilities.

Protect Public Health & Safety – Pull the Plug on Nuclear Power!

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