Green Party PA: Close all 9 nuclear reactors

Both reactors and cooling towers at the Susque...

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The Green Party of Pennsylvania (GPPA,  called for the closing and decommissioning of the state’s five nuclear power plants, which contain nine operating nuclear reactors. The Green Party also rejected the idea of building more nuclear plants in the Commonwealth.

GPPA Chairperson I.K. Samways from Allegheny County explained,

The Fukushima nuclear power plant catastrophe in Japan is a wakeup call that this energy source is neither safe nor sustainable. The entire nuclear-power life cycle is fraught with inherent risk, which is multiplied by the possibility of human error.

GPPA Treasurer Vivek Ananthan from Philadelphia noted, 

The Green Party is taking this action to promote the safety of all Pennsylvania citizens and our fellow living beings, and to protect our natural environment.

The Energy Justice, reports:

Nuclear reactors themselves have serious environmental and public health impacts. Radioactive air and water pollution is released through the routine operation of all nuclear reactors. A wide range of radioactive isotopes are released.

Living near a nuclear facility increases your chances of dying from breast cancer. A nationwide survey of 268 counties within 50 miles of 51 nuclear reactors, found breast cancer deaths in these ‘nuclear counties’ to be 10 times the national rate from 1950 to 1989.  In the 7 years after the closure of 8 nuclear reactors, infant mortality rates (deaths to infants under one year of age) fell dramatically in downwind communities.

Further, Energy Justice Network disclosed that

Strontium-90, a radioactive pollutant now released only from nuclear reactors, ends up in milk and bones, contributing to bone cancer and leukemia. Studies of Sr-90 in baby teeth found levels 30-50% higher in teeth of children living near reactors. Background levels are rising with continued use of nuclear reactors, rising to levels comparable to when atmospheric nuclear-bomb tests contaminated the nation in the 1940s and ‘50s. Levels in the teeth of babies born in the late 1990s are about 50% higher than those born in the late 1980s. Of the 7 areas examined so far in the baby tooth studies, the highest Sr-90 levels have been found in southeastern PA – around theLimerick reactor. Living near reactors is also correlated with increases in leukemia and childhood cancer.

Instead of pursuing dangerous energy paths like nuclear and fossil fuels that have already been shown to lead to large-scale environmental disaster, the Green Party stands for more environmentally sound energy paths based upon efficiency, conservation and the distributed generation of renewable energy sources like solar, geothermal and wind.

PA’s 5 nuclear sites containing 9 operating reactors:

  • Two operating reactors at Beaver Valley, Shippingport, Beaver County;
  • Two operating reactors at Limerick, Sanatoga, Montgomery County;
  • Three reactors (two operating) at Peach Bottom, Delta, York County;
  • Two reactors at Susquehanna, Salem Township, Luzerne County; and
  • Two reactors (one operating) at Three Mile Island, Middletown, Dauphin County.

Another nuclear plant is planned for Bell Bend, Salem Township, Luzerne County (no operating reactors yet). This site is adjacent to the Susquehanna nuclear plant. Applications have been made to operate the Bell Bend plant, but construction will not proceed without a federal loan guarantee. []

Energy Justice announced on September 21 that the “Limerick nuclear power plant has two reactor units, which opened in1986 and 1990. Their licenses will expire in 2024 and 2029. Their owner, Exelon (PECO), has applied for a 20-year license extension, which would allow them to operate until 2044 and 2049.”

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