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Tamara N. Holder

Tamara N. Holder

Posted: February 16, 2010 08:15 PM

Obama's Bipartisan Olive Branch: Nuclear Energy

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President Obama -- who ran on a platform of "change" and "transparency" -- is feeling the pressure as he wavers on fixing health care, winning the war in Afghanistan and saving the American economy. As a result, his approval ratings continue to fall and many of his supporters have voter's remorse.

Obama continues to give the Republicans numerous opportunities to divide America.

But there is one issue that both sides must support: nuclear energy.

And today, President Obama announced federal loan guarantees for building two new nuclear power reactors to be built by Southern Company in County, Georgia.

A revised nuclear power agenda in the United States will re-establish our position as the greatest country in the world.

Fear not, Americans. Contrary to what some politicians (on both sides) want you to believe, nuclear power is not dangerous. Nuclear power is not our enemy. Now is the time for the politicians stop instilling fear into our minds and to allow real science and engineering prove that nuclear energy is our greatest ally.

Cost and Efficiency
Currently, there are 102 nuclear power plants operating in the United States and they provide us with just 20% of our electricity. Nuclear energy is cheap, effective and safe. Nuclear energy does not produce carbon. The other alternatives? Well, we have coal which is harmful to the environment and the plants are ancient. We also have wind and solar energy options but neither provides for the baseload, nor is either reliable. At the coldest and warmest times, when we need most electricity, wind power is 7% -- that means that 7 days out of 100 you can expect for there to be electricity.)

Medicine
Every American has lost a loved one to cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation rarely cure; instead, such "therapies" kill healthy cells and cancerous cells at the same time. Americans deserve a cure for cancer and other deadly diseases. Nuclear medicine and medical isotopes provide that cure.

In Obama's January 28 "State of the Union" address, he said, "We need to encourage American innovation. Last year, we made the largest investment in basic research funding in history, an investment -- an investment that could lead to the world's cheapest solar cells or treatment that kills cancer cells but leaves healthy ones untouched."

Obama was not talking about advancements in chemotherapy. He was talking about medical isotopes. Medical isotopes are becoming more and more scarce and the isotopes Americans rely on are not even produced at home. For example, Chaulk River in Canada is responsible for producing 40,000 procedures a day for diagnosis. We need more medical isotopes. We need to save more lives. (Citizens for Medical Isotopes provides you with proof that medical isotopes cure disease.)

Safety
Nuclear plants in America have caused no civilian deaths; instead, nuclear power is the safest industrial endeavor ever and it accounts for all of its waste through proper waste management.

Do not be fooled by the Three Mile Island leak in 1979. The media hype caused Pennsylvania's population to completely freak out and flee the area in fear of extreme exposure to nuclear, so President Carter visited the site several days later to prove that the area was safe. In fact, the President's Commission's report concluded:


The collective dose resulting from the radioactivity released to the population living within a 50-mile radius of the plant was approximately 2,000 person rems. The estimated annual collective dose to this population from natural background radiation is about 240,000 person-rems...The radiation doses received by the general population as a result of exposure to the radioactivity released during the accident were so small that there will be no detectable additional cases cancer, developmental abnormalities or genetic ill-health as a consequence of the accident at TMI.

Yes, nuclear energy produces waste. But, rest assured, the "waste" is not entirely harmful. According to William Tucker of the Wall Street Journal,

Ninety-five percent of a spent fuel rod is plain old U-238, the nonfissionable variety that exists in granite tabletops, stone buildings and the coal burned in coal plants to generate electricity. Uranium-238 is 1% of the earth's crust. It could be put right back in the ground where it came from.

Furthermore, the "waste" issue must be taken off of the political chopping block. How to deal with the waste is an issue for science and engineering; it is not for Senator Harry Reid to decide just because Yucca Mountain is located in Nevada!

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 requires -- requires -- our government to recycle its used resources. Nuclear energy fuel must be recycled. Period.

Now Is The Time
"To create more of these clean-energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives, and that means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country," said Obama.

Obama is in a position to save jobs, save lives, save America and save his job. Obama can achieve all of these goals with nuclear energy. Enough of the bipartisanship. Time for change. Time for real nuclear energy.

 

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