Investment in nuclear power over efficiency and renewable energy endangers taxpayers, ratepayers & public health

12 statewide groups: May 21, 2009

Contact: Pam Kleiss, Physicians for Social Responsibility Wisconsin Tel. 608/232-9945

A coalition of twelve Wisconsin groups submitted a letter to the Governor and State Legislators today asserting that the substantive problems of long-term storage of radioactive waste and astronomically high lifecycle costs make expanded nuclear power inadvisable for Wisconsin's energy future.

In a letter to Governor Doyle and State Legislators, Physicians for Social Responsibility Wisconsin and eleven other organizations show that the liabilities of nuclear power make it a risky investment, both to the public health and the public pocket book.

The letter states, "Unlike renewable electricity sources, the by-products of nuclear electricity generation exist in the environment for hundreds of years and are highly toxic." In Wisconsin alone, 1,365 metric tons of high-level nuclear waste will be stored at nuclear reactor sites by 2011, and 58,000 metric tons have already accumulated at sites throughout the US. Current EPA standards require that the environment and public be kept safe from exposure to stored radioactive waste for up to one million years.

The letter also shows that the lifecycle costs of nuclear power and means by which plants are funded shift the financial risk from the nuclear industry to ratepayers and taxpayers. From the failed multi-billion dollar taxpayer investment in Yucca Mountain to ratepayer surcharges funding on-site storage of radioactive waste - all these costs and more are borne by the ratepayer and taxpayer, not the nuclear industry. The fifty -year old nuclear power industry can not even claim lower cost per kilowatt of delivered electricity, with costs higher than traditional coal and gas fired plants, and higher than wind power.

The coalition asserts that conservation and efficiency in all sectors of the economy are better investments for Wisconsin's energy future. A fraction of the billions of dollars spent by government to support the nuclear industry would be a significant investment in improved public health if put to work on energy conservation, replacing polluting coal-fired plants with truly renewable power and investing in a "smart," distributed electricity grid.

The letter is signed by Citizens Utility Board, Clean Wisconsin, Coulee Region Progressives, Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Fund, Nukewatch, Peace Action Wisconsin, Physicians for Social Responsibility Wisconsin, Sierra Club - John Muir Chapter, Wisconsin Environment, Wisconsin Network for Peace & Justice, and WISPIRG.

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