Background to SOCAN’s Position Statement on the Nuclear Option

The following analysis was developed as a companion explanation to the SOCAN Position Statement on Nuclear Power seen below:

SOCAN acknowledges the role that nuclear energy now contributes to the U.S. energy mix, but rejects claims by the nuclear industry and nuclear proponents that genuinely clean renewable energy cannot supply our global current and future energy demand. SOCAN recognizes the benefit of retaining existing nuclear plants, including aging and unprofitable ones that meet stringent safety and transparency conditions, until such time that safer, more economical and sustainable alternative renewables and efficiencies are available. Meanwhile, SOCAN recognizes that nuclear energy is inferior to solar and wind in: taking up to four times longer and costing much more to bring online than wind; producing much more carbon dioxide equivalent per unit of energy generated than solar or wind; and risking promotion of weapons proliferation, meltdown, waste, mining hazards, and further radioactive contamination of humans and the environment. SOCAN also urges (demands) that before any consideration be given to expanding nuclear generation, the 1957 Federal Price Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act, extended in 2005 through 2025, is repealed. This Act results in taxpayers indemnifying (bearing the cost of covering nuclear accidents for) damages from an incident at a nuclear facility that exceed about $15 billion. Board approved 12/04/2021

The Nuclear Conundrum

Alan Journet, January 2023

Over recent years many well-intentioned individuals have proposed that nuclear power generation must be included as an essential component of any effort to address the climate crisis.

The argument seems to be founded on three premises:

  • Clean renewable energy sources are inadequate to provide our energy needs.
  • Nuclear energy generation is free of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Nuclear energy is safe.

In developing position statements on an array of issues relating to the climate crisis, the SOCAN Board, in December 2021 adopted a position statement on the potential role of nuclear power generation.

By way of background justifying this position statement, the following explanation was developed: The Nuclear Conundrum 2023.

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