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CASEnergy's Real Four-Point "Plan" for Promoting Nuclear Power

The Clean and Safe Energy Coalition (CASEnergy Coalition) – which claims to be a national pro-nuclear grassroots organization – will rolled out t its four-point Policy Roadmap for Clean Energy at the National Press Club, today.

The four-points behind the four-points:

1) Legitimize your position by claiming to be a grassroots organization. CASEnergy is as synthetic as Astroturf. In fact, the whole operation is completely bankrolled by the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI).  NEI, the nuclear industry’s flush lobby group, started CASEnergy in 2006 to serve as a pro-nuclear public relations campaign disguised as a grassroots initiative.  Its chief engineer is the notorious Hill and Knowlton, which made its name as tobacco industry shills in the 1960s.  To counteract negative scientific findings, the firm unleashed a media campaign to convince the American public that cigarettes had no verifiable links to cancer. Now days, Hill and Knowlton pulls in in big bucks – nearly $3 million dollars in 2008 alone – to convince the American public that nuclear power is clean. Not convinced CASEnergy and Hill and Knowlton are one in the same?  If you can find a phone number on CASEnergy’s glossy website, call it.  You’ve reached the offices of Hill and Knowlton.

2) Get an “environmentalist” for hire. CASEnergy Co-Chair, Patrick Moore is billed as co-founder and former leader of Greenpeace. Don’t we think highly of ourselves, Mr. Moore? Moore is a former Greenpeace activist, but his leadership assertions have been refuted by trecorded legal documents, the current Greenpeace organization and its officially acknowledged founders. By Moore’s own admission, he joined in March 1971, fourteen months after the group was founded. Oops. But regardless of his beginnings, he has been a “corporate consultant” for most of the years since leaving Greenpeace in 1984.  His resume includes consultant for the logging industry, Canadian Mining Association, BHP Minerals (Canada) Ltd and the largest manufacturer of PVC in Canada, IPEX. Now, the nuclear industry is shuttling him all over the country to share his “even environmentalist heart nuclear” narrative.  If you’re lucky, you’ll hear Moore assert that he thinks so highly of nuclear power that he would live right inside a nuclear reactor. The gentleman doth protests too much?

3) Call your product clean. CASEnergy gets a lot of mileage off of its position that “nuclear energy does not produce greenhouse gases because it does not burn anything to generate electricity.” This is what people in the magic industry call misdirection – direct the audience to focus on one thing for the explicit purpose of keeping them away from seeing the sleight of hand. In this case, CASEnergy turns dirty energy into clean energy by revealing it as a low carbon technology.  It is a misdirect intent on keeping the focus off of uranium mining, milling and processing, high- and low- level radioactive waste, and routine and not-so-routine releases of radioactive isotopes into our air and water.

4) Keep your friends close but your enemies closer. CASEnergy is eager to wedge nuclear energy into the renewable energy camp.  When it announces its clean energy roadmap in the presence of the American Wind Energy Association, keep this mind, French state-controlled Electricite de France (EDF) told the British government that its policy of promoting wind energy threatened EdF’s intent of building more reactors there. In fact, former Nuclear Regulatory Commission Commissioner and utility expert Peter Bradford has noted that the “all of the above” approach to our national energy portfolio does not necessarily play out well at the local level. According to Bradford, “sometimes solutions [to energy demand] drive out other solutions. If a region commits to say a 1,600 MW reactor, than there is little motivation to do efficiency or renewables.”

Allison Fisher is the Organizer for Public Citizen