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Don’t Be Fooled by Nuclear Industry Shill; Environmentalists Are Not Backing New Reactors

May 8, 2008 

Don’t Be Fooled by Nuclear Industry Shill; Environmentalists Are Not Backing New Reactors 

Nuclear Power Plant Proposed for Victoria Puts Region at Risk

AUSTIN, Texas – While an environmental consultant brought to Victoria to tout nuclear energy is quick to claim that a new reactor proposed for the area would be “clean and safe,” he is less likely to discuss today at a private gathering of business and community leaders his ties to the industry, which is sponsoring his speaking tour.

Since 2006, Patrick Moore has been a paid spokesperson for the nuclear industry. He is co-chair of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, which is wholly funded by the nuclear industry lobby group, the Nuclear Energy Institute.

“While Moore wants people to believe that talking points crafted by the nuclear industry are the prevailing position of the environmental community, the fact is no major environmental organization promotes the expansion of nuclear power as a solution to global warming,” said Tom “Smitty” Smith, director of Public Citizen’s Texas office. “The facts remain: Nuclear power is dangerous, environmentally malignant and an uneconomical energy source.”

The Victoria Economic Development Corporation, which is hosting Moore’s presentation, has billed the event as a discussion on energy issues in Texas and the environmental benefits of nuclear power generation. The talk follows the announcement by Illinois-based utility Exelon Nuclear that it wants to build a new reactor in the area, breaking from the industry’s usual strategy of choosing sites where reactors already exist and where opposition is less likely.

“The failure of both the Victoria Economic Development Corporation and Moore to disclose his relationship with the nuclear industry is blatantly deceptive,” Smith said.

The arguments against nuclear power are overwhelming, Smith said. Nuclear plants face safety shortcomings and lack protection from terrorist attacks. Nuclear power is not a clean energy source, producing low- and high-level radioactive waste at every step of the process – from uranium mining to energy production. That waste will remain dangerously radioactive for tens of thousands of years. Then there is the more than $13 billion a year in taxpayer subsidies the industry receives. In fact, without huge subsidies, nuclear power companies would close their doors, Smith said.

Residents and decision-makers in Victoria should demand a balanced examination of nuclear technology and the impacts it would have on their community, not a distorted view of nuclear power served up by an industry spokesperson at a meeting closed to the public, said Sandra McKenzie, a local Victoria attorney.

“Before allowing an industry to make such a huge change in our way of life, the citizens of this community deserve an opportunity to have all of our questions and concerns addressed,” McKenzie said. “A closed forum does not allow for the type of dialogue that Victoria needs to engage in before making a decision on an issue that will change the face of our community for generations to come.”

Moore’s claim of being an environmentalist is based on his work with Greenpeace in the early 1970s. But since the early 1990s, Moore has worked as a corporate consultant for groups looking to put an environmental spin on such things as genetically modified crops, PVCs and how to dispose of toxic mining byproducts.