Originally created 04/04/06

Pro-nuclear stance criticized

ATLANTA - An international coalition of grassroots activists criticized state lawmakers Monday for passing resolutions that support nuclear power's expansion in Georgia.

The groups met at the Georgia Capitol to decry the state and federal government's push for more nuclear energy facilities.

Because of that push, Plant Vogtle near Augusta is considered as a site for an additional nuclear power generation unit, while Savannah River Site, across the border in South Carolina, is being pitched as a site for reprocessing used fuel.

The group meeting Monday, which included anti-nuclear activists from Russia, just returned from a lobbying trip to try to convince Congress to restore funding for an environmental monitoring program of the Savannah River downstream from SRS.

Members said they had serious concerns about plans to invest in more nuclear power and turn once again to reprocessing after a decades-long hiatus.

"There's a lot coming down the pipe from this administration," said Bobbie Paul, the executive director for the Atlanta chapter of the Women's Action for New Directions, referring to President Bush's energy policy focus on expanding nuclear energy. "Reprocessing is the worst of these suggestions."

Rep. Nan Grogan Orrock, D-Atlanta, said she tried to speak out against the pro-nuclear resolution as the House entered its final hours of this year's session. But a procedural rule blocked her from voicing her concerns then.

"The Legislature, I believe, showed a lack of moderation and wisdom," Ms. Orrock said Monday.

But state Public Service Commission Chairman Stan Wise said critics are clinging to outdated arguments over environmental and safety concerns when it comes to nuclear power.

"The technology in the last 30 years has just moved light-years ahead, " he said. "I don't mean to dismiss them, but what is their solution (to high energy costs)? What is their answer for the needs of this country, and it can't be just, 'Let's conserve.'"


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