An opinion piece in The Augusta Chronicle on March 23 ("A much-needed nuclear renaissance is sweeping the word," by Dr. Susan Wood and Mal McKibben) misstated Friends of the Earth's position on nuclear power.
Friends of the Earth, like most environmental groups, opposes nuclear power. Here's why:
Chernobyl and Three Mile Island were the highest profile incidents, but reactor accidents aren't just a thing of the past. For example, last summer in Japan, an earthquake damaged a nuclear power plant and led to the release of radioactive waste into the sea. Terrorism and intentional sabotage are also threats.
There's also the problem of transporting and storing nuclear waste. The United States currently has no long-term waste repository, and if environmental concerns about opening one could ever be surmounted, the thousands of trains carrying waste to that site would endanger towns and cities across the country.
The third strike against nuclear power is that it is extremely expensive. Each new reactor can cost $8 billion or more and take a decade to construct. That's why the private sector has refused to finance new reactors in the United States for decades, and why the industry is so eager to receive taxpayer subsidies. Clean energy alternatives such as efficiency improvements and wind power are much more affordable and can be adopted much more quickly.
Nick Berning, Washington, D.C.
(The writer is press secretary for Friends of the Earth.)