My awareness of current nuclear issues started at the ani concerts I went to in November – a NIRS rep gave a quick talk on why we should all call our congress people and senators to urge them to remove the loan guarantee for nuclear reactors from the energy bill. There are many reasons to be against nuclear energy, here is a quick list for you:

  1. It is not safe; despite improvements, nuclear reactors come with a very real and very deadly risk.
  2. It is not clean; no country in the world has solved the “waste” problem, and all reactors emit radiation. This country continually tries to hide the problem by burying the extremely dirty (in that radioactive sense) waste byproduct on the land of native americans. This is one example of environmental racism.
  3. It is incredibly expensive, AND the only way the reactors can be built is with taxpayer money.
  4. We have better, cheaper, faster, safer, cleaner options: solar and wind, to name two.
  5. In a country that has been targeted in the not-so-distant past by terrorism and which has no reason to expect the danger of more attacks to diminish, is it not the height of insanity to build the very first new reactor 30 miles from the nation’s capital?

Solar is cheaper, so is wind. Both could provide more than enough power, both could be put in place far far faster than the 10 or so years it would take to build a nuclear reactor. Both are cheaper and safer, and both are a hell of a lot less deadly to the earth and its inhabitants.

Here’s the email I got today:

Fellow Green Energy Advocates:

We have won a great victory, but now face a critical last-ditch

Thanks in part to your efforts, the Congressional leadership has
removed proposed loan guarantees from the Energy Bill. Spearheaded
by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority
Leader Harry Reid, we took a great step forward for a
green-powered future.

But now $25 billion in loan guarantees for new reactors, plus $2
billion for uranium enrichment, have been introduced into the
Omnibus Appropriations Bill. It will take all our renewed
energies to get them removed, as we did from the Energy Bill. is committed to this effort, and we are calling on
you to continue your support for a safe-energy future. Please
take a moment to call your Senators and Representatives, and to
also call the offices of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell,
House Minority Leader John Boehner, Senate Appropriations
Committee Chair Robert Byrd, House Appropriations Committee Chair
David Obey, as well as Majority Leader Reid and Speaker Pelosi
and tell them to remove the $25 billion in nuclear loan guarantees
from the Omnibus Appropriations Bill.

To contact Senators, phone the Senate switchboard and they will
connect you: (202) 224-3121.
To contact Representatives, contact the House switchboard at
(202) 225-3121.

We know it’s the weekend, but MESSAGES ON VOICE MAIL at
Congressional offices do get counted, as do FAXES. And if you can
call or FAX again Monday morning, that would be great. The final
vote may not come until Tuesday. Here’s the basic message:

Dear Representative/Senator _________,

I’m writing to urge you to remove the $25 billion in nuclear loan
guarantees from the Omnibus Appropriations Bill currently under

Nuclear reactors have 50 years of proven failure behind them, and
we see no reason to build more. They are expensive, dangerous
and environmentally destructive. They cannot get their own
private liability insurance, cannot solve their nuclear waste
problem, and cannot attract private investment without federal
guarantees. They offer no solution to the climate crisis, and
have been surpassed in every way by the revolution in renewables
and efficiency.

Thank you for your consideration.


City, State

* * * * * * * * *

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Phone (202) 224-2541
Fax (202) 224-2499

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH/8th)
Phone (202) 225-6205
Fax (202) 225-5117

Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Robert Byrd (D-WV)
Phone (202) 224-3954
Fax (202) 228-0002

House Appropriations Committee Chair David Obey (D-WI/7th)
Phone (202) 225-3365
Fax (202) 225-3240

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)
Phone (202) 224-3542
Fax (202) 224-7327

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA/8th)
Phone (202) 225-4965
Fax (202) 225-4188

For further background, please see the article “Will Congress
Plunge Us (Again) into the Nuke Power Abyss?” written by our
site’s editor, Harvey Wasserman:

Please help us complete a victory that must be won.

Thank you,

I hope you’ll take the time to read and call your senator. It needs to be done this weekend and Monday, the vote is imminent. The issue is important, and it impacts all of our wallets, as well as the world we would like to continue living in. This impacts other countries – if we can push solar and wind as more effective and cheaper than nuclear, don’t you think that would be a great lever to use to convince other countries to end their push for nuclear power? A technology we know leads to nuclear weapons. World peace through solar energy? Why not.

And to make this the longest freaking post ever, here’s the lyrics to a great ani difranco song, “The Glory of the Atom”, for which I can not find a music link, but that’s okay, it is the lyrics I want you to hear/read:

the glory of the atom
begs a reverent word
the primary design
of the whole universe
the smallest unit of matter
let us bow our heads
at the magnificent consciousness
incarnate there

the smallest unit of matter
with its orbiting electrons
echoing off the solar system
like a hawk in the hills at dawn
the smallest unit of matter
uniting bird and rock and tree
and you and me

oh holy is the atom
the truly intelligent design
to which all of evolution
is graciously aligned
the one single structure
to which everything distills
the air, the wood smoke there, and the hills

you leave me here surrounded
by everything that’s real
far outside the boundaries
of the digitized ordeal
leave me here awake
leave me here to heal

human beings are a cross
between monkeys and ants
you can see us from your spaceship
melting the polar ice caps with our arrogance
summon a congress of angels
dressed in riot gear
we’ve got a serious problem down here

i have a great great uncle
who worked on the atomic bomb
he got a nobel prize in physics
and a place in this song
and i bet there were no windows
and no women in the room
when they applied themselves to the pure
science of doom

messin’ with the atom
is the highest form of blasphemy
whether you making weapons
or simple electricity
someone fashion me a pulpit
i have been called to engage
with the maniacal heretics
of the nuclear age

let the religious get religion
let the consumers get a clue
let the scientists get perspective
let the activists get their due
let industry get a conscience
let the earth inherit the meek
let the divinity of nature speak

oh the glory of the atom
deserves a reverent word
the primary design
of the whole universe
lets us sing its praises
let us bow our heads in prayer
at the magnificent consciousness
incarnate there