The Union of Concerned Scientists applauds Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act of July, 2008 with continuing the Commonwealth’s tradition of environmental leadership by bringing Massachusetts back to the forefront of national and international efforts to reduce global warming pollution.
Unfortunately, the Commonwealth now seeks to “define clean energy based on a GHG emissions-based performance standard, regardless of the technology used to generate the electricity” and to define Non emitting Electricity Generators as “Electricity generators powered by hydro, nuclear, ocean, solar or wind power”. See www.mass.gov/courts/docs/lawlib/300-399cmr/310cmr7.pdf (310 CMR: DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, Appendix B, (d) 2).
You read that right: the regulatory body responsible for protecting the environment intends to define nuclear energy as “clean” – with no evidence whatsoever to counter the exhaustive & prestigious work of the National Academy of Sciences Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation which found that “the smallest dose [of ionizing radiation] has the potential to cause a small increase in risk to humans”. Of all the means of generating electricity, only nuclear creates highly toxic waste (for which no long-term solution has been found) that becomes the taxpayers’ problem upon creation. And only nuclear has the potential to kill many thousands of people and to render thousands of square miles of land uninhabitable for hundreds of years. “Clean energy” must mean pollution-free, not just GHG (Greenhouse Gas)-free.
The deadline for public comment closed February 24, 2017.
Here are some comments from downwinders:
Jim Talin, Brewster: It is a mistake for the Department of Environmental Energy to include nuclear power as a clean source of electricity generation. It is not a “non emitting” source. It cannot be compared to hydro, ocean, solar or wind power. Nuclear is in a class by itself. It demands special attention at every stage of the fuel cycle, from the mining of uranium to its storage for thousands of years. The Federal, State and local governments acknowledge this difference in their regulation of nuclear power, which puts nuclear in a class of its own. No other source of electricity demands such care. 10 mile evacuation zones are not needed and demanded after the installation of sola panels on a rooftop. No grim legacy of toxic waste results from the use of wind turbines. There is an idealistic hope held by nuclear’s proponents that somehow they will get it right and develop a safe nuclear power plant. But right now nuclear power is a work in process. Reliance upon it is a Faustian bargain. We ignore the burden our use of nuclear puts on future generations. We transform one of the most historic cultural and historic regions of the United States into a defacto waste dump. This is not responsible governance. History will not judge us kindly when they are forced to resolve the problems we leave behind. We bargain away the future for the illusion of safe nuclear power. Its use should not be promoted. It should be phased out to make way for the future.