Ending Dangerous Nuclear Power
Fukushima. Three Mile Island. Chernobyl. In a world full of economic, safe and clean renewable energy options, there is no excuse for the resurrection of expensive and dangerous nuclear energy. Based on 60-year-old technology, the extreme danger of nuclear power has reared its ugly head yet again.
Since it was first commercialized, nuclear power has proven to be one of the dirtiest, most dangerous and most expensive sources of energy. Nuclear reactors have a long history of accidents, leaks, extended outages and skyrocketing costs.
Since Friends of the Earth was founded 40 years ago, we have been the United States’ leading voice opposing nuclear energy and exposing the real dangers of nuclear power plants. Our work against nuclear power helped shut down reactors at Diablo Canyon and San Onofre and helped cancel both the MidAmerican Energy and V.C. Summer nuclear projects.
When David Brower to found Friends of Earth in 1969, one of his principal concerns revolved around the construction of nuclear reactors at Diablo Canyon. Friends of the Earth released a landmark report that found Diablo Canyon was built on a major fault line. Seismic activity near the plant put the nuclear materials there at tremendous and unnecessary risk.
Working with Pacific Gas and Electric, Friends of the Earth reached an agreement to shut down the two reactors at Diablo Canyon and replace them with renewable energy, efficiency and energy storage. California Gov. Jerry Brown has taken it one step further. In Sept. 2018, he signed economic assistance legislation for the communities living near Central California’s Diablo Canyon, ensuring that while its two nuclear reactors creep toward decommission, local communities are still acknowledged — and given some financial help as the state makes its final move away from nuclear energy. Diablo Canyon’s reactors will shut down formally in 2024 and 2025.
More recently in South Carolina, Friends of the Earth played the leading role in stopping construction of the V.C. Summer power plant. The monumental decision to abandon the plant mid-construction was another mark against a nuclear industry boasting big promises with nothing to show for them. Plagued by billions of dollars in cost overruns, competition from cheap renewables, and a stagnant demand for electricity, South Carolina’s utilities halted the project after relentless pressure from Friends of the Earth.
We are about solutions. Friends of the Earth advocates for 100 percent clean, renewable energy to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Allied with like-minded organizations, we push state legislators to call for closure of nuclear plants across the country.
It is time for the country to move beyond outdated fossil fuels and nuclear power by investing in truly renewable energy. Our work phasing out nuclear power across the U.S. has been successful; however, we need your help to ensure that these the end of nuclear power is the beginning of the green energy revolution. We must replace this aging infrastructure with clean and safe alternatives.
In the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, it is clear that there can and must be a thorough debate on our energy future and the need to move beyond this dangerous and dirty technology to the renewable energy and efficiency technologies of the 21st century.