Erich Pica, President of Friends of the Earth, Responds to Senator Alexanders Nuclear Rant

Erich Pica, President of Friends of the Earth, Responds to Senator Alexanders Nuclear Rant


Benjamin Schreiber, 202-222-0752, [email protected]

Washington, D.C.— Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica had the following statement in response to Senator Lamar Alexander’s call for building new nuclear reactors:

“Nuclear reactor construction is a bad investment. Even the private banks that lost their shirts on risky subprime mortgages refuse to finance it because of the risk. Even the nuclear industry refuses to put its own money on the line to finance new reactors. They admit that without a preemptive bailout in the form of taxpayer-backed loan guarantees, no new reactors would be built. That’s why Senator Alexander’s call for an increased U.S. role is really a call for U.S. taxpayers to foot the bill; so that some of the world’s largest multi-national corporations can make huge profits.

“Customers in South Carolina are already feeling the pinch. They are going to be hit with electricity rate increases of 37 percent before either of their new reactors can turn on a single light bulb. In Finland, a new reactor may never actually turn on any light bulbs. Construction is already three years behind schedule and the French Company building the reactor, Areva, has announced that it will not finish the job unless the Finnish utility revises the original plan.

“The construction of new nuclear reactors is not a viable solution to climate change. It is unsafe and insecure. More than 40 years after the first reactor was constructed, we still do not have a viable long-term solution to deal with the waste. Nuclear reactors are also too expensive and, given the need to beg for financing, the industry admits that plants cannot be constructed quickly enough to have an impact on climate change.

“By giving his speech at the Chamber of Commerce just weeks after its call for a “Scope’s Monkey Trial” on climate change, Senator Alexander made it very clear that he is not seeking to find solutions to climate change. His call for an expansion of nuclear power is nothing more than a handout to big campaign donors.”


Friends of the Earth ( and our network of grassroots groups in 77 countries fight to create a more healthy, just world. We’re progressive environmental advocates who pull no punches and speak sometimes uncomfortable truths to power. Our current campaigns focus on clean energy and solutions to global warming, protecting people from toxic and new, potentially harmful technologies, and promoting smarter, low-pollution transportation alternatives.