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A “Clean” Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

This week’s featured foolish legislation making its way through the N.C. General Assembly is an attempt to shift the focus of carbon reduction plans, by redefining what counts as “clean” energy. Instead of focusing on the continued development of clean, affordable, and practical “renewable” energy sources like solar and wind, this bill would slip in as “clean” energy the outdated, overpriced, and insecure technology of commercial nuclear fission plants. 

Unsurprisingly, the primary sponsor of the bill (SB 678) is nuclear cheerleader Sen. Paul Newton (R-Cabarrus), a former Duke Energy executive. Like his former employer, Sen. Newton dismisses the importance of the fact that this “clean” power source produces some of the most toxic and long-lived waste products known to humanity. 

The private capital market in the United States already gets the message: We can’t afford to build more commercial nuclear fission plants. Only massive, ill-advised government subsidies keep (barely) alive the poisonous pipe dream of a nuclear-powered future.

The lessons of Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Fukushima cannot penetrate the unwise surety of some electric utility executives (and former executives) and their political allies. And now, we can only hope that the ongoing Russian roulette in Ukraine does not add Zaporizhzhia to the list of international nuclear disaster horrors. Don’t bring more of these high-risk facilities to our state.

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