Senator Lamar Alexander was President of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville when I was a grad student there. He served as Governor of the State of Tennessee 1979-1991 and as the U.S. Secretary of Education 1991-1993. In 2001 he was named the Roy M. and Barbara Goodman Family Visiting Professor of Practice in Public Service at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. With such an august background, one might expect the Senator to be fairly literate about the facts of nuclear power in the U.S. and abroad.
In an email to me dated January 17, 2014, he pointed out that “wasteful wind subsidies” by the federal government to promote wind power as an alternative to fossil fuel in Tennessee does not produce sufficient return in Tennessee with its relatively low wind resource to justify the subsidy. He went on to claim that “Furthermore, windmills are destroying the environment in the name of saving the environment. For example, you can see their flashing lights for 20 miles, and you would have to stretch wind turbines the entire length of the Appalachian Trail, from Maine to Georgia, to equal the power produced by eight nuclear plants on one square mile each – and you would still need the nuclear plants or some other form of power generation for when the wind doesn’t blow.” Continue reading
In response to petitions filed by Beyond Nuclear and twenty-three other environmental organizations to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) affecting a total of 36 reactors in new licensing and re-licensing proceedings, the Commission granted the petitioners’ requests to hold all final licensing decisions in abeyance until the question of what is to be done with the nation’s growing mountain of nuclear waste is resolved. This stunning decision is evidence of serious problems with the nuclear power structure in the U.S. Beyond Nuclear offered the following comments in a nationally distributed joint press release.