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Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See for full contents of our site

January 24, 2010


Judy Pasternak, Investigative Reporting Workshop - The Obama administration may soon guarantee as much as $18.5 billion in loans to build nuclear reactors to generate electricity, and Congress is considering whether to add billions more to support an expansion of nuclear power.

These actions come after an extensive, decade-long campaign in which companies and unions related to the industry have spent more than $600 million on lobbying and nearly $63 million on campaign contributions, according to an analysis by the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University.

Nuclear power generates about 20 percent of America's electricity, but many existing reactors are aging. No new plant has been authorized since the 1979 incident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, when small amounts of radiation were released and authorities feared for days that a huge surge might escape.

That's in part because it can cost as much as $8 billion to build a nuclear plant, and in part because the problems of nuclear waste and safety remain unsolved.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read studies that say world uranium resources, like fossil fuel supplies, have already peaked and are rapidly dwindling -- so that nuclear power is only a short-term, unsustainable solution to the approaching energy shortage. I'd like to hear this topic discussed more in the media.

January 24, 2010 11:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was appalled a couple of months ago when talking online with some college students who all were pro nuclear power, because their professors in "ecology" departments said that nuclear power is less of a carbon load. They clearly had the sound of people indoctrinated into a cult. They were so on about carbon that they didn't think that nuclear waste was an issue any more. I politely agreed to disagree, because I didn't want a screaming match, but I did point out that the nuclear industry has been pumping money into colleges, including "ecology" departments for the last 10 years or so, so their instructors could be compromised about the issue, and left it at that.

It was most disheartening.

January 25, 2010 1:54 PM  
Blogger John said...

A recent article in The Economist ( indicates that next generation reactors may be able to use to waste that first gen. reactors leave and also be able to use other elements like the much more abundant Thorium. There are 6 blueprints in the works with different pros and cons.

January 25, 2010 4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To follow up on what John said, here is a link with more information on next generation reactors:

Integral Fast Reactors have passive safety systems (if something goes wrong, the reaction stops) and use nuclear waste, including plutonium, as input.

January 25, 2010 6:26 PM  

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