From Roger Lippman, Nuclear Free Northwest

A bill which would direct our state to promote nuclear development, Senate Bill 5129, just passed out of Rules and is now scheduled for Senate floor debate and a vote next Wednesday, February 8. Please contact every senator we can, either party – your own senator, and any you know. Also: a very similar bill is in the House: HB 1584. Please contact your representatives, and anyone you know on the House Energy committee.

Please comment “Con” on the House bill: .

The bill’s text is at .

If you wish to testify before the committee (in person or on line), you can sign up at . Select the Environment and Energy Committee, for its Feb. 7, 4 PM meeting, HB 1584. Then follow the rest of the instructions.

I would add the following to my arguments below: since nuclear power is so expensive, and so slow to come on line, what this bill does mainly is get the state to “promote” nuclear power. That means throwing more money at something that is very unlikely to succeed. That money would be better spent on real, existing solutions that will provide clean energy, and energy efficiency, very soon. Instead, the state is being asked to subsidize the flailing nuclear industry.

Roger’s testimony:

Senate Bill 5129 states as a matter of policy that “advanced nuclear reactor technology” would “maintain competitive energy prices,” would “foster a clean energy economy,” and “reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The first claim is demonstrably untrue, since “advanced nuclear technology” has never been put into practice, and its costs are unknown, though already predicted by experts to be higher than cleaner, quicker feasible alternatives. It has also not been explicitly defined.

Secondly, the language of the bill concedes that the problem of nuclear waste remains unsolved. While it attributes this lack of a solution to “years of inaction,” in fact, billions have been spent on the problem, with no results to show for it.

Thirdly, while it is true that nuclear power is a relatively low emitter of carbon, it is not non-emitting if one regards the entire chain, from fuel production through plant construction. But more significantly, any new nuclear power plants, especially of a non-existing and unproven technology, with plants not yet designed, will not produce low-carbon energy within the next 10 years, if ever.

The climate crisis requires the cleanest, cheapest energy produced the soonest, and in the largest quantities. That includes energy-efficiency measures. New nuclear will be the most expensive and the slowest compared to existing clean technologies that are already proven and in application.

The only actual legislation in the bill, after the assertions above, is to declare “advanced nuclear technology” to be a clean energy source of which the state should allow development.

“Advanced nuclear reactors” are not defined in the bill, but that sometimes refers to “small modular reactors.” Sometimes “advanced” refers to Bill Gates’ project, which is in very early stages of development and is problematic for its own reasons; it is less efficient than conventional reactors, and its design has retreated from more innovative features that were found to be impractical.

Some who testified today mentioned that advanced technology has moved beyond the era of Three Mile Island. But in fact, every existing US reactor, and the two presently under construction (at double their budgets and years behind schedule) use technology from the 1970s.


See the bill’s text at .

Other resources:

The climate crisis and the risks of nuclear powerBy Roger Lippman . (Long)

Thanks, Roger