NoGreenRiverNuke Protest Video
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Lately, several news investigations have appeared with revelations about suspicious funding games behind Blue Castle Holdings, the company proposing the reactor. As one commentator in the Salt Lake Tribune said, "This is starting to look more and more like a fly by night operation. Don't let partisanship and arguing over the pros and cons of nuclear power cloud you from what should be a central issue: Is this the type of company that can be trusted to construct a nuclear power plant without cutting corners to save costs? With a nuclear power plant there's not a lot of margin for error."
The proposed Blue Castle reactor site sits in a desert in the second driest state in the nation, whereas nuclear reactors are thirsty creatures, requiring plenty of cooling water to avoid a disastrous meltdown. Blue Castle seeks rights to 53,600 acre-feet of water a year from the already overtaxed Green River. That’s enough water to supply over 100,000 households with water annually. To have that figure be our buffer against disaster is folly in such arid country. People need water. The river needs water. Let’s leave insatiable reactors out of the desert’s delicate, life-giving equation.
All it takes is a single event disrupting the flow of cooling water to the reactors, and a meltdown spiral can begin. Downriver, the Green meets the Colorado, which supplies water to 25 million people and irrigates 3.5 million acres of farmland. A significant release of radioactive material would affect not just the thousands of area residents, but millions across the West who could no longer drink their water or eat a wide variety of produce. Furthermore, cash-strapped local communities must somehow fund the emergency preparedness measures that such a dangerous neighbor requires.
Nuclear power requires uranium mining. It requires milling, tailings piles and nuclear waste storage. It leads to roads across landscapes, holes in cliffs, trucks burning fossil fuels to get uranium to mills and then to plants. It is a millennia-long responsibility to dangerous byproducts. It is miners and mill workers dying of cancer, the indirect and silent fatalities that the nuclear industry doesn’t tally. These aspects of power production pose problems for which we haven’t yet learned solutions — problems whose effects reach beyond the bounds of Emery County and thousands of years into the future.
We are already a net exporter of wattage to other states. And nuclear is so expensive that Wall Street won’t fund it. The plant will cost $13 to $16 billion to build, and the power will cost consumers more than twice what Utahns currently pay per kilowatt-hour. So why build it? Because a handful of venture capitalists stand to make a boatload of money. This isn’t about the public’s best interests. It’s about a few private individuals benefiting from our potential losses.
The proposed reactor would be situated next door to world-class river rafting (Desolation and Gray Canyons) and upriver from iconic national parks (Canyonlands and Grand Canyon). Within the 50-mile evacuation zone are the oft-visited redrock expanses of Arches National Park and Moab. At best, nuclear reactors are out of place in this world-renowned landscape; at worst, they pose a threat to thousands of residents and millions of visitors.