Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQ)
"Who are you?"
Members of Californians for Green Nuclear Power are environmentalists, engineers, physicists, students, and people in all walks of life who understand nuclear energy’s critical role in addressing climate change.
"Isn’t nuclear energy dangerous?"
No! Contrary to popular belief, nuclear energy is the safest method of generating on-demand grid electricity.1
"What about the waste?
There’s no evidence spent nuclear fuel from U.S. power plants has ever harmed people, plants, or animals. And there isn’t much of it - spent fuel created by the electricity needs of an average American, during her entire lifetime, would fit inside an empty Coke can.2
"How does that compare to waste from other sources?"
To generate the same amount of electricity as a modern nuclear plant, a natural gas plant would emit 8 million tons of greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions each year - the equivalent of 1.7 million additional cars on the road.3
A coal plant would emit twice as much. Nuclear plants emit no GHGs.
"Why are nuclear plants closing, if they’re such a great idea?"
Good question! Market forces have created a situation where energy companies eager to reward investors choose cheaper, dirty fossil fuels to generate electricity. You might wonder, “Why shouldn’t they be liable for the environmental and health consequences of all that extra smoke in the air?” Another good question!
"California is making great strides at generating all of its electricity with clean renewables."
Unfortunately no, we’re not. Because renewables often aren’t available, they require backup generation from dirty sources like natural gas or coal. And grid experts agree - trying to use renewable energy stored in batteries to power California for even one cloudy day would be hopelessly impractical.
"So, you’re opposed to renewables?"
Californians for Green Nuclear Power supports all sources of emission-free electricity, including nuclear, solar, wind, hydropower, and geothermal. We believe that only by using all GHG-free resources at our disposal can we avoid permanent damage to the world our descendants will inhabit.
"‘Nuclear is safe’. I don’t believe it."
Believe it. Radiation from the highly-publicized Fukushima accident in Japan wasn’t responsible for a single death or injury. And casualties from the worst nuclear accident in history - Chernobyl - are dwarfed by those from smoke emitted by U.S. coal plants every year, with an estimated 13,000 lives cut short by carcinogens and toxic chemicals released into the air.4
"Well, I can see why avoiding greenhouse gas emissions will be more and more important."
Yes, you can!
Conca, James. "How Deadly Is Your Kilowatt? We Rank The Killer Energy Sources", Forbes
(June 2012). https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2012/06/10/energys-deathprint-a-price-always-paid/
. Retrieved 2018-04-28.
Argonne National Laboratory, "Factoids About Nuclear Energy." https://www.ne.anl.gov/About/open_house/2012/factoids2.pdf
The Breakthrough Institute, "San Onofre Nuclear Closure to Boost State Carbon Emissions By 8 Million Tons." https://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/programs/energy-and-climate/san-onofre-nuclear-closure-to-boost-state-carbon-emissions-by-8-million-tons
Clean Air Task Force, "Death and Disease from Power Plants." http://www.catf.us/fossil/problems/power_plants/