LOCAL LEADERS ARE GUNG-HO behind a new nuclear reactor in Calvert County, and much of the media reports are singing the praises of supporters – focusing on the great economic boon locally and the environmental benefit globally.
The opponents are present, however. They were present at last week’s meeting in Solomon’s Island, put on by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), despite seemingly objective reports painting the opposition as meager and/or a little whacko.
This is brewing into a national issue, as it should. The Washington Times opined this weekend that Ralph Nader is pondering a national campaign regarding the nuclear reactor proposal in Calvert County, and liberals and their ilk are lining up nationally.
Supporters Speak Louder Than Opponents
Concerns expressed by apprehensive citizens and environmental activists at last week’s public meeting were burried in the public record by numerous words from supporters.
In the days since, virtually all of Maryland’s newspapers have been trumpeting the words of the supporters behind the proposal to build the U.S.’s first new nuclear reactor since the 1970s.
Nearly 400 people attended the meeting held at Solomon’s Holiday Inn, which was announced with legal ads in three major newspapers. The NRC said it was the first of many public meetings required during the application process and beyond. The legal purpose for this meeting was to explain the application process, and avenues of public input. Permit approval alone will take years.
Opponents’ Unanswered Points of Concern
During the meeting an opponent at the microphone said the proposed Yucca Mountain site for the nation’s nuclear waste is “a pipe dream” and there are no realistic plans in place to deal with the current radioactive nuclear waste that is now scattered all over the country.
A member of the NRC panel, at one point, commented that a permanent plan to deal with spent nuclear waste will be fully developed within the next 100 years.
Another opponent in the crowd said the solution is not “spent nuclear rods sitting in the parking lot.” Radioactive waste from the current Calvert Cliffs reactors is stored locally, at the plant.
“There are no safe levels of radiation … and it’s acknowledged that there are radioactive releases at every step of the way, the NRC simply regulates the amount of releases,” said Diane D’Arrigo, of the Maryland organization, Nuclear Information and Resource Service.
D’Arrigo received vigorous applause after pointing out, among other issues with the industry, that the level of self-monitoring going on at plants is unacceptable.
Official Support for Nuclear Energy
The Calvert County Commissioners along with several other government and business groups have already issued written and verbal support for Calvert Cliff’s expansion to a third reactor. In their letter to the NRC, the Calvert Commissioners said they are ready to shoulder the responsibility.
“It is imperative to reverse the growth of greenhouse gas emissions, and Calvert County stands ready to share i