Senator Voinovich brags that he introduced 2002 legislation that continued the Price Anderson indemnity for the nuclear power industry, thus allowing further nuclear power development. The Nuclear team of the Ohio Sierra Club is organizing a rally to challenge Senator George Voinovich’s support for the expansion of nuclear power in Ohio. At a time when Ohioans are already reeling from multiple economic blows and environmental devastation, a ramping up of nuclear power will only leave the state with more contamination, more sickness and more debt. Like others in the pro-nuclear lobby, Voinovich has tried pasting a happy face on nuclear power by claiming that nukes are “clean, green, safe and cheap” and that they offer a solution to the global climate crisis. But the truth lies in the opposite direction.

If the world is to avoid catastrophic global warming we must start reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions immediately. More reactors cannot halt climate change in time. Even if nuclear power were clean and safe (which it is not) it would take more than 300 new reactors in the U.S. and 1,500 worldwide just to make a dent in greenhouse gas emissions. One reactor takes at least 10 years and upwards of $6 billion to build. Since climate protection will take loads of money, every $ must be spent as efficiently as possible. Study after study concludes that nuclear power comes out as the most expensive energy option. According to the highly regarded energy efficiency analyst Amory Lovins, “If you buy more nuclear plants, you ‘re going to get about two to ten times less climate solution per dollar, and you’ll get it about twenty to forty times slower” than efficient use of electricity, renewables and micropower.

Nuclear power is not emissions-free. The fossil-fuel intensive processes of mining, milling, enriching and fabricating uranium fuel plus all the failed attempts at storing the radioactive waste add up to enormous quantities of CO2 emissions. Then there’s the problem of where to store the high level radioactive waste for the next 240,000 years. Building 1,000 new reactors in the world would require a new Yucca Mountain-sized dump every 4 years. So far the world hasn’t figured out how to safely store even the first cupful of the thousands of tons of high level waste that are piled up next to the reactors. The Chernobyl explosion and its lingering radioactive fallout have killed at least 500,000 people in horribly, painful ways.2 Twenty years later there are still food restrictions caused by the fallout in certain places that are thousands of miles from the site.3 Expanding nuclear power means increasing the risks of another Chernobyl-type accident. Then there are the routine releases of radioactive gases from reactors into the surrounding communities.

Since winning election to the U.S. Senate in 1999, Senator Voinovich has been an outspoken proponent for nuclear power. He is the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate Change and Nuclear Safety, which has jurisdiction over the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and legislation pertaining to nuclear energy. He was a major supporter of the 2005 Energy Policy Act which provides over $13 billion in subsidies for the nuclear industry. Senator Voinovich wrote in an article in the March 2008 issue of Nuclear News titled Making the Nuclear Renaissance a Reality in which he says “I intend to work with my colleagues in the Senate to build bipartisan support and leadership for making the nuclear renaissance a reality.”

Senator Voinovich and other nuclear industry advocates have identified Ohio as susceptible to these deceptive claims that nuclear energy is clean, green, safe, cheap and an answer to global warming. Let him know that you know differently. Please join in this critical effort to oppose the actions of Senator Voinovich and the nuclear industry for the sake of Ohio’s economy and environment.

***Please write to Senator George Voinovich, 37 W. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215 and ask him to stop promoting nuclear power. For more information contact Ohio Sierra Club Nuclear Committee Chair Pat Marida at 614-890-7865 or

***Come to the rally on Sept. 9 between 11:45 and 1pm at 37 W. Broad in downtown Columbus!