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Corporate Media Are Using Industry Talking Points to Lie to Us About Nuclear Power

The media should reject the use of industry rhetoric, stop using Nukespeak talking points, and start telling us the truth about nuclear power!

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" In attempting to discuss safety concerns, NBC mentioned Chernobyl and the 1979 partial meltdown at Three Mile Island (Extra!, 7-8/93). Neither network mentioned the current problems with nuclear reactors; the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, for example, is leaking radioactive tritium into the groundwater, a safety hazard that is being documented at other nuclear sites around the country (Associated Press, 2/2/10; Greenpeace Blog, 1/28/10).

NBC also has bigger issues: its parent company General Electric is a major player in the industry, and has done business with the company planning to build the Georgia plant ( major fact NBC neglected to mention in its report.

While both reports mentioned that the Georgia plant would be the first built in the U.S. in three decades, neither gave much of an explanation as to why this would be the case. But as nuclear power critics have documented for years, the plants have proven to be financial disasters, with severe cost overruns and a general reluctance among investors to foot the bill for projects that are unlikely to be profitable (Greenpeace, 10/15/08). Obama's pledge of multi-billion dollar loan guarantees should have caused reporters to wonder why the industry, after decades of experience, needs so much government assistance in the first place."

If the mainstream media can't convince you of the need for nukes, maybe that new-fangled "social media" can! Obama's Energy Secretary Steven Chu, recently "shared" his enthusiasm "for solar and wind power" on Facebook

while also warning that "no single technology will provide all of the answers."

Translation? "If we want to make a serious dent in carbon dioxide emissions -- not to mention having cleaner air and cleaner water -- then nuclear power has to be on the table." After all, chided Chu, "the sun isn't always shining, and the wind isn't always blowing" -- and "nuclear power can provide large amounts of carbon-free power that is always available." Secretary Chu conveniently doesn't mention the highly toxic radioactive waste piling up across the country, which no one has yet figured out what to do with and lasts for hundreds of thousands of years . Instead, the Energy Secretary says nuclear power isn't part of the problem-- it's part of the solution!

"As you'll see, we need nuclear power as part of a comprehensive solution: investing in energy efficiency, wind, solar, geothermal, carbon capture, energy storage, electric vehicles, and more," wrote Chu. "In doing so, we are sparking a new industrial revolution that will create millions of new jobs here in the United States and lay the foundation for America's long-term economic prosperity. Those are some of my thoughts. I look forward to reading more of yours. What do you think?"

Here's what I think -- something Barack Obama also apparently used to think before he was elected president: "Before an expansion… is considered, key issues must be addressed including: security of nuclear fuel and waste, waste storage, and proliferation." As Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica recently opined in the Huffington Post , "President Obama should heed candidate Obama's advice."
And the media should reject the use of industry rhetoric, stop using Nukespeak talking points, and start telling us the truth about nuclear power!

Editor's Note: Please ask ABC and NBC why their reporting on the White House's nuclear power plans omitted important facts about nuclear power in favor of the optimistic projections of the nuclear industry. And, in NBC's case, why the report failed to disclose its parent company's financial ties to the nuclear industry.

CONTACT:NBC Nightly News

ABC World News with Diane Sawyer

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