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Hawkins: Nuclear power is unreliable, dangerous, costly
Syracuse Post-Standard, August 28, 2019
To the Editor:
The column by the Office of Nuclear Energy's Edwin McGinnis ("New York and the nation need nuclear," Post-Standard, Aug. 26, 2018) is more fake news from the Trump administration.
McGinnis calls Fitzpatrick "reliable baseload power ... 24/7, 365 days a year." But it's frequently down for refueling and repairs. Fitzpatrick had to reduce power 11 times in the first three months of 2014 because its aging cooling system kept springing leaks.
Clean energy? McGinnis ignores the nuclear waste piling up that is deadly for 250,000 years and how a meltdown accident could make our region uninhabitable for 20,000, years like Chernobyl.
McGinnis touts the $12 million in state and local taxes Fitzpatrick pays. With the Cuomo administration's $7.6 billion bailout to Exelon to keep Fitzpatrick and two other aging and financially failing nukes operating, we could replace those tax revenues for generations. We could also provide plant workers nearing retirement with generous pensions and maintain the income and benefits of younger workers until they find comparable work. We would still have several billion left to invest in truly clean solar, wind and geothermal energy.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo's campaign manager, Maggie Moran, is a lobbyist whose clients include Exelon. Both Trump and Cuomo support nuclear subsidies to keep a dying industry alive. As long as we have decision-makers like these in power, it's hard to be optimistic that our energy future will be determined by sound economic and environmental policy instead of corrupt pay-to-play politics.
Hawkins is the Green Party candidate for governor of New York.