Despite President Barack Obama’s push to include nuclear power as part of the mix for developing new energy sources, some in Utah are saying: Not so fast. Last June, then Governor-in-waiting Gary Herbert, said he wanted to see more investment in nuclear power, and one proposed site for a new plant, which would be Utah’s first, is along the Green River in Emery County, reports Patty Henetz of the Salt Lake Tribune. In mid-August, Republican Sen. Bob Bennett made nuclear energy –his support for it – a central campaign issue.
But Utah has a long and complicated history with nuclear issues. The Salt Lake Tribune’s editorial board writes this:
“Despite some positive attributes, nuclear power is not the answer to climate change concerns and our nation’s growing energy appetite. And it’s certainly not the energy solution for Utah, where downwinders were poisoned by the fallout from years of nuclear weapons testing, where the landscape is scarred by uranium mining and underlain by faults, and where low-level nuclear waste is already buried. Utahns have a healthy fear of all things radioactive, and nuclear reactors would be no exception.”
Nuclear may or may not be the answer to the U.S. energy dilemma, but no one can ignore history while planning for the future.