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Pueblo hearing on nuclear plant extended to third night

The Ukrainian city of Pripyat was completely evacuated after a nuclear reactor at Chernobyl exploded in 1986. PHOTO BY JASON MINSHULL RELEASED INTO THE PUBLIC DOMAIN.

Hundreds of residents turn out to voice their opposition

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A Pueblo County Commissioner hearing on a proposal to rezone land for the possible development of a nuclear power plant drew a crowd Wednesday night, as at least 500 people attending to voice their opposition, according to the Pueblo Chieftain.

The hearing was held in response to attorney Don Banner’s plan to develop what he calls a clean energy park on 24,000 acres in Pueblo County. Supporters of the proposal appeared at a hearing Tuesday night, touting the economic benefits of the plan for the area.

Wednesday night, the crowd was so big that the commissioners chose to continue the hearing for another night. Nearly all the citizens commenting at the Wednesday hearing referred to the ongoing disintegration of an entire nuclear complex in Japan, citing the potential for a similar disaster in Colorado. A clip of some public comments is online here.

Questions were also raised about the water needed to cool a nuclear reactor in an area where water is even more of a precious commodity than energy.

Meanwhile, the Colorado Independent claims that Pueblo could be a good spot for a power plant. Here’s the paragraph from the Independent story, not attributed to any source:

“In some ways Pueblo is an ideal location for a nuclear power plant. It’s not located on an earthquake-prone coastline along the Pacific Rim’s seismically volatile Ring of Fire. The worst potential natural disaster a Pueblo facility would face is a blizzard, a tornado or a wildfire.”

There are many, many Pueblo-area residents who would take issue with this cavalier statement, to say the least, but watch the above-mentioned video, in which those residents speak very eloquently for themselves.

Other residents understand that Pueblo is actually ideally located to develop clean renewable energy resources like wind and water.

Here’s a written comment from Matthew Crowley submitted to the commissioners that reflects the sentiments of many:

Commissioners,
It just this morning came to my attention that there is a meeting in Pueblo to hear public comments on a proposed nuclear power plant there. I am the operations Manager for the Shumei International Institute in Crestone Colorado. We are part of a worldwide organization with more than 350,000 members worldwide. Our Crestone center is a retreat center for that membership, many of whom are from Japan.  I respectfully request that you consider carefully the “coincidental” timing of your meeting in light of the nuclear disaster that is unfolding in Japan at this very moment. I am familiar with arguments that say newer technology is superior and safer that the older plants that are currently in operation in Japan and around the world. The catastrophe unfolding in Japan right now should be a clear signal that no matter what safeguards we put in place, we cannot prepare for every eventuality.  When an accident occurs at a nuclear power plant, hundreds of thousands and even millions of people can be affected for decades to come.

Nuclear power is not a long term viable solution for this reason and for the additional reasons that we have to manage radioactive waste from nuclear power plants for ten thousand years or more. When we have the opportunity to better develop jobs and our local economy by developing sustainable, safe – wind, solar and geothermal energy, why would we even consider for a moment building multibillion dollar nuclear power plants, that benefit the builders and the big energy companies 1000 times more than they will ever benefit our local communities.

Please, take a moment and examine your hearts and minds carefully and deeply, before supporting what I firmly believe will be a potential danger and threat and not at all the economic benefit some would have us believe it to be. Please consider what the phenomenal long term benefits an equal investment in renewable energy would represent to the people of Pueblo and surrounding areas. I thank you in advance for your consideration and want you to know that you will have strong support for a decision to not move ahead with plans for a nuclear power plant in Pueblo.
Sincerely yours,

Matthew Crowley
Operations Manager
Shumei International Institute

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8 Responses

  1. This is strange. Iowa is getting the same arguments from nuclear energy folks. Some of the words sound like quotes from a presentation to our legislature last week. Maybe they’re making a national blitz, hoping that some state will accept the plan. I’ll pass this on.

  2. We said that Iowans should not take on something that insurance companies will only partially fund–and with reams of fine print and exclusions, at that. Even if insurance companies would fund such a project, thinking Iowa taxpayers feel that it would be another Wall Street bailout waiting to happen.

  3. Here’s our immediate reaction to nuclear energy’s argument that our plant in Iowa is 35 years old with not one problem and cheap energy for all: Nuclear power is not safe anywhere. When, not if, the casing deteriorates or a tornao or an accidental plane crash happens, it will be a problem for Iowans’ gene pool, for our water, and for our farm fields forever. Who will buy food grown in fields that have been contaminated?

  4. If wind farms are in an earthquake’s path, windmills fall and have to be rebuilt. If solar panels are terrorized, glass has to be cleaned up. If nuclear power plants are compromised, water, air, genes, are ruined.

  5. Japan’s crisis should tell us that this is our moment to fund alternative forms of energy, not brag that our technology is better than Japan’s. Until scientists figure out how to safely get rid of nuclear waster or take care of an accident, no nuclear power plants should be built. Not one.

  6. […] coverage from Bob Berwyn writing for the Summit County Citizens Voice. From the article: Wednesday night, […]

  7. If you Oppose the Destruction of the Livelihood/Property/Water Rights of Colorado Farmers and Ranchers,

    Join, Spread the Word, and ‘Like’ our Citizen Run Facebook Group!

    ‘I Support a Nuclear-Free Pueblo, Colorado’

    And Follow Our Efforts on Twitter @ NukFREEPueblo

  8. An Earthquake is not the only thing that can go wrong at a nuclear power plant. Chernobyl wasn’t located near a fault line either.

    One of the key problems in Japan was that the plant lost its off-site power that it needs to run critical stuff like pumps to keep the cooling water going. Earthquakes are not the only possible cause of that, and ‘tornados’ and ‘blizzards’ would both make the list of big events that could indeed cause a plant to lose off-site power and have its pumps fail.

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