Energy Secretary Moniz Announces $6.5 Billion Loan For First Nuclear Plants in Nearly 30 Years
Today, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz announced the approval of a $6.5 billion loan for Southern Co. to build two reactors at the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating nuclear site in Georgia. It's a plan the two sides have been discussing since 2010.
While Moniz touted the reactors as the first new nuclear facilities in the U.S. to begin construction and receive NRC license in nearly 30 years, environmental groups were appalled by the loan.
“We are disappointed that the Department of Energy wants to gamble billions of taxpayer dollars on dangerous and dirty nuclear power," said Anna Aurilio, director of Environment America’s Washington D.C. office.
"When it comes to curbing global warming, time and money are of the essence and nuclear power fails on both counts."
Moniz made the announcement at the National Press Club this afternoon. According to Matthew Daly, an Associated Press reporter who attended the event, Moniz refused to answer a Keystone XL question and reminded the crowd what "all the above" really means:
Moniz: "All of the above is not a slogan. It's a policy and a pathway." Embraces all forms on energy and starts w goal of reducing GHG's.
— Matthew Daly (@MatthewDalyWDC) February 19, 2014
The Hill's Laura Barron-Lopez also tweeted a Moniz quote on climate change that seems to contradict providing a nuclear-friendly loan:
Moniz at #NPClunch: Patterns of climate change are alarming. DOE has role to play in response on preparing energy infrastructure.
— Laura Barron-Lopez (@lbarronlopez) February 19, 2014
The DOE is also working on a $1.8 billion conditional loan to the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, one of the project's partners. Moniz is scheduled to travel to the Georgia construction site tomorrow to officially mark the granting to the loan.
“Since these loan guarantees were proposed four years ago, truly clean energy sources such as solar and wind have made great headway," Aurilio said. "In Georgia alone, solar power jobs have more than doubled over the past year."
Aurilio argues that the Obama Administration needs to look no further than Fukushima, Japan to understand the devastation nuclear plants can cause. More than 30 environmental organizations filed a petition Tuesday asking the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to hold off on issuing any more reactor licensing for that very reason.
“Underscoring the enormous environmental threat from nuclear power, radiation continues to leak into the Pacific Ocean from the worst nuclear accident ever at the Fukushima Daichi plants," Aurilio said.
“It’s absurd to risk our health and environment when we can do so much better with efficiency, wind and solar power.”
Visit EcoWatch’s NUCLEAR page for more related news on this topic.
At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Australia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. It is home to more than 7% of all the world's plant and animal species, many of which are endemic. One such species, the Pharohylaeus lactiferus bee, was recently rediscovered after spending nearly 100 years out of sight from humans.
Scientists have newly photographed three species of shark that can glow in the dark, according to a study published in Frontiers in Marine Science last month.
- 10 Little-Known Shark Facts - EcoWatch ›
- 4 New Walking Shark Species Discovered - EcoWatch ›
- 5 Incredible Species That Glow in the Dark - EcoWatch ›
FedEx's entire parcel pickup and delivery fleet will become 100 percent electric by 2040, according to a statement released Wednesday. The ambitious plan includes checkpoints, such as aiming for 50 percent electric vehicles by 2025.
- Which Is Worse for the Planet: Beef or Cars? - EcoWatch ›
- Greenhouse Gas Levels Hit Record High Despite Lockdowns, UN ... ›
- 1.8 Billion Tons More Greenhouse Gases Will Be Released, Thanks ... ›