U.S. Committee for Energy Awareness Launches Pro-Nuclear-Power Campaign, and More Renewable Energy News

In this renewable energy update from 1983, the U.S. Committee for Energy Awareness launches a pro-nuclear power campaign, ads mislead viewers about nuclear waste disposal safety, increased production of solar power cells is predicted, a weatherization program to save energy and create jobs is launched, record photovoltaic power plants are built, and electricity prices increase.

| July/August 1983

  • nuclear-fuel-rods
    In 1983, 10,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel rods were in "temporary storage," with each of the nation's 70 nuclear power plants generating 25 additional tons of the radioactive waste every year, with no safe disposal method in sight.

  • nuclear-fuel-rods

U.S. Committee for Energy Awareness Launches Pro-Nuclear Power Campaign

July marks the month when the "U.S. Committee for Energy Awareness," a public relations group representing (and substantially made up of executives from) utility companies, plans to launch its multimillion-dollar pro-nuclear ad campaign nationwide. As we reported in this column in MOTHER no. 81, consumers will likely pay most of the $40-million-plus tab for the promotion, which is designed to "set the record straight" (according to the slick TV spots) and convince us all that nuclear power is both safe and desirable. If the ads appear on local stations in your area, you're urged to contact the Safe Energy Communication Council for literature explaining the other side of the story. The council will also provide, if you wish, information on how to organize to obtain free broadcast time under the Fairness Doctrine for communicating the energy alternative (via your own or SECC-prepared messages) over your city's airwaves.

Meanwhile, as an example of the kind of advertising you can expect from the "U.S. Committee For Energy Awareness," here's just one audio script from a CEA television spot. During the commercial, Dr. Leonard Sagan, M.D., of the Electric Power Research Institute, is the on-camera spokesperson (an animated sequence of a cylinder being wrapped and buried is also shown). Says Sagan, "In laboratories like these, scientists develop procedures to safely dispose of radioactive nuclear wastes vital to our continued use of nuclear medicine, nuclear energy, the defense of our nation. The method is to permanently seal off the waste from our environment and store it deep in stable geological formations. The concept is endorsed by the prestigious National Academy of Scientists. Most people aren't aware of that. That's why we brought you this message, to set the record straight."

No Safe Nuclear Waste Disposal Method

But no proven means of safe disposal has ever been demonstrated! As James J. McKenzie, Ph.D., senior staff scientist for the Union of Concerned Scientists puts it, "Through the use of poorly written, ambiguous language, this ad would lead the listener to assume that the waste problem has in fact been solved. To state that 'the method' is to seal wastes away is to do little more than articulate a goal that is presently far from being achieved."

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