WASHINGTON, DC - In response to the President’s weekly radio address, Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a senior Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and a co-chair of the Bipartisan Nonproliferation Task Force today released the following statement:
“The President’s call today for the revival of commercial reprocessing of nuclear waste at home, massive government subsidies for the domestic nuclear industry, and the dissemination of nuclear technology abroad is breathtakingly reckless.
“At a time when the world is trying to convince Iran to refrain from developing its own uranium enrichment program, and convince North Korea to halt further reprocessing, the President’s announcement of a revival of nuclear reprocessing program sends the wrong signal. Reprocessing technologies were abandoned back in the 1970s because they could be used to produce weapons-grade plutonium, and because they were a budget-busting boondoggle. The same problems of cost and proliferation risk remain today. The President now proposes to go down this same failed path once again, pairing it with a new program that will spread baby nuclear plants throughout the developing world. If one were to try to come up with a more dangerous scheme for proliferating nuclear materials around the world where they could end up in the hands of terrorists, I don’t know what it would be.
“Other nations will rightfully note the hypocrisy of a U.S. position that seeks to deny other nations reprocessing or enrichment technologies while developing them for ourselves. America cannot credibly preach nuclear temperance from a barstool. We can’t tell Iran, a country that has signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, that they can’t have enrichment technologies while simultaneously carving out a special exemption from nuclear proliferation laws for India, a nation that has refused to sign the treaty.
“Today’s address by the President only furthers the incoherence of the Administration’s energy policies. After years of denying the reality of global warming, the President is now proposing a revival of nuclear power to address a problem that he still doesn’t acknowledge to exist.
“There are better ways of addressing our nation’s energy problems. Energy efficiency, conservation, solar, wind, biomass and other renewables, combined with clean coal technologies, offer a much better prospect of meeting our and the world’s energy needs in an environmentally sustainable fashion. Democrats intend to fight to cut funding for the President’s proposed Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, and to promote an alternative energy agenda that does not risk the spread of dangerous nuclear technologies to terrorists, create more deadly toxic wastes, and further enlarge the deficit with a huge new spending program.”
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CONTACT: Tara McGuiness