Representatives of a coalition that’s promoting the use of nuclear energy are gathering today at Iowa’s only nuclear power plant near Palo. Patrick Moore, the co-founder of the environmental group Greenpeace, is now co-chair of the “Clean and Safe Energy Coalition.”

“I don’t believe that alternative energy can satisfy our complete energy needs and that what we really need is a combination of renewables, plus nuclear, to replace some of the fossil fuels that we’ve become so dependent on,” he says. “Iowa is dependent on coal for 80 percent of its electricity and only gets 10 percent from nuclear and only about three-and-a-half percent from renewables or alternatives.”

Moore is a Canadian who helped found Greenpeace in 1971. Moore left the group 15 years later, saying he was uncomfortable with what he referred to as the “scare tactics” being used by some people in the movement. This year Moore joined with President Bush’s former director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to lead the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, which is financed by the nuclear power industry.

“It’s time that we boosted both the renewables and nuclear in order to bring down the amount of energy that we need to get from coal and fossil fuels because even though they’re going to be with us for long time, they do produce a tremendous amount of air pollution and in particular greenhouse gases,” Moore says. “It’s largely a climate change perspective that I bring to the debate, the fact that the only way we can really bring down the greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, from our fossil fuel consumption in our energy production is to focus on nuclear plus renewables.”

Moore says public acceptance of nuclear energy is growing. “Even though my former colleagues in Greenpeace still maintain a kind of zero tolerance towards nuclear which I believe is irrational seeing as though 20 percent of America’s electricity is from nuclear, 103 plants operating every day — the polls recently show that 70 percent of Americans accept nuclear energy as part of our energy mix,” Moore says. “Up to 80 percent of the people who live near nuclear plants are in favor of more nuclear energy.”

At 11:30 this morning, Moore will speak at a news conference being held at the Duane Arnold Energy Center — Iowa’s only nuclear power plant. Moore will be joined at the event by the mayor of Cedar Rapids, a state legislator and a labor leader from the area.

Related web sites:
Clean and Safe Energy Coalition