Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)– Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers (USW), released the following statement and text of a letter to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko on the application of Southern Company to build two new nuclear reactors in Burke County, GA. President Obama is scheduled to announce his approval of loan guarantees for this project under the 2005 Energy Policy Act.
“Today’s announcement by the President that loan guarantees will be offered to the Southern Company to build and operate two nuclear reactors in Burke County, GA., is intended to usher in a new wave of nuclear energy development in the United States. President Obama’s actions are to implement provisions of the 2005 Energy Policy Act.
“Nuclear energy has been and will continue to be a major source of power in the U.S. and around the world. Its future development, however, depends on having the full support of the American people.
“The loan guarantees are intended to accelerate development of nuclear power. But a new wave of nuclear energy development must not risk the health and safety of the public. And, at a time of high unemployment and a continuing economic crisis, we need to utilize every policy tool available to create jobs and promote domestic economic growth.
“Sourcing key components for nuclear facilities from foreign nations – China most specifically – could put in jeopardy our citizens’ safety and undermine efforts to promote economic growth and job creation. China has proven to be a supplier of products that are unsafe and hazardous. China’s disregard for common safety standards is well documented to include recent imports of drug ingredients such as heparin, unsafe tires whose treads risk lives, bridge components with unsafe welds, and children’s toys with unsafe levels of lead.
“New nuclear facilities must not include products and components sourced from China.
“In a letter to the Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, I have asked that all components to be utilized in Southern Company’s reactors be released to the public. We must protect the health and safety of the residents living in the proximity of those facilities. In addition, we have the domestic capacity, skills and employees necessary to produce the products needed in these new facilities.”