LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Nearly three decades after they banded together for a series of “No Nukes” concerts that yielded an album and movie, musicians Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt and Graham Nash have revived their protest of nuclear power.
No new concerts are planned, but the three reunited in a new YouTube video released on Thursday and are spearheading a signature drive to petition U.S. senators to kill a plan to give about $50 billion in loan guarantees to the nuclear power industry, Raitt said in a telephone interview on Thursday.
The three Baby Boomers, along with Keb’ Mo’ and Ben Harper, on Thursday issued a remake of the 1960s protest song, “For What It’s Worth.” The song is known for its line, “Stop, children. What’s that Sound? Everybody look what’s going down.”
Raitt said nuclear power protests have ebbed since she and others including Bruce Springsteen headlined the “No Nukes” concerts in 1979 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is expecting 17 companies to file to build about 31 new reactors in the next two years, which would increase. There are 104 operating U.S. reactors now.
“No new nukes have been ordered in 30 years,” Raitt said. “The movie ‘The China Syndrome,’ the accident at Three Mile Island, and the ‘No Nukes’ concerts all happened at basically the same time as if we planned it that way.”
She said opposition to nuclear power has been hushed more recently mainly because there was no rallying point as the nuclear industry stalled plans for new plants.
“It hasn’t been an issue. Now that there is a bill to have the people fund nuclear power, we’re once again the town criers,” said Raitt.
Nash said he is raising his voice now because: “The nuclear power industry is raising its head once more under the guise that it can help global warming. It’s a lot more complex than that. Nothing is ever easy about nuclear power.”
Raitt also said she wanted to raise her voice before a terror attack targeted a reactor.
Nuclear Energy Institute spokesman Mitchell Singer, advocate for the industry, said in a telephone interview that a main selling point for a nuclear renaissance is that reactors emit no greenhouse gases while fossil fuel power plants do, especially those that burn coal.
Singer said the nuclear industry supports solar, wind, biomass and geothermal power, and is in favour of those technologies also enjoying loan guarantees. But if the United States wants to lower carbon emissions soon, it must build nuclear power plants that can provide utility-scale baseload power, which is the promise but not yet the reality for renewable power technologies.
Singer said he owns and likes the “No Nukes” album but “The upside of nuclear power is so big and so positive that we can deal with these issues.”
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