QEW Minute on Nuclear Power
Approved by the Steering Committee of Quaker Earthcare Witness
in session, October 14, 2007, Burlington, Vermont.
Quaker Earthcare Witness cannot support nuclear power as part of the solution
to harmful climate change.
As Friends, our peace testimony has long led us to witness against nuclear
power because of its connection to nuclear war. Our deep caring for all
creation leads us to affirm that witness, even in the face of growing calls
for an expansion of nuclear power.
Based on everything we know about the current state of nuclear technology and
our understanding of its impact and risks for people and the earth, we are
strongly opposed—for moral, spiritual, and practical reasons—to current
efforts to increase nuclear power. Additionally, we are strongly opposed to
subsidies for funding new nuclear power plants, including proposed loan
guarantees such as those in energy bills currently being considered by the
While nuclear power produces no greenhouse gases during electricity
generation, in fact significant amounts of greenhouse gases are emitted when
the complete cycle of nuclear power—from mining, milling, enrichment of
uranium, transportation of nuclear fuel, and removal and guarding of nuclear
wastes, as well as construction of nuclear power plants—is considered.
Nuclear power is extremely expensive when all costs, including subsidies, are
included. We believe that funds proposed for more nuclear power plants would
be far more effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions if used for energy
efficiency, conservation, and renewable power.
Nuclear power is closely linked to the war machine in many countries. The
cumulative effects of radioactive waste from nuclear power will be lethal,
carcinogenic, and mutagenic to humans and all species for hundreds of
thousands of years. Finally, given nuclear power’s unique destructiveness,
the risk of just one catastrophic accident anywhere in the world renders
nuclear power unacceptable.
QEW also affirms that providing more energy to support unconstrained economic
growth is neither inevitable nor desirable.
We accept the responsibility of working for all socially responsible and
environmentally sound solutions to global climate change, including
phasing-out the use of oil, coal, and gas; and increasing energy efficiency,
energy conservation; and renewable sources of energy. We accept the
responsibility for using less energy in all that we do and for working to
make reduction of energy use a goal for society at large.
(Jack Bradin, SEYM, wishes to be recorded as standing aside.)