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E-M:/ Most nuclearized Great Lakes state votes for renewables over nuclear power 2-1

From Dave Kraft, Director, Nuclear Energy Information Service - Chicago


As much as has been made by the nuclear industry of its self-proclaimed "nuclear renaissance," and while many national polls purport that the public is allegedly "warming" towards nuclear power, a piece of election data out of Oak Park, Illinois demolishes these notions like a sledge hammer between the eyes.

Green Candidate for the State Legislature Rita Sand Maniotis and others worked to have the following referendum appear on the local ballot in the three communities in Berwyn Township (Oak Park, Berwyn and Riverside): 

"Shall our elected officials in Illinois take steps to phase out nuclear power in the state, replacing it with renewable sources such as wind and solar?"

With 112 of 119 (94%) of precincts reporting, the preliminary election results are as stunning as they are unambiguous:  31,586 (68.3%) YES;  14,676 (31.7%) NO.  (Results from Cook County Election Dept.; http://results.voterinfonet.com/110408/SummaryElection110408RaceNum2.html   )

The results are significant, coming as they do from 1.) the most nuclear-reliant state in the USA, with 11 operating reactors;  and 2.) communities which themselves are currently 75% reliant on nuclear energy purchased by local utility Commonwealth Edison, a subsidiary of the nation's largest nuclear utility, Exelon Corporation.

Prior to the election Maniotis arranged for a public debate on this issue to help educate the local electorate about the initiative.  The debate consisted of a 4-person panel -- two in favor, two opposed to nuclear power -- followed by a question and answer session.  The 90-minute program was also audio-tape recorded, and aired on WLUW-FM radio in Chicago prior to the election.

The panelists included Dr. Roger Blomquist and George Stanford, Ph.D., retired, both of Argonne National Laboratory -- both speaking in favor of nuclear power; and Bob Cleland, North Suburban Peace Initiative, and Dave Kraft, director of Nuclear Energy Information Service, speaking in favor of alternative energy paths.  Due to a pre-debate misunderstanding panelist Cleland elected to not elaborate on the details pertaining to the referendum, allowing the "pro" position twice the time to make their case.  NEIS director Dave Kraft promoted the national Carbon Free-Nuclear Free agenda ( http://www.carbonfreenuclearfree.org/ )as the viable and responsible alternative to replace nuclear power.

After the debate a letter to the editors written by NEIS Board member Dennis Nelson who attended the event appeared in the local Oak Park newspaper.

While no one can say with any certainty whether the debate, the radio broadcast, and the letter to the editors that appeared in the Oak Park paper had anything to do with the outcome, what IS certain is that, by a two-to-one margin, voters rejected nuclear power when give the alternative of viable renewable energy resources.

Perhaps now elected officials will feel compelled to give it to them.  That's change you can believe in.

We thank Rita Sand Maniotis and the others who worked on this referendum for their efforts. [NOTE:  Ms. Maniotis can be reached at:  rsand@mc.net  ]

--Dave Kraft, Director, NEIS--

David A. Kraft, Director
Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS)
Mail & Street Address:  
3411 W. Diversey, Ste. 16
Chicago, IL 60647 USA
(773)342-7650; -7655 fax
SKYPE: davekhamburg