Nuclear Power: a False Solution to the Climate Crisis

The nuclear power industry would like you to believe that Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMNRs) are a magic bullet to solve the climate crisis.

Our opinion: SMNRs are a false solution that diverts funding from proven renewable energy technologies that are safer, less expensive, and faster to deploy.

Despite major drawbacks to nuclear energy, the nuclear industry, propped up by the Inflation Reduction Act and other federal support, is recklessly plowing ahead with its wasteful spending to build new nuclear reactors, including near the Columbia River. We need your help to stop them.

Why Small Modular Nuclear Reactors are a Big Problem

  • They are too costly and take too long to come online. Nuclear energy now costs five times more than renewable energy options such as solar and wind, and nuclear projects are notorious for delays and cost overruns.
  • They pollute and burden tribal communities. While the nuclear industry claims to be “clean,” it is an extremely dirty technology, beginning with uranium mining which decimates indigenous lands. SMNRs produce two to thirty times the radioactive waste of older nuclear designs, waste for which we have no national repository.
  • They are dangerous. SMNRs sited at Hanford would be vulnerable to earthquakes, floods,and fires which may lead to nuclear accidents. An accident at any one Hanford facility could mean losing access to them all. We can’t afford this risk to the Columbia River.

SMNRs are a false solution that divert funding from proven, renewable energy technologies that are safer, less expensive, and faster to deploy.

Ready to take action? Sign the petition below.

To Oregon and Washington Senators: Patty Murray, Ron Wyden, Maria Cantwell, and Jeff Merkley:

I urge you to oppose the development of small modular nuclear reactors at the Hanford nuclear cleanup site, or anywhere in our region. The science is clear: nuclear power is a false solution to the climate crisis. Taxpayer dollars are better spent on renewables, storage, and energy efficiency that we know are part of a just transition to a clean energy future.


How we engage

Columbia Riverkeeper pairs in-depth technical research, legal advocacy, and grassroots organizing to protect the Columbia River from more nuclear-energy development. We work in solidarity with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, which strongly opposes the reactor proposal.