Michigan is pushing – not just supporting – another nuclear reactor, Fermi 3, on the banks of the Great Lakes. And the state and Detroit Edison are picking the pockets of tax payers and utility rate payers to pay for it. This makes no sense, especially if you look at the history and the need for such a reactor. Fermi 1 was shut down because of a partial meltdown; Fermi 2 is operating with serious problems including an accidental turbine missile mechanical explosion that resulted in millions of gallons of radioactive water being discharged into Lake Erie.
Fermi 3 is a new proposed reactor that Detroit Edison and the state are supporting. At stake, the tax payers and rate payers will pre-pay for the nuclear reactor. That’s right — pre pay for a reactor that is not needed nor is there any guarantee that it will even be built! The median income of households in the city of Detroit is $28,000 and the percentage of people below the poverty level is 26.1%. Unemployment is at 13%.
This is criminal. The city is near bankrupt, the population is barely hanging on, while Detroit Edison is forcing people to pay for the construction of a new nuclear reactor that may never be built to generate energy that is not needed and to place at risk Lake Erie which provides a solid economic base for jobs and businesses in the region.
This past weekend CHEJ facilitated a workshop in Detroit, on media training, framing the group’s messages, speaking to the media and finding other ways to reach the public about their issue. Twenty six community and group leaders, from across the region came together to fight this insane proposal. CHEJ worked with the leaders to help them come up with winning strategies to right the wrong and give the honest hard working citizens back their taxes and funds paid to the utility.
Leaders were very clear that Michigan does not need another nuclear reactor but does need economic opportunities and alternative energy. Recently a solar and wind turbine plants open in Michigan providing long term jobs, economic benefits and safe energy. The leaders strategies included encouraging subsidies be given to the alternative technologies like those that have already begun to build plants in the state and stop supporting dangerous technologies that place people and the environment at risk. Stay tuned as the efforts build.