Our nation stands
at a cross roads in energy policy. The turn we now take as we deregulate
the marketplace for electricity will have impacts on our children
and on our environment for many years to come. Deregulation is changing
the way we produce power. This, in turn, will determine how much
our electricity costs, what lethal and damaging substances we continue
to release into our environment, and what our own health and quality
of life will be.
The Great Atomic Lake begins with an overview of the
particular problems posed to Lake Ontario by a fleet of ageing commercial
nucler power plants. There is probaby no more "nuclearized" body
of water in North America than Lake Ontario with its sixteen American
and Canadian power stations, two shoreline radioactive waste repositories,
and uranium refinery. This is a good place to begin the examination
of the issues raised by deregulation. However, the problems now
faced by the lake ports of Oswego or Port Hope are common to many
communities in the U.S. and Canada that host a nuclear facility.
After surveying the issues faced by Lake Ontario downwinders, The
Great Atomic Lake broadens the scope of its examination
of events to an overview of the deregulation process, its particular
impact on commercial nuclear power, and the push to deregulate and
streamline the already weak and conflicted Nuclear Regulatory Commission's
oversight process. "The Great Atomic Lake" also describes some of
the consequences for public safety and the environment of this lessened
oversight and the increased pressure on nuclear utilities to cut
costs brought about by competition.
The last part of the book details the potential benefits of a truely
competitive efficient market for power production free of the government
manipulation and subsidies that have characterized it in the past.
It also describes some of the legislation that was proposed at the
federal level in 2000 that may well come to the floor in months
This book is particularly timely because it may well be that this
legislation will determine the course deregulation will take nationwide.
In the past public dialogue and input on these issues and problems
has been slight to non exisistent at the state level where deregulation
has occurred. The issues are complex but they are also far too important
to exclude citizen input and involvement. It is my hope that The
Great Atomic Lake will shed some light on these policy questions
and will help empower the consumers, small business people and citizens
who must live with its consequences to help shape the course it