Their cynicism inadvertently displayed
Environmentalist group Greenpeace is claiming an anti-nuclear memo issued last week for President's Bush's visit to the Limerick nuclear power plant near Pottstown, Pa., was an in-office joke that mistakenly got released, but no one at the organization is laughing.
Bush, on his second visit to a nuclear power plant within the last year, called for the expansion of nuclear power generation by reviving fuel processing, reducing regulations on the industry and developing procedures for handling radioactive wastes. In many quarters, nuclear energy is increasingly seen as part of the solution to U.S. energy independence and as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. "Nuclear power helps us protect the environment and nuclear power is safe," the president said.
Greenpeace, in preparation for the president's visit, distributed a fact sheet opposing expansion of nuclear energy and warning of the dangers posed by the Limerick reactors. "This volatile and dangerous source of energy" is no answer to the country's energy needs, the memo, issued by Greenpeace Media Officer Steve Smith, read.
Smith continued, apparently at a loss for words: "In the twenty years since the Chernobyl tragedy, the world's worst nuclear accident, there have been nearly [FILL IN ALARMIST AND ARMAGEDDONIST FACTOID HERE]."
Unfortunately, the fact sheet "fill-in-the-blank and all" was sent out. Smith told the Philadelphia Inquirer a colleague who inserted the exaggerated language into a draft was responsible for the mix-up. "Given the seriousness of the issue at hand, I don't even think it's funny," Smith said. A final version of the fact sheet was later released, without mention of Armageddon. It warned of potential meltdowns and airplane crashes.
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