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Old Resistance Wary of New Nukes in New Hampshire

August 7, 2007

A new energy plan in Congress could spark an old battle here in New Hampshire. The U.S. Senate has approved a measure to guarantee clean-energy loans for atomic power stations. But veterans of the legal battles that nearly succeeded in blocking construction of the state's only nuclear plant in Seabrook, say the new loans won't make the technology work any better. Attorney and activist Bob Backus says there are strong similarities between the claims nuclear advocates made in the 1970s and today.

"Going back to the days of the Nixon administration, it was going to achieve oil independence for us. Now it's the way to beat global warming. It didn't work then, it won't work now."

Backus represented the Seacoast Anti-Pollution League in its lawsuits to block the plant. More than a thousand citizens were arrested in nonviolent protests that helped delay the plant's opening until 1990. A planned second reactor at Seabrook was never constructed.

Backus also thinks that any move to build expand the Seabrook nuclear plant would reignite fierce opposition.

"The only possible site would be the Seabrook site, but the opposition to Seabrook was ferocious, and I think it would be again."

John Robinson/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - NH