Pueblo’s Unit 3 coal plant is Colorado’s largest source of greenhouse gases. Since before it was built, people have been fighting to shut it down. In light of recent discussions around shutting down the coal plant, Pueblo County Commissioners began considering putting a nuclear power plant in Pueblo to replace the coal plant. We were instantly aware of the dangers this posed for the community. First, replacing a coal plant with a nuclear plant would put Pueblo and surrounding areas at severe risk of contamination that would remain radioactive for thousands of years. It would also be an expensive undertaking, likely to pull funds away from Pueblo’s much-needed transition to renewable energy. Spirit of the Sun began working in coalition with our friends in Pueblo to make sure this nuclear proposal did not move forward.
Spirit of the Sun, with help from many community partners, co-created a toolkit to educate our communities about the impacts of nuclear power in Pueblo: view here. We also joined with community to carpool from Boulder, Denver, Colorado Springs and surrounding areas to show up for our allies in Pueblo. In the afternoon, we distributed door hangers to inform Pueblo residents of the proposal, before coming together for a rally at the Pueblo County Courthouse later that day!
Pueblo County officials decided to pull back their support for replacing the state’s largest coal-fired power plant with a nuclear reactor following the community response. County Commissioner told CPR News, "Sometimes we're wrong. We step out, we make a mistake...We stepped out too quick on this particular issue. We did not vet the community in the way that we should have, and now we're trying to do that.” At Spirit of the Sun, we are looking forward to opportunities for a larger change to renewable energy to be put forward in the community!