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Published on Tuesday, April 10, 2007 by CommonDreams.org
Why Must Nuke-Power Lemmings Again Flock to the Radioactive Sea?
by Harvey Wasserman
It's baaaaaack. The fifty-year multi-trillion dollar failure of atomic
energy has resumed its lemming-like march to madness.
Isn't the definition of insanity the belief that if you do the same
thing again and again you'll somehow get a different result?
The first commercial reactor opened in Shippingport, Pennsylvania in
1957. America was promised electricity "too cheap to meter."
That was a lie.
America was promised there'd soon be consensus on a safe way to
dispose of high-level radioactive waste.
That was a lie.
America was promised private insurance companies would soon indemnify
reactor owners--and the public--against the consequences of a
That was a lie.
America was promised these reactors were "inherently safe."
Then America was told no fuel had melted at Three Mile Island.
Lie and lie.
Then they said nobody was killed at Three Mile Island
They said it took six years for acid to eat through to a fraction of
an inch of the steel protecting the Great Lakes from a Chernobyl at
Davis-Besse, Ohio. That's a lie too.
Now they say they say nukes are economically self-sustaining.
But de-regulation stuck the public with the capital costs, and hid the
true amortization for the long-term expenses of rad waste disposal,
plant decommissioning, on-going health impacts and likely melt-downs
by terror and error.
Now they say nukes can fight global warming. But they ignore huge
radon emissions from uranium mill tailings, huge CO2 emissions from
fuel enrichment, and huge direct heat that results from nuke fission
itself, not to mention the long-term energy costs of decommissioning
and waste handling.
All reactors are pre-deployed weapons of mass radioactive destruction
for any willing terrorist. Had the jets that hit the World Trade
Center on 9/11/2001 hit nukes instead, the death toll and the
(uninsured) economic losses would be beyond calculation.
It could be happening as you read this.
They say a new generation of nukes will be "inherently safe," which is
exactly what they said about the last one. Limited construction
experience with this "new generation" already shows massive cost
overruns. There is no reason to believe these will be any safer,
cheaper, cleaner or more reliable than the last sorry batch.
They say more reactors won't be a proliferation problem. But they want
war on Iran which wants the Peaceful Atom to give it nuke weapons like
those in India and Pakistan.
They say the green alternatives won't work, but wind power is the
cheapest form of new generation now being built. The Solartopian array
of wind, solar, bio-fuels, geothermal, ocean thermal and increased
conservation and efficiency are attracting billions in investments all
over the world. The immensely profitable green energy industry is
growing at rates of 25-35%.
Meanwhile, "there isn't enough money in the federal till to change
Wall Street's calculation of the financial risks" for new nukes, says
Philip Clapp of the National Environmental Trust.
It is impossible to embrace both nuclear power and a free market
Nuke power cannot exist without massive government subsidies,
government insurance, government promises to deal with radioactive
waste, government security, government blind eyes to basic safety and
A terrorist reactor attack would mean the end of our political rights
and the beginning of martial law, killing all the basic freedoms which
have defined the best of this country.
America is again being told this can't happen here. It is another lie.
Yet Clinton, Obama, Pelosi, McCain, Lieberman and other mainstreamers
flock to the nuke madhouse. Al Gore says new nukes must prove
themselves economically (they can't) but that there'll be a "small
part" for reactors in the future, and that the waste problem will be
There's a move to reverse California's ban on nuke construction
pending a solution to the waste problem. (California has four active
reactors near major earthquake faults).
Environmental Defense doesn't think "any options should be taken off
But in 1952 a Blue Ribbon Commission told Harry Truman the future of
America was with solar power.
Then Dwight Eisenhower embraced the "Peaceful Atom", sinking America
in the most expensive technological failure in human history.
In 1974 Richard Nixon responded to the Arab Oil Embargo by promising a
thousand US reactors by the year 2000. The No Nukes movement and
soaring oil prices kicked in, and the industry tanked.
So Jimmy Carter started us up the road to Solartopia ... until Ronald
Reagan ripped the solar panels off the White House roof and forced us
into Death Valley.
Now Gore has sold the world on the dangers of global warming. But will
it just be another excuse to throw more good money at more bad
Clearly, there will be no easy end to this madness. But atomic
energy's bio-economic clock has clearly run out.
Basic sanity, ecological truth and the smart green money are all on
Our challenge is to put them in charge before more Three Mile Islands
or Chernobyls--or a nuclear 9/11--irradiate the asylum.