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Corporate Personhood Is The Ebola Virus Of Climate Chaos

11:49 am in Uncategorized by solartopia

 

Unrestrained corporate power is the Ebola virus of our global ecological crisis. Rooting it out will demand a whole new level of resistance.

The worldwide march for the climate this weekend is focussed on moving us to aSolartopian energy supply, a green-powered Earth.

<corporatepersonhood.jpg>The core engine of our economy must at last be made directly accountable to humankind and our Mother Earth. Until that happens, we are an endangered species.But those who march must also focus on the real core problem: the nature of the modern corporation.

As currently structured, the corporation’s sole mandate is to make profit. Its insatiable need for more and more money, and its immunity from the consequences of its actions, are unsustainable in any sense.

Its fossil fuels heat our planet. Its atomic reactors threaten us all.

Meanwhile, solar, wind and other Solartopian technologies plunge in price while surging in efficiency. It’s now abundantly clear they can power our civilization cleaner, cheaper, more reliably and with more job creation than old King CONG (Coal, Oil, Nukes and Gas).

In a free and open marketplace, they would have won long ago.

But it’s the inherent nature of corporations to HATE the marketplace.

They always demand monopoly. They push complex, capital-intensive, centralized technologies that only they can control.

They fight off any social or ecological responsibilities. And they do not tolerate competition.

Not on the internet, where they want to kill net neutrality and monopolize the flow of ideas and information.

Nor from green energy technologies that threaten their profits and control.

Windmills have been around for centuries. The photovoltaic cell was born six decades ago. A 1952 federal report predicted 13 million solar-heated U.S. homes by 1975.

By all rights, we should already have a green-powered planet.

Today’s climate crisis was avoidable.

But in the fossil/nuke world it currently rules, King CONG is above the law. It’s been cheaper for the fossil/nuke corporations to wreck the Earth—and our health—than to protect them.

So now we must take the next step.

It’s a great thing to march on climate chaos, and to finally know that our power can and must come in concert with our Mother Earth, rather than at war with her.

Keystone XL, tar sands, oil leases, mountaintop removalfracking, nukes … these all must be stopped.

carbon tax, environmental regulation, Solartopian technologies … these all must be put in place.

But nothing truly lasting will happen until we eradicate the virus that’s killing us all—the unrestrained corporate power over our lives and planet.

The core engine of our economy must at last be made directly accountable to humankind and our Mother Earth.

Until that happens, we are an endangered species.

Harvey Wasserman wrote SOLARTOPIA!  OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH and edits www.nukefree.org.

Fukushima’s Children Are Dying

9:08 am in Uncategorized by solartopia

By Harvey Wasserman

 

“More than 120 childhood cancers have been indicated where just three would be expected.”

Some 39 months after the multiple explosions at Fukushima, thyroid cancer rates among nearby children have skyrocketed to more than forty times (40x) normal.

More than 48 percent of some 375,000 young people—nearly 200,000 kids—tested by the Fukushima Medical University near the smoldering reactors nowsuffer from pre-cancerous thyroid abnormalities, primarily nodules and cysts. The rate is accelerating.

More than 120 childhood cancers have been indicated where just three would be expected, says Joseph Mangano, executive director of the Radiation and Public Health Project.

The nuclear industry and its apologists continue to deny this public health tragedy. Some have actually asserted that “not one person” has been affected by Fukushima’s massive radiation releases, which for some isotopes exceed Hiroshima by a factor of nearly 30.

But the deadly epidemic at Fukushima is consistent with impacts suffered among children near the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island and the 1986 explosion at Chernobyl, as well as findings at other commercial reactors.

But a wide range of independent studies confirm heightened infant death rates and excessive cancers among the general population. Excessive death, mutation and disease rates among local animals were confirmed by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and local journalists.

In the 1980s federal Judge Sylvia Rambo blocked a class action suit by some 2,400 central Pennsylvania downwinders, claiming not enough radiation had escaped to harm anyone. But after 35 years, no one knows how much radiation escaped or where it went. Three Mile Island’s owners have quietly paid millions to downwind victims in exchange for gag orders.

At Chernobyl, a compendium of more than 5,000 studies has yielded an estimated death toll of more than 1,000,000 people.

The radiation effects on youngsters in downwind Belarus and Ukraine have been horrific. According to Mangano, some 80 percent of the “Children of Chernobyl” born downwind since the accident have been harmed by a wide range of impacts ranging from birth defects and thyroid cancer to long-term heart, respiratory and mental illnesses. The findings mean that just one in five young downwinders can be termed healthy.

Physicians for Social Responsibility and the German chapter of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War have warned of parallel problems near Fukushima.

The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) has recently issued reports downplaying the disaster’s human impacts. UNSCEAR is interlocked with the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency, whose mandate is to promote atomic power. The IAEA has a long-term controlling gag order on UN findings about reactor health impacts. For decades UNSCEAR and the World Health Organization have run protective cover for the nuclear industry’s widespread health impacts. Fukushima has proven no exception.

In response, Physicians for Social Responsibility and the German International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War have issued a ten-point rebuttal, warning the public of the UN’s compromised credibility. The disaster is “ongoing” say the groups, and must be monitored for decades. “Things could have turned for the worse” if winds had been blowing toward Tokyo rather than out to sea (and towards America).

There is on-going risk from irradiated produce, and among site workers whose doses and health impacts are not being monitored. Current dose estimates among workers as well as downwinders are unreliable, and special notice must be taken of radiation’s severe impacts on the human embryo.

UNSCEAR’s studies on background radiation are also “misleading,” say the groups, and there must be further study of genetic radiation effects as well as “non-cancer diseases.” The UN assertion that “no discernible radiation-related health effects are expected among exposed members” is “cynical,” say the groups. They add that things were made worse by the official refusal to distribute potassium iodide, which might have protected the public from thyroid impacts from massive releases of radioactive I-131.

Overall, the horrific news from Fukushima can only get worse. Radiation from three lost cores is still being carried into the Pacific. Management of spent fuel rods in pools suspended in the air and scattered around the site remains fraught with danger.

The pro-nuclear Shinzo Abe regime wants to reopen Japan’s remaining 48 reactors. It has pushed hard for families who fled the disaster to re-occupy irradiated homes and villages.

But Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and the plague of death and disease now surfacing near Fukushima make it all too clear that the human cost of such decisions continues to escalate—with our children suffering first and worst.

Harvey Wasserman edits www.nukefree.org and wrote SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth. His Green Power & Wellness Show is at www.prn.fm. Read the rest of this entry →

Fukushima Is Still A Disaster

5:02 am in Uncategorized by solartopia

The corporate media silence on Fukushima has been deafening even though the melted-down nuclear power plant’s seaborne radiation is now washing up on American beaches.

Smoke rises in an aerial view of Fukushima

Fukushima may be forgotten by the media, but the disaster continues.

Ever more radioactive water continues to pour into the Pacific.

At least three extremely volatile fuel assemblies are stuck high in the air at Unit 4. Three years after the March 11, 2011, disaster, nobody knows exactly where the melted cores from Units 1, 2 and 3 might be.

Amid a dicey cleanup infiltrated by organized crime, still more massive radiation releases are a real possibility at any time.

Radioactive groundwater washing through the complex is enough of a problem that Fukushima Daiichi owner Tepco has just won approval for a highly controversial ice wall to be constructed around the crippled reactor site. No wall of this scale and type has ever been built, and this one might not be ready for two years. Widespread skepticism has erupted surrounding its potential impact on the stability of the site and on the huge amounts of energy necessary to sustain it. Critics also doubt it would effectively guard the site from flooding and worry it could cause even more damage should power fail.

Meanwhile, children nearby are dying. The rate of thyroid cancers among some 250,000 area young people is more than 40 times normal. According to health expert Joe Mangano, more than 46 percent have precancerous nodules and cysts on their thyroids. This is “just the beginning” of a tragic epidemic, he warns.

There is, however, some good news—exactly the kind the nuclear power industry does not want broadcast.

When the earthquake and consequent tsunami struck Fukushima, there were 54 commercial reactors licensed to operate in Japan, more than 12 percent of the global total.

As of today, not one has reopened. The six at Fukushima Daiichi will never operate again. Some 30 older reactors around Japan can’t meet current safety standards (a reality that could apply to 60 or more reactors that continue to operate here in the U.S.).

As part of his desperate push to reopen these reactors, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has shuffled the country’s regulatory agencies, and removed at least one major industry critic, replacing him with a key industry supporter.

But last month a Japanese court denied a corporate demand to restart two newer reactors at the Ooi power plant in Fukui prefecture. The judges decided that uncertainty about when, where and how hard the inevitable next earthquake will hit makes it impossible to guarantee the safety of any reactor in Japan.

In other words, no reactor can reopen in Japan without endangering the nation, which the court could not condone.

Such legal defeats are extremely rare for Japan’s nuclear industry, and this one is likely to be overturned. But it dealt a stunning blow to Abe’s pro-nuke agenda.

In Fukushima’s wake, the Japanese public has become far more anti-nuclear. Deep-seated anger has spread over shoddy treatment and small compensation packages given downwind victims. In particular, concern has spread about small children being forced to move back into heavily contaminated areas around the plant.

Under Japanese law, local governments must approve any restart. Anti-nuclear candidates have been dividing the vote in recent elections, but the movement may be unifying and could eventually overwhelm the Abe administration.

A new comic book satirizing the Fukushima cleanup has become a nationwide best-seller. The country has also been rocked by revelations that some 700 workers fled the Fukushima Daiichi site at the peak of the accident. Just a handful of personnel were left to deal with the crisis, including the plant manager, who soon thereafter died of cancer.

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The NY Times Pens an “Epitaph” for Nuke Power

11:47 am in Uncategorized by solartopia

That we still must fear Chernobyl more than 28 years after it melted and exploded underscores the “nightmarish side of nuclear power.”

In support of the dying nuclear power industry, the New York Times Editorial Board has penned an inadvertent epitaph.

Appearing in the May 2 edition, The Right Lessons from Chernobyl twists and stumbles around the paper’s own reporting. Though unintended, it finally delivers a “prudent” message of essential abandonment.

The Times does concede that “The world must do what it can to increase energy efficiency and harness sun, wind, ocean currents and other renewable sources to meet our ever-expanding needs for energy.”

The editorial drew 288 entries into its comment section before it was capped. I’ve posted one of them at NukeFree.org. Overall they’re widely varied and worth reading.

Because the Times is still the journal of record, the editorial is a definitive statement on an industry in dangerous decline.

Let’s dissect:

The editorial begins by citing the “New Safe Confinement” shield being built over the seething remains of Chernobyl Unit 4. Already “almost a decade behind schedule,” its completion is “a race against time” due to the “decrepit state of the sarcophagus” meant to contain the radiation there.

That we still must fear Chernobyl more than 28 years after it melted and exploded underscores the “nightmarish side of nuclear power.”

That the “vast steel shield” may not be done in time, or may not even end the problem, is downright terrifying, especially in light of the “near-bankruptcy of Ukraine,” not to mention a political instability that evokes horrific images of two hot wars and the cold one.

Amidst rising tensions between Ukraine, Russia and the west, the corporate media studiously avoids Chernobyl. But Belarus and Ukraine long ago estimated its cost to their countries at $250 billion each. One major study puts the global death toll at more than a million human beings.

The Times says Chernobyl’s terror is “more powerful than Three Mile Island before it or Fukushima after it.”

Three Mile Island suffered an explosion and melt-down in 1979. Exactly how much radiation escaped and who it harmed are still unknown. The industry vehemently denies that anyone was killed, just as it denied there was a melt-down until a robotic camera proved otherwise.

At Fukushima, there is no end in sight. Bad as it was, Chernobyl was one core melt and explosion in a single Soviet reactor in a relatively unpopulated area. Fukushima is three core melts and four explosions in American-designed General Electric reactors, of which there are some two dozen exact replicas now operating in the U.S., along with still more very similar siblings.

Spent fuel is still perched dangerously in damaged pools high in the Fukushima air. Thousands of rods are strewn around the site. The exact location of the three melted cores is still unknown. At least 300 tons of highly radioactive liquid pour daily into the Pacific, with the first of their isotopes now arriving on our west coast. Huge storage tanks constantly leak still more radiation. The labor force at the site is poorly trained and heavily infiltrated by organized crime.

The Times itself has reported that a desperate, terrified population is being forced back into heavily contaminated areas. Children are being exposed en masse to significant radiation doses. Given the horrific health impacts on youngsters downwind from Chernobyl, there is every reason to fear even worse around Fukushima.

But the Times Editorial Board follows with this: “Yet it is also noteworthy that these civilian nuclear disasters did not and have not overcome the allure of nuclear power as a source of clean and abundant energy.”

“Allure” to whom? Certainly the corporations with huge investments in atomic energy are still on board. The fossil fuel industry is thoroughly cross-invested. And extraordinary corporate media access has been granted to pushing the odd belief that nuclear power can help mitigate global warming.

But the vast bulk of the global environmental movement remains firmly anti-nuclear. Grassroots opposition to re-opening any Japanese reactors is vehement to say the least. Amidst an extremely popular revolution in green technologies, U.S. opinion demands that nuclear subsidies be cut, which means death to an industry that can’t live without them.

It’s here the editorial falls entirely overboard: “Only Germany succumbed to panic after the Fukushima disaster and began to phase out all nuclear power in favor of huge investments in renewable sources like wind and sun.”

Germany’s green transition has been debated for decades, stepped up long ago by Chernobyl. With strong popular backing, the German nuclear phase-out, as in Sweden, Italy and numerous other European nations (Denmark never built any reactors) has long been on the table. The center-right Merkel government finally embraced it not only because of Fukushima, but because the German corporate establishment decided that going green would be good for business. As energy economist Charles Komanoff has shown, they’ve been proven right.

Despite the predictable carping from a few fossil/nuke holdouts, Germany will shut its reactors, as will, eventually, all other nations. The ededitorial it says there may be “an increase in greenhouse emissions,” but it will be “temporary.”

But as some in the respondents section point out, the Times ignores nuclear power’s own greenhouse impacts, especially in the mining, milling, transport and enrichment of radioactive fuel. Not to mention the heat emissions into the air and water from regular operations and periodic melt-downs and blow-ups. Or those involved with the as-yet unsolved management of radioactive wastes, both at exploded sites and where thousands of tons of spent fuel rods and other hot detritus still sit.

The Times does concede that “The world must do what it can to increase energy efficiency and harness sun, wind, ocean currents and other renewable sources to meet our ever-expanding needs for energy.” But the vision of a green-powered Earth is no longer the property of a Solartopian movement. As the Times and other major publications have long reported, Wall Street has thoroughly rejected atomic energy and is pouring billions into renewables, especially photovoltaics (PV) which convert solar energy to electricity.

A technological, financial and ecological revolution is well underway. Maybe the Times Editorial Board should consult its financial section.

The editorial then cites a recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report as a reason to keep nuclear energy as “part of the mix.”

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UN Panel: Renewables, Not Nukes, Can Solve Climate Crisis

7:22 pm in Uncategorized by solartopia

A rainbow reflected on rooftop solar panels atop a house

IPCC report calls for renewables to stop climate change.

The authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has left zero doubt that we humans are wrecking our climate.

It also effectively says the problem can be solved, and that renewable energy is the way to do it, and that nuclear power is not.

The United Nations’ IPCC is the world’s most respected authority on climate.

This IPCC report was four years in the making.  It embraces several hundred climate scientists and more than a thousand computerized scenarios of what might be happening to global weather patterns.

The panel’s work has definitively discredited the corporate contention that human-made carbon emissions are not affecting climate change.  To avoid total catastrophe, says the IPCC, we must reduce the industrial spew of global warming gasses by 40-70 percent of 2010 levels.

Though the warning is dire, the report offers three pieces of good news.

First, we have about 15 years to slash these emissions.

Second, renewable technologies are available to do the job.

And third, the cost is manageable.

Though 2030 might seem a tight deadline for a definitive transition to Solartopia, green power technologies have become far simpler and quicker to install than their competitors, especially atomic reactors. They are also far cheaper, and we have the capital to do it.

The fossil fuel industry has long scorned the idea that its emissions are disrupting our Earth’s weather.

The oil companies and atomic reactor backers have dismissed the ability of renewables to provide humankind’s energy needs.

But the IPCC confirms that green technologies, including efficiency and conservation, can in fact handle the job—at a manageable price.

“It doesn’t cost the world to save the planet,” says Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, an economist who led the IPCC team.

The IPCC report cites nuclear power as a possible means of lowering industrial carbon emissions. But it also underscores considerable barriers involving finance and public opposition.  Joined with widespread concerns about ecological impacts, length of implementation, production uncertainties and unsolved waste issues, the report’s positive emphasis on renewables virtually guarantees nuclear’s irrelevance.

Some climate scientists have recently advocated atomic energy as a solution to global warming.  But their most prominent spokesman, Dr. James Hansen, also expresses serious doubts about the current generation of reactors, including Fukushima, which he calls “that old technology.”

Instead Hansen advocates a new generation of reactors.

But the designs are untested, with implementation schedules stretching out for decades.  Financing is a major obstacle as is waste disposal and widespread public opposition, now certain to escalate with the IPCC’s confirmation that renewables can provide the power so much cheaper and faster.

With its 15-year deadline for massive carbon reductions the IPCC has effectively timed out any chance a new generation of reactors could help.

And with its clear endorsement of green power as a tangible, doable, affordable solution for the climate crisis, the pro-nuke case has clearly suffered a multiple meltdown.

With green power, says IPCC co-chair Jim Skea, a British professor, a renewable solution is at hand. “It’s actually affordable to do it and people are not going to have to sacrifice their aspirations about improved standards of living.”

Harvey Wasserman edits www.nukefree.org and wrote SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth.

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Fighting Our Fossil-Nuke Extinction

9:27 pm in Uncategorized by solartopia

The 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez disaster has brought critical new evidence that petro-pollution is destroying our global ecosystem.

An oil refinery.

To oppose atomic power with fossil fuels is to treat cancer by burning down the house. To oppose petro-pollution with nukes is to stoke that fire with radiation.

The third anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown in Japan confirms that radioactive reactor fallout is doing the same.

How the two mega-poisons interact remains largely unstudied, but the answers can’t be good. And it’s clearer than ever that we won’t survive without ridding our planet of both.

To oppose atomic power with fossil fuels is to treat cancer by burning down the house.

To oppose petro-pollution with nukes is to stoke that fire with radiation.

In September, the first round of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report confirmed yet again that global warming is accelerating and that human activity is the cause.

On March 31, it reported on additional ecological impacts ranging from compromised food systems to harm done a wide range of critical living networks.

The core problem is “global weirding,” an escalating, unpredictable ecological instability. “A breakdown of food systems,” the loss of low-lying cities, ocean acidification, the death of coral reefs, the decline of critical land-based flora and fauna, and the decimation of critical ecosystems are all part of an increasingly poisonous package. The idea that somehow more CO2 will yield more crops is counteracted by the toll taken by temperature spikes and the loss of certain insects, combined with the increased predations of others—and much more we simply do not understand.

There are always dissenters. But at Prince William Sound in Alaska we see the consensus on warming joined by yet another global terror: petro-poisoning.

A quarter-century after the 1979 Valdez disaster, Exxon and its allies are sticking with their “see no evil, pay no damages” denials.

But the hard evidence shows a wide range of local sea life has failed to return. Residual oil is still globbed along the shoreline.

And, in what NPR has called a “Eureka moment,” scientists have confirmed that the “long-lasting components of oil thought to be benign turned out to cause chronic damage to fish hearts when fish were exposed to tiny concentrations of the compounds as embryos.”

The impact is confirmed by parallel heart problems reported by Bloomberg to tuna harmed in the Gulf of Mexico’s far more recent 2010 BP disaster.

If the petro-toxics from these spills can do such damage to larger fish, what are they also doing to all others that occupy this ecosystem? If trace poisons spewed 25 years ago are still ripping through the embryo of Alaskan fish, what must they also be doing to the starfish, the krill, the phytoplankton, the algae and so many other microorganisms?

It’s long been known that the particulate matter from burning coal over the centuries has killed countless humans.

But what, in turn, is all that doing to the global ecosystem and all its even more vulnerable creatures, warmed or otherwise?

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Documents Say Navy Knew Fukushima Dangerously Contaminated the USS Reagan

8:33 am in Uncategorized by solartopia

A stunning new report indicates the U.S. Navy knew that sailors from the nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan took major radiation hits from the Fukushima atomic power plant after its meltdowns and explosions nearly three years ago.

Sailors mop the deck of the USS Reagan to remove radiation

Sailors aboard the USS Ronald Reagan wash down the flight deck to remove potential radiation contamination while operating off the coast of Japan providing humanitarian assistance in support of Operation Tomodachi, March 22, 2011.

If true, the revelations cast new light on the $1 billion lawsuit filed by the sailors against Tokyo Electric Power. Many of the sailors are already suffering devastating health impacts, but are being stonewalled by Tepco and the Navy.

The Reagan had joined several other U.S. ships in Operation Tomodachi (“Friendship”) to aid victims of the March 11, 2011 quake and tsunami. Photographic evidence and first-person testimony confirms that on March 12, 2011 the ship was within two miles of Fukushima Dai’ichi as the reactors there began to melt and explode.

In the midst of a snow storm, deck hands were enveloped in a warm cloud that came with a metallic taste. Sailors testify that the Reagan’s 5,500-member crew was told over the ship’s intercom to avoid drinking or bathing in desalinized water drawn from a radioactive sea. The huge carrier quickly ceased its humanitarian efforts and sailed 100 miles out to sea, where newly published internal Navy communications confirm it was still taking serious doses of radioactive fallout.

Scores of sailors from the Reagan and other ships stationed nearby now report a wide range of ailments reminiscent of those documented downwind from atomic bomb tests in the Pacific and Nevada, and at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. A similar metallic taste was described by pilotswho dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and by central Pennsylvanians downwind of Three Mile Island. Some parts of the atolls downwind from the South Pacific bomb tests remain uninhabitable six decades later.

Among the 81 plaintiffs in the federal class action are a sailor who was pregnant during the mission, and her “Baby A.G.,” born that October with multiple genetic mutations.

Officially, Tepco and the Navy say the dose levels were safe.

But a stunning new report by an American scholar based in Tokyo confirms that Naval officers communicated about what they knew to be the serious irradiation of the Reagan. Written by Kyle Cunningham and published in Japan Focus, “Mobilizing Nuclear Bias” describes the interplay between the U.S. and Japanese governments as Fukushima devolved into disaster.

Cunningham writes that transcribed conversations obtained through the Freedom of Information Act feature naval officials who acknowledge that even while 100 miles away from Fukushima, the Reagan’s readings “compared to just normal background [are] about 30 times what you would detect just on a normal air sample out to sea.”

On the nuclear-powered carrier “all of our continuous monitors alarmed at the same level, at this value. And then we took portable air samples on the flight deck and got the same value,” the transcript says.

Serious fallout was also apparently found on helicopters coming back from relief missions. One unnamed U.S. government expert is quoted in the Japan Focus article as saying:

At 100 meters away it (the helicopter) was reading 4 sieverts per hour. That is an astronomical number and it told me, what that number means to me, a trained person, is there is no water on the reactor cores and they are just melting down, there is nothing containing the release of radioactivity. It is an unmitigated, unshielded number. (Confidential communication, Sept. 17, 2012).

The transcript then contains discussion of health impacts that could come within a matter of “10 hours. It’s a thyroid issue.”

Read the rest of this entry →

Obama’s Nuke-Powered Drone Strike

10:17 am in Uncategorized by solartopia

Vogtle Electric

“All of the above” means more costly nuke projects like Vogtle Electric.

So the “all the above” energy strategy now deems we dump another $6.5 billion in bogus loan guarantees down the atomic drain. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has announced finalization of hotly contested taxpayer handouts for the two Vogtle reactors being built in Georgia. Another $1.8 billion waits to be pulled out of your pocket and poured down the radioactive sink hole.

A nuke-powered drone strike on fiscal sanity.

While Fukushima burns and solar soars, our taxpayer money is being pitched at a failed 20th century technology currently distinguished by its non-stop outflow of lethal radiation into the Pacific Ocean.

“Take that $6.5 or $8.3 billion and invest it right now in wind, solar, sustainable bio-fuels, geothermal, ocean thermal, wave energy, LED light bulbs, building insulation and Solartopian south-facing windows.”

The money is to pump up a pair of radioactive white elephants that Wall Street won’t touch. Georgia state “regulators” are strong-arming ratepayers into the footing the bill before the reactors ever move a single electron—which they likely never will.

Sibling reactors being built in Finland and France are already billions over budget and years behind schedule. New ones proposed in Great Britain flirt with price guarantees far above currently available renewables.

The Vogtle project makes no fiscal sense … except for the scam artists that will feed off them for years to come.

Substandard concrete, unspecified rebar steel, major labor scandals, non-existent quality control … all the stuff that’s defined this industry since the Shippingport reactor started construction outside Pittsburgh some six decades ago is with us yet again.

It would be nice to say this is merely $6.5 billion wasted. But that’s the tip of the iceberg. Long Island’s Shoreham and New Hampshire’s Seabrook came in at 5-10 times their original cost estimates.

Shoreham never made it to commercial operation. Neither did Seabrook Unit Two.

Should Vogtle, for which these loans are designated, beat the odds and actually go on line in the years to come, it will multiply its sunk cost by irradiating the countryside and creating radioactive waste nobody can handle.

Nor can it get private insurance to shield future victims and the taxpaying public from the inevitable disaster. The next commercial reactor to explode (joining the five that already have) will do damage in the trillions.

Its owners will not be liable, and the people making this decision will never go to prison.

But many along the way will pocket major fortunes from substandard construction, corner-cutting “safety” scams, black market parts purchasing, mafia-run hiring operations and the usual greasing of radioactive palms that defines all reactor construction projects.

Take that $6.5 or $8.3 billion and invest it right now in wind, solar, sustainable bio-fuels, geothermal, ocean thermal, wave energy, LED light bulbs, building insulation and Solartopian south-facing windows.

THEN we can dent in our climate crisis.

THAT’s where the jobs are.

THERE would be an all-the-above energy strategy that actually makes sense.

Harvey Wasserman’s Solartopia Green Power & Wellness Show is at www.progressiveradionetwork.com, and he edits www.nukefree.org. Harvey Wasserman’s History of the US and Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth are at www.harveywasserman.com along with Passions of the PotSmoking Patriots by “Thomas Paine.” He and Bob Fitrakis have co-authored four books on election protection, including How the GOP Stole America’s 2004 Election, at www.freepress.org. Read the rest of this entry →

50 Reasons We Should Fear the Worst from Fukushima

12:31 pm in Uncategorized by solartopia

[This is the first in a two part series]

Smoke rises in an aerial view of Fukushima

How bad is Fukushima?

Fukushima’s missing melted cores and radioactive gushers continue to fester in secret.

Japan’s harsh dictatorial censorship has been matched by a global corporate media blackout aimed—successfully—at keeping Fukushima out of the public eye.

But that doesn’t keep the actual radiation out of our ecosystem, our markets … or our bodies.

Speculation on the ultimate impact ranges from the utterly harmless to the intensely apocalyptic .

But the basic reality is simple: for seven decades, government Bomb factories and privately-owned reactors have spewed massive quantities of unmonitored radiation into the biosphere.

The impacts of these emissions on human and ecological health are unknown primarily because the nuclear industry has resolutely refused to study them.

Indeed, the official presumption has always been that showing proof of damage from nuclear Bomb tests and commercial reactors falls to the victims, not the perpetrators.

And that in any case, the industry will be held virtually harmless.

This “see no evil, pay no damages” mindset dates from the Bombing of Hiroshima to Fukushima to the disaster coming next … which could be happening as you read this.

Here are 50 preliminary reasons why this radioactive legacy demands we prepare for the worst for our oceans, our planet, our economy … ourselves.

1. At Hiroshima and Nagasaki (1945), the U.S. military initially denied that there was any radioactive fallout, or that it could do any damage. Despite an absence of meaningful data, the victims (including a group of U.S. prisoners of war) and their supporters were officially “discredited” and scorned.

2. Likewise, when Nobel-winners Linus Pauling and Andre Sakharov correctly warned of a massive global death toll from atmospheric Bomb testing, they were dismissed with official contempt … until they won in the court of public opinion.

3. During and after the Bomb Tests (1946-63), downwinders in the South Pacific and American west, along with thousands of U.S. “atomic vets,” were told their radiation-induced health problems were imaginary … until they proved utterly irrefutable.

4. When British Dr. Alice Stewart proved (1956) that even tiny x-ray doses to pregnant mothers could double childhood leukemia rates, she was assaulted with 30 years of heavily funded abuse from the nuclear and medical establishments.

5. But Stewart’s findings proved tragically accurate, and helped set in stone the medical health physics consensus that there is no “safe dose” of radiation … and that pregnant women should not be x-rayed, or exposed to equivalent radiation.

6. More than 400 commercial power reactors have been injected into our ecosphere with no meaningful data to measure their potential health and environmental impacts, and no systematic global data base has been established or maintained.

7. “Acceptable dose” standards for commercial reactors were conjured from faulty A-Bomb studies begun five years after Hiroshima, and at Fukushima and elsewhere have been continually made more lax to save the industry money.

8. Bomb/reactor fallout delivers alpha and beta particle emitters that enter the body and do long-term damage, but which industry backers often wrongly equate with less lethal external gamma/x-ray doses from flying in airplanes or living in Denver.

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So Long, Pete & Toshi Seeger, It’s Been Amazingly Great to Know You (UPDATED with VIDEO)

8:08 am in Uncategorized by solartopia

 

Update: Here’s Democracy Now! on the life and legacy of Pete Seeger: “We Shall Overcome, Remembering A Folk Icon.”

Toshi and Pete Seeger defy description except through the sheer joy and honor it was to know them, however briefly.

Pete Seeger with a banjo, in performance

Musician Pete Seeger has died.

Their list of accomplishments will fill many printed pages, which all pale next to the simple core beauty of the lives they led.

They showed us it’s possible to live lives that somehow balance political commitment with joy, humor, family, courage and grace. All of which seemed to come as second nature to them, even as it was wrapped in an astonishing shared talent that will never cease to inspire and entertain.

Pete passed on Monday, at 94, joining Toshi, who left us last year, at 91. They’d been married nearly 70 years.

Somehow the two of them managed to merge an unending optimism with a grounded, realistic sense of life in all its natural travails and glories.

Others who knew them better than I will have more specific to say, and it will be powerful and immense.

But, if it’s ok with you, I’d like to thank them for two tangible things, and then for the intangible but ultimately most warming.

First: In 1978, we of the Clamshell Alliance were fighting the nuclear reactors being built at Seabrook, NH. An amazing grassroots movement had sprung up. With deep local roots, it helped birth the campaign for a nuke-free/green-powered Earth that still evolves.

Pete Seeger with Lynne Cherry and Harvey Wasserman.

Pete Seeger with Lynne Cherry and Harvey Wasserman. Photo credit Connie Hogarth

We had staged successful civil disobedience actions in 1976-7 that grew from Ron Rieck solo climbing a weather tower (in January!) to 18 arrests to 180. Then in April, 1977, some 2,000 folks came from all over the U.S. to an occupation whose 1,414 arrests filled the Granite State’s National Guard armories for two media-saturated weeks.

In the summer of 1978 a complex, controversial chain of events led us to shift from a civil disobedience action to a legal rally. It was daring, difficult and divisive. We had no idea what would happen.

But the weekend dawned with bright sunshine … and with Pete! Joined by Jackson Browne and John Hall, their presence helped transform a challenging gathering into something truly transcendent. It was, like Pete himself, an unassuming miracle.

Thirty years later our sister Connie Hogarth brought me to Pete and Toshi’s hillside cabin overlooking the Hudson, not far enough from Indian Point. With utter nonchalance Pete had built one of the world’s first electric vehicles by gutting the engine from an old pick-up and filling it with car batteries. It got him to town and back. It did the job.

Like the Clearwater. A boat to sail the Hudson. To do it well while making a point about the Earth and what she needs.

4 photos from the Seabrook Rally performances

Some of the people who provided their talent and energy at the Seabrook Rally. From top down: Pete Seeger, folksinger, leading the crowd in song; Dick Gregory, comedian and social activist, talking about racism and atomic power; Sarah Nelson from N.O.W. expaining the Silkwood murder mystery; Jackson Browne and John Hall, rock musicians, decrying nuclear power between sets.

They chopped wood and made preserves and it was all so comfortably grounded. Toshi had a deeply affecting grace, an irresistible combination of firm direction and gentle wisdom. And those sparkling eyes. What a glorious partnership!

But I had an agenda. I wanted a song for Solartopia, a vision of a green-powered Earth. And who was a pischer like me to ask?

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