The year 2012 has opened with news that Fukushima’s radioactive cloud may already have killed some 14,000 Americans, according to a major study just published in the International Journal of Health Services.
Germany and Japan, the world’s third and fourth largest economies, along with numerous others countries, have definitively turned away from the “Peaceful Atom.”
But it hasn’t yet been buried. That’s up to us. And 2012 is the year to do it.
We are already very close. The mythical “Nuclear Renaissance” has been gutted by Fukushima, low gas prices and the escalating Solartopian revolution in green energy. Solar panels, wind turbines, sustainable bio-fuels, geo-thermal, ocean thermal, increased efficiency and much more have simply priced atomic energy out of the market.
There is virtually no private money to build new reactors—except where there are huge government subsidies and guarantees. In 2012 we must make those all go away.
Likewise, there are increasingly powerful grassroots movements focused on shutting reactors that still operate. Germany has shut 7, and the rest will be gone by 2022, if not earlier. In Japan, just 11 of more than 50 reactors now operate. Because local governments can prevent nukes from re-opening once they go down for refueling, Japan could emerge from 2012 without a single nuke on line.
The biggest US battle is at Vermont Yankee. March 21 is D-Day for forcing a nuclear corporation to honor a solemn contract it signed with a sovereign state, agreeing to shut down if the state doesn’t approve continued operations. The legislature wants the reactor shut, which Entergy now refuses to do.
But with some 430 reactors still operating worldwide, and with several score ostensibly on order, here are some of 2012’s keys to finally ridding the planet of this radioactive curse:
• The switch to green power has become definitive and is clearly unstoppable. Last year renewables generated more US electricity than nukes. Far more private capital is now being invested in renewables than in nuclear or fossil fuels. General Electric says its photovoltaic solar cells will generate electricity cheaper than coal within five years. Well-funded opponents are making it more difficult to spread green technologies, but they can be beaten. Read the rest of this entry →