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9:20 pm in Uncategorized by solartopia

 

 Solartopia! Winning the Green Energy Revolution by Harvey Wasserman
By Harvey Wasserman
High above the Bowling Green town dump, a green energy revolution is being won.
It’s being helped along by the legalization of marijuana and its bio-fueled cousin, industrial hemp.
But it’s under extreme attack from the billionaire Koch Brothers, utilities like First Energy, and a fossil/nuke industry that threatens our existence on this planet.
Robber Baron resistance to renewable energy has never been more fierce. The prime reason is that the Solartopian Revolution embodies the ultimate threat to the corporate utility industry and the hundreds of billions of dollars it has invested in the obsolete monopolies that define King CONG (Coal, Oil, Nukes & Gas).
The outcome will depend on YOUR activism, and will determine whether we survive here at all.
Four very large wind turbines in this small Ohio town are producing clean, cheap electricity that can help save our planet.  A prime reason they exist is that Bowling Green has a municipal-owned utility.  When it came time to go green, the city didn’t have to beg some corporate-owned electric monopoly to do it for them.
In fact, most of northern Ohio is now dominated by FirstEnergy, one of the most reactionary, anti-green private utilities in the entire US.  As owner of the infamous Davis-Besse reactor near Toledo, FE continually resists the conversion of our energy economy to renewable sources.  Except for the occasional green window-dressing, First Energy has fought fiercely for decades to preserve its unsafe reactors while fighting off the steady progression of renewable generators.
FE’s obstinance has been particularly dangerous at Davis-Besse, one of the world’s most profoundly unsafe nukes.  To the dismay even of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and other notoriously docile agencies, undetected boric acid ate nearly all the way through a reactor pressure vessel and threatened a massive melt-down/explosion that could have irradiated the entire north coast and the Great Lakes.  FE’s nuke at Perry, east of Cleveland, was the first in the US to be substantially damaged by an earthquake.
Both Perry and David-Besse are in the stages of advanced decay.  Each of them is being held together by the atomic equivalent of duct tape and bailing twine.  A major accident grows more likely with each hour of operation.
Small wonder the nuclear industry has been shielded since 1957 by the Price-Anderson Act, which limits corporate liability in any reactor disaster to less than $15 billion, a drop in the bucket compared to what has already happened at Chernobyl and Fukushima, and could happen here.
Should either of those reactors blow, FE and other investors will simply not have to pay for the loss of your home, family, personal health.  Should that federal insurance be removed, the reactors would shut soon thereafter since for the last 57 years, no private insurers have stepped forward to write a policy on these reactors.
As for the wind turbines in Bowling Green, there are no such problems.  With zero federal insurance restrictions, they initially came in ahead of schedule and under budget.  They have boosted the local economy, created jobs and produced power is that is far cheaper, safer, cleaner and more reliable than anything coming out of the many nearby trouble-plagued burners of fossil and nuclear fuels.
Throughout the world similar “miracles” are in progress.  According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 92% of the new electrical generating capacity installed in the US in the first two months of 2014 was renewable ( http://www.triplepundit.com/2014/03/renewable-energy-construction-takes-lead-feb/ ).
That includes six new wind farms, three geothermal facilities, and 25 new solar plants.  One of those wind installations is a 75 megawatt plant in Huron County, Wisconsin.
Four solar arrays will produce 73 megawatts for Southern California Edison, which was just forced by a grassroots upsurge to shut its two huge reactors at San Onofre, between Los Angeles and San Diego.  SoCalEd and the people of southern California are now in the process of filling that void with a wide range of renewable installations.  Many home owners will be doing it by installing solar panels on their rooftops, a rapidly advancing technology that is proving extremely cost-effective while avoiding production of millions of tons of greenhouse gases and radioactive waste.
By comparison, according to one report, new development in “fossil fuel-based infrastructure was almost non-existent for January and February, with only one natural gas facility brought on line.”
Across the nation, public opinion polls show an accelerating embrace of renewables.  According to a Gallup Poll taken last year, more than 70% of Americans want more emphasis put on solar and wind power, well over twice as many as embrace coal (31%) and nearly twice as many as those who support new nukes (37%).  ( http://theenergycollective.com/ecskris/204876/gallup-poll-shows-public-favor-alternative-energies )
And here Wall Street agrees with Main Street.  Despite gargantuan federal subsidies and its status as a legal fiefdom unto itself, major investors have shunned atomic energy.  The smart money is pouring toward Solartopia, to the tune of billions each year in new invested capital.
There have been the inevitable failures, such as the infamous Solyndra which left the feds holding more than a half-billion in bad paper.
But such pitfalls have been common throughout the history of energy start-ups, including all aspects of the fossil/nuke industry.  And in solar’s case, Solyndra has been dwarfed by billions in profits from other green investments.
Ironically, one of the biggest new fields—advanced bio-fuels—is being opened by the legalization of marijuana and its industrial cousin, hemp.  Hemp was the number two cash crop (behind tobacco) grown in the early American colonies.  Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were enthusiastic cultivators.  Jefferson wrote passionately about it in his farm journal, and Washington took pains to import special seed from India.
As a crop with many uses, hemp has been an essential player in human agriculture for 50 centuries.
In early America, hemp’s primary early service was as feedstock for rope and sails for ships.  But it was also used to make clothing and other textiles.  Ben Franklin processed it in his first paper mill.  And it has wide applications as a food crop, especially thanks to the high protein content of its seeds, which are also a core of the bird feed business.
Some of the early colonies actually required farmers to grow hemp.  During World War 2 the military commandeered virtually the entire state of Kansas for it, using it primarily for rope in the Navy.
But since then it has been almost everywhere illegal.
There are many theories behind why, including a belief that the tree-based paper industry does not want to compete with hemp feedstock, which—as Franklin knew— makes a stronger paper, and can be grown far more cheaply and sustainably.
China, Japan, Germany, Rumania and other nations have long been growing hemp with great profit.  Canada’s annual crop has been valued at nearly $500,000,000.  Estimates of its domestic consumption here in the US run around $550,000,000, all of it imported.
The US hemp industry is widely regarded as an innocent by-stander in the insane war against marijuana.  (Some believe that because it threatens so many industrial interests, hemp is actually a CAUSE of marijuana prohibition).
But because marijuana prohibition seems finally to be on the fade, the laws against hemp cultivation are falling away.  The national farm community is in strong support, for obvious reasons.  Hemp is extremely easy to grow, does not require pesticides or herbicides (it’s a weed!) and has centuries of profitability to back it up.
 When Colorado legalized recreational pot it also opened the door for industrial hemp, with the first full-on crop now on its way in.  Washington state is following suit.  In Kentucky, right-wing Republican Senators Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell both strongly support legalization.  The federal law against its cultivation in states where it’s being legalized has now eased.
Hemp’s role in the Solartopian revolution is certain to be huge.  The oil content in its seeds make it a prime player in the booming bio-fuels industry.  The high cellulosic content of its stems and leaves mean it might also be fermented into ethanol.  (The stalks and stems are also highly prized as building materials and insulation).
There has been strong resistance to bio-fuels now derived from corn and soy, for good reason.  Those are food crops, and their use for industrial fuel has pitted hungry people against automobiles and other combustion technologies, bringing on rising prices for those who can least afford them.
Corn and soy are also extremely inefficient as fuel stocks (corn is far worse).  In a world dominated by corporate agri-business, they are generally raised unsustainably, with huge quantities of pesticides, herbicides and petro-based fertilizers.  None of those are required for hemp, which is prolific, sustainable and can be raised in large quantities by independent non-corporate growers.
Along with on-going breakthroughs in other feedstocks (especially algae) hemp will be a major player in the Solartopian future.  As pot inches its way toward full legalization, we can reasonably expect to see a revolution in bio-fuels within a very few years.
Likewise wind and solar.  Windmills have been with us for at least five centuries.  Coming from the plains of Asia, they covered our own Great Plains in the Great Depression and have rapidly advanced in power and efficiency.  Newly installed turbine capacity is far cheaper than nukes and has recently surpassed all but the dirtiest of fossil fuels.  As at Bowling Green, installation can be quick and efficient. Actual output often exceeds expectation, as do profits and job-creation.
But the real revolution is coming in photo-voltaics (PV).  These technologies—and there’s a very wide range of them—convert sunlight to electricity.   Within the next few decades, they will comprise the largest industry in human history.  Every home, office, factory, window, parking lot, highway, vehicle, machine, device and much more will be covered and/or embedded with them.  There are trillions of dollars to be made.
The speed of their advance is now on par with that of computing capability.  Moore’s Law—which posited (correctly) that computing capacity would double every two years—is now a reality in the world of PV.  Capacity is soaring while cost plummets.
It’s a complex, demanding and increasingly competitive industry.  It can also be hugely profitable.  So there’s every technological reason to believe that in tandem with wind, bio-fuels, geo-thermal, ocean thermal, wave energy, increased efficiency, conservation and more, the Solartopian revolution in clean green PV power could completely transform the global energy industry within the next few years.
“Only flat-earthers and climate-deniers can continue to question the fact that the age of renewable energy is here now,” says Ken Bossong, executive director of the Sun Day Campaign.  ( http://www.envirolink.org/resource.html?catid=5&itemid=628 )
But there’s a barrier—King CONG, the Robber Baron energy corporations.  In fact, the Koch Brothers and their fossil/nuke cohorts are conducting a vicious nationwide campaign against renewables.  It puts out all sorts of reasons for the bloviators to blurt.
But the real motive is to protect their huge corporate investments.
Because what’s really at stake here is the question of who will control the future of energy—Kong CONG, or the human community.
Though it would seem it could also be monopolized, Solartopian energy is by nature community-based.  Photovoltaic cells could be owned by corporations, and in many cases they are.
But in the long run PV inclines toward DG (distributed generation).  The nature of roof-top collectors is to allow homeowners to own their own supply.  The market might incline them at various stages to buy or lease the solar cells from a monopoly.
But in real terms, the price of PV is dropping so fast that monopolization may well become moot.  As futurist Jeremy Rifkin puts it more generally his “Rise of Anti-Capitalism” NYTimes op-ed (3/15/14) ( http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/16/opinion/sunday/the-rise-of-anti-capitalism.html ) :
“The inherent dynamism of competitive markets is bringing costs so far down that many goods and services are becoming nearly free, abundant, and no longer subject to market forces. While economists have always welcomed a reduction in marginal cost, they never anticipated the possibility of a technological revolution that might bring those costs to near zero.”
But that’s what’s starting to happen with photovoltaic cells, where fuel is free and capital costs are dropping low enough that the utility industry and its fossil/nuke allies can’t quite grab control.
When individual building owners can generate their own PV power, when communities like Bowling Green can own their own windmills, when small farmers can grow their own hemp-based fuel, who needs King CONG?
We know this powerful beast will fight against the renewable revolution right down to its last billion, especially now that American elections are so easily bought and stolen.  Defending the green-powered turf will not be easy.
But sooner or later, if we can survive fracking, the next few Fukushimas and the oil spills after that, Solartopia must come.
Our economic and our biological survival both depend on it.
See you there!!!
_________________
Harvey Wasserman is senior editor of the Columbus Free Press and freepress.org.  He edits www.nukefree.org and wrote SOLARTOPIA!  OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH (www.solartopia.org) .

The Tower That Toppled A Terrible Technology

10:41 pm in Uncategorized by solartopia

There it stood, 500 feet of insult and injury.  And then it crashed to the ground.
The weather tower at the proposed Montague double-reactor complex was meant to test wind direction in case of an accident.  In early 1974, the project was estimated at $1.35 billion, as much as double the entire assessed value of all the real estate in this rural Connecticut Valley town, 90 miles west of Boston.
Then—39 years ago this week—Sam Lovejoy knocked it down.
Lovejoy lived at the old Liberation News Service farm, four miles from the site.    Montague’s population of about 7500 included a growing number of “hippie communes.”  As documented in Ray Mungo’s FAMOUS LONG AGO, this one was born of a radical news service that had been infiltrated by the FBI, promoting a legendary split that led the founding faction to flee to rural Massachusetts.
And thus J. Edgar Hoover—may he spin in his grave over this one—became an inadvertent godfather to the movement against nuclear power.
When the local utility announced it would build atomic reactors on the eastern shore of the Connecticut River, 180 miles north of New York City, they thought they were waltzing into a docile rural community.  But many of the local communes were pioneering a new generation’s movement for organic farming, and were well-stocked with seasoned activists still working in the peace and civil rights movements.  Radioactive fallout was not in synch with our new-found aversion to chemical sprays and fertilizers.  Over the next three decades, this reborn organic ethos would help spawn a major on-going shift in the public view toward holistic food that continues today.
For those of us at Montague Farm, the idea of two gargantuan reactors four miles from our lovely young children, Eben and Sequoyah, our pristine one-acre garden and glorious maple sugar bush…all this and more prompted two clear, uncompromising words:  NO NUKES!
We printed the first bumper stickers, drafted pamphlets and began organizing.
Nobody believed we could beat a massive corporation with more money than Lucifer.  An initial poll showed three-quarters of the town in favor of the jobs, tax breaks and excitement the reactors would bring.
For us, one out of four of our neighbors was a pretty good start.
But nationwide, when Richard Nixon said there’d be 1000 US reactors by the year 2000, nobody doubted him.  Nuclear power was a popular assumption, a given supported by a large majority of the world’s population.  We needed a jolt to get our movement off the ground.
That would be the tower.  All day and night it blinked on and off, ostensibly in warning to small planes flying in and out of the Turners Falls Airport.  But it also stood as a symbol of arrogance and oppression, a steel calling card from a corporation that could not care less about our health, safety or organic well-being.
So at 4am on Washington’s Birthday (which back then was still February 22), Sam knocked it down.  In a feat of mechanical daring many of us still find daunting, he carefully used a crow bar to unfasten one…then two…then a third turnbuckle.  The wires on the other two sides of the triangulated support system then pulled down six of the tower’s seven segments, leaving just one 70-foot stump still standing.  It was so loud, Sam said, he was “amazed the whole town didn’t wake up.”
But this was the Montague Plains, the middle of nowhere.  Sam ran to the road and flagged down the first car—it happened to be a police cruiser—and asked for a ride to the Turners Falls station.  Atomic energy, said his typed statement, was dangerous, dirty, expensive,  unneeded and, above all, a threat to our children.  Tearing down the tower was a legitimate means of protecting the community.
This being Massachusetts, Sam was freed later that morning on his personal promise to return for trial.  Facing a felony charge in September, he was acquitted on a technicality.  A jury poll showed he would have been let go anyway.
The legendary historian Howard Zinn testified on Sam’s behalf.  So did Dr. John Gofman, first health director of the Atomic Energy Commission, who flew from California to warn this small-town jury that the atomic reactors he helped invent were instruments of what he called “mass murder.”
The tower toppling and subsequent trial were pure, picturesque reborn Henry Thoreau, whose beloved Walden Pond is just 50 miles down wind.
Sam was the perfect hero.  Brilliant, charismatic, funny and unaffected, his combination of rural roots and an Amherst College degree made him an irresistible spokesperson for the nascent No Nukes campaign.
Backed by a community packed with activists, organizers, writers and journalists, the word spread like wildfire.  Filmmaker Dan Keller, an Amherst classmate, made Green Mountain Post’s award-winning LOVEJOY’S NUCLEAR WAR, produced on a shoe string, seen by millions on public television, at rallies, speeches, library gatherings, classrooms and more throughout the US, Europe and Japan.  For a critical mass of citizen-activists, it was the first introduction to an issue on which the fate of the Earth had quietly hinged.
In 1975, Montague Farmer Fran Koster helped organize a TOWARD TOMORROW Fair in Amherst that featured green energy pioneer Amory Lovins and early wind advocate William Heronemus.  A vision emerged of a Solartopian energy future, built entirely around renewables and efficiency, free of “King CONG”—coal, oil, nukes and gas.
Then the Clamshell Alliance took root in coastal New Hampshire.  Dedicated to mass non-violent civil disobedience, the Clam began organizing the first mass protests against twin reactors proposed for Seabrook.  In 1977, 1414 were arrested at the site.  More than a thousand were locked up in National Guard armories, with some 550 protestors still there two weeks later.
Global saturation media coverage helped the Clam spawn dozens of sibling alliances.  A truly national No Nukes movement was born.
On June 24, 1978, the Clam drew 20,000 citizens to a legal rally on the Seabrook site that featured Pete Seeger, Jackson Browne, John Hall and others.  Nine months prior to Three Mile Island, it was the biggest US No Nukes gathering to that time.
So when the 1979 melt-down at TMI did occur, there was a feature film—THE CHINA SYNDROME—and a critical mass of opposition firmly in place.  As the entire northeast shuddered in fear, public opinion definitively shifted away from atomic energy.
That September, NO NUKES concerts in New York featured Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor and many more.  Some 200,000 people rallied at Battery Park City (now the site of a pioneer solar housing development).  The NO NUKES feature film and platinum album helped certify mainstream opposition to atomic energy.
Today, in the wake of Chernobyl, Fukushima and decades of organizing, atomic energy is in steep decline.  Nixon’s promised 1000 reactors became 104, with at least two more to shut this year.  New construction is virtually dead in Europe, with Germany rapidly converting to the Solartopian future promised so clearly in Amherst back in 1975.
Sam Lovejoy has kept the faith over the years, working for the state of Massachusetts to preserve environmentally sensitive land—including the Montague Plains, once targeted for a massive reactor complex, now an undisturbed piece of pristine parkland.
Dan Keller still farms organically, and still makes films, including a recent “Solartopia” YouTube starring Pete Seeger.  Nina Keller, Francis Crowe, Randy Kehler, Betsy Corner, Deb Katz, Claire Chang, Janice Frey and other Montague Farmers and local activists are in their 40th year of No Nukes activism, aimed largely at shutting nearby Vermont Yankee—a victory that soon may be won.  Anna Gyorgy, author of the1979 NO NUKES sourcebook, writes from Bonn on Germany’s epic shift away from atomic power and toward renewables.
Rare amongst the era’s communes, Montague Farm has survived in tact.  In an evolutionary leap, it became the base for the Zen Peacemaker organization of Roshi Bernie Glassman and Eve Marko.  They preserved the land, saved the farmhouse, converted the ancient barn to an astonishing meditation center, and culminated their stay with a landmark gathering on Socially Engaged Buddhism.  A new generation of owners is now making the place into a green conference center.
Like Montague Farm, the No Nukes movement still sustains its fair share of diverse opinions.  But its commitment to non-violence has deepened, as has its impact on the nuclear industry.  Among other things, it’s forced open the financial and demand space for an epic expansion of Solartopian technologies—especially solar and wind, which are now significantly cheaper than nukes.
In the wake of that, and of Fukushima, new reactor construction is largely on the ropes in Europe and the US.  But President Obama may now nominate a pro-nuclear Secretary of Energy.  More than 400 deteriorating reactors still run worldwide, with escalating danger to us all.  China, Russia, and South Korea still seem committed to new ones, as does India, where grassroots resistance is fierce.
There’s also talk of a new generation of smaller reactors which are unproven, untested, and unlikely to succeed.  The decades have taught us that  money spent on any form of atomic energy (except for clean-up) means vital resources stripped from the Solartopian technologies we need to survive.
We’ve also learned that a single act of courage, in concert with a community of dedicated organizers, can change the world.  The No Nukes movement continues to succeed with an epic commitment to creative non-violence.
In terms of technology, cost and do-ability, Solartopia is within our grasp.  Politically, our ultimate challenge comes with the demand to sustain the daring, wisdom and organic zeal needed to win a green-powered Earth.
For that, we’ll do well to remember the sound of one tower crashing.
————————
Harvey Wasserman’s SOLARTOPIA!  OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH is at www.harveywasserman.com, as is HARVEY WASSERMAN’S HISTORY OF THE US, written at Montague Farm, introduced by Howard Zinn.  This article was first published on thewe bite of the Progressive Magazine, www.progressive.org.

Nuke Power’s Collapse Gets Ever More Dangerous…By HarveyW

8:45 pm in Uncategorized by solartopia

http://www.nukefree.org/editorsblog/nuke-powers-collapse-gets-ever-more-dangerous

 

Harvey Wasserman

Nuke power’s collapse gets ever more dangerous
November 30, 2012

In the wake of this fall’s election, the disintegration of America’s decrepit atomic reactor fleet is fast approaching critical mass. Unless our No Nukes movement can get the worst of them shut soon, Barack Obama may be very lucky to get through his second term without a major reactor disaster.

All 104 licensed US reactors were designed before 1975—a third of a century ago. All but one went on line in the 1980s or earlier.

Plunging natural gas prices (due largely to ecologically disastrous fracking) are dumping even fully-amortized US reactors into deep red ink. Wisconsin’s Kewaunee will close next year because nobody wants to buy it. A reactor at Clinton, Illinois, may join it. Should gas prices stay low, the trickle of shut-downs will turn into a flood.

But more disturbing are the structural problems, made ever-more dangerous by slashed maintenance budgets.

  • San Onofre Units One and Two, near major earthquake faults on the coast between Los Angeles and San Diego, have been shut for more than nine months by core breakdowns in their newly refurbished steam generators. A fix could exceed a half-billion dollars. A bitter public battle now rages over shutting them both.
  • The containment dome at North Florida’s Crystal River was seriously damaged during “repair” efforts that could take $2 billion to correct. It will probably never reopen.
  • NRC inspections of Nebraska’s Fort Calhoun, damaged during recent flooding, have unearthed a wide range of structural problems that could shut it forever, and that may have been illegally covered-up.  According to William Boardman, NRC documents show nearly three dozen reactors to be at risk from dam breaks.
  • Ohio’s Davis-Besse has structural containment cracks that should have forced it down years ago and others have been found at South Carolina’s V.C. Summer reactor pressure vessel.
  • Intense public pressure at Vermont Yankee, at two reactors at New York’s Indian Point, and at New Jersey’s Oyster Creek (damaged in Hurricane Sandy) could bring them all down.

Projected completion of a second unit at Watts Bar, Tennessee, where construction began in the 1960s, has been pushed back to April, 2015. If finished at all, building this reactor may span a half-century.

Two new reactors under preliminary construction in South Carolina have been plagued by delays and cost overruns. Faulty components and concrete have marred two more under construction at Vogtle, Georgia, where builders may soon ask for a new delay on consideration of proposed federal loan guarantees.

This fall’s defeat of the very pro-nuclear Mitt Romney is an industry set-back. The return of Harry Reid (D-NV) as Senate Majority Leader means the failed Yucca Mountain waste dump will stay dead. A number of new Congressionals are notably pro-green, in line with Obama’s strong rhetorical support.

The move toward renewables has been boosted by Germany’s shut-down of eight reactors and huge investments in wind, solar and other renewables, which are exceeding financial and ecological expectations. Despite pro-nuke nay-sayers,Germany’s energy supply of energy has risen while prices have fallen.

The Department of Energy has confirmed that US solar power continues to drop in priceUS employment in the solar industry has surged past 118,000, a rise of more than 13% over last year.

Despite a wide range of financial problems, including uncertainty over renewal of the Production Tax Credit, the green energy industry continues to expand. Along with marijuana, Colorado has now legalized industrial hemp, opening the door for a major bio-fuel that will have strong agricultural support.

At some near-term tipping point, the financial and political clout of the green energy industry will fly past that of atomic power.

But at Fukushima, a spent fuel pool crammed with some 1500 hugely radioactive rods still sits atop a deteriorating shell that could collapse with the inevitable upcoming earthquake. As the Earth hangs in the balance, the pool may or may not be emptied this coming year, depending on the dubious technical and financial capabilities of its owners, who are in a deep fiscal crater.Meanwhile, fish irradiated by the huge quantities of Fukushima emissions are being consumed here in the US.

Overall, the “nuclear renaissance” is in shambles. So is an industry increasingly comprised of rust-bucket fleet of decayed reactors in serious decline.

Solartopians everywhere can celebrate an election that seemed to show some progress toward saving our beleaguered planet.

But our survival still depends on shutting ALL these old reactors before the next Fukushima contaminates us with far more than just radioactive fish.


Harvey Wasserman’s SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH is at www.harveywasserman.com, along with HARVEY WASSERMAN’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES. He edits www.nukefree.org.

 

 

Let’s Bury Nuke Power in 2012

11:48 pm in Uncategorized by solartopia

(image: sterneck/flickr)

(image: sterneck/flickr)

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 →