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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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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) .

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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Syria is an Epic Victory for the SuperPower of Peace, by Harvey Wasserman

5:42 pm in Uncategorized by solartopia

Harvey Wasserman

Syria is an epic victory for the SuperPower of Peace
September 15, 2013
www.freepress.org
The United States is not now bombing Syria.

Let’s savor that again: for the moment at least, the United States is not now bombing Syria.

That alone qualifies as an epic, unprecedented victory for the SuperPower of Peace, the global movement to end war, win social justice and somehow salvage our ecological survival.

Will it mark a permanent turning point?

That a treaty has been signed to rid the Assad regime of its chemical weapons is icing on the cake, however thin it proves to be. We don’t know if it will work. We don’t know if the restraint from bombing will hold.

But in a world that bristles with atomic weapons, where the rich get ever richer at the expense of the rest of us, and where stricken Japanese reactors along with 400 more worldwide threaten the survival of our global ecology, we must count any victory for peace—even if potentially fleeting—as a huge one. Let’s do some history.

Ten years ago, George W. Bush took the United States into senseless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Millions of citizens marched in the United States and worldwide to prevent the coming debacle. But Bush and his cronies made a point of ignoring us all, as if the public demand for peace was somehow a sign of weakness.

Since then, utterly pointless slaughter has claimed countless thousands of lives, including those of at least 7,000 Americans. That number does not include the thousands more who have returned poisoned physically and mentally, with ailments that have driven so many to suicide, hopelessness and debilitating disabilities.

The war was sold as a campaign to rid Saddam Hussein of his alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction. Vice President Dick Cheney assured the American public that as our troops attacked, the Iraqi people would spread rose petals of gratitude at their feet.

But Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction. And the Iraqi people had run out of rose petals. Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) remain in abundant supply.

None of which deterred Team Bush-Cheney-Rove or the corporatist military machine that continues to reap millions in profits from a decade of disaster.

They did rid the world of Saddam Hussein. But in his wake came…what? A lesson learned in Iraq—for those paying attention–is the “you break it, you’ve bought it” syndrome. If you remove a dictator, however nasty, you still must have something better to put in his place.

That was clearly beyond the caring or grasp of the Bush Administration. Lethal discord has defined Iraq since the demise of Saddam, with no end in sight.

There’s been more of the same in Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt and much of the rest of the middle east. What once seemed an “Arab Spring” of popular liberation may be tragically degenerating to a regional slaughterhouse of counter-revolution and chaos.

The stakes could not be higher. As Fukushima boils at the brink of catastrophe, the global environmental movement—the SuperPower of Solartopia—strives to convert humankind’s energy supply from fossil fuels and nuclear power to renewables and efficiency. Green energy—primarily wind and solar—is by far the fastest-growing new source of supply. Increased efficiency has saved billions of dollars and oceans of oil and gas that will not feed the demon of climate chaos.

But the corporate addiction to middle eastern oil remains a defining force. And the presence of a reactor near Damascus and of nuclear weapons in the hands of the US, Russia, Israel and god-knows-what random terror groups, make our every move in Syria a matter of life-and-death on a global scale.

With that backdrop, the Obama Administration’s decision to back off air strikes takes on an epic dimension. There are all sorts of modifiers that can and should be used.

But contrasted with what George W. Bush told the world ten years ago, Obama’s speech to the nation last week was a pillar of sanity.

He referenced our ten years of disaster in Iraq and Afghanistan. He acknowledged that while Assad is a terrible dictator, there’s no guarantee what follows would be any better. And he conceded that the attempt to use force could lead to costs we cannot predict.

He also made it clear that he was facing down the firewall of an overwhelming public and Congressional demand for peace that would not be denied.

A decade ago, George W. Bush deceived just enough of the American public to go to war.

This time, no deal. Whatever it proves to be worth, a treaty has been signed. We have a precious moment where bombs aren’t flying. We’re a few steps back from the nuclear brink. And our economy is not spiraling down into another senseless military firestorm.

It may prove a small respite…but it’s a victory by any reckoning.

Now the SuperPower of Peace—all of us—-must make it stick.

—————

Harvey Wasserman is senior editor of the Columbus Free Press and , where this was first published. He edits www.nukefree.org and is co-author, with Bob Fitrakis, of THE SUPERPOWER OF PEACE. His Solartopia Green Power & Wellness Show is at . Special thanks to David Swanson.

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.
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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.

 

 

Why Should Nuke Loan Guarantees Cost Less than Student or Home Loans?

11:57 am in Uncategorized by solartopia

Harvey Wasserman

Why should nuke guarantees cost less than home or student loans?
July 2, 2012

The Department of Energy wants to give the Southern Company a nuclear power loan guarantee at better interest rates than you can get on a student loan. And unlike a home mortgage, there may be no down payment.

Why?

The terms DOE is offering the builders of the Vogtle atomic reactors have only become partially public through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

We still may not know all the details.

SACE has challenged the $8.33 billion loan guarantee package announced by President Obama in 2010.

The documents show the DOE has intended to charge the Southern a credit subsidy fee of one to 1.5%, far below the rates you would be required to pay for buying a house or financing an education.

On a package 15 times bigger than what the federal government gave the failed solar company Solyndra, Southern would be required to pay somewhere between $17 million and $52 million. Advocates argue the fee is so low that it fails to adequately take into account the financial risks of the project. Numerous financial experts have estimated the likely fail rate for new nuclear construction to be at 50% or greater.

Furthermore, since a primary lender would be the Federal Financing Bank, the taxpayer is directly on the hook. Guaranteed borrowings are not supposed to exceed 70% of the project’s projected costs, but it’s unclear what those costs will actually turn out to be, as the public has been given no firm price tag on the project.

There is apparently no cash down payment being required of Southern as it seems the loan is designed to be secured with the value of the reactors themselves, whatever that turns out to be. In the unlikely event they are finished, liability from any catastrophe will revert to the public once a small private fund is exhausted.

Southern wanted the terms of the DOE offer kept secret, and we still don’t know everything about it. But in March, a federal circuit court judge ordered that the public had a right to know at least some of the details.

Apparently no final documents have actually been signed between Southern and the DOE. The Office of Management & Budget has reportedly balked at offering the nuke builder such generous terms. Southern has reportedly balked at paying even a tiny credit fee.

Construction at the Vogtle site has already brought on delays focussed on the use of sub-standard concrete and rebar steel. The projected price tag—whatever it may be—has risen as much as $900 million in less than a year.

Southern and its Vogtle partners are in dispute with Westinghouse and the Shaw Company, two of the reactors’ primary contractors. Georgia ratepayers have already been stuck with $1.4 billion in advance payments being charged to their electric bills. Far more overruns are on their way.

The Vogtle project is running somewhat parallel with two reactors being built at V.C. Summer in South Carolina, where $1.4 billion was already spent by the end of 2011. Delays are mounting and cost overruns are also apparently in the hundreds of millions.

Southern and Summer’s builders both claim they can finance these projects without federal guarantees. But exactly how they would do that remains unclear.

Two older reactors now licensed at the Vogtle site were originally promised to cost $150 million each, but came in at $8.9 billion for the pair. The project’s environmental permits are being challenged in court over claims the Nuclear Regulatory Commission failed to account for safety lessons from the Fukushima disaster.

The terms of the guarantees are now apparently being scrutinized by the Office of Management & Budget, which reports to a White House that may be gun-shy over new construction guarantees due to bad publicity from the Solyndra fiasco.

Numerous petitions are circulating in opposition to this package.

The Nuclear Information & Resource Service has already facilitated more than 10,500 e-mails sent directly to DOE Secretary Chu.

You might ask: why should the builders of nuclear power reactors get better terms than students struggling to pay for college or working families trying to buy a home?

At least the home buyers can get private liability insurance, which the nuke builders can’t.

If mounting grassroots opposition can stop this package, it’s possible no new reactors will ever be built in the US.

So send the OMB and DOE a copy of your mortgage or student loan statement.

Demand that before they finance any more nukes, they drop your own payment to 1%, just like they’re offering the reactor pushers. Also demand the right to buy a home without a down payment.

See how far you get, and then make sure Vogtle goes no farther.


Harvey Wasserman’s SOLARTOPIA! is at www.solartopia.org. He edits thenukefree.org website.

Will You Pay as New Reactors Jump $900 Million in 3 Months?

11:04 am in Uncategorized by solartopia

Will You Pay as New Reactors Jump $900 Million in 3 Months?

 

By Harvey Wasserman

 

 

The projected price for Georgia’s Vogtle Double Reactor Project has jumped at least $900 million in just three months….and that’s just for starters.

 

Will you pay for it?  The future of new atomic power in the US hangs in the balance.

 

A national grassroots campaign is now working to stop tax/ratepayer handouts and kill the project.

 

Construction there is defined by faulty concrete and non-spec rebar steel that threaten public safety and could delay completion dates beyond those projected even before construction began.

 

South Carolina’s V.C. Summer, the only other new US reactor project now under construction, is meeting fierce rate payer resistance in two states.  From Iowa to Brazil, Japan to France, the global reactor industry is collapsing in tandem.  But what other nations will it bankrupt and irradiate before it’s finished?

 

President Obama has tagged $8.33 billion in loan guarantees for Vogtle’s construction.  And Georgia ratepayers are being forced to pay for it in advance.

 

But the Office of Management and Budget is still dickering over terms with the Southern Company.  Vogtle’s prime builders want to put up little or no money.  They want interest rates lower than what you would pay to buy a new house.  They expect you to take primary liability for future disasters. They can’t say what will happen to the radioactive waste.

 

The real price tags for both Vogtle and Summer are suspect. Original estimates have been as low as $2-4 billion/reactor.  But Florida’s Progress Energy has just admitted its proposed reactors for Levy County, near Tampa, would go as high as $9.5 to $12 billion each.  Given their delays and structural defects, there’s no reason to believe Vogtle or Summer could come in cheaper.  At those prices, they cannot begin to compete with new renewables or efficiency.

 

So where does that leave Vogtle’s federal loan guarantees?  George W. Bush set aside $18.5 billion at the Department of Energy for new reactor funding, but made no grants.  Despite fierce lobbying, industry attempts to add to the fund have been defeated by national grassroots campaigns.

 

Obama designated the first $8.33 for Vogtle in 2010.  But closed-door negotiations between his OMB, the DOE and Southern have been inconclusive.

 

The $535 million failure of Solyndra Solar loans has cast a shadow over the entire federal guarantee system.  The proposed Vogtle guarantee is 15 times bigger.  At least three national petitions are circulating to kill it.

 

Southern has hinted it might seek better terms from private lenders.  But Wall Street has long scorned atomic investments.  And Georgia ratepayers are already being soaked for hundreds of millions to pay in advance for reactors sinking in debt and increasingly unlikely to ever operate.  In both South and North Carolina, ratepayers are revolting against skyrocketing rate hikes to build Summer.

 

In a major defeat for the nuclear industry, the Iowa legislature adjourned without voting advance rate hikes to build nukes there.  Similar legislation is stalled in Missouri and under attack in Florida.  Brazil has announced it will build no more reactors.  Despite fierce federal attempts to reopen them, all Japan’s commercial reactors remain shut.

 

New President Francois Hollande has pledged to phase down France’s dependency on atomic power.  A construction project at Flamanville (like one in Finland) is sinking in devastating overruns and delays.  Whether Hollande will proceed there or at any other remains to be seen.

 

But France’s new nuclear hesitancy may kill new reactor projects in Great Britain.   They have been posited on support from Electricite de France, now under attack from Hollande and a skeptical banking system being hammered by Europe’s financial crisis.

 

In India, many of the 350-plus women committed to a fast-unto-death against the Koodankulam reactors have entered critical life-threatening stages.  Police-state tactics have escalated the mass confrontation at the site.

 

Only China still seems a hold out for large-scale new construction.  As grassroots anti-nuclear campaign there begin, the central government has not yet announced its post-Fukushima decision on whether to proceed with some 30-plus proposed new reactors.

 

But at Fukushima itself, we still face a potentially catastrophic situation at Unit Four’s spent fuel pool, still perched 100 feet in the air.  Tons of horrifically radioactive rods remain at the mercy of an earthquake that could send them crashing to the ground, spewing releases that can only be termed “apocalyptic.”

 

In California, a failed $960 million “upgrade” at California’s San Onofre has led to steam generator tube failures shutting two reactors with no firm reopening date.  More than a $1 billion spent by Progress Energy at Florida’s Crystal River may also doom it to long overdue burial.

 

In Vermont, New York, Texas, Ohio and elsewhere else there are operating reactors, escalating leaks, flaws, errors and advanced aging define a supremely dangerous industry falling apart at its faulty welds.

 

So far there have been no balanced national hearings on the future of Votle’s loan guarantees, or continued construction at Summer.  But this latest $900 million price jump casts yet another deadly shadow over America’s nuclear future.

 

It’s time to kill this loan—and this industry—and put our money into green-powering our planet.

 

Our economic and ecological survival depend on it.

 

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Harvey Wasserman edits www.nukefree.org.  His SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth, is at www.solartopia.org ; his Green Power & Wellness Show airs at www.progressiveradionetwork.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nuclear Industry Has Melted in Japan and France

9:50 pm in Uncategorized by solartopia

There are zero commercial reactors operating in Japan today.  On March 10, 2011, there were 54 licensed to operate, well over 10% percent of the global fleet.

Paper cranes at an Japanese anti-nuclear vigil in Melbourne. Photo by Takver.

But for the first time in 42 years, a country at the core of global reactor electricity is producing none of its own.

Worldwide, there are fewer than 400 operating reactors for the first time since Chernobyl, a quarter-century ago.

And France has replaced a vehemently pro-nuclear premier with the Socialist Francois Hollande, who will almost certainly build no new reactors.  For decades France has been the “poster child” of atomic power.  But Hollande is likely to follow the major shift in French national opinion away from nuclear power and toward the kind of green-powered transition now redefining German energy supply.

In the United States, a national grassroots movement to stop federal loan guarantees could end new nuclear construction altogether.  New official cost estimates of $9.5 to $12 billion per reactor put the technology off-scale for any meaningful competition with renewables and efficiency.

In India, more than 500 women have joined an on-going hunger strike against construction of reactors at Koodankulam.  And in China, more than 30 reactors hang in the balance of a full assessment of the true toll of the Fukushima disaster.

But it seems to have no end.  Three melted cores still smolder.  New reports from US Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), confirm that at least one spent fuel pool suspended 100 feet in the air, bearing tons of hugely toxic rods, could crash to the ground with another strong earthquake—a virtual certainty by most calculations.

Read the rest of this entry →

Atomic Rate Rape & the New China Syndrome

12:38 am in Uncategorized by solartopia

Atomic Rate Rape & the New China Syndrome

 

 

By Harvey Wasserman

 

 

Small wonder the death knell of new US nukes may be upon us.

 

Two reactors proposed for Florida will now, say its would-be builders, cost $24 billion or more…up from their original maximum guess of $4 billion each…far beyond comparable renewables and efficiency ( http://nukefree.org/florida-nukes-delayed-3-more-years-cost-now-19-24-billion ).

 

Two Georgia nukes still wanting tax-funded loan guarantees have been caught pouring faulty concrete and using non-design rebar steel

( http://nukefree.org/nrc-says-vogtle-steel-does-not-match-requirement ).

 

Currently licensed reactors from California to Vermont, from Texas to Ohio to Florida are leaking radiation, shut for faulty steam generator tubes, closed for failed repairs running over $1 billion and being fought tooth and nail by local downwinders who are tired of rate rape want them shut forever.

 

But the fate of the Earth may ultimately rest on which China emerges after Fukushima:   the green one pushing solar, or the dictatorship pushing nukes that threaten us all.

 

What we Americans can do about it remains problematic.

 

But shutting down our own industry begins with killing proposed federal loan guarantees for two new nukes at Vogtle, Georgia

( http://nukefree.org/please-do-sign-petition-stop-new-nuke-loan-guarantees ), and stopping the rate rape being perpetrated to build two more at South Carolina’s V.C. Summer ( http://nukefree.org/ncwarn-duke-rigging-rates-pay-nukes ).

 

Throughout the US, wanna-be nuke builders are pushing regulators and legislatures to force ratepayers to foot the bill for new reactors while they’re being built.  In Iowa, Missouri and Florida ( http://nukefree.org/editorsblog/obamas-atomic-solyndra-0 ) , an angry public is pushing back—hard.

 

Progress Energy’s staggering new cost estimate for Levy County is a game changer.  The idea of paying $12 billion for reactors that can’t even begin construction for at least three years is beyond scale.  Progress has blown at least $1 billion on its botched repair and expansion job at north Florida’s Crystal River, which may now never reopen ( http://nukefree.org/editorsblog/nuclear-powers-green-mountain-grassroots-demise ).

 

Failed steam generator tubes at California’s San Onofre may also keep two reactors there forever shut. In Vermont, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Ohio and virtually everywhere other home to geezer nukes, grassroots opposition has seriously escalated.  movements are gaining increasing strength.  Sooner or later, they will win.  We must all pray that happens before yet another nukes blows.  It will be a close call.

 

In part because fracking (another environmental disaster) has made natural gas so cheap ( http://nukefree.org/small-towns-begin-rising-fight-fracking ), and in part because the price of wind and solar continues to plummet, 2011 was the first year since deep in the W Administration that the Executive Branch did not ask for new reactor loan guarantees.   If the money can be nixed for Vogtle, and the rate rape for Summer defeated, the whole “nuclear renaissance” could could definitively disappear.

 

Small modular nukes must still be fought ( http://nukefree.org/are-small-modular-reactors-future-nuke-power ).  But the numbers on this imperfected technology do not work without massive taxpayer subsidies or public liability insurance.

 

Europe’s one-time “nuclear poster child” is about to lose its pro-nuke Sarkozy is poised to the Socialist Francois Hollande ( http://nukefree.org/french-frontrunner-cools-reactor-shut-downs ), who may or may not begin shutting the nation’s reactors.  But French public has moved strongly toward renewables and probably won’t tolerate new ones.

 

Led by Germany, Europe’s nuclear future is past.  Proposed reactors in Great Britain and elsewhere are stalled.  Bulgaria has cancelled two.

 

Of Japan’s 54 licensed post-Fukushima units, just one now operates—and may soon shut.  Tokyo wants to open more, but grassroots resistance is fierce.  Ditto India, where massive demonstrations and hunger strikes have erupted against the Koodankulam project ( http://nukefree.org/10-000-india-hunger-strike-v-koodankulam-reactor ).

 

South Korea and Taiwan still want new reactors.  Korea may sell at least one to the United Arab Emirates.  The Saudis and Jordan may soon start construction.

 

But the global key now rests with China.  Despite its campaign to corner the world market in wind and solar hardware, China has been poised to bring on line close to 100 reactors. It may claim the largest number of new proposals—more than 30.

 

But Fukushima prompted a suspension of new approvals ( http://www.technologyandpolicy.org/2012/03/05/chinas-nuclear-energy-industry-one-year-after-fukushima/ ) and a move toward a national energy plan.  A final rejection could blow the floor out of any global nuclear future.

 

With a rising tide of grassroots environmentalism in China, any No Nukes movement there must be embraced worldwide.  In its hands may lie the future of the Earth.

 

Reactor backers desperately hype potential orders from China and India, and from small nations like Turkey and Taiwan.  But who will protect us —or even tell us—when they explode?

 

This weekend the Sierra Club while host a packed national gathering of grassroots No Nukers ( http://action.sierraclub.org/site/Calendar?view=Detail&id=159641 ) to plan the Us nuclear industry’s final demise.  There’s much to celebrate.  The campaign for a green-powered Earth has become one of her most successful non-violent social movements.

 

But the disasters at Chernobyl and Fukushima are far from over.  The radiation they still spew threatens our survival.

 

Without a truly global Solartopian uprising, the ultimate China Syndrome may yet come in China…and spread worldwide.

 

In economy and ecology, we have no future without finally cleansing from every corner on Earth the lingering plague of the failed atom.

 

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Harvey Wasserman’s SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth, is at www.solartopia.org , along with THE LAST ENERGY WAR.  His Green Power & Wellness Show is at www.prn.fm.  In 1973 he helped coin the phrase No Nukes.