Who's Online

We have 347 guests online

Popular

1960 readings
No Nukes - an essay by Ralph Nader PDF Print E-mail
Peace News
Sunday, 14 February 2010 00:42

No Nukes - an essay by Ralph Nader

- Ralph Nader, Saturday, February 13, 2010  reposted from Common Dreams

A generation of Americans has grown up without a single nuclear power
plant being brought on line since before the near meltdown of the Three
Mile Island structure in 1979. They have not been exposed to the
enormous costs, risks and national security dangers associated with
their operations and the large amount of radioactive wastes still without
a safe, permanent storage place for tens of thousands of years.

No Nukes – an essay by Ralph Nader

by Ralph Nader, Saturday, February 13, 2010
by CommonDreams.org

https://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/02/13

A generation of Americans has grown up without a single nuclear power
plant being brought on line since before the near meltdown of the Three
Mile Island structure in 1979. They have not been exposed to the
enormous costs, risks and national security dangers associated with
their operations and the large amount of radioactive wastes still without
a safe, permanent storage place for tens of thousands of years.

All Americans better get informed soon, for a resurgent atomic power
lobby wants the taxpayers to pick up the tab for relaunching this industry.
Unless you get Congress to stop this insanely dirty and complex way to
boil water to generate steam for electricity, you'll be paying for the
industry's research, the industry's loan guarantees and the estimated
trillion dollars (inflation-adjusted) cost of just one meltdown, according
to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, plus vast immediate and
long-range casualties.

The Russian roulette-playing nuclear industry claims a class nine
meltdown will never happen. That none of the thousands of rail cars,
trucks and barges with radioactive wastes will ever have a catastrophic
accident. That terrorists will forgo striking a nuclear plant or hijacking
deadly materials, and go for far less consequential disasters.

The worst nuclear reactor accident occurred in 1986 at Chernobyl in
what is now Ukraine. Although of a different design than most U.S.
reactors, the resultant breach of containment released a radioactive
cloud that spread around the globe but concentrated most intensively
in Belarus, Ukraine and European Russia and secondarily over
40% of Europe.

For different reasons, both governmental and commercial interests
were intent on downplaying both the immediate radioactively-caused
deaths and diseases and the longer term devastations from this
silent, invisible form of violence. They also were not eager to fund
follow up monitoring and research.

Now comes the English translation of the most comprehensive,
scientific report to date titled Chernobyl: Consequences of the
Catastrophe for People and the Environment whose senior author
is biologist Alexey V. Yablokov, a member of the prestigious
Russian Academy of Sciences.

Purchasable from the New York Academy of Sciences
(visit nyas.org/annals), this densely referenced analysis covers
the acute radiation inflicted on both the first-responders (called
"liquidators") and on residents nearby, who suffer chronic
radioactive sicknesses. "Today," asserts the report, "more than
6 million people live on land with dangerous levels of
contamination--land that will continue to be contaminated for
decades to centuries."

Back to the U.S., where, deplorably, President Obama has called
for more so-called "safe, clean nuclear power plants." He just
sent a budget request for another $54 billion in taxpayer loan
guarantees on top of a previous $18 billion passed under Bush.
You see, Wall Street financiers will not loan electric companies
money to build new nuclear plants which cost $12 billion and up,
unless Uncle Sam guarantees one hundred percent of the loan.

Strange, if these nuclear power plants are so efficient, so safe,
why can't they be built with unguaranteed private risk capital?
The answer to this question came from testimony by Amory B.
Lovins, chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute, in March
2008 before the [House of Representatives of the U.S.] Select
Committee on Energy Independence (rmi.org). His thesis:
"expanding nuclear power would reduce and retard climate
protection and energy security ... but can't survive free-market
capitalism."

Making his case with brilliant concision, Lovins, a consultant
to business and the Defense Department, demonstrated with
numbers and other data that nuclear power "is being
dramatically outcompeted in the global marketplace by no
and low-carbon power resources that deliver far more
climate solution per dollar, far faster."

Lovins doesn't even include the accident or sabotage risks.
He testified that "because it's [nuclear power] uneconomic
and unnecessary, we needn't inquire into its other attributes."
Renewable energy (eg. wind power), cogeneration and
energy efficiencies (megawatts) are now far superior to
maintain.

I challenge anybody in the nuclear industry or academia to
debate Lovins at the National Press Club in Washington,
D.C., with a neutral moderator, or before a Congressional
Committee.

However, the swarm of nuclear power lobbyists is gaining
headway in Congress, spreading their money everywhere
and falsely exploiting the concern with global warming fed
by fossil fuels.

The powerful nuclear power critics in Congress want the
House energy bill to focus on climate change. To diminish
the opposition, they entered into a bargain that gave nuclear
reactors status with loan guarantees and other subsidies in
the same legislation which has passed the House and, as
is usual, languishing in the Senate.

Long-time, staunch opponents of atomic power who are
leaders in countering climate change, such as Cong. Ed
Markey (D-MA), have quieted themselves for the time
being, while the Republicans (loving the taxpayer
subsidies) and some Democrats are hollering for the
nukes. All this undermines the valiant efforts of the Union
of Concerned Scientists, NIRS, Friends of the Earth, and
other established citizen groups who favor a far safer,
more efficient, faster and more secure energy future
for our country and the world.

Just recently, a well-designed and documented pamphlet
from Beyond Nuclear summarize the case against
nuclear power as "Expensive, Dangerous and Dirty."
The clear, precise detail and documentation makes for
expeditious education of your friends, neighbors and
co-workers.

You can download it free and reprint it for wider
distribution from www.BeyondNuclear.org. It is very well
worth the 10 to 15 minutes it takes to absorb the truth
about this troubled technology -- replete with delays and
large cost-overruns -- that has been on government
welfare since the 1950s.

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His most recent book -- and first novel --  is, Only The Super Wealthy Can Save Us. His most recent work of non-fiction is The Seventeen Traditions.

 

Latest News