2012 is the Year to Finally
Bury Nuke Power
Nuclear Power Radiation
EMF Computer Protection
Magnetic Field Detector
03 January 2012
By Harvey Wasserman
The year 2012 has opened with
news that Fukushima's radioactive cloud may already have
killed some 14,000 Americans, according to a major
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
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
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
reactors 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.
The breakdowns in the solar business are far fewer and
further between than in the fossil/nuke world. The lead in
this technology has shifted to Asia. The much hyped
Solyndra failure came not from technological issues, but
because the Chinese are underselling its American
competitors---and its own costs---by 30-40%. Returning at
least some of the business to the US is essential to our
A dollar invested in increased efficiency---powered by
accelerating breakthroughs such as LED lighting---has long
since produced more jobs and saved more energy than one
invested in nuclear power.
In-depth studies from the Union
of Concerned Scientists, Rocky
Mountain Institute, and a host of others make it
clear that investments in solar and wind energy yield better
returns than nuclear.
It takes at very least and optimistic five years to bring a
nuclear plant on line assuming all permits are in order, but
large-scale wind and solar facilities regularly come on line
in half that or less.
The decisions by Japan and Germany to abandon nuclear power
have come from countries long at the core of the industry.
Japan manufactures many key reactor components, and
maintains ownership stakes in General Electric and
Westinghouse, which have designed and/or built most of the
world’s commercial reactors. Germany’s corporate giant
Siemens, an industry mainstay, has abandoned the technology
to focus on renewables. As other major countries and
corporations follow suit, the nuke industry will waste away.
Those who “support nuclear power” cannot guarantee the
reactors they want built will be properly regulated or
monitored. The world at large may not hear about the next
Fukushimas until long after the radioactive fallout spreads
around the planet. Given the dismal state of regulation
even in “advanced” countries like Japan and the US, will
those who support the “Renaissance” be there to monitor the
Korean nukes sold to the United Arab Emirates et. al.?
The US Department of Energy still has some $10 billion in
designated loan guarantees for new reactors. Two reactors
are technically under construction in South Carolina, and
two more at Georgia’s Vogtle. Despite $8.33 billion in loan
guarantees, Georgia’s rates are already soaring. Attempts
to get Congress to kick in more money have been blocked by
the grassroots No Nukes movement.
Local resistance to reactor projects has raged wherever
reactors operate or are proposed, and has been extremely
effective. Richard Nixon promised 1000 US reactors by the
year 2000, but the operable number was 104. Those nearly
900 reactors that went missing were mostly stopped by local
grassroots movements. Every proposed or operating reactor
not killed financially can be ultimately stopped by local
opposition movements geared toward a long, hard struggle
against “impossible” odds that ultimately prove beatable.
As it has been from the start, nuclear power is a ward of
the state. Nowhere on Earth are the builders held fully
responsible for their mess. The Japanese government has
just coughed up a tip-of-the-iceberg $13 billion bailout for
Fukushima’s owner, the Tokyo Electric Power Company.
Hundreds of billions are yet to come. Either the company
goes bankrupt, or the government takes it over beforehand.
Either way, the public pays financially, and with
its health and that of its children. So it will
be everywhere nukes are built, including the US, where the
1957 Price-Anderson Act still limits owner liability in the
wake of a catastrophe.
Cost estimates for new reactors have already soared 200-300%
and more over original prices just a few years ago, and will
continue go ever higher. By contrast, renewable technology
prices continue their rapid, steep decline.
France’s nuclear industry has all
but given up on
the US market. A reactor under construction in Finland is
years behind schedule and billions of Euros over budget, as
is another at Flamanville, in France itself. French public
opinion has turned strongly toward renewables.
US war hawks now want an attack on Iran for allegedly using
commercial technology to build a Bomb. But it's instructive
to remember that the west once tried to sell 36 reactors to
the Shah, who was overthrown by religious fundamentalists in
1979, leading to the current crisis. Does the “Renaissance”
blueprint mean pushing reactors everywhere, then launching
preemptive wars following the inevitable regime changes?
After more than 50 years, the radioactive waste problem has
been nowhere solved. Nevada’s Yucca Mountain is not
revivable, and there are no usable high-level storage sites
anywhere else on the planet.
Nuclear power makes global warming worse. Greenhouse gases
pour out of the mining, milling, enrichment and waste
management process. Massive quantities of direct heat
threaten our rivers, lakes and oceans. Thus more and more
reactors must shut during hot summer months, when they are
supposedly fighting global warming.
The calculations on how much climate changing heat and steam
have spewed into the atmosphere during the explosions at
Chernobyl and Fukushima remain to be done. Likewise the
heat impacts of the liquid emissions into the ocean at
Fukushima remain unknown.
By wasting huge amounts of social capital, nuclear
construction slows the conversion to renewables, which at
the real core of defeating global warming.
Fukushima is not over. Three melted cores remain
problematic, and the entire complex is vulnerable to
aftershocks which could bring spent fuel pools crashing to
the ground and cause other disasters impossible to foresee.
Nuclear power is killing people in ever-greater numbers.
The industry continues to mount its usual personal assaults
on those who prove that. But the killing power of radiation
has been known since “mountain sickness”---lung
cancer---began surfacing among Czech uranium miners in the
1500s. The continuum is unbroken through the introduction
of x-rays, the work of the Curies, radium watch dial
painting, definitive links to childhood leukemia, and
more. The Hiroshima-based "science" used to
establish a “safe” dose of radiation has been thoroughly
debunked. The medical consensus that there is no such thing
is quite firm.
The nuclear industry never accepted the burden proving this
technology to be safe before being deployed amidst a
civilian population. For a half-century reactor backers
have done a superb job of simply refusing to maintain or
study reliable epidemiological data bases around commercial
reactors (as well as weapons production facilities). But as
early as 1970 the chief medical officer of the Atomic Energy
Commission, Dr. John Gofman, branded commercial atomic power
as a form of “premeditated mass murder.”
The largest study so far of the health impacts of Chernobyl,
conducted by three Russian scientists, indicates upwards of
a million casualties over the past quarter-century. That
first study of the US health impacts from Fukushima,
indicates that many thousands more deaths are likely to be
suffered in the US above what's already apparent.
Does all this add up to the end
of nuke power?
Worldwide, the industry is
crumbling. The collapse of its private investment base, and
the shutdowns in Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Mexico,
Israel and elsewhere are rapidly shrinking the technology's
In the US, we can cut off all
subsidies for new reactors. Fierce no nukes campaigns in
the UK, India and even China, as massive demonstrations
there are starting to erupt. None of these fights will be
easy, but all are winnable, especially as the full impacts
of Fukushima become known, and as the Solartopian green
power revolution renders the nuclear option increasingly
The movement to shut the old
reactors is hitting critical mass. The Vermont Yankee case
will go to the US Supreme Court, which must decide if
corporations are above even the contracts they sign with the
public. Some two dozen Fukushima clones now operate in the
US. They are old, rickety, cracked and dangerous. Other
designs, like Ohio'’s Davis-Besse, with a cracked
containment and an infamous hole eaten through its head,
aren't faring much better. Nebraska's Cooper has been
flooded. Indian Point, New York, is also under
the state. Once the first of these are forced shut, the dam
will break and the American fleet of 104 licensed reactors
will rapidly shrink, along with others around the world.
Far more money is being invested in renewables worldwide
than in nukes or even fossil fuels. Green energy will soon
constitute the world’s largest industry, financially and in
terms of employment. The conversion to a
post-fossil/nuclear Solartopian economy based entirely on
renewables and efficiency will mark the most important
industrial transition in human history.
Fukushima has taught us that as long as reactors operate,
the apocalyptic clock is ticking.
With that in mind, and with the flow of green money turning
into a financial tsunami, we can make 2012 the year nuke
power finally dies.
It will require a serious push from the grassroots.
But we are ready to win a green-powered earth.