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No Nukes Is Good Nukes

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Posted on Mar 16, 2011
AP / The Yomiuri Shimbun, Daisuke Tomita

Futaba Kosei Hospital patients who might have been exposed to radiation are carried on stretchers Sunday morning after being evacuated from the hospital in the town of Futaba near the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station.

By Robert Scheer

When it comes to the safety of nuclear power plants, I am biased. And I’ll bet that if President Barack Obama had been with me on that trip to Chernobyl 24 years ago he wouldn’t be as sanguine about the future of nuclear power as he was Tuesday in an interview with a Pittsburgh television station: “Obviously, all energy sources have their downside. I mean, we saw that with the Gulf spill last summer.” 

Sorry, Mr. President, but there is a dimension of fear properly associated with the word nuclear that is not matched by any oil spill.

Even 11 months after what has become known simply as “Chernobyl” I sensed a terror of the darkest unknown as I donned the requisite protective gear and checked Geiger counter readings before entering the surviving turbine room adjoining plant No. 4, where the explosion had occurred. 

It was a terror reinforced by the uncertainty of the scientists who accompanied me as to the ultimate consequences for the health of the region’s population, even after 135,000 people had been evacuated. As I wrote at the time, “particularly disturbing was the sight of a collective farm complete with all the requirements of living: white farm houses with blue trim, tractors and other farm implements, clothing hanging on a line and some children’s playthings. All the requirements except people.”

Back then, working for the Los Angeles Times, I had been covering the nuclear arms race, and my invitation to be the first American newspaper reporter to visit Chernobyl came from one of Mikhail Gorbachev’s top science advisers, Yevgeny P. Velikhov, whom I had interviewed on arms control issues. 

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Velikhov had led the effort to contain the damage at Chernobyl, risking his health in the immediate days after the incident by flying low over the contaminated reactor site in a helicopter, as well as by scaling the sidewall of the damaged reactor to more accurately evaluate the situation. 

His point in arranging my visit was to demonstrate the terrifying consequence of a “peaceful” nuclear explosion, let alone one resulting from a weapon designed to inflict mass destruction. It was an argument he advanced with the military in his own country about the folly of nuclear war-fighting scenarios: “After two weeks of discussion with the army corps, I asked how you wish to survive a nuclear war if you have no possibility to clean this small piece of nuclear garbage.” 

This was a sentiment echoed by Harvard physicist Richard Wilson, who also made that Chernobyl trip, and who pointed out that with nuclear weapons “one is dealing with a technology designed to explode that is also under the control of human beings.”

An important lesson that should be reinforced by the ongoing disaster in Japan is to worry more about the elimination of those nuclear weapons designed to explode, and another is to be concerned about the prospect of sabotage of nuclear power plants. This last is a reason to rely less on nuclear power in a world made volatile not only by natural disasters but through the concerted efforts of those who can fly airplanes into targets of their choice. At the very least, the expense of properly maintaining the internal safety and external security of power plants should be considered in any cost-benefit analysis of their usefulness as an alternative source of energy. 

I know there will be an attempt to sell us the argument that the odds of a catastrophic earthquake and a catastrophic tsunami occurring together in an area containing a nuclear power facility are incredibly low, that the Japanese plants in question were of inadequate design and, as in the case of Chernobyl, that “human error” was at fault. Despite the earlier accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, there was a strong tendency to present the Chernobyl disaster as a warning sign not about nuclear power in general but rather the particular failures of a rotting Soviet economy. 

After the Japanese experience, such cavalier dismissal of the intrinsic problems of nuclear power is no longer plausible. Recall that it was Obama himself who in October 2009 celebrated Japan as the model for nuclear power expansion: “There is no reason why, technologically, we can’t employ nuclear energy in a safe and effective way. Japan does it and France does it, and it doesn’t have greenhouse gas emissions. …”

As journalist Kate Sheppard points out in Mother Jones online: “Nuclear power is part of the `clean energy standard’ that Obama outlined in the State of the Union speech in January. And in the 2011 budget the administration called for a three-fold increase in federal loan guarantees for new nuclear power plants, from the $18.5 billion that Congress has already approved to $54.5 billion. `We are aggressively pursuing nuclear energy,’ said Energy Secretary Steven Chu in February 2010 as he unveiled the budget. … In Monday’s White House press briefing, press secretary Jay Carney said that nuclear energy `remains a part of the president’s overall energy plan.’ ”

Trust me, this is not the way we want to go.

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.



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By dvid ropeik, March 17, 2011 at 10:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Scheer,

You write; “Sorry, Mr. President, but there is a dimension of fear properly associated with the word nuclear that is not matched by any oil spill.”

What a dangerously unthoughtful way to decide what sort of energy policy we should have. Nuclear radiation IS dangerous, and it does scare us more than, say, the effects of fossil fuel burning, which are off-the-charts worse to human and environmental health. (See the new EPA rules on coal burning released today?) Should fear drive the way we careful weigh the pros and cons of various energy choices?
More urgently, fear has direct impacts on our health as well(tell the people taking iodine on the US west coast). The UN reported that far more health damage was done by fear and stress and psychological/behavioral impacts post-Chernobyl, than by the radiation itself!
May I urge you to read an NPR commentary I wrote, Nuke-o-Noia could be the greatest threat to Japan. http://n.pr/g4Gr5B
And learn more about the sciences of risk perception in a book “How Risky Is It, Really? Why our Fears Don’t match the Facts.”
I’m not pro or anti-nuke, as much as I am pro"let’s be thoughtful as we try to make healthy informed choices, about any risk.”

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By drbhelthi, March 17, 2011 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

“Why employ innuendo to make an argument if it doesn’t hold water ...
?”  Lafayette

Perhaps it “doesn´t hold water” for a few nuclear proponents. Then
there is the pragmatist group, who view what has happened instead of
what perhaps, maybe, might not, have happened, IF. 
IF.
What about damage done to the ocean and sea creatures by each nuclear
blast, and the nuclear radiation?  Radiation does not simply
disappear like a small cloud on a windy day.  The damage cumulates
and influences sea life.  A tiny bit of arsenic one time will not
kill; most people.

Of concern is not the allegedly successful record in France, for
which, so far, no death is attributed; officially.  Except for blood
cancer in children who live within ten kilometres of nuclear
powerplants, which clearly presented within ten years after
powerplant function had begun. Which has been officially covered up.

Realists are more interested in what has occurred repeatedly at
nuclear plant locations where the human factor of laxity intervened. 
Such as currently in Japan.  And other locations where malfunction
was caught in time to prevent a catastrophe, and which has been
covered up.  France is immune from cover-up? NOT.  Take the contrived
auto accident of Princess Diana and the white Fiat, for example.

Nuclear radiation had to vanish before life on earth could begin,
said the great American Patriot, four-star admiral Hyman Rickover.  I
side with his opinion, and observe that the “beings” who manipulate
the USGov appear to be slowly invoking that same nuclear radiation. 
Which will remove life on earth.

Who are these “beings” that manipulate the USGov and seem to comprise
a major element of the C.I.A. ?
http://www.disclose.tv/action/viewvideo/67007/TOTAL_PROOF_OF_ALIEN_LI
FE/

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By Leefeller, March 17, 2011 at 10:01 am Link to this comment

After a lot of listening and thinking about all this nukler stuff, It sounds to me, as if a lot of people are upset because France doesn’t have earthquakes followed by suwamis?

Now I used to ride a motorcycle and everyone told me motorcycles were dangerous and unsafe because motorcycles only two wheels,..... well since I can count they were right about the wheeles! ....Then people started telling me, it was only a matter of time, but eventually everyone dumps their motorcycle.  Well my being able to count did not help me here, because I dumped my motorcycle at 70 miles an hour, so I guess I hate to admit it but everyone was right? .....  It looks to me like Japan has just dumped there motorcycle with a whole lotto help from mother nature!

Remember hearing at a job were I worked in an office, after an extraordinary high incidence of paper cuts; so the safety people came up with a slogan which stated; ...“accidents are warnings”.  what I got out of it is,  if we do not learn from other peoples accidents and we do not learn from our own accidents, .....we must be Republicans!

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By samosamo, March 17, 2011 at 9:48 am Link to this comment

****************


Don’t forget all those american buying up all the potassium
iodide to save themselves. Of course they will have cornered
the market and demand huge profits when other people over
the globe want some.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703363904
576201013720213564.html

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By Lafayette, March 17, 2011 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

FRENCH NUCLEAR DEATHS

RL: Lafayette is on the nuke bandwagon because France gets 75% of its energy from nukes. In fact it’s making a tidy business exporting energy.

Absolutely right, RL. Forty-years of service to the nation and nary a nuclear-related death.

Here is the list of international nuclear accidents that have provoked deaths. I defy you to find one attributable to France. Why? Because the technology can be mastered to assure safety levels, when its application obeys strict rules.

And if the US had not tripped over Three Mile Island, Westinghouse and GE would be exporting the technology as well.

I am personally pleased with the debate engendered in this forum thread. I am, indubitably, pro-nuclear for what I consider factual reasons. Others may disagree with those facts, it’s their right; but I’ve yet to see any cogency in the scaremongering rebuttals.

France has tested nukes in the Pacific until the international outcry got Chirac to put an end to them.

Yes and so what?

Why employ innuendo to make an argument if it doesn’t hold water ... ?

POST SCRIPTUM

C’mon guys, let’s see the same berserk American commentary that was demonstrated when France refused to follow Lead-head into his war over in the sandbox in 2003.

As I recall, it went something like this: “Cheese eating surrender monkeys!”

Plus nul, tu meurs.

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By RayLan, March 17, 2011 at 6:17 am Link to this comment

Lafayette is on the nuke bandwagon because France gets 75% of its energy from nukes. In fact it’s making a tidy business exporting energy. France has tested nukes in the Pacific until the international outcry got Chirac to put an end to them.

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By drbhelthi, March 17, 2011 at 6:01 am Link to this comment

Projected “wind routes, etc.” are simply schism, that tend to alleviate depressive feelings of the naïve folk among us.  Such “routes” would be provided by the USGov or its hired emissaries; on a redundant basis.  As distraction from the problem.

There is no protection against a radiation plume and its toxicity, except deep underground facilities, specially outfitted for very serious occasions.  Such as under the Denver Airport area, and numerous other areas around the U.S.
To which average folk have no access in a catastrophe.

The summary sentence of Conden describes the nuclear energy situation quite accurately: “ Nuclear is death; it threatens us all, and it’s corporate PR apologists are truly scumbags.” 

Perhaps, “scumbag” might be a gentle, over-valuation. Deceptive scumbag might be a better fit.

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By Lafayette, March 17, 2011 at 4:02 am Link to this comment

Any radiation plume from Fukushima will have a path over the Pacific Ocean due to the Prevailing Westerly Winds.

Here is a projection of that plume’s path and it’s toxicity. Read carefully the annotation to the right of the map here.

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By Lafayette, March 17, 2011 at 3:50 am Link to this comment

RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES

Much hope is given to Renewable Energy (RE) sources. No doubt they should play an important part in meeting our future needs as regards Total Energy Consumption.

However, to understand the challenge, look here at the history of RE as a percentage of the total production of electricity. Which means what?

MY POINT: Supply & Demand

That we have a long way to go in reducing total energy Demand and even further towards augmenting RE Supply. It is not Mission Impossible, unless you are TeaPartying and think that the Uncle Sam’s Number 1 immediate problem is to reduce the deficit.

Which means the funding necessary (in terms of tax reductions to RE-manufacturers and tax-credits to households) will not be invited to the ball.

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By Lafayette, March 17, 2011 at 2:24 am Link to this comment

IF it is safe, why don’t all the pro-nuclear energy people just move right on over next to the Fukushima plant or to the Chernobyl plan

Simplistic sarcasm.

Go live in the most air-polluted city in America - Los Angeles. Or any other top-city according to the rankings on this site here.

Breath deeply.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, March 17, 2011 at 1:24 am Link to this comment

Yeah, we wouldn’t need glow sticks… we can have just borrow them prior to their melting and wilting away…

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By samosamo, March 17, 2011 at 1:08 am Link to this comment

****************


IF it is safe, why don’t all the pro-nuclear energy people just
move right on over next to the Fukushima plant or to the
Chernobyl plant. I mean, it is safe isn’t it, no problems, no
worries?

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, March 17, 2011 at 12:30 am Link to this comment

Whomever would be at the helm of this country should DEMAND that all nuclear facilities be systematically shut down starting immediately ( or have a horizon time-line of no more than 180 days ) and the implementation of solar, wind, and all other alternative types of energy be brought enforce to replace the dangerous and extinction-able capabilities these unstable creations of man have.

Obama should be the voice of this, since he does sit in that office… but he or another would quickly be called an obvious dictator / tyrant / whatever… but we must ask ourselves:

Is the risk worth the juice?  Worth NOT looking forward into the future of what clean technology has to offer?

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By scotttpot, March 17, 2011 at 12:26 am Link to this comment

So we are still willing to have those lovable pundits,politicians,and lobbyists
convince us nuclear power and proliferation is not necessarily a bad thing.
After catastrophic nuclear events have happened in the United States , Russia,
and Japan maybe we should worry less about “dirty bombs’‘and ” loose nukes”
  We are perfectly capable of creating our own nuclear disasters.

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By samosamo, March 17, 2011 at 12:26 am Link to this comment

****************


It will be interesting, and it would take some time, to see how
the japanese react to this emergency to the end. If any one is
properly informed about what to do in a nuclear emergency and
after and to secure a source of energy, it would be the japanese.
After all they have had since the 1945 nuclear bombings to know
as much or more about the dangers of radiation and now what
these compromised reactor’s cores will portend. If they choose
to give up nuclear energy, I wouldn’t blame them one bit, neither
would I blame them if the kept them.

But it should be taken into consideration also what was said in
this Truthdig article:

http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/chernobyl_exper
t_says_greed_may_lead_20110315/

Greed knows no safety when it comes to money.

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By SteveL, March 16, 2011 at 11:55 pm Link to this comment

The proponents of nuclear energy lied.  They said all you had to do to make them
safe was to pull the rods out.  Now we find at least one of the reactors causing
problems was in that condition for servicing.  Wall Street or the energy companies
selling the power will not finance nuclear pants.  To insure then would make the
cost of electricity out of reach.  Suddenly the “free market” drum stopped beating? 
The heads of the companies that make the nuke plants are not about to live near
them.  The U.S. is gambling far too much on lying hypocrites.

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By Tom Joad, March 16, 2011 at 9:33 pm Link to this comment

Well, one positive thing in all these posts…that Firstname Lastname and prosefighter are going to deleted Truthdig from their bookmarks. Thanks for doing us all a favor…..

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By Leefeller, March 16, 2011 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment

I know some people here love to poo poo things, on occasion I have even resorted to poo pooing!  Supposedly according to some, solar energy will never satisfy our energy fix! But I just found this out of the box idea on solar energy, (well for me it was)
check out this link;  http://www.wimp.com/solarhighways/

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By Ralph Kramden, March 16, 2011 at 7:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree with Mr. Scheer, but there is more. There is also a exceptionalism streak to the USA, after all, we call ourselves “America”, Canada, Mexico, Chile be damned. We are suppose to be brighter, smarter, wiser. The Soviets, hah? Yet they put Sputnik up. The Hubris will do us in. If a quake hits my state, California, we have Diablo Canyon sitting right on top of an earquake fault. A sunami would engulf at least three nuclear plants. Good luck USA. Then again, there is the most brain-washed population ever. Even now, the media is busy telling us that everything is OK and it couldn’t possibly happen here. No one mentions that one very large news network is owned by GE, the manufacturer of that plant in Japan.The way the Japanese government is lying is no different from Chernobyl or Three Mile Island. May the independent news or the gods help us. Mark my words, when this is over, the documents will show how private enterprise lied and risked workers lives. Let the liars take the place of the heroic workers who are trying to control this disaster.
Moreover, anyone heard anything about a smaller government in this crisis? Halliburton or Wal-Mart would have done better?

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By prosefights, March 16, 2011 at 7:13 pm Link to this comment

MSM coverage of Japan nuclear tragedy.

Where do journalists come from?

They are manufactured in America’s universities in a liberal arts curriculum. ...

Manipulating the Media

The next time you watch a newscast, read a newspaper, flip through a magazine, or click through a news website, look for Invention. You’ll be astonished at how much “news” is actually the product of media manipulation. Excluding spot news, most of what we receive from the Beast is at least partially manufactured.

Feeding the Media Beast: An Easy Recipe for Great Publicity

Mark Mathis

How do we identify MSM? 

They have their mouths open.

Or we read the newspaper.

‘If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.’

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By Conden, March 16, 2011 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment

Nuclear is high-carbon, from the forest-clearing mining projects to the deadly radiocative waste, it is an extremely inefficient, outmoded method of boiling water.  Solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal power are all ready to be implemented right now, and if they were to break someday, they just stop working; no oil spill, no nuclear apocalypse.  We lived for millions of years without fossil pollution filling our lungs; we can do so again, using renewable energy for minor conveniences and return to a green, organic, small scale, localized way of life.

We need to shut down all the nuclear plants and decommission them, try to make sure that the leftover waste cannot ever poisonous us.  Nuclear is death; it threatens us all, and it’s corporate PR apologists are truly scumbags.

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By Ray, March 16, 2011 at 6:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The only safe nuclear reactor is 93,000,000 miles away.

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By prisnersdilema, March 16, 2011 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment

There are alternatives, however. It’s clear that, those alernatives, may be locked up in black budget projects. If our government was not contolled by a shadow goverment of unelected corporate goons and lobbyists, we wouldn’t be in the situation were are now.

For example I have heard that Thorium, could be used to replace Uranium in reactors, that it is much less dangerous and can actually be used to dispose of radioactive waste.

I would like to see a discussion of that possibility.

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By Lafayette, March 16, 2011 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment

THE WORLD’S TOP-TEN WORST POLLUTING COUNTRIES

Have a look at the Silver Medalist ...

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By diamond, March 16, 2011 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment

“The plants that are failing are using a 40 year old active design that when the electric failed (from the tsunami) the plant, rather than having automatic shutdowns, spun out of control, as ALL active safety designs do.”

I think that rather than debating the merits of nuclear reactor designs it would be more helpful, at least from a psychological point of view, to analyze how a nation that experienced having two atomic bombs dropped on it and is the most earthquake prone country on earth could build 20 nuclear reactors at all. There must have been a lot of bribes, a lot of advertising propaganda and a lot of reassurance from so called leaders that nuclear was safe and clean and that the worst would never happen. Now the worst has happened and it would have happened even if the reactors had been brand spanking new.

I saw a journalist standing on top of a hill in Japan in one report and he said that the top of this hill was where people were meant to assemble in case of a tsunami - but the top of that hill had been many feet under water when the tsunami hit. The United States also has earthquakes, and hurricanes and could conceivably have a tsunami. So far the US doesn’t have as many reactors as Japan and none have been commissioned since 1973. I don’t think this absolute catastrophe in Japan will make anyone want to rush into commissioning more. The campaign against renewables is political and is run by the Republicans, in the main, for their friends in the fossil fuel companies who want to switch, once they’ve extracted every drop of oil and every lump of coal, to uranium and nuclear. Not because it’s right and not because it’s smart but because it’s the closest thing to the status quo. But by the time they do that the earth will have been destroyed and you can’t eat money and it you can’t put it in the tank of your car either.

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By Lafayette, March 16, 2011 at 6:00 pm Link to this comment

MeH:  Furthermore, how can anyone call nuclear energy clean?  It is just the opposite, when you consider nuclear waste, and the consequences of a major accident.  Accidents are rare?  Yes, until they happen in your community.

Nuclear accidents of the kind in Japan ARE, for the moment, rare. (Thank God.) And having one in your backyard is statistically highly improbable - unless you live in California.

The Anchorage quake is along the same seismic zone that stretches from Japan to Alaska to California. Nowhere in that zone should a nuclear reactor be built.

Look at the damn seismic activity map, here!

There is plenty of room throughout the US to build third-generation reactors with minimal risk.

Besides fuel rods are recycled and the Toxic Waste is dumped in the deep sea or buried in salt minds where they can take a couple thousand years to degrade. So there is no radioactivity escape into the atmosphere.

Quite unlike when you take your car to work every day and spew CO2 Toxic Waste into the atmosphere.

MY POINT

There is no zero-risk energy source that will generate the amounts necessary in the future. Especially when we get around to replacing combustion engines in cars with electric motors.

POST SCRIPTUM

Twenty-five thousand people have probably died from the tsunami so far, but not one from irradiation. That will follow, however, for sure.

The point is that when upper atmospheric pollution starts to weaken the shield against the sun’s large array of lethal waves, maybe then we’ll believe that we “shudda dun sumthin’ ” about CO2 from fossil fuel plants?

Too late, by then. Your great grandchildren will have been well cooked.

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By RayLan, March 16, 2011 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment

Gosh. I feel torn - the asshole thing to want is something scary and destructive like plutonium that could be used to build a bomb and blow up Nagasaki.
(oh wait. too late). What’s even better about the dispersal of radioactive isotopes is that they destroy all life, slowly and painfully and what isn’t destroyed gives birth to defective progeny.
Not giving a f…k about the planet is the ultimate asshole attitude. If I were a die-hard right-winger I would want that on general principle.

On the other hand, the pluses of nuclear energy are that producing it neither depletes resources nor pollutes the environment - until there’s an accident.

It’s a very delicately balanced trade off.
There needs to be (shudder) government controls (there I said it) to ensure the highest safety precautions. On second thought, the horrifying excursion into possible socialism (yikes) make it too dangerous to consider.

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By RayLan, March 16, 2011 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller has the makings of a professional comedian - he makes my day . (that wasn’t meant sarcastically)

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By ejreed, March 16, 2011 at 4:11 pm Link to this comment

Nuclear Expert: Reactor Damage Impossible to Assess
Nuclear physicist Walt Patterson says that damage to the control room at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan means that engineers don’t actually know what is going on in the reactors. http://www.newslook.com/videos/298147-nuclear-expert-reactor-damage-impossible-to-assess?autoplay=true

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By Leefeller, March 16, 2011 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment

On the other hand, since the earth quake, I have seen so many nukler experts on TV and then with all the advice here on Truth Dig, I know more about nukler rectors than I ever wanted to know and was never going to ask,.... seems like nukler recotrs are just like like Mr. Fishes sex life! 

Anyway my head is spinning with all this nukler information,.... so I feel like I am now one of those nukler exports, so I have decided to build my own nukler rector, ....soon as I find my bottle of Tequila!

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By MeHere, March 16, 2011 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment

I totally agree with those who feel that “drastic conservation” is the way to go
and that “consumption is a disease.”  At the rate we’re going, there are no clean
or unclean sources of energy that will ever be enough.  Furthermore, how can
anyone call nuclear energy clean?  It is just the opposite, when you consider
nuclear waste, and the consequences of a major accident.  Accidents are rare? 
Yes, until they happen in your community. The design and engineering of
nuclear facilities can always be improved for sure, but it is usually after a catastrophe that we find that it needs more improvement.  And who owns and oversees nuclear plants?  No comment necessary.

In Westchester County, NY, there is the infamous Indian Point plant which is located in a densely populated area just 35 miles from Manhattan,  It is one of the 5 oldest plants in the US and has been plagued with problems such as
breakdowns, radioactive leakages, alarm systems than haven’t worked properly,
personnel found to have unacceptable levels of substance abuse, etc.  I’ve been to
town meetings with officials and, without a doubt, the emergency plans that are in
place for the communities are laughable. Moreover, given the complexity and
variability of each situation, it is practically impossible to have an ideal
emergency plan. Many people in Westchester and Rockland counties have been
fighting hard for years to have the state close down Indian Point. No success.
The company is now applying for a renewal of the license to keep operating.

Now, walk down the aisle of any major store and figure out how many of
the items on the shelves are necessary to have a good quality of life -probably
just a handful. And the same goes for most activities meant for relaxation and
entertainment.  Everything consumes energy of some kind.  Feel-good recycling
will never mitigate this excess.

If there’s any answer at this late hour, it has to be a considerable cutback in the
the production and consumption of short-lived, useless merchandise, and the
curtailing of energy-demanding activities that are done just for kicks.

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By TDoff, March 16, 2011 at 3:35 pm Link to this comment

CNN reported receiving a phone call from ex-President George W. Bush this morning, asking ‘Is the nukular heater I use for my swimming pool at my Dallas compound the same as those nuclear thingys causing all the trouble in Japan, and should I worry about it exploding, or should I call my pool boy to check it out?’

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By TDoff, March 16, 2011 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment

One slim ray of hope we humans have, since we all err (which is what makes us divine), is that while all the nuclear devices that we designed and built for ‘peaceful’ purposes are exploding and threatening to fatally irradiate the whole of Planet Earth….maybe, just maybe, we also erred on all the nuclear devices we designed to detonate and vaporize the Earth, and they will just fizzle-out.
Which won’t do us much good, but should offer a ray of hope to the mutant cockroaches, fruit flies, fleas and rats that survive us.

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By prisnersdilema, March 16, 2011 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment

The recent Christchurch earthquake, in New Zealand was a 6.3.

The 9.0 Earthquake was 109 miles E. of Fukishima.

San Onofre is 57 miles from San Diego, 66 miles from Los Angeles, and 83.5 Miles from San Andreas, in San Bernadino County.

The San Andreas fault is approximately 810 miles long.

The southern segment (known as the Mojave segment) begins near the Salton Sea at the northern terminus of the East Pacific Rise and runs northward before it begins a slow bend to the west where it meets the San Bernardino Mountains. It runs along the southern base of the San Bernardino Mountains, crosses through the Cajon Pass and continues to run northwest along the northern base of the San Gabriel Mountains. These mountains are a result of movement along the San Andreas Fault and are commonly called the Transverse Range. In Palmdale, a portion of the fault is easily examined as a roadcut for the Antelope Valley Freeway runs directly through it. Box Canyon, just southeast of Palm Springs, is a dramatic section.

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By Psychobabbler, March 16, 2011 at 3:04 pm Link to this comment

I think it was on CSPAN that I saw someone mention the idea of putting massive
solar panels in orbit where the sun is always available. There is just an issue of
transporting the energy to consider. I think that someone might be on to
something there.

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By Leefeller, March 16, 2011 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment

None of this nukler stuff for me, I am putting in a wood stove so then if there is an earth quake my house will burn down,.... do I need to get earth quake insurance or fire insurance?

What am I gong to do with all the electronic junk I own sitting around my house, if they don’t increase electric production? By the way isn’t my microwave nukler?

All this screaming about fussel fules is probably from the Tea Baggers, because some of those coal miners are probably those high paid powerful union workers. You know;....... now that I think on it,... the power company guys are union too!  Damn Unions, they are taking over the world and so uppity, I bet they want to build one of those nukler plants too!

No nukler plant for me!

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By thebeerdoctor, March 16, 2011 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

1 year, 9 months, 5 days…

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By Inherit The Wind, March 16, 2011 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment

The Japanese catastrophe is a singular event happening in a country with some of the heaviest seismic activity on earth. (See the seismic activity map here.)

I cannot think of a worse place to build a nuclear reactor than Japan, except perhaps Iran. The Japanese history of seismic activity, like that of California, has never ever reached 9 on the Richter Scale. It rarely even reaches half that level.

The Japanese based their implementation of Nuclear Energy on the rational notion that its reactors needed to survive an earthquake of levels 5/6. This catastrophe was of such an isolated significance that is probably inconsequential taken in perspective of our need to replace a technology that causes us even more deaths - namely, that of carbon molecule.
********

Not sure I understand this.  The 1964 Anchorage quake was 9.2, and is ALL part of the same “Ring of Fire” as Japan.  This quake has been upgraded from 8.9 to 9.0.

The plants that are failing are using a 40 year old active design that when the electric failed (from the tsunami) the plant, rather than having automatic shutdowns, spun out of control, as ALL active safety designs do.

Seems the newer, passive, gravity-driven plants aren’t being built, not even to replace these. How much cheaper would it have been for Japan to have replaced these plants with 9.3-resistant passive system reactors? “too expensive!”  NOW is it too expensive?????

The problem with nuclear power is that due to the moratorium, the older disaster-waiting to happen plants keep operating (If a major quake struck the Hudson Valley, Indian Point would probably render NYC uninhabitable).  We are not replacing them.  Of course the Dems don’t want any NEW plants, and the GOP wants LOTS of new plants, but no shutdown of old plants.

So we’ve managed to get the WORST of both worlds.

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By TAO Walker, March 16, 2011 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

So Chu says, “We are aggressively pursuing nuclear energy.”  Firstly, what the fuck do you mean “we,” washichu!?

Lastly, the boastfully aggressive ‘hunter’ has now become, again, ‘the-hunted’....and forever doomed-to-be ‘the-haunted.’

HokaHey!

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By abikecommuter, March 16, 2011 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment

Corporate responsibility is an oxyoron. These guys will lie to keep feeding from the
public trough and laugh to the bank. They start with the public’s worship of technology,
advertise it as the next best thing to sliced bread, pull on Jeffery Immelt’s pupppet
strings to bring the politicians in line, and before you know it we are back to trying to be
the death star. Meanwhile every dime that went into nuclear and its associated
transimsison, roads, concrete, etc was a dime that didnt go into renewables starting with
those that sustained the planet prior to the industrial age.

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By rend, March 16, 2011 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

mr president, how about some coin to shut down all the old plants which have run their 40
year lifespan?

is anyone voting for him in 2012?

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By lasmog, March 16, 2011 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

Our huge appetite for energy has left us with nothing but difficult and dangerous choices.  Solar and wind energy comprise only a tiny fraction of our energy production, are limited by their intermittent nature and are difficult to use for transportation purposes. Coal and oil use is rapidly bringing on climate change and nuclear energy is inherently dangerous and easily diverted for nuclear weapons manufacture. Drastic energy conservation would be the first thing that I would recommend but I see no sign of that happening. . . Good luck future generations, you’re going to need it.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, March 16, 2011 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment

Ouch. A man needs to strap on a pair of shin guards to wade through all the
knee jerking on this thread. Pointing out the irony of liberals engaging in their
own version of the Shock Doctrine would no doubt fall on deaf ears, but
WriterOnTheStorm won’t be even a little surprised if some Capital Hill attention
seeker introduces an emergency bill to cease and desist all domestic nuclear
plant operations.

But there’s an even bigger irony here. Liberals are supposed to hate fossil fuels,
currently the only viable alternative to nuclear power. They dutifully despise the
political alliances with sketchy “strong men” who run the oil-rich nations, they
make climate change a hobby horse, they broadstroke Big Oil as an
international boogeyman, and don’t even mention fracking if you value your
peace.

It’s hypocritical to claim that climate change is real, then denounce the only
feasible alternative because it’s risky. If climate change is real then fossil fuels
aren’t risky at all. By that logic there’s no “risk” of poisoning the planet with the
toxic waste from fossil fuels, we ARE poisoning the planet with these toxic
wastes.

Of course, we should proceed with caution. Scheer has a point about the threat
of terrorism, and it needs to be considered. We should constantly re-evaluate
the safety and cost-benefits of all energy sources. But we should not allow fear
to dictate our choices. The last time we did that we ended up “mission-
accomplishing” our way into a bank-breaking quagmire by the name of Iraq.

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By Lafayette, March 16, 2011 at 1:28 pm Link to this comment

Guit: Solar panels are perhaps not very efficient but they do work and they produce no core melt downs ever.  You never have to feed them uranium which is a very rare mineral and in short supply.

Yes, but you need sunny days.

Which is not everywhere at all times like you seem to think. See here.

What happens when the sun doesn’t shine? Which is apparently a LOT of the time in many populous parts of the US.

Besides, photovoltaic current is direct, so you need a converter to make it AC, upon which most household equipment runs.

Photovoltaic flat-panels are certainly an important part of the renewable energy equation. But it is not the sole solution.

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By http://MoneyedPoliticians.net, March 16, 2011 at 1:09 pm Link to this comment

Okay, now we really have a problem.

Japan started it with their earthquake. Nuclear power plants were hit hard and explosions have allowed nuclear waste into the air. And nuclear Engineer Arnie Gundersen says: “This Could Become Chernobyl on Steroids”

I’m certainly not an expert on energy, and will have to depend on my nation’s managers to make these decisions. You know; our esteemed congressional senators and representatives. Our “board of directors.”

I know that nuclear is powerful and efficient (I think), though plants surely can’t be built on the earth’s earthquake fault lines. We’ve seen what that does. And they can be targets for terrorists, and at least some will be.

Wind turbines are “renewable” because the wind never stops and is free. But I don’t want them in my back yard because they supposedly give off an aggravating hum. Solar is also renewable, at least while the sun is shining. I could live with them but they aren’t pretty. Coal is what we have been using but that’s dirty and has emissions that foul the air we breathe.

We need a source that is clean and efficient, so it ought to be an easy political decision.
But wait!

Most of our congressional members receive campaign contributions from these very energy companies, like from coal, wind, nuclear and solar. Yea, that means they are on their payroll, so this isn’t going to be easy.

There will be political battles to get one or the other to survive. And if all goes normal the worst decisions will prevail, because political cash flows and the worst decision will require the most cash in bribes. Right decisions don’t cost anything, so don’t count on your congressman voting that way.

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By Guitarsandmore805, March 16, 2011 at 12:43 pm Link to this comment

There is enough solar energy falling on the earth everyday to produce electricity for every man, woman, and child on the planet, if only we had the political will to harness it.

The method should be rooftop solar panels as opposed to any solar farm or solar ranch. By using the as built architecture to produce electricity where it is needed, no infrastructure changes would need to be made and no pollution would be created and no animals or nature would be displaced.

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By gerard, March 16, 2011 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

Consumption is a disease.

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By gerard, March 16, 2011 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

Consumption is a disease.

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By Guitarsandmore805, March 16, 2011 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

The safety of the people of the world has to take precedence over efficiency and technologies that provide efficiency while sacrificing safety.

I keep hearing from people that the key to our energy problems is to improve efficiencies.  More efficient energy sources could help solve our problems but only if they are safe.  If we cook everyone in the process of becoming more efficient then nuclear is not a good solution at all no matter how efficient you might think it is.

Solar panels are perhaps not very efficient but they do work and they produce no core melt downs ever.  You never have to feed them uranium which is a very rare mineral and in short supply.

Solar panels last 30 years and the only maintenance required is to wipe the dust off the glass.

Wind generators do require maintenance but there is again no core to melt down, nothing inherently dangerous on a large scale that could infect millions of people.

We can’t agree on how the country should be run for four years, so how is it that nuclear engineers believe that humankind is going to watch over highly toxic plutonium as it slowly degrades over thousands of years?  Someone has to fix the leaks as they develop and keep the core covered - thousands of years.  We have created a curse on future generations of humans.  Either they will watch and protect the radioactive material or they will parish.

We need to adjust our system of values to put safety first.

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By An1MU5, March 16, 2011 at 11:45 am Link to this comment

What about geothermal power?

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By Lafayette, March 16, 2011 at 11:36 am Link to this comment

TAMING THE TECHNOLOGY

drb: Thirty years of servicing nuclear plants is 30 yrs of servicing these energy debacles. Third generation still abuses nuclear energy.

And I have thirty-years of experience in IT. But, I would not dare speak of new Information Technologies today based upon my experience of the past.

Each technology has its time and place, from which is obtained a particular experience. I live in a country that has benefitted from 40 years of uneventful Nuclear Energy (producing as much as 60% of all household energy needs) without one major disaster or death.

I could, if need be, quote numerous French authorities who deal with nuclear energy on a daily basis. See comparative production figures here.

France has the highest percentage of total energy production, right? So, France deserves a nuclear catastrophe, right? 

Well, no, wrong. France and other countries are examples of taming the technology to provide a non-negligible benefit to the nation - in terms of constraing petroleum imports and lowering CO2 emissions.

POST SCRIPTUM

And yet, the debate has been launched once again due to the Japanese catastrophy. If only there was such an exchange about CO2 emissions, I’d feel that the ecological cause were making some advancement.

As for Adm. Rickover ... well, he has his opinion and I have mine.

All of which makes for great debates, does it not?

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By JDmysticDJ, March 16, 2011 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

A major Pacific Northwest Newspaper in the 60’s included a daily blurb of helpful information in the lower right hand corner on the front page. I remember reading one of those blurbs, which read, “The odds against a nuclear accident are several million to one.” Advocates of nuclear power always claim that fears of nuclear accidents are irrational. And yet…

Wikipedia:

“In the United States alone, the Department of Energy states there are “millions of gallons of radioactive waste” as well as “thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel and material” and also “huge quantities of contaminated soil and water.”

Anyone who claims that nuclear power is a “Clean” and cost effective alternative to fossil fuels has been duped.

If the proponents of nuclear power have their way, the human legacy on this planet may be the mass production of nuclear poisons that contaminated the planet. Cesium 137 is not found naturally on this planet, previously only miniscule traces of plutonium were found on this planet. Today, traces of plutonium are found in all human bodies.

Now is the time to bite the economic bullet, and realize that investing in nuclear power is a continuation of human folly, and that investing in truly clean energy alternatives is the only rational course of action.

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By Anarcissie, March 16, 2011 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

Lafayette—We are already in economic decline, and have been for some time.  We might as well try to do it with a certain amount of grace.

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By DavidByron, March 16, 2011 at 11:32 am Link to this comment

Capitalism as a whole is a corporate welfare system.  It is “heads I win, tails you lose” for the elites.

The capitalist gambles, often with the workers money, and if they win they keep the winnings.  If they lose they renege on their debts and the workers pay.  They renege through bancruptcy.  They renege through limited liability companies.  They renege through inadequate insurance.  They renege by exporting the costs in ways which go unmeasured such as environmental impact.  And they renege through disasters that nobody can pay for fully.

Heads I win, tails you lose is the capitalist way.

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By DavidByron, March 16, 2011 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

The elites who run the country simply have different priorities.

The people want common sense solutions—solutions which are already well known and understood—applied to the problems society faces.  The elites want to steal everyone’s money.

Therefore an industry exists—in fact almost every industry exists—to present the latter as if it was the former.  There’s your “clean coal”, your oil drilling and your nuclear industry.  All heavily subsidised—ie all about stealing money.  There’s your health insurance, your defence department, your homeland security.  There’s the reason for all your corruption, attacks on civil rights, spying on citizens and wars.

As a society we would be better off just telling the elites to take all the money they want out in the open, without the costly deceptions, but get on with fixing things we—and they—need to keep society limping along.  As it is their deceptions mean they take everything inefficiently and as a result everything is broken.  In short the current elites are worse than an absolute king who would at least take care of his “property”.

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By ron hansing, March 16, 2011 at 11:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How many people died at TMI, zero. How many are electrocuted a year by electricity??? Or automobiles??? ( about 40,000 a year) The reality is that 20 % of our electricity is Nuclear. The alternative: It is impossible to provide the needs with water, sun and wind… ( Only about 1% of electrical needs)

In 1925, it was proudly proclaimed that the problem of icing on airplane wings has been solved. This announcement has been made five more times, yet in the late ‘90’s still we had a crash of icing on wings in Northern Indiana. As it turns out there are many types of icing on wings, yet we learn more about how to solve these problems with time.

The same with nuclear reactors.

The Luddite Solution does not, will not, hasn’t worked. Water, wind and sun solution is a pipe dream. (That is not to say, that in the future technology will improve efficiency) but until than we need Nuclear Energy.

Ron Hansing

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By Leefeller, March 16, 2011 at 11:17 am Link to this comment

You know, I really enjoy the constant feeling of living in fear,  I spend much of day worrying about the gays and what they are up to, then I move on to worrying about those legal illegal aliens taking over my unemployment checks. Then the constant fear the oil companies may spill some money over the edges of those over flowing money bags. How about Wall Street, now the real fear begins, maybe Goldman slacks will need another bale out!  I even fear that fear may not last for ever and then what are the Republicans and Tea Baggers going to do?  So why not just add one more potential fear item to the list. After all Nuclear may not so bad, .......especially when one pronounces it like G.W. Bush! (Buy!.... Nukeler)

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By Lafayette, March 16, 2011 at 10:31 am Link to this comment

mk:Power generation checklist…

Coal: no
Oil: no
Nuclear: no

Wind: yes
Water: yes
Sun: yes

Economic decline: Yes.

With just wind, water and the sun, we cannot, with present technology, hope to replace the energy generated by coal, oil and nuclear fired plants.

(I suppose you are also a proponent of candle-light? ;^)

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By drbhelthi, March 16, 2011 at 10:22 am Link to this comment

“America has not built a nuclear plant since Three Mile Island. (Only those ordered at the time were completed.) So, I might suggest, your friend is not so up-to-date with the third generation of the technology?  (Lafayette)

Thirty years of servicing nuclear plants is 30 yrs of servicing these energy debacles. Third generation still abuses nuclear energy.

Admiral Rickover stated in official testimony, ” - - I think the
human race is going to wreck itself, and it is important that we get control of this horrible force and try to eliminate it.”

As an elderly Ph.D. psychologist, I would suggest that anyone who thinks differently than Admiral Rickover, is either exceedingly naive´, is losing money on ones stock, or else is a paid pimp of the administration. Perhaps a combination of all.

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By Jim Yell, March 16, 2011 at 10:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One thing I notice in some of the pro-nuclear comments is a lack of even recognition of the killing power of radiation once it is released into the environment. Some will last longer than there have been humans on the planet. At the current level of nuclear energy technology we can not afford to build more plants or to keep the old ones on line. They are more immediate danger to life on earth than any other energy production. The wastes are a long term and unlikely to be managable even with better technology.

Nuclear if all its down sides were figured in to the equation would prove to be the most expensive production method for energy and its short term and long term dangers make it clearly toxic to life.

No to Nucks!

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By Sam, March 16, 2011 at 10:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Truth is, we have the ability to operate on sustainable energy, but it’s not as profitable as expensive and dangerous technology so it will be snuffed out. In the Philippines there is a car that will run on just one charge of power. http://pesn.com/2011/02/24/9501772_Philippine_DOE_Verifies_Aviso_Self-Charging_EV/ But you probably won’t ever see it because it will shut the oil companies down! I wish so called environmentalists would stop pushing for ‘necessary evils’ like nuclear power and look at the real alternatives in sustainable energy that are available to us right now.

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By prosefights, March 16, 2011 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

7% of the uranium the US consumes apparently is produced in the US.

Majority of imported uranium consumed in the US now comes from decomissioned former USSR nuclear warheads, we read.

This program is to end in 2012 we read at Energy Pulse on Tuesday March 15, 2011.

Large scale solar and wind generation of electricity may be a scam. 

Heat Rate at more than twice, for conventional electrity generation, 3412.14163 BTU = 1 kWh may not be there?

Let’s try to find out from engineers.  And disregard the liberal arts educated opinions.

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By mk, March 16, 2011 at 9:56 am Link to this comment

Power generation checklist…

Coal: no
Oil: no
Nuclear: no

Wind: yes
Water: yes
Sun: yes

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By S. Barksdale, March 16, 2011 at 9:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Once Upon a Time

          Once upon a time so long
          and long ago that the wee,
          tiny brain of man could ever.
          ever know
         
          Came a meeting of the elements
          far out in the universe;
          for but a bit of sunshine
          and light of distant star
          was blacker than the blackest
          crow and dismal as death row.

          Arose those minute elements
          no human eye could see
          Dancing out in space alone
          for unknown century;

          The splitting of the atom arose,
          Oh!  Made gigantic band!  A blast
          no mere mind o’ man could e’re, e’re
          embrace; casting far, far out a
          piece to light a rising star;

          ‘Twas long, so long and long ago
          this star was given birth and
          eon upon eon flew by and it became
          the Earth.  The part that it had
          thrown away became the warmimg sun.
         
          Ho! The march of evolution had
          begun its forward run.

                SILENCE

          Thus ensued creatures like we’ve
          never, ever known.  They hopped and
          jumped and scaled the trees new Eden
          had just grown.
          Eventually there came the dread that
          Eden had so feared; and thought arose
          within the head of thing upon the
          sand; who in time became the one
          known as mortal man;

          The babble od the tongues began
          in grunts and hums and rants
          ‘Twas too soon and soon arose
          the coupled voice of jumbled chants;

          A sound that the likes of you and me
          never ever, ever heard.
          Ho!  The sailing away of eons
          delivered the spoken word.

          They learned to fight with all
          might for meat and the shething.
          They listened clear for very near
          was danger on the wing.  So many died
          from the one we know as dinosaur and
          drowned as ‘rose the waters up from
          the earthern floor.

          ‘Twas long and long before they
          began to multiply and learned to
          listen to the birds and how it was
          to cry.  Around that time the thing
          arose up on his two hind legs.  And
          true, he felt a kind of joy that no
          more he had to bend.
          The fate of man that day, I fear
          was cast upon te wind!

     

          Lo, we’ve had the holy ones to pray
          to one above.  And seeped into the
          heart of man was a thing called love.
          Along with love and side by side he
          knew a thing called hate;
          And tho it’s true we must abide,
          tis our fate to be too late.

          We’re awarded the fair sensation
          of the true enlightened ones;
          Who gave us the greatest
          conversations ‘neath the rising sun.

          Lo, in vain all of it is
          for we think we know it all.
          Oh me, oh my, I must insist
          oh, what a shame is this!

          Despite it all, is we look around
          we haven’t traveled far;
          and true it is we sing and shout
          on what it’s all about,
          we’ve split the atom to blast us
          back upon that burned out star

          Blacker than the blackest crow
          more dismal than death row.

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By thebeerdoctor, March 16, 2011 at 9:10 am Link to this comment

@Mike789

Have you ever noticed that when it comes to energy it always comes down to the desire for more power. Hardly ever mentioned is a wiser use of rersources, whether it is oil, land, water, and yes even money… the squandering accomplished everyday boggles the imagination.
How strange that the advocates of nuclear power seem to never take into account how much of a drain of public resources is demanded for their industry to exist, even without any accidents.

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By Lafayette, March 16, 2011 at 9:09 am Link to this comment

drb: As you know, I consulted on several 18 month nuclear plant shut downs.

America has not built a nuclear plant since Three Mile Island. (Only those ordered at the time were completed.)

So, I might suggest, your friend is not so up-to-date with the third generation of the technology?

Also, yes, there is nothing more wicked than Toxic Waste, including the CO2 emissions that we breathe.

All technological evaluations towards implementing energy policy are relative. They all depend upon (1) time-perspective, (2) highly unpredictable climatic or seismic activity and (3) predictable deaths given that zero-risk is unattainable and (4) their maximum contribution to the need given expanding energy requirements

And, of course, the trade-off amongst them given the mix of all the above parameters.

Meaning this, we are damned if we do not replace the carbon-molecule as an energy source. We are damned if we do.

So which energy source is less damning?

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By FRTothus, March 16, 2011 at 8:48 am Link to this comment

>>”...efforts of those who can fly airplanes into
targets of their choice”<<

Mr Scheer, you really do need to pull your head out of
your ass.

Izzy Stone must be spinning in his grave.

“Governments lie, and nothing they say should be
believed”
(I.F. Stone)

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By Mike789, March 16, 2011 at 8:35 am Link to this comment

thebeerdoctor, March 16 at 11:41
“The nuclear power industry is a government sponsored corporate welfare program that should be abolished immediately.”

Concur. Moreover, the initial cost of 3-5 billion per reactor facility and the fact that the kilowatt costs are three times as high as conventional plants.

Then we arrive at an emergency situation, and like the Gulf oil spill, nothing is in place to countervail an escalating problem. Putting all one’s chips on containment proves insufficient. I mean it’s fine until the dukey hits the fan and then all the know-how guys are scrambling for a solution.  Ain’t it just like the human animal? Break out the duct tape.

Observation tells us that a number of back up strategies should be in place, i.e., contingency plans. Are we moving in that direction? A few spare donuts on hand will not solve a major incident. How about liquid nitrogen in coils as an emergency coolant?

I really do not know. Nonetheless, if nuclear is sanctioned for the future, thinking outside the box is a prerequisite. Oh, I’m sorry. That’s right too. Preparing for unknowns is too costly.

My first choice is Consentrated Solar Power (CSP) where parabolic mirrors focus heat onto fluid filled coils to generate steam.

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By Lafayette, March 16, 2011 at 8:33 am Link to this comment

SHEEER FOLLY

RS: When it comes to the safety of nuclear power plants, I am biased. And I’ll bet that if President Barack Obama had been with me on that trip to Chernobyl 24 years ago he wouldn’t be as sanguine about the future of nuclear power as he was Tuesday in an interview with a Pittsburgh television station

Thankfully, RS, it’s not about YOU.

It is with your usual insouciance that you are discussing economic policy of the most important kind.

And like other liberals who know nothing about energy policy, you seem to think that we can find an alternative source in renewable energy for the 67 percent of energy produced (see the sad facts here) with windmills or tidal mechanisms?  Or photo-voltaic parks in downtown LA?

Yeah, right.

The Japanese catastrophe is a singular event happening in a country with some of the heaviest seismic activity on earth. (See the seismic activity map here.)

I cannot think of a worse place to build a nuclear reactor than Japan, except perhaps Iran. The Japanese history of seismic activity, like that of California, has never ever reached 9 on the Richter Scale. It rarely even reaches half that level.

The Japanese based their implementation of Nuclear Energy on the rational notion that its reactors needed to survive an earthquake of levels 5/6. This catastrophe was of such an isolated significance that is probably inconsequential taken in perspective of our need to replace a technology that causes us even more deaths - namely, that of carbon molecule.

The only difference is that this present catastrophe could possibly cost a dramatic number lives lost over the next five years, whereas the carbon molecule has been causing deaths since about a century - we’ve just not got around to counting them.

MY POINT

So, let’s not all jump the gun and trash Nuclear Energy, because the US has one of the most suitable areas for its exploitation, given that much of it is seismic activity free and that any relevant activity is mostly concentrated in California. Which obviously should be avoided since its seismic activity very closely resembles the tectonic shifts that produced the Sendai disaster.

(Besides, Jerry Brown radiates more than enough for Californian needs ... ;^)

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By drbhelthi, March 16, 2011 at 8:23 am Link to this comment

Admiral Hyman Rickover, “father” of the nuclear navy, said this about
nuclear energy:
“Every time you produce radiation, you produce something that has a certain half-life, in some cases for billions of years. I think the human race is going to wreck itself, and it is important that we get control of this horrible force and try to eliminate it.”

A close acquaintance, who serviced nuclear powerplants for over
thirty years, wrote me this morning,
“As you know, I consulted on several 18 month nuclear plant shut
downs.  I won’t go into details as it would only repeat some of what is written in your message.  I will say that all nuclear power plants should be shut down, NOW.  They are all unsafe and cannot be make safe.  Contrary to what Mr. Mc Cain and others say, nuclear is the dirtest energy source on earth. There are thousands if not millions of tons of nuclear waste that has a 10,000 year half life and there is no way to properly dispose of it.  Let the Nuclear proponents wallow in the waste and then see how clean they think it is.”

My sentiments, entirely.

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By JJW, March 16, 2011 at 8:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Like Bush and Cheney, Obama is dead wrong on major critical issues.  This is because they are all a corporate shills.

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By NYCartist, March 16, 2011 at 8:08 am Link to this comment

“Wolves Eat Dogs” 2004 mystery novel by Martin Cruz Smith makes Chernobyl “human” scale.

Nuclear Power: the gift that keeps on giving.  From Hiroshima to .....

The NYDaily News story on the possible melt-down in Japan’s nuclear reactor(s) has a poll: even though I know that most of the people who comment online at this site are “conservative” (=talking points echoes), I was surprised that the majority are still drinking the radioactive “kool aid”...


Gov’ts lie, said the great IF Stone (and bravo/congrats to Robert Sheer for winning this year’s Izzy award).

I did a small piece of art for my sister-in-law and brother in memory of the lost people of Japan.  She is a naturalized American with family, friends in Japan.  I await word on what’s what.

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thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, March 16, 2011 at 7:41 am Link to this comment

The nuclear power industry is a government sponsored corporate welfare program that should be abolished immediately. Stewart Brand and the other idiots who advocate nuclear energy as a way to reduce the “carbon footprint” are not just misguided, but irresponsibly insane. Their fantasy world of safe nuclear energy exists only in a Walt Disney cartoon.

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By Litl Bludot, March 16, 2011 at 6:01 am Link to this comment

Example of disaster capitalism, nuclear power plants make plutonium.
Plutonium, the most toxic substance known, accepted as a by product in the
process of disaster capitalists making money. 

Plutonium is lethal in a variety of agonizing ways in minuscule quantities. When
released, it covers the hemisphere within two weeks,  It kills all life. It lasts
forever.

Ask yourselves who advocates building nuclear power plants, who gets money
from the plutonium makers.  Who’s been against them, who’s been fighting
criminal corporate thugs all his life.  Did you even know?  Who have you voted
for?  Obama, right, he’s for them. Nader, the choice you wouldn’t give yourself,
he was against them and said so.

Then ask yourself, whether or not you’re capable of knowing what endangers
your life.  Ask yourself if your capable of making decisions for your children and
loved ones so that they have a future.

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By pundaint, March 16, 2011 at 6:01 am Link to this comment

Deaths occurring proximate to the power plant are somehow scarier than deaths spread out more evenly over a wider area. That’s why nukes are dangerous and coal and oil aren’t.  It’s a big World, and it’s a lot easier to avoid a designated storage location than to stop breathing air that circulates everywhere.

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prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, March 16, 2011 at 4:45 am Link to this comment

I am still waiting, for the day when progressives will finally began to respond to president
Obama in the way that he deserves. His distortion of facts, continual manipulation of the
public, and schizoid personality deficits, are indicative of someone who is at best
unhinged, at the worst a CIA stooge.

The gulf oil spill is not over, it is continuing to inflict death and destruction on the
inhabitants of the gulf who you abandoned, Mr. president.

How inconvenient for you and your owners that this event happened in Japan. You seem
more concerned about it’s effect on the stock market than on the children of the world
who will soon be breathing Cesium 137.

I’‘m sure at some point you will read a poignant poem at some future memorial service
to all the dead and dying, before you zip right over to support continued use of nuclear
energy, without batting an eye. 

I no longer want to here anymore stories on how this crisis will effect the stock market.
That’s not important now. I hope the stock market crashes, and everyone of your
business associates is out of a job.

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theHoundDawg's avatar

By theHoundDawg, March 16, 2011 at 3:13 am Link to this comment

The United States already produces twice as many kilowatt hours of electricity from nuclear reactors than any other country in the world, and three times as many as Japan - nuclear reactors like those at the San Onofre generating station, 100 miles from where I am typing, and five miles from a major geological fault line.

The statement “We are aggressively pursuing nuclear energy” SHOULD have been “We are aggressively pursuing the shutdown and demolition of all nuclear reactors on US soil and the construction of solar and wind turbine energy plants in a significant number of locations around the country.”

We will have no future prosperity in our society if we continue to base our economy on petroleum products; we can have no future if we base our economy on nuclear energy.

There are safe alternatives that are our only true options.

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By Firstname Lastname, March 16, 2011 at 2:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

After all those terrible film recommendations I’ve finally found the reason to delete truthdig from my bookmarks.

I’m not crawling back into the caves with you morons.

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