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New book documents the nuclear power nightmare

“At the heart of the nuclear nightmare,” she writes, “is something no one wants to talk about: birth defects, a whitewash word for children born without the attributes we recognize as human.”

Fukushima Tour de Force: New Book Chronicles Nuclear Devil’s Tango HUFFNGTON POST, Jeff Biggers, 22 May 12With Japan now only weeks into its temporarymoratorium on nuclear power  plants, a chillingly prescient chapter in Cecile Pineda’s new

tour de force, Devil’s Tango: How I Learned the Fukushima Step by Step , foretells the lasting impact of a “planetary catastrophe” in the time of powerful energy lobbies…..  ”It’s not easy for you, or me, or anyone to pay attention to the consequences of the nuclear energy cycle,” Pineda tells the reader in her foreword. “Why? Because you can’t see radiation.”

Unfolding through a series of beguiling, passionate and often revelatory entries in a daily chronicle, at times with a flair for scintillating satire, Pineda’s masterful framing of the urgency for readers to learn from the Japanese nuclear disaster and the machinations of its industry handlers makes Devil’s Tango one of the most important and required reads this year. She writes:

“You can’t see fallout, you can’t tell when you’re eating strontium by the spoonful. It’s invisible, you can’t see it, feel it, touch it, hear it; you can taste it only in your mouth — when the fallout is particularly dense — as a metallic taste in your mouth, which any number of people reported this past year in places as far apart as Seattle and Arizona. In a world that enshrines surfaces, the industry thinks invisibility is a sure bet you won’t ever find out.”….

In Devil’s Tango, Pineda brings together a refreshingly bold command of the facts and myths of the nuclear industry with her extraordinary prose to offer a rare look into many of the overlooked implications of the Fukushima tragedy. In the tradition of French author Andre Malraux’s “Anti-Memoirs,” Pineda “answers questions that memoirs do not pose and does not answer those they do pose, and also because one finds in it, often linked to tragedy, an irrefutable and gliding presence.” That presence for Pineda is the haunting reality of nuclear energy revealed in Japan, but connected to our lives far across the ocean. She draws on her residency in Austria during the Chernobyl nuclear disaster; she examines scientific studies and government reports alongside absurdist theatre pieces.

“At the heart of the nuclear nightmare,” she writes, “is something no one wants to talk about: birth defects, a whitewash word for children born without the attributes we recognize as human.”

Turning her focus on all 104 nuclear plants in the U.S., Pineda’s searing account ultimately asks the reader: “What is right? What right have we to do what is right? What right remains to us, knowing the little that we know?”

In the end, with an unremittingly courageous if not prophetic voice, Pineda’s day-to-day exposé transcends the ruts of most energy debates to raise these larger questions about one of the seminal crises of our times.

“To say that corporate enterprise has abrogated your right to ask questions, to raise objections, or to expose malfeasance tells only half the story,” she writes. “Corporations are not people. We are people, and until we learn to protest en masse, until we make it impossible for corporations to continue stripping the planet, they will hijack our earth, and make all living things expendable. That means you. That means us.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-biggers/cecile-pineda-devils-tango_b_1537742.html

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May 23, 2012 - Posted by | resources - print

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