nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Joshua Frank’s book Atomic Days shows the nuclear industry’s only real role – it is essential for the USA’s ‘permanent war economy’

As the atomic energy business is increasingly priced out of the electricity market by wind, solar, batteries, and increased efficiency and conservation, we will likely see the nuclear power industry increasingly admitting to what it always was — a necessary servant of the nuclear weapons industry.

Nuclear Power Isn’t Clean — It Creates Hellish Wastelands of Radioactive Sewage, Harvey WassermanTruthout October 12, 2022,

“……………………………..To put the nuclear power industry in a larger context, Frank guides us through the “permanent war economy” birthed during WWII, and discusses Franklin Roosevelt’s ambivalent relations with the “Malefactors of Great Wealth” who often stood in the way of making the U.S. the “Arsenal of Democracy,” and who once even plotted to kill him.

With the decision to build an A-Bomb, the giant Bechtel Corporation used the 120-square-mile reservation at Hanford to produce 103.5 metric tons of plutonium, perhaps the deadliest substance known to humanity.

But there was no effective solution for what might happen to the place in the aftermath. The Waste Treatment Plant meant to “vitrify” rad wastes into glass began construction in 2002, with plans to open in 2011. It has become, in both cost and area, “the largest single construction operation taking place anywhere in the United States,” now with an estimated price tag of $41 billion and a projected opening in 2036.

With “a string of bungled jobs under its belt,” Bechtel’s failed “Big Dig” in Boston — a much-vaunted tunnel from Logan Airport to downtown — reflected its work at Hanford when a collapse killed a 39-year-old woman and resulted in $357.1 million settlement exempting management from criminal prosecution.

As the U.S.’s fourth-largest privately held company, Bechtel spending $1.8 million on D.C. lobbying in 2019-20 was par for the course. The payback, Frank writes, comes in the tragic diseases suffered by Hanford workers like Abe Garza and Lawrence Rouse, usually amid terse, well-funded official denials. Researchers like Karen Wetterhahn and veterans like Victor Skaar have joined Vietnam victims of Agent Orange in being victimized by exposures they were repeatedly assured were “safe.” Whistleblowers like Ed Bricker were even subjected to intense spying and sabotage by close associates he was deceived into accepting as friends.

Meanwhile activists like Russell Jim of the Yakama Tribe began to force “an immeasurable amount of transparency” around the Hanford disaster. Their decades of hardcore community organizing came with a growing demand for accountability that has changed the political atmosphere surrounding the cleanup.

The debate has carried into the use of commercial atomic power.

Because of Hanford’s nuclear presence, five atomic reactors were constructed in Washington State, promising electricity that would be “too cheap to meter.”

But like the soaring costs of plutonium production and clean-up, the Washington Public Power System plunged into the biggest public bankruptcy in U.S. history, due to massive delays and cost overruns. Only one of the nukes now operates.

Sadly, some self-proclaimed climate activists have fallen into the atomic pit, arguing that in the face of the acute threat of climate change, nuclear power should be pursued as a way to lower emissions.

But they all ignore the big lesson Joshua Frank teaches us about Hanford: All the rhetoric in the world can’t cover for the physical realities of dealing with atomic radiation. And atomic fires burning at 571 degrees Fahrenheit will never cool the planet. The mines, the mills, the fuel fabrication, the reactors themselves, the waste dumps, all that horrendous multitrillion-dollar paraphernalia — they together comprise the most lethal and expensive technological failure in human history.

Many reactor promoters have long vehemently denied any connection between their “peaceful atom” and the scourge of war, but anti-nuclear activists have exposed the falsity of those claims. For example, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, a British advocacy organization that opposes both nuclear weapons and the building of new nuclear power facilities, writes:

The civil nuclear power industry grew out of the atomic bomb programme in the 1940s and the 1950s. In Britain, the civil nuclear power programme was deliberately used as a cover for military activities…. The development of both the nuclear weapons and nuclear power industries is mutually beneficial. Scientists from Sussex University confirmed this once again in 2017, stating that the government is using the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station to subsidise Trident, Britain’s nuclear weapons system.

As the atomic energy business is increasingly priced out of the electricity market by wind, solar, batteries, and increased efficiency and conservation, we will likely see the nuclear power industry increasingly admitting to what it always was — a necessary servant of the nuclear weapons industry.

Fittingly, the only future for atomic reactors will be as a bottomless pit for ecological suicide and massive public subsidies — exactly like Hanford.

Indeed, for readers truly interested in the future of atomic energy, take a good look at how it plays in Joshua Frank’s Atomic Days. Then ask how soon we can cover the whole damn place with solar panels.  https://truthout.org/articles/nuclear-power-isnt-clean-it-creates-hellish-wastelands-of-radioactive-sewage/

Advertisement

October 12, 2022 - Posted by | business and costs, USA

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: