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Nuclear Power Not Clean, Green, â€¦
Tiffany Ten eyck
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Nuclear Power Not Clean, Green, or Safe
I n all the annals of spin, few statements are as misleading as Vice President Cheney’s that the nuclear industry operates “efficiently, safely, and with no discharge of greenhouse gases or emissions,” or President Bush’s claim America’s 103 nuclear plants operate “without producing a single pound of air pollution or greenhouse gases.”
Even as the White House refuses to concede global warming is really happening, it touts nuclear power as the answer to it, as if the Administration was an arm of the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) whose advertisements declare, “Kids today are part of the most energy-intensive generation in history. They demand lots of electricity. And they deserve clean air.”
In reality, not only are vast amounts of fossil fuels burned to mine and refine the uranium for nuclear power reactors, polluting the atmosphere, but those plants are allowed “to emit hundreds of curies of radioactive gases and other radioactive elements into the environment every year,” Helen Caldicott points out in her authoritative book Nuclear Power Is Not The Answer.
What’s more, the thousands of tons of solid radioactive waste accumulating in the cooling pools next to those plants contain “extremely toxic elements that will inevitably pollute the environment and human food chains, a legacy that will lead to epidemics of cancer, leukemia, and genetic disease in populations living near nuclear power plants or radioactive waste facilities for many generations to come,” Caldicott writes. Countless Americans are already dead or dying as a result of those nuclear plants.
Over half of the nation’s uranium deposits lie under Navajo and Pueblo and and at least one in five tribal members recruited to mine the ore were exposed to radioactive gas radon 220 and “have died and are continuing to die of lung cancer,” Caldicott writes.
As for uranium tailings discarded in the extraction process, 265 million tons of it have been left to pollute the Southwest, even though they contain radioactive thorium. At the same time, uranium 238, also known as “depleted uranium,”(DU) a nuclear plant biproduct, “is lying around in thousands of leaking, disintegrating barrels” at enrichment facilites in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Portsmouth, Ohio, and Paducah, Kentucky where ground water is too polluted to drink.
Fuel rods at every nuclear plant leak radioactive gases or are routinely vented into the atmosphere by plant operators. “Although the nuclear industry claims it is ‘emission’ free, in fact it is collectively releasing millions of curies annually,” Caldicott reports.
S ince the Three Mile Island (TMI) meltdown on March 28, 1979, some 2,000 Harrisburg area residents settled sickness claims with General Public Utilities Corp. and Metropolitan Edison Co., the owners of TMI. Area residents’ symptoms included nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding from the nose, a metallic taste in the mouth, hair loss, and red skin rash, typical of acute radiation sickness when people are exposed to wholebody doses of radiation around 100 rads.
David Lochbaum, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, believes nuclear plant safety standards are lacking and predicted another nuclear catastrophe in the near future, stating, “It’s not if but when.” Not only are such plants unsafe but the spent fuel is often hauled long distances through cities to waste storage facilities where it will have to be guarded for an estimated 240,000 years.
In the 2005 Energy Bill, Congress allocated $13 billion in subsidies to the nuclear power industry. Between 1948 and 1998, the U.S. government subsidized the industry with $70-billion of taxpayer monies for research and development— corporate welfare pure and simple.
About 17 million people live within a 50 mile radius of the two Indian Point reactors in Buchanan, New York, 35 miles from Manhattan. Suicidal terrorists, Caldicott noted, could disrupt the plant’s electricity supply by ramming explosives into their Hudson River intake pipes. Over time, the subsequent meltdown could claim an estimated 518,000 lives.
Caldicott points out there are truly green and clean alternative sources to nuclear power. She refers to the American plains as “the Saudi Arabia of wind,” where readily available rural land in several Dakota counties alone “could produce twice the amount of electricity that the United States currently consumes.” Now that sounds clean, green, and safe.
Sherwood Ross is a Miami-based reporter who has contributed to such magazines as the Nation and the Progressive and has worked as a speechwriter for progressive candidates.
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; firstname.lastname@example.org; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; email@example.com; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.