According to a report filed by Dave Gram and Frank Bass for the Associated press, the corporations that own nuclear plants are not putting aside enough resources to dismantle them. The high costs of building and operating the plants aside, the current problem is being blamed on the financial crisis and the loss of investments that were to pay for the decommissioning of the plants.
The underlying problem is not just that the projects will be delayed, the consequences of the delays are more the concern. The possibilities of nuclear leaks, either into the atmosphere or into groundwater, are but one aspect of the delay. Workers needed to maintain the site, with inadequate funds to do so, will be at increased risk of accidental exposure. Then there are the not so accidental risks -- soft targets for terrorists, getting softer by the day.
Let us debunk the myth once and for all that nuclear power is clean, safe, or cheap. It is none of these. The whole process of producing nuclear power is an environmental nightmare. From the mining of uranium at the beginning of the process, to the storage of the spent fuel rods at the end, there is no means by which nuclear energy is clean. While it may not produce carbon emissions, there is more to caring for the environment than just limiting carbon. Just as we need to limit the amount of carbon floating around in the atmosphere, we even more so need to limit the amount of plutonium floating around the planet.
Safety is ludicrous to even discuss when it comes to nuclear energy. The precautionary principle would suggest that the possible damage that could be inflicted by even one catastrophic meltdown or other accident, no matter how remote, renders the whole notion of nuclear power illogical. Accidents happen: Three Mile Island and Chernobyl drew the most attention because they happened early on in the nuclear power game. Japan recently revealed a number of small nuclear accidents. The more nuclear plants built, the greater the odds become for a major accident. In a probabilistic sense, it is only a matter of time before there is an incident of unimagined proportions.
Safety also has to take into account the possible deliberate misuse of the nuclear material. Efforts to secure this material at increasing number of sites becomes more and more difficult as we build more nuclear plants. That, in turn, drives up costs. Costs, in the energy business, are just passed on to customers. The idea that nuclear energy is cost efficient is a myth propagated by energy producers who base these statements on some mythical "costs per unit" that calculates the costs after the reactor is up and running. Mining costs, building reactors, etc. are out of the calculation. When you sell energy, demand is what matters.
Calls for nuclear power are driven by a desire to control the flow of energy by corporations in order to maximize profits. Mostly these are the same transnationals that are in control of the old petroleum-based economy. The only green that nuclear energy is associated with is money.
British Petroleum Gulf Oil Spill Costs
- 11 workers killed in initial blast
- Damage to Ocean Ecosystem
- 35,000 to 60.000 Barrels of Oil Per Day. That's somewhere between 1,500,000 to 2,500,000 gallons a day or 150 to 300 million gallons already spilled into the ocean as of July 27th by that estimate.
- Gulf Fisheries Industry
- Gulf Tourism (ongoing costs)
- Long Term Health Effects to Humans and Wildlife (to be determined)
Worst Oil Spills
- Kuwait 1991 - 520 million gallons: Gulf War I
- Gulf of Mexico 2010 - 206 million gallons: BP Oil
- Mexico, Bay of Campiche 1979 - 140 million gallons: Pemex Oil
- Trinidad & Tobago 1979 - 90 million gallons: Greek Oil Tanker Atlantic Empress
- Russia 1983 - 84 million gallons: Leaky Pipeline collapsed into Kolva River
- Iran 1983 - 80 million gallons: Tanker collided with Oil Platform
- South Africa 1983 -79 million gallons:Tanker Castillo de Bellver sank
- France 1978 - 69 million Gallons: Amoco Cadiz ran aground and broke in half.
- Angola Coastal Waters (700 miles at sea) 1991 - 51-81 million gallons: ABT Summer exploded at sea.
- Italy 1991 - 45 million gallons: M/T Haven Oil Tanker exploded.
- Source: Mother Nature Network. mnn.com. The 13 largest oil spills in history. by Laura Moss. Friday July 16, 2010.
Nuclear Accidents (Under Construction)
- 1957 Windscale, UK
- 1961 Idaho Falls, Idaho, US
- 1979 Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, US
- 1984 Athens, Alabama, US
- 1985 Athens, Alabama, US
- 1986 Plymouth, Masachusetts, US
- 1986 Chernobyl, Ukraine, USSR
- 1996 Waterford, Connecticut, US
- 1989 Griefwald, Germany
- 1999 Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan
- 2002 Oak Harbor, Ohio, US
- 2004 Fukui Prefecture, Japan
- Source: Benjamin Sovacool
Mining Disasters (Under Construction)
- China 1942 - 1549 deaths
- France 1906 - 1100 deaths
- Japan 1963 - 447 deaths
- Wales 1913 - 438 deaths
- South Africa 1960 - 437 deaths
- Source: Epic Disasters Website
- Note: Do not look at the dates herein and conclue that mining disasters are a things of the past. Every year thousands of miners die worldwide in largely unreported accidents.
OIL IS OVER! - Resources
- The Dirt People - Ray Bawarchi (yes, that's me)
- The Razor's Edge - Somerset Maugham
- Demian - Herman Hesse
- Black Elk Speaks - Black Elk (as told to R. Neimur)
- The Quiet Don - Mikhail Sholokov
- Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
- Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
- 1984 - George Orwell
- Delicious Laughter - Jallahudin Rumi
- The Sybil - Par Lagerksvitz
- The Fixer - Bernard Malamud
- Spirits Rebellious - Khalil Gibran
- The Quiet American - Graham Greene
- Midaq Alley - Nagib Mafouz
- Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
- Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
- Farenheit 451- Ray Bradbury
- We - Yevgeny Zamyatin
- John Coltrane - St. John the Divine
- Patti Smith
- The Clash - the only band that matters
- Billy Bragg
- Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band
- Art Blakey
- Death - pre-punk visionaries from Detroit
- PJ Harvey - Polly Jean, Polly Jean
- Woody Guthrie
- Michael Franti (Spearhead)
- Public Enemy
- Ray Charles - the Genius
- Bob Dylan
- Velvet Underground
- Flaming Lips
- John Doe & X
- The Beatles
opiate of the masses
- God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh. - Voltaire
- I do not feel obliged to believe that the same god who has endowed us with sense, reason and inellect has intended us to forgo their use. - Galileo Galilei
- The ink of a scholar is worth far more than the blood of a martyr.- Mohammad
- If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him. - Sheldon Kopp
- No one will be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. - Louisa Mae Alcott
- When it is a question of money, everyone is of the same religion.- Voltaire
- If God were alive today, he'd be an athiest. - Kurt Vonnegut
- The god I worship is not short of cash, Mister. - Bono
- Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine. My sins they only belong to me. - Patti Smith
- God sure baked a lot of fruitcake baby, when Adam met the Eden lady. - Joe Strummer