I love email for what it brings to me, the work that's going on outside the reportage by the MSM. Three interesting tidbits in my Inbox today:
Chernobyl kills while bought ex-Greenpeacer shills
April 26, 2006
While children continue to die twenty years after the Chernobyl catastrophe, an out-of-touch (and often corrupt) fringe advocates a "rebirth" for the failed technology that is killing them.
These pro-nuke die-hards seem unable to face the solution to both global warming and our economic future: the exploding revolution in renewable energy and efficiency. Their last-gasp attempt to revive the dead reactor dinosaur may be the last barrier to a truly green-powered planet.
The 1986 explosion at the reactor outside Kiev was the world's worst industrial disaster. It spewed at least 200 times more radiation than the bombing of Hiroshima. It's a fitting tombstone for the most expensive technological failure in human history.
After that, an email from The Sierra Club's Elizabeth May, encouraging me to read Nuclear Power – Myth and Reality, a 30+ page document debunking the myths surrounding nuclear power. It's a must-read for anyone who wants to be informed on this issue.
The deep divide over nuclear power is nearly as old as its commercial use. The early dreams of its proponents have faded, whereas the high risks have remained, as well as the danger of misuse by military interests. Terrorism has introduced dramatic, concrete threat. Global warming and the finite nature of fossil fuels do not dispel the major safety issues associated with nuclear power. And the "accident-proof" reactor has remained an unfulfilled promise now for decades.
Artificial warming of earth's atmosphere will surely pose one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. But there are less hazardous ways to deal with this problem than by using nuclear power. Nuclear power is not sustainable, because its fissile fuel materials are as limited as fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. Moreover, its radioactive by-products must be isolated from the biosphere for periods of time that defy human imagination.
Nuclear energy is not only a high-risk technology in terms of safety, but also with respect to financial investment. Without state subsidies, it does not stand a chance in a market economy. Yet companies will continue to profit from nuclear energy under special, state-controlled conditions. Extending the licences of older reactors is an attractive option for operators – but disproportionately increases the risk of major accident. And there will always be regimes that view and promote civilian use of nuclear fission as a stepping stone to acquiring an atomic bomb. Moreover, as has been clear since 11 September 2001 at the latest, these vulnerable and very hazardous sites represent an additional target for unscrupulous and violent non-governmental forces. For this reason as well, nuclear power will continue to divide public opinion for as long as it remains in use.
Bush pushes nuclear power at home and abroad
President Bush has embraced nuclear power with a vengeance (on us?). On a tour of a nucular … er, nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania yesterday, Bush called for the construction of new nuke plants to help curb greenhouse-gas emissions. "Let's quit the debate about whether greenhouse gases are caused by mankind or by natural causes; let's just focus on technologies that deal with the issue," he said. Thanks to a new raft of nuke subsidies Bush signed into law last year, 16 companies have expressed interest in building new plants, though none has submitted a formal application. Exelon Corp.'s president has said his company has "no intention" of building a new nuke plant until there's a solution to the problem of where to put nuclear waste. What a fuddy-duddy! Also yesterday, Bush signed on to a treaty with the European Union, Russia, Japan, India, China, and South Korea to spend $5.9 billion attempting to build the world's first nuclear fusion reactor in France. Fusion technology has never succeeded, but like victory in Iraq, it's always been just around the corner.
Now, if I hadn't just skimmed the document Elizabeth May suggested I read, I might not have know that the Bush push equals funnelling government money into corporate coffers because the nu-cu-lar industry is not economically sustainable without corporate welfare. (However, if the truth be told I immediately thought we should run as fast and as far away as possible from anything the Bush promotes as a cure-all for anything!)
No nukes is good nukes.