Nuclear Power Madness
Monday 14 March 2011
by: Norman Solomon, t r u t h o u t | News Analysis
Like every other president since the 1940s, Barack Obama has promoted nuclear power. Now, with reactors melting down in
Political elites are still clinging to the oxymoron of "safe nuclear power." It's up to us - people around the world - to peacefully and insistently shut those plants down.
There is no more techno-advanced country in the world than
As The New York Times reported on Monday, "most of the nuclear plants in the United States share some or all of the risk factors that played a role at Fukushima Daiichi
Nuclear power - from uranium mining to fuel fabrication to reactor operations to nuclear waste that will remain deadly for hundreds of thousands of years - is, in fact, a moral crime against future generations.
But syrupy rhetoric has always marinated the nuclear age. From the outset - even as radioactive ashes were still hot in
President Dwight Eisenhower pledged "to help solve the fearful atomic dilemma" by showing that "the miraculous inventiveness of man shall not be dedicated to his death, but consecrated to his life."
Even after the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 and the
Thirty years ago, when I coordinated the National Citizens Hearings for Radiation Victims on the edge of Capitol Hill, we heard grim testimony from nuclear scientists, workers, downwinders, and many others whose lives had been forever ravaged by the split atom. Routine in the process was tag-team deception from government agencies and nuclear-invested companies.
By 1980, generations had already suffered a vast array of terrible consequences - including cancer, leukemia and genetic injuries - from a nuclear fuel cycle shared by the "peaceful" and military atom. Today, we know a lot more about the abrupt and slow-moving horrors of the nuclear industry.
And we keep learning, by the minute, as nuclear catastrophe goes exponential in
On Sunday, even while nuclear power reactors were melting down, the White House issued this statement
Yet another reflexive nuclear salute.
When this year's State of the Union address proclaimed a goal of "clean energy sources" for 80 percent of US electricity by 2035, Obama added
Bipartisan for nuclear power? You betcha. On Sunday morning TV shows, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell voiced support for nuclear power, while Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer offered this convoluted ode to atomic flackery
Such behavior might just seem absurd or pathetic - if the consequences weren't so grave.
Nuclear power madness is so entrenched that mainline pundits and top elected officials rarely murmur dissent. Acquiescence is equated with prudent sagacity.
In early 2010, President Obama announced federal loan guarantees - totaling more than $8 billion - to revive the construction of nuclear power plants in this country, where 110 nuclear power reactors are already in operation.
"Investing in nuclear energy remains a necessary step," he said. "What I hope is that, with this announcement, we're underscoring both our seriousness in meeting the energy challenge and our willingness to look at this challenge, not as a partisan issue, but as a matter that's far more important than politics because the choices we make will affect not just the next generation but many generations to come."
Promising to push for bigger loan guarantees to build more nuclear power plants, the president said
Norman Solomon is co-chair of the national Healthcare NOT Warfare campaign, launched by Progressive Democrats of
. He is the author of a dozen books including "War Made Easy America : How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death." For more information, go to : www.normansolomon.com.
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs
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