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Ralph Nader writes, "The unfolding multiple nuclear reactor catastrophe in Japan is prompting overdue attention to the 104 nuclear plants in the United States - many of them aging, many of them near earthquake faults, some on the west coast exposed to potential tsunamis."

Ralph Nader addresses the unfolding nuclear reactor crisis in Japan and unsafe nuclear plants in the US. (photo: TruthAlliance)
Ralph Nader addresses the unfolding nuclear reactor crisis in Japan and unsafe nuclear plants in the US. (photo: TruthAlliance)



Nuclear Nightmare

By Ralph Nader, Reader Supported News

19 March 11

 

RSN Special Coverage: Disaster in Japan


he unfolding multiple nuclear reactor catastrophe in Japan is prompting overdue attention to the 104 nuclear plants in the United States - many of them aging, many of them near earthquake faults, some on the west coast exposed to potential tsunamis.

Nuclear power plants boil water to produce steam to turn turbines that generate electricity. Nuclear power's overly complex fuel cycle begins with uranium mines and ends with deadly radioactive wastes for which there still are no permanent storage facilities to contain them for tens of thousands of years.

Atomic power plants generate 20 percent of the nation's electricity. Over forty years ago, the industry's promoter and regulator, the Atomic Energy Commission estimated that a full nuclear meltdown could contaminate an area "the size of Pennsylvania" and cause massive casualties. You, the taxpayers, have heavily subsidized nuclear power research, development, and promotion from day one with tens of billions of dollars.

Because of many costs, perils, close calls at various reactors, and the partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania in 1979, there has not been a nuclear power plant built in the United States since 1974.

Now the industry is coming back "on your back" claiming it will help reduce global warming from fossil fuel emitted greenhouse gases.

Pushed aggressively by President Obama and Energy Secretary Chu, who refuses to meet with longtime nuclear industry critics, here is what "on your back" means:

  • 1. Wall Street will not finance new nuclear plants without a 100% taxpayer loan guarantee. Too risky. That's a lot of guarantee given that new nukes cost $12 billion each, assuming no mishaps. Obama and the Congress are OK with that arrangement.


  • 2. Nuclear power is uninsurable in the private insurance market - too risky. Under the Price-Anderson Act, taxpayers pay the greatest cost of a meltdown's devastation.


  • 3. Nuclear power plants and transports of radioactive wastes are a national security nightmare for the Department of Homeland Security. Imagine the target that thousands of vulnerable spent fuel rods present for sabotage.


  • 4. Guess who pays for whatever final waste repositories are licensed? You the taxpayer and your descendants as far as your gene line persists. Huge decommissioning costs, at the end of a nuclear plant's existence come from the ratepayers' pockets.


  • 5. Nuclear plant disasters present impossible evacuation burdens for those living anywhere near a plant, especially if time is short.

    Imagine evacuating the long-troubled Indian Point plants 26 miles north of New York City. Workers in that region have a hard enough time evacuating their places of employment during 5 pm rush hour. That's one reason Secretary of State Clinton (in her time as Senator of New York) and Governor Andrew Cuomo called for the shutdown of Indian Point.


  • 6. Nuclear power is both uneconomical and unnecessary. It can't compete against energy conservation, including cogeneration, windpower and ever more efficient, quicker, safer, renewable forms of providing electricity. Amory Lovins argues this point convincingly (see RMI.org). Physicist Lovins asserts that nuclear power "will reduce and retard climate protection." His reasoning: shifting the tens of billions invested in nuclear power to efficiency and renewables reduce far more carbon per dollar (http://www.nirs.org/factsheets/whynewnukesareriskyfcts.pdf). The country should move deliberately to shutdown nuclear plants, starting with the aging and seismically threatened reactors. Peter Bradford, a former Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) commissioner has also made a compelling case against nuclear power on economic and safety grounds (http://www.nirs.org/factsheets/whynewnukesareriskyfcts.pdf).

There is far more for ratepayers, taxpayers and families near nuclear plants to find out. Here's how you can start:

  • 1. Demand public hearings in your communities where there is a nuke, sponsored either by your member of Congress or the NRC, to put the facts, risks and evacuation plans on the table. Insist that the critics as well as the proponents testify and cross-examine each other in front of you and the media.


  • 2. If you call yourself conservative, ask why nuclear power requires such huge amounts of your tax dollars and guarantees and can't buy adequate private insurance. If you have a small business that can't buy insurance because what you do is too risky, you don't stay in business.


  • 3. If you are an environmentalist, ask why nuclear power isn't required to meet a cost-efficient market test against investments in energy conservation and renewables.


  • 4. If you understand traffic congestion, ask for an actual real life evacuation drill for those living and working 10 miles around the plant (some scientists think it should be at least 25 miles) and watch the hemming and hawing from proponents of nuclear power.

The people in northern Japan may lose their land, homes, relatives, and friends as a result of a dangerous technology designed simply to boil water. There are better ways to generate steam.

Like the troubled Japanese nuclear plants, the Indian Point plants and the four plants at San Onofre and Diablo Canyon in southern California rest near earthquake faults. The seismologists concur that there is a 94% chance of a big earthquake in California within the next thirty years. Obama, Chu and the powerful nuke industry must not be allowed to force the American people to play Russian Roulette!

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Comments   

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-117 # stefanhansen 2011-03-19 18:40
Dear Ralph Nader, just a quick note - for now.

If we look at what's happening in Japan, so far (obviously, this might change over time, let's see) there are some 10,000 dead people, most (if not all) victims of the tsunami. Surely, the nuclear radiation get's more media coverage, and seems to trigger more fear in people - most likely because of our associations to the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and since radiation is less tangible than an a huge wave, and therefore more anxiety provoking.

In short: 100 per cent of the people who died in Japan during the current catastrophe would have died with or without a nuclear failure. As I said, this might change, but let's be careful not to press for polities triggered by what might be nothing but irrational fear.
 
 
+86 # notchakotay 2011-03-19 22:58
Re: "In short: 100 per cent of the people who died in Japan during the current catastrophe would have died with or without a nuclear failure. As I said, this might change, but let's be careful not to press for polities triggered by what might be nothing but irrational fear."

So if it changes for the worse -which you admit might happen- the fears are not so irrational? We all know the situation in Japan sits on a knife edge and could go either way. You are suggesting that we put another apple on our head after the archer just parted our hair on the last attempt.

None of what you said addresses a single point in Ralph Nader's argument.
 
 
-55 # stefanhansen 2011-03-20 00:36
Be careful not to read between the lines, there is nothing between the lines. I'm not suggesting anything - so if you (and the six other people who gave my previous comment a thumb down) think I'm speaking in favor of nuclear power, you are wrong. I'm not.

I'm speaking in favor of rationality. And all I'm saying is: let's not make a decision about nuclear power or not based on the emotional plume blowing in from the Pacific these hours. Instead, let's look at the numbers, and based on that - not fear - decide if nuclear is the way to go or not.

So far it's obvious we need to rethink how and where we build close to tsunami prone areas. When it comes to nuclear, the dice is still in the air.
 
 
+29 # PGreen 2011-03-20 08:55
One of the questions here is what constitutes a nuclear energy related fatality. I'd say that there is a better than even chance that the 50-175 workers (including helicopter pilots, etc.) who have stayed at the plant have already received near lethal doses of radiation. Even if not, will the nuclear industry pay for the cost of cancer treatments and reimburse loved ones for pain, suffering and loss of income? I don't know how it works in Japan, but I wouldn't hold my breath. There is also the cost to business and local residents for the disruption of work, and evacuation of their facilities. All this is part of the economics of even "successful" nuclear energy-- though the lack of trust by investors and insurers should be enough by itself.
 
 
-11 # stefanhansen 2011-03-20 11:59
PGreen, a simple question: how did you arrive at these two figures:

a) 50-175 workers
b) more than 50 per cent chance
 
 
+3 # DBK 2011-03-22 10:57
Wow, the apologists manage to confuse the issue instantly, don't they?

Last year my thyroid gland was removed because of cancer. When I asked the doctor what caused it, he told me I was exposed to radiation as a child. Thyroid cancer takes decades to show up, leaving the nuke industry plenty of time to claim it was something else that caused it. Then there's this business about "nobody died". How many hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated? I guess that counts for nothing. How much food has been contaminated in a country now devastated by the tsunami and earthquake and already desperate for food? How many are going to die from radiation exposure in the years to come? The nuclear industry is fond of saying, "Nobody died at Chernobyl or TMI", but they are only talking about whether somebody received a lethal dose of radiation in the spot, not how many cancer deaths were caused by exposure later on.

I can't take you seriously stefanhansen. You're just parroting industry talking points that are designed to confuse the issue. I think we all saw Thank You For Smoking. We know how this play goes.
 
 
+16 # perry 2011-03-20 10:15
"Dice" is plural. The "die" is still in the air. Interesting double-entendre and jeu de mot, albeit apparently unintentionally , you put in play.

And speaking of that, one will not know the true effects of the Japanese nuclear incident for many years, after there are statistics regarding cancers and other health impacts that are linked or not to the release of radiation.
 
 
+9 # AlanP 2011-03-20 14:18
For the Japanese to be subject to illness and death from radiation again is a cruel twist of fate. Is anyone concerned about worldwide fallout and death if one or more of the reactors explodes? Please assure me that this can't happen.
 
 
+14 # 4yourinformation 2011-03-20 12:51
So..we should all refrain from making a decision based on the reading of numbers and not on fear?

Here are some numbers...the US NRC is telling the Japanese that they need to move ALL of their people (not the plant workers or fire fighters) 50 kilometers away from the site. The Japanese say 20-30 kilometers is good enough. The NRC is merely a front organization for the whole nuke industry...so the true safe range is probably around 100 kilometers (where the US Navy is).

Another thing to contemplate-"Co mpared to nuclear bombs, nuclear reactors seem "peaceful," although this is clearly not the case. Compared to nuclear reactors, nuclear bombs are as safe as houses, because they don't start a chain reaction until somebody pulls the trigger, whereas nuclear reactors maintain a controlled chain reaction during most of their existences. It's like comparing having a gun safely in your possession to heating your house with ammo, in which case, surely enough, accidents will happen." (Dmitry Orlov) Yeah...lets keep heating the house with ammo.
 
 
+4 # Burkey 2011-03-21 23:49
What is irrational is expecting to use nuclear power and NOT have accidents happening, very destructive accidents that could end life as we know it. What is irrational is gambling with stakes so very, very high, with all of our lives. That is irrational, it has always been irrational, and people like you say it's an "emotional" issue?
No. It's completely irrational to believe that nuclear power will be completely safe in human hands. That is the great irrational tragedy here. It will happen again, maybe in your back yard.
 
 
+1 # Heartbeatt 2011-03-23 16:33
There is already radioactivity in Tokyo's water. And we don't even know the half of it. Whoever heard of a government telling the truth in such a situation. Check how many people have died to date in a large radius near Chernobyl and they continue dying 25 years later, not forgetting unceasing birth defects, which will go on and on.
You say you are talking about rationality. I think it is just the opposite.
 
 
+21 # GG 2011-03-19 23:53
Not so fast Stef. If they don't fix that reactor soon, thousands may die. Add several thousands plus to the 10,000.
 
 
-29 # stefanhansen 2011-03-20 08:35
I'm not fast, GG. I am in fact slow, since I don't want to leap to conclusions. As I said: "the dice is still in the air." And yes, thousands may die as a consequence of radiation. But even if 1,000 people die from radiation, it's still a tenth of how many were victims of the tsunami. If so, it might very well be future tsunamis we should rightfully worry about. That does _not_ mean I'm advocating nuclear power. What I'm advocating here is that we keep things in perspective.
 
 
+8 # propsguy 2011-03-20 17:29
ok, but you can't control earthquakes and tsunamis. or for that matter, hurricanes and tornadoes. that stuff is going to happen, act of god. but nuclear accidents don't have to happen, if we don't rely on nuclear power. and please don't compare the once every 25 yr nuclear accident to traffic fatalities which occur everyday. they are not the same. nuclear accidents CANNOT be cleaned up. over 2 millions of russian farmland around chernobyl cannot be used for a few hundred years.
if massive amounts of japan become uninhabitable for 1000 yrs, where will the japanese people live? can you take on a few million roommates?
 
 
-5 # James38 2011-03-21 03:02
The statistic about the farmland around Chernobyl is inaccurate. Much of that land was never as polluted as thought originally, and the damage expected in terms of cancer and livestock destruction and plant mutations has simply not happened. The radiation around Chernobyl is almost all below the natural radiation level that occurs in many parts of the world, and cancer levels in the areas with high natural radiation levels are not any higher than they are in areas with lower natural levels. The conclusion is that many of the old statistics about the dangers of radiation are inaccurate. Propsguy and all the rest of us who want to be well informed about this situation need to read "Power to Save the World" by Gwyneth Cravens. She has done an excellent job of researching the nuclear industry history and future, and her book contains all the latest information about the very safe new reactor designs and all the latest information about Chernobyl. This book is extremely important. Get it!
 
 
+36 # Douglas C. Smyth 2011-03-20 09:50
A huge spill at a solar power collector is called "a beautiful day."

Nuclear costs more, has demonstrated how dangerous it is, and yet still our people in power, even the supposedly 'green' President Obama, still push nuclear. Why?

The economics of utility monopolies: the more costly the power source, the more profitable the (regulated) return.
 
 
-13 # ricbee 2011-03-20 08:51
The media is already trying to convince the world that it's a nuclear problem-the tsunami is forgotten.
 
 
+7 # KittatinyHawk 2011-03-21 13:54
I read about the tsunami and not the earthquake. The tsunami didnot move the nation of Japan east 8 foot!

With ten thousand people's body washing up to shore, no one is forgetting the disasters Japan has faced.

The aftermath is a Nuclear Problem...large Nuclear Problem. We are all learning, we are all watching. This is the most significant Nuke Problem since Cernobyl, so we need to focus.
 
 
+21 # Gordon K 2011-03-20 10:19
Your assertions are without foundation or facts. If you follow the story on any reasonably objective news source (the NY Times is adequate) it will be clear that the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric are not being forthcoming on the radiation issues. We really don't know how bad the radiation situation is or may become. It also seems reasonable to infer that radiation hazards are drawing people and resources away from tsunami and earthquake relief. And you should consider the fact that the half-life of many radioactive isotopes is measured in thousands or even tens of thousands of years. Which means we haven't even begun to realistically assess the long term mortality and morbidity statistics. Do your homework!
 
 
+21 # Lee Black 2011-03-20 11:04
Even if there were a guarantee of no accidents (and there is no such guarantee or the industry wouldn't be saying "too risky"), there is no way to manage nuclear waste; in 6 decades that problem has not been solved.

Too risky for private industry is too risky for government backed power plants.
 
 
+9 # Observer 47 2011-03-20 12:37
Actually, there IS a way to manage nuclear waste, that being to reprocess it, the way France does, for example. All the final residue of nuclear waste from all of France's reactors for six decades can fit in a room not much bigger than a closet. It's just that the U.S. government will not allow reprocessing of the waste, because they assert that it's too vulnerable to seizure by terrorists.

Do I support the current nuclear reactors? No. I'm an advocate of solar, wind, ocean current, and geothermal energy. My point is that our government is needlessly making nuclear power here even more dangerous than it is elsewhere.
 
 
+4 # Lee Black 2011-03-20 16:16
France doesn't really reprocess it's waste - breeder reactors leave a waste that is even more radioactive than other reactors and France has shipped tons and tons of this waste to Russia until Russia refused to take in more, I believe in 2010.

Also, there is concern in France about radioactive leakage into the North Sea and in the champagne growing regions.
 
 
+5 # JerryC 2011-03-20 20:09
Quoting Observer 47:
, the way France does, for example.

France "recycles" their nuclear waste by sticking it in someone else's pocket. The area surrounding their "reprocessing" facilities will be a wasteland for centuries to come. It is also a very costly and involves usage of vast quantities of water and a wide array of highly toxic and volatile chemicals. It will never be profitable nor sustainable.
 
 
-5 # James38 2011-03-21 01:24
The latest designs of nuclear reactors use the "waste" as fuel. The only unusable radioactive residue is of far smaller volume and has a much lower half life. They are also extremely safe, since the nuclear reaction is controlled by damper rods that are gravity powered, and deploy automatically if there is any problem from any cause. Any problem would develop slowly, giving plenty of time for evacuation if needed, which is unlikely. Modern reactor design can convert Depleted Uranium, U238, and thorium to useful fuels and therefore require less mining and guarantee global baseline power for a long time. The reactors can not be used to produce weapons grade material. Nader's facts are out of date. The new designs of nuclear reactors do not depend on complicated cooling systems requiring outside sources of power. Therefore they are not easily damaged even by extreme events, such as the quake that hit Japan. Knowledge is the key to making proper decisions. Please read "Power to Save the World" by Gwyneth Cravens. She has done an excellent job of presenting the history and future potential of Nuclear Energy, from mine to decommissioning to waste disposal. It is an essential book for anyone who wants to base their opinion on facts. Read it.
 
 
+23 # Macbev 2011-03-20 11:35
We can take precautions against natural events such as earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, tornadoes, but we cannot prevent them. We can prevent the use of nuclear power.
 
 
+7 # george beres 2011-03-20 13:31
It is foolish to minimize the radiation danger because most of Japanese deaths so far have been from the tsunami. Far more will be affected by and die from radiation in the months and years ahead. Except for those troubled by nuclear myopia, the disaster in Japan is an urgent wake-up to the rest of the world to dismantle all nuclear plants and cease any further nuclear development. - George Beres
 
 
+4 # Hors-D-whores 2011-03-21 02:50
Did you get this point?: Nuclear energy is dangerous and EXPENSIVE! It is like playing Russian Roulette. Why and how anyone can defend the further operations of these plants is beyond me, when we have the technology to push forward with safe clean renewable. I think that the interests of this industry, along with the fossil fuel company have done a magnificent job in duping and propagandizing that people just can't move on.

If we were to put all the money that these plants cost us into renewables, we would have all the electricity we can use.

I will no longer take no for an answer.

Nuclear and fossil energy is so last century and we need to progress, thank you!

(Ralph Nader can be a troublemaker and not always right, but I agree with him on this all the way.)
 
 
+1 # Burkey 2011-03-22 00:14
He's usually right, actually.
 
 
+1 # KittatinyHawk 2011-03-21 13:49
We are only counting those deaths from quake and tsunami now because the rates of loss from Cancer has not yet started to come in.
I do not believe People should be sacrificed but too many like you do.
 
 
-69 # john chatelle 2011-03-19 18:43
Exxon Mobile sells ~$480,000,000,0 00.00 worth of product a year, and they're the tip of the economic fossil fuel iceberg.

The domestic Nuclear Energy is minuscule by comparison, yet stole 20% of the domestic electricity production from the fossilers in about 20 years, from 1970 - 1990.

Kinematics - windmills and donkey wheels, sunshine and breezes, and conservation: going without, *cannot* compete with fossil fuels and you know it.

It is pretty clear your agenda, and that of Amory Lovins is an attempt to effect the continued primacy of weakforce combustion over the strong force energy production, to hold it back as long as possible. There is just too much money at stake.

To this I say, thank god for China, India, South Korea, France, Russia, and even japan to not be stymied by fossil fuel avarice.

The Strong force Energy production will eventually come despite your misguided best efforts.
 
 
+23 # Ken Hall 2011-03-20 02:25
Amory Lovins is a very clever guy and perhaps the world's foremost expert on energy. Ralph Nader, another clever guy, has been the champion of the common man for four decades. What are your bona fides?
 
 
+25 # Ralph Averill 2011-03-20 02:46
Let's see how many people stand up and say "Go ahead. Build a nuclear plant in my town."
 
 
+32 # latrotteuse 2011-03-20 08:18
Every hour, the sun radiates more energy onto the earth than the entire human population uses in one whole year.

It has been estimated that a desert area in the southwestern United States that measures 161 km on a side (0.3% of the land area of the United States) could theoretically meet the electricity needs of the entire country if the solar radiation in that area could be converted to electricity with 10% efficiency (Sandia National Laboratories 2001).

The technology is ready. On the following pages we present a grand plan that could provide 69% of the U.S.’s electricity and 35% of its total energy (which includes transportation) with solar power by 2050. We project that this energy could be sold to consumers at rates equivalent to today’s rates for conventional power sources, about five cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). If wind, biomass and geothermal sources were also developed, renewable energy could provide 100% of the nation’s electricity and 90% of its energy by 2100. - Scientific American magazine December 16, 2007

Imagine that, sustainable endless energy, least damaging to environment (our lifeline). You are right, there is way too much money at stake, money is more important than people, now is more important than our children's future... such a shame.
 
 
+15 # PGreen 2011-03-20 09:17
Economically, alternative "soft" energy can certainly compete if we grant it public subsidies equivalent to what we are offering the nuclear industry. The reason utilities often oppose some alternative programs (at least as a comprehensive strategy) is because soft energy doesn't always utilize a centralized point of origin, allowing companies to charge continuously for service-- not to mention the escalation (or lack of) of energy prices.
 
 
+19 # stefanhansen 2011-03-19 19:39
John, "going without" combined with a reduction of the world population could solve the problem. The average American runs on about 10,000 watts, 4-5 times the world average - and more than 10 times what is needed for a good life (http://www.hansensmag.net/2011/03/12/the-1000-watts-vacation/).

For more on how to solve our individual and global power footprint, you might find these articles interesting:

http://www.hansensmag.net/2011/02/28/the-best-solution-reprogramming-humans/

http://www.hansensmag.net/2011/02/28/saving-ourselves-from-our-planned-extinction/

http://www.hansensmag.net/2011/02/27/high-living-standards-misunderstood/
 
 
+15 # perry 2011-03-20 10:22
Nice, Stefan, this time you threw the dice and they came up sevens.

Any discussion of the relative merit/bona fides of various forms of energy is always premature without the prerequisite thorough discussion of a viable and planetarially-r easonable energy-consumpt ion baseline.

Do we need Nuclear on fault lines and mega-solar in pristine desert eco-systems in order to power ice skating rinks in Phoenix and Palm Springs and 1,000,000 candle power car dealership lighting arrays going full blast at 3am?

Am I the only one that turns off the lights upon exiting public restrooms?
 
 
+61 # angelfish 2011-03-19 22:30
We the unwilling, led by the unknowing continue to be Morally and Financially raped by a Government that is SUPPOSED to be OF, BY, and FOR the People! The rank and file of this Country have no REAL say in what is foisted upon us by the "geniuses" in Congress. The Damage that Reagan and Bush II have done Ecologically and Financially to this Planet is immeasurable. Not to worry, tho' there won't be anybody left to care once these aging Nuclear Reactors start to implode. Just turn towards the mushroom clouds and breathe deeply. The "great beyond" has GOT to be better than this place! How sad that we haven't been better Stewards of the land and of our OWN safety. If ALL those Billions had been spent on finding CLEAN alternatives to Fossil fuels and Nuclear, we Might have been able to leave something for Posterity. All we are leaving is a half-dead Planet that will take Millenniums to heal. The GREED of the Koch brothers and their partners in crime has contributed mightily to the havoc wreaked on our Ecology. The ReTHUGlicans have aided and abetted them all along the way. "Global Warming"?... No such thing, to hear them tell it, well time WILL tell. It won't matter because they'll be long gone. It's their, and our, children, Grandchildren and Great-Grandchil dren that will pay the heavy bill when it comes due, but what do they care? "I'm up, Pull up the rope" is their Motto.
 
 
+8 # simpleview 2011-03-20 05:35
@Angelfish....v ery well said deep and insightful!
 
 
0 # rf 2011-03-20 07:08
Maybe our cancerous and autistic children will be able to get control of this government! Yuck! Yuck!
 
 
+9 # stefanhansen 2011-03-20 08:47
I realize this might be unpopular, but someone has to say it. I think it's irresponsible to blame it all on the government _only_. The individual American needs to take responsibility, but haven't. The thing is: we vote with our wallet, whether we like it or not. If we, each and everyone of us, had bought solar and wind powered electricity, despite the higher prices, things would have looked differently. We could also drive the 1-10 miles to the mall by bike, rather than power up our hungry trucks and SUV's. And the list goes on and on.
I know it feels much better to blame it on others (in this case the government), but if we are fair we would recognize that we are to blame as well. And only when we do so, we'll be able to find the incentive within to make the change no politician can make.
 
 
+8 # angelfish 2011-03-20 13:46
Most of our Politicians are either Big Oil themselves (Rockefellers, Bushes, Cheneys, Kochs,etc) or OWNED by them! WHEN has John Q. Public EVER been given the opportunity to vote for ANY Green alternatives to Fossil Fuels and Nukes? The Politicians are DRIVEN by MONEY and PROFIT. It is their god. They call themselves "christians" but wouldn't know one if they fell over one. They would probably crucify Jesus all over again if given the opportunity! Look at what they're doing to Bradley Manning and he hasn't even been tried yet! WE are the Government. Sadly, our elected officials don't give a DAMN what WE would like to see happen in our Country. In my opinion , I think we should (1- END the WAR NOW! (2- Renew the moratorium on deep water drilling! (3- Invest in alternative renewable energy sources such as Solar, Wind, and Hydro-electric. (4- Investigate those responsible for the illegal War, murder of our Military and Rape of our Treasury! (5- RePudiate the imbeciles and Cretins who deny Global Warming and Climate change. Give reputable Scientists a seat at the table when deciding our Ecological Policies. (6- STOP pandering to Hard Right Wing Ideologues who have Steam-rollered us into ALL the trouble we are forced to deal with now! Go get 'em. Ralph!
 
 
0 # KittatinyHawk 2011-03-21 14:02
660 Groups met and spoke about Nuclear Power 22 years ago in Pa when Ridge had been elected as Governor. He refused to speak of turning them off.

He told us, showing the true GOP, that when we could come up with better Energy to let them know!

Sun, Wind, Water have been used for hundreds of years...Success fully, ask the Planet what it was like before us. Safe, clean, replenished.

Hard to fight City Hall when they do not let you in, ask Wisconsin! I marched 40 years ago against Nukes, where were you?
 
 
+37 # Chris Nelson 2011-03-19 23:00
Ralph, I agree with you. A few months ago I came to the undeniable fact that I should have stuck with you in the presidential races. I would appreciate it if you could suggest an uncorruptable candidate for us to start supporting for the next presidential campaign. Thanks for always being honest.
 
 
-9 # pk22901 2011-03-20 05:07
Quoting Chris Nelson:
I would appreciate it if you could suggest an uncorruptable candidate for us to start supporting for the next presidential campaign. Thanks for always being honest.


Sounds like a Tea Party style prank to me...

Ralph,

Your participation in 2000 rattled Gore's campaign and I believe w/o you there Gore would have won.

Where would we be now if Gore had the chance to forward his pro low carbon economic proposals? Thanks to your wrong headed and arrogant ambitions, we suffered through Bush's letting our guard down leading to his 9/11 , his insane withdrawal from Afghanistan and attack of Iraq, and Cheney's insane back room energy policies.

History is funny sometimes and I hold you accountable for 9/11, the deaths of thousands, and the replacement of somewhat factually based politics by Fox News/Tea Party/GOP faith based, mostly made up propaganda.

Sorry, I might sound a bit weird and emotional, but that's just how it is after seeing the aftermath of Gore defeated by Bush.

Please do everything you can to allow Obama a clear chance at re-election. I haven't seen a GOP candidate that's willing to run on a reality based platform since Bush 1. It's really scary thinking you or another 'liberal' independant might screw up Obama's reelection.
 
 
-2 # James R Young 2011-03-20 08:17
I don't agree with the balances Ralph Nader seems to advocate for, but I always want his voice heard. Some friends voted for him because they agreed with what he said, but now regret the impact it had on the election. I live with the perhaps more shame that I was being practical and voted for G.W. Bush (primarily because of Lieberman's helping over ride the veto of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act). I don't know who made the bigger mistake, those who "wasted" a vote on a person like Nader(as my great grandmother used to say about some people, "you may be right but you aren't helping"), or me on a person I think made a bad situation far worse. At least Nader is not as much deceitful in what he believes in and promotes.
 
 
0 # KittatinyHawk 2011-03-21 14:05
Voting when we could do it legally and fairly, should have been done on more than one issue. Laws can be amended, or thrown out...look at Congress today, spending money to repeal what cost money. Understand why the Budget cannot get balanced?
 
 
+28 # scottmk 2011-03-20 09:00
That isn't very clever: blaming Nader for the ills of Bush. Gore lost because Bush stole the election in Florida thanks to the Gang of Five on the Supreme Court that perverted the Fourteenth Amendment to put him in office.

You obviously didn't read the history that Gore actually carried Florida, but the Gang of Five stopped the recount because it would have "harmed candidate Bush" of EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW!

Nader's to blame for 9/11? Pathetic.

"What ifs?" are silly exercises in light of "what is."
 
 
+19 # OM 2011-03-20 11:06
Gore did win! A sleazy "Supreme?" Court & corrupt voting machines gave the election to one of the worst "Presidents" of modern time.
Obama is a whimp among other things and only slightly better than the corrupt,etc. opposition.
 
 
0 # Burkey 2011-03-22 00:18
Don't worry. The voting machines can be easily hacked, as European countries are finding out. Nader didn't keep Gore from winning, the local pols in Florida stopped the count which would have shown Gore winning.
 
 
-1 # Hillarion 2011-03-19 23:04
Regardless of the issues, it's disappointing to see Mr. Nader write carelessly about how power stations work. Steam operates a turbine, but the turbine does not generate electricity. The turbine spins a generator (actually a huge alternator, technically) which generates the electricity. Concisely, "steam powers a turbogenerator".

In a recent discussion, iirc on Diane Rehm's show, as well as I can recall, funding for the NRC was said to be cut back significantly in the late 1990s, so the NRC can't do its job properly. So much for defunding government! Ask a libertarian about this one.
 
 
+1 # KittatinyHawk 2011-03-21 14:10
NRC and other Nuke Power Geniuses, I am joking about that latter, should have been in Japan immediately since they know so much...more sarcasm!
Fact is Mr Nader is a genius, He does a lot of homework. I am sure if he was asked to do the total run down of how Turbines worked he would of. However, most people in past thought him long winded, so he cut the known procedure into a nutshell, we all understand the basic functioning of this type of power...so many use it.
Just want to criticize someone's knowledgeable opinion.
Government under GOP's always defund the wrong Agencies if they cannot control them.
 
 
+11 # notchakotay 2011-03-19 23:52
Re: john chatelle's, "It is pretty clear your agenda, and that of Amory Lovins is an attempt to effect the continued primacy of weakforce combustion over the strong force energy production"

Apparently you know nothing of either Ralph Nader or Amory Lovins. Both men have been in the forefront of efforts to reduce the use of fossil fuels for many years. They also have been leaders in exposing the flawed calculus of nuclear energy. It takes as much fossil fuel to build and feed a nuclear power plant as it can produce in the first three-quarters of its design lifetime. The public subsidy to nuclear power adds another 10-20 cents per KWh that is hidden. So nuclear is no solution to either the fossil fuel shortage, greenhouse gas emissions, or escalating energy costs.

Conservation is the most immediate, cost effective way of attaining dramatic improvements in our energy budget with entirely positive effects in reducing carbon emissions.

Germany now has over 18 gigawatts of solar power generation capacity -not bad for a country with about as much solar insolation as northern Wisconsin. They added 10 GW in 2010 alone. A state-of-the-ar t nuclear reactor produces about 1 GW. The stimulus package is financing 12 GW of wind farm development.
 
 
+1 # john chatelle 2011-03-20 18:54
Exxon Mobile Loves wind and solar too. Watch their advertisements, please. The fossilers love anything that won't compromise their massive revenues. It doesn't matter what Nader or Lovins *says*; The gambit is about public perceptions.

So long as the fossilers can skew public perception such that the competition for fossil fuels is seen to be weak sunshine and kinematics, then the gambit is won, and the fossil fuel companies revenues will be maintained. For proof, watch their advertising. Don't you see? They're picking their own competition: Wind and Solar!.

It wouldn't bother me so much if they were the ones putting up useless windmills and solar panels. The thing is, they're so skewing things such that governments pay for them. It is ruinous to Spain, and it is ruinous to Germany unless like lemmings we follow them into the abyss and they're the ones selling us the Windmills and solar Panels.

Did you know that a golf ball sized hunk of either Thorium or Depleted Uranium (238U) could supply a typical American a LIFETIME share of electricity? People don't realise.

I guess we have different Agendas. I want 100 Billion actualizing people, AND a green planet. You can keep your Oil wars, your Malthusian catastrophes and you ugly agendas.
 
 
+21 # valerid 2011-03-19 23:56
Nation of sheep, ruled by wolves, owned by pigs---
what else is there to say? So glad I voted for you Ralph- Imagine what would be if you had won and they let you live. No obamanation, we wouldn't have Summers and Geithner and the rest of the wolf pack, selling off the US for parts right now, inserting gmo abominations into our food supply, etc etc. Time for everyone to join the human nation and start fighting back. Hope everyone who loves and believes in what Ralph has done will join in and help in some way asap!!
 
 
+2 # perry 2011-03-20 10:25
Thank you. Nicely said.
 
 
+22 # Patricia Chang 2011-03-19 23:57
Obama's campaigns,first at the state level, then the Senate, then for President have received large contributions from Exelon, a nuclear energy corporation. This is why he keeps promoting nuclear energy. He is as politically corrupt; and devoid of concern for the health and safety of the public as the rest of the fools in Congress. This country is all about money, greed for money, power to get more money, sell your granny down the river for money. Whether it is the Koch brothers, the Mellons, the politicians, the Fat Cats: none of them care about the people. They care ONLY ABOUT THEMSELVES. The average citizen needs to get that into their heads. Neither of the two political parties, nor the Libertarians, nor the Teanuts, give a rat's patootie about the poor or the middle class. The proof is in the pudding. Take a long hard look at it. It is poisoned!!!
 
 
+13 # Forenna 2011-03-20 00:09
Look. let's stop this nonsense. Nuclear power is a political/econo mic ploy. The corporations don't care about humanity--Only dollars. We, the people, must transform the laws that do not work for the people That's it!
 
 
-9 # Robert H Weir 2011-03-20 00:24
...The man who gave us George W Bush...
 
 
+2 # Lee Black 2011-03-20 16:28
I can agree with Nader here and still resent the fact that he made Bush/Cheney possible. Imagine, no Iraq, not to mention hundreds of minor actions like tax breaks for the wealthy; deregulation... on and on
 
 
+3 # Craig Downer 2011-03-20 00:37
This is a great and incisive indictment by Nader of the Nuclear Route to energy independence. It is the fool's path to annihilation!
 
 
+15 # Mardi Gras 2011-03-20 00:47
Ralph Nader is full of common sense and concern for the common good. The same cannot be said of many proponents of nuclear power.

Nader is on the mark, and very well-organized, in his comments about nuclear energy.

Techno babble and nuclear industry spin cannot change reality.

I think our exposure to the marketing of "endless electricity" has conditioned us to forget that we depend on the limited resources of the earth. We need to adjust ourselves and our technologies to that simple fact.
Using nuclear power plants to make electricity goes a long way in the wrong direction. Just looking at the amount of water that nukes require should be an eye-opener.
 
 
-17 # Edujustice2005 2011-03-20 00:50
Edujustice2005 aka Benton: As for Ralph Nader, a man that think he knows something about everything and always running for president so he can tie up some vote so the wrong party can win, I believe nothing he says. It would be better if all these know nothings would keep their mouth close and let the ones working on certain project do their job, things would be a lot better! You'll know so much and really you don't know a damn thing!
 
 
+7 # T.R. 2011-03-20 00:50
Well Ralph, I did stick with you. You are the ONLY person in our once great land with whom I'd stick-- through thick and thin. And everything you write in the article rings with truth and honesty and ...practicality.

But you and those of us who have stuck with you are in the minority I'm afraid. Even Michael Moore turned his back on you, asking you NOT TO RUN. And they now see what they got---Bush lite; in a way almost worse than the Shrub, because so filled with hypocrisy. At least we knew in advance that Bush was taking us on the road to hell. We had hopes the next in line, Mr. Moore's GREAT HOPE, would take us in the other direction.

But I'm pleased and PROUD I chose the right man--again.
Thank you for being there for us, Mr. Nader.
 
 
+5 # Babe 2011-03-20 01:30
Nuclear power sounds like the answer to a prayer at first glance, because it's "clean." However, it is only a stop-gap for something more inventive and far better. Isn't this the way science has always worked? When one novel invention loses its enchantment, something better comes along, either through improvement, or from an inovation that's altogether different. Yes, we all want clean energy, but nuclear power as it stands today is anything BUT clean. Finding a "safe" place to bury unused radioactive isotopes is still the major problem against reactors. Recently, there have been major improvements in solar panels. They are now lighter weight; do not need sunny days--daylight is all that's required, and are far less expensive than nuclear reactors to install. Another possibility is ocean waves to generate electricity. There are many areas of pursuit other than monstrosities with the ability to kill thousands when they go capute, which can satisfy our hunger for power to run mankind's "toys."
 
 
+10 # kprugman 2011-03-20 01:54
It is usually difficult to get my students to pay attention to important issues that concern their future, like energy. But they were speechless when I showed them pictures of the devastation in Japan.

If nuclear energy advocates wanted to convince the public that their reactors were safe, then they ought to do a better job ensuring that public schools are doing a better job educating our young people.

I'm no longer sure that our own government is all that sincere in its efforts to educate the American people.

I'm thriving on solar power and look forward to selling power back to my utility and I don't have to intimidate my neighbors or scare them with a nuclear accident that could potentially contaminate a state the size of Pennsylvania. I am not looking forward to Americans pushing lead-lined baby strollers as some mothers are forced to do in parts of Russia.

Lets not forget that the real crisis, like oil spills in the Gulf, are just beginning to unfold in both the US and Japan.
 
 
+7 # Ralph Averill 2011-03-20 03:03
"Wall Street will not finance new nuclear plants without a 100% taxpayer loan guarantee. Too risky. That's a lot of guarantee given that new nukes cost $12 billion each, assuming no mishaps. Obama and the Congress are OK with that arrangement.
Nuclear power is uninsurable in the private insurance market - too risky. Under the Price-Anderson Act, taxpayers pay the greatest cost of a meltdown's devastation."
Where are the Republicans screaming about the "free market", unfettered by gov't. interference? Where are the Tea-baggers who screamed about the gov't. bailout of Wall St. and Detroit? Where are all the people who screamed that the gov't. has no business bailing out mortgage holders in over their heads?
There is one, and only one, solution to the energy problem; birth control. Period.
 
 
+15 # stonecutter 2011-03-20 07:10
We have descended to a nadir in American political discourse, when a credible figure, in this case Ralph Nader, who competently, analytically explains the apparent dangers of any corporate-backe d policy or initiative, in this case nuclear power, is branded an anti-business, anti-American "liberal", with all the evil overtones accrued in the post-Reagan era to that formerly honorable label.

Mr. Nader's essay makes complete sense and is anchored in the realities of human nature and scientific expertise, not in the finely honed public relations fantasies of the nuclear power lobby.

Let's try that evacuation drill at Indian Point...just once!
 
 
+9 # genierae 2011-03-20 07:17
Thank you Ralph Nader for all that you have done for the American people. In a sane world, you would be president.
 
 
+10 # eldoryder 2011-03-20 07:29
Easy. Dennis Kucinish is the ONE "incorruptible" candidate who we should push to start campaigning for the White House NOW!
 
 
-13 # robert hubert 2011-03-20 07:38
You cost Al Gore the election.Doesn' t that bother you knowing not one republican voted for you.
 
 
+10 # Ed Hutchinson 2011-03-20 07:56
It can be done without much sacrifice.

My wife and I are not rich by any means, but have reduced our use of oil, gas, and electricity dramatically. We have reduced our fuel oil consumption from over 1200 gal/year to about 300, and hope to cut that in half soon. Much of the difference was by reducing air infiltration and improving insulation. We are now a net "producer" of electricity (with a 400 sq ft grid tied solar array). It cost about $3.50 per watt of installed capacity (about a third the cost per watt of a new nuclear installation) and includes the cost of "fuel" for thirty years or more, and does not require any "operation" costs. It is automatic and safe enough to install on the roof a baby's bedroom. About 80% of our hot water is produced by solar hot water collectors. Our house in Vermont is about 150 years old and has a dirt cellar, but this winter we have been warm in spite of using very little fuel oil, We did this by replacing an old oil boiler that began to leak last year, and burning renewable wood pellets in a glass front stove in the living room. Now if we could find a suitable electric vehicle to use the excess electrical production and save a few hundred gallons of gasoline....
 
 
+9 # Owl 2011-03-20 09:53
In College, in a class at the 400 level, called something like "Nuclear power in the 20th century," in which we discussed all the uses of and possible consequences of it's uses (including weaponization, energy, medicine, etc.), we touched for several weeks on nuclear power plants. At one point, based on simple science, we did a class exercise calculating genetic mutations (due to particulate contamination of the food supply), amount of radioactive particles released, etc., and figured this out: ONE nuclear power plant burning out of control and sending up radioactive steam, would probably END ALL LIFE ON EARTH IN A LITTLE UNDER 300 YEARS. Is that enough of a reason to CEASE AND DESIST until some RELIABLE long term technology exists to both PREVENT nuclear accidents and STORE nuclear waste!?!
 
 
+2 # Buckles 2011-03-20 10:05
My old property had a flag that was shredded every year by the wind, Years back I asked the co-op to go into developing a small wind tower to lower my cost for electricity, their answer was a rate hike. I'm in the city now maybe the people will get Obama to change his mind on nuclear plans and go gung ho on solar wind ect.
 
 
+9 # Judy Moore 2011-03-20 10:33
Everyone bemoans the huge financial burden that is being passed on to future generations. But I have yet to hear any comments on the huge burden, i.e. crime, of passing on a toxic planet by burying nuclear waste around the world. It is an absolute crime against humanity. We try to comfort ourselves by claiming how safe these sites are. But what has happened in Japan has shown us that absolute safety is a farce. Can we learn this hard lesson from the suffering of the Japanese people?
 
 
+3 # Rudy Stefenel 2011-03-20 10:40
You have a lot of influence where it can make a difference, and this is critically important right now.

Did you know that Thorium-based reactor R&D is going on in Japan, China, and India right now? This kind of reactor is called a Thorium Molten Salt Reactor.
It is also called a MSR for Molten Salt Reactor, and a LFTR for Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor. It was invented in the USA during the 1960s at Oak Ridge National laboratories, and one ran for four years.

They are much safer than other kinds of nuclear reactors:

They regulate themselves so they don't melt down or blow up.

They are unpressurized so expensive containment buildings are not necessary.

They don't require an expensive cooling system.

They are far more immune to human error and national disasters than other kinds of nuclear power.

Waste from other reactors can be added in the Molten Salt Reactors and used up. This is a big plus, because nuclear waste is a problem right now.

They are more efficient than other kinds of nuclear reactors.

They require low maintenance.

DE-commissioned nuclear reactors can be converted to LFTRs, and become far more powerful.
 
 
0 # LizR 2011-03-21 18:47
These are "subcritical" reactors - they have to be continuously "pumped" to operate, so if the power goes they shut themselves down.

See http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/media/499/thorium-reactors-a-new-type-nuclear-reactor for more information.

Why everyone isn't using these is beyond me, aside from the fact they can't be used to make nukes. (Or am I being naive here?)
 
 
+1 # A. Zide 2011-03-20 12:43
There are also well-establishe d, proven plans for using the geo-thermal energy of the earth itself (developed by some Israelis) . Why is no one opting for wider use of this kind of energy where it is accessible close to the surface ... .
Nuclear energy (especially in unreliable GE-designed plants) is much too risky.
 
 
-2 # T.R. 2011-03-20 13:31
Rudy....so where are these miraculous contraptions? And where is that one that ran for four years now? Sounds like you have been having some "mushroom" DREAMS.
 
 
+2 # Jim@ChateauMcely.Com 2011-03-20 13:47
* Nuclear energy has never been, nor will it every be economically attractive. If Wall Street never has, nor ever will invest in nuclear power, why would you, the taxpayer do so?
* What kind of business can pass the financial and safety risks to taxpayers, whether they like it or not?
* Isn't it peculiar that only the taxpayer can guarentee nuclear power insurance?
* There is lots of money to be made in building nuclear plants--$15-20 billion per plant--hence the powerful lobby.
* Forget about jumping to conclusions. Lovins is not the only one to come to the conclusion that nulcear power is unsafe and uneconomic. The analyses are constantly discredited by former cigarette company PR firms.
* Finally, you don't need an earthquake or tsunami to cause massive devastation worst than Japan's current challenge. 2012 will be the peak year for the worst 11-year cycle solar electromagtneti c storms in known history. Coupled with the current weakening of the earth's natural magnetic field & shield, this could cause wide spread grid outages for many weeks, which could put cooling equipment at risk for nuclear plants. This equipment not only provides reactor cooling, but also keeps dangerous nuclear waste stored on the ground of every one of the 104 U.S.nuclear plants. Extended power outages could pose a fightening nulcear meltdown.
 
 
-7 # fredboy 2011-03-20 14:18
Thanks Ralph, and thanks for Bush-Cheney...
 
 
0 # tomo 2011-03-20 14:40
There was a time when the increase of population made me believe we could not push nuclear power off the table. (I'd still be happy to see fusion power, if ever we can tame it.) Japan, and some friends who have worked far more closely with radiation than I, have convinced me that we have to step away from fission-powered domestic energy. (Nuclear bombs on the other hand are entirely practical--prov ided you want to kill immense numbers of people, perhaps all of us, very quickly.)

That Obama seems to be hanging in there with the nuclear energy gang should surprise no one. It's entirely according to pattern. For he begins with some fairly thoughtful common sense. Having established his reasonableness, he then drifts off into wonderland--in the company of all the monsters. He is a third-term for the policies of Bush and Cheney. In this nuclear business, he clearly believes in "BIG Government" and should be as objectionable to conservatives as he is
to progressives. (Trouble is, conservatives have disappeared from the scene, and their children are all "emotionally challenged" and can't be expected to help much since they stand in desperate need of help and compassion themselves. Let's just hope, with a little help from their friends in the nuclear lobby, they just don't manage to burn down the only "house" that any of us have as a home.)
 
 
0 # AttorneyBill 2011-03-20 14:49
They now compare Radiation Exposure to a C-Scan rather than an X-Ray. Is this because a C-Scan has powers of ten more times Radiation than an X-ray? (i.e. - to make it appear less than it really is)
 
 
-2 # James38 2011-03-20 19:04
My heart goes out to those suffering after the disaster in Japan. This is a real disaster, and they need all the help any of us can give. We also need to learn some serious lessons. Problems that have occurred with old reactor designs do not indicate that Nuclear Power is inherently or excessively dangerous. All power sources have dangers. Coal plants produce far more radiation each day than a well designed Nuclear plant would produce in a year. Coal also causes air pollution that results in many deaths from respiratory illnesses. Nuclear plants have caused no deaths when working correctly, and have caused very few deaths or injuries even when the worst problems have happened. In spite of statements that Chernobyl, which was a very poorly designed reactor, resulted in thousands of deaths, the actual figure is less than sixty. Coal also is the worst source of CO2, which is causing dangerous atmospheric changes leading to disasters from Global Warming. We must not allow ignorance and poor analysis to frighten us into making unjustified restrictions on the future use of Nuclear Power.
 
 
-2 # James R Young 2011-03-20 21:03
Take a look at satellite pictures of Sudbury Canada (you can still see the area affected by the smelters from geostationary satellite distances). They won awards for cleaning up smelters but then there is a perverse advantage to being most improved when you start from so far back.
 
 
0 # James38 2011-03-20 19:07
As an example of the way Nuclear problems have been exaggerated, one article says the Japanese nuclear reactor problem "may be much worse than the 1979 Three Mile Island disaster" There WAS NO "Three Mile Island DISASTER". Nobody was killed; nobody got a serious dose of radiation. It really does not make sense to call the problem at Three Mile Island a “disaster”. There was a bad problem with a reactor - one reactor. The problem was caused by human error. If the reactor had been allowed to function as designed, there would have been no meltdown. Even though the reactor was an old design, it took an erroneous human intervention to cause the problem. The reactors in Japan, which were damaged by the earthquake, were also old designs, and the cooling systems were too complicated and relied on too many power sources and processes, and they were not protected from a tsunami this severe. They were built too close to a coastline, and too close to an active fault zone. Modern reactor designs are fail-safe. The nuclear reactions are controlled by gravity operated damper rods that deploy automatically if there is a problem of any sort. What we must learn from this real disaster in Japan is how to improve future reactor designs. We must not allow ignorance and poor analysis to frighten us into making unjustified restrictions on the future use of Nuclear Power.
 
 
+1 # tomo 2011-03-21 08:58
"One article says...disaster."
-James, somehow claiming that ONE article used the word "disaster" rather than, say, "revealing mishap" regarding Three Mile Island is hardly going to go very far in making your case.

"The problem was caused by human error." So to put THAT much power at risk of human error is irresponsible.
Surely you're not going to argue that the new DESIGNS function so autonomously
that there is no interaction with humans.

"Modern reactor designs are fail-safe." -I think an historian of language would probably discover that it was precisely over nuclear-energy uses that the adjective "fail-safe" became a universally familiar term. It was used no doubt earlier, but my dictionary offers 1946 as the year the term entered common usage. I think the term has probably been used of every nuclear reactor that has ever been built. That you use it for the "new designs" is nothing new at all.
 
 
-3 # James38 2011-03-20 19:08
No matter what happens to the reactors in Japan, it means nothing whatsoever about the safety or the importance of building new, modern, safe reactors as quickly as possible. Since the world’s governments and businesses are as yet doing nothing effective to stop the use of coal, oil, and natural gas for baseline power supply, we are running out of time to prevent huge REAL disasters caused by Global Warming. Nuclear power is the quickest and safest way to produce baseline power so we can stop polluting the atmosphere with CO2 from burning coal, oil, and natural gas. It would be utterly foolish, the worst possible decision, to replace new, modern, safe Nuclear reactors with additional Coal fired plants. That is the wrong decision. Among other things, the newest designs of Nuclear Reactors can use existing stockpiles of “Nuclear Waste” as fuel, and they can not be used to produce weapons grade material. The right decision is to build new Nuclear plants as rapidly as possible.
 
 
-2 # tomo 2011-03-21 09:07
James: I notice you pit nuclear energy against coal and oil. Solar, wind, and human energy--these far more conservative interactions with nature--are curiously unmentioned in your case. Perhaps your premise is that we must have an ever-expanding human population, and one in which each individual uses ever-expanding amounts of energy. This is the kind of world Lawrence Summers--that ping-pong ball who bounces between Harvard and government--amb itions. I hope you are not into that.
 
 
+3 # dael 2011-03-20 20:39
Nuclear energy is a plutocratic boondoggle that WE are paying for. Socializing the losses, privatizing the profits. It is the constant push of the corporatists of freeing us of our money, whether with or without government sanction. Corporations need to get a soul or get out of the way.
 
 
+7 # Uranus 2011-03-21 01:19
Nuclear, oil, gas and coal technologies and rotary generators are the product of a deliberately truncated electrical engineering model. Rotary generators throw away a trillion times the amount of power they provide to the line. Even though that power can be recaptured, it isn't, all so a few greedy, rotten people can become unbelievably wealthy.

A simple circuit can provide more electrical power than you can use without fuel, pollution, COST or a grid. It should be as common as table salt, and was invented 130 years ago. Industry and your government don't want you to know.

I've been asking where it is for 48 years, and only in the past couple came to understand it's among our country's most highly classified technologies and closely held secrets.

The primitive world in which we live looks more like a cartoon to me with each passing second.
 
 
+1 # Gary Ray Pierson 2011-03-21 09:34
As Mr.Makey (sp) on South Park would say; " Nuclear reactors are bad for you and the environment,ok mm? Solar energy is good for the environment as are many other renewable means of energy are, ok,mmm? All we have to do is stop spending on the bad and spend on the good.. The good won't kill you or your environment, ok,class,mmm That means it's good, ok class,mmm.. Ok class..mmm Dismissed,mmmm. .. Ok?
 
 
+1 # John Boanerges 2011-03-21 10:47
What kind of people take government casualty figures at face value? The same ones who do not question lack of probable cause for the raid on Waco/Randy Weaver? The totally ridiculous fertilizer/fuel bomb taking down the Murrah building? The strange collapse of building 7 many minutes after BBC reported it (with it showing in their background, no less) as an accomplished fact? How a 757 can enter a reinforced concrete building and penetrate 85 feet through a 14-17 foot hole taking its wings and tail inside with it?. Facts will emerge that the loss figure from the earthquake(s) will dwarf the 10K number and the radiation will kill/cause cancer in vastly more individuals and large areas of Japan will be uninhabitable for extensive times to come - except to the hardy cockroaches. But your bread and circus must not be disturbed by mere facts when lies are so much more comforting. Meanwhile, barry bombs at will.
 
 
+2 # whistleblowerdr 2011-03-21 17:13
Ralph is right again. If you want to see how bad it is in the nuclear industry go to www.whistleblowing.us then click on the International Whistleblower Archive. After you get there put in the words nuclear whistleblower and you will not believe the 800,000 hits that you will get. Start reading and see how bad things are in the nuclear industry. One can insert any appropriate tag and search the archive. Sit down before you start.
 
 
+3 # jeenious 2011-03-21 17:22
Risk management is not risk elimination.

There will be at least one nuclear reactor catastrophe in the U. S.

The release of deadly radioactive contamination can come either from fuel in an active reactor or spent radioactive waste materials. As Nader pointed out, scientists have not found any way to neutralize or store the steadily increasing nuclear waste material from existing reactors, and that waste is stored in TEMPORARY facilities, ON SITE. And on-site safe storage and security are minimal.

Some of the risks are release of deadly radioactive materials via:

earthquake damage;
tornado damage;
flood damage;
externally instigated terrorist attack
internally instigated terrorist attack
invasion of U.S. in a war
human error
leakage of nuclear waste into soil and water

But never fear. We have a wonderful record in the U.S. of not worrying about worst case scenarios until after they happen. Once the horse is out, we increase security and preventive measures. In the meantime, we all say to one another, let's wait and see.

Heaven forbid we should worry until it happens, and we are thereby made aware that we waited too long.
 
 
+1 # DBK 2011-03-22 11:05
By the way, it's stunning how quickly and thoroughly nuclear industry sock puppets have shown up on line to offer talking points for the nuclear industry.

Here's a question: if it's so safe, why was anybody evacuated? If it's so safe, why so many precautions? If it's so safe, why can't they get privately insured (you'd think the statistics guys at the insurance companies would be screaming at the company to insure the nuclear plants because it would be easy money, no?) If it's so safe, why aren't these sock puppets in Japan right now, standing on a pile of reactor rubble in shorts and t-shirts to demonstrate how safe it is? If it is so safe, why are the Japanese so desperate to stop the radiation release?

I love how it's always "Well, nobody could have anticipated a 9.0 earthquake and tsunami". Every time some disaster occurs, the response is, "Well, that was unusual". The problem is, something is always going to happen somewhere, so why build a giant machine that will give tens of thousands of people cancer when it does happen.

One last thing: how come I never heard, ever, not even once, not one single nuke apologist say, "Of course, we ought to try conservation, too." Funny how they never say anything about that. stefanhansen, you seem to have a lot to say, but you never get anywhere close to the word "conservation". Why is that?
 
 
+1 # DBK 2011-03-22 11:42
Nope, nobody died from Chernobyl.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041121220635.htm

http://www.llrc.org/belarusokeanov.htm

Or maybe....
 
 
+1 # Geoffrey A Corson MD 2011-03-22 14:41
For a few short years we use nuclear energy sources, then subject our decendants to an eternity of controllin highly dangerous radioactivity, but with not benefit. What a horrible ransom and legacy
 
 
+2 # Pikewich 2011-03-22 18:53
I love it:

"There are better ways to boil water"

Boiling water for steam with nuclear power is insane.
 
 
+1 # Heartbeatt 2011-03-23 17:12
The most profound words I have heard were spoken by Irina Gruschewaja, who has cared for the children of Chernobyl for over 20 years:
The nuclear energy promised to bring us heat and electricity into our homes and we thought this was good, but they also brought sickness and death and the sense of no longer having any perspective for the future.
They called it a peaceful form of nuclear energy, but now she looks at Japanese children in the area and she knows their future because she has seen it in Russia and the Ukraine.
The lives that Irina Gruschewaja has witnessed may appear to be a normal lives, but they are not not. When one looks closer, there is suffering. She has seen so many people die young, and children still being born with terrible defects.
It is a human catastrophe, because it shatters peoples lives in the most fundamental sense.
The atom industry cannot stand up to one iota of truth. Human beings are so arrogant. It is arrogant to imagine that humans are capable of harnessing nuclear energy. It is not peaceful. it is a war against the human being as a species and against nature and it runs in the human marrow of the next generations like a time bomb. What will it take to make human beings realize that this energy is not compatible with human life per se?

to be contd.
 
 
+1 # Heartbeatt 2011-03-23 17:12
I think we need to take out full page ads in all major newspapaers worldwide and list the following points:
- all dangers, including all the horrific disposal and clean up factors, with costs estimated for the next 500 years.
- all the breakdowns, leaks, near misses, etc. that have occurred world-wide (that's a lot)
- the known deaths to date and details of kinds of cancer, of skin ailments, bone breakdown, birth defects, etc. etc. (endless list)
- the whole fatal financial set-up between corporations and governments, how much tax the nuclear plants pay, how much they can write off, every detail, shareholder interests (should there even be shareholders in the nuclear power industry?), what we actually pay for on top of what appears on our electricity bills. etc. etc.
The news leaks out day by day along with the certainty that many people will die of radiation poisoning in Japan. And yet again we learn that enormous criticism was raised over the years about the standards of the atom energy plants in Japan, as well as evidence of cover-ups and falsified records, and it was just ignored.
It will happen again, there can be no doubt of that. And if it hurts the Japanese, it hurts every one of us, at least morally.
 
 
0 # ninjalibrarian 2011-04-02 10:48
There is only one purpose for nuclear reactors: the production of weapons-grade plutonium. Electric power is a by-product of that process. Mr. Nader's failure to mention this fact leaves me puzzled, to say the least, but not really surprised. The real purpose for nuclear power plants is yet another fact that has gone down the memory hole, and until we deal with this question openly and honestly, the danger of this technology will continue to be a sword hanging over all our heads.
 

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