Saturday, November 3, 2007Has Anti Nuclear Rocker John Hall Sold His Soul To Nuclear Devil?
Making news all over America in the past couple of weeks was the reemergence of MUSE
as stalwarts in the music industry Bonnie Raitt
, Jackson Browne
and others launched a new movement to stop the $50 Billion Loan guarantees slated for the Commercial Nuclear Industry as they push for a Nuclear Renaissance
here in America. With great fanfare a petition drive was launched, complete with a new web site and organization as Congressman John Hall's friends in the music industry rode into town on their white steeds. (http://www.nukefree.org
It was a start, and many of us in the anti nuclear movement were anxiously awaiting ACT II...would MUSE
finally do something to oppose the wrongful license renewal
of 104 aging reactors such as Entergy's aging Indian Point
? Would the music industry step up to bat, and beat back a wrongful Nuclear Renaissance, oppose the license renewal of trouble plagued plants, and oppose all new build applications being filed with the NRC...so many questions as we enjoyed the new video
, as 120,000 anti nuclear folk poured out of the wood work to rush off and sign the petition!
The movement seemed to stumble badly at a Press Conference when everyone but Jackson Browne
seemed to have the wrong answer...the most noticeable stumble came from Congressman John Hall, perhaps the most NOTABLE Anti Nuclear musician of his time, who ran for Congress on the promise of CLOSING DOWN INDIAN POINT. When asked if he would SUPPORT Pro-Nuclear Presidential Candidates Hillary Clinton
and Barack Obama
if they win the nod to carry the Democratic banner, he said he would support them! WHAT! wait a minute, say it ain't so John!
Whispers rushed through the grassroots community here in New York, telephones rang as conversations on this revelation began...with a certain sadness the consensus seemed to be that John Hall had to play politics, and was just doing what he had to do to keep his ducks in a row
inside the beltway. With tears in our eyes, and a bit of doubt in our hearts, it was decided to give John Hall the benefit of the doubt. After all, he is only a Freshman, and besides, LOOK at what he is making happen with MUSE...120,000 signatures is NOTHING TO SNEEZE AT. Further, he, Nita Lowey and Maurice Hinchey are all in favor of shutting down Indian Point, they have told us so, have stated they are against NUCLEAR ENERGY.
Shaken, but reassured, we moved forward, taking solace in Jackson Browne's comments, and the incredible list of Music Titans who had signed onto the petition such as Herbie Hancock
, Musician/Activist, David Crosby
, Musician/Activist, Pearl Jam, Musicians/Activists and even Melissa Etheridge. Even more assuring at the time was the fact that long time environmentalist and anti nuclear legend Paul Harvey was in charge of the new web site. Surely the man who gave us Solartopia
could would chart a safe path through dangerous waters.
Imagine the resurgence in our ranks these past few weeks as we began believing we had friends in high places who were TRUE TO OUR CAUSE, would carry our anti nuclear message into the Halls of Congress, work with us to stop the wrongful license renewal of trouble plagued nuclear reactors like Indian Point, Vermont Yankee, Pilgrim, Diablo Canyon and others. We had hope that the Nuclear Renaissance could be stopped in its tracks.
Then, the other shoe dropped when I was reading an article today found on the Nuke Workers web site about the Defense Appropriations bill passed by Congress for 2008. The House-passed measure would require the Navy to make its future fleet of surface combatants nuclear powered.
WHAT? OH MY FREAKING GOD, a major expansion of nuclear propulsion cruising around the world's oceans! Thinking it was a mistake, I ran off to do some research into the bill.
GovTrack.us. H.R. 1585--110th Congress (2007): National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, GovTrack.us (database of federal legislation)
Sure as God makes little green apples it was true! From hence forth if the Congress has its way, all Naval ships will be floating Nuclear Reactors! My first thought was, "Does John Hall know about this?" My second thought was, "How did our anti nuclear members of Congress (Lowey, Hinchey and John Hall) vote on this? Sadly, even pathetically all three members supported this bill, voted in favor of an ALL NUCLEAR NAVY! What happened to standing by your principles, your core beliefs. How can someone like John Hall profess to be anti-nuclear cast a vote in the affirmative for any bill that includes something like this in it?
Such a vote, showing support for a bill that calls for a all Nuclear Navy is nothing short of treason to the Anti-Nuclear Movement. The very people we are counting on to help close down Indian Point, to stop the plant's leaking of tritium and strontium 90 into the Hudson River voted to have all future war ships powered by nuclear reactors! Looking at the numerous ocean going nuclear accidents of the past, it makes no sense whatsoever to have hundreds if not thousands of nuclear ships patrolling the world's oceans. Let's not kid ourselves, if America's Navy goes fully nuclear, nations like China and Russia will soon follow our course.
Are Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Hornsby and Harvey Wasserman aware of this betrayal? A call was made to Harvey Wasserman at his Bexley Ohio home, but he stated he was not prepared to make a comment at this time.
Perhaps he was uncomfortable making a statement without first clearing it through MUSE and NUKE FREE first, or wanted to wait, and put the right political spin on the situation in an article for the Huffington Post for which he contributes the occasional article. After all, how do you tell 120,000 people who signed the MUSE/NUKE FREE petition opposing 50 Billion in loan guarantees to the commercial nuclear industry, that one of the pillars of the Anti-Nuclear Movement, one of the founding members as it were of MUSE, Anti Nuclear activist and musician John Hall, used his vote in the United States Congress to bless a Nuclear Navy.
Lets be clear here...if Congress gets its way in committee, and this part of their bill remains intact, over a period of 20 or so years it will amount to the BIGGEST subsidy to the nuclear industry that ever came down the pike. 300-400 American Nuclear War Ships, each powered with a nuclear reactor is a staggering thought, and dwarfs our current fleet of 104 Commercial Reactors.
Once this Congressional paragraph is written into law, we will have forever changed America and the world's course through history. There are times, even in Washington, DC where a politician has to take a stand, vote their heart, rather than worrying about getting re-elected, and this was one of those moments, especially for John Hall. Sadly, it appears that politics over rode personal beliefs, as there is no other excuse that can be found for voting in favor of a Nuclear Navy when you are a Anti Nuclear activist. Lest people think Congressman John Hall is the only member of Congress with nuclear blood on their hands, think again...the vote was not even close:
(Sec. 1012) States that it is the policy of the United States to construct the major combatant vessels of the naval strike forces, including all new classes of such vessels, with integrated nuclear power systems. Requires the Secretary, with respect to a budget submission for construction of a new class of major combatant vessel for the naval strike force, to request a vessel with an integrated nuclear power system, unless the Secretary notifies Congress that an integrated system in such vessel is not in the national interest.
May 17, 2007: This bill passed in the House of Representatives by roll call vote. The totals were 397 Ayes, 27 Nays, 8 Present/Not Voting.
View Votes (House of Representatives roll no. 373)
397 votes amounts to and unprecedented Super Majority. This begs the question, "How many other community's hosting nuclear facilities thought their elected official in Washington, DC were on their side, were firmly in the Anti Nuclear camp?" Do the citizens around Palo Verde, Diablo Canyon, Vermont Yankee, Pilgrim, Oyster Creek and other aging reactor host community's feel betrayed by such a massive pro-nuclear industry vote out of Congress? For those thinking a Nuclear Navy makes all the sense in the world, posted below are some examples of military nuclear mishaps, but we caution that the list is far from being complete.
January 17, 1966 – Near Palomares, Spain, during over-ocean in-flight refueling, a B-52 collides with a USAF KC-135 jet tanker in the Palomares hydrogen bombs incident. Eight of the eleven crew members were killed. The KC-135's 40,000 U.S. gallons (150,000 L) of jet fuel burned. Two hydrogen bombs ruptured, dispersing radioactive particles over nearby farms. An intact bomb lands near Palomares. The fourth bomb was lost at sea, 12 miles (20 km) off the coast. A three month search involving 12,000 men was required to recover the lost bomb. The U.S. Navy employed the use of the deep-diving research submarine DSV Alvin to aid in the recovery efforts. During the ensuing cleanup, 1,500 tonnes of radioactive soil and tomato plants are shipped to a nuclear dump in Aiken, South Carolina. The U.S. settled claims by 522 Palomares residents for $600,000. The town also received a $200,000 desalinization plant. The motion picture Men of Honor (2000), starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. as USN Diver Carl Brashear, and Robert De Niro as USN Diver Billy Sunday, contained an account of the fourth bomb's recovery. Winter 1966-1967 (date unknown) – The Soviet icebreaker Lenin, the USSR's first nuclear-powered surface ship, suffers a major accident (possibly a meltdown—exactly what happened remains a matter of controversy in the West) in one of its three reactors. It was rumored that around 30 of the crew were killed. The ship was abandoned for a year to allow radiation levels to drop before the three reactors were removed, to be dumped into the Tsivolko Fjord on the Kara Sea, along with 60% of the fuel elements packed in a separate container. The reactors were replaced with two new ones, and she reentered service in 1970. January 22, 1968 – 7 miles (11 km) south of Thule Air Force Base, Greenland, a fire breaks out in the navigator's compartment of a B-52 which crashes, scattering three hydrogen bombs on land and dropping one into the sea. During a cleanup complicated by Greenland's harsh weather, contaminated ice and aircraft debris are buried in the U.S. Bomb fragments were recycled by Pantex, in Amarillo, Texas. Danes were outraged by the event because Greenland is a Danish possession, and Denmark forbids nuclear weapons on its territory. Denmark had massive demonstrations against the U.S. One warhead was recovered by Navy SEALs and Seabees (U.S. naval engineers) in 1979. An August 2000 report suggests that the other bomb remains at the bottom of Baffin Bay. October 1988 – At the nuclear trigger assembly facility at Rocky Flats in Colorado, two employees and a D.O.E. inspector inhale radioactive particles, causing closure of the plant. Several safety violations were cited, including uncalibrated monitors, inadequate fire equipment, and groundwater contaminated with radioactivity. May 24, 1968 – The Soviet nuclear submarine K-27 (Project 645) was out at sea. During sea trials, the nuclear reactor had operated at reduced power, and on May 24, power inexplicably suddenly dropped. Attempts by the crew to restore power levels failed. Simultaneously, gamma radiation in the reactor compartment increased to 150 rad/h. Radioactive gases were released to the reactor compartment from the safety buffer tank, and radiation on board the submarine increased. The reactor was shut down, and approximately 20% of the fuel assemblies were damaged. The incident was caused by problems in the cooling of the reactor core The entire submarine was scuttled in the Kara Sea in 1981. August 27, 1968 – The Project 667A Yankee-class nuclear submarine K-140 was in the naval yard at Severodvinsk for repairs. On August 27, an uncontrolled increase of the reactor's power occurred following work to upgrade the vessel. One of the reactors started up automatically when the control rods were raised to a higher position. Power increased to 18 times its normal amount, while pressure and temperature levels in the reactor increased to four times the normal amount. The automatic start-up of the reactor was caused by the incorrect installation of the control rod electrical cables and by operator error. Radiation levels aboard the vessel deteriorated. 1975 – The American Sturgeon-class submarine USS Guardfish attempts to dump the depleted resin from its purification system (used to remove dissolved radioactive minerals and particles from the primary coolant loops of submarines). The ship is contaminated when the wind blows resin back onto the ship. This type of accident was fairly common; however, U.S. Navy nuclear vessels no longer discharge resin at sea. July 16, 1979 (34th anniversary of the Trinity test) – In Church Rock, New Mexico, the earth/clay dike of a uranium mill's "temporary" settling/evaporating pond fails. The pond was past its planned and licensed life and had been filled two feet (60 cm) deeper than design, despite evident cracking. The incident drains about 100 million U.S. gallons (380,000 m³) of radioactive liquids and 1100 short tons (1000 metric tons) of solid wastes, which settle out up to 70 miles (100 km) down the Rio Puerco. 
Anti-Nuclear and environmental activist, publisher of two blogs on the subject of nuclear energy. Living less than three miles from Entergy's Indian Point, which is leaking tritium and strontium 90 into the Hudson, I write in the hopes of (more...