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General News    H2'ed 3/22/11

Report Underscores Ticking Time Bomb Of US Nuke Power Plants

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Message Linn Washington

Obama's backing last year of massive funding to jump start a nuclear power industry that has been moribund since Three Mile Island, has prompted caustic criticism, including a February 2010 commentary by Glen Ford, a veteran journalist and co-founder of the online Black Agenda Report.

Ford's commentary noted an often overlooked context of Obama's support for expanding nuke power plants in the U.S.: the nation's largest nuke plant operating company, the Chicago-based Exelon, was a major corporate contributor to Obama's 2008 election campaign.

"This isn't about the environment. It's about Wall Street stealing the people blind," Ford stated in his February 2010 commentary bemoaning how the public has been put "on the hook" for billions of dollars targeted for building, insuring and cleaning up nuclear plants.

Ford characterized Obama's backing of nuclear power as a "crime story."

The report from Union of Concerned Scientists ends with an ominous observation that echoes a line in a song by fabled 70's era singer/poet Gil Scott-Heron about a 1966 partial meltdown at a nuclear plant near Detroit. (That partial meltdown miraculously did not produce releases of radioactive materials.)

Scott-Heron, in his popular song "We Almost Lost Detroit," sang that when it comes to public safety "money wins out every time"" Referencing the inherent dangers for massive devastation in nuke plants Scott-Heron remarked that "Odds are, we gonna loose somewhere sometime."

The Union's report ends with this observation: "That plant operators could have avoided all 14 near-misses in 2010 had they corrected known deficiencies in a timely manner suggests that our luck at nuclear roulette may someday run out."

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Linn Washington is a co-founder of This Can't Be Happening.net. Washington writes frequently on inequities in the criminal justice system, ills in society and problems in the news media. He teaches multi-media urban journalism at Temple (more...)
 

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