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Life Arts    H4'ed 8/4/11

Musicians United for Safe Energy Launch Mega-Concert in San Francisco this Sunday

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My guest today is Harvey Wasserman, author of Solartopia! Our Green Powered Earth  and long-time anti-nuclear activist. Welcome back to OpEdNews, Harvey. You've been at this for a long, long time. What's new in the No Nukes movement? Please catch us up. 

photo credit: Peg McPhearson

This weekend, we're reviving MUSICIANS UNITED FOR SAFE ENERGY which staged the historic five-day concerts in Madison Square Garden in 1979.  There was also a huge rally with 200,000 people at Battery Park City.  This came in the wake of Three Mile Island and had a huge impact over the coming years.  On Sunday, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, CSN, the Doobie Brothers, John Hall, Sweet Honey in the Rock and many other great artists will do MUSE2 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre south of San Francisco.  We are trying to finally bury the nuke industry by stopping the loan guarantees they need to build new reactors.  We are also focussed on shutting existing nuke, especially Vermont Yankee, Indian Point (NY) and the four in California that are on earthquake faults in tsunami zones.

Back up a sec, Harvey. We have nuclear power plants on  earthquake fault lines? That are also in tsunami zones? Are we insane?

WE are not insane, but the corporations are.  They care about nothing but profit.  For them, having nukes on fault lines doesn't matter because their liability is taken care of by the federal government.  So the Price-Anderson Act MUST be repealed to force the industry to cover its own liability.  And there are numerous major reactors around the US on or near earthquake faults, including four in California that are also in tsunami zones.  ALL reactors must be shut asap, and we now clearly have the renewable resources ready to go to replace them!

For those of us not so much in the loop, what's the Price-Anderson Act? And why do you say "we now clearly have the renewable resources ready to go to replace" nuclear energy. What do you base that statement on?

The Price-Anderson Act of 1957 shields the nuke industry from liability for its own catastrophes.  it's VERY dangerous and needs to be repealed. Even now the industry won't operate unless it's protected from its own disasters by taxpayer money.

The evidence that renewables have outstripped nukes and can supply ALL our energy needs has been coming from many different sources now.  Primary is the Rocky Mountain Institute ( ) and there are more, even including Bloomberg's now.  As far as the cost of the green revolution goes, we have won definitively.  Now we need to finally bury the nuclear monster.....

How did we get stuck with the Price-Anderson Act in the first place? It's such a blatantly bad idea. Did the nuclear energy lobbyists write the bill themselves? So, let's see what we've got so far. Nuclear energy is unsafe and expensive to use not to mention to dispose of the waste. And there are green alternatives. So why can't we "just say 'No'"?

Price-Anderson was passed because the Administration wanted to build commercial reactors as a happy face for the nuclear weapons industry.  But no utility company or builder would take on the liability.  So the industry asked for the liability shield until the reactors were safe enough to attract private insurers.  That was more than a half-century ago.  The current deal stretches it out until at least 2020.  It's a terrible and unique scam.  We can "just say no" except for the billions in funny money certain dark forces have invested in this failed technology.  At this point, a free market in energy, with no subsidies for ANY technology, would bring us a green-powered Solartopian planet very quickly, and King CONG---coal, oil, nukes and gas---would fade away very quickly.  All the dirty energies are totally reliant on ripping of the tax/rate-payer, as well as destroying the planet.

Got it. So, with the musicfest, you're trying to stir up support and visibility for the No Nukes movement?

People ask me whatever happened to the No Nukes Movement?  I tell them:  WE WON.  The global movement against atomic energy may be the most successful non-violent campaign in history.  In 1974, Nixon said there'd be 1000 nukes in the US by the year 2000.  There were 104 and now we are turning the tide and working to shut those down.  The other 896 went missing because we campaigned against them.  So, now we have the final task of shutting off the federal money, currently in the form of those loan guarantees, and shutting the existing ones.  In the meantime the Solartopian revolution in green power---solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, ocean thermal, bio-fuels, efficiency, conservation, etc.---will constitute the great technological revolution in human history.  But we have to survive the nukes to get there, meaning we must shut them down as fast as possible.  This concert is part of that great and good campaign.... Media Conference:  Washington DC, October, 2007.
The NUKEFREE.ORG coalition of musicians and environmental groups presents 120,000 signatures to Congress in opposition to nuclear loan guarantees proposed for new nuclear power plants.

Standing left to right: Ken Cook, Environmental Working Group; Mary Olson, Nuclear Information and Resource Service; Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA/7th); Congressman John Hall (D-NY/19th); Dave Hamilton, Sierra Club; Jackson Browne; Tyson Slocum, Public Citizen; Kate Smolski, Greenpeace USA; Gene Karpinski, League of Conservation Voters; Ben Schreiber, Environment America; Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear; Chris Payne, NRDC.
Seated left to right: Graham Nash; Bonnie Raitt; Harvey Wasserman
photo credit: Chris Farber,

I hate to be a bucket of cold water but Congress just crafted and passed an awful debt ceiling "deal" and some of us are still reeling from it. The Woodstock Nation is but a fond memory. People Power has been replaced by an endless supply of bulldozing corporations, aided and abetted by our elected officials who seem mindfully oblivious of what we want. What can a puny concert do against all that?

EVERYTHING!  The disconnect between the corporate-owned government and the people is almost total now.  We are building a new society within the shell of the old.  The internet is a big part of it, but there is more in the way we must now shift the paradigms of how we live and think.  It's a constant process.  Because we live in an imperial capital that is turning to compost, the contrast is particularly acute.  But we must keep doing what we do, making beautiful music, putting forth the vision of a green planet.  Ultimately, it's us that'll prevail and the old corpse of corporate government that will fall away.....

From your mouth to God's ear, as they say. Anything you'd like to add, Harvey, before we wrap this up?

T he first and last thing we all must understand is that the people rose up against this lethal technology and have kept at bay.  Because of citizen action---and ONLY because of it---there are some 450 reactors worldwide instead of far far more.  Now we are tasked with finishing the job.  The wind at our back is the explosive success of renewable technology, which is now pricing everything else out of the market.  So we need to cut off the rip-off of taxpayer money for new reactors and pile away at the old ones until they crumble and fall.  That's how we win a sustainable planet.  Ultimately, the survival instinct will trump the profit motive.  But it's always a close call, and every bit of effort now makes an extraordinary difference.  So listen to Pete Seeger sing SOLARTOPIA at and then join us via at the concert this Sunday.  You'll be glad you did!!!!

Thank you so much for talking with me. Good luck with the concert and the idea behind it!

Harvey Wasserman edits  and helped coin the phrase "No Nukes" in 1973. He is author of Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth, which available at .
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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)

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