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Graced by its signature brand of droll, sophisticated cartooning, the magazine's exquisitely edited screeds have reliably delivered profound analyses of the world's most pressing issues.
But in a breathless, amateurish pursuit of atomic energy, the editorial staff has leapt into a sad sinkhole of radioactive mediocracy.
The latest is Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow's shallow, shoddy "Activists Who Embrace Nuclear Power," yet another tedious plea that we learn to love the Peaceful Atom.
For at least a century, countless scientific pioneers have exposed the murderous realities of nuclear radiation. Legendary researchers like Marie Curie, Alice Stewart, Rosalie Bertell, Helen Caldicott, John Gofman, Ernest Sternglass, Thomas Mancuso, Karl Z. Morgan, Samuel Epstein, Robert Alvarez, Arnie Gundersen, Amory Lovins, and others have issued vital warnings.
In Pavlovian opposition, the industry has rolled out an endless array of amateur "environmentalists" whose activist credentials are distinguished only by an endless love for atomic power.
Most infamous are Greenpeace veteran Patrick Moore and Berkeley-based Michael Shellenberger, both climate skeptics who share a theatrical passion for uninspected, uninsured nukes. With no credible scientific credentials, this unholy pair has conjured imaginative advocacies for companion corporate embarrassments like genetically modified food, clear-cut deforestation, and more.
With far more prestige, climate pioneer Dr. James Hanson and Whole Earth Catalogue founder Stewart Brand have brought significant gravitas to the nuclear debate.
But The New Yorker dotes on two workers at California's Diablo Canyon. Neither is a scientist. Both claim to be "environmentalists." One wears a lavender pendant made of uranium glass which "emits a near-negligible amount" of radiation, despite a huge body of scientific evidence warning this is a literally insane thing to do - especially for someone who might be around small children.
The writer lauds her heroines for calling themselves "Mothers for Nuclear" while snubbing legendary "Mothers for Peace" activists who've organized locally for a half-century. While touring Diablo with her new best friends, the author coos that "we smiled as if we were at Disneyland."
Such "Nuclear Renaissance" absurdities are very old news.
Given The New Yorker's stellar history, we might expect a meaningful, in-depth exploration of today's core atomic realities: no more big reactors will be built in the US, and our 90+ old plants are in deep, dangerous disarray.
Forbes long ago branded atomic power "the largest managerial failure in US history." America's very last two reactors (at Georgia's Plant Vogtle) sucked up $8.3 billion in federal loan guarantees from Barack Obama plus $3.7 billion more from Donald Trump. Years behind schedule, Vogtle's final price tag (if it ever opens) will exceed $30 billion.
South Carolina's engineering and legal morass at V.C. Summer wasted more than $10 billion on two failed reactors. In Ohio, $61 million in utility bribes for a massive nuke bailout have shattered the state.
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Harvey is a lifelong activist who speaks, writes and organizes widely on energy, the environment, election protection, social justice, grass-roots politics and natural healing, personal and planetary.He hosts "California Solartopia" at KPFK-Pacifica and "Green Power & Wellness" atprn.fm. (more...)