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Life Arts    H2'ed 4/20/12

Can we stop those nukes? Wasserman says: You betcha!

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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. What's new on the nuclear front these days? 

photo credit: Peg McPhearson

First, the loan guarantees for the two reactors at Vogtle [Georgia] turn out to be not a done deal.  So we are building a national grassroots campaign as fast as possible to beat them.  I think that would kill any further prospects for new nukes in the US.  We have a petition up at , and there are others.  It's gotta happen fast, but the stakes are huge, and I think we can win.  You've posted my article on it, Joan, so thanks for that.

[I can't take the credit for that. Someone at OpEdNews beat me to the punch.]

Next, the old reactors in the US are crumbling fast.  Vermont Yankee, Indian Point, San Onofre, Crystal River, Davis-Besse, South Texas and many more have really serious structural and operational issues.  The grassroots opposition has become fiercer than ever.  The question is:  can we shut them all down before the next Three Mile Island / Chernobyl / Fukushima.  For all our sakes, we MUST!!! 
Next, Vermont is all-out at war with Entergy.  The governor, Senator Sanders, the legislature, the grassroots".everybody wants the damn thing shut.  But they are resisting, and it'll go the US Supreme Court, where it may become a states rights issue.  Even the Gang of Five [Supreme Court conservative majority] has upheld states rights on medical marijuana.  Now we'll see if they do it for nukes.

Worldwide the industry is collapsing.  Japan may shut its last nuke next month.  The only really big question is China.  We shall see very soon.

Georgia has become a cautionary tale  for what can happen to local taxpayers when nuclear plants are built.  Can you tell our readers about that, Harvey?

Georgia has become ratepayers' worst nightmare because of CWIP, Construction Work in Progress, which allows utilities to soak them (us!) for rate hikes to pay for nukes WHILE THEY'RE BEING BUILT.  This means the utilities have no risk and can build these things forever, with no cost restraints, while forcing the public to pay.  It's the ultimate scam.  And it means billions in useless, worthless costs that go straight to the pockets of the fat cat executives, who then use much of it to buy and rent the legislatures.  Florida is now reeling from this.  We had it in NH, which facilitated Seabrook.  It's on the table in Iowa.  It must be stopped!

How can President Obama resist the powerful lobbies and pro-business interests who fight for nuclear plants? And just how unpopular is nuclear energy? Is it possible that people really want the plants?

I haven't seen the latest polls, and they usually depend on how the question is phrased.  But there has been a great global turning against atomic energy, even in France.

This includes the financial community, which will not invest in it, and that's critically important.  The tipping point has been reached and renewables are officially cheaper than new nukes.  This is a very big deal, and is at the core of why we will ultimately bury this industry.

We hope it includes China in the short as well as the long term, because this is where the most new nukes are planned.  We hear of a rise of a No Nukes movement and we are counting on it.  After all. China had a revolution just 60 years ago.

Obama is forcing us to rise up to protect ourselves from this rogue industry.  Our victories come from the grassroots and always have.  In Vermont and Indian Point and San Onofre and Crystal River and South Texas and everywhere else, we must never rely on any politician.  We must keep the pressure on at all times.

This also goes for the loan guarantees for Vogtle, which we can beat with sufficient public pressure.  So let's do it!

Anything you'd like to add before we wrap this up?

Once again, the future is in our hands.  After nearly 40 years of fighting this industry, I see it on the brink of a much-deserved, can't-come-soon-enough death.  If we can stop these guarantees and begin shutting old reactors, we will move ahead very rapidly.  The cost curves of solar vs. nuclear have crossed, with solar going in the right direction and nukes the opposite.  

We need to find a way to work in China and get those planned reactors stopped.  We are seeing huge demonstrations in India.  Once Great Britain caves, and there's a change in France---hopefully Sarkozy will lose---Europe is done.  The strays like Taiwan, Korea, UAE, etc., will be difficult.  But the core business is gone from Japan and Germany, and if we can stop it here, it will all unravel very quickly.

I truly believe that until we obliterate the prospect of more reactors, we face the real danger of more tmi/chernobyl/fukushimas.  Not that they couldn't otherwise happen.  But we must shut the circle.  With a focus still on new nukes, the old ones are so much more dangerous.

We can tolerate NONE of this talk about small reactors, thorium, or any other radioactive insanity.  Solartopian renewables are here, now, ready to go.  Green power will be the biggest, most profitable industry in the history of humankind (and i do mean kind).

But it's up to us now to stop this madness as soon as possible. i have no doubt, with all of us committed, that we will.  The survival instinct is, after all, stronger than the profit motive.  


Thanks for talking with me, Harvey. Please keep us in the loop. What happens now will have a huge impact on what kind of future we are creating for ourselves and our children. 

*** , .  

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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