Lies, Damn Lies, and Safe Nuclear Power - by Stephen Lendman
In any form, nuclear power is inherently unsafe. For decades, nuclear expert Helen Caldicott warned it must be abandoned, saying:
"As a physician, I contend that nuclear technology threatens life on our planet with extinction. If present trends continue, the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink will soon be contaminated with enough radioactive pollutants to pose a potential health hazard far greater than any plague humanity has ever experienced."
Anti-nuclear activist/expert Professor Karl Grossman agrees, calling "Atomic Energy: Unsafe in the Real World" in his June 29 article, saying:
"Nuclear power requires perfection and no acts of God" to avoid accidents that may become catastrophes. Humans and technology aren't perfect. Natural and other type disasters happen. "(W)e can't eliminate them. But we can - and must eliminate atomic energy" or it will eliminate us.
On March 18, Bloomberg said Japan's Fukushima disaster "follows decades of falsified safety reports, fatal accidents and underestimated earthquake risks in Japan's atomic power industry."
The same is true in America and elsewhere - governments, regulators, and power companies suppressing vital truths, instead of shutting down inherently unsafe plants, making all of them ticking bombs.
Fukushima, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island exploded. Others as bad or worse are assured, irradiating vast parts of the earth disastrously. On June 22, kinetictruth.com headlined, "US heading toward nuclear disaster," saying:
"After a yearlong investigation, AP concluded that many of the nation's facilities are still (operating) because the safety standards that they are held to have been repeatedly weakened as regulations (for the world's most hazardous industry became) more and more lax."
After reviewing tens of thousands of government and industry studies and documents since the 1970s, it concluded that the industry-run Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) falsified arguments, saying "safety margins could be eased without peril." As a result, not only are Americans endangered, so is one-fifth of the nation's electricity supply.
Many problems AP found could trigger a nuclear disaster, including broken seals and nozzles, rusted pipes, aging facilities past their useful life, and numerous examples of shoddy maintenance and management laxity. Nonetheless, NRC officials rubber stamp license extensions, including 66 facilities over 25 years old re-licensed for another two decades, instead of responsibly shutting them down.
Vermont Yankee is perhaps the most notorious. Licensed to begin operating in 1972, Vermont's Senate voted 26 - 4 against re-licensing in February 2010, citing radioactive tritium leaks, falsified management statements, a 2007 cooling tower collapse, among other problems, proving the facility is a disaster waiting to happen.
Nonetheless, on March 21, 2011, the NRC extended its life for another 20 years until 2032. Moreover, Entergy, Vermont Yankee's owner and America's second largest nuclear generator after Exelon, sued to revoke a state law, giving it legislative authority to suspend operations when its current license expires next March.
The plant, in fact, has the same GE Mark 1 Boiling Water Reactor design as Fukushima's Units 1 and 2. According to Citizens's Action Network's Bob Stannard:
"It's unimaginable to think that the NRC would declare this plant safe when (it) houses 640 tons of spent fuel in an unprotected fuel pool with no containment vessel. In Japan, the plant that's in the worst shape has only 80 tons."
If Vermont Yankee blows, perhaps all Vermont and New England go with it, and given its deplorable state, it may if it's 20 year extension isn't stopped.