Greetings and salutations from the sand, sun and surf of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and the great island of Nantucket! Great to be with you on this Friday morning, the eighteenth day of March, 2011, as you gaze upon “Chatham Light”, in, of course, Chatham, another small seaside village on Cape, similar in some ways to Osterville, which is one of the key landmarks distinguishing that very fine town on Nantucket Sound. I just returned a few moments ago from Chatham, a photo op if you will, for Cape Cod proper, as I needed some updates for my library of photos of Cape Cod scenery, here at little old seacapecod.net, for who really knows just how long this little sand bar created by the Last Great Ice, 11,500 years ago, will last. Mother nature may have something to say about that many decades from now, if we as a PEOPLE do not come up with some alternatives to fossil fuels, that, when used in the form we currently use it in, spew heavy carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that is causing the earth to warm, hence rising sea levels around the world due to the FACT that the polar ice caps are almost half MELTED, along with the alarming melting of Antarctica, Greenland, and all of the naturally formed glaciers around the world, glaciers that feed the rivers and streams, hence, clean drinking water for billions of people, as we all remember that water is, of course, the basic building block of LIFE itself on planet earth. Christian Parent’s book, “Tropic of Chaos”, ‘climate change and the new geography of violence’, was a guest recently on the venerable MSNBC news show airing every week night at 10 p.m. save Fridays, “THE ED SHOW”, and revealed this interesting information regarding nuclear power plants around the United States, as many in California look to the Fukushima power plant crisis, and wonder what will happen if those ’spent’ fuel rods, filled with uranium and plutonium “pellets”, fuse together and melt down, causing an untold amount of radioactive steam to pour into our atmosphere, creating havoc for the already taxed, yet resilient, Japanese people, even more than what the quake did itself, a 9.0 earthquake that hit one week ago today, as well as the devastating Tsunami, roaring through the northern part of that island kingdom, taking perhaps 15,000 souls with it. God be with them all. According to Parenti, there are 104 working nuclear power plants in existence in America today, most of them old, rickety and about to fall apart, like most of the bridges and roads in this country–‘just ask Diablo Canyon and San Onofre nuclear, they’ll tell ya!” (credit, again, Rodney Dangerfield, and the classic film, circa 1978, Caddyshack). Most of the reactors are made of metal, such as Vermont Yankee and Oyster Creek in NYC, even though radiation embrittles metal, so it begs the question, ‘why are so many of the crucial components in those plants, such as the aforementioned, made of metal to begin with?’. There are 23 reactors in this country, that are similar to the Fukushima plant, all of which are up for renewal, of their license to operate, waiting for that brand new stamp of approval expected from REPUBLICORP, no surprise there, however, it may be a problem for most of them, according to experts, for these plants are over 40 years old, and the “NRC”, the nuclear regulatory commission, is not only planning to reinstate their licenses, giving them another twenty years of life, thus running far beyond the 40 years they were designed to operate, but many have been given what is known in the industry as ‘power upgrades’, allowing them to run at 120 percent of their DESIGNED capacity. “I mean you wouldn’t do that with a car or anything else, but they are doing it with ATOMIC POWER PLANTS,” said Parenti, as Ed asked, “How would you upgrade these facilities? How big of an investment?” “You could definitely manage these plants more stringently and efficiently, but if you tried to do this now, it would be next to impossible. It would be like bringing a 1972 Toyota on line today, you would most likely not sell that car, but they want to extend these things for another 20 years and run them at 120 percent of their originally INTENDED capacity.” Ed then asks, “The President has been advocating for new nuclear plants, is this a solution to all of this?” “The “new” nuke thing is a canard, it’s pie in the sky, the fact of the matter is until the U.S. government is going to socialize the cost of the new plants 100 percent, private capital is not really going to get involved, and all this stuff you hear from Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Devin Nunez, republican congressman from California, on how they want 100-200 new plants…that’s just smoke and mirrors, because Wall Street does not like nuclear power plants because they always go over cost, they’re dangerous, and really expensive. But, underneath all of that discourse, about the “new” nukes, and the “push” for them, is really about the push to RE-LICENSE them, to re-license this fleet of 104 existing reactors. That’s what is going on on the ‘down low’, while pushing these things way out beyond their intended life span, and way beyond their intended capacity,” Parenti responded. ED: “Looking at a map of those reactors on the west coast, there are a half a dozen that could be susceptible to earthquakes, how dangerous is that?” Parenti: “It’s pretty dangerous, I mean it’s very dangerous, from the beginning, people were complaining about that (in California). You’ll recall the movie “China Syndrome”, is set in California, and 12 days after that movie came out, in 1979, which was just a Hollywood kind of thing, Three Mile island went off. So, from the beginning, people were saying, why are you building an atomic power plant on the San Andreas fault line, and associated fault lines?! Those fault lines are still active, I mean, there is no reason to think that there couldn’t be a similar earthquake in California.” ED: “And those are old structures?” Parenti: “Yes, they are old structures, yes, they are old structures, again, radiation makes structures brittle, and those structures are embrittled, and it’s dangerous.” Thank you Mr. Parenti, thank you very much indeed. Dennis Kucinich, democratic congressmen from the great state of Ohio, said this regarding nuclear reform and oversight over the NRC, “I am concerned about what is going on,” as Kucinich is a ranking member on the subcommittee with jurisdiction over the NRC, “I have asked the NRC to come to Washington D.C., and give a full briefing on these things that are going on in Japan, as it relates to nuclear actors in the United States in particular. In a letter to the NRC, I say that any plant operator that has had any difficulties, let’s say, in any DISHONESTY, in the handling of a plant, that they should not have their license renewed, that they should be shut down, we cannot put the public at risk, anywhere in America, and I still site, in particular, a plant in Ohio, the Davis-Besse nuclear plant, which you may remember in 2002, was discovered to have a hole, in the head of the reactor, and was covered up by First Energy and presented the possibility of a catastrophe that could have been close to the level of Three Mile Island. So we have to make sure that all the bad actors in the industry are sorted out very quickly, and all these other plants, that are up for re-licensing, are going to have to undergo a close inspection, an excavation that is probably unprecedented in the history of the industry.” ED: “Is it easy to get these facilities re-licensed? Are you satisfied with the re-licensing of these facilities?” Kucinich: “Generally licensing is a perfunctory thing, you have so many of these facilities that are operating past the stage in which they were INTENDED to operate, and has been pointed out, the longer these machines, these plants, are operating, the more prone they are to break down. When you are talking about the prospects of these nuclear power plants breaking down, the consequences are quite severe. The plants were not meant to last more than forty years, so with the nuclear industry, trying to wring every last dime of PROFIT, out of these plants, you can understand it from their perspective, but from a public policy perspective, there are safety issues that have to be raised, and that’s why I’m asking the NRC to come to Capitol Hill and to give congress a full briefing so that members will have the opportunity to ask the NRC detailed questions on plants all across this country. Also, in my letter, I ask about the “Mark 1″ reactors (same reactors that are at the Fukushima plant in Japan), designed and manufactured by General Electric, and there are some questions that have been raised about them.” ED: “Would you advocate shutting down any of those facilities in America?” Kucinch: “Well, I have consistently advocated shutting down the Davis-Besse plant in Ohio, and it’s no secret the Perry nuclear plant was built on an earthquake area, which they had a 5.0 earthquake a couple of decades ago.” ED: “Has the NRC been honest brokers in all of this?” Kucinich: “Well, I think the NRC is going to have to step up right now. What happened in Japan changes everything. And it’s going to require the NRC to look at nuclear safety through the prism of what happened in Japan. Now some people will say, ‘they had an earthquake, and a Tsunami,’ look, we have two nuclear plants in Ohio, on Lake Erie–that is a part of a chain of lakes that is the largest supplier of clean, fresh drinking water in the world, could you imagine if we had an event there that would cause a compromise of any of those reactor vessels? We have to be concerned about public safety, we have to look a what happened in Japan, as a cautionary tale, and so that’s why I’m asking the NRC to come forward and it’s time they laid all of their cards on the table, and answer some of our questions. It’s a whole new day, and we have to be concerned about the people in Japan. This has been a difficult set of circumstances.” ED: “Governor Richardson of New Mexico said this country is NOT prepared, your thoughts?” Kucinich: “Well, Bill Richardson would be in a position to know, and I think we have to be concerned about our readiness, this is going to cause a reappraisal about evacuation plans, in states where they have reactors in very populated areas.” ED: “What about the budget cuts?” Kucinich: “Of course we shouldn’t be cutting preparedness PRIORITIES, but Ed, you know what those budget cuts are all about, it’s not because of the deficit, (it’s because) they are cutting the budget in some areas so they can give tax (breaks) dollars to their friends in other areas. That’s another calamity.” Thank you Ed Shultz and Dennis Kucinich for that enlightening banter of utmost importance. So there you have it folks, the TRUTH, the whole TRUTH and nothing but the TRUTH! Go Buckeyes to win it all this March Madness basketball tournament! Have a wonderful week end everyone, and may GOD’S continued grace be upon the people of Japan and those heroic workers, the FUKUSHIMA 50, who are risking their lives for their fellow man. PRESERVE THE WILDERNESS! Peace~M
March 18, 2011
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