On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl reactor exploded in the Ukraine and irradiated much of Europe and the northern hemisphere.
Consider that 3,000 years comprises the whole of Western Civilization, and yet, even as 21st-century wind and solar power have become economic and widely deployed, Georgia Power maintains its obsessive commitment to build two unneeded and risky nuclear reactors in Georgia with taxpayer and ratepayer money.
Georgia Power is racking up record-breaking profits collecting advance payments for Vogtle 3 & 4 reactors while construction falls further and further behind and costs soar billions of dollars over budget. Georgia Power's sales are going down and it has 35% of its existing capacity sitting idle. We don't need Vogtle 3 & 4 and can avoid the risk of nuclear power altogether in our carbon-free and nuclear-free future!
rally at intersection south of Georgia Power on
corner of Baker/Highland and Piedmont
(click for map)
(8/30/10) ~ Alexander Didenko died last week, a man in his mid-50s who immigrated from Russia in hopes of getting better treatment for the radiation he was exposed to during the Chernobyl accident. He was a man who sat across the aisle from me in this small cube in a big world.
Alexander was a mild-mannered man with stories about living in a city not far from Chernobyl in his youth. He was moved to a safer area, only to find out the food was coming from the farms lands surrounding the Chernobyl site. He told of working for the Institute and teaching and realizing his future was clouded by a radiation storm that started in the sky and ended up on the lands surrounding him and his family.
Chernobyl Hibakusha — the crashing of two times and two places into the future of the world. This is the reality of the atomic technology, this is the reality of safe and not safe. Radiation knows no wars or countries, radiation knows no laws of war and peace, radiation knows no economic theory. Radiation is just radiation, and it kills as fast as lightning and as slow as aging.
We are all victims of the Nuclear Age. We are emotionally and physically damaged for rest of our lives from the bombs and power plants all over the world. The real question here is how many generations of humans will be damaged, will be Chernobyl Hibakushas before we wake up to the sunshine and wind to solve our needs.
(4/26/10) ~ This week 24 years ago, untold quantities of lethal radiation began pouring into the atmosphere from the catastrophic explosion at Chernobyl Unit 4. Nearly a million people have died because of it.
And on this horrific anniversary we have now seen the stumble of a very bad climate bill. The events are directly related.
Chernobyl's death toll has been bitterly debated.
But after nearly a quarter-century of industry denial, the New York Academy of Sciences has published, Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, the definitive catalog and analysis. Drawing on some 5,000 studies, three Russian scientists have placed the ultimate death toll at 985,000.
The authors include Russian biologist Dr. Alexey Yablokov, former environmental advisor to the president of Russia; Dr. Alexey Nesterenko, a biologist in Belarus; and Dr.Vassili Nesterenko, a physicist who was, at the time of the accident, director of the Institute of Nuclear Energy of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. The book has been edited by Dr. Janette Sherman, a toxicologist expert in the health impacts of radioactivity.
As Karl Grossman has shown, Chernobyl's death toll stretches worldwide. Its apocalyptic cloud blanketed Europe and blew across the northern tier of the United States. Sheep in Scotland and milk in New England were heavily contaminated, along with countless square miles of land and sea.
Ohio's Davis-Besse may have come within a fraction of an inch of such a disaster, and has again been found with potentially apocalyptic structural flaws. Michigan's Fermi I and the infamous Three Mile Island Unit 2 did melt.
Now the brand new Toshiba-Westinghouse AP-1000 design has been deemed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as unable to withstand earthquakes, hurricanes or tornadoes, and has turned up with a critical generic flaw that could cause it to explode.
Which is where the climate bill comes in.
Widespread reports of what it contained were to be clarified with its planned introduction on Chernobyl Day. But co-sponsor Lindsay Graham (R-SC) abruptly withdrew, apparently amidst partisan wrangling over immigration.
By all accounts this bill included a fossil industry wish-list, with big money for "clean coal," off-shore drilling, a disembowelment of the EPA and much more. With oil fires raging at sea and miners being buried in the coal fields, how this bill would actually solve the climate crisis remains unclear.
What WAS clear were subsidies that John Kerry (D-MA) said would put taxpayers on the hook for at least a dozen new reactors, and possibly far more.
The details are temporarily moot, but the portent is not.
It's precisely that dangerously deficient AP-1000 design that the Obama Administration wants to fund first, for construction in Georgia. America's leaky fleet of 104 aging clunkers meanwhile staggers toward disaster at places like Vermont Yankee and New York's Indian Point, Ohio's Davis-Besse and California's Diablo Canyon.
Chernobyl exploded in a remote backwater of an impoverished region. But by official accounts from Ukraine and Belarus, it did $500 billion in damage just there. Nowhere in the US would the property damage be remotely that small. The near-million death toll would be a mere fraction of how many would die here.
Nothing in any known draft of this now-in-limbo climate bill demands private insurance against such a catastrophe. Nor does it have a solution for what to do with 60,000 tons of high-level radioactive waste, or thousands more yet to come.
Nor does it begin to answer the reality that every cent thrown down the reactor rat-hole could quickly save far more energy than such a reactor could produce --- if it ever did come on line after the seven-to-ten years it would take to license and build such a boondoggle.
No sane attempt to save the global ecology could ever include more money for precisely the most dangerous, destructive, dirty and deficit-ridden energy technology ever devised.
Let's hope this bill's yank away from Chernobyl Day will take it to the desperately needed safe haven of a Solartopian plan built around renewables, conservation and efficiency.
Neither the planetary ecology nor the US economy can afford anything less.
Nothing else would deserve the label "Climate Bill."
Breakthrough study by IEER proves we can get off coal, oil and nuclear by 2040
ALICE is none other than Nuclear Watch South's Leslie Minerd who is joined by White Rabbit Tom Clements (Friends of the Earth), Red Queen and SC Sierra Club Chair Susan Corbett, and Tea Party Host Extraordinaire, the Mad Hatter, Tim Liszewski of Carolina Peace Resource Center. Alice and Crew crashed the 2008 Tea Party rally in Columbia, SC, and put tax-funded nuclear loan guarantees in front of the Tea Partiers and the local media.