Black People : How Safe is Nuclear energy? Really?

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by Ankhur, Feb 11, 2010.

  1. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Published on Thursday, February 11, 2010 by CommonDreams.org
    Vermont's Radioactive Nightmare
    by Harvey Wasserman

    Like a decayed flotilla of rickety steamers, at least 27 of America's 104 aging atomic reactors are known to be leaking radioactive tritium, which is linked to cancer if inhaled or ingested through the throat or skin.

    The fallout has been fiercest at Vermont Yankee, where a flood of cover-ups has infuriated and terrified near neighbors who say the reactor was never meant to operate more than 30 years, and must now shut.

    In 2007 one of Yankee's 22 cooling towers simply collapsed due to rot.

    Now the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has confirmed [1] tritium levels in a monitoring well at Vernon to be 3.5 times the federal safety standard. The leaks apparently came from underground pipes whose very existence was recently denied by VY officials in under-oath testimony at a public hearing. Vermont's pro-nuclear Republican Governor Jim Douglas has termed the event "a breach of trust that cannot be tolerated."

    Yankee is owned by Entergy, a Mississippi-based consortium that also owns New York's Indian Point reactor, which suffered an internal gusher of radioactive water in May, 2009. Another leak has just been found at Oconee in South Carolina. Illinois' Braidwood leaked so many millions of gallons of tritium-laced water that its owner, Exelon, was forced to buy a new municipal water system for a nearby town.

    Entergy says none of Yankee's tritium has been found in local drinking water or in the Connecticut River, which supplies the plant's cooling water. Vernon sits near Vermont's southeast border with Massachusetts, across the river from New Hampshire. "The existence of tritium in such low levels does not present a risk to public health or safety whatsoever," says the company's Robert Williams.

    But VY is just the latest of more than two dozen U.S. nuclear plants---many built in the 1960s and '70s---to be found with leaking tritium.

    Last year at New Jersey's Oyster Creek, tritium was reported leaking a second time shortly after Exelon got it a 20-year license extension. Entergy's Pilgrim reactor, at Plymouth, Massachusetts, has recently leaked tritium into the ground.

    The NRC's Neil Sheehan has confirmed leaks involving 27 of 104 licensed US reactors, and says that probably doesn't account for all of them. At Yankee, Oyster Creek and elsewhere, rotting pipes are the likeliest culprit, but no one is 100% certain.

    The epidemic has escalated public dismay. Vermont state Representative Tony Klein, chair of House Natural Resources and Energy Committee, says that "when you have public officials that the public depends on for their health and welfare making casual statements that a radioactive substance is not harmful to you, I think that's ludicrous."

    For decades the Encylopedia Britannica, National Academy of Sciences and other primary scientific bodies have confirmed that no dose of radiation, no matter how small, can ever be deemed perfectly safe. "There is no threshold of exposure below which low levels of ionizing radiation can be demonstrated to be harmless or beneficial," says Richard R. Monson, associate dean for professional education and professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.

    Thus far the NRC has granted a series of license renewals to aging reactors. But by virtue of a long-standing agreement with Entergy, the Vermont Legislature can deny Yankee's request for a 20-year extension. In the 1990s local groups like the Citizen's Awareness Network (http://www.vtcitizen.org/ [2]) helped force down the Yankee Rowe plant on the Deerfield River in Massachusetts, about 25 miles southwest of Vernon. The root cause was concern over embrittlement of the elderly reactor's core, a key to the future of all other aging nukes.

    In Vermont, angry debate has also arisen over Entergy's dwindling decommissioning fund, which has been slashed by a declining stock market. Entergy has proposed spinning off plant ownership to a shell corporation whose assets may be even more dubious. But area residents also fear Entergy may be pushing Yankee operations in an attempt to find the source of its leaks.

    With VY operating under duress, Katz and others report an increasing wave of concern among local citizens starting to think seriously about how they might evacuate if Entergy keeps pushing. "This plant appears to be leaking from its reactor piping, but they don't really know where," she says. "They don't want to shut down because they're afraid they'll never get back up. Entergy is choosing to protect its bottom line rather than the health and safety of our community."

    Indeed, a desperate national industry now pushing for massive federal subsidies to build new reactors may not survive a flood of elderly clunkers being forced to close by the weight of their own contamination. "This is an industry trying to build a new fleet of Titanics while the old ones are sinking," says Katz.

    Amidst the gusher of tritium leaks, Governor Douglas wants to postpone the legislature's vote on VY's license extension. But his term expires in November, and all five Democratic gubernatorial candidates are pledged to a Yankee shutdown.

    What happens next will be defined by fierce grassroots activism crashing into a flood of corporate money in support of a rickety old reactor being operated with increasing recklessness.

    The highly hyped "reactor renaissance"---and much more---may hang in the balance. Stay tuned.

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/02/11-3
     
  2. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    it is as safe as they want to make it.
    keep the profit motive out and it can be very safe.
     
  3. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    But how can it be made safe if children born adjacent to the most secure sites like those in France and Pittsburg still contract cancer and leukemia?
     
  4. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    the issue is not with nuclear, it is with capitalistic devils always trying to cut corners.
    with current design technology we can have safe reactors.

    the problem in the entire energy sector has been the short term capitalistic thinking.
    we really need to work on solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and other sustainable energy sources.
     
  5. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    February 16, 2010
    1:50 PM
    Billions to Subsidize Nuclear Energy
    WASHINGTON - February 16 -

    The New York Times reports today: "In a speech in Lanham, Md., Mr. Obama announced government approval of an $8.3 billion loan guarantee to help the Southern Company build two reactors in Burke County, Georgia, near Augusta."

    ROBERT ALVAREZ
    A former senior policy adviser to the U.S. Secretary of Energy and now a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, Alvarez just wrote the piece "Nukes Aren't the Answer," which states: "Wall Street has refused to finance nuclear power for more than 30 years, rendering new construction impossible. The Obama administration, in a move to placate Senate Republicans, proposes to fund new power reactors with some $54.5 billion in federal loan guarantees. Because of the way the guarantees are structured, the actual loans will be made by the Federal Financing Bank out of the U.S. Treasury. Last year, the Government Accountability Office estimated that these loans have more than a 50-50 chance of failing.

    http://web001.commondreams.org/newswire/2010/02/16-5
     
  6. Bxblasta

    Bxblasta Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    There has always been a false propaganda against nuclear energy instigated by the oil companies just to keep us on a oil standard. Much of the information given to us about nuclear meltdowns and nuclear contamination is disinformation and fear producing. Like James said, there is a obvious safe way to use nuclear energy which was demonstrated by Nikola Tesla.
     
  7. Gorilla

    Gorilla Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Nuclear powerplants vary a great deal, but overall I would say they're safer than coal. For some reason, people don't realize how much poisons and toxins are released by coal plants. Quite a bit of it is radioactive as well.

    "Over the past few decades, however, a series of studies has called these stereotypes into question. Among the surprising conclusions: the waste produced by coal plants is actually more radioactive than that generated by their nuclear counterparts. In fact, the fly ash emitted by a power plant—a by-product from burning coal for electricity—carries into the surrounding environment 100 times more radiation than a nuclear power plant producing the same amount of energy. * [See Editor's Note at end of page 2]"

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=coal-ash-is-more-radioactive-than-nuclear-waste
     
  8. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    That is true but coal was not used, that much,

    until that room temparature IQ POTUS, son of a CIA president

    felt the need to take care of his old business partners.

    Coal compared to nuclear is like methadon compared to crack
     
  9. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    you talk alot of stuff ,
    but how about some proof???

    and how about looking a where the toxic waste goes and adjacent to what communities?

    And then take a trip to Tokyo and tell folks whose grandparents remember the horros of Nagasaki and Hiroshima

    "dont believe a melt down can be dangerous ,
    cause that is the propaganda of oil companies"


    I doubt Dr Helen Caldicott, or Dr Gary Null have anything favorable to say about the oil industry
     
  10. Gorilla

    Gorilla Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Coal is one of America's oldest addictions. We've been hooked on it for centuries. It just seemed to never get the attention oil and nuclear power got. After the long road for environmental issues to gain visibility, the energy companies started billing everything they make as "clean coal technology". Right....just ask them about the fly ash problem.

    There are some really promising developments in Nuclear Power. They're steadily getting much safer and producing less waste, but they're still not renewable. They're probably our only stop-gap measure to meet power needs until we can invest significantly in renewable energy.
     
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