They Tell You They’ve Known It All Along
For years I
have been collecting news stories about military and commercial
applications of nuclear power. There’s hardly a day that goes by
that doesn’t reveal some new facet of its evolving legacy. It’s
like the unwanted gift that keeps giving and it reminds me of a line
from a song sung by Pete Seeger: “Waste deep in the big muddy,
and the big fool said push on.”
has not been any new commercial reactor orders since the 1979 accident
at Three Mile Island, the nuclear boosters are still hard at
work. Now they’re trying to sell nuclear power as the answer to
global warming, opening yet another chapter in that long book of
nuclear promises. Remember when they told us nuclear power was
too cheap to meter:
is not too much to expect that our children will enjoy in their homes
electrical energy too cheap to meter...”
Strauss, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, 1954
will be so plentiful that it will even be used to melt snow as it
falls...[T]he central atomic plant will provide all the heat, light,
and power required by the community and these utilities will be so
cheap to meter that their cost can hardly be reckoned.
M. Hutchins, president of the University of Chicago, 1946
glorious picture of our nuclear future, but, don’t hold your breath if
you are waiting for someone to remove the meter from your home.
All the meters are still counting kilowatts, enriching the utilities
regardless of whether their nuclear plants are working or not.
Like death and taxes, one thing is for certain, the costs of nuclear
power keep pouring in, and if they tell you there’s nothing to worry
about, run for cover!
fire accidently set at Los Alamos, New Mexico. This is the home of the
Los Alamos National Laboratory where we were assured by all the proper
officials that none of the radioactive material being stored in
the concrete bunkers was burned in the fire. Unfortunately we
have only recently learned about the millions of cubic feet of waste,
bearing small amounts of uranium plutonium and tritium, estimated to be
disposed of somewhere in the grounds of this sprawling nuclear weapons
complex. Not only have radioactive isotopes been absorbed into
surrounding vegetation which has gone up in smoke, but the denuded
landscape represents a potential health threat when summer rains erode
layers of soil contaminated with radioactive and toxic materials into
the state’s rivers and streams. Having a major nuclear
accident is only the beginning of a tragedy that never seems to
Chernobyl. In a report published in the journal “Nature”, levels
of radioactivity from the 1986 accident at Chernobyl are likely to
remain high in parts of Northern Europe for much longer periods of time
than originally estimated. Restrictions on eating livestock
in the United Kingdom may need to be retained for another 10-15
years, more than 100 times longer than originally estimated. It
is even worse in Belarus and western Russia, where livestock
restrictions are likely to remain in place for another 50 years.
Researchers have discovered that the environment is not cleansing
itself as fast as originally estimated, particularly in the case of
radioactive caesium which is not being immobilized in the soil but
re-released into the ecosystem causing further restrictions on all
kinds of food, including mushrooms, wild berries, sheep and fish.
Yet, one doesn’t have to travel to the farmlands of Northern Europe or
the deserts of New Mexico to discover what we are doing to ourselves.
Standing for Truth About Radiation (STAR) issued the results of a new
study, performed by Joseph J. Mangano a research associate at the
Radiation and Public Health Project , showing infant deaths dropping
dramatically after nuclear plants are closed. This study examined
infant death rates in counties within 50 miles and in the prevailing
wind direction of five commercial nuclear reactors that had been shut
down, including the Trojan Nuclear Plant near Portland, Oregon.
The results of this study were graphic:
first two years after the reactors closed, infant death rates in the
downwind counties under 40 miles from the plants fell 15 to 20 percent
from the previous two years, compared to an average U.S. decline of
just six percent between 1985 and 1996.
This is the
first evidence that has been gathered showing improvements in health
after nuclear plants have been closed and it supports many other
studies that show elevated childhood cancer near operating nuclear
those earlier studies was performed on Trojan in 1990 by Dr. Earnest
Sternglass and Dr. Jay Gould. Dr. Gould had just authored a book
entitled “Deadly Deceit, Low-Level Radiation, High-Level Cover-Up,”and
at the request of Don’t Waste Oregon, joined with Dr. Sternglass in
examining the infant mortality rates in communities surrounding
Trojan. They were able to determine that infant mortality rates
had significantly increased along with leukemia and other childhood
diseases. Based on this evidence we brought them to Oregon, and
with the help of Soloflex Corporation, flew them to Bend to testify
before the State’s Energy Facility Siting Council. Their
testimony was ignored and business went on as usual until Trojan was
shut down in 1993. Now this new epidemiological evidence
not only supports our earlier efforts to save the lives of Oregonians
but it is also being used in opposition to relicensing old nuclear
plants still being allowed by the federal government to release
radiation into the environment.
plenty of nuclear tragedies to describe, but a long time ago I saw
something written on a men’s room wall that best sums it up:
they tell you you’re wrong and they can prove it!
they tell you you’re right but it doesn’t matter!
they tell you that it matters, but they’ve known it all along!
they tell you that they’ve known it all along, its too late!