Sunday, March 13, 2011

And Good Night, American Nuclear Power


By Keith Olbermann: all rights and most wrong reserved
This is not to minimize the horror or the suffering of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, but for our purposes here the headline is a stark and inarguable one: Japanese Power Company Says It Has Lost Control Of Three Nuclear Plants.
There is really very little else to say. The perfected, flawless, clean-operating, state-of-the-art, ideal future of energy has in 32 years given us Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and now the nightmare scenario of one company saying there is rising pressure at three of its nuclear facilities and it really doesn’t have a damn thing it can do right now except tell everybody to run.
Time to shut down this nation’s nuclear energy program. For good.Already, nuclear energy apologists are formulating their “yeahbuts” – yeah but… it’s not like we’ll ever have an 8.9 earthquake in the U.S. (check your U.S. Geological Survey and CalTech data for earthquake probabilities in Southern California, The Bay Area, and elsewhere, and you’ll realize the proverbial “Big One” in each area is overdue, in some cases by decades). Yeah but… the real damage here was from the tsunami and we don’t have tsunamis in this country (that’s why Hawaii and Northern California were on alert this morning – after an earthquake halfway around the world). Yeah but… our American safety technology is so much superior and there’s American Exceptionalism and let’s wave the flag and it’s for the economy and and and…
The virtual freeze on nuclear development in this country since the near-hit of Three Mile Island has been a useful stall, but it is only a first step. And instead of enabling the resumption of building such Doomsday Devices here – as he pledged to do a year ago last month – President Obama should officially reinstate the unofficial moratorium, and pledge to begin the process by which we dismantle these sleeping monsters. Nobody with a brain wants to increase our reliance on fossil fuels but if I’m required to choose two of the following options: a) rapid development of truly safe alternatives, b) continuing fossil fuel utilization at current or slightly increased levels and then scrubbing the planet a little harder a little sooner, or c) living in a world where we can hear “Southern California Edison says it has lost control of San Onofre, so if you’re near San Diego, Anaheim, Los Angeles, areas of New Mexico, Arizona, and northern Mexico, please flee” – guess which two I’m taking?

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