Bush Wants To Push Nuclear Power and Things Nuclear in 2nd term
President Bush intends to push nuclear power during his second term.
This includes nuclear power plants, food irradiation, de-regulation of monitoring of nuclear wastes (which we have always done, the monitoring, that is). Note the problems we are in for, if our
regressive Commander-In-Chief has his way.
As quoted in the NY Times Magazine feature story ëWithout A Doubtí on October 17, 2004, by Ron Suskind, President Bush – – besides intending to privatize Social Security – – wants to ìpush nuclear energyî in his second Presidential term. I know most Americans are hardly aware that during Mr. Bushís first four years, he tried unsuccessfully to skew our energy future with the streamlined erection of more nuclear power plants across the USA. But now his bulldog nature, and probable ignorance of the cancer causing potency of the hundreds of radionuclides produced in nuclear power plants, may allow him to deploy his toxic dream on our country and the entire planet that seems to follow our charge.
Remember, no nuclear plants have been ordered in the USA since the 1970ís because no community wants this dangerous technology that originally existed to produce plutonium for atomic bombs, anywhere near their neighborhoods. Now the energy source that was supposed to be too cheap to meter – – converted from plutonium production to boil water to turn turbines to produce electricity – – could be placed right next to our homes against the wishes of the majority of us.
Each of our aging 103 nuclear plants in the USA produces on the average 500-1000 pounds of plutonium per year. It only takes 10-20 pounds of plutonium to make an atomic bomb as powerful as the ones dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Japan to end World War II. But, one microgram of plutonium is the lung-cancer-causing dose of plutonium. Thatís one millionth of a gram, and with 454 grams in one pound, if you do the math, 20 pounds of plutonium, dispersed in small enough particles, could cause lung cancer in every human being on Earth.
Do you think George Bush or Dick Cheney know these facts? Or maybe they just donít care? We know that these two are the first non-Congressional candidates ever to land on the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) ëDirty Dozen.í In fact, the LCV states that ëSimply put, George W. Bush has the worst environmental record of any president in modern history.í
Mr. Suskind told us how Mr. Bush relies on his ìguts,î often shoveling facts and immaterial details under the rug, when he makes his passionate decisions on national policy. No, with the re-writing of history by our unilateral empire and its power, any of us ëevidence basedí scientists and tweedle-dees are missing what the future will be, under the Bush/Cheney rules of the universe. Perhaps that explains why Mr. Bush enthusiastically signed the bill authorizing shipping high level nuclear wastes through 43 of our states to the earthquake-fault-ridden Yucca Mountain region in Nevada that most scientists have advised is not a safe depository for such wastes. President Clinton repeatedly vetoed such a bill, to his credit.
But then the nuclear cowboy mentality most Americans donít know enough about, also includes Mr. Bushís championing of a nuclear bunker buster that he thinks only the USA would and should possibly use. No way a terrorist or other country that is an enemy of the USA could ever dare to get their hands on such a technology/weapon. No way. It is the USAís divine right to drop such a bomb on whatever target we deem requires the fire power equivalent to at least one fifth the strength of those Nagasaki/Hiroshima bombs, with the air-borne fallout that could float around the world in our wind currents to cause lung cancer on war-waging Americans as the price we will pay to defy common sense, morality, and Nature herself.
The Bush administrationís Vice President Dick Cheney went to China in April intent on aiding our nuclear power plant manufacturers, General Electric and Westinghouse, in selling 50 of their radioactive polluting products to that totalitarian country. This was reported by the Nuclear Information & Resource Service of Washington, D.C. in a June 2004 letter to its members.
If we are worried about nuclear proliferation and preventing new countries from joining the nuclear club, why arenít we doing the logical thing: stop pushing nuclear power, the technology that produces 500-1000 pounds every year per nuclear plant? From whence nuclear bombs can then be made to threaten the security of the only planet we have?
Unfortunately, in the minimally restrained business-first atmosphere festering about our country, and the world that will follow our lead, food irradiation is also being pushed. Part of that push is the ëneedí to build 1000 of these irradiation plants all over the USA. However, it is known that toxic radiolytic byproducts that have evaded adequate study are imbedded in irradiated foods. Some of these are probably cancer causing, for example the unique ëcyclobutanonesí that German scientists are studying, that do not occur naturally on earth. In fact, cyclobutanones are used as ëmarkersí for food that has been irradiated, because there they are not known to come into existence in any other way.
In addition, each of the desired 1000 irradiation plants to be erected all about the land, would require between half a million and ten million curies of radioactive material to be shipped to it across our highways and byways. The Chernobyl nuclear explosion (not ëmeltdowní as many think it was) blew 2,500,000 curies of cesium into Earthís atmosphere when it tore through its partial containment back in 1986.
Shouldnít Mr. Bush halt the spread of this technology because of such facts and findings? Or is his administration pushing to approve the spread of irradiated foods into our National School Lunch program to serve to our children? Although comments to the USDA (US Dept of Agriculture) ran against such a plan to the tune of 93%, and several large school districts have rejected the inclusion of irradiated food in their cafeterias, the Bush administration continues to ignore popular abhorrence of the use of US children as guinea pigs for the nuclear industry.
This is an administration run by a man who also favors using nuclear power to generate hydrogen, a developing imminently nationwide technology for generating electricity that could and should be safe, sustainable, decentralized, and non-polluting.
Present President Bush also is staunchly furthering the US military plan to deploy nuclear weapons in space, when we were the main country to author the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, prohibiting the deployment of any weapons in space after Russia launched her Sputnik satellite. Now we have Pentagonized NASA so that all missions henceforth will be ëdual useí ñ that is, both military and civilian – with the nuclear option left wide open as the current NASA credo statement boldly extols: ìToday, only nuclear power can enable these scientifically vital, but incredibly challenging missions.î You can check this on NASAís internet site, while being aware that all our spy satellites are actually powered by solar technology which the USA developed. The European Unionís latest space probe, the Rosetta, just launched in March 2004, is similarly powered by high efficiency solar cells as it travels 7 BILLION kilometers into space, to rendezvous with the Churyumov-Gerasimenko Comet.
Should we think twice before de-regulating the release of radioactive metals and materials into the marketplace to end up possibly in our baby strollers, zippers, batteries, forks, spoons, and knives, building foundations, car chassis, etc.? Or should we just let it all loose with the blessing of the man who has peaked our fear to gain his second term in office? We have always carefully monitored our radioactive wastes. Now the nuclear industry will be able to sell whatever is released into the ëmarketplace,í while it is no longer monitored???
Arenít we worried about those ëdirty bombsí that enemies like Osama bin Laden might order to be detonated within our borders? Reducing the monitoring of radioactive wastes, and increasing the shipping of the same, seems to be ill-timed right now. Dirty bombs would include radioactive material gotten from wherever, imbedded in otherwise non-nuclear explosive devices, that could explode and contaminate crucial parts of America for hundreds or thousands of years. Development of cancer and mutational changes in human beings and the lifeforms in our environment, would be some of the biggest problems resulting from this.
For example, a radioactive element like plutonium could be imbedded in a dirty bomb. Plutonium is hazardous – – has a ëhazardous lifeí – – of at least 240,000 years! Cesium, one of the most plentiful of nuclear wastes that our government wants to get rid of desperately, has a ëhazardous lifeí of at least 300 years. Mr. Bush must contemplate the consequences of his pro-nuclear actions if he really wants to do the right thing for our country, and the world.
We shall keep hearing about the War on Terror, but if we have those proposed 1000 food irradiation plants and the shipping of high level waste to Yucca Mountain through our heartland, and the end of monitoring much of our radioactive waste, mightínt we be deeply concerned about some evil old-fashioned ambushes of some radioactive cargo trucks or trains?
You should know that we have been called ëThe Persian Gulf of Wind,í because of our wind power potential. It has been discovered that the winds that blow through just the states of North and South Dakota could supply 2/3írds of the electricity the USA needs. Texasí winds could supply the other third. Distribution, and electrical resistance would be the problems to overcome. Of course, every state has some wind power potential.
Are we Americans aware that Germany is phasing out its nuclear power program because it is deploying over 1000 megawatts of wind power each year? 1000 megawatts is the average amount of electricity/power a nuclear power plant supplies. Germany right now generates over 14,000 megawatts of electricity via wind power. It currently has 24 nuclear power plants for its citizenry to worry about.
Then there is solar power. The Union of Concerned Scientists tells us an area of 100 miles by 120 miles in Nevada could supply all the electricity the USA needs. Again, the problem of distribution and resistance. But we are developing superconductor technologies like ëfermionic gasí that could dramatically reduce friction and resistance, so our electricity might more freely flow through the cables and wires of our future.
Streamlining the acceptance of construction of new nuclear plants, probably in the poorest areas of America where the local people would have the least strength or monetary resources to fight this, will probably be the Bush/Cheney modus operandi. Plus lengthening the acceptable operating period of current already over-aged nuclear plants. And adding new plants into nuclear complexes presently established, that could minimize citizen opposition at these sites.
This is a time when the world should be making the transition to safe, ample forms of energy, instead of those that could callously endanger our neighborhoods and pollute our atmosphere. Nuclear, coal, oil, and natural gas are not what is best for mankind or the other creatures and plants that inhabit this planet. Wind, solar, hydrogen, and the technology to develop higher energy efficiency are what we should be funding, and sharing with the world. Natural gas and oil stocks will be peaking by 2025. Do we need more wars in Iraq to finish off our selfish existence, led by a U.S. Presidential administration that cares more for money and power than it does for what is logical and scientifically proved practical?
History does not have to end now. Paranoia may poison our perspective, but practicality and the realization that the future is here
already if we just embrace it could save human civilization. It may take a few years. These so-called ëalternativeí energy forms really are what is necessary for us to utilize, to continue a renaissanced existence on our planet, Mother Earth. Nuclear power is certainly not the answer. Let us hope ignorance is dissuaded by knowledge and wisdom before disaster blasts our continents and oceans into a radioactive wasteland, because we allowed ourselves to follow an irrational no-details-nonsense man who thought God spoke through him, as Ron Suskind so bravely informed us in his New York Times magazine article.
copyright 2004 Conrad Miller M.D.