Radioactive Metals In Your Zipper, Utensils, Baby Strollers People Forget
People forget what happened in 1991. Our government under George Bush Sr. tried to ‘deregulate’ ‘low level radioactive waste’ so it could go unmonitored into your dumps, etc. but the move was met with universal outrage and defeated. Now they’re trying again…
It’s a new millennium. A new generation. What happened
before is part of history, not remembered by some, not known by many, especially those who were pre-teenagers in 1991. But now, with George Bush II making one of his priorities for his second term, the pushing of nuclear power, and hence, most likely, all things nuclear and pro-nuclear, the industry, via Geneva is trying to again ‘de-regulate,’ this time ‘radioactive metals’, and let them loose de-monitored into the environment.
Back in 1991 this de-monitoring release was called ‘below regulatory concern.’ That is how it was pushed. But it what was going to be released as ‘below regulatory concern’ included debris and aged parts of nuclear reactors that were not really what you would want to see in your dump, leaching into your water table, under the guise of being
‘low level’ radioactive waste. If it was not monitored, what if the waste accumulated in certain places, coalesced, emitted cancer causing mutation-producing radioactive waves that could injure your child or the area around the dump? Mothers and fathers, especially, understood and expressed their extreme displeasure with such an attempt. Dan Rather presented the issue of ‘below regulatory concern’ (BRC) on the CBS news as a lead story; Diane D’Arrigo of the Nuclear Information & Resource Service (NIRS- -in my estimate, a great and crucial organization–check their website http://www.nirs.org) appeared on the Today show, with a representative of the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission); activists and concerned citizens raised the issue around the country, getting the BRC story into local and national newspapers; I did a 2 hour call-in show that aired in over 50 cities on two separate dates entitled ‘The Nuclear Power Debate.’
This all created a wave of opposition to such a policy, roundly defeating it.
But in this regressive decade, the radicals are out, charging forward with
dangerous technologies, new and ‘old,’ without putting the brakes on, business-unbridled, tort from their toxicities and damages being limited by Congressional fiat. What about possible harm from genetically altered patented life-forms, new chemicals and drugs a la Vioxx, and what about the likes of nuclear power?
Here we go again, with the attempt to ‘de-regulate’ radioactive materials.
Again they could end up in your dumps, and perchance other items we are daily encountering in our homes, cars, and buildings. And if they are de-monitored, when they always have been, how will we know they are there, possibly causing us harm unless we have a geiger counter?
The game is de-regulate in the World Trade Organization (WTO) way, by ‘harmonizing’ our laws and regulations with the rest of the civilized world.
Sounds nice and wonderful and logical. Doesn’t it? Even if we already know better. We’ve rejected this before. But the nuclear industry wants to get rid of its wastes, mostly from nuclear reactors and the nuclear weapons program.
The International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) is at the current top of the chain of command here, and with the help of our Mister Cool, formerly of the NRC himself, documents have been changed, and the recent push is on to deregulate nuclear wastes all around the world. Our national rejection of BRC is being circumvented, our democratic process is being trumped and negated.
And, shockingly, the radioactive metals that are being de-regulated at places like Oak Ridge Tennessee, can be SOLD!!!!! for a profit.
People don’t know about this because you don’t hear about it on your TV. Or your radio, for that matter. Most Americans get most of their news from television. Thus, the ignorance nationwide on the legalizing of the unmonitored release of radioactive metals. It is not quite a fait accompli yet.
It can be stopped. See the resolution on this website in the Key Documents You Should Read section, and/or go the nirs website mentioned above.
More on this issue, as the Bush administration tries to build and ‘upgrade’ — read that lengthen the acceptable lifetime of nuclear plants beyond their safe
time of functioning—more nuclear plants in America — no new orders have been made for their construction since the 1970’s. Bush and Cheney et al also are trying to sell nuclear reactors to China for our General Electric and Westinghouse corporations. Dick Cheney went to China in April of 2004 to specifically attempt to sell about 50 nuclear reactors to that big totalitarian increasingly polluted country. This was reported by NIRS in their ‘Nuclear Monitor.’
Bush has also enthusiastically signed onto the bill requisitioning Yucca Mountain as our high level radioactive waste dump, after scientists had advised this would be unsafe. 27 earthquake fault-lines; having to transport up to 100,000 shipments of such dangerous waste back and fro across the country through at least 43 states over the next thirty years–in this era of terrorism and the paranoia that goes with it; the danger of getting a fatal dose of radiation in case of a spill, being just TEN feet away for a matter of seconds from things like the control rods from a nuclear plant, made Bill Clinton veto Yucca Mountain whenever such legislation reached his desk.
Each nuclear power plant of the 1000 megawatt average size produces
500-1000 POUNDS of plutonium per year. 20 pounds of this extremely toxic radionuclide theoretically could cause lung cancer in every human being on Earth, if released in a dispersed, small-enough size to fit into our alveoli exhange-cells inside our lungs. Plus the same amount is enough to produce a nuclear bomb of the destructive power of those that destroyed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 to help end that portion of World War Two. In other words, we sell some country a nuclear reactor, then they can produce enough plutonium to make nuclear bombs, and plague the planet with lung cancer via an accident. Like the one at Chernobyl. From which it was estimated that 55 MILLION people ingested or inhaled nuclear particles,
as stated by Vladimir Voushenko, the nuclear physicist in charge of Chernobyl’s clean up. And later died from cancer, he claims was induced by his hands-on work then.
More to come on this story. The basics are in the book I’ve just written:
‘The Most Important Issues Americans THINK They Know Enough About…Part I’
in its Chapter Four.
And remember, we are considered ‘The Persian Gulf of Wind.’ Windpower has accounted for the equivalent of 14 nuclear power plants in Germany, a country that is now phasing out nuclear power. Haven’t you heard?
That can happen here, especially if we proceed with reason, rather than the ignorant corporate gambol we are currently chancing our future with.
C 2005 Conrad Miller M.D.