Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Panic Button

2505669673_9f52de0e33 We’ve done a fair number of stories about the actions of several states to overturn bans. These state actions are delightful to us but must be alarming to those who genuinely if irrationally fear nuclear energy . We choose not to identify one from another – we could always be wrong, after all.

While researching a story about legislative moves in Oklahoma, we ran into some arguments we hadn’t heard in awhile:

"I wouldn't want to vote for something that causes cancer," said Dr. Morton S. Skorodin, who distributed a power point presentation highlighting the dangers of nuclear power.

"Nuclear power plants do vent radioactive nuclear gases every single day," Skorodin said. "All forms of cancer can be induced by radiation."

Not to mention all the radioactive nuclear electricity coming out of your wall sockets. Bet that PowerPoint presentation has some fascinating bullet points!

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Dr. Skorodin is not the only one pushing the panic button:

Bud Scott of the Sierra Club said nuclear energy is not a viable industry for the state because of its enormous cost. Officials said a nuclear power plant would cost up to $8 billion and take 10 or 12 years to build.

A nuclear power plant would likely only be built if the Oklahoma Corporation Commission agreed to have ratepayers pick up part of the cost during the construction process.

Scott’s focus on money is right up-to-date and an area of vulnerability for power plants (especially but not only nuclear). 

Having “ratepayers pick up part of the cost during the construction process” is what the legislation recently passed In the Georgia Senate does; it is estimated to raise electric bills there about $16 per year per customer. Clearly, this has been seen and understood in other statehouses. The Oklahoma legislation now on the floor of the Senate there is explicit that this is also how Oklahoma would fund a plant. It also snaps Scott’s arrow before it gets out of the quiver.

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Parenthetically, here is a bit of Dr. Skorodin’s writing from Counterpunch, setting the stage leading to the last election:

The Society of the Spectacle meets the neo-totalitarian total information awareness society. The state has technology for and has commandeered the resources to spy upon everyone with 16 or 18 “intelligence” agencies and control us as much as possible with the media of five corporations that are pretty well unified as to how and how much the populace is “informed”. On the other hand, the populace is atomized (deprived of meaningful ties to others); the only major non corporate-government institutions are the cooptable churches.

Even if you find some or all of this true or at least arguable, it’s a whirligig of banshee alarms that doesn’t take enough account of, for starters, Counterpunch and Dr. Skorodin’s abilities to speak truth to power. Clearly, they have considerable ability to do so. (Read the whole thing, though, to get the full flavor – there’s a lot of intelligence mixed with a kind of last-angry-man disdain. Dr. Skorodin seems to carry a panic button in his pocket.)

Doesn’t this kind of temptation usually lead to Daffy Duck being disintegrated?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Uh?

The Society of the Spectacle meets the neo-totalitarian total information awareness society. The state has technology for and has commandeered the resources to spy upon everyone with 16 or 18 “intelligence” agencies and control us as much as possible with the media of five corporations that are pretty well unified as to how and how much the populace is “informed”. On the other hand, the populace is atomized (deprived of meaningful ties to others); the only major non corporate-government institutions are the cooptable churches.

Wow... It's not even wrong.