Skip to main content

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!

---

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.

---

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?

Comments

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.

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…