Date: Sat, 22 Sep 2007 16:30:41 -0700

From: "Russell 'Ace' Hoffman" <>
Subject: Is it a lack of clear thinking or pure greed that explains
  nuke-power proponents?

September 22nd, 2007

Dear Readers,

Below are two articles about nuclear power.  The first article is a pro-nuke puff-piece of the highest order (and odor).  After three paragraphs of unrelated attacks to set his tone, Tom Still begins his assault in earnest.  But even when he gets down to business, his arguments are "reductio ad absurdum."  For example, in his opinion, were it not for "a political dilemma perpetuated by decades of fear-mongering" there would be a perfectly sound solution to the nuclear waste problem, because (in his opinion) Yucca Mountain is "infinitely better" than on-site dry cask storage.  When choosing between two evils, one of them cannot possibly be "infinitely" better than the other!  My response, which was posted at the WTN web site, appears below the article.

In the second article shown below (bottom), Republican Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. is recommending what California has had for decades, but which California Republicans are trying to overturn.  (Other Utah Republicans oppose Huntsman, as well.)  Huntsman does not want nuclear power plants in Utah "until technology is developed to reprocess safely the plant's radioactive waste on site."  That is saying "NO" to transportation of highly-radioactive waste, and to the generation of that waste, because, even after nearly 70 years of research, such technology DOES NOT EXIST.  (The Roy Process, IF it could be developed, would reduce the nuclear waste stream, but would not eliminate it.)

Huntsman claims he would not oppose nuclear power if the waste problem were solved, and a few other problems, but I suspect he is one of the millions of people around the country -- and around the world -- who smell a rat.  After all, if it isn't one "kiss of death" which makes nuclear power illogical, it's another.  If you ignore the waste problem, there is still the terrorism problem.  If you ignore the terrorism problem AND the waste problem, there is still the rotten economics.  If you ignore the economics, the terrorism, and the waste problems, you'll still have to grapple with the childhood leukemias.  And the adult leukemias, and the cancers, and the birth defects, and the heart disease -- and if you manage to ignore all of that, you've still got clean alternatives that only need a government push to succeed -- instead of the periodic Putsch provided by nuclear's proponents, such as by Republican Chuck Devore of Irvine, who suddenly embarked on a campaign to build new nuclear power plants in California, before he had the facts.  And facts, provided by such groups as the Committee to Bridge the Gap, have not swayed him.

California's Republican lawmakers, spearheaded by Devore, are planning a ballot initiative so that California voters can abolish our current ban on new nukes until the waste problem is solved.  Their plan is in full swing, starting with flooding the state with pro-nuke Op-Eds and articles in major papers, such as one written recently by Christine Todd Whitman, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, proclaiming nuclear power to be both "safe" and "emission-free."  This is, of course, the same Christine Todd Whitman who proclaimed, while she was head of the EPA, that the air around 9-11's "Ground Zero" in New York was not toxic in any way -- although now, some 70% of the ground-zero clean-up workers are suffering from lung problems.  (And by the way, it wasn't nearly as toxic as a REAL "Ground Zero" will be after a nuclear attack.)  She is not to be trusted.

What's really happening is simple:  There are so many other worries in the world today, that the pro-nukers see it as a good time to slip in their evil agenda while most "activists" are too busy -- and too poor -- to fight it.  And, having successfully kept from the public eye the near-meltdown at Davis-Besse in 2002, and the near-Genpatsu-Shinsai (nuclear meltdown brought on by an Earthquake) in Japan during the summer of 2007, they feel the time is right for proclaiming once again that "nuclear is the new green."   And it doesn't hurt that tens of thousands of nuclear workers are retiring each year, freeing them up to write books, articles, and nasty flames on the Internet.

And then there's people like Patrick Moore and Stewart Brand, formerly environmentally-friendly, who are now shills for the nuclear industry.  Their dance cards are full, and undoubtedly their wallets, too.  Both are now paid speakers for the Nuclear Energy Institute, which is awash with blood and money.

Tomorrow Ken Burns' seven-episode series on World War II, called The War, will begin on public broadcasting networks around the country.  (I hope that Mr. Burns would do a fair documentary on the nuclear debate!)  In an interview on MS-NBC, Mr. Burns stated that the impetus for producing his new documentary was 2-fold:  First, that he had heard (as had I) that American WWII veterans -- "The Greatest Generation" are dying at the rate of 1,000 PER DAY (my own father, a American soldier in that war, died last year).  Second, Ken Burns heard about a study indicating what he felt were "too many" of America's graduating high school seniors think we fought World War II WITH the Germans AGAINST the Russians!

The greatest of evils come directly from such grotesque misconceptions.  Dogma and historic fiction are powerful controllers of human behavior.  The payback for decades of under-funding education in America is at hand.  Mass-ignorance is no less dangerous than mass-hysteria.  If the nuclear proponents win, millions will die.



Tom Still Doesn't Get It:

(Note: Regarding the WTN's boilerplate "no mass duplication or distribution" comment, there is no copyright violation when one is presenting DANGEROUS political commentary by SUBVERSIVE PROPAGANDISTS like Tom Still for dissection and discussion.  Also, if strictly observed, the WTN command violates the Fair Use doctrine. -- Ace)

Pro-nuke article by Tom Still:

Republicans aren't alone in ignoring or distorting science for political gain

By Tom Still • 09/19/07 • © WTN Media. For personal use only. No mass duplication or distribution.

Madison, Wis. - It has been six years since President Bush imitated Pope Urban VII and all but crippled federal support for human embryonic stem cell research, a 21st century version of the Vatican's gagging of Galileo for claiming the Earth revolved around the Sun.

Bush was wrong about stem cell science then and he's wrong now - and the nation may someday pay a price for ceding the high ground in this ground-breaking field to medical researchers around the world.

Just as Galileo wasn't the first scientist to come under scrutiny or be muzzled, however, neither is Bush the only politician at home or abroad guilty of shunning science and technology that conflicts with personal beliefs. In fact, entire political movements have been built on little more than that.

Going anti-nuclear

Consider the political left's stubborn refusal to re-examine nuclear energy as a potential antidote to global warming. Yes, the slow but steady conversion to biofuels, wind energy, and solar energy will combat climate change and replace waning supplies of some carbon-based fuels. But it will be years before many of those renewable technologies are commercially scaled, even if federal research funding grows at a Manhattan project pace.

Nuclear energy technology - now in its safe and efficient “third generation” - is available today, leaves no carbon footprint and could help reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil. Here's the answer to your next question: Storing nuclear waste is not a scientific problem, but a political dilemma perpetuated by decades of fear-mongering. The repository at Yucca Mountain would be infinitely safer than leaving nuclear waste in above-ground casks, which is the status quo.

When Bjorn Lomborg wrote “The Skeptical Environmentalist” in 2001, he turned the environmental community on its head by noting that many apocalyptic predictions had proven false. Opponents of animal testing, crop biotechnology, and forest-management practices have been cornered by the facts on many occasions, yet their political friends continue to shout down the science as if it really doesn't matter.

Again, none of this is new. The left still lionizes Rachel Carson's 1962 book, “Silent Spring,” as one of the literary anthems of environmentalism. But the underpinnings of Carson's book were refuted almost instantly by scientists such as UW-Madison's Dr. Ira L. Baldwin, a professor of agricultural bacteriology who questioned her hypothesis that the pesticide DDT was linked to cancer in humans.

Carson claimed (incorrectly) that few carcinogens exist naturally, and that manmade substances such as pesticides are “elixirs of death” - even in tiny quantities - because humans have evolved “no protection” against them. To Carson, there was “no `safe' dose.”

In a scientific review of “Silent Spring,” Baldwin acknowledged that some pesticides could be harmful, especially if misused, but added that dosage matters a great deal. He also noted that “mankind has been engaged in the process of upsetting the balance of nature since the dawn of civilization.” Society must measure costs versus benefits, Baldwin wrote, as scientists, doctors, and farmers combine to fight “an unrelenting war” against insects, parasites, and disease.

Historical lens

Time has confirmed that Baldwin, not Carson, was right. Recent studies indicate most human carcinogens are natural, and the dosage of any carcinogen is far more important than whether it's natural or manmade. Meanwhile, how many people have suffered and died from malaria because even the emergency use of DDT was banned?

As former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona testified earlier this year when asked about the Bush administration's sneering at science, “Anything that doesn't fit into the political appointees' ideological, theological, or political agenda is often ignored, marginalized, or simply buried.”

That's a statement that could apply to liberals and conservatives today as in the time of Galileo.

Recent articles by Tom Still

• Tom Still: State congressional delegation pulls together on patent reform

• Tom Still: High-end exports can distinguish Wisconsin in China's emerging markets - for now

• Tom Still: Tapping a hidden resource: Academic R&D in the UW System

• Tom Still: New report shows Wisconsin making headway in building a new economy

• Tom Still: Medical diplomacy should survive the Thompson campaign

Tom Still is president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. He is the former associate editor of the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison.

The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC.

WTN accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.

Here's what I posted at the WTN web site:

Interesting that the statement is made, below the article, that the views expressed don't necessarily represent the opinions of WTN -- but WTN could have chosen not to publish such trash in the first place -- trash where the devil in the hand (dry cask storage) is called "infinitely worse" than the devil in the bush (Yucca Mountain).  Infinitely?  It IS worse, but "infinitely" is pure hyperbole!  They both are horrific solutions to an intractable problem.  The physics of radioactive decay make ALL solutions other than stopping the manufacturing of nuclear waste far too risky. Yes, we're stuck having to do SOMETHING, but not making MORE waste is the #1 thing we need to do!

Back in the day, when we were told nukes would be "too cheap to meter" by the Atomic Energy Commission (forerunner of the DOE and the NRC), we were also told we could probably just rocket the waste into outer space.  Columbia and Challenger and 1000 other rocket failures -- including SNAP-9A -- proved that solution was not going to work, and no other solution has worked, either.

Way back in 1978 the NRC ADMITTED that there is no known threshold for radioactive waste -- no safe dose.  This was re-affirmed in the most recent National Academy of Sciences' BEIR VII report.  Yet now, nearly 30 years later, pro-nukers still believe a little radiation is good for you because, they say, it "stimulates the immune system."  THAT is junk science!  But it allows all releases to be ignored as "safe" as long as you dilute the waste stream with enough clean water, clean air, and clean dirt.  But all that really does is spread the poisons around and hide the deaths it causes.

As for cost, think of the cost of the 1100 square miles of once-fertile cropland now laid waste by Chernobyl -- AND the "exclusion zone" should really be much larger than that.  The place is a mess; the animals there are deformed, their DNA damaged permanently.  And the animals weren't told about the exclusion zone and constantly walk, run, crawl, and fly into and out of it, spreading the poisons and the deformities still further.  Winds continue to carry the poisons around the globe.  And the half-billion dollar new sarcophagus France offered to build will only hold for a few decades, and then they'll need another, and another, and another.

And our plants are hardly immune to meltdowns, even if they can't have one exactly like Chernobyl's.  Just study Davis-Besse's nearly catastrophic accident in 2002, or the true details of what happened at Three Mile Island.  Between the two, Davis-Besse was more nearly a meltdown, but both came within a hare's breath of the ultimate failure of technology.

Think too of the cost of cancer, leukemia, heart disease, birth defects, and a thousand other ailments -- all caused by radiation.

The reason nuclear appears economical is because the plant operators -- mega-corporations -- don't pay for the illnesses, pay but a piddling amount for the waste problem, will pay but fractions of a penny on the C-note after an accident, and didn't pay for the research that developed the nuke technology in the first place.  Human suffering is the major cost, we all will pay that.

Lastly, calling the current generation of nukes the "third generation" is just an artificial place-keeper:  There are several generations operating now; the GE Mark-1 Boiling Water Reactors are particularly dangerous, with their (chock-full) spent fuel pools located dangerously ABOVE THE REACTOR.  But the other types we currently use are also anything but safe and clean.  The whole cycle releases radiation AND greenhouse gases -- the mining, the processing, the transport of the waste, and the 1000 or so workers at each plant, who drive to work each day (nuke plants are notoriously labor-intensive ways of generating electricity).

The only scientifically-sound thing to do with nukes is shut them down and admit it was a big, big mistake -- the worst mistake in history.

Here is the URL for the Tom Still article:

One should also read the excellent comment by Gregory Francis Bird and other comments, which appear at the WTN web site.

Governor of Utah smarter than the average bear:

At 12:35 AM 9/22/2007 -0700, wrote:
09/22/07 ****     RADIATION BULLETIN(RADBULL)       **** VOL 15.222
Send News Stories to with title on subject
line and first line of body

 19 Deseret Morning News: Guv opposes nuclear plant in Utah

Safety issues must be resolved, Huntsman says

By Lisa Riley Roche and Jasen Lee Deseret Morning News

Published: Sept. 21, 2007 12:31 a.m. MDT

Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. said Thursday that he will oppose a nuclear
power plant in Utah until technology is developed to reprocess
safely the plant's radioactive waste on site.

"That's a deal-breaker," the governor told the Deseret Morning News
in an interview the day after an interim legislative committee
discussed a proposal that would allow utilities to recover the cost
of building a nuclear power facility even before it begins
generating power.

Huntsman successfully led Utah's fight to stop a high-level nuclear
waste facility from being built on Goshute Indian land in Tooele
County. That facility would have stored high-level waste generated
by nuclear power plants around the nation.

The governor said he is also concerned about the liability issues
surrounding a nuclear power plant, especially if a Utah facility
were to have an accident similar to the 1979 accident at Three Mile
Island in Pennsylvania.

"This is a long-term proposal at best, I think, because you've got
to look at the risk involved, and there is enormous risk potential,"
Huntsman said of the proposal discussed Wednesday by the
Legislature's Public Utilities and Technology Interim Committee.

No action was taken on the proposal, and the committee chairman,
Rep. Michael Noel, R-Kanab, said Thursday that the legislation
circulated at the meeting was intended only as a starting point.

As drafted, the bill would allow utilities to seek the cost of
building a nuclear power plant from ratepayers, even before the
plant begins generating electricity ? and in some cases, even if the
facility is never completed.

Noel said it was "unfortunate" the governor opposes the proposal.

"The only way we can meet our needs is through nuclear power," Noel
said. He said the amount of waste a Utah plant would generate is
"minuscule," and it's unfair to compare that to what the site on the
Goshute land would have brought to the state.

"You're talking about bringing waste in from outside the state in
massive quantities and storing it," the lawmaker said, calling it
disingenuous to balk at a plant here, when the state sometimes uses
nuclear power generated out of state through the power grid.

Critics of a nuclear plant in Utah praised the governor's stand.

"Gov. Huntsman wisely understands that building a nuclear reactor
here is inconsistent with state policy and jeopardizes the successes
that we've had in preventing other states from dumping their waste
here," said Vanessa Pearce, executive director of HEAL Utah.

Pearce, whose organization supports environmental issues, said
utility ratepayer dollars "are better invested in technologies that
can be brought online this year than they are invested and tied up
in technologies that won't be available" for some time.

Huntsman has not ruled out nuclear power as an option to meet the
state's long-term energy needs. He describes it as part of a mix of
new energy sources that also includes wind and solar power, as well
as developing technology to make coal-fired plants cleaner.

"You have to consider all the options out there, including nuclear,"
the governor said, noting that was the recommendation of his own
blue-ribbon task force on climate change. "It's only realistic if
you want to look at it as a hard-headed realist over the next
generation or two."

But until nuclear waste can be recycled and rendered safe on-site ?
and the liability issues are dealt with ? Huntsman said he's not
ready to back a plant in Utah, preferring to focus instead on other

"These are all issues of great concern to the people of this state
that will either be addressed effectively over time, or this need
will be overtaken by alternative forms of energy," he said.

The governor said his concerns are not unique to Utah. "Concern
about where you put waste is such a pervasive one in this country,
you're not going to see a lot of movement on nuclear power until
such time as this is addressed."

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