Create fast-track procedures for deemed civil nuclear exports for countries defined by the Secretary of Energy.
Expand the Export-Import Bank program on Transformational Exports to include civil nuclear facilities and related goods.
Create the U.S. Nuclear Fuels Security Initiative to reduce and eventually eliminate reliance on Chinese and Russian nuclear fuels.
The proposed legislation – like the campaign to keep Diablo Canyon, California’s last nuke standing, up and running past its design life – is part of a current concerted push to resuscitate a moribund industry that should be allowed to die before it kills us.
A Mounting Pyramid of Catastrophes
If Wikipedia is to be believed, “Globally, there have been at least 99 (civilian and military) recorded nuclear power plant accidents from 1952 to 2009…. At least 57 accidents and severe incidents have occurred since the Chernobyl disaster, and over 56 severe incidents have occurred in the USA.”
Level 5, 6 and 7 disasters – those with more than ‘Local Consequences’ – tend to occur every 5-10 years.
Fukushima happened in 2011.
We’re overdue for the next biggie. How really bad does ‘Major’ have to be?
The Past is Prologue
Here’s a brief historical timeline of unheeded wake up calls. [Main source]
Kyshtym, Russia 1957 – Level 6
Windscale Fire (Sellafield), UK 1957 – Level 5
Santa Susanna – 1959 – a partial meltdown occurred at the Boeing-Rocketdyne nuclear testing facility, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Experts rate it as worse than Three Mile Island’s Level 5. The incident released the third greatest amount of radioactive iodine in nuclear history.
Experimental Power Station, Idaho USA 1961 – Level 4
Saint- Laurent, France 1969 – Level 4
Three Mile Island Accident, Pennsylvania USA 1979 – Level 5
Buenos Aires, Argentina 1983 – Level 4
Chernobyl, Ukraine 1986 – Level 7
Goiania Accident, Brazil 1987 – Level 5
Tokaimura, Japan 1999 – Level 4
Fukushima, Japan 2011 – Level 7
Nuclear Denialism – The Legacy of the Nuclear Age So Far
Add in the global pollution from 2 decades of atmospheric nuclear weapons testing in the last century and its clear the planetary gene pool and ecosystem will never be the same.
Consistent low-balling of costs, environmental and human health impacts and the recurring denialist claim that, “relatively few accidents have involved fatalities,” is demolished by the actual in-depth and long-term data.
As the late, great, biostatistician and nuclear impacts researcher Rosalie Bertell reported at the time,
The authors abstracted data from more than 5000 published articles and studies, mostly available only in Slavic languages and not available to those outside of the former Soviet Union or Eastern bloc countries. The findings are by those who witnessed first-hand the effects of Chernobyl. This book is in contrast to findings by the World Health Organization (WHO), International Atomic energy Agency (IAEA) and (United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) who based their findings on some 300 western research papers, and who found little of concern about the fallout from Chernobyl.
While the most apparent human and environmental damage occurred, and continues to occur, in the Ukraine, Belarus and European Russia, more than 50 percent of the total radioactivity spread across the entire northern hemisphere, potentially contaminating some 400 million people.
Based on 5000 articles, by multiple researchers and observers, the authors estimated that by 2004, some 985,000 deaths worldwide had been caused by the disaster, giving lie to estimates by the IAEA and World Health Organization.
All life systems that were studied – humans, voles, livestock, birds, fish, plants, mushrooms, bacteria, viruses, etc., with few exceptions, were changed by radioactive fallout, many irreversibly. Increased cancer incidence is not the only observed adverse effect from the Chernobyl fallout – noted also are birth defects, pregnancy losses, accelerated aging, brain damage, heart, endocrine, kidney, gastrointestinal and lung diseases, and cataracts among the young. Children have been most seriously affected – before the radioactive Chernobyl releases, 80% of children were deemed healthy, now in some areas, only 20% of children are considered healthy. Many have poor development, learning disabilities, and endocrine abnormalities.
The government of the former Soviet Union previously classified many documents now accessible to the authors.
For their fallacious factoids, denialists cite nuclear tech data from the very international agencies charged with promoting the nuclear industry: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation ( UNSCEAR.)
These agencies have colluded in covering up the real horrors of the DNA altering damage from the multiple nuclear catastrophes over the years. In fact, they have an Agreement, W.H.O./IAEA (Res. WHA 12.40, of 28 May 1959) that states the W.H.O. will defer to the interests of the IAEA before investigating, publishing or taking action on anything to do with nuclear. Therefore the WHO is not independent from the IAEA in the field of research and publications.
And because the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is “an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy,” it prohibited true collection and distribution of accurate information about any of the major nuclear disasters. UNSCEAR is part of the efforts to support the nuclear lobby narrative.
The Denialist Pattern
Attempted cover-ups are historically standard procedure. From the beginning, the policy of the U.S. was to block those who attempted to record accurate information immediately after the Japanese bombings. That policy pattern continued for the brave individuals who painstakingly gathered tissue samples and recorded the devastating health damage soon after Chernobyl such as Dr. Bandazhevsky, who had his samples and records destroyed and was also imprisoned by the Belarussian government.
Fortunately we have the work of Dr. Timothy Mousseau, Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina who has recorded years of samples of DNA damage of insects, birds and small mammals in both Chernobyl and Fukushima.
MIT Professor Kate Brown meticulously documented the effects of Chernobyl in her award-winning book, “Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future”. Their research corroborates the thousands of Slavic studies and on the ground reports synthesized by Yablokov et al. These studies and estimates of deaths (900,000 plus) were completely dismissed also. Efforts by others outside of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine to help relieve the suffering of those affected by the Chernobyl disaster were actively blocked by the IAEA.
Details of the horrendous effects of the ongoing triple meltdowns at Fukushima are covered up. Suffering Japanese residents are ignored and their illness claims disputed. The U.S. sailors who were exposed to the heaviest part of the immediate release of Fukushima radioactivity while offshore working to help with rescue efforts after the earthquake and tsunami were totally silenced and denied legal recognition and health assistance, though brave efforts were made by their legal team. Former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi traveled to the US to speak out and support the US sailors’ lawsuit against TEPCO and was moved to tears at the situation. The lawsuits were finally rejected by a U.S. court.
TEPCO intends to dump millions of gallons of highly irradiated water from Fukushima into the Pacific, affecting all life in and around this ocean. Yet because of the political/media cover-up, people are unaware that the triple meltdowns are still occurring and producing at least 300 tons of highly radioactive waste water daily.
These are just some of the cover-ups conveniently ignored by denialist pollyannas.
Then There’s the Stranded Waste Perplex
Thousands of deadly metric tons of radioactive ‘spent fuel’ power plant waste with nowhere to go now sit on nuclear power reactor sites, some of them shutdown and in decommissioning, others still in operation and producing more tons of waste each year.
Approximately 86,000 metric tons are being stored on 54 commercial sites in 28 states. (More deadly waste from weapons production is piling up in more states.
The waste will remain lethal to all living things millions of years, yet it is now stored in flimsy thin-walled metal containers that will last for less then 20 years. Each storage site is a ticking time bomb and a target for terrorist attack.
Still, nuclear pollyannas press on, advocating for ‘advanced nuclear technology’ and small nuclear reactors (SMRs).
So desperate are the nuclear pollys in pleading their case that they have now stopped denying the fact of mutually dependent connections between nuclear power and weapons.
They’ve switched from decades of denying any connection to arguing that the commercial nuclear power industry must be kept alive because it supplies the infrastructure and trained labor pool on which the nuclear weapons industry depends. A long-denied truth which is why the expensive, dirty, uninsurable private nuclear power industry was spawned in the first place, marketed as ‘Atoms for Peace.’
How big a disaster will it take to snap the New Nukes Numbskulls out of their trance?
June 7, 2022 — Gary Headrick interviews Maggie and Arnie Gundersen, who exposed the installation of unreviewed and unapproved replacement equipment at the San Onofre Nuclear Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) near San Diego, Calif. The equipment in question failed eleven months after it was installed, part of a cascade of mistakes and failures that eventually caused Edison, the owner of the plant, to give up on its effort to extend the life of the plant several decades beyond its original design.
“Meltdown at Diablo Canyon” – http://www.artofmarkbryan.com/politics/
Nuclear revivalists are targeting California and using PG&E’s decrepit and dangerous reactors at Diablo Canyon as a stalking horse for a wider agenda.
“Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name But what’s puzzling you is the nature of my game” – The Rolling Stones – Sympathy for the Devil
“We need to phase out and shut down the 104 reactors in America. I will put it very bluntly: We need to kill them before they kill us.”- David Freeman, consultant to Friends of the Earth
Nuclear safety needs to be a key issue in California’s upcoming election.
By Mary Beth Brangan By James Heddle – EON
As battle rages around Chernobyl and Ukraine’s other aged nuclear reactors, a battle of ideologies rages around California’s last nuke standing.
There is a concerted push to keep Diablo Canyon’s aged, rickety nuclear reactors running beyond their licensed design life in an earthquake zone riddled with 13 intersecting faults, two of them ‘active.’ They sit on the central California coast near San Luis Obispo.
Why is a convicted felon corporation, after its second bankruptcy, being allowed to run an aged nuclear power plant in an earthquake zone at a yearly loss that could cost ratepayers a whopping $8 Billion by its scheduled shut down in 2025, when the electricity it produces is not even needed?
Recent polling shows a strong percentage of Californian’s want the plant to be closed. This, despite the constant pressure from erroneous industry claims nuclear power is needed for climate change.
Why not shut it down now for both safety and financial reasons? Why the push to keep it running? As the Stones’ lyrics above ask, “What is the nature of this game?”
The Diablo Deal and PG&E’s Rap Sheet
PG&E is currently scheduled to shut down California’s last two operating nuclear power reactors at Diablo Canyon sited on California’s central coast in 2024 and 2025. respectively.
That schedule was agreed to back in 2016 in a closed-door deal brokered in part by FOE’s consultant, David Freeman – quoted above – the late former utility executive who is famously credited with holding the record for shutting the most reactors down. It was a deal that did not include Mothers for Peace, the stalwart organization that has led the campaign against Diablo for decades, and continues to do so.
In 2018 the CPUC ratified the agreement that’s allowed PG&E to collect hundreds of millions in agreed upon decommissioning funds from ratepayers. The parties to the deal were PG&E, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245, Coalition of California Utility Employees, Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environment California and Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility. Presumably those same parties would have to be involved in an extension of operation negotiation.
The Case Against License Extension At A Glance – Diablo’s Dirty Dozen
Sited on the nexus of at least 13 earthquake faults – 2 ‘major and active’
Four decades old, reactor vessels embrittled with wear and uninspected for years
Skilled workers are leaving with their specialized knowledge about the plant
There is no guarantee of “steady baseload power” from a 40-year-old nuclear power plant
Vital underground cooling pipes from the 1970’s are un-inspectible
Spent fuel pools are overcrowded to at least three times their original capacity
No more space on the dry cask storage pad for more waste
Obsolete ‘once-through’ cooling system is responsible for 80% of the loss of marine life on the California Coast…and is illegal
Seawater intake structure is vulnerable to rising sea levels
Minimal maintenance for years in anticipation of closure
Upgrade and repair costs prohibitive of continued operation
A Wake-Up Call for California’s Quiescent Peace and Nuclear Free Movements
Die-hard Nuclear Energy Revivalists see prolonging Diablo’s operation in archetypically anti-nuclear California as a key move in their national ‘save nuclear’ agenda. But veterans of the state’s legendary nuclear free movement should see the Revivalists’ desperate push in California as an opportunity as well as a looming threat.
The reasons Diablo is the state’s last nuke standing are the decades of dedicated and effective organizing, public education, direct action events and legislative initiatives of largely one or two generations of California activists from the peace, nuclear free and environmental movements.
Perhaps it’s time for those now white-headed elders to climb back in the saddle and ride again to help attract younger recruits with the power of their example.
The fate of one aged plant is only part of the issue. If the Revivalists can be stopped in bellwether state California their wider agenda will crumple.
The Devils in Diablo’s Details
Diablo means the devil and the name is fitting for California’s last operating nuclear reactors, situated within yards of earthquake faults and in a tsunami zone.
Nuclear Revivalists have convinced themselves that nuclear power’s advantages outweigh its risks. They organized the initial campaign to keep California’s Diablo Canyon reactors running despite owner PG&E’s agreement to shut down at the end of their licenses in 2024 and 2025
Now, in 2022, Gov. Gavin Newsom is also urging PG&E to keep the unmaintained, dangerous and expensive reactors online. This, despite a report that shows, among other dangers, the 1960’s era reactors could shatter like glass from embrittlement if forced into a quick power shut off which could happen from extremely hot weather, for instance.
The San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, who’ve battled against Diablo since before it began operation issued a statement regarding keeping the plant open and warn: “It is an aging plant – designed in the 1960s with construction completed in the 1980s. Anticipating imminent closure, maintenance has been deferred, waivers granted, and key employees gone. It is becoming increasingly more dangerous. This nuclear plant should be shut down as soon as possible; there is nothing smart about continuing to operate it.”
Revivalists contend that if Diablo Canyon were to be shutdown, California’s gas emissions would rise. However, Peter Skala, interim deputy executive director for Energy & Climate Policy at the California Public Utilities Commission says:
“… the State has ordered an unprecedented amount of new clean energy procurement—11.5 gigawatts—to replace the retirement of Diablo Canyon (along with other aging gas plants that are retiring). This includes wind, solar, batteries, geothermal, and long duration storage that will be online starting in 2023.”
Nevertheless, despite current pressure from the Biden administration, the U.S. Dept of Energy, Gov. Newsom and others to keep Diablo Canyon operating, owner PG&E may show some extension hesitancy.
After two bankruptcies and being convicted for multiple felonies because its negligence resulted in 8 deaths, 58 injuries and destruction of a San Bruno neighborhood from a gas explosion as well as having caused 84 deaths and almost complete destruction of the town in the Paradise inferno plus causing enormous wildfire damage resulting in multi-billion dollar lawsuits, the discredited company may hesitate to have another potential disaster on its books.
The Nuclear Revivalist Agenda
Nuclear delusions die hard.
For more than half a century now, nuclear delusionists have kept their ‘nukes forever,’ ‘energy-too-cheap-to-meter’ dreams alive despite ever-mounting setbacks and disasters. The much-touted ‘nuclear renaissance’ has failed to materialize. In the face of doubling cost over-runs and construction delays new conventional reactor projects are dying on the vine. The gains of solar and wind energy production are making the economics of new nuclear power plants increasingly prohibitive.
Nuclear Revivalists have grown desperate as they fight to keep alive on artificial life support an obsolete and moribund industry that is on its last legs worldwide.
According to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2021, “In 2020, nuclear power generation decreased—for the first time since 2012—by over 100 TWh or more than the individual national production of 28 of the 33 nuclear countries. Excluding China, nuclear power generation dropped to the lowest level since 1995. The nuclear share in the electricity mix in France dropped to the lowest level since 1985.”
One of Revivalists’ responses has been to press for extending operating licenses for aged existing plants whose designed lifespan is 40 years and to seek public subsidies to keep aged, uneconomical reactors running. The push for a Diablo extension is part of that national pattern.
The Climate Change Cover Story
Another straw grasped at by desperate Revivalists is that nuclear power a necessary ‘clean’ and ‘carbon free’ ‘solution’ to climate change.
How an energy source that remains lethal to all lifeforms for millennia and produces carbon pollution at every stage of its cycle from mining and milling to transport to storage can be called clean or carbon-free is a real head scratcher. Then there’s the construction time issue.
A nuclear plant requires a large amount of concrete, high alloy steel and other speciality metals, structural steel, copper, etc. for construction of the physical plant. All require energy to be produced. Also needed are the turbine generator, condenser, pumps, cranes, piping…. the list goes on. Making all the components and building the nuclear power plant requires significant amounts of energy. People from all over the country would need to work on this project for at least six years.
Do the math. Construction of a nuclear energy plant takes 6+ years and it takes another 6+ years to repay the energy debt. That takes us to 2035 before a new nuclear power plant can make a contribution of “carbon free” energy – too late to really help alleviate our crisis.
Our friends at Fairewinds Energy Education created this special 2-minute animation to show why building new nukes is a lost opportunity for humankind with precious time and money wasted on the wrong choice. Keeping old, fragile reactors – with their daily routine emissions of heat and radioactive pollution is no climate change solution either.
Endgame for Diablo?
The to-and-froing on this issue has gone on for years. The issues involved were given a public airing on Feb. 15, 2020 at the “Shut Diablo Canyon 2020,” Conference organized by Code Pink’s Cynthia Papermaster at the Historic Unitarian Universalist Hall in Berkeley, CA.
Papermaster and Author-Teacher Joanna Macy talked about practicing what Macy calls Active Hope in the growing campaign aimed at bringing about the early shutdown of Diablo Canyon nuclear plant.
Mothers for Peace Spokesperson Linda Seeley described the serious safety issues surrounding long-term storage of tons of lethal radioactive waste at PG&E’s Diablo Canyon reactor site after it is shut down.
Attorney John Geesman, a former Commissioner of the California Energy Commission and author-activist Harvey Wasserman made the case for then Governor Newsom to use his authority to shut down Pacific Gas & Electric’s aged, embrittled Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant immediately, and to not allow it to operate even for its scheduled five more years.
Jessica Tovar of the Utility Justice Campaign told how bankrupt PG&E was trying to sell Community Choice Clean Energy agencies nuclear power.
CCAs – Paying outrageous “exit fees”
PG&E’s disgusted customer base is fleeing to Community Choice Aggregation, CCAs, across the state, who favor renewable energy over nuclear. Former CA Energy Commission Executive Director, and later Commissioner, attorney John Geesman has also calculated that PG&E is forcing ex-customers who left PG&E and joined the CCAs to pay ‘exit fees’ to help cover the over $1 billion dollars yearly in above-market costs needed to run the plant since 2019.
If the plant were to stay open, it might force PG&E to invest many billions in legal and relicensing fees, in repairs and in building cooling towers instead of directly dumping billions of gallons of heated water into the ocean daily. These additional costs would of course, be absorbed by the ratepayers who are already reeling from extraordinary electricity rate hikes this year, in part from Diablo’s over market costs. However, the other major problems with the plant wouldn’t be changed.
In 2016, ArnieGundersen, Chief Nuclear Engineer at Fairewinds Energy Education, spoke about the risks of nuclear power at California Polytechnic State University, just down the road from Diablo. He laid out the case against continued operation of the plant.
That case has not changed.
[For history buffs, one of our EON3 YouTube Playlist has 55 of our eye-witness historical video reporting on this story over the years. Diablo Canyon Chronicles ]
Baseload generation obsolete with renewables
The utility also admitted in its 2016 joint proposal to the CPUC that the inflexible baseload power generated by their nuclear power is incompatible with the flexibility required in a renewables dominated market and that removing nuclear power can make energy from renewables cheaper to integrate into the grid.
“Third, PG&E is addressing the challenge of renewable resource over-generation conditions caused by excess renewable energy supply in certain times of the day. As more solar generation comes on line over time, and when its output is at peak supply (e.g., in the middle of the day), there is less room on the electric system for energy from inflexible and large baseload resources such as Diablo Canyon. Additionally, due to expected over-generation throughout parts of the year, Diablo Canyon may contribute to higher system costs as its current generation profile and lack of dispatchability cause challenges for efficiently integrating renewable resources. Therefore, without Diablo Canyon, the cost to integrate renewables may be lower. “
On 13 Fault lines in a Tsunami Zone – What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
The Mothers for Peace also point out: “This plant is surrounded by multiple earthquake faults, one of which, the Shoreline Fault, comes within a third of a mile of the Unit 2 reactor. Diablo Canyon, right on the coast, is uniquely vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis, making it one of the most dangerous nuclear plants in the country. If there is a major accident, the cost could make a few billion dollars trivial. Damage from Fukushima has been estimated in the hundreds of billions of dollars.”
In a February 9, 2016 California State Lands Commission Meeting, Attorney for The Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, John Geesman put it to the Commissioners this way,
So if you, in fact, extend this lease, it is reasonably foreseeable, indeed it is probable, that PG&E will successfully get its NRC licenses extended from 2025 to 2045. That means an 82 percent increase in the operating lives of these reactors from what they would be, if you allowed your lease to expire in 2018.
…. If you enable an extension to 2045, that’s an 82 percent increase in the nuclear waste associated with this facility….The other area that is represented well by time of operation is exposure to seismic risk. This plant is globally notorious for its seismic setting. And the State of California spent a lot of money trying to figure out just how serious that seismic risk is.
If you expand your lease to 2025, it will increase the exposure to that seismic risk by 21 percent. If you enable an expansion to 2045, it will increase the exposure to that seismic risk by 82 percent….”
What part of Fukushima do you not understand?
More recently, Naoto Kan, Prime Minister of Japan when Fukushima’s three meltdowns began due to an earthquake and tsunami, sent Gov. Newsom a letter of warning based on his horrific experience, to not to keep Diablo online. He emphatically echoed the late David Freeman’s warning quoted above. With nuclear reactors, it’s them or us. “..I was the Prime Minister of Japan at the time of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident and based on my experiences dealing with that disaster, I advise you to shut down the nuclear plant as soon as possible….”
Revivalist’s arguments for nuclear power also ignore the inherent risks, not only from meltdowns, but from the U.S. industry’s dangerously negligent approach in dealing with the lethal waste generated yearly from each reactor.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Agency, NRC, is allowing utilities to use the quickest, easiest and cheapest method of storing their waste. After routine removal from reactors, approximately 54 tons worth of seething, corrosive radioactivity from used fuel rods are put into thin walled 20 ft. stainless steel canisters only ½” to 5/8” thick that can’t be inspected or repaired. These welded shut, unmaintainable canisters are too hot, both thermally and radioactively, to move until the year 2100 according to the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board 2019 Report. Each canister holds roughly the amount of radioactivity released by Chernobyl.
Hundreds of these canisters holding millions of pounds of deadly radioactive waste are now precariously stored at four main sites in California: Humboldt Bay in northern California; Diablo Canyon along the central coast; SMUD near Sacramento; and San Onofre in southern California.
Their contents will be lethal for over a million years, yet are in canisters that are vulnerable to cracking within just 20 years.
A responsible approach would be to ensure that the deadly waste is in protected buildings contained in thick casks that can be monitored and repaired and repackaged when necessary, as it’s done in Switzerland and other countries but not in the U.S.
Note the contrast between the Swiss and U.S. approach to “dry” highly irradiated nuclear waste storage. The Swiss (photo above) use thick casks with bolted double lids that are monitored and repairable in a protected building. The U.S. comparatively primitive approach (as shown in the photo of Diablo Canyon canisters below) uses a parking lot type cement pad open to weather and terrorist threats for its welded shut unmaintainable, un-repairable canisters that are too large and thermally and radioactively hot to move until the year 2100. The U.S. types of canisters can’t be internally or even externally inspected for problems according to ASME Codes.
Outdoor casks at Diablo Canyon – NRC photo
Implementing best current waste management practices and technology should be the key issue for nuclear safety, not making more of this lethal waste!!
The Power & Weapons Connection
Why we still are having this horribly dirty, expensive and unforgiving technology forced onto us is because the military wants it. Many revivalists actually see the co–dependence and inextricable connection between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and think it’s a good thing. The more nations that have the potential for nuclear weapons, the more deterrents there are for war, they believe.
However, there’s an additional new problem with the faulty logic of using nuclear weapons as deterrence (Mutually Assured Destruction). Now that AI, artificial intelligence, is involved in making decisions in fractions of a second with nuclear technology, the human ‘gut feeling’ that has prevented worldwide nuclear war at least twice, is impossible.
And, as shown by the battling in Ukraine, each nuclear power plant is a dirty bomb in place, vulnerable to power outages and both accidental or deliberate hits in a combat zone.
The IAEA-WHO-UNSCEAR Complex – See, Hear & Speak No Evil About Nuclear Risks
Revivalists typically rely on nuclear technical data from the agencies charged with promoting the nuclear industry for their basic facts: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR.)
They ignore or dismiss the massive evidence that those agencies have colluded in covering up the real horrors of the DNA altering damage from the multiple nuclear catastrophes over the years.
In fact, these agencies have an Agreement W.H.O./IAEA (Res. WHA 12.40, of 28 May 1959) that forces the W.H.O. to defer to the interests of the IAEA before investigating, publishing or taking action on anything to do with nuclear. Therefore WHO and UNSCEAR are not independent from the IAEA in the field of research and publications. And because The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is “an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy,” it prohibited true collection and distribution of accurate information about any of the major nuclear disasters.
Evidence of Harm
It’s heartbreaking to know the real effects on people, all creatures and environment that radioactive pollution has caused. But to hear pro-nuclear proponents assert that there have been none or that it’s been negligible is infuriating as well as devastatingly heartbreaking since that’s what people too young to have experienced the early years of nuclear weapons and bomb “testing” have been told.
Years of data and records of the suffering of the Marshallese Islanders caused by the repeated nuclear bombings of their island territory burned completely in a suspicious fire. The thousands of indigenous people in New Mexico who were subjected to the first atomic bomb, Trinity, weren’t warned before the blast and to this day have not been acknowledged or compensated for being damaged downwinders.
The policy of the U.S. was to block those who attempted to record accurate information immediately after the Japanese bombings. That policy continued for the brave individuals who painstakingly gathered tissue samples and recorded the devastating health damage soon after Chernobyl such as Dr. Bandazhevsky, who had his samples and records destroyed and was also imprisoned by the Belarussian government.
Fortunately we have the work of Dr. Timothy Mousseau, Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina who has recorded years of samples of DNA damage of insects, birds and small mammals in both Chernobyl and Fukushima. MIT Professor Kate Brown meticulously documented the effects of Chernobyl in her award-winning book, “Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future”. Their research corroborates the thousands of Slavic studies and on the ground reports synthesized in “Chernobyl, Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment” by Yablokov, Nesterenko and Nesterenko. Yablokov had been State Councilor for Environment and Health and a member of the Russian Academy of Science. These studies and estimates of deaths (900,000 plus) were completely dismissed also.
Please ask your favorite candidate where they stand on this vital issue for California’s future.
Diablo life extension is not a viable energy, economic or ecological option.
Its time to terminate the extraordinary measures protocol, and let the patient quietly expire in peace.
Mounting tensions with Russia, a global pandemic and a reckless scramble for nuclear energy: the echoes of 1957 are alarming – we would do well to heed them.
On 10 October 1957, Harold Macmillan sent a letter to President Dwight Eisenhower. The question he asked his US counterpart was: “What are we going to do about these Russians?” The launch of the Sputnik satellite six days earlier had carried with it the threat that Soviet military technology would eclipse that of the west. The prime minister was hoping to boost British nuclear capabilities, and was desperate for US cooperation.
On that same day, however, the UK’s most advanced nuclear project [Windscale, located on the coast of the Irish Sea] went up in flames – putting the knowledge and bravery of its best scientists to the test, and threatening England’s peaceful countryside with a radiological disaster.
Britain’s first atomic establishment had been hurriedly put together after the second world war. It had turned the small village of Seascale, on the Cumbrian coast, into one of Britain’s most highly educated places, brimming with nuclear scientists and engineers. At the centre of this rarified new world were two buildings: Windscale piles No 1 and No 2. They were Britain’s first nuclear reactors, on a campus that for decades afterwards would be used to produce energy for the grid, but their primary purpose was to produce the material for a British bomb.
One atomic energy official would later refer to the piles as “monuments to our initial ignorance”, and it was ignorance about one particular nuclear phenomenon that almost led to disaster. “Wigner energy” is the energy that accumulates in the graphite blocks that make up the main body of the reactor while the fission reaction is taking place. If it’s not released in time, the energy can build up to such an extent that it ignites the graphite. Periodically, a special operation called “annealing” has to be undertaken in order to release the excess energy.
Nuclear energy: A perpetually unstable and vulnerable technology that leaves behind mountains of radioactive waste that no one wants in their state.
Macmillan wanted Windscale to produce more plutonium and tritium for a hydrogen bomb as quickly as possible. But annealing required stopping the reactor. The Windscale Technical Evaluation Committee decided it would be safe to do it less often. Managers had scheduled the annealing of Pile No 1 for early October 1957, but it was long overdue.
It began at 11.45am on 7 October, under the supervision of physicist Ian Robertson. Everything seemed to go according to plan, and after a long day Robertson went home to get some sleep. He felt unwell. The whole village was feeling the impact of a global flu pandemic – a virus that combined strains of avian and human influenza that had emerged from Guizhou, China, the previous year. Many of Robertson’s colleagues and their families had fallen ill. But no attempts were made to quarantine, and people had continued to show up for work. After spending a few hours at home, Robertson was back at the pile for 9am the following day. It must have seemed as if the flu had not only infected Robertson but the reactor as well. The temperature in the pile was not behaving as predicted and it was a challenge to keep things stable. The operators managed to maintain control for the rest of the day and night, but on 9 October the temperature began to rise again. As the situation became critical, no one could tell what was going on inside the pile.
“Someone suggested that we actually have a look at the reactor itself,” Arthur Wilson, then a 32-year-old instrument technician, later recalled. “We thought: ‘What the hell.’ I opened the gag-port and there it was – a fire at the face of the reactor.” Normally it was dark, but now the channels were glowing bright red from the soaring temperature. “I can’t say I thought a lot about it at the time, there was so much to do,” continued Wilson. “I didn’t think ‘Hurrah, I’ve found it.’ I rather thought, ‘Oh dear, now we are in a pickle.’”
From MothersForpeace.org in San Luis Obispo, CA — 5/17/2022
Former Prime Minister of Japan Sounds the Alarm on Diablo Canyon
Naoto Kan Advises Governor Newsom
to Close Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant ASAP
San Luis Obispo, CA, May 2020 – Naoto Kan was Prime Minister of Japan when the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster began. Hearing that California Governor Gavin Newsom is considering extending the operation of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant beyond its current license period, Kan felt compelled to contact the Governor, advising him to shut down the nuclear plant as soon as possible.
As a result of Naoto Kan’s experiences managing the triple meltdown catastrophe, he has become vocally anti-nuclear. As he explains in his memoir, My Nuclear Nightmare, “I came to understand that a nuclear accident carried with it a risk so large that it could lead to the collapse of a country.”
Eleven years on, the nuclear disaster in Japan is on-going. The government is set to release millions of gallons of irradiated water into the Pacific Ocean as early as next spring – angering citizens and governments worldwide.
Both Japan and California are seismically active and share coastlines with the Pacific Ocean. Fukushima Prefecture and San Luis Obispo County have many similarities, both communities relying heavily on agriculture, fishing, and tourism. Naoto Kan has a deep understanding of these shared risks and vulnerabilities. Thus, he is sounding the alarm on Diablo Canyon.
Carole Hisasue, Spokesperson for San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, states, “As history has clearly illustrated, nuclear accidents affect the entire world. We will all be safer when Diablo Canyon nuclear plant ceases operation.”
Full text of Naoto Kan’s letter to Governor Newsom:
May 12, 2022
Dear Governor Newsom,
I have heard that you have been considering extension of operations at the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant which is set to decommission in a few years. I was the Prime Minister of Japan at the time of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident and based on my experiences dealing with that disaster, I advise you to shut down the nuclear plant as soon as possible.
As you know, three nuclear reactors built along the Pacific Coast in Fukushima melted down after the Great Northeastern Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11, 2011 and released an enormous amount of radiation.
Until this accident occurred, I never thought a nuclear event in which there would be a meltdown such as this could happen. And yet, in reality, the earthquake cut off external power, the emergency diesel generators were damaged by the tsunami and stopped. All power to control the nuclear plant was lost, three reactors could no longer be cooled and that led to the unthinkable meltdown. An incredible amount of radiation was released and even now, 11 years since then, many of the former residents of the areas around the nuclear plant are still in evacuation.
From my perspective, as someone who has personally experienced this accident, I believe that all nuclear power plants should be decommissioned as soon as possible and that we should move toward renewable energy, such as solar and wind, for all our power needs. This is why I am writing to you today.
I have enclosed the English version of a book I wrote about the Fukushima accident. I hope you can find the time to read it.
94th Prime Minister of Japan
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