Monthly Archives: October 2022

Why Have We Stopped Worrying & Learned to Love The Bomb? – Updated

Reversing the Normalization of Nuclear Amnesia

Slim Pickens rides the bomb in an iconic scene for the 1964 Kubrick film
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

By James Heddle – EON

From the Nuclear Memory Hole

According to nuclear-heritage net, “The largest anti-nuclear demonstration to [that] date was held in New York City on September 23, 1979 when almost 200,000 people attended. The New York rally was held in conjunction with a series of nightly ” No Nukes” concerts given at Madison Square Garden from September 19 through 23.

As early as 1968 public resistance had already blocked PG&E plans to build a nuclear power station over an earthquake fault at Bodega Bay, as well as a subsequent proposal in Malibu.

Western Digs reports, “For more than 50 years, protesters occupied a makeshift campsite outside the gates of the former Nevada Test Site, now known as the Nevada National Security Site, to protest the U.S. government’s development and testing of nuclear weapons there.”

Peacing it Together, protest art installation at the gates of the Nevada Test site, 1989 – Composite photo: Rachel Gertrude Johnson

Nuclear Heritage notes that, “Many anti-nuclear campaigns captured national public attention in the 1970s and 1980s, including those at Seabrook Station Nuclear Power Plant, Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant and those following the 1979 Three Mile Island accident.


According to
History.com, “A stunningly large and diverse crowd descend[ed] upon New York City’s Central Park on June 12, 1982, demanding nuclear disarmament and an end to the Cold War arms race. By the end of the day, estimates place the number of attendees at over a million, making it the largest disarmament rally in American history.”

Protesters at the Rally for Peace and Disarmament June 2, 1982. WNYC.org

The report continues, “The rally in Central Park brought together activists from all over the world and all corners of the antiwar movement [and civil rights movement]. Delegations arrived from across North America and as far afield as Bangladesh and Zambia. Groups of Roman Catholic priests rubbed elbows with rabbis and members of the Communist Party, and protestors’ signs illustrated the range of their political demands.”

So Soon They Forget – Nuclear Denialism Leads to Nuclear Revivalism

Contrast this with the current zeitgeist regarding all matters nuclear in which ‘limited, surgical’ nuclear war has become ‘thinkable’ and even ‘probably no big deal;’ in which dangerously disinformed memes thrive such as: ‘nobody died as a result of Fukushima:’ ‘the thousand-square-mile human exclusion zone surrounding Chernobyl is teeming with healthy life;’ or ‘nuclear energy is the only clean, green solution to climate change.’

Given the newly admitted and obvious co-dependent connection between the nuclear power, weapons and radioactive waste management industries and the clear demonstration from the Ukraine war that every nuclear power reactor and radioactive ‘spent fuel’ storage area is a ticking time bomb in place, this is an astounding, and potentially catastrophic change in public perception.

As a member of the generation of school children that grew up practicing weekly ‘duck-and-cover’ drills against an imminently expected atomic bomb attack, I can only conclude that such a radical shift in societal situational awareness can only have come about as a result of a long-term project of cognitive engineering, a very successful psyop.

Parsing how that shift from informed resistance to disinformed compliance was induced may be the subject of a future article. 

For the time being, I’d like to offer an antidote to the spell of nuclear amnesia – a reality check refresher course put together by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

I highly recommend it.

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists presentation on global effects of nuclear war.

Nowhere to Hide

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists presentation on global effects of nuclear war.

“5,341,000,000 mortalities worldwide –

Two years after a nuclear war ends, nearly everyone might face starvation.

There is nowhere to hide.”

https://thebulletin.org/2022/10/nowhere-to-hide-how-a-nuclear-war-would-kill-you-and-almost-everyone-else/



Zombie Nukes – The Slide Show – Updated

Download Power Point version here.                    Download Narration Notes pdf here.

We wanted to take a broad planetarian view of the nuclear revivalist push beyond California. Here’s what we found.


We ask the question, why the push to extend operation of Diablo Canyon’s aged reactors all of a sudden? Why are we being forced to endure the risks and pay for it – both through general funds and as utility rate-payers all over the state?



Seen as a business venture, the US nuclear industry is on its ass.



So is the global nuclear industry.

 


Climate change is being used as the rationale for extending Diablo Canyon’s operation. But extreme weather is not good for nuclear reactors – as we can see from what France experienced this summer.


Graphic: Donna Gilmore – SanOnofreSafety.org

Even without a heat wave, NRC data show that one or both of Diablo’s reactors have had both planned and unplanned shut downs 40% of the days in each of the last four years.


Diablo is no key to reliability or grid stability. As Sluggo points out, looked at as a single power plant, roof top solar installations already out produce dubious Diablo.

Across the country, climate chaos, electric vehicle mandates, rolling blackouts, jobs are just some of the excuses for nuclear revivalism that are saving old reactors from shutdown. In addition to Diablo in California, 2 plants in Illinois and maybe 1 in Michigan were given operating extensions. In 2016, 3 were extended in New York.





The strong push for continuing old reactors across the country coincides with the push for nuclear weapons and power in space and the push for ‘thinkable’ nuclear war.


Since the ’90’s, back in the days of the Neo-Con Project for the New American Century (PNAC) to today’s Biden Administrations, the quest for Full Spectrum Dominance of land, sea, air and space has remained the basis of US policy.




According to this doctrine, “America has, and intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenge.” That will require a robust nuclear power and weapons complex.



Since the days of Atoms for Peace, nuclear power advocates have pooh-poohed any necessary connection between nuclear power and nuclear weapons. Now they’re using that very real connection as an excuse to apply extreme rescue measures to the dying nuclear energy industry. A commercial nuclear infrastructure and trained labor pool are vital to the military nuclear weapons complex.


Former Energy Secretary Moniz now heads the Energy Futures Initiative, pushing civil nuclear power as an ‘enabler’ of full spectrum national security. Mr. Biden agrees.

Thus his generous funding support (at least $100 billion) for nukes both old and new in his Inflation Reduction Act as well as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill.


The current word from some think tanks is that ‘space nuclear’ – in the forms of both power generation and propulsion – “is the future.”

For that, as well as weapons and the Nuclear Navy, a civilian nuclear infrastructure and trained labor force are seen as necessary.


As our friend Bruce Gagnon of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space has been pointing out for years, launching radioactive materials into space is a really dumb idea. What goes up, will come down.



Meanwhile, down here on earth, nuclear reactors design life is limited to 40 years because multiple constant stresses, intense radioactivity, heat, corrosion and embrittlement degrade all the components. Potential battle spaces are no place for old nukes.



This is the wider context in which the Church of Nuclear Revivalism is pushing its Rickety Reactor Rescue program.



Fifteen old reactors in a hot battle zone – what could possibly go wrong?



Now a brewing global civil war is threatening to go nuclear. Professor Jeffry Sachs call it “the most dangerous moment since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.” 


In such a conflict, the US is full of potential nuclear targets – essentially nuclear bombs-in-place.


California’s string of nuclear targets along a major earthquake fault line is also rich with potential targets.




Even without a war, California’s webwork of interconnected seismic faults makes all its nuclear sites dangerous.



As Dan Hirsch’s slide shows, Diablo sits squarely on the Shoreline fault which connects to all the others – a bad location for rickety old reactors.


Diablo’s radioactive waste storage on the Shoreline fault is already overloaded. Where will the spent fuel from continued operation go?


Graphic: Donna Gilmore – SanOnofreSafety.org


This NOAA graphic shows smoke from the 2018 Camp Fire that mixed with smoke from the 2018 Woolsey fire in Santa Susana, north of LA.  The 2018 Woolsey fire released radioactive particles from the partial meltdown of a reactor in 1959 that had been covered up.  The radioactive smoke is seen going across the entire continent and beyond.



This is what stress corrosion looks like on a Diablo pressure vessel.




Former NRC Commissioner Peter Bradford says stress corrosion cracking “plagues the entire nuclear industry.”



The NRC and the rest of the industry know it.



So does the French nuclear industry. Stress Corrosion Cracking has put 28 of its reactors offline for an indefinite period.



Extension of Diablo’s operation raises serious legal and constitutional issues that could be challenged in court.



There’s always hope!

As Grandmother used to say, “There are many a slip between cup and lip.” Nuclear revivalism is a dangerous pipedream.



How can we organize to stop the nuclear revivalists?



Connecting with our natural allies across all these related issue areas will help our pushback movement grow in scope and strength.



This presentation is available at NoNukesCA.net. Feel free to share. Please check out our forthcoming documentary SOS – The San Onofre Syndrome and visit our other sites.

Thanks for your attention.