The Bush Administration pushes nuclear power without concern for human life, especially the lives of infants and children. In Bush's simplistic view, cancer is something to be cured by irradiating you, not something to be prevented in the first place, by cleaning the environment of radiation.
But behind the scenes, a French company named Areva does most of the dirtiest pro-nuclear work around the globe. Areva loves Bush, and Bush loves Areva. Despite any comments you might recall Bush saying about the French when they weren't fooled into going into Iraq, the Bush Administration has had a very cozy relationship with Areva all along.
Recently Areva signed the largest nuclear power plant deal in history, worth about U.S. $12 billion, for two reactors in Guangdong, China. They also promote nuclear energy interests in Canada, South Africa, India, Libya, and many other countries.
Areva is an international criminal organization run by a ruthless megalomaniac named Anne Lauvergeon. However, 94% of Areva is owned by the French government, who can be no less ruthless. It makes for a very effective covert system, since whatever Areva needs that laws or public scrutiny forbid a corporation from doing, the French government can -- and will -- do instead.
Massive funding for pseudo-scientists promoting pro-nuclear "solutions" to global warming results in a misled media, a misled public, misdirected national policies, and a doomed planet.
From: Rachel's Democracy & Health News #936, Dec. 6, 2007
ATOMIC BALM: NUCLEAR REVIVAL IGNORES CASUALTIES
By Joseph J. Mangano
Nuclear power plants employ a controlled atomic fission reaction,
splitting uranium atoms to create heat to boil water to make steam to
turn a turbine to generate electricity. Because nuclear power is so
complex, it is accident-prone and unforgiving -- small errors can have
large consequences. Because of these important disadvantages, for the
past three decades it has looked as if nuclear power were a dying
But now the nuclear industry has seized on global warming to promote
atomic power plants once again as necessary and safe. From politicians
to corporate executives and conservative pundits, we hear that
reactors are "clean" or "emission free" -- with no evidence offered to
support the claims. Unfortunately, this baseless promotion emanates
from a long-standing culture of deception that has plagued the
industry since its beginnings. Earlier this year the British
magazine, the Economist, characterized the U.S. nuclear industry as
"a byword for mendacity, secrecy and profligacy with taxpayers'
Half a century ago, as America produced and exploded hundreds of
atomic bombs (1054 nuclear tests in all, 331 in the atmosphere),
public officials assured everyone that low-dose radiation exposures
were harmless. But after the Cold War ended, barriers to the truth
gave way. Government-funded research found that nuclear weapons
workers and those exposed to fallout from atomic bomb tests in
Nevada suffered from cancer in large numbers. The BEIR VII study.
published by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2005, ended the
debate on this question: it is now firmly established that any
amount of radioactive exposure carries some risk of harm. The
only safe dose is zero.
In the U.S., atomic bombs are no longer being tested. However, 104
nuclear power reactors still operate here, producing the same
radioactive elements found in bomb test fallout, and people living
downwind are routinely exposed to low levels of radioactivity.
Government regulators have established "permissible limits" for
radioactive reactor emissions, declaring the resulting exposures
"safe" -- contrary to the findings of the National Academy's BEIR VII
The U.S. nuclear power industry stopped growing in the mid-1970s.
Until this year, no new reactors have been ordered in the U.S. since
1978, and several dozen reactors have been closed permanently. But
fears of global warming and an ardently pro-nuclear Administration in
Washington have laid the groundwork for an industry revival.
The industry's revival plan has four parts:
1) Enlarging the capacity of existing reactors;
2) Keeping old reactors running beyond their design lifetime;
3) Operating old reactors more hours per year; and
4) Building new reactors.
To help promote the so-called nuclear renaissance, health risks from
low-level radiation are once again being ignored or denied -- even
though evidence of harm exists.
1. Expanding Existing Reactors -- Vermont Yankee
Since March 1993, utilities have submitted 99 requests to the U.S.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for licenses to expand reactor
capacity, and the NRC has approved all 99. The added capacity of 4400
megawatts is the equivalent of four large reactors. The NRC is
considering 12 more applications, totaling another 1100 megawatts.
Most expansions have been small, but 10 of the 99 have raised capacity
by 15 to 20%. Almost all sailed through with little public opposition.
One exception was the Vermont Yankee reactor on the Connecticut River
where Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire converge. It is the
11th oldest of the U.S.'s 104 reactors, and at 510 megawatts
electrical, the 5th smallest.
Entergy Nuclear of Jackson, Miss. acquired Vermont Yankee in 2002 as
part of its campaign to buy aging reactors to maximize their output
and profit potential. Entergy wanted more than a 510 megawatt reactor,
so it requested a 20% upgrade for Vermont Yankee -- the oldest U.S.
reactor considered for an upgrade. The estimated cost was $60
Since 1972, when Vermont Yankee first generated power, Vermont has
become an increasingly liberal state, especially on environmental
issues. Hundreds of local residents opposed the expansion by packing
auditoriums at several public meetings, making their fury known. Ira
Helfand, a local emergency room physician, spoke up at one of them:
"My emergency room cannot deal with the casualties that would be
produced by an accident at this plant... Now Entergy wants to make
this plant even more dangerous by upgrading its production beyond what
it was supposed to tolerate?.. . This plant should not be uprated. It
shouldn't be allowed to operate. It should be shut down."
Residents of Windham County, Vt., where the reactor is located, are
well educated. The county poverty rate is low, and the mostly rural
county of 44,000 has few polluting industries. Along with world class
medical care in nearby Boston, these factors suggest that no unusually
high rates of disease should exist. However, from 1979-2004 the county
death rate was 7.2% below the U.S. -- except for cancer, which was
1.6% higher. These figures are age-adjusted, so the excess cancers are
not attributable to an aging population. And the anomaly in Windham
appears to be growing; most recently (1999-2004), the cancer death
rate in Windham county has risen to 5.7% above the national
The NRC refused to consider that radioactive emissions from Vermont
Yankee might be contributing to the rise in cancer deaths in Windham
county. In March 2006, the NRC approved the expansion, and an appeal
by the New England Coalition Against Nuclear Power was turned down by
the state Supreme Court in September 2007. Entergy is now operating an
expanded Vermont Yankee reactor.
2. Keeping Old Reactors Running -- Oyster Creek, New Jersey
With Wall Street refusing to finance new reactors after the accident
at Three Mile Island, utilities decided to increase profits by
operating old reactors longer than originally planned. The NRC eased
regulations and in this decade has approved 47 of 47 applications to
allow reactors to operate past the initial 40-year design period up to
a total of 60 years. Dozens more applications are expected.
One exception to the federal rubber-stamping of license extensions is
the Oyster Creek reactor in Lacey, New Jersey, about 60 miles from
both Philadelphia and New York City. Oyster Creek is the oldest of the
104 U.S. reactors and one of the smallest (636 megawatts electrical).
In the 1990s, the New Jersey-based GPU Corporation planned to close
the reactor. This changed when AmerGen (a subsidiary of Exelon, the
largest U.S. reactor operator) bought Oyster Creek and requested a
license extension in 2005.
The fight is going on now. Public hearings have been well attended by
supporters and opponents of license extension. Local media has taken
an interest; the Asbury Park Press, the most widely read newspaper in
central New Jersey, has published numerous editorials opposing re-
licensing. Governors James McGreevey and Jon Corzine have both
publicly opposed re-licensing, as have many state and local elected
officials. Governments in 19 local towns have passed resolutions of
opposition. Legal interventions allowed by the NRC were filed by a
coalition of citizen groups and by the state Department of
Information on radioactive contamination and local health became part
of the Oyster Creek dialogue. A well publicized study (partly funded
by the state legislature) of more than 300 baby teeth of New Jersey
children, many living near Oyster Creek, found that average levels of
radioactive Strontium-90 (Sr-90) had doubled from the late 1980s to
the late 1990s. More importantly, increases in Sr-90 near Oyster
Creek were followed by similar increases in childhood cancer rates
several years later.
Ocean County, where the reactor is situated, has a population of
nearly 600,000, up from 108,000 in 1960. Its residents are relatively
well off, and have access to good medical care locally and in nearby
major cities. But the low death rate for all causes other than cancer
from 1979-2004 (8.4% below the U.S.) has been offset by an
unexpectedly high cancer death rate (8.8% above the U.S. average).
With 39,000 county residents dying in the past quarter century, the
number of "excess cancer deaths" exceeds 6,000.
The fate of Oyster Creek remains uncertain. In July, Exelon funded a
group led by heavy-duty New Jersey lobbyists to ensure the application
is pushed through. Local activist Janet Tauro reacted to the new
group's formation by declaring,
"Exelon is putting its money into creating a bogus environmental group
designed to lure the public's attention away from safety issues and
scare us into believing that Oyster Creek's closure would hurt the
3. Operating Old Reactors More Often -- Indian Point, New York
As recently as the late 1980s, U.S. reactors only ran at 63% of
capacity; they were shut down 37% of the time for maintenance and
repair. But larger corporations buying old reactors in the 1990s made
it their mission to boost productivity, and now U.S. reactors run 90%
of the time. This is good news for the balance sheet, but running
old reactors more hours per year raises safety and health concerns.
The two reactors at Indian Point, 35 miles north of New York City,
represent a good example of this change. Until the mid-1990s, they
only operated 57% of the time. But after Entergy Nuclear bought Indian
Point, it raised the current productivity rate to 95%.
Indian Point is in Westchester County, a wealthy area with a
population of nearly one million. In the period 1979-2004, the cancer
death rate in the county was just slightly below the national average
(-1.8%), but well below the U.S. average for all other causes
(-12.9%). If the cancer death rate in Westchester had been as far
below the national average as deaths from all other causes (-12.9%),
there would have been about 6,000 fewer cancer deaths in Westchester
during the period.
Unlike reactor upgrades, license extensions, and new reactor orders,
there are no mandated public hearings when a nuclear utility simply
raises productivity. Thus, this issue has largely been ignored, at
Indian Point and elsewhere.
4. Ordering New Reactors -- Calvert Cliffs, Maryland.
In 2005 the Bush Administration convinced Congress to enact billions
in loan guarantees for new reactor construction because of continued
disinterest from Wall Street; billions more in federal subsidies are
currently under discussion now on Capitol Hill. With the loan
guarantees put in place in 2005, utilities got serious about ordering
new reactors. Over 30 have been discussed, and the dry spell of no
orders since 1978 ended on July 31, 2007 when Unistar Nuclear
submitted an application to the NRC for a new reactor at Calvert
Unistar was formed when Constellation Energy of Baltimore failed to
secure funds from Wall Street financiers for its new Calvert Cliffs
reactor. The 2005 federal guarantees would only back 90% of costs, and
private bankers have flatly refused to put up the other 10%.
Constellation teamed up with the French company Areva to form Unistar.
Areva put up $350 million in cash, promising to up the ante to $625
million. With financing secured, the new reactor was ordered.
Unistar proposes to build a $4 billion, 1600 megawatt reactor at
Calvert Cliffs. There is no precedent for a reactor this size; the
average for the current U.S. reactors is about 1000 megawatts, with
the largest being 1250. At the very earliest, assuming a fast, smooth
regulatory review, rapid construction, and no legal holdups, the
reactor would begin operating in 2014.
The Calvert Cliffs plant is on the west bank of the Chesapeake Bay, 45
miles southeast of Washington. Since the mid-1970s, two reactors have
operated at the site. Until recently, the area was sparsely populated;
but the Calvert County population has swelled from 16,000 to 90,000
since 1960. The county enjoys a high living standard, with a low
poverty rate and good access to medical care in Washington.
Calvert County is a healthy place -- with the exception of cancer.
From 1979-2004, the death rate was 9.2% above the U.S. for cancer, but
3.0% below the nation for other causes. Most recently (1999-2004), the
cancer rate rose to 13.8% above the national average.
All local leaders support the new nuclear plant at Calvert Cliffs.
Wilson Parran, the chair of the Calvert Board of Commissioners,
sounded the clarion call that the promise of economic gain trumps any
possible health hazards:
"From a national perspective, nuclear energy is our largest source of
clean energy and a critical piece of our nation's energy strategy. It
is imperative to reverse the growth of greenhouse gas emissions and
Calvert County stands ready to share in our nation's responsibility to
provide resources that produce energy."
Putting Health First is Essential in Energy Policy
Unusually high cancer rates in counties like Windham, Ocean, Calvert,
and Westchester should be taken seriously; they are not what you would
expect among relatively well-off populations. Even if a large
scale reactor accident never occurs in this country, nuclear plants
will still continuously emit about 100 different radioactive
chemicals. The number of casualties is difficult to estimate, but it
may well be in the thousands. And any expansion of nuclear power would
only increase radioactive emissions.
Furthermore, threats to human health are not the only problem
associated with the nuclear power industry. As we know from the recent
history of India, Pakistan, Israel, South Africa, North Korea, and
Syria, a nation that aims to build an atomic bomb begins by building a
nuclear power plant. This is where they develop the expertise, the
techniques, and the experience needed to build a bomb. The only sure
way to minimize the proliferation of nuclear weapons would be to shut
down the nuclear power industry world-wide. So long as the civilian
nuclear power industry exists, there will be a well-worn path from
nuclear power to nuclear weapons, accompanied by a growing threat of
terrorist attack beyond anything we have yet imagined.
Fortunately, we do not need nuclear power at all. There are many
alternatives readily available. Many of these were discussed recently
in Arjun Makhijani's thorough study, "Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free:
A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy." Nuclear power is simply too dirty,
too dangerous, and too unnecessary to warrant further support.
Joseph J. Mangano MPH MBA is Executive Director of the Radiation and
Public Health Project, a research and educational organization based
in New York.
 U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, www.nrc.gov.
 Matthew L. Wald. Safety of Adding to Nuclear Plants' Capacity is
Questioned. New York Times, January 26, 2004.
 Eesha Williams, Hundreds Attend Hearing on Vermont Yankee.
Transcript of New Hampshire Public Radio broadcast, April 1, 2004.
 National Center for Health Statistics, Mortality -- underlying
cause of death. Includes ICD-9 cancer codes 140.0-239.9 (1979-1998)
and ICD-10 cancer codes C00-D48.9 (1999-2004).
 Mangano J.J. and others. An unexpected rise in Strontium-90 in US
deciduous teeth in the 1990s. The Science of the Total Environment
Vol. 317 (2003), pgs. 37-51.
 Mangano J.J. A short latency between radiation exposure from
nuclear plants and cancer in young children. International Journal of
Health Services Vol. 36, No. 1 (2006), pgs. 113-135.
 Janet Tauro, But Safety Issues at Oyster Creek Can't Be Ignored.
Asbury Park Press, September 9, 2007.
 Division of Planning, Budget, and Analysis. Information Digest.
NUREG-1350. Washington DC: Nuclear Regulatory Commission, annual
 Dan Morse. Agency Describes Process to License Calvert Cliffs
Plant. Washington Post, August 15, 2007.
 U.S. Bureau of the census, 2000 census, state and county quick
facts. The national average of U.S. residents living below the poverty
levels was 12.7%, which is higher than the average for Windham County,
Vt. (9.0%), Ocean County, N.J. (7.6%), Westchester County, N.Y.
(8.9%), and Calvert County, Md. (5.4%). The national average percent
of residents over age 25 who graduated from high school was 80.4%, but
was higher for Windham County, Vt. (87.3%), Ocean County, N.J.
(83.0%), Westchester County, N.Y. (83.6%), and Calvert County, Md.