Saturday, January 31, 2009

Stop $50 Billion Nuke Bailout by Harvey Wasserman; Nuke Jobs Stink! by Ace Hoffman

January 30th, 2009

Dear Readers,

By all means, CALL YOUR CONGRESSPEOPLE, as Harvey Wasserman suggests! I had the honor of looking at the draft of Harvey's statement, so I went ahead and called my Senator's office (they gave me Feinstein's when I called the Capital switchboard) before the lines got busy, and told them I was against ANY nuclear bailout, ever, and told them that the proper way to get energy is from OTEC and AVEs (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion and Atmospheric Vortex Engines) and that we need to close all the nuke plants. They don't even want your name, they don't care -- they just want to know you're in their Congressperson's district. At the end of the conversation, I said I was the author of "The Code Killers, which I sent the Senator a couple of months ago." but I didn't think he was even really writing anything down, except so he could keep the conversation going until I got as bored as he was and hung up. It took about three minutes, maybe less. I should follow it up by sending Feinstein a CURRENT copy of the book, since she got one of the earliest editions and there have been a lot of improvements (and more than a few typos corrected, and so forth)!

I also called the EPA last week -- and got bounced around from office to office a few times, and then left a brief message on somebody's machine, who never called me back, of course. But I think it was a pretty good message, if they actually listened. "Please let me know what scientific studies were used for these extraordinary increases in allowable limits for Cesium-137, Strontium-90, Tritium and so on." That sort of thing. Maybe it helped -- maybe I got sent to the right person. Anyway, something worked for that one item, that one time, but stopping the nuke bailout? It cannot be stopped forever unless we stop the whole wicked system.

Either we (the taxpayers) give them money, or they won't be able to build new nukes. They have no choice -- nuclear power is not economically viable. Our government has been nuke-crazed for too long. It hurts to see the Obama Administration pick up where Bush left off on an issue as important as funding for new nuclear power plants. But we all had a warning, what with his coming from nuke-happy Illinois and making vague remarks about nuclear being "part of the mix." I grieve to see so many people -- including, I think, Obama himself, who surely is a good man -- misled by the nuclear industry into believing it is safe, cost-effective, or necessary.

Yours,

Ace

Included below:

1) Article by Harvey Wasserman
2) Letter from Ace Hoffman to Mark Haim
3) Mark Haim's request for information

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(1) A $50 Billion Nuke Power Bomb is Dropping Toward Obama's Stimulus Package by Harvey Wasserman:
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The desperate, dangerous nuclear power industry has dropped a $50 billion
stealth bomb meant to irradiate the Obama Stimulus Package.

It comes in the form of a mega-loan guarantee package that would build new
reactors Wall Street wouldn't finance even when it had cash. It will take a
healthy dose of citizen action to stop it, so start calling your Senators
now.

The vaguely worded bailout-in-advance provision was snuck through the Senate
Appropriations Committee in the deep night of January 27. It would provide
$50 billion in loan guarantees for "eligible technologies" that would
technically include renewable sources and electric transmission. But the
handout is clearly directed at nukes and "clean coal."

The Stimulus Package is explicitly meant to create jobs within the next two
years. But according to sources at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, no
new reactors could be licensed for construction within that time. Nor could
any new coal plants. And thus the funds in this rider are to "remain
available until committed." That means their "stimulus" might not go into
effect for many years.

But the nuclear industry does have the ability to spend large sums of money
on "site preparation" and other busy work prior to being licensed. Though
the guarantees could technically be used for truly green sources such as
wind and solar, the provision's backers, including Senators Robert Bennett
(R-UT) and Thomas Carper (D-DE), have made it clear that this money is meant
to go for new reactor construction.

In late 2007, nuclear power's Congressional Godfather, then-Sen. Pete
Domenici (R-NM), stuck a similar $50 billion loan guarantee package into
that year's energy bill. A grassroots uprising, joined by virtually all
national environmental organizations, helped defeat the package. Among
other things, the fight inspired a music video from Bonnie Raitt, Jackson
Browne, Graham Nash, Keb Mo and Ben Harper (www.nukefree.org).

In late 2008 the industry came back again with a blank check package that
went down in flames along with the stock market.

Still unable to get private financing, the industry is back yet again. In
the interim, the projected cost of building new reactors has soared to more
than $10 billion each, and continues to climb steadily. Many of the
previous generation of reactors came in hugely over budget. According to
the Nuclear Information & Resource Service, one DOE study places the overall
average overruns at 207%. But reactor projects such as Seabrook, in New
Hampshire, New York's Shoreham, Pennsylvania's Beaver Valley, California's
Diablo Canyon, and many others, far exceeded that.

The Congressional Budget Office now predicts that half the nuclear utilities
using such a loan program will go into default. Some $18.5 billion in loan
guarantees has already been approved, apparently for such use. But its
legality is being hotly disputed, and the money has not been distributed by
the Department of Energy.

Washington insiders believe this latest attempt at a pre-arranged bailout
has again come from Domenici, who has stayed in Washington to lobby for his
radioactive benefactors after apparently retiring from the Senate in
January.

This guarantee package was not part of the Stimulus Package that passed the
House. Its secretive, late night inclusion on the Senate side is
reminiscent of how former Vice President Dick Cheney did business for the
fossil/nuclear corporations that funded much of the Bush
Administration. The reappearance of this kind of back door dealing has not
been well received, especially in the House.

Numerous national groups, including the Nuclear Information & Resource
Service (www.nirs.org) are providing sign-ins for sending e-mails to the
Senate. They also urge that you call your Senator at 202-224-3121.

Time is fast slipping by for the nuke power industry. As the popularity
of renewables and efficiency escalates, the most obvious source of new jobs
and prosperity has become truly green technologies. Atomic power has long
since been priced out of the market. Only massive federal and ratepayer
subsidies could bring it back, to the direct detriment of the revolution in
renewables.

Defeating this latest money grab will help drive another nail in the coffin
of the 20th century's most expensive failed technology. It is an essential
step toward a truly green-powered future.

-----------------------------------------
Harvey Wasserman's SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth, is at
www.harveywasserman.com. He edits the NukeFree.org web site, and is senior
editor of www.freepress.org, where this article first appeared.


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(2) Nuke Jobs Stink! (Letter to Mark Haim regarding jobs in the nuclear industry):
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January 31st, 2009

Dear Sir,

Did you see the NIRS statement the other day with the figure of $1.5 million in investment money per job in the nuclear sector? That's way more than for solar, wind, or any renewable energy job, I'm sure!

I was talking to Bill Johnson yesterday, a retired physicist who lives near (and opposes) Calvert Cliffs, and he said that the U.S. government will NOT promise to remove ANY spent fuel waste from ANY new nuclear plants which might be constructed.

From a trade union perspective, this means there will almost surely be a few very dirty, very boring, very dangerous, very menial jobs which offer at best only mediocre pay and the most minimal benefits possible, so when you get cancer from that close exposure, the utility doesn't have to pay for your illness, let alone, when your family gets sick. There won't be enough security workers to stop an overwhelming terrorist force, let alone, a force of nature. These are certainly NOT good jobs for anyone, whether they are union jobs or not!

Good jobs are building things which last, which help the community, which you're proud of later. Nuclear jobs are nothing to be proud of, and nuclear employees have been "running scared," as whistleblower Bruce Gordon put it, for 30 years. Now, with all this talk of a nuclear renaissance, and $50 billion or more in loan guarantees this time and tens of billions last time, and with Steven Chu being put in charge of the Department of Energy, they feel GOOD. "Like coiled springs" says Gordon.

And they should not feel that way. They should be wondering why they don't learn to hang wind turbine blades, or wire solar rooftops -- the unions want those renewable energy jobs to all be guaranteed to be union labor, or they won't support them. We all want licensed contractors doing the labor, and unions are in general a good thing, not a bad thing. But sometimes their demands are excessive and unworkable. Millions of renewable energy jobs will be opening up, and I don't think anybody can promise they will ALL be union work. But renewable energy will ALWAYS beat the alternative -- sickness from radiation poisoning for the electrical workers and other nuke plant employees (and their families). If they fail to do their jobs right, every bloody-handed one of them, well, then it won't just be some crane crashing down from the 40th floor of a high-rise and killing hundreds of people on the ground, which could happen any day in America -- it will be a meltdown, killing hundreds of thousands. Three orders of magnitude worse!

Union jobs are supposed to be safe jobs. That is not possible in the nuclear industry.

Furthermore, Davis-Besse's near-meltdown in 2002 should have been a klaxon warning to America, but it was successfully covered up and no large media hype ever ensued. That battle was won by the spin doctors. According to Gordon, there have been at least a hundred equally-severe, risky, near-meltdown events, which the industry is well aware of through their own organization (known as INPO), that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the public do not know about. According to Gordon, who had access to the records for several years, the NRC is NOT officially allowed to see INPO records, and probably doesn't see them at all, in most cases. (Wikipedia states: "The results of INPO plant evaluations are not shared with the public, and any related information shared within the nuclear industry does not typically include the name of the plant.")

There will be a meltdown in America some day. Either we close the whole fleet, or it's inevitable. Statistically speaking, we've been incredibly lucky so far. Our luck, the planet's luck, cannot hold out forever. There will be a meltdown.

The workers at the plants are getting long in the tooth, they are retiring, dying of heart attacks and cancer, dropping like boomer-babies do. They are viciously protective of their local plants, lest they have to retrain at half their current bloated salaries.

In the nuclear industry, workers are so scarce, THEY control the cards. They are hard to fire when they fall asleep on the job because they are hard to replace. Every one of them is a criminal in one way or another, and many of the work-related crimes reflect the general attitude at the plants of being outlaws to the world, criminals doing something with more than a touch of evil attached to it. (Look at their in-house worker tee-shirts, for instance. The logos are remarkably similar to the "death from above" flying eagle patches you see on paratrooper's shoulders, and the logos for various nuclear submarine crews, where most of the operating-room employees, and in fact, many of the workers throughout the plants, came from.) They all have "cowboy" attitudes towards law enforcement. In their mind, the NRC is the enemy, and hiding things from the NRC is perfectly alright. They are aided greatly in their ability to hide things from the NRC by the fact that the NRC employees who supposedly are "on site" 24/7 are actually restricted to where they can go and what they can look at, and what they can report on (and what their bosses will pay attention to, if they DO file a complaint of some sort). The NRC employees are on short leashes, and like it that way.

The leading jobs in America these days are high-tech. Nuclear power plants are generally 50-year old technology, and almost all of the operating plants are several decades old. This work is so specialized, with each reactor so complex and unique, that workers are reluctant even to be moved from one plant to another within the same site! Let alone, go from a BWR (Boiling Water Reactor) to a PWR (Pressurized Water Reactor), or vice-versa, or be retrained outside the industry. No, these people want tomorrow to be just like today. They want to be making waste and profit at other people's expense and sorrow.

The industry is simply in denial about the dangers they pose to others and to themselves. Certain workers at the plants, known as "Health Physicists," tell them their exposure is below legal limits, after taking rough measurements and doing even rougher calculations on those measurements. Beyond that, the culture at the plants is that nuclear radiation is not only SAFE, it is like a little invisible vitamin -- sort of a "sunshine vitamin" which will light you up -- in a good way -- from the inside.

In this respect, they are utterly crazy. Yet every plant worker believes in "Hormesis," the theory, debunked decades ago and repeatedly ever since, that a little radiation is good for you because it "stimulates the immune system." They "prove" this by pointing out that radiation therapy for cancer victims prolongs lives, which, of course, is sometimes true (my own cancer, however, was surgically -- and successfully -- removed, for example), but largely irrelevant.

All these circular arguments benefit the polluter, the bandit, the stealth murderer, the child killer, the nuclear industry. Children are 100 to 1000 times more susceptible to radiation's poisonous effects: Their cells have many more divisions left to complete, so a small error will multiply more greatly in them. And their cells are still increasing in number -- one becomes many -- while adults are simply replacing dying cells at steady rates -- one becomes one. For very young children, infants, fetuses, zygotes and sperms and eggs, the damage is more likely to be serious or fatal. These people and protoplasmic globs do not vote; they have no chance to protect themselves.

Tritium, one of many products -- not BYPRODUCTS, but PRODUCTS -- of the nuclear fuel cycle, gets into our bodies pervasively. (Electricity is a by-product of nuclear reactors; cancer is the main end-product; tritium an intermediate product.) Tritium, being radioactive hydrogen, gets everywhere hydrogen gets -- which is everywhere. One protein molecule inside your body might have thousands of hydrogen molecules, each one precisely placed. If one suddenly decays and becomes helium plus a beta particle, then that protein is damaged -- probably ruined or even turned poisonous. And the beta particle is hazardous, although the nuclear industry pretends tritium's beta particle is safe, because it is "low energy" compared ONLY to other beta particles, but it is much stronger than any chemical bond, by thousands. Thus, in slowing down, the beta particle WILL destroy thousands of other atoms, for example by ionizing them (which is why it's called "ionizing radiation"), and it will destroy complex molecules used by your biological system -- DNA, RNA, proteins -- or perhaps it will "just" add to your inflammation, weaken your immune system, or literally "break" your heart -- harm it's signalling system, or start a rip, which turns into a tear...

The union electricians and whatnot at the plant know none of this. Even the so-called "experts" there -- those HP guys -- don't learn much about the biology of radiation damage, and instead, just learn to calculate dosages nine ways to Sunday, and then tell you it's safe. They don't know about long-term effects like heart disease, which is just being recognized as being caused by radiation (as well as many other things). Many HP "professionals" don't even believe radiation causes ANY excessive cancers in the population, or in the plant workers. To them, any legally-approved dosage is SAFE, maybe even good for you.

American cannot live in the fantasy world of the nuclear worker, be they union, management, federal lab, or university. This close-knit, closed-off, self-serving, secretive, well-funded and extremely powerful cabal of criminals must be stopped.

Sincerely,

Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

Author, THE CODE KILLERS: AN EXPOSE
www.acehoffman.org

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(3) Re: MO: Looking for Info on Jobs& Nukes issue
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At 04:02 AM 1/31/2009 -0500, Thinkcivic@aol.com sent:

>NukeNet Anti-Nuclear Network (nukenet@energyjustice.net)
>
>
>Hello friends,
>
>I'm looking for help. We are locked in a real battle here in Missouri over the CWIP issue. One of the problems we are encountering, especially with Democratic lawmakers, is that the buildings trade unions are leaning on them heavily to get behind the repeal of our voter-enacted ban on CWIP charges. To them, it's all about jobs.
>
>I know that work has been done documenting how many jobs are created per x-number of dollars spent in multiple categories of spending. And I know that when I saw these numbers in the past, efficiency improvements and renewables were more labor-intensive than nukes, both in terms of construction/installation jobs and in ongoing/permanent jobs operating and maintaining.
>
>What I don't have at the moment is easy access to up-to-date sources of such info.
>
>Can anyone point me in the right direction on this? I need the info ASAP. I have a meeting with a legislator tomorrow, and this would be good to have by then.
>
>Please feel free to post me off list if you'd like, or, perhaps this info would be of more general interest.
>
>Many thanks,
>Mark
>
>
>Mark Haim
>1402 Richardson St.
>Columbia, MO 65201
>(w) 573-875-0539
>(h) 573-442-2360
>
>E-mail: mhaim@riseup.net
>

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Contact information for Ace Hoffman:
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Ace Hoffman
Author, The Code Killers:
An Expose About Nuclear Crimes
High and Low, Large and Small,
Far and Wide
Free download: www.acehoffman.org
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