Saturday, March 8, 2008

It is now time to close ALL the nuclear power plants: Tomorrow may be too late!

Today's Topics:
1) It is now time to close ALL the nuclear power plants: Tomorrow may be too late! by Ace Hoffman
2) "Error of judgement" kills babies (from Richard Bramhall)
4) Nuclear debate- a French farce by Ingela Richardson (SA)

1) It is now time to close ALL the nuclear power plants: Tomorrow may be too late! by Ace Hoffman:

March 8th, 2008

Dear Readers,

It is now time to close ALL the nuclear power plants: Tomorrow may be too late!

Yes, that includes YOURS. Your local nuclear power plant IS on the verge of destruction. Find a local activist and ask them about it. They'll tell you.

Yes, radiation kills babies. Find a balanced, properly-funded study and you'll see. Radiation produces direct damage to the DNA, and it produces "free radicals" which are poisonous and may cause more harm than the direct DNA damage. Radiation causes damage deep within your cell structure (the worst place) and does so unannounced. Radiation is odorless, colorless, tasteless, even on a microscopic, or an atomic, level. To your body, a radioactive atom looks JUST THE SAME as a nonradioactive "isotope" of that same element -- iron, calcium, potassium, whatever. Nuclear operations produce them all (they are called "fission products").

YES, releasing radiation into the environment is MURDER.

Radiation kills and nuclear power plants all leak all the time, but that doesn't seem to be enough to convince "the people in charge" (WHOEVER they are!) that nuclear power is not an option.

Is it because they deny that radiation kills? YES, MANY "pro-nukers" (as they are called by themselves and others, but "cold-blooded murderers" is a perfectly acceptable alternative description) believe that radiation "in small doses" (an amount THEY define as basically any quantity below that which can easily be studied) is GOOD FOR YOU! They actually think radiation is like a vitamin because it "stimulates" the immune system, and if we all absorb a little plutonium, it will help us stay healthy!

In addition to being radioactive, plutonium, uranium, thorium, etc. are all extremely reactive heavy metals. These atoms have a lot of electrons loosely held in their outer shells, so when they get inside your body, they catalyze pieces of all sorts of complex molecules you've created, which destroys them and can even make them poisonous -- and that's just the heavy metal damage, which happens constantly!

At some point in time, every radioactive atom decays into something else -- which is usually ALSO radioactive (most "decay chains" are dozens of steps long, before a non-radioactive atom is reached). When an atom decays, a particle or ray (or both) is usually ejected from the nucleus of the atom. The decay particle or ray can destroy thousands of chemical bonds, thereby destroying useful molecules, including your precious, numerous, and enormous (billions-of-atoms-long) DNA molecules and other cell structures. Also, "free radicals" are created when the decay particle or ray knocks electrons off other atoms.

Given that radiation is SOOOOOO dangerous, WHY do we still have nuclear power?

First of all, because, in denying that radiation in so-called "low levels" is dangerous at all, the pro-nukers (aka "cold-blooded murderers") also deny that radiation damage (and, for that matter, heavy metal damage) is particularly bad for fetuses, infants, children, and young adults.

Not only is it worse for them, but it's hundreds of times worse for children and infants and THOUSANDS of times worse for fetuses.

But ALL THIS IS DENIED by the pro-nukers (aka "cold-blooded murderers").

WHY? Because they like to talk. It's called "weaseling out of a situation." If, by denying the obvious, they keep you talking about it, you won't stop them.

They'll start by telling you that everything is dangerous, everything is bad for you, everything has risk, nothing is safe, nothing is perfect, we have to make choices, we need energy. All of which is true. But it's a smoke-screen to hide the big picture, which is that little devil which hides in the details: RADIATION KILLS. It destroys atoms and molecules. It kills cells and multi-celled creatures.

Keep telling your pro-nuke friends that. Keep telling them radiation kills babies. There's no need to pretend it doesn't. There's no need to pretend there is some sort of fair balance for nuclear power plants wherein the human babies they kill are balanced against the deaths of raptors killed by wind turbine blades which are difficult for the birds to discern in flight, because the blades are not swept-back, nor painted brightly so they are easier to see.

There's no need to pretend that nuclear power keeps your lights on, and otherwise, BABIES WILL DIE when the power goes out. IT'S JUST NOT TRUE. Nuclear power's contribution to our energy needs in the United States is only about 7%; its electricity share is under 20%; and more than a dozen states get along fine getting ZERO PERCENT of their energy from nuclear power. America has not applied even ONE PERCENT of the conservation and renewable energy solutions available as alternatives to nuclear power.

So we CAN do this. We can shut them all.

We are a country of lazy ne'er-do-wells. We let the rich get richer off our children's future -- off our babies' lives. Off our own cancers. They get rich. We get cancer.

Nuclear power is NOT a solution to global warming, climate change, foreign oil imports, or the deaths of raptors. It takes far more than it gives.

Stop nuclear power. Stop the revival. Tell your friends it's over. THE WORLD KNOWS BETTER. Nuclear power kills babies even when it's working right, and it's the most vulnerable industry ON THE PLANET to terrorism, human error, acts of God or Nature, and every other possible catastrophic event there is.

More than a quarter century ago, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) had Sandia National Labs prepare what became known as the CRAC-2 report (Calculation of Reactor Accident Consequences). When brought up to date for inflation and population increases, the report shows that each plant can, on any given day, cause trillions of dollars in damage and millions of deaths. Even those numbers don't account for all of the real damage that radiation can cause. No amount of radiation is healthy, and every accident poisons the whole planet.

But America ignored its own report! Nowadays, a report like CRAC-2 would never see the light of day. That's why it hasn't been updated.


TELL THEM IT'S OVER. Tell your local nuclear power plant to shut down permanently. If it's shut down right now for refueling (about 10% of them ARE shut down at any one time, either for refueling or for unplanned repairs (all of the "planned" repairs are done during the refueling outages, of course)) tell them NEVER to re-open. This CAN be done and it SHOULD be done and it MUST be done or you -- millions of you, and maybe me, too -- will be the loser. You don't want to be the next loser in this BIG GAMBLE, do you?

Your local nuclear power plant is betting you don't care enough to investigate them. They are betting they can LEGALLY hide their crimes. Nuclear power plants can release radiation EVERY DAY and if it's below the legal limit (set decades ago in a pro-nuclear environment which denied the dangers from radiation even more than today) they can say it's "ZERO EMISSIONS" which JUST ISN'T TRUE.

You can't complain when your local nuclear power plant's spokesperson lies to you, to the media, or to anyone else. If you do, the NRC will tell you, as they told me (I have this in writing): "Statements made by the public affairs officer of a NRC licensee are not regulated activities. Therefore, the veracity of such statements will not be investigated by the NRC."

You can't complain when the federal regulators refuse to answer your questions. If you manage somehow to get an elected official to listen to your complaint, they'll tell you that you need to talk to the NRC. They might even help arrange that. AND YOU'RE BACK TO SQUARE ZERO.

My elected official -- the one I got closest to actually talking to about nuclear power, since I ALMOST got a meeting with him one day, a couple of years ago, which was then suddenly cancelled -- is now in jail on fraud charges and SHOULD be in jail for much worse -- attempted murder.

Nothing is more important than realizing, collectively, that nuclear power has seen its day -- a day it never deserved in the first place. Nuclear power is not the solution to war, to famine, to the need for electricity, or to anything. There are NO new nuclear power plants being designed in some office somewhere, which will solve ALL the problems of the previous generations of nukes.

They will all still leak, they will all still make waste, and they will all still be terrorists' and nature's targets. You can't get around those facts, and you can't get around the basic fact that RADIATION KILLS BABIES in far greater numbers than ANY pro-nuker will EVER admit. That's why we have no choice but to call them what they are: Cold-blooded baby killers.


Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

Ace, an award-winning educational software developer, has studied nuclear power for more than 35 years. His conclusions are based on thousands of interviews with nuclear physicists on both sides of the debate, as well as with thousands of other engineers, scientists, doctors, lawyers, etc.. He survived bladder cancer in 2007.

2) "Error of judgement" kills babies from Richard Bramhall:

From: "Richard Bramhall" <>
To: "info llrc" <>
Subject: "Error of judgement" kills babies
Date: Sat, 1 Mar 2008 15:45:22 -0000

Leaks and peaks

"Error of judgement" kills babies

Increased infant mortality after radioactive leak points to fault line in radiation risk model

A BBC Inside Out documentary broadcast yesterday (29th February 2008) features new research by Green Audit (sponsored by Stop Hinkley). Leaks of radioactivity from Hinkley Point nuclear power station near Burnham on Sea, Somerset, UK in 1994 preceded a peak in infant mortality. This is based on official health data.

Earlier studies in Burnham on Sea showed increased breast cancer after the accident.

The first leak was caused by corroded pipework. The second was caused by a failure to replace one part of the suspect pipe. When prosecuted for this "error of judgement" in 1995 station operators Nuclear Electric described the leaks as "insignificant" and "at the bottom of the scale".

The conventional radiation risk model predicts no discernible impact on cancer at such levels of exposure. Infant mortality is not officially considered as an effect of radioactive pollution.

Radiation is thought to cause anomalies in the sex ratios of births ­ the proportion of boy babies born compared with girls. Normally, in England and Wales five percent more boy babies are born. The Green Audit report studied sex ratios in the data for Burnham North, the ward nearest to the most contaminated mud in the study area. The sex ratio was found to be abnormal, with nineteen percent more boys born, similar to the ratios found in the Hiroshima atom bomb studies.

To view the 10 minute BBC report go to Scroll down to find the icon titled "West" on the right hand side. Click on the link Watch the latest edition in full to run the video on your computer. You can see Dr. Julia Verne, the current head of cancer registrations in south west England, claiming she found nothing when she re-tested the data "using the best methods". Her predecessor, Dr. Derek Pheby, disagrees: "This is a serious finding, and most unlikely to have arisen by chance. The likelihood is that something happened environmentally at the beginning of the period in question and it is very likely, although this would be difficult to prove, that the accidental releases of radioactive material in 1994 to which the authors [of the study] draw attention is implicated in this. Clearly this is a serious matter, which warrants further investigation. The South West Public Health Observatory [formerly the SW Cancer Registry] ought to take this seriously."

Julia Verne has denied the existence of radiation effects before and had ignored refutations of her flawed analyses. Curiously, after her earlier reports, she was appointed to COMARE, the UK Government's advisory Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment.

The Green Audit study is on

A local newspaper report of the 1995 trial of Nuclear Electric is on

Stop Hinkley report (Stop Hinkley sponsored the Green Audit study.)

Western Daily Press report



Rachel's Democracy & Health News #936, December 6, 2007


[Rachel's introduction: 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.]

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 industry.

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' money.

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 study.

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.[1] 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 million.[2]

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."[3]

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 average.[4]

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.[1] 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.[1]

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 Environmental Protection.

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.[5] More importantly, increases in Sr-90 near Oyster Creek were followed by similar increases in childhood cancer rates several years later.[6]

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).[4] 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 region economically."[7]

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.[8] 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%.[1]

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 Cliffs, Md.

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.[9]

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."[9]

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.[10] 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.


[1] U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission,

[2] Matthew L. Wald. Safety of Adding to Nuclear Plants' Capacity is Questioned. New York Times, January 26, 2004.

[3] Eesha Williams, Hundreds Attend Hearing on Vermont Yankee. Transcript of New Hampshire Public Radio broadcast, April 1, 2004.

[4] 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).

[5] 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.

[6] 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.

[7] Janet Tauro, But Safety Issues at Oyster Creek Can't Be Ignored. Asbury Park Press, September 9, 2007.

[8] Division of Planning, Budget, and Analysis. Information Digest. NUREG-1350. Washington DC: Nuclear Regulatory Commission, annual volumes.

[9] Dan Morse. Agency Describes Process to License Calvert Cliffs Plant. Washington Post, August 15, 2007.

[10] 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. (86.9%).

4) Nuclear debate- a French farce by Ingela Richardson (SA):

From: "Ingela Richardson" <>
To: <>
Subject: Nuclear debate- a French farce
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2008 08:05:07 -0000

Dear Editor


It was certainly an ear-opener to hear Jeremy Magg's nuclear "debate" on SAFM, Wednesday 5 March. The word "debate" is used advisedly, since the South African government seems to have signed deals with France without the slightest interest in public opinion.

The "debate" involved Dr Kelvin (I am a scientist!) Kemm and Mr Patterson (PBMR) advertising their product and Mike Kantey representing CANE (the Coalition Against Nuclear Energy). In the few short minutes he was alloted, Kantey was still able to ask valid questions that the nuclear industry could not answer.

All the nuclear industry wanted was to be able to sing their old song "It is safe, clean and cheap", but how many people will sing along with this chorus anymore? How much has the budget allocated to nuclear? R700 billion? Is that cheap?

Look up the words "nuclear, accidents" on the internet and you will see lists of all the countries around the world with reactors that have had a variety of accidents - from unintentional leaks and spillages of radioactive material to the careless dumping of radioactive waste. As long as people do not read these reports, the nuclear industry feels safe.

Uranium ore is finite. It is rapidly running out. And "reprocessing" or the attempted "recycling" of uranium has been condemned as dangerous, highly expensive and "not best practice". So why on earth would South Africa want to do it?

Uranium mining and the nuclear process is unlike any other form of energy on earth. There is no way to "dispose" of nuclear waste. Nations around the world have been trying to find somewhere to dump their radioactive waste. The Americans don't want a deep repository sited at Yucca Mountain. The Russians are protesting Europeans dumping their waste in Siberia. In South Africa, the nuclear scientists dump radioactive waste at "Vaalputs" in Namaqualand. Do the people of Namaqualand want it there? No. Did the scientists listen? No. In fact, certain "scientists" brushed off all local protest as being that of ignorant "yokels".

Yet when Mike Kantey asked the nuclear panel on SAFM if any of them would like the radioactive waste buried in their gardens, there was a deafening silence.

Ex-head of geology at Wits University, Prof Terence McCarthy (also a scientist) has stated that the Wonderfonteinspruit catchment area near Gauteng has been "sterilised in perpetuity" due to radioactive contamination from gold mining with uranium as a by-product. The National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) warned farmers not to use the water to irrigate or for livestock.

This is what a South African nuclear programme would contribute to our scarce water sources - radioactive contamination from uranium mining and the sterility of land, vegetation and animals. It does not seem to be a debatable issue for any who are really concerned about "clean, safe" energy.

Yours sincerely

Gonubie (SA)


Quotes collected by Ace Hoffman:

"Nuclear war must be the most carefully avoided topic of general significance in the contemporary world. People are not curious about the details." -- Paul Brians (author; quote is from: Nuclear Holocausts: Atomic War in Fiction)
"When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." -- Sinclair Lewis (first American Nobel Prize winner in Literature, 2.7.1885 - 1.10.1951)
"There is no such thing as a pro-nuclear environmentalist." -- Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa, 1992)
"Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories." -- Sun Tzu (Chinese general b.500 BC)
"The most intolerable reactor of all may be one which comes successfully to the end of its planned life having produced mountains of radioactive waste for which there is no disposal safe from earthquake damage or sabotage." -- A. Stanley Thompson (a pioneer nuclear physicist who later realized the whole situation)
"Any dose is an overdose." -- Dr. John W. Gofman (another pioneer nuclear physicist who saw the light (9.21.1918 - 8.15.2007))
"Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought. To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears. To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool. To be led by a thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen. To be led by a liar is to ask to be lied to. To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery." -- Octavia Butler (science fiction writer, 7.22.1947 - 2.24.2006)
"If you want real welfare reform, you focus on a good education, good health care, and a good job.

If you want to reduce poverty, you focus on a good education, good healthcare, and a good job.

If you want a stable middle class, you focus on a good education, good health care, and a good job.

If you want to have citizens who can participate in democracy, you focus on a good education, good health care, and a good job.

And if you want to end the violence, you could build a million new prisons and you could fill them up, but you never end this cycle of violence unless you invest in the health and the skill and the intellect and the character of our children. you focus on a good education, good health care and a good job.

And other than that, I don't feel strongly about anything."

-- Paul Wellstone (US Senator, D-Minnesota, 7.21.1944 - 10.25.2002)
"There are no warlike peoples - just warlike leaders." -- Ralph Bunche (8.7.1903 - 12.9.1971)
"Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God." -- Thomas Jefferson
"Please send this to everyone you know!" -- Ace Hoffman (original collector of the above quotes, January, 2008)