It would seem that nothing is new under the sun these days when it comes to the good old USA. The state of Arizona, anybody remember McCain, recently gave the Canadian Denison ming company the go ahead to reopen the Arizona 1 uranium mine near the Grand Canyon, with two more mining permits pending. Yes, Obama has tentatively stopped nearly 1000 new mining permits around the Canyon from going ahead, but old mines are another matter.
The downturn in the economy has slowed the nuclear renaissance down but not stopped it. The nuclear industrial complex was given a huge influx of cash by Obama to supposedly cleanup Department of Energy contamination from the cold war. DOE’s own estimate for the clean up is between $270-330 billion. Under Bush, a dramatic acceleration of the privatization of DOE activities has occurred with nearly 200,000 contract workers vs. 15,000 government employees. Yes, increasing jobs and money to cleanup the nuclear nightmare is a good thing, but not when it means handing billions of dollars over to the very companies behind the so called renaissance. Its just like Obama and the Democrats to promise to clean up the corrupt lobbying practices in DC, then then turn around and suck up to those very interests. Obama’s federal handouts has fanned the flames of nuclear development as can be seen with their pending climate legislation that is now slated to give the industry $100 billion in loans. Its a communist conspiracy to help the poor get proper medical care but we’re not supposed to link government welfare for the rich or nuclear companies for some reason.
Yes, folks it was the corporate media that led the way for the invasion of Iraq and it is that same media that has been marching the country into the nuclear renaissance. They have been trumpeting the French nuclear industry connection as a shining example, yet if they dared look closer they might be forced to disclose the true state of affairs. Energy Activists worldwide need to read Richard Rudolph and Scott Ridley’s “Power Struggle” and Sharon Beder’s “Power Play” to understand the global nature of the electric industry and its historic roots. The western world has long been treated with a global corporate media strategy to label municipal control of electricity as communist conspiracy, yet as more people awaken to the true nature of the health scam in the U.S. its about time that we also bring back the long censored issue of public control over electricity. Its seldom mentioned but it was FDR’s new deal that finally brought most of the poor and agricultural areas of this country into the 20th century with federal programs like the CVP, TVA, BPA and REA. Few people in this country are aware of the fact that nearly 75% of the country’s landmass is serviced by rural electric coops rather than the giant municpal IOU’s combines. The new grid being proposed to service windpower is a total scam. For anyone with eyes, it just happens the design of the grid happens to mirror the exact same areas where most of the coal in the country is being dug up. Unless there is a block on it being used by the coal industry, its highly unlikely it will ever be completed except to areas where the coal industry want it. There is an age old corporate grid strategy that has been practiced historically where federal monies were used to build public projects only to be hijacked at the last minute by corporate lobbyists.
Anti-nuclear groups have spent much of the last 4 years gearing up to stop new reactors being pushed mostly in the southeast, however, this issue is global in scope as the nuclear push is being coordinated at the international level by the IAEA and a handful of giant corporations (GE-Hitachi, Areva, Bechtel, the Russian nuclear establishment and Westinghouse-Toshiba) interests moving ahead with Bush’s Global Nuclear Energy Partnership. Even though democrats and the DOE have defunded the project the international coalition that was setup by former DOE Secretary Bodman is going ahead with plans to develop an international uranium bank. Its the French, Japanese and Russian government supported nuclear industries that have long been in the lead on this issue and are driving the renaissance. It was Russia’s strategic block on natural gas to much of Europe last winter that was used to run up the nuclear flag in a coordinated media campaign across the continent!
Another major hidden strategy of the nuclear weapons industry is to start constructing (nuclear) Energy Parks at DOE facilities across the country. These Energy Parks are slated to be feel good green programs with the core issue being a reconfiguration (new generation) of nuclear weapons and power as part of the industry’s push to reopen their Breeder/reprocessing agenda. One of the first major pushes in this area came with a call by USEC to get billions in loans for a new enrichment facility along with the announcement to build reactors at Piketon Ohio once the home of one of the country’s major enrichment facilities that still is in the process of being cleaned up. However, there massive Parks planned for Hanford in Washington, Oak Ridge Tennessee and the DOE’s Savannah River facilities in South Carolina as well.
At the end of the Bush administration military bases across the country were being slated for the construction of mini-nukes for power. Fortunately, the economic downturn has put a crimp in this new push as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission can’t keep up with the dramatic expansion going on.
It was Obama and the democrats that showed their true colors during the crazed pre-election run up when Asian Indians sent democrats millions of dollars in political bribes to pass the illegal and immoral bilateral 123 agreement that has opened the global door for India to continue ignoring the internationally agreed upon Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The doors have been flung open with the dual purpose of allowing global engineering companies rights to bid on lucrative new nuclear contracts (8 are now in the works) as well as technology exchanges for India’s advanced breeder and Thorium reactor designs. India’s thirst for uranium has now been quenched as former internatlional blocks on India’s nuclear programs have been removed with Namibia offering to sell uranium to them.
Yes, just as the world is finally waking up to the illegal status the US has setup, allowing Israel to covertly become a global nuclear power, the US has reversed its long policy of locking India out of the global nuclear industry for its failure to sign the NPT. Its highly unlikely that the recent disclosures that the Indian claims to technical advances which were used to draw the US in, are likely bogus will get any play inside the US political establishment as it might expose the democratic leadership’s complicit role in this ugly breach of international law. A recent Bulletin of Atomic Scientist’s report on India’s Breeder program should be a warning that 123 represents a horrible global example of the proliferation issues to come if it isn’t reversed. Please let me know when you hear of any US media outlet that has created a sustained editorial outcry over this unaceptable ethical failure.
It was H. Clinton’s saber rattling against North Korea that set the tone of the Obama administration. Since then Obama’s only nuclear initiative that appears to be a change from Bush is his backpedaling on Bush’ European defense shield. His response to Iran represents probably his saddest moment on the international field. Few Americans ever saw or heard the Frontlines program that exposed the disastrous post 9-11 Bush failure to engage with Iranian president Mohammad Khatami’s proposal for a new era of cooperation in the middle east. It is the US’s duplicitous nuclear agenda against Iran vs. the public bigotry with nuclear Israel and India that beckons to anyone with eyes. The real truth shines through loud and clear when it comes to the link between nuclear energy and weapons. We dare not let anyone we distrust obtain the ability to construct, fuel and operate a nuclear reactor because its only a minor step up to construct a weapon.
The acknowledgment that a global nuclear energy renaissance represents the largest proliferation crisis the world has ever faced with the growing crisis in Pakistan as well as the growing tensions between Ethiopia and Egypt’s push to get into nuclear. The world is neither blind nor dumb, compared to the American public when it comes to what the future holds in store as it is just a matter of time before another saber rattling right wing administration remounts the US thrown of power. Countries around the world are preparing for the coming energy wars that are now just starting to gear up. Obama is rapidly running out of time as major policy changes have all fallen due to the K Street lobbying crowd.
One of the most critical policy stands on nuclear will come with Germany’s national elections on Sept. 27th. The main issue is over whether Germany should scrap its plan to dismantle its nuclear energy industry. And the outcome is going to be very close.
The largest nuclear promoter in the world, the USA is reawakening with the smell of easy government money and quick PR scams in the air. The nuclear industry hasn’t the slightest interest in the Climate change issue other than a vehicle to promote nuclear expansion. How is it that energy experts in this country can’t seem to wake up to the internal bigotry of the country’s major corporate energy players. On the one hand the coal and oil industries are still in full denial about the issue, yet it would appear their nuclear brethren have got the gospel. Funny nobody has called for a debate between these two industrial communities on their differences. And of course since when have we seen a serious attempt to fully document the scandalous past of the nuclear industry! Anybody remember when Forbes Magazine called the nuclear fiasco the greatest economic disaster in US history back in 1984? Did we get a snow job on nukes from George Bush or what!
Tribal people around the world will once again be taking the first blows of the nuclear insanity that grows daily around the world. As seen in this recent Counterpunch article about how the country set up tribal lands to become a National Sacrafice Area, the national media once again turns a blind eye to the impacts of the new improved uranium mining industry that pushing to start mining across the west, where nearly 1/3 of our waters have been contaminated due to corporate mining practices, and the cleanup of past uranium mining contamination estimated to cost at least $30 billion.
We have starved tribal communities into the dark ages and then offer them a few uranium mining jobs that will contaminate their well water with heavy metals and radiation. If we truly had any major ethical media operations in this country it would take them weeks to properly document the scale of the nuclear fiasco today. The last time any media outlet in this country made an attempt was the Seattle Times in the late 1980’s when they did a week long expose, with full page reports documenting the scope what the nuclear monster had done. One of the only modest attempts to cover even a small part of this nightmare came with the now closed Rocky Mountain News expose on the impacts of radiation to workers.
Giant Global corporations like BHP Billiton, Rio-Tinto and the French Government’s Cameco are at the forefront of exploiting tribal people around the world. For anyone who has explored the uranium mining issue, the US uranium industry collapsed twenty years ago because it couldn’t compete in the global market as there were and still are cheaper, better quality sources. Today, over 90% of US reactor fuel is coming from the former Soviet union’s nuclear arsenal and will continue for many more years to come. The current uranium rush is a result of a major collapse of Cameco’s massive Cigar Lake uranium mine in 2005 that drove up uranium prices. The collapse coincided with Bush’s $13 billion handout to promote nuclear power as a way to counter our growind dependence on foreign oil. This flawed interest in uranium mining in the U.S. which is now mostly being driven by Canadian uranium companies, using the tragic loopholes in the US 1872 mining act. Uranium is not a renewable resource and will suffer the same depletion problems that are driving the US oil industry. No where do we hear the about the root problem of excessive population or calls for true energy conservation like reorganizing our culture so that millions of people are pulled out of the daily trap of driving to work.
Across the west as well as in Virginia there are new pushes to mine uranium with the age old tactic of “We’ve learned our lesson” and won’t mess up this time promise being spread fast and furious, all in the name of energy independence. What BS! It will be just a matter of time before the global push to expand uranium will once again flood the market with cheap uranium, very likely resulting in another wave of abandoned mining operations here, leaving nearby residents with a new generation of contamination to deal with.
Why is it that that this country which has failed to clean up the nuclear disaster from last time around isn’t being given the facts about the impacts to come? Anyone alive who watched the nuclear PR wars last time can remember some nerdy scientist holding up a uranium fuel pellet and pontificating on how much energy it would produce compared to oil or coal. Yet, never once did we ever hear about the vast strip mining operations that now dot the world that use vast amounts of water and energy. Nor do we speak of the thousands of yet to be cleaned up mines, and the health effects of those around those still abandoned mines. Today, in one of the only substantial pushes, the Obama administration has increased funding for the incredibly dangerous Moab tailing cleanup that threatens to contaminate the Colorado River. Why would anyone in their right mind let these nuclear bandits that never clean up after themselves be allowed to get more federal money to do it to us again!
Since when is the corporate media going to do its job and document the immense catastrophe of the nuclear fuel cycle from one end to the other! How about the danger of nearly $30 billion in damages to Lake Erie if the government fails to spend $13 billion to clean up the failed West Valley reprocessing facility in New York? Or the growing fear that Obama’s nuclear Plan B for the blocked Yucca Mountain repository could end up being Hanford or some other unlucky small western state as seen in the past at Skull Valley or Energy Solution’s push to incinerate and then bury foreign wastes and dump them in Utah?
We are waiting for the kind of big picture presentation to the U.S. public that might finally awaken the public to the true nature of the nuclear monster and why going fission is dead wrong. Native communities have long been the battle grounds over uranium and other resources on their lands. The 4 day southwest indigenous uranium forum (see image above with link to conference) represents one of major battle fronts needing attention. It took hearings by Henry Waxman in late 2007 to finally shake the government out of the Bush stupor over its failed promises to cleanup tribal lands.
When will we see the national environmental groups that have the money and resources willing to do a serious expose of the fuel cycle? The devastating impacts not just to tribal communities but to hundreds of thousands of former and current DOE workers just don’t seem to be part of the nuclear debate anywhere. Why is that? When will the true scope of the continuing nuclear nightmare finally be shared so that the nuclear monster finally be taken down!