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The Expansionist
Thursday, February 18, 2010
 
Barack the Faithless Betrays Another Constituency. President Obama has revealed his Republican loyalties again, in putting the weight of the Federal Government behind nuclear power, an insanely dangerous and criminally irresponsible act. He cites nuclear power plants in other countries as a reason to develop more here, despite two serious accidents at nuclear power plants, a relatively trivial one at Three Mile Island here, and a catastrophic event at Chernobyl. So China is building nuclear power plants. So what? Let China have its Chernobyl. I don't want one here.
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Moreover, there is absolutely no place to store nuclear waste safely in an age of terrorism. The more radioactive waste is generated, the more certain it is that some will be stolen by terrorists, with or without inside help. The pretense is that we can sufficiently secure domestic nuclear power plants that no outside terrorist attack could breach the defenses and dump nuclear waste into nearby reservoirs and streams, or scatter it over a nearby American city by means of conventional explosives. But what if terrorists have accomplices inside a nuclear facility? Then what? Well, then we'll just have to have a "security breach", and if a few hundred, or thousand, or hundred thousand Americans are killed by radiation poisoning — well, that's a small enuf price to pay to fite "global warming", which will kill us all, rite? No. No no no no no, there is no way to justify such a risk for so spurious and worthless a cause.
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Nuclear power plants are extraordinarily expensive to build, and if one should explode, or a fire, earthquake, hurricane, tornado or other event should poke a hole thru to the radioactive core and produce a massive release of radiation, enormous numbers of people and domestic animals, across a very wide area, could be killed or dangerously sickened. The Chernobyl explosion produced radioactive fallout over an area of perhaps 2 million square miles, equivalent to some 55% of the United States, and 2/3 of the "Lower 48". Given that this country flies into a panic when one hamburger is found contaminated with E. coli, how will the Nation react if radioactive particles start falling from the sky over hundreds of thousands of square miles of U.S. territory? Indeed, how will we feel if a Chinese nuclear plant explodes, and a cloud of radiation starts floating over the Pacific toward the United States?
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We are assured that a Chernobyl or Three Mile Island kind of event — or worse — could not possibly happen with the "new generation" of nuclear power plants. Do I really have to point out that we were assured before the very first nuclear power plant was built that they were absolutely, 100%, fail-safe safe, and there could not possibly be any danger of any kind from them? We didn't build, and the Soviet Union did not build, nuclear power plants with the expectation that a Three Mile Island event could occur, much less that a Chernobyl event could occur. So assurances from scientists and engineers mean absolutely nothing.
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May I point out that scientists are often guilty of arrogance and fraud. Just this month, the prestigious British scientific journal The Lancet withdrew a 1998 paper about possible causation of autism by childhood vaccinations, and said it should never have published that study. Curiously, if you read the reasons behind why the study should not have been published — violations of rules on medical ethics and conflict of interest, rather than outrite falsification of results — you are left wondering if the decision to withdraw that paper was just The Lancet yielding to moneyed interests in Big Pharma.
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But that particular case to the side, there is a huge problem of scientific fraud that society has not addressed. Tho most people feel scientists would not commit fraud, first, because they are dedicated to truth and to helping people, and second, because they have to assume that fraud will out, the fact remains that there is, at all times, massive scientific fraud going on all around us. Even if much of it is ultimately discredited, while it is believed, much can go wrong. In the 12 years before The Lancet withdrew the vaccination study, for instance, unknowable numbers of parents refused to permit their children to be vaccinated for mumps, measles, and rubella (the particular combined vaccination attacked by the paper). That is relatively trivial, compared to what could happen if scientific fraud motivated by the quest for BILLIONS of dollars in nuclear power plant construction and operation, were to produce a catastrophic event.
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Aside from the issue of whether an accident could happen, we must always consider deliberate sabotage by people who work in a nuclear plant. Highly trusted people have been revealed as double agents, spies, and saboteurs in many countries throughout history. Let's consider a scenario. A highly educated employee at a nuclear plant experiences serious adverse developments in his life — the crumbling of a marriage, the death of a child, an automobile accident that kills everyone in his family when they were on their way to meet him for dinner — and thus becomes despondent and suicidal. He seeks solace in religion, but the religion he was raised in (Catholic, Baptist, Congregationalist) doesn't reach him. He casts about for something that will provide answers that will give him peace, and encounters a charismatic religious leader who involves him in a cult, or produces a secret conversion to an extremist sect within Islam, and he comes to see that he can end his unhappiness and strike a major blow against The Great Satan by deliberately producing a catastrophic explosion in a U.S. nuclear facility. Is it impossible that such a thing could happen? I don't think so.
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Extremely dangerous technologies are as much subject to accident and hijacking as relatively harmless technologies. It is little short of amazing that there hasn't been an accidental launch of a nuclear missile. Have there been accidental nuclear explosions inside missile silos in remote parts of the (former) Soviet Union that were successfully kept from the West? Who knows? A search on "nuclear accidents" produces some unsettling information. Wikipedia even has an entire article devoted to the topic "Nuclear and radiation accidents". Anyone who blithely assumes that there are no serious risks in nuclear power production is being very naive.
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And what of those terrorists who want to get their hands on radioactive materials right at hand, and not have to risk interception when trying to bring such materials into the United States? Is it inconceivable that they could find willing accomplices within a nuclear facility who will give them plans, details of security measures, the schedule of security officers' rounds, or even meet them at the gate and let them in? Is that really impossible? Surely not.
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So why has Obama's betrayal of the anti-nuclear constituency that supported his election not met with furious outrage and denunciation? He has tried to present his sudden pro-nuke stance as environmentalist, a devotion to a "non-polluting" technology that will "reduce greenhouse gases" and thus combat "global warming". What a load of crap.
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And where are all those nonpolluting "green jobs" in "new technologies" that are to harness solar power, wind power, water power, wave power, hydrogen, and all the other renewable, clean-energy sources that Obama was supposed to create?
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Obama has even started to play footsie with the oil industry, making noises about allowing more offshore drilling! Why aren't the environmentalists FURIOUS with him? And if they are furious, why aren't they making any noise about it?
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(The current U.S. military death toll in Iraq, according to the website "Iraq Coalition Casualties", is 4,376 — for Israel.)



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