Different societies and cultures respond to crisis in different ways. As
Tokyo tries to downplay the threat of nuclear meltdown, the German
Green Party has mobilized an anti-nuclear campaign that may land it the
next premier of their country. In the United States, the federal
government is busy figuring out how to spin its way out of the recent
exposure of corrupt relations between nuclear oversight agencies and the
industry they are supposed to regulate.
While we wait to see if Fukushima becomes the next Chernobyl, you might enjoy this guest article
by my friend Juli in Atlanta. We both grew up next to the Hanford
Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington state. Prior to Chernobyl,
Hanford was the most contaminated site on earth.
Americans have born the brunt of the nuclear industry here, it might be
wise for us to hear what they have to say as well. This talk
by Russell Jim is also related to Hanford. Russell is a fellow and
board member of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, and is in
charge of the negotiations between the Yakama Indian Nation and the US
Government to clean up Hanford, the largest Superfund site in the
Indigenous peoples in Canada also live on the front lines of the battle for survival. The film documentary Uranium lays it all out in detail.
I was in college in the early 1970s, I did research on nuclear-related
carcinogenic medical statistics for the people who ultimately stopped
the proliferation of plants in Washington state. Later in that decade it
was revealed that two of the plants, halted after construction, had
life-threatening structural deficiencies due to fraudulent x-rays
submitted by the contractor in order to omit the required steel
reinforcement for the massive concrete structures and thence pocket
substantial profits on the bid.
Later yet, watching the movie China Syndrome,
I was reminded of this simple fact about nuclear energy: it’s a
boondoggle for heavy industry at taxpayers’ expense — always has been
— and with that amount of public funds on the table, it will always
Five years ago on NPR, I listened to a nuclear
sceptic debate a nuclear apologist, and learned about both improved
technology and the still-unsolved waste storage dilemma, as well as
nuclear power’s unavoidable vulnerability to sabotage. I also learned
that each plant in the US requires a billion dollars annual government
subsidy just to operate, waste disposal and management issues aside. And
I almost learned about a recent failure of the most modern of designs
built in France before NPR’s host scrambled to commercial–a story covered later by Mother Jones.
The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.access here