Nuclear Power Plants Are Obsolete and Optional

I truly don’t know how to think about these events in any rational fashion.  I do know we couldn’t have stopped either the earthquake or the tsunami. The nuclear power plants are optional.

I suspect it was the result of news coverage of the partial core melt down at the three mile island power plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1979 that I began to understand the insanity of thinking we could safely use nuclear energy in any form.

I was having breakfast at a now long-gone restaurant in Solana Beach, California, probably reading the Los Angeles Times. As I recall the article described the efforts to created a warning symbol that would be understandable a thousand years in the future. Think about it. Although some languages, like apparently Japanese, don’t change as much as English, we can hardly understand Chaucer who wrote something like 600 years ago. When I realized nuclear waste can last some 250,000 years I knew creating adequate warnings would be impossible and that fiddling with such dangerous stuff was true hubris.

I mean does it make sense to risk poisoning ourselves, other critter and in fact much of the whole planted to essentially boil water to drive steam?

I’m also convinced that had we actually allowed President Jimmy Carter’s  1977 energy policy to come to fruition Japan would not be facing the nuclear disaster they are now and here in the U.S. we wouldn’t be avoiding thinking about the 104 nuke power plants right here. I dare to say that if we had changed our energy policy back then, there would be no nuclear power plants anywhere in the world because we were truly leading then. Nuclear power plants are not safe, period; thinking otherwise is insanity. All nuclear power plants should be shut down.

You see, I believe we have the intelligence to rapidly create and deploy green energy, here and lead the world in the same direction. We simply need the vision to do so.

My dream would be along the lines of the way President John F. Kennedy led us into space. It was an impossible dream and resulted in Neil Armstrong stepping out onto the moon.

What can we do? The usual – contacting our representatives. Here are some links to help:

  • The White House
  • CallCongress.Org – the current toll-free numbers for congress – call and ask for yours, then leave a message.
  • WhoIsMyRepresentative let’s you search by zip code – you can get a phone number that way for both their Washington and their home offices. If the Washington line is busy, call their local office. Call often.

What ideas do you have to move us away from such danger?

Anne Wayman: When Grandmother Speaks

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

ellie March 18, 2011 at 6:32 pm

I read someone’s comment this morning about her experience with three mile island, and how we were told it was no big deal. Now they are saying it was a 5 out of 7 just like Japan. It increases cynicism. It makes me sad that this withholding of information is such an art form. Imagine if our governmant (and others) told it like it really is, including the times they goofed or behaved badly. San Onofre is only 60 miles away from me. Nuclear power is more of the corporate oligarchy…(Mark Antony: “The evil that men do lives after them”.)

P.J. March 19, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Anne, I couldn’t agree with you more. My home town Traverse City, Michigan is fighting the electrical company right now, they want us to believe that burning our trees is a better way to cut costs. We the people are fighting for wind energy. You would not believe how many people would rather cut trees, and use nuclear energy rather than have the eye sores of using windmills. Oh yeah and they are a little loud. sorry to say it but people in the U.S. have to many freedoms. Well perhaps it is really a matter of people being so self-indulgent that we spend so much of our time doing things because we can, without batting an eye or having any thoughts of whether or not it’s right or to what it will bring future harm to. Jimmy Carter had a great vision for energy, unfortunately too many people had greater visions of what would benefit them… Thank you for the e-mail that stopped me in my tracks, raised different emotions, and reminded me of why it is that I make the choices that I do each day. My hope is that are more people out there that are trying to make the world a better place for all life found here… Thank you. Sincerely, P.J.

annew March 20, 2011 at 5:22 pm

I long for true transparency – that’s why I love wikileaks… and pray for Bradley Manning – it’s a scandal they way they are treating him.

annew March 20, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Actually, I think it’s the way education was trashed coming out of the Regan era… we’ve lost the ability, as a nation, to think clearly as individuals.

Greg Scott March 21, 2011 at 10:56 am

I’m about 150 miles away from the Fukushima plant. I live in Chiba, Japan, and things have been very scary the last week or so.

I’ve always believed that nuclear power was a terrible idea, since (as you said, Anne), radioactive elements will still be around basically FOREVER. Nuclear power is the most short-sighted idea I can think of. I’d rather lose half of my electricity than rely on such dirty means to get it.

I know Libya has kind of eclipsed the news of this back home, but things are still FUBAR here. Sorry to be pessimistic, but I like to look at things straight-on. I just had to say a sort of “hell yeah” to your blog post. I hope nobody else has to go through this.

Contact those representatives, people!

annew March 24, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Greg, thanks so much for the update from the scene. I live about 60 miles south the San Onofre nuclear power plant – it’s very much on my mind now, and often. Stay safe and if you want to do a guest post here please I’d love to have one. Stay safe.

Diana April 5, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Being married to an electrical engineer who works at designing and maintaining various methods of power generation has given me a mixed view on this whole debate. The idea of green energy is sound, as is the push to cut down our dependence on fossil fuels, etc. But the issue is larger and wider than simply choosing one method over the other. There is little logical argument against the risks associated with using nuclear, however jumping into the green alternative is not without problems.

Currently there is no efficient way to store the energy generated by wind/solar/renewables, which means that although the generation and transmission are progressing, storage will be the ultimate fuel to drive this technology forward.

Who is researching those issues, I wonder? Is there funding for that? Is the public aware of the issues with green power generation and prepared to accept the risks and consequences of it? Transparency needs to be applied to both sides equally in order to make informed, intelligent decisions. Which is, I think, your entire viewpoint. Thanks for an intriguing article.

annew April 6, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Diana, I totally disagree with you when you say “There is little logical argument against the risks associated with using nuclear…” Just the fact than insurance companies won’t insure nuclear plants without large government subsidies says something.

But we do agree that we need transparency and more research. The storage issue is interesting… my own sense is that it’s pretty well handled at an individual, single family home level but I don’t know how well, if at all, those solutions scale to say office buildings or hospitals. Batteries have their own problems for sure. I suspect we’ll find ourselves rethinking lots of things as we move to real sustainability.

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