CHERYL SEAL SPECIAL REPORT: CLEAR LIES Part 5: Nuclear Nightmare: Bush's Own Brand of State-Sponsored Terrorism

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by Cheryl Seal
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20 Nov 2003

Never has there been a more critical vote in US history than the Bush-Cheney energy plan. While the Iraq war has been devastating, the worst effects may subside within a decade. If Bush gets his way and the nation accelerates its nuclear energy program, the potential disastrous effects even one "moderate" "mishap" could inflict could be with up - and our great-great grandchildren -- for centuries to come.


NUCLEAR NIGHTMARE: Bush([search])’s Own Brand of State-Sponsored Terrorism against the U.S.


The entire Bush speech that introduced Clear Skies is so full of lies, manipulations, disinformation, and blatantly false promises that it would require a book to address each statement. In this series, I have selected 16 statements from the text of the speech and divided them into what I consider the Initiative’s five main issues: conservation (lack of), environmental health (devastation of), freemarket solutions (failure of), science (absence of), coal (dominance of), and nuclear energy (state sponsored terrorism).

Bush Clear Skies Speech quotes in bold italics.

We will promote…nuclear power, which produces no greenhouse gas emissions.”

Lack of greenhouse emissions is the ONLY thing nuclear power has going for it. But this is like saying “nuclear warheads do not contain anthrax.” They are still lethal! Here are some facts:

Most nuclear plants in the US were built at least three decades ago and are now deteriorating. But the nuke barons see a potentially huge profit in keeping them going because the loans taken out to build the plants are almost paid off. Enter Bush, who has made relicensing these disasters-waiting-to-happen a snap. Relicensing is supposed to be a rigorous process that should require a major, even total plant overhaul. But, thanks to Bush, relicensing is merely an empty formality. Aging plants are now being relicensed at an astoundingly rapid pace. Proof is not even required that the repairs prescribed by inspectors have been made and area residents near the plant are often not even informed that its happening. And they most certainly should be: According to the Federal Register notice, each relicensing is expected to be responsible for the release of 14,800 person-rem of radiation and the deaths of 12 people during its 20-year life extension. Nice little fact to know if you happen to be living and raising kids in the area!

And then, of course, there is the danger of terrorism. Since 9/11, most nuclear plants remain inadequately guarded – if at all. It was not until the second week of February, 2002, that the Bush administration issued a press release stating it would “soon” order the nation's 103 nuclear power plants to improve security. The Nuclear Energy Information Service revealed in October, 2001 that, under Bush, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) “has been "experimenting" with a plan to allow the nuclear industry to police itself on reactor security from terrorist assaults. This outrageous scheme comes after a decade-long series of tests of such security at U.S. reactors demonstrated conclusively that over 50% of those reactors tested could not resist a determined land-based intruder.” Under Clinton, the DOE had asked to move TA-18, a facility at Los Alamos containing several burst reactors and tons of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium to a safer location. In Sept. 2001, Bush denied the request.

Then there is the problem of nuclear wastes—especially level-4 spent fuel rods, which are a national security risk in and of themselves. The only safe way to store these extraordinarily dangerous materials (which could, in a single “accident” render several hundred square miles uninhabitable for a 50-200 years, is in special “dry casks” of steel, lead and cement, which must then be buried in a geologically stable area. This of course, is very costly. So what is the Bush solution? In September, 2003, the DOE proposed reclassifying high-level wastes as “incidental to processing,” so they could be handled more cheaply, and even reprocessed. Japan and France stopped reprocessing any nuclear wastes because of the extreme hazard it posed. Former British nuclear weapons specialist Dr Frank Barnaby of the Oxford Research Group stated in May, 2000, that nuclear reprocessing operations would ‘make it virtually inevitable that terrorists will acquire the plutonium they want from the fuel, and make nuclear weapons with it.” In fact, says Barnaby, once the material was obtained, it would not be difficult for a clever terrorist to make a dirty bomb: “A second-year graduate” could do it.

Last but not least: nuclear power will be one of the most costly forms of energy to the taxpayer. Not only that, but taxpayers will be paying for it for nearly 20 years before it’s even available! The Bush energy plan calls for the industry to generate 50,000 more megawatts of power by 2020. To achieve this will require $1.3 billion for research, development and deployment. The Bush scheme also calls for the use of federal lands for new plants and for taxpayers to pay for 50% of the cost of establishing new reactors during all the initial stages of development. It will also require the taxpayer to eat $590 billion of the predicted cost of a nuclear accident, while the industry’s own liability is capped at $10 billion. And of course, none of this figures in the cost of storing nuclear wastes—a cost, both economically and in risk, that will be born largely by “recipient states” such as Nevada—whether they want the risk and cost or not.

Japanese Study Shows that Radiation Leak from Nuclear Reactor Could Kill 400,000, Render Huge Area Uninhabitable for 50 years

. Nuclear Information and Resource Service : “1,200 Could Die Under Bush Relicensing Plan”

Here Today, There Tomorrow: Commercial Nuclear Reactor Sites are Terrorist Targets

Articles from the “Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists” (founded by Albert Einstein)

“Defusing nuclear terror” By Jeffrey T. Richelson March/April 2002

“What, me worry?” by Daniel Hirsch Jan/Feb 2002

“What About the Spent Fuel Rods?” Robert Alvarez Jan/Feb 2002

The Weapons Complex: Who’s Guarding the Store? By Danielle Brian, Lynn Eisenman & Peter D. H. Stockton Jan/February