Was Fukushima Too Big to Fail?

June 14, 2011

By Tom H. Hastings

When George Bush started bailing out corporations, and Barack Obama continued Bush’s program, we were told that those corporations were too big to fail. The dangers of massive corporations dragging down all of us were noted, they were bailed out. And then were they then downsized? Nope. What is up with that?

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Japanese Disaster Becomes American Disaster

Fukushima was not under the control of the Japanese government. It was big, but the tsunami was bigger and it failed. So, put up your hand if you learned anything from that. Germany? Yes, we see you learned. Japan? We hope so! The U.S.? No hand?

We have just been told that the economy is tanking again, in part because of Fukushima. A Japanese disaster is an American disaster these days. We have 110 nuclear reactors in the U.S. How many could suffer massive damage like Fukushima before it would wreck our economy for many years to come?

“Only” four of these plants are in similar earthquake and tsunami zones? Well, what else might surprise us? What if a nuclear power plant got hit by a massive tornado? Lucky thing there was no nuke in Joplin, Missouri. How many 200-mph trucks flying through the air would it take to breach a reactor? What happens if floods overwhelm a nuke on the Mississippi River? Can’t happen? Right. Neither could Fukushima. I’ve been to the Prairie Island nuclear power plants and seen their on-site storage of massive amounts of high-level nuclear waste. They are smack in the floodplain of the biggest river in North America. The potential exists there to poison that river for generations. All it takes is one bad hand from Mother Nature, one demented terrorist in a small airplane loaded with explosives, one human operator error.

The reality is that nuclear power has always been for too risky, so it cannot exist without government exemption from liability. The risks are just plain stupid.

Can’t Live Without Nuclear? Can’t Live WITH It!

And, of course, the nuclear executives and P.R. people are quick to claim that it’s 70 percent of the emissions-free base load. Well, it’s 100 percent of the radioactive baseload. Baseload? Bonneville Power Administration literally cannot even give away electric power right now, the hydro base is so rampant. Shut down the nukes and buy it cheap from BPA! No hydro, wind or solar disasters can come close to a nuclear disaster. You can tell because insurance companies will happily handle solar and wind without government shields.

If our economy and our ecology–in the long run, they are the same–are too big to fail we should stop using nuclear power.   Φ

Tom H. Hastings (pcwtom@gmail.com) is Director of PeaceVoice in Portland, Oregon.

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