This has been a tough week for politicians and the faith-based stupid. The most admired leaders of both parties in a long-running suicide pact with our most trusted sources of news and their corporate masters had convinced most of the electorate that nuclear energy is safe and clean. Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Kyshtym and a dozen or so other accidents long ignored, Mother Nature weighed in on that this week, and in a few seconds of shaking, not counting the aftershocks, did in NE Japan what it typically takes an entire Godzilla movie to achieve – this time, it was real. This time, we were all shaken. This time, even Republicans can’t spin the reality of the danger back into a lie. Nuclear energy is not safe and it never was clean.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) Fukushima* Daiichi power plant is 40 years old and was scheduled to shut down in February until an enlightened Japanese government in a collusion of greed determined the plants would be safe for another 10 years. These Japanese plants use the same American/General Electric system that is used by 23 reactors in the US, including some in Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina – plants of a similar age, scheduled to be retired, but re-certified safe by our enlightened corporate-owned leaders.
Mother Nature routinely demonstrates man’s stupidity for ignoring reality by revealing the consequences of hubris. Decades of development and destruction of wetlands on the Mississippi caused the widespread destruction of New Orleans after Katrina. It was less than a year ago, with the echo of our President saying deep water drilling was safe, when we saw that it wasn’t and never will be in the Gulf of Mexico. Corporations that use hydraulic fracturing (frac’ing) to get cheaper natural gas, do so with the knowledge that it contaminates and depletes our groundwater. Industries that routinely use toxic chemicals do so knowing their waste might kill the locals, but their courts will prevent their liability. We prevent forest fires that cause massive fires. We dam rivers and cause droughts. We burn fossil fuels and change our climate – the top 11 hottest years on record have been in the last 13 years. We’ve scattered depleted uranium waste in our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We let Appalachia coal power plants mass coal slurry causing one of the worst environmental disasters in history. We remove mountain tops for cheap coal and then leave them for future generations. We defunded the superfund and now toxic sites just sit ticking… waiting for Mother Nature to get pissed off again.
Many corporations, left on their own, consider human death and the destruction of the environment collateral damage of profit. All politicians, however, consider truth collateral damage of election.