If the White House has a reliable plan for deploying and funding a credible response to a disaster at a reactor that's superior to the one we've seen at the Deepwater Horizon, we'd sure like to see it.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has warned that at least one new design proposed for federal funding cannot withstand tornadoes, earthquakes or hurricanes.
But the administration has slipped $9 billion for nuclear loan guarantees into an emergency military funding bill, in addition to the $8.33 it's already approved for two new nukes in Georgia.
Unless we do something about it, the House Appropriations Committee may begin the process next week.
Like Deepwater Horizon and Fermi, these new nukes could ignite disasters beyond our technological control---and our worst nightmares.
Like BP, their builders would enjoy financial liability limits dwarfed by damage they could do.
Two of the new reactors are proposed for South Texas, where two others have already been leaking radiation into the Gulf. Ironically, oil pouring into the Gulf could make the waters unusable for cooling existing and future nukes and coal burners.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu recently admitted to Rachel Maddow he has no firm plans for the radioactive wastes created by the proposed new reactors, or by the 104 currently licensed.
After 50 years, this industry can't get private financing, can't get private liability insurance and has no solution for its wastes.
The Gulf gusher bears the simple lesson that technologies that require liability limits will rapidly exceed them, and must not be deployed.
No US nuclear utility has sufficient capital resources to cover the damages from a reactor disaster, which is one reason taxpayers are targeted as the ultimate underwriters.
On May 27, the House Appropriations Committee was scheduled to vote on new nuke loan guarantees, which had been attached to an emergency military spending bill. Amidst a flood of grassroots opposition, the vote was postponed.
By all accounts, despite the horrors of the Gulf, the administration still wants legislation that will expand deepwater drilling and atomic technologies that are simply beyond our control…but that fund apparently unstoppable dividends for corporations like BP.
It's our vital responsibility to transform this crisis into a definitive shift to a totally green-powered earth, based solely on renewables and efficiency. We have a full array of Solartopian technologies that are proven, profitable, insurable and manageable. They are the core of our necessary transition to a prosperous, sustainable future.
Free Press Senior Editor and "Superpower of Peace" columnist Harvey Wasserman is author or co-author of a dozen books including SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030; Harvey Wasserman's History of the U.S.; and, A Glimpse of the Big Light: Losing Parents, Finding Spirit.
With Bob Fitrakis, Harvey has helped expose the theft of the presidency. Their freepress.org coverage has prompted Rev. Jesse Jackson to call them "the Woodward and Bernstein of the 2004 election." Their books include How the GOP Stole America's 2004 Election & Is Rigging 2008, and What Happened in Ohio?, coming soon from the New Press.
Harvey's widespread appearances throughout the major media and at campuses and citizen gatherings have focussed since the 1960s on energy, environment, peace, justice, U.S. history and election protection.