New Resistance to Nuclear Totalitarianism

Nuclear Ablolition - the REAL way to save the unborn babies. A graphic from the (partially) successful anti-nuclear movement of the '80s. Courtesy Rachel Gertrude Johnson.

As published in the March 15, 2012 Point Reyes Light

New Resistance To Nuclear Totalitarianism

by James Heddle – EON – the Ecological Options Network

Inconvenient Reality
Nothing debunks the delusional corporate fantasy of a nuclear-powered future like the ongoing global disaster still radiating from Fukushima, the one-year anniversary of which was marked last Sunday with massive demonstrations in favor of nuclear abolition around the world.

It took just 18 days for the Fukishima fallout to circle the globe, create hotspots in North America and Europe, and reach the Southern Hemisphere, according to the United States Geological Survey.

Within ten weeks, infant deaths spiked 35% in San Francisco and Seattle, and 48% in Philadelphia, according to a study by Joseph Mangano and Janette Sherman based on CDC (Centers for Disease Control) statistics.

West Coast soil, milk and produce are still showing contaminated readings according to the UC Berkeley School of Nuclear Engineering. As recently as mid Feb. elevated levels of Cesium 134 and 137 were detected in other foods, berries, soil, water, etc..

Nuts for New Nukes
Nevertheless, the Obama Administration and its nuclear industry backers continue to push for a so-called ‘nuclear renaissance’ paid for by tax-dollar loan guarantees and rate-payer surcharges. Obama’s NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) is freely issuing license extensions aged reactors that should already be in mothballs.

In effect, its a nuclear bailout that socializes the costs and risks and privatizes the profits.

That’s because nuclear energy cannot survive in a ‘free market environment.’ Wall Street won’t invest. Insurers will not insure. Democratic choice will not choose it – if given half a chance.

Truth and Nukes Don’t Mix
It can not survive in a transparent, democratic environment either. As Robert Jungk’s classic 1979 book The New Tyranny: How Nuclear Power Enslaves Us showed, because of its vast ‘security’ vulnerabilities, nuclear energy is, at its core, a fundamentally totalitarian technology, requiring secrecy and authoritarian social controls to the max.

Already, in the face of mass public uprisings across the globe and the growth of the Occupy Movement here at home, power holders are moving to criminalize dissent with the passage of laws like the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) and HR 347, the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011. Will they be applied to anti-nuclear protests and non-violent civil disobedience actions?

Rather than acting in the public interest with strictly-enforced policies based on science, so-called ‘regulatory agencies’ like the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) and the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) consistently fulfill their core mandate, which is to promote – not impede – the spread of nuclear energy technology.

Thus the internationally coordinated campaign to tamp down transparent reporting on the real human, environmental, planetary impacts of nuclear disasters like Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima.

Then there’s the inconvenient fact that nuclear power generation is inseparably joined at the hip with its Siamese Twin, nuclear weapons production and proliferation – has been from the gitgo of the ‘Peaceful Atom’ propaganda campaign.

A Dormant Movement Stirs – ‘Occupy Nukes?’
Despite significant successes in the ’70s and ’80s, the transnational nuclear abolition movement has been quiet of late. Until, that is, the Fukushima wake-up call, the warhead wagging at Iran and the rise of the ‘occupy movement(s).’ Will the awakening Beast of Public Dissent include abolition of nuclear power and weapons in its change agenda? Will Americans stand for the imposition of technocratic, totalitarian nuclear socialism disguised as ‘the only technology that can save us from Climate Change?’

Will they be fooled by the fallacious claims that nuclear energy is ‘carbon free,’ when it is in fact carbon-intensive at every stage of the nuclear cycle from mining to milling to transport to storage, and depends on ‘outside power’ from coal and gas plants to cool its fuel storage pools? Not if a resurgent international anti-nuclear movement can help it.

In the bellwether state of California successful activists in the ‘70s and ‘80s rolled back a plan for dozens of reactors lining its coast. They enacted a law – which still stands today – prohibiting the building of more nuclear reactors until a solution for nuclear waste storage has been found. Now, more that 20 groups have come together in the newly-formed Nuclear Free California Network. Its goal: permanently closing down the state’s remaining nukes at Diablo Canyon and San Onofre – both in earthquake and tsunami zones, just like Fukushima. The NFCN’s Fukushima anniversary declaration is here.

James Heddle co-directs EON, the Ecological Options Network with Mary Beth Brangan. Blog: E-mail:

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