Astounding to me the variance of reports about “safe” nuclear energy in the wake of ongoing reactor meltdowns in Japan caused by the double punch of tsunami and earthquake (the plants were built to withstand one or the other, they say). Worse than Three Mile Island? (Scary but nobody killed.) Not as bad as Chernobyl? (approximately 60 people died and more may still be diagnosed with thyroid cancer and many many other nasty results).

Fact is the US doesn’t even have a safe place to store its “spent” nuclear material from our plants, which, remember, isn’t really dead for about 500,000 years. Yes, we had lots of bad nuclear history to chew through way before the terrible tsunami hit Japan. Chernobyl and Three Mile Island are just the names you remember now.

To make sense of nuclear pollution, seems we should first acknowledge that there IS no safe place to put spent uranium rods here. We put it in Yucca Mountain in Nevada, but evidently, that is canceled so its proposed to be moved on a cross country highway – to South Carolina. Like a powerful X-ray machine in the ON position they say. Check out the ABC interview

Feels very wrong, though with or without nuclear energy we’re facing extreme climate crises as oil supplies diminish and cheap oil is no more. Maybe we’ll have to make due with nuclear power? Have to? France and Germany are both questioning this proposition following the tragedy in Japan.

Many are taking another look at California’s nuclear industry vs. earthquakes. As I was driving, heard a woman who’s fought the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant for 30 years. Seems recently a second fault line was discovered near the plant, putting its safety at risk. In this case even PGandE is backtracking, taking its April vote for a 20 year extension off the table for now. There’s news on that story from Reader Supported News at
Not reassuring.

Read more in a story from Bay Citizen In that story, we’re told “PGandE’s inability to account for seismic risks that could affect Diablo Canyon is reminiscent of its failure to document safe operating pressures for many its natural gas transmission pipelines. On Wednesday, the CPUC excoriated PGandE for what it called “willful noncompliance” with its order to locate and turn over pipeline records this week following the Sept. 9 San Bruno explosion.”

As usual, I enjoyed today’s Science Friday on NPR, a conversation on these issues We’re told by David Lochbaum, Union of Concerned Scientists, that California faces a very real (85%?!?) chance of a meltdown due to earthquakes – and he reports the US Gov. has tried to cut funding of regulatory agencies. Not a wise thing.

Have been remembering everything from Duck and Cover (early childhood – duck under your desk and the nasty radiation won’t get you!) Were it that easy! Used to think any airplane flying overhead MIGHT be a Russian Bomber. Later? Made friends with some Russians and they were neat! Thank goodness for knowing actual people, several quite wonderful.

Once handled public relations for a sculptural representation of all the nuclear wastes in the US at Fort Mason in 1990s. The show, brought together by Beyond War, was called Twilight’s Last Gleaming, and filled the Herbst Pavilion with chilling representations that left everyone shaken. Fact: Lawrence Livermore, at least at that time, was spending $25 million on pr to reassure the public no “real” dangers were represented in their operations while the guy I spoke with who used to do some of that pr said the accidents there were frequent if “minor.”

Our friends Jim Heddle and Mary Beth Brangan spent hundreds of hours researching nuclear wastes and told an assembly that no child born now or in the future will be without mutations due to nuclear wastes. Nothing to WORRY about, though, right. Or the fact that today on NPR’s Science Friday, Lochbaum, the Union of Concerned Scientists guy, told us that large animals in the Chernobyl area are surviving and possibly developing an immunity to radiation. OK – is that possible mutation a GOOD thing?

We really don’t know what we’re doing to ourselves and our planet; no one does. And yet we keep messing with Mother with very little thought of how this affects us long term. Am pleased to hear futurist/author Ray Kurzweil say in 20 years we’ll have all the solar energy we need to get past fossil fuel. Assuming he’s right, will be a rockin 20 years!