August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

'Dr. Jekyll' Obama Goes Nuclear

Obama targets black community with risk of radiation and death from new nuclear reactors

By Brenda Norrell
Photo: Obama flanked by nuclear industry announces funding.
UPDATED Feb. 19, 2010: Obama spoke out against atomic energy before taking office; video added.

President Obama's new nuclear funding targets a black community in Georgia with the high risk of nuclear contamination and death. Waynesboro, Georgia, located in central Georgia near the South Carolina border, is 63 percent African American. As for young children, 70 percent of the elementary students are African Americans.

The primary employers in Waynesboro, Ga., are war profiteers and the intelligence community. The companies include Obama's friends at General Dynamics, the Bush family Shaw group and two intelligence corporations: SAIC and L-3 Communications.
Waynesboro is about twenty miles from Fort Gordon Army Base, which boasts, "Home of the Signal Corps, the largest communications-electronics facility in the free world."
Beyond Nuclear, denouncing the new funding for nuclear reactors in Georgia, said Obama is giving away taxpayer dollars to Southern Nuclear Operating Company for a project that will fail.

Beyond Nuclear denounced President Obama's granting of a conditional loan guarantee to Southern Nuclear Operating Company for the construction of new atomic reactors at its Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant site in Waynesboro, Georgia. Two new Westinghouse-Toshiba Advanced Passive (AP) 1000 reactors are proposed at Plant Vogtle.

President Obama's award comes despite an announcement by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in October of a major safety flaw with the AP1000 design.

"An NRC media release dated Oct. 15, 2009, documents that the AP1000 shield building, as currently designed, is vulnerable to severe weather such as tornadoes and hurricanes, and natural disasters like earthquakes. This raises the concern that the design is also vulnerable to terrorist attacks such as intentionally crashing airliners. Thus, the shield building's intended protection of the reactor's primary radioactivity containment is questionable, as is its ability to provide radiation shielding during normal operations as well as to support a large emergency cooling water supply tank," Beyond Nuclear said.

"It is utterly irresponsible of President Obama to risk public safety and the environment by financing the incomplete and flawed AP1000 design at Vogtle and, worse still, at taxpayers' financial risk," said Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear. "Even if ultimately fixed, the AP1000's major design flaw risks delays in construction and cost overruns, the same problems that delivered death blows to scores of atomic reactors three decades ago."

"The Congressional Budget Office has predicted that over half of new reactor owners will default on their loan repayments. The federal nuclear loan guarantees would finance up to 80 percent of the total project cost for a new reactor. Cost estimates for certain proposed new reactors in the U.S. have already surpassed $10 billion. The two new reactors at Vogtle are currently estimated by proponents to cost $14.5 billion, a figure expected by critics to significantly increase, Beyond Nuclear said.

"Making federal atomic reactor loan guarantees conditional upon a Nuclear Regulatory Commission license won't protect U.S. taxpayers," Kamps said. "The nuclear industry has a long history of defaulting on loans in the post-licensing period due to design flaws, construction mistakes, cost overruns, lengthy delays, and other problems that President Obama and Energy Secretary Chu cannot foresee, stumbling blocks which are not eliminated by NRC granting a construction and operating license," Kamps said.
The money and economic collapse of the US, however, comes second to human life. There was a time when Obama recognized the dangers of atomic energy.
Karl Grossman, in his article, "Obama Goes Nuclear," for Counterpunch, said, "Before taking office, including as a candidate for president, Obama not only was negative about atomic energy but—unusual for a politician—indicated a detailed knowledge of its threat to life."

“I start off with the premise that nuclear energy is not optimal and so I am not a nuclear energy proponent,” Obama said at a campaign stop in Newton, Iowa on December 30, 2007. “My general view is that until we can make certain that nuclear power plants are safe, that they have solved the storage problem—because I’m opposed to Yucca Mountain and just dumping…in one state, in Nevada particularly, since there’s potentially an earthquake line there—until we solve those problems and the whole nuclear industry can show that they can produce clean, safe energy without enormous subsidies from the U.S. government, I don’t think that’s the best option. I am much more interested in solar and wind and bio-diesel and strategies [for] alternative fuels.”
Grossman continues, "As he told the editorial board of the Keene Sentinel in New Hampshire on November 25, 2007: 'I don’t think there’s anything that we inevitably dislike about nuclear power. We just dislike the fact that it might blow up…and irradiate us…and kill us. That’s the problem.'"
Also see: COUNTERPUNCH: How to Buy a "Reactor Renaissance"
The Nuclear Lobby's $645 Million Con Job

Video from Newsy:

No comments: