Wednesday, February 11, 2015

She grows weary...

Sometimes it is hard to keep the pace up. That is why activism is best left to the young. But I will try again after this respite of clunking heads together about nuclear waste. My Nuclear Information and Resource Service site just sent out an email that puts forth a pretty good argument.

They are asking that we write to Congress and put a halt to the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste disposal site. Until we have provided for appropriate permanent storage of our current nuclear waste we should stop generating more. Amen to that.

For years nuclear power plants have been paying a fee to the U.S. Government that was to take care of the permanent storage of the waste that each plant generates. At the time all that waste was going to be sent to the Yucca facility. Then it became a political football and you know how we love a good football game in this county, so its been tossed around for a very long time and through various flavors of political leadership.

Yucca is not going to happen. Will the money collected from power facilities be returned? Who knows that is another question. But for darn sure those plants are going to have to come up with a good, safe and rather long-term waste disposal onsite until everything can get sorted out on a national basis.

No you can't just jettison all this waste into space. That was actually considered a possible solution years and years ago.

First we stop producing waste. Then we think and discuss and come up with a solution for all the waste that is sitting around in spent fuel pools (very temporary solution) and in dry cask storage. We will have to come up with a beefed up dry cask storage system at each one of the power plants. We had 104 operating once. But even when the plants are decommissioned you don't just turn out the lights, close the door and walk away.

Here is that email I mentioned from the Nuclear Information and Resource Service. Maybe it will help you decide if it is worth voicing your opinion on. This is about as close as I get to clunking heads together anymore.

web banner
6930 Carroll Avenue, #340, Takoma Park, MD 20912;

Take Action: Tell Congress to Dump Yucca

February 11, 2015

Dear Friends,
As you know, splitting atoms to make electricity makes some of the most lethal wastes in the world; it will persist for a thousand millennia or more. So far, this waste has inspired Congress to make some of its worst decisions ever. Congress is the body that picked a site that will not work to geologically isolate the waste: Yucca Mountain. No radioactive waste has yet gone to Yucca Mountain. Let’s keep it that way. Tell Congress now to pull the plug and Dump Yucca.
You can help: Act here to stop Congress’ continued stubborn attempts to dump highly radioactive waste where it absolutely doesn’t belong. 

Join us in taking a series of email actions--we will send you one a month from now through May--designed to educate your Congressmembers on the many reasons Yucca Mountain is simply not suitable as the nation’s nuclear waste repository.

There is very good news we can build on: January 29th, the NRC Staff declared that it does not recommend that the NRC grant a license to the Department of Energy for construction of a repository at Yucca Mountain.

NRC Staff, as it should, recognized that the State of Nevada has the authority to grant or deny water rights essential to the project, and its refusal to do so for Yucca Mountain is a “show-stopper.”  If Congress ordered the federal government to override state water rights in Nevada, it would open the door for the same in every state.
The action by NRC Staff was unanticipated—but very welcome. Now we need to use this opening to educate Congress so they pull the plug on Yucca for good. Act now: tell your Congressmembers to Dump Yucca.
There are many other fundamental reasons (earthquakes, volcanoes, among them) why Yucca Mountain can never be considered an appropriate place to store the nation’s high-level nuclear waste. But the basic trampling of democracy that would be necessary to foist it on the people of the State of Nevada--and the Western Shoshone people within whose treaty territory Yucca Mountain resides--is a good place to start.

What about other bad ideas for waste? You may have heard this week that Waste Control Specialists (WCS) is proposing to build an “interim” consolidated storage site in west Texas. 
Here is our report yesterday on GreenWorld about the proposal. For WCS to do so as it plans likely would require Congressional legislation. No such legislation has been introduced yet; when and if it is, we will let you know. But an “interim” site wouldn’t end the need for a permanent repository in any case—and Yucca Mountain’s relentless supporters in the nuclear industry and Congress aren’t going to stop promoting that site.

Today the law says “Yucca Mountain” and that is a problem. Yucca will fail. We need to ensure it is canceled before any waste ever goes there.

What is the answer for radioactive waste then? First, stop making more waste! For that which is already generated, the best we can do for now is store it as securely as possible until a scientifically-defensible, publicly acceptable permanent site is found. The waste should be placed in dry storage containers that are the best available, while we push for better ones that are monitored and can be repaired, at its present locations. 
Hardened On-Site Storage (HOSS) is a principle that more than 200 clean energy and environmental organizations support.

In order for sanity to prevail, we first need to put bad ideas to rest. It is long past time to Dump Yucca!
*Here are some more talking points on the Yucca Mountain issue.
A brief history of the Yucca Mountain project can be found here*NIRS’ fact sheet, Why Yucca Will Fail, is here*The Yucca Mountain page on NIRS’ website is here*More on the HOSS concept can be found on Citizens Awareness Network website here.

Despite Yucca’s multitude of flaws, the nuclear industry and its Congressional backers haven’t yet given up on the project. This campaign aims to change that. 
The first step is to tell Congress now: Dump Yucca.
Thanks for all you do,
Michael Mariotte
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
Your financial support makes campaigns like this possible. Please consider making a small donation today here. Even a cup of coffee's worth helps. Thank you!
Stay Informed:

NIRS on the web
GreenWorld: (NIRS' daily blog chronicling nuclear issues and the transition to a nuclear-free, carbon-free energy system)

NIRS on Facebook:
Please note: NIRS never sells, rents, trades, or otherwise makes our e-mail lists available to other organizations or individuals for any reason. If you would like to unsubscribe to NIRS list, click here to unsubscribe.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

When I Was a Kid...

Movietone News 1940

When I was a kid if you wanted to see the news you did it in the movie theater. Yep, that's right. We would get two movies, an intermission, cartoons and the "news".

Well it's a good thing we have the Internet today or we wouldn't be getting any news at all. Wait, you say, we have channels and channels of news on the television and then there is the nightly news on our local broadcast stations.

It truly is amazing that there is no major protest about the pablum that is being fed to us on a daily basis via the public airways. Journalism no longer exists in American television today, it all has become one big entertainment business. Print journalism at least demands that you know how to read whereas television only requires electricity, but let's not let them off the hook either.

The latest song and dance man, what's his name?.... Brian something, got a slap on the wrist (six months without pay) for fabricating or at least blowing out of proportion his view of the news. Hmmm, hope he will be able to meet his kids tuition payments.

But lest I pick on a sole Midwestern boy and ignore the elephant in the room... when was the last time you saw anything on television about the Navy sailors that went to the rescue during the Fukushima disaster? Here is a recent report from Der Spiegel of all places. Hello CNN, NBC, ABC, FOX ~ oh and you too New York Times and Washington Post. Hmmmmmm resting on your laurels are you? 

What else isn't being covered? Oh, I know, Bruce Jenner's gender transitioning is much more interesting. And the Houston girl on life support while her father fights to gain control of whatever wealth was left from that whole sad story. Both stories really very personal ones that don't merit so much media attention except that it "sells" which is a sad reflection upon you and I isn't it?

So maybe we are the ones to blame. We don't what to be informed, we want to be entertained, titillated. We want to peek into windows... in fact maybe that is why television screens have the shape they do.

Come on America grow up, use your brains. Life isn't a circle jerk after all.

Hat Tip to friend Keith for reminding me that the sailors from the USS Reagan are still fighting a tough battle unknown to much of America.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Are anti-war movements a thing of the past?

Do you remember Vietnam and the anti-war movement? Read this great article on the anti-war movement of the past and an explanation as to why there is no massive anti-war movement in America today.

This article written by Tom Engelhart appeared in The Nation and caused me to reflect upon a time when it seemed that we as Americans were less resolved into feeling that nothing will change, so why bother. In a way how we feel today is quite scary and very dangerous times.

Maybe it's time for some more "Hell, No" attitude.

Sunday, February 1, 2015


Frank Bruni of the New York Times wrote an article The Vaccine Lunacy that I both agree with and disagree with.

You see I had my children vaccinated when they were little and I get vaccinated myself when I travel off to spots in the world that have diseases I'd rather not have to contend with. So I have no problem with the immunization process. I think a disease free world would be wonderful.

What I take exception to is mandatory immunization, parents and individuals should always be able to make a choice if they want or don't want this protection. Even if it means we have to contend with kookie-faddy and unfounded reasoning as to why not vaccinate.

Apparently the rise in the recent measles outbreak is because too many in the outbreak areas have forgone vaccinations and the result is a surrendering of "herd immunity" that worked in the past to protect the unvaccinated as well.
"It used to be that unvaccinated children in America were clustered in impoverished neighborhoods; now they’re often clustered among sophisticates in gilded ZIP codes where a certain strain of health faddishness reigns. According to a story in The Hollywood Reporter last year, the parents of 57 percent of the children at a Beverly Hills preschool and of 68 percent at one in Santa Monica had filed personal-belief exemptions from having their kids vaccinated."
The beliefs of individuals must be respected even when they are based upon boutique ideals, it is a risk that goes hand in hand with freedom. The war against this battle must be waged with accurate and concrete arguments for vaccinations and not with tougher mandatory immunizations .