Month: December 2014

Activists Permanently Shut Vermont Nuke

Activists Permanently Shut Down Vermont Yankee Nuke Plant Today

 

Ecowatch.com

hwassermanThe Vermont Yankee atomic reactor goes permanently off-line today, Dec. 29, 2014. Citizen activists have made it happen. The number of licensed U.S. commercial reactors is now under 100 where once it was to be 1,000.

Decades of hard grassroots campaigning by dedicated, non-violent nuclear opponents, working for a Solartopian green-powered economy, forced this reactor’s corporate owner to bring it down.

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Vermont Yankee is the fifth American reactor forced shut in the last two years.

Entergy says it shut Vermont Yankee because it was losing money. Though fully amortized, it could not compete with the onslaught of renewable energy and fracked-gas. Throughout the world, nukes once sold as generating juice “too cheap to meter” comprise a global financial disaster. Even with their capital costs long-ago stuck to the public, these radioactive junk heaps have no place in today’s economy—except as illegitimate magnets for massive handouts.

So in Illinois and elsewhere around the U.S., their owners demand that their bought and rented state legislators and regulators force the public to eat their losses. Arguing for “base load power” or other nonsensical corporate constructs, atomic corporations are gouging the public to keep these radioactive jalopies sputtering along.

Such might have been the fate of Vermont Yankee had it not been for citizen opposition. Opened in the early 1970s, Vermont Yankee was the northern tip of clean energy’s first “golden triangle.” Down the Connecticut River, grassroots opposition successfully prevented two reactors from being built at Montague, Massachusetts, where the term “No Nukes” was coined. A weather tower was toppled, films were made, books were written, demonstrations staged and an upwelling of well-organized grassroots activism helped nurture a rising global movement.

A bit to the southwest, in the early 1990s, it shut the infamous Yankee Rowe reactor, which had been hit by lightening and could not pass a verifiable test of its dangerously embrittled core.

But Vermont Yankee persisted. Entergy, a “McNuke” operator based in New Orleans, bought Yankee from its original owners about a dozen years ago. It signed a complex series of agreements with the state. Then it trashed them to keep Vermont Yankee spiraling ever-downward.

But hard-core organizers like Deb Katz’s Citizen Awareness Network never let up. Working through a network of natonal, state and local campaigns, the safe energy movement has finally forced Entergy to flip the off switch.

Protestors hold signs during a vigil to support the closing of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant at the Statehouse Monday, Jan. 23, 2012 in Montpelier, Vt. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

Protestors support the closing of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant at the Statehouse in January 2012 in Montpelier, Vermont.

Vermont Yankee is the fifth American reactor forced shut in the last two years. Two at San Onofre, California, were defeated by citizen activism. Wisconsin’s Kewaunee went down for economic reasons. Crystal River in Florida was driven to utter chaos by incompetent ownership.

Five reactors are officially under construction in the U.S. But their fate is also subject to citizen action. Two others targeted for Levy County, Florida, have recently been stopped by ratepayer resistance.

Throughout the U.S. and the world, the demise of atomic energy is accelerating. Some 435 reactors are listed worldwide as allegedly operable. But 48 in Japan remain shut in the wake of Fukushima despite the fierce efforts of a corrupt, dictatorial regime to force them back on line. Germany’s transition to a totally nuke-free green energy economy is exceeding expectations. The fate of dozens proposed and operating in China and India remains unclear.

But the clock on the inevitable next disaster is ticking. Cancer rates and thyroid problems around Fukushima continue to accelerate. Massive reactors like California’s Diablo Canyon and Indian Point, New York, are surrounded by volatile earthquake faults that could reduce them to seething piles of apocalyptic rubble, killing countless thousands downwind, gutting the global economy.

Every reactor shutdown represents an avoided catastrophe of the greatest magnitude.  As the takeoff of cheap, clean, safe and reliable Solartopian technology accelerates, greedy reactor owners struggle to squeeze the last few dimes out of increasingly dangerous old nukes for which they ultimately will take no responsibility. Vermont Yankee alone could require 60 years for basic clean-up. Fierce debate rages over what to do with thousands of tons of intensely radioactive spent fuel rods.

It remains unclear where the money will ultimately come from to try to decontaminate these sites, but clearly they are all destined to be dead zones.

As will the planet as a whole were it not for victories like this one in Vermont. This weekend the No Nukes community will celebrate this accursed reactor’s final demise.

Many hundreds more such celebrations must follow—soon!

Harvey Wasserman edits NukeFree.org and works to shut all Vermont Yankee’s mutant siblings so Solartopia can take root.

 

the Spiral of US History: Preliminary Video

The Brown/Garner Killings are about a Larger State of Official Terror

 

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me

Pastor Martin Niemoller, speaking about Nazi Germany

 

 

First, they’ve come for the people of color.

 

America’s police forces increasingly serve as a a private corporate army, beyond the reach of the law.

 

But our nation is distracted by race.  And millions of white Americans are under the illusion that what was done to Michael Brown and Eric Garner can’t happen to them.

 

These un-prosecuted killings of African-American men go way beyond racial prejudice.

 

They are the calling card of an Orwellian state:

 

America’s founders established grand juries to protect citizens from frivolous prosecution.  But today’s corporate state has twisted the system to protect killer police from public scrutiny, putting them above the law.

 

 

The ultimate message is clear:  police can kill American citizens without cause and face no public trial.  (Steven Rosenfeld lays out the details at Alternet http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/10-ways-system-rigged-protect-cops-who-kill )

 

The current focus is on skin color.  Thankfully, Americans throughout the US have risen up in protest, demanding social justice and an end to racism.

 

But the larger issue is a police apparatus now inflicting random terror in service of a corporate state that has mutated far beyond public control.

 

We are still being assaulted by a cynical 40-year drug war used to disenfranchise and violate the basic rights of millions of Americans with no real recourse.

 

In the name of that drug war, and the one on terror, police randomly confiscate (steal) billions in cash from citizens of all races, in direct violation of the Bill of Rights and any sense of a real legal system.  Police departments use these officially sanctioned armed robberies to help fund heavy war-time weaponry also coming to them as “surplus” from the federal military.

 

Citizens of color, the young, the poor and the elderly are being systematically stripped of the right to vote by a modern electronic Jim Crow.  The dominance of a corporate one-party system is furthered by the use of privately-owed, easily-rigged electronic voting machines.   .

 

The NSA and other official agencies are spying on us without restraint.

 

Our ability to communicate through an open, neutral internet is also under attack.  Meanwhile a San Diego rapper with no record of violence has been charged with multiple “crimes” based on his lyrics.  As anger with America’s billionaire elite spreads, we can certainly expect the counter-attacks on open speech to escalate.

That the victims of these latest police killings are most often men of color is tragic.  It also gives the corporate media the perfect distraction behind which to hide the root problem.

 

Throughout our history, race has been the reliably lethal facade for all sorts of political repression.  It’s the hate-filled poison perfectly designed to divide and distract us.

 

The sickness is real enough.  But the ultimate cancer we face is the rise of an all-powerful corporate state and its iron grip on a violent, unaccountable private army licensed to kill—no matter what the race or cause—while knowing that the once-sacred right to a public trial does not apply to them.  Should the attacks on the internet succeed, we’ll also be hearing less and less about them.

 

Thus we are all in the shoes of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.  Those who think themselves somehow above it all by virtue of race or class are simply not paying attention.

 

Unless we rise up to secure social justice and our basic legal rights, we’re all just a single cop away from being as dead as the very latest victim of official violence… at any time, for no reason, with no recourse.

 

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HARVEY WASSERMAN’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES is at www.solartopia.org along with SOLARTOPIA!  OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH.  His upcoming book is THE SPIRAL OF US HISTORY.

 

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