By Heidi Hutner; posted by the Planet Sphere http://www.terraspheres.com/blogs/11654-indian-point-now-a-post-fukushima-plea.html
…And it was from what the mothers told us of these children that it became recognized that the children who died of cancer-let’s say an early death from cancer, before the age of ten as it happened—had been twice as often x-rayed before they were born as the live children…. If single, non-repeated exposure to a small dose of ionizing radiation before you were born is sufficient to increase the risk of early cancer death, and that the sooner this event happens after conception…the more dangerous it is …[then], [p]robably every childhood cancer, except man-made ones from x-rays, could be due to background radiation. Are you going to play with a ball of fire and say it’s safe?… Are you going to be happier by adding to the population loads of defective genes for future generations? –Dr. Alice Stewart.
[R]adiation is now the unnatural creation of man’s tampering with the atom. It’s the genetic damage, the possibility of sowing bad seeds in the gene pool from which future generations are drawn. There will be a build up of defective genes into the population. It won’t be noticed until it is too late. Then, we’ll never root it out, never get ride of it. It will be totally irrevocable. –Rachel Carson.
Why We Must Shut Down Indian Point Now: A Post-Fukushima Plea
Rachel Carson and Alice Stewart sent out red flags of warning a half-century ago. Why did their words go unheeded?
Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and now – Fukushima.
When will we ever learn? I say, now.
If we weren’t focused on it before, if we had any doubts about the perils of nuclear power plants and the grave threats they pose, if we hadn’t taken the time to read the studies about the thousands and, possibly, one million people sickened and killed by Chernobyl, then Fukushima, melting down before our eyes, should now bring it all into clear and alarming focus. Indian Point is right in our own backyard, looming with potential catastrophe for the entire Greater New York region. Yet we have a Governor who sees the wisdom of shutting it down. We must support him. Now. Now is the time for us all to rally and join the effort to shut it down.
I dreamt we were trying to get out—quickly. Sirens. I packed the car, quickly—bottled water, cans of food, a few dishes. A few last things. Would we ever come back? My daughter opened the birdcage in the back yard and set our parrots free. Their unclipped wings allowed them to fly high, but where would they go?
Right before Fukushima blew on 3/11/11, I was at work on a cultural memoir about my mother’s anti-nuclear activism and U.S. nuclear history. The more I read and learned about the dangers of nuclear power and weapons, the more I scratched my head and agreed with Daniel Ellsberg: “we are asleep at the wheel.”
The disaster at Fukushima came as no surprise to me.
America likes reality shows, supposedly, but what reality are they watching? Hysterical mothers and wives competing with each other for something or other, dancing and singing contests, nannies teaching parents how to love.
Perhaps it is easy to remain asleep for some, but I believe that if we don’t protect ourselves, who will protect us?
Night after night, day after day, over the past year since 3/11, I have scoured the internet for information about Japan. I made online friendships with folks in Japan and anti-nuclear activists worldwide. I joined in marches in New York, delivered a petition to stop burning radioactive rubble and to shut down nuclear power plants permanently in Japan to the Japanese Consulate in New York, attended lectures, watched films on nuclear issues, and read endlessly on the subject.
Meeting with Fukushima activists in person was the most powerful wake up call of all. Last September, I listened to the green activist Aileen Myoko Smith, and the organic farmer Sachiko Sako and her children at the Ethical Culture Society. They and other activists spoke about the situation in Fukushima and their concerns about the dangers of nuclear power at large and at Indian Point, in particular.
Their words were chilling.
At this event, speakers such as Harvey Wasserman, Karl Grossman, Greg Palast, Vandana Shiva, and Kevin Kamps explained that for the people in New York City and its environs, Indian Point is an accident waiting to happen.
Here are ten important reasons why we must shut down Indian Point:
1) Indian Point sits on two active seismic zones and is the most vulnerable plant in the U.S. to earthquakes.
2) Columbia University believes the location is vulnerable to a 7.0 earthquake on the Richter scale–which the plant is not designed to withstand.
3) Over 17 million people live within a 50-mile radius of the plant.
4) There is no evacuation plan except for those living within a ten-mile radius. In Fukushima, the Nuclear Regulatory Committee recommended an evacuation radius of 50 miles.
5) The New York Assembly Committee of 2012 determined that New York does not need Indian Point to provide its energy needs and, further, price rates would not increase as a result of a shut down. There are plenty of safe renewable energy alternatives.
6) Indian Point’s highly radioactive storage pools are full and there is nowhere to store the materials.
7) Indian Point’s spent fuel currently leaks into the ground and the Hudson River.
8) The negative effects of a core meltdown at Indian Point could far exceed that of the Fukushima disaster.
9) Indian Point threatens the safety of the drinking water of nine million people (nearby reservoir).
10) Nuclear radiation—much of it—remains poisonous for tens of thousands of years. Plutonium ingested even in the tiniest of particles can be lethal. Strontium and Cesium cause cancer and genetic mutations in present and future generations.
The most startling thing I took away from this list: NO EVACUATION PLAN.
When I spoke to Aileen Myoko Smith directly after the lecture, I told her my family lives in Long Island, less than 40 miles from Indian Point. Aileen and her cohorts exchanged looks of pity. She took a breath of air and ch/eerily urged me to save a three-week supply of bottled water in my basement, along with a three- week supply of canned food. As Aileen explained, “The roads, bridges and tunnels will be un-drivable for a few weeks—too many cars and people. Wait in your basement until things calm down. Then, pack your car and leave. Just remember, probably you will never go back. You should plan your financial life accordingly now. If you lose your home and job, will you be able to survive?”
Aileen’s words might sound alarmist or something out of a science fiction novel, but for the people of Fukushima, nuclear disaster is reality. That reality could be mine, and yours, too.
Yet many people I speak with have never heard of Fukushima. My neighbors and locals in Long Island don’t know much or anything about Indian Point. I can’t tell you how many times people stare at me blankly when I mention the words “Fukushima” or “Indian Point”.
Here are some more startling facts about nuclear power most people don’t know:
There are 104 old and leaking nuclear power plants in the U.S. They are due for relicensing soon. These old plants were meant to run for only 40 years, yet the nuclear industry wants to keep them operative for twenty years or more. Why? Profit. The nuclear industry will tell you ‘nuclear is clean, nuclear is safe, nuclear is cheap, and necessary to our energy needs.’ They won’t tell you about earthquakes, spent radioactive fuel and the lack of safe means of storage, or cancer clusters. They will tell you low-level radiation is safe, and it is not.
Some other startling news: 23 of the 104 reactors in the U.S. are the same design as those in Fukushima–GE Mark 1. In the 1980s, GE engineer Dale Bridenbaugh, et al, blew the whistle on the design flaws of the GE Mark 1. Two GE Mark I nuclear plants operate in New York State. Vermont Yankee is a GE Mark I.
My question is, what happened to anti-nuclear awareness and activism? Where is the movement today? When, in addition to the dangers of nuclear power plants, there are still thousands of ready-to-deploy nuclear warheads aimed at and by the U.S.?
How do we wake people up, make them aware and get them involved?
Many environmentalists I know go silent on nuclear issues, or they say we “need” nuclear power to stave off climate change. Yet important leaders like Bill McKibben, Erin Brockavitch, Vandana Shiva, and Sandra Steingraber strongly oppose nuclear power. More need to speak out. There is no time to spare.
The environmental movement at large needs to rally behind this important cause.
How can we breathe life back into the anti-nuclear movement before it’s too late?
For New Yorkers, the time is now. Indian Point is up for relicensing in 2012. We must stand up and tell our Governor and President to shut down Indian Point for once and for all.
We are in precarious times—we cannot allow the lust for a “nuclear renaissance” to take hold. The licensing by the NRC in February, 2012, of the first two nuclear plants since 1973 is shameful. How can they do this less than 12 months after the Fukushima disaster? Even the Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko of the NRC opposed this decision, saying the disaster of Fukushima needed to be studied first.
Will we allow the nuclear industry to relicense these old plants, invest billions of taxpayer dollars in building new ones, or will we stand up to corporate interests and demand the safety of our children and the future generations?
Environmentalists and Human Rights Activists need to rally behind this cause to shut down Indian Point and all nuclear power plants worldwide. More than 17 million lives are at stake in the New York area alone. Governor Cuomo wants to shut the plant down. Let’s stand by him, make our voices heard and stop the nuclear madness.
Get involved. Talk to your friends. Spread the word. A number of marches, protests and talks are talking place throughout the NYC area to commemorate the Fukushima disaster and to Shut Down Indian Point. Join in. Learn what’s happening and take action. The time is now.
See the Riverkeeper website for excellent resources, actions and events:http://www.riverkeeper.org/campaigns/stop-polluters/indian-point/
Call and write to:
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Tell the Governor to shut down Indian Point now.
Also, join Helen Caldicott in Washington DC on March 30th, 2012 for a massive anti-nuclear protest!
We must protect our children and the future generations.
Are [we] going to play with a ball of fire and say it’s safe?… Are you going to be happier by adding to the population loads of defective genes for future generations?