Gorgeous global march shows how to win the climate fight

Huge environmental action in New York teaches us that the answer to change lies with the grass roots.

By Harvey Wasserman | The Rag Blog | September 22, 2014

NEW YORK — The massive People’s Climate March, the most hopeful, diverse, photogenic, energizing, and often hilarious march I’ve joined in 52 years of activism — and one of the biggest, at 400,000 strong — has delivered a simple messag​e: we can and will rid the planet of fossil fuels and nuclear power, we will do it at the grassroots, it will be demanding and difficult to say the least, but it will also have its moments of great fun.

With our lives and planet on the line, our species has responded.

Ostensibly, this march was in part meant to influence policy makers. That just goes with the territory.

But in fact what it showed was an amazingly broad-based, diverse, savvy, imaginative, and very often off-beat movement with a deep devotion to persistence and cause, and a great flair for fun.

The magic of today’s New York minute was its upbeat diversity, sheer brilliance and
relentless charm.

The magic of today’s New York minute was its upbeat diversity, sheer brilliance, and relentless charm. A cross between a political rally and a month at Mardi Gras. There were floats, synchronized dances, outrageous slogans, chants, songs, costumes, marching bands, hugs, parents with their kids, and one very sweaty guy in a gorilla suit.

Above all, there was joy…which means optimism…which means we believe we can win…which is the best indicator we will.

This was a march of the regular citizenry, many come a very long way, at great discomfort and expense, deep into the process of being community organizers, intervenors, plaintiffs, civil disobedients, fundraisers, impromptu speakers, letter writers, and whatever else we might need to us get through this awful corporate disease.

For when push comes to shove — and it has — our Solartopian future will be won one victory at a time.

Oh yes, we will try to influence the policy-makers. The UN, the Obama Administration, the bought-and-rented Congress, the usual suspects.

But we won’t be begging. It needs to be the other way around.

Because what must happen most of all is organizing from the grassroots against each and every polluting power plant, unwanted permit, errant funding scheme, stomach-turning bribe, planet-killing frack well, soon-to-melt reactor, and much much more.

Winning this fight for global survival will be done not with one great triumph over corporate hypocrisy and greed. Instead it’ll require death by a million cuts, with countless small victories won day-to-day at the unseen grassroots. As the man said, this revolution will not be televised.

Manhattan’s flagship march was joined by sibling demonstrations throughout the world.

Manhattan’s flagship march was joined by sibling demonstrations throughout the world. By all counts millions of concerned citizens came out to say, loud and clear, that the debate is over:

Climate chaos is a clear and present danger.

It’s caused by “King CONG” — Coal, Oil, Nukes, and Gas.


Poster by Gail Payne

The corporations that threaten us all must be reorganized and held accountable. Corporate greed is no way to power an economy. Corporate personhood is an unsustainable myth. The corporate profit motive is at war with our survival.

But renewable energy, community-owned and operated, can and will green-power our Earth cleanly and cheaply, bringing jobs, prosperity, ecological balance and, in concert, peace and social justice, without which no green transition is sustainable.

And it will come to us on the wings of focused local campaigns against each and every polluting project, one at a time, through the grueling, endless hard work of an aroused and focused citizenry.

The people I saw, interviewed, and rode in on the bus with (from central Ohio; I got the last seat) are working locally while thinking globally. They are our species’ planetary immune system.

This march said we are now a mature movement with a great sense of mission, diversity and self. We know what the problem is. We know who the perpetrators are. We know what the solutions are, and that they work.

Will it be enough?

Time will tell. We must, as always, fight like hell. It will be hard, to say the least.

But please, along the way, let’s have many more marches like this one.

[Harvey Wasserman, a pioneer of the environmental movement, wrote Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth and edits NukeFree.org. Read more of Harvey Wasserman’s writing on The Rag Blog.]

We Made History, Now the Real Work Starts

Visit the NIRS photo gallery of the Nuclear Free, Carbon Free Contingent at the 9.21.14 Climate March

 Nuclear Hotseat #170: Climate Change March Special w/Michael Mariotte, Gail Payne, Dr. Sheila Parks


Nuclear Power Whistleblowers Charge Federal Regulators With Favoring Secrecy Over Safety

Author of article is Tom Zeller Jr.

Richard H. Perkins and Larry Criscione are precise and formal men with more than 20 years of combined government and military service. Perkins held posts at the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration before joining the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Division of Risk Analysis in 2008. Criscione landed at the agency a year later, after five years aboard the USS Georgia as a submarine warfare officer.

Now both men are also reluctant whistleblowers, stepping out publicly to accuse the NRC of being both disconcertingly sluggish and inappropriately secretive about severe — and in one case, potentially catastrophic — flood risks at nuclear plants that sit downstream from large dams.

A number of nuclear safety advocates who have looked into the matter in recent weeks have echoed their complaints, and a collection of documents obtained by The Huffington Post — including a 4-year old internal communication plan for NRC officials seeking to head-off criticism of its handling of the dam threat, as well as detailed correspondence between Criscione and NRC leadership on the issue — appears to lend credence to the engineers’ concerns.

Taken together, the documents and charges shed new light on an agency that has been repeatedly criticized for allowing plant owners to delay crucial safety improvements for years, and for diligently withholding information not as a way of protecting the public interest, but as a way of protecting itself.

“When you’re working with sensitive information, you just don’t talk about it, so what I’m doing I find to be both perverse and uncomfortable,” Perkins said. “But I had to do it.”

The NRC argues that it has worked swiftly and diligently to address the safety issue that prompted the engineers to speak out, which concerns the risk that certain nuclear power plants would experience severe and potentially catastrophic flooding should nearby dams succumb to mechanical or engineering failures — or even to the increasingly unpredictable whims of Mother Nature.

Further investigation of the issue is underway, the NRC says, as part of an industry-wide review of U.S. plants sparked by the earthquake and tsunami that caused multiple nuclear reactor meltdowns at a facility in Fukushima, Japan last year. Details relating to the flood threat have been appropriately withheld, sometimes over many years, the agency says, in order to prevent terrorists or other nefarious actors from somehow exploiting it.

Scott Burnell, a spokesman for the NRC, calls the matter one of incomplete context.

“It’s fair to say that when you draw a Venn diagram of safety issues and security issues, you will find areas of overlap where the line might not be as bright as one might think when looking at the situation from the outside,” Burnell said. “If you don’t have the full context it can be very difficult to draw that bright line.”


Richard H. Perkins, top, and Lawrence Criscione, are risk analysts within the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. They are also whistleblowers who say the agency is not leveling with the public.

But Perkins and Criscione, who raised alarms on the issue independently of one another, say they believe that defense is bogus, and that the agency is invoking security concerns in order to hide its failure to address a persistent and well-understood safety threat.

“It is hypocritical for the NRC — or any government agency — under the guise of security, to withhold information from the American public concerning a potentially significant public safety vulnerability, yet take no real action to study and correct the supposed security vulnerability,” Criscione said. “If we believe there is a security vulnerability, we need to take measures to address it and not merely withhold it from public discussion.”


Perkins was tasked in 2010 with spearheading what he says was always supposed to become a publicly available review of the dam-flood threat at U.S. nuclear power plants. Instead, he says, NRC management pushed back almost immediately to exclude certain information from the analysis.

As a career government employee accustomed to the careful handling of nuclear-related information, Perkins says the static came as a surprise. In his estimation, none of the information he and his team had compiled would normally be withheld from the public, though he added that he could not discuss specifics without jeopardizing his job.

When the report was completed and shared internally at the NRC in July 2011, Perkins said he felt he had ultimately prevailed in keeping most of the information he considered pertinent in the report. But he was chagrined when a public version was released last March with substantial portions of the document blacked out.

The NRC has argued that the redactions were appropriate, and made in consultation with other government agencies, but Perkins is skeptical.

“Our mandate is to promote safety, and sometimes that involves withholding information for security’s sake,” Perkins said. “To keep bad people from knowing how best to attack us, say, or to prevent our adversaries from knowing how we might come after them, or to buy time while a serious vulnerability is corrected. These are all reasons that you might redact information,” he continued. “But the redactions by the NRC did not promote safety in any of these ways. The actions have, in fact, allowed a very dangerous scenario to continue unaddressed for years.”

An unredacted version of Perkins’s report, obtained by The Huffington Post in October, revealed that much of the blacked-out information was publicly available in other documents and websites already published online, including simple maps of where nuclear plants stood in relation to upstream dams or the height of flood walls designed to protect safety equipment. Threats of varying significance were identified in Perkins’s analysis at the Ft. Calhoun station in Nebraska, the Prairie Island facility in Minnesota and the Watts Bar plant in Tennessee, among more than two-dozen others.

The document also cited analyses by Duke Energy, owner of the Oconee Nuclear Station in South Carolina, that were performed as far back as the early 1990s, suggesting that the NRC had known for some time about the flood threats. Those analyses showed that the 5-foot flood wall protecting crucial safety equipment at Oconee would prove inadequate in the event of a catastrophic failure of the Jocassee Dam, located 11 miles upstream on Lake Keowee. If that dam failed completely, the report suggested, floodwaters as high as 16.8 feet would inundate the Oconee facility, and a meltdown would be a virtual certainty.

A timeline released by the NRC on Thursday in response to a Freedom of Information Act request suggests that the agency was aware of the dam flood threat at Oconee as far back as 1994, but over the following two decades, Duke repeatedly said it regarded the odds of the Jocassee Dam failing as exceedingly slim.

NRC staff continued to raise concerns with Duke over that long time period, but at no time did the agency threaten to shut the facility down, or otherwise force the company to fully assess and correct what appeared to be a risk of unusually high magnitude. By 2008, NRC had even prepared an internal communications plan to deal with potential questions relating to the vulnerability, which was still unaddressed.

The plan, a heavily redacted version of which was released this week by the NRC in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, suggests that by at least 2005, NRC staff had “discovered that the licensee had erroneously computed a random rupture frequency for the Jocassee Dam, a frequency significantly lower than what could be justified based on actual data.” The communications plan also revealed that virtually all plants facing similar threats from upstream dams — nearly three dozen — had used Duke’s faulty arithmetic as a guide in predicting their own vulnerabilities.

By NRC’s own calculus — which was blacked out in the public release of Perkins’s report — the odds of failure in any given year of a large rock-fill dam like the one at Jocassee were about 1 in 3,600. For the Oconee plant, that amounted to a 1 in 163 chance of a catastrophic flood in any one of the 22 years remaining on its operating license — a risk the agency itself described as being “an order of magnitude larger” than Duke’s estimate.

David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer and safety advocate with the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Cambridge, Mass.-based advocacy group, calculated that the 34 reactors highlighted in Perkins’s analysis are downstream from a total of more than 50 dams — half of them roughly the size of the Jocassee Dam. “Assuming the NRC’s failure rate applies to all of those dams,” Lochbaum noted in an analysis posted to the group’s web site, “the probability that one will fail in the next 40 years is roughly 25 percent — a 1 in 4 chance.”

The NRC told The Huffington Post that ongoing re-analysis of flooding hazards from all sources — required by the NRC as part of its post-Fukushima safety analysis — “will determine whether any additional mitigation measures or plant modifications are required for every U.S. nuclear power plant.” And both Duke Energy and the NRC have repeatedly insisted in interviews that steps have been taken to ensure the safety of the Oconee facility. “Not every solution to an issue is visible to the general public,” said Burnell, the NRC spokesman, who added that the agency cannot discuss information that was officially redacted from Perkins’s report.

“Duke’s actions to date, both at Oconee and Jocassee,” Burnell said, “continue to show the plant can keep the public safe if something occurs at Jocassee.”

Sandra J. Magee, a spokeswoman for Duke Energy, said the company is continuing to look at flood protection enhancements with the NRC through the industry-wide response to recommendations made by the NRC’s post-Fukushima Near-Term Task Force. “Oconee is in compliance with the station’s licensing basis for external flood events,” Magee said. “We have anticipated the maximum flooding scenario and the plant has the means to safely shutdown and cool the reactor units.”

But nuclear safety advocates have questioned these assertions — particularly given that the NRC continues to redact and withhold key information related to the threat. “You can’t have it both ways,” said Lochbaum, who reviewed the un-censored version of Perkins report and concluded that the redactions were spurious. “If it was a true security threat, the NRC and the operator would be obliged to quickly remove the threat. If they had done that at any point over the last 15 years, there would be no need for redactions.

“Google searches will turn up plenty of pictures of Jocassee from the air and ground,” Lochbaum added. “I did a YouTube search and even came across a 10-minute documentary about building the dam.”

Jim Riccio, a nuclear analyst with the environmental group Greenpeace, which first obtained the unredacted version of Perkins’ report, said the emerging paper trail has eroded the NRC’s credibility on the issue. “The Commission has failed its most basic mission to adequately protect public health and safety,” Riccio said, “and it cannot be trusted to speak honestly about the risks that nuclear power poses.”

“Google searches will turn up plenty of pictures of Jocassee from the air and ground,” said nuclear safety advocate David Lochbaum.

The internal dissonance was not lost on Perkins, and he says he began to suspect that his agency’s circumspection on the dam risk issue had more to do with protecting the commercial operators it oversees — and perhaps its own regulatory reputation, given the many years the threat has existed.

By September, Perkins says he felt it was his duty to speak out. He submitted a letter to the NRC’s Office of the Inspector General, the agency’s internal watchdog, charging that that the NRC was essentially involved in a cover-up.

“The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff may be motivated to prevent the disclosure of this safety information to the public because it will embarrass the agency,” Perkins wrote. “The redacted information includes discussion of, and excerpts from, NRC official agency records that show the NRC has been in possession of relevant, notable, and derogatory safety information for an extended period but failed to properly act on it. Concurrently, the NRC concealed the information from the public.”

In an interview last week, Perkins said he has no knowledge of the status of any probe that might have been launched by the IG. Officials at the IG’s office say they cannot discuss ongoing investigations.

Perkins did share a copy of his letter with his congresswoman, Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.), whose spokesman, Dan Weber, said it was forwarded by Edwards’s office to the NRC’s chairwoman. “Rep. Edwards requested responses to the concerns raised in the letter and to be kept informed regarding any action taken,” Weber said. “The NRC confirmed receipt of Rep. Edwards’ request and we’re awaiting their response.”

When asked whether any part of him believes there could be a legitimate reason for NRC to keep parts of his report from the public, Perkins became animated. “I could so easily answer this question — I’m dying to answer that question,” he said. “But I cannot answer that question without going into the area that I am not allowed to talk about.

“I will say that, when you’re a regulator, and you’re dealing with these safety issues, the public not only should be able to watch what you’re doing, they actually must, in accordance with the law, be able to see what you’re doing,” Perkins added. “We don’t work for nuclear operators, after all. We work for the American people.”


Criscione was not directly involved in Perkins’s review of the dam risk issue, but when that review was first floated in early 2010 within NRC’s risk analysis division, where Criscione works, he began following its progress keenly. In explaining his interest in the topic, he points to decades spent working and camping at — and later taking his family to — the Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park in the Missouri Ozarks, one of the most popular outdoor recreation areas in the Midwest.

In December 2005, the Taum Sauk hydroelectric reservoir above that campsite broke through its impoundment and sent roughly 1 billion gallons of water and a 20-foot tidal wave roaring down from Proffit Mountain. The 12-minute deluge completely destroyed the camping area, shaved a gargantuan swath of thick forest to bare rock and dirt, destroyed the home of the park superintendent and dragged him and his family for a quarter mile.

“The destruction at the site was incredible,” federal investigators noted at the time. “All of the trees in the path of the flowing water were stripped off the earth’s surface. What remained were large rocks and exposed bedrock surfaces. The flowing water removed soil from the valley floor, and created large scour holes.”

While sustaining numerous injuries, the superintendent and his family survived, and the campsite, given the chilly time of year, was otherwise deserted. But the incident stuck with Criscione, a mathematical man who says he recognized a could-have-been-me moment in the disaster. It was eventually attributed to improperly placed and malfunctioning sensors that allowed the reservoir to fill beyond safe levels. When he learned of the dam issue facing the nation’s nuclear power plants, Criscione says he felt compelled to make certain the threat was clearly understood by the American people, even if it meant risking his job.

“One of the most unfortunate aspects about safety is that when an engineer does stand his ground and sacrifices his career over a safety concern — and by doing so, prevents a disaster — no one ever knows,” Criscione said. “We cannot know of something that did not occur. We cannot know of something that was prevented. Had a technician or engineer gone to the press in November 2005 and got the sensors at Taum Sauk fixed, he would have never known the ordeal from which he spared the superintendent and his family. All he would know is that he pointlessly sabotaged his career due to a tinge of conscience.”

After learning of the heavy redactions in Perkins’ report, Criscione’s own twinge of conscience, he says, prompted him to independently investigate the dam flood risk issue. Four days Perkins after filed his complaint with the Inspector General’s office, Criscione dispatched a lengthy letter to the NRC’s chairwoman, Allison MacFarlane. The letter included dozens of attachments of unearthed internal correspondence between the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Duke Energy regarding the flood threat at Oconee.

Both the letter and the documents were obtained independently by The Huffington Post, and while Criscione and NRC officials said they could not comment on their contents, they independently confirmed that the materials were genuine and were being addressed internally. The Huffington Post has made Criscione’s letter and the attached documents available here.

By itself, Criscione’s 19-page letter to NRC leadership provides an exceptionally detailed summary of the flood issue facing Oconee — and what amounts to more than two decades of dithering by both the licensee and federal regulators. Criscione prefaced his letter by quoting a former Navy admiral, who shepherded the development of the nation’s nuclear submarine force:

A major flaw in our system of government, and even in industry, is the latitude to do less than is necessary. Too often officials are willing to accept and adapt to situations they know to be wrong. The tendency is to downplay problems instead of actively trying to correct them.

The archive of attached letters suggests that NRC began nudging the Oconee operators to clarify and address the issue with increasing urgency at least 6 years ago, but that Duke Energy repeatedly pushed back. In a letter sent in September 2008, the company insisted that “there is no evidence to suggest that a Jocassee Dam failure is credible.” NRC officials made clear that they did not agree with that assessment, and in a 2009 response to Duke’s letter, the agency again laid out its concerns. Among them:

  • That the plant’s critical safety equipment is protected from floods only to a height of 5 feet.
  • That Duke’s own analysis from 1992 showed flood heights from a failure of the Jocassee Dam ranging between 12 and 17 feet.
  • That Duke’s calculations of the odds of a Jocassee Dam failure were low “by an order of magnitude.”

But the agency did not take a hard stance and force Duke to rectify the situation immediately — a timidity that, according to Criscione’s letter, sparked internal objections beyond his own and those of Perkins. In one instance in 2009, a protestation was filed by a deputy director within the Division of Risk Assessment, who was quoted as saying, “I remain concerned that this approach is not in the best interest of public health and safety and security, regulatory stability, and our role as a strong regulator.”

The deputy director’s official objection, called a “non-concurrence” in NRC parlance, further argues:

No other potential initiating event at Oconee is as risk significant. The probability of core damage from a Jocassee Dam failure is three times higher than the sum total probability of core damage from all initiating events. Duke has acknowledged that, given a Jocassee Dam failure with subsequent site inundation, all three Oconee units will go to core damage; that is given a dam failure, the conditional core damage probability is 1.0. … For a Jocassee Dam failure, using potentially optimistic assumptions, Duke estimates that containment will fail approximately 59 to 68 hours after dam failure without mitigating actions. Under the dam break conditions, resultant flood waters and infrastructure damage would affect public evacuation and potentially affect emergency operations facility response capability. Duke has not demonstrated that its radiological emergency plan actions can be adequately implemented under these conditions.

In his letter to NRC leadership, Criscione underscored the deputy’s assertion that “conditional core damage probability,” or CCDP, is 1.0.

“Like all probabilities, CCDP must be a number between 0 and 1,” Criscione wrote. “A value of 0 means that given only that specific event, there is no chance that core damage will occur. A value of 1 means that given that specific event (e.g. a failure of the Jocassee Dam) then core damage will certainly occur. For most initiating events (e.g. tornadoes, loss of offsite power, fires) the CCDP is typically a very small fraction on the order of one ten-thousandth to one-tenth.

“1.0 might not sound big,” he wrote. “But it’s enormous.”

Asked directly whether, as of today, the Oconee plant could withstand flooding that arises specifically from the wholesale failure of the Jocassee Dam, Scott Burnell, the NRC spokesman, was equivocal. “NRC continues to conclude appropriate actions have been taken at Oconee to address potential flooding issues and that the plant is currently able to safely mitigate flooding events,” he said. “Ongoing re-analysis of flooding hazards from all sources, required by the NRC as part of the post-Fukushima lessons learned effort, will determine whether any additional mitigation measures or plant modifications are required for every U.S. nuclear power plant.”

Asked in a follow-up whether the “flooding events” the Oconee plant was able to mitigate included the failure of the Jocassee Dam, Burnell would only invoke the same language: “The NRC, with all the information available today, continues to conclude Duke has taken appropriate actions to ensure Oconee can safely mitigate flooding events,” Burnell said — though he added: “That statement in no way precludes additional flood mitigation actions on Duke’s part, and the NRC will ensure any further work, whether based on existing information or the upcoming flooding re-analysis, meets applicable standards to further enhance Oconee’s ability to operate safely.”

Both Perkins and Criscione remain unconvinced of that — and both continue to take issue with the NRC’s longstanding policy of keeping information relating to the dam threat from the public.

Criscione says he received a minor reprimand from his superiors for releasing his letter to NRC leadership to members of Congress without properly stamping it, as nearly all documentation relating to the dam threat has been, as “Official Use Only.” Beyond that, however, he says he has no idea whether his complaints will result in any swifter action.

“If the safety vulnerabilities which the Jocassee Dam poses to the Oconee reactors were being swiftly and adequately addressed, then I would accept the argument that there is no need to publicly broadcast a potential security vulnerability,” Criscione said in an interview last week. “But no action, to my knowledge, has been done to address the supposed security vulnerability and the actions taken to address the safety vulnerability have thus far been disjointed and inadequate.

“I believe the reason for this disjointed approach,” he added, “is because the withholding of all this information from the public has resulted in there being no public pressure to countermand the pressure exerted on the NRC by Duke Energy.”

In his letter to NRC leadership, Criscione notes that the odds of a Jocassee Dam failure, based on NRC calculations, appear to be similar to those of being dealt a straight in a hand of poker — somewhat rare, but not unthinkable. And Criscione adds that, as a young teenager attending summer camp at that ill-fated campground in Missouri, he drew an even less likely hand — a flush — in the first poker hand he was ever dealt.

“My poker career has gone downhill ever since,” he wrote, “but I know from personal experience that being dealt a hand that beats a straight is credible.”

If that’s the case, he reasons, then the potential failure of the Jocassee Dam must be a credible threat as well.


Among the myriad lawmakers to whom Criscione copied his letter to NRC management and its various attachments was Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), a long-time crusader for nuclear safety. A Markey spokeswoman confirmed that the congressman’s staff has requested and received multiple briefings and background materials from the NRC on the topic in response to Criscione’s questions and the documents Markey’s office has received over the past several months. Markey also has a long-standing and pending request with Congress’s investigative arm, the Government Accountability Office, related to the resilience of the nation’s nuclear reactors to extreme weather events such as large floods.

“The key question for all five NRC commissioners is whether they will support making all the safety recommendations of the Near-Term Fukushima Task Force,” Markey said in an emailed statement, “including those that will address nuclear reactor resiliency to severe earthquakes, floods and other extreme weather, mandatory.”


A cross-section of Jocassee Dam on display at Oconee’s “World of Energy” exhibit.

In a wide-ranging hearing on post-Fukushima lessons held this past March before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, lawmakers asked NRC commissioners about a report prepared by David Lochbaum of the Union of Concerned Scientists, which said in part that unless the NRC strengthens measures to prevent and mitigate threats that the nation’s plants were not designed to withstand, “it may be only a matter of time before a similar disaster happens here.”

Several of the commissioners insisted that the UCS was wrong. “I think that our infrastructure, our regulatory approach, our practices at plants, our equipment, our configuration, our design bases would prevent Fukushima from occurring under similar circumstances at a U.S. plant,” said commissioner William D. Magwood. “I just don’t think it would happen.”

Another commissioner, George Apostolakis, concurred. “I disagree with the statements from UCS,” he said. “I don’t think that what happened in Fukushima can happen here.”



Given that the agency has known for years that a tidal wave could be conceivably unleashed from Lake Jocassee should the dam holding it back fail, causing a meltdown nearly identical to what happened in Fukushima, Greenpeace’s Jim Riccio suggests that the NRC has essentially been lying to Congress.

“Rather than address the threat, NRC commissioners have misled Congress and delayed action to reduce these risks,” Riccio said. “The American people deserve better from the Obama administration’s nuclear regulators.”

For his part, Criscione says that, while he can’t be sure, he suspects that there are engineers not unlike him inside Duke Energy, who may sense a duty to speak out, but are restrained by fear of reprisal.

“They are pushing to get Duke Energy to do the right thing — but for the sake of their careers, they need to be careful on how hard they push,” he said. “I, however, have the luxury of being a union-represented federal employee. Although I, too, need to be careful and diplomatic in my actions, I am in a much better-protected situation than them. It takes a lot of courage for them to come forward, whereas for me it merely requires a little bit of disgust.”

Perkins, meanwhile, remains similarly resolute in his convictions that speaking out was the right thing to do, though he’s uncertain about whether it will really make a difference.

“It’s the two of us against the entire federal government. We’re going to try our best — it’s almost an even fight,” he joked. “We realize what an incredibly uphill battle we have in front of us. These things never really work out for the whistleblower.”

Nuclear Nomads, Glow Boys, Atomic Gypsies, Gamma Sponges, Liquidators, Jumpers, and Bio-Robots: The Disposable Migrant Workers of the Nuclear Energy Industry

By Eve Andrée Laramée

A whole class of basically undocumented workers who travel the US, from plant to plant. When they exceed their RAD limit at one, they move on to another plant. A practice tacitly accepted by the industry. This has been going on as long as the nuclear industry. Warnings have been issued, suggestions have been made, but the industry couldn’t function without them. So, nothing has been done. Laws exist, but they are not enforced. Records could be kept, but they are not. In a tragic version of “don’t ask, don’t tell”- few questions are raised & the workers, in dire need of money, have no incentive to come forward.

Posted 3/1/12: New hour long film featuring footage on Fukushima “Glow Boys” workers who would go into the reactor for just a few minutes before reaching critical dosage to try to stabilize the reactors during meltdown and melt-through.



NUCLEAR GINZA (1995) DOCUMENTARY FILM, Directed by Nicholas Rohl

Part 1

Part 2













NUCLEAR JANITORS RISK HEALTH AND SAFETY, Multinational Monitor, by Veta Christie, Feb. 1984, Vol 5 No 3




GLOW BOYS AND GAMMA SPONGES: FUKUSHIMA SUICIDE SQUADS, Counter Punch, by Russell D. Hoffman, April 4, 2011


AMAZING CHERNOBYL BIO-ROBOTS IN NUCLEAR FALL OUT: Newly uncovered footage from the Russian State Media Archive, RTR Worldwide


INTO THE BOWELS OF A NUCLEAR REACTOR: They’re called Jumpers and they go where no one else will., New Times San Luis Obispo, by Shawna Galassi, Jan 21, 2004






FILM REVIEW – GLOW BOYS, By Mark Aerial Waller, 1999, 14 min, video, Lux Online, MUTE, Issue 11, by Pauline van Mourik Broekmann (This link has clips, stills, and info on the filmmaker)




HEALTH EFFECTS OF CHERNOBYL: 25 YEARS AFTER THE REACTOR CATASTROPHE, by German Affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (Section on the Chernobyl “Liquidators” begins on page 17)




SYSTEM OF DISPOSABLE LABORERS, by Sonni Efron, Los Angeles Times, Column One, December 30, 1999


THE TRUTH ABOUT FUKUSHIMA ‘NUCLEAR SAMURAI’ by Suzanne Goldenberg March 21, 2011


INTERVIEW WITH ADI ROCHE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF IRELAND-BASED “CHERNOBYL CHILDREN’S PROJECT” by John Lekay, Part three mentions the Chernobyl “liquidators”, and includes photographs by Paul Fusco, Elena Filatova, Igor Kostin, Adi Roche, Defend The Blackhills and others. Heyoka Magazine


Contracted Worker San Onofre Fell Into Reactor Spent Fuel Pool


U.S. Acknowledges Radiation Killed Weapons Workers, New York TImes, 1/29/2000


Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America’s Experience with Atomic Radiation, Harvey Wasserman & Norman Solomon


Faces of and statements by the workers at Fukushima


Chernobyl Bio-Robots


Swimming on the Hot Side


Nuclear Divers

The Trouble with Mainstream Media

It is not surprising that the mainstream media does not cover the nuclear issue fairly. In countries where the nuclear industry is owned by the government, then media coverage is carefully managed by the government – e.g China, France, Russia, USA

In countries where the nuclear industry is owned by private corporations, then we find that those same corporations either own, or have close links with, the mainstream media. Once again, the corporate ownership carefully manages coverage of nuclear issues.’ – e.g USA, Japan, Australia.

Clare Booth Luce observed, may decades ago, that “one doesn’t need to put chains on people, if one can put chains on their minds”. So, many journalists just know how their employers want the story to be covered, or more often, not covered at all. A pervasive attitude develop – that it is somehow “radical”, or “unpatriotic” to raise objections to a big industry. So, print, TV, radio journalists find it all too easy to toe the corporate line. After all, it’s much more fun to cover issues like the sexploits of a sports celebrity, anyway, – than to cover the nuclear issue and its meaning for the children and grand-children of the future.

Historic Decision – License Denied

For only the second time in history a license has been denied for construction of a new reactor!

“A three judge Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) today denied a license for the proposed Calvert Cliffs-3 nuclear reactor on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.”

Full article:




Our lives still hang by a Devil’s thread at Fukushima.

The molten cores at Units 1, 2 & 3 have threatened all life on Earth. The flood of liquid radiation has poisoned the Pacific. Fukushima’s cesium and other airborne emissions have already dwarfed Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and all nuclear explosions including Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Children throughout Japan carry radioactive burdens in their thyroids and throughout their bodies. Hot spots in Tokyo demand evacuation. Radioactive tuna has been caught off San Diego. Fallout carried across the Pacific may have caused spikes in cancer and infant mortality rates here in the United States.

And yet, 16 months later, the worst may be yet to come. No matter where we are on this planet, our lives are still threatened every day by a Unit 4 fuel pool left hanging 100 feet in the air. At any moment, an earthquake we all know is coming could send that pool crashing to the ground.

If that happens—and it could as you read this—the radiation spewed into the atmosphere could impact every living being on Earth. And that certainly includes you.

Cecile Pineda lays it all out in her brilliant new “Devil’s Tango: How I learned the Fukushima Step by Step” (Wings Press: San Antonio; www.ipgbook.com). With poetic fury, Cecile rages in satanic detail about how Fukushima was built despite volumes of whistleblower testimony underscoring its fatal flaws. But after agreeing with proof that the GE designs were patently insane, NRC Chair Joseph Hendrie approved them anyway because doing otherwise would have killed the nuclear industry.

There are 23 of these Mark I monsters in the US alone, far more worldwide. Pineda’s passionate prose runs the gamut from detailed technical critiques to heart-wrenching dirges about the birth defects and malformations imposed on countless downwind victims.

One reads with horror Cecile’s descriptions of hundreds of horribly deformed children of Chernobyl. In three towns near Fukushima, nearly half the youngsters already suffer from low-level thyroid exposure.

In Iraq and Bosnia, Pineda writes, vaporized depleted uranium shells have carpeted the countryside with radioactive powder. According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, children born at Falluja were eleven times as likely to suffer from “neural tube defects affecting the brain or lower extremities, with cardiac or skeletal abnormalities, or with cancers.” As elsewhere in Iraq, and in Bosnia, premature births, spontaneous abortions and birth defects have become a plague.

Some uranium by-products can kill for 4.5 billion years—a common estimate for the lifespan of the Earth itself. Pineda takes us on a tragic tour of other facilities with radioactive burdens, including nuclear waste dumps, weapons factories and power reactors.

But nothing quite matches Fukushima and how it threatens us today. Astonishing as it may seem, the GE Mark I design includes waste storage pools perched 100 feet in the air. Around the world, thousands of tons of the most radioactive substances ever created are swung out of reactor cores and into these “swimming pools” to sit for months or years, suspended in air.

The presumption has been that they would somehow be removed and shipped to a central repository. But nowhere has one been approved. Nor has anyone devised a safe way to get the rods there if one is.

Experts like Robert Alvarez are begging that Fukushima’s rods be removed to dry casks where they might be out of immediate harm’s way.

But at Unit 4, more than 1500 rods remain suspended in air. Called “a bathtub on the roof” by CNN anchor Jon King, the damaged pool teeters atop a building decimated by seismic shocks and at least one hydrogen explosion. The question is not if, but when it will come crashing down.

Thus far, TEPCO has removed just two rods, and says it won’t get the rest until late next year.

Meanwhile, we are all hostage. “Devil’s Tango” provides ample evidence that the Fukushima disaster was caused primarily by the earthquake of March 11, 2011. The tsunami that followed made things worse. But the atomic reactors there and around the world remain far more vulnerable to seismic shocks than their builders want us to know.

This means Indian Point, New York; Diablo Canyon and San Onofre, California; in Virginia, Ohio, South Carolina and virtually everywhere else these reactors sit.

All these reactors—including virtually every one in Japan—could be destroyed by shock waves like those that took down Fukushima.

Cecile Pineda makes it passionately clear that our species has no more pressing priority than to get those fuel rods out of the Fukushima 4 pool and onto the ground before another earthquake does it for us.

The only way out is a switch to Solartopia, to a world based on technologies that will end forever this death dance that is atomic energy.

Meanwhile, as those rods still sway above Fukushima, the Devil’s Tango has us right at the brink of a hellish world of radioactive hurt.

Harvey Wasserman’s “History of the US” is at www.harveywasserman.com, along with “SOLARTOPIA! Our Green Powered Earth.” He edits www.nukefree.org.

Help Kimberly Roberson break the silence

Please consider helping any way you can with this INDIEGOGO campaign. The goal is to raise money for promotion of this unique book.

Silence Deafening, Fukushima Fallout …A Mother’s Response is an engaging book that explores the nuclear industry’s impact on human health, the environment, and how citizens will change the world.

“Governments underestimate the effect of official silence on anxious mothers! Kimberly is not alone, even though she is more knowledgeable than many others, in becoming increasingly concerned about the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan and its effect on California milk, water, spinach, mushrooms and other foods. Platitudes about “permissible doses” cannot take away parental responsibility and non-monitoring of fallout by the government does not make the problem go away! Thank God for mothers like Kimberly! I encourage everyone to read this small book with reliable information written in ordinary lay language. You will learn how passive most Americans were during this major disaster. You will learn how negligent were the government agencies we depend on for meaningful and timely warnings and advice for self–protection and caring for one’s family.” ~ Endorsement of “Silence Deafening…” Rosalie Bertell, PhD, GNSH, Founder of the International Institute of Concern for Public Health (IICPH) and former consultant to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Environment Protection Agency, and Health Canada; more endorsements at www.silencedeafening.com

July, 2012

Hello Everyone!
I’ve been woefully remiss in keeping in touch with my family and friends not only due to the demands of motherhood, but the ongoing nuclear disaster in Japan and its affect on the United States. What a long strange year it’s been! Now I need to let you know about an online awareness and fundraising campaign on an issue that affects all of us and especially kids. My new book on food, human health, and the nuclear industry, “Silence Deafening, Fukushima Fallout…A Mother’s Response”, was published by Visiontalk with cover art by Gail Payne and has received excellent reviews from readers on Amazon. It is truly a labor of love and published digitally with money my own mother left when she passed away. It is now available on all digital platforms and in print edition on Amazon and Createspace. The silence referred to in the title is from media and government who are not addressing the issue of radiation in our food supply due to the triple nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi. Just a few more paragraphs will take you directly to the linked campaign with a quick two minute video. Please read on.

The fundraiser and awareness campaign is being hosted by Indiegogo.com and is aimed at producing a print version of the book, placement in stores throughout the US, an educational outreach and advertising campaign, and seed money to research a companion book on radiation and health awareness. I’ve recruited some amazing women as team members for this project including an author (who evacuated Japan with her family shortly after 311) named Gwendolyn Womack, artist Rachel Gertrude Johnson, Natural Chef Jean Merrigan, musician Sandi Sellars and investigative journalist Karen Charman. All of these wonderful, compassionate women are gifted artists and activists in their own right who care deeply about children and our world. They have all been very supportive over the last year and I’m excited that they’ve agreed to help raise funds and awareness around this extremely important issue. All along the purpose of my book has been to serve as a platform for education on the radioactive fallout and food safety issue and with this wonderful team support the skies the limit.

It was heartening to learn that the Indiegogo campaign received approval for fiscal sponsorship from Fractured Atlas, an organization funded in part by the National Endowment of the Arts. They support artistic projects and lend financial and legal advice throughout the fundraising process. A relatively small percentage of fundraisers on Indiegogo are approved by for sponsorship by Fractured Atlas. For contributors this means that all money donations will be tax deductible, and the gifts given as “perks” will be partially tax deductible. More good news is that Fractured Atlas decided to feature the fundraiser on the main page of their website! This was an unexpected, very cool surprise that will only further enhance the success of the project. With Fractured Atlas on our side, this campaign will definitely succeed. To go directly to the 2 minute video at Indiegogo please click here http://igg.me/p/84388?a=514338

One of the most gratifying aspects of this project is that it’s becoming increasingly clear that just reading and sharing this email, Facebook Events Invite, and Indigogo campaign links will bring much needed awareness on the issue of Fukushima’s impact on our food supply. This good type of exposure will grow exponentially when you forward the messages to your networks too (hey we all gotta eat, so we hope to enlist not only your financial support, but your help in spreading the news). We are also asking that people donate $5 or more if possible and ask others to do the same. We have a unique window in time to stop the so-called “Nuclear Renaissance”. Strontium-90 in milk led to stopping the US above ground bomb blasts of the 50’s and 60’s, so there is a strong possibility history will repeat itself now.

What follows is the back-story, please take a few minutes to read on if you don’t already know it and thanks for your time. Some of you may not have the funds or inclination to become involved but you may know someone who does and will. Thanks in advance for reading!

March 11, 2011

Life took a shocking and unexpected turn March 11, 2011. The Great Japan Earthquake and ensuing tsunamis caught the world’s attention, however Fukushima Daiichi’s unprecedented three nuclear meltdowns went largely ignored in the media and still do to this day. The impact on our food supply is troubling and demands attention. The west coast of the US is directly in the path of the powerful jet stream, as you know. University of California Berkeley School of Nuclear Engineers (UCBSNE) has been reporting findings of cesium 137 and more radioisotopes known to cause cancer, heart disease and other illnesses in California topsoil, water, milk and produce sampled from the Bay Area since late March of 2011. Recently a pair of researchers at Cal State Long Beach found radiation in kelp sampled off the coast and they are currently seeking funding of their own to detect more types of longer-lived radioactive isotopes. Headlines of their findings read “Radiation from Fukushima Now in the US Food Chain”. And just a few weeks ago news broke of radioactive cesium in Bluefin tuna caught off the coast of California. What mainstream media wasn’t mentioned about this story is that the tuna tested was actually caught in August of 2011.

Our Silent Spring

The media has been ignoring the issue with only rare exception. Recently Forbes magazine ran an online story written by Jeff McMahon, one of the few reporters writing on Fukushima’s impact on health. He grappled with reasons why colleagues in his profession are refusing to cover such an important story, surmising that radiation perceived as a complex issue that intimidates reporters. His message points directly to the need for transparency and for projects such as “Silence Deafening…”

To put matters into clear perspective, California produces over 450 varieties of produce, dairy and wine and is the number one producer of dairy in the US, the fifth largest producer of food in the world. Children in our families and communities rely on us to protect them, yet our government is not addressing mounting concerns regarding food safety. Consequently we are not doing enough to protect those we love. The silence is indeed deafening. The fact that I have a history working on radiation issues at Greenpeace and then in the nutrition field meant that Fukushima allowed no room for denial or excuses.

The Wake Up Call

On April 1, 2011, I was sitting at home, feeling shocked and isolated. It appeared that no one was talking about Fukushima. It now seems like a lifetime ago: I went online and created a petition calling for food monitoring due to Fukushima’s ongoing radioactive fallout. It was luck to find that Food and Water Watch (the food safety arm of Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen) had started a letter writing campaign on the issue, so I used some of their language to write a food safety petition. The petition eventually led to the formation of Fukushima Fallout Awareness Network (FFAN), a group of dedicated, talented, and passionate individuals who have spent decades working to make the world a safer place. FFAN includes Mary Beth Brangan, Rachel Johnson and Jim Heddle of Ecological Options Network; Diane D’Arrigo of Nuclear Information and Resource Service; Cindy Folkers of Beyond Nuclear; Mali Lightfoot who is Executive Director of the Helen Caldicott Foundation and Nuclear Free Planet; Jim Turner who is Chairman of Citizens for Health; concerned aunts, uncles, grandparents and parents.

FFAN has met five times with Senator Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein’s staff here in San Francisco and also in Washington, DC demanding congressional hearings on the food issue. Once we met with Senator Feinstein and told her of our findings, which we delivered at her request in print to her personal fax number. She has not responded, but we are not giving up. Some of us in FFAN met two weeks ago in Washington, DC with key legislators as part of Sierra Club Lobby Day. A packet of information was organized at the request of Nuclear Information and Resource Service for distribution at a national Sierra Club conference that coincided with their lobby day and was given to 85 safe energy lobbyists. Book promo cards and a media release about “Silence Deafening…” were placed in each of the 85 lobby packets. It is amazing to see how much more attention an issue attracts when you write a book about it! Considering how mighty the nuclear lobby has been for so many years, it was extremely gratifying that congress members heard our concerns and some are now aware of the book and it’s very important message.

The world needs to know much more about the situation in Japan and its vast impact for the sake of future generations. The petition mentioned previously is linked below, please take a moment to read it over, sign and share. One person commented online the other day, “Where are the leaders on this issue!!??” Well, as it turns out, on this one “WE are the leaders”. And our time is now. We are all inundated with online issues and those of our own. Please find a few more minutes to help this important project.

Thanks for reading, you will find the campaign here so please remember to cut and paste it to share on email, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and websites. Just the action of clicking on the link under the video on the Indiegogo page will help to increase our visibility on the website. Whenever we share the link under the video, it helps increase our presence online. While the issue may be inconvenient and unpleasant, taking action is just the opposite: it’s empowering and feels pretty good, actually!

Take care,

Silence Deafening Website
Food Safety Petition

Are US citizens in Japan more valuable than ones in the US?

The US government told all US citizens within 50 miles of Fukushima to evacuate. However, in the US only a 10 mile evacuation zone and plan is required. Not only has population doubled in many cases since plans were made over 30 years ago, but the risks we face are much greater due to our aging reactors, increases in geological and weather events and chances of long-term power outages due to the upcoming solar storms. We must demand safety comes first!

Please add your name to this petition calling for 50 mile evacuation zones!:


Putnam County, NY to distribute KI radiation pills

Residents who live within 10 miles of the Indian Point Power Plant will be given pills


The Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services will distribute potassium chloride pills this month to residents of Philipstown, Putnam Valley and Carmel who live within a 10-mile radius of the Indian Point nuclear power plant.

Pills will be distributed April 4 from 2 to 7 p.m. in the lobby of Putnam Valley Town Hall; April 12 from 2 to 7 p.m. at Carmel Town Hall; and April 17 from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Philipstown VFW Hall. Also, pills are available at the Bureau of Emergency Services, 112 Old Route 6, Carmel, or by calling 845-808-4000.

Keep in mind that KI radiation pills protect only the thyroid gland, so they are a partial fix at best.

Indian Point Now: A Post-Fukushima Plea

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
(518) 474-8390

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?