FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Obama’s Excellent Atomic Omission

by HARVEY WASSERMAN

Two lethal words went thankfully unspoken in President Obama’s address to the nation this week—atomic energy.

Unfortunately, two others—“clean coal”—were included.

An increasingly desperate reactor industry just tried to sneak a $50 billion loan guarantee package into the stimulus bill. But for the third time since 2007, it got beat by a powerful national grassroots movement and key Congressional leaders.

Nuke pushers now want reactors painted “green” in a renewable standard Congress may soon set.

Hordes of radioactive lobbyists will swarm around that and new energy and global warming legislation. Every obscure sentence in those bills will be targeted for hidden handouts. Unfortunately, some money may already have slipped through from previous Bush-Cheney maneuvering.

EDF, the French national utility, wants to force its nukes into the American market. With Wall Street unwilling, Areva—the EDF front company—would use French tax money here as in Finland, where a new reactor project is already years behind schedule and billions over budget.

In Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Maryland, Texas, Missouri, Wisconsin and elsewhere, the industry wants to tax ratepayers for reactor construction in advance. In Florida and Georgia, rates are already soaring. A Missouri utility is trying to overturn a 1976 public referendum banning such scams.

Obama’s position has been largely opaque. Close to pro-nuke Illinois utilities in his early days, he has never renounced the technology. But he’s firmly opposed Nevada’s Yucca Mountain high level repository, whose failure—after fifty years—leaves the industry with no solution to its waste problem.

Energy Secretary Stephen Chu has made pro-nuke rumblings. But the critical component—massive federal funding—has not materialized. So we green energy advocates held our collective breath when Obama promised to “invest fifteen billion dollars a year to develop technologies like wind power and solar power; advanced biofuels, clean coal, and more fuel-efficient cars and trucks built right here in America.”

In his acceptance speech for the Democratic nomination, Obama included nuke power. Now the reference is gone. Let’s hope that signals an end to all taxpayer funding for this catastrophic failed technology.

Unfortunately, Obama did mention “clean coal,” which—like “safe nukes”— does not exist. On March 2, there will be non-violent civil disobedience against a coal burner in the nation’s capital. This welcome action follows in the tradition of mass occupations at the Seabrook (NH) and other reactor construction sites since 1976.

Back then, grassroots organizations like the Clamshell Alliance developed a Solartopian vision of a world totally free of fossil fuels and atomic power. The plan was born in part at a “Toward Tomorrow” energy fair in Amherst, Massachusetts that featured wind power pioneer William Heronemus and efficiency guru Amory Lovins.

A green-powered Earth means ending both fossil and nuke power, to run totally on solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, non-food-based biofuels and other true renewables, with increased efficiency and restored mass transit.

Like stashing nuke waste in an earthquake zone surrounded by dormant volcanoes, as at Yucca Mountain, carbon sequestration for coal is unworkable, unacceptable—and unnecessary.

The upcoming march against that coal burner will be ushered along by three decades of anti-nuke activism. Let’s hope it prompts Obama to omit that clean coal oxymoron from his next speech—and from all proposed government funding.

HARVEY WASSERMAN, a co-founder of Musicians United for Safe Energy, is editing the nukefree.org web site. He is the author of SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030, is at www.solartopia.org. He can be reached at: Windhw@aol.com

 

 

Harvey Wasserman wrote SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth. His Green Power & Wellness Show is at www.prn.fm

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

April 27, 2017
Darlene Dubuisson – Mark Schuller
“You Live Under Fear”: 50,000 Haitian People at Risk of Deportation
Karl Grossman
The Crash of Cassini and the Nuclearization of Space
Robert Hunziker
Venezuela Ablaze
John W. Whitehead
Trump’s America is a Constitution-Free Zone
Ron Jacobs
One Hundred Years That Shook the World
Judith Deutsch
Convenient Untruths About “Human Nature:” Can People Deal with Climate Change and Nuclear Weapons?
Don Fitz
Is Pope Francis the World’s Most Powerful Advocate for Climate Stability?
Thomas Mountain
Africa’s War Lord Queen: The Bloodstained Career of Liberia’s Eleanor Sirleaf Johnson
Binoy Kampmark
Short Choices: the French Presidential Elections
Paul C. Bermanzohn
Monetizing My Mouth
Michael Barker
Of Union Dreams and Nightmares: Cesar Chavez and Why Funding Matters
Elier Ramirez Cañedo
“Let Venezuela give me a way of serving her, she has in me a son.”
Paul Mobbs
Cellphones, WIFI and Cancer: Will Trump’s Budget Cuts Kill ‘Electrosmog’ Research?
Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee
The Closing of Rikers: a Survival Strategy of the Carceral State
April 26, 2017
Richard Moser
Empire Abroad, Empire At Home
Stan Cox
For Climate Justice, It’s the 33 Percent Who’ll Have to Pick Up the Tab
Paul Craig Roberts
The Looting Machine Called Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
The Dilemma for Intelligence Agencies
Christy Rodgers
Remaining Animal
Joseph Natoli
Facts, Opinions, Tweets, Words
Mel Gurtov
No Exit? The NY Times and North Korea
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Women on the Move: Can Three Women and a Truck Quell the Tide of Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse?
Michael J. Sainato
Trump’s Wikileaks Flip-Flop
Manuel E. Yepe
North Korea’s Antidote to the US
Kim C. Domenico
‘Courting Failure:’ the Key to Resistance is Ending Animacide
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Legacy of Lynne Stewart, the People’s Lawyer
Andrew Stewart
The People vs. Bernie Sanders
Daniel Warner
“Vive La France, Vive La République” vs. “God Bless America”
April 25, 2017
Russell Mokhiber
It’s Impossible to Support Single-Payer and Defend Obamacare
Nozomi Hayase
Prosecution of Assange is Persecution of Free Speech
Robert Fisk
The Madder Trump Gets, the More Seriously the World Takes Him
Giles Longley-Cook
Trump the Gardener
Bill Quigley
Major Challenges of New Orleans Charter Schools Exposed at NAACP Hearing
Jack Random
Little Fingers and Big Egos
Stanley L. Cohen
Dissent on the Lower East Side: the Post-Political Condition
Stephen Cooper
Conscientious Justice-Loving Alabamians, Speak Up!
Michael J. Sainato
Did the NRA Play a Role in the Forcing the Resignation of Surgeon General?
David Swanson
The F-35 and the Incinerating Ski Slope
Binoy Kampmark
Mike Pence in Oz
Peter Paul Catterall
Green Nationalism? How the Far Right Could Learn to Love the Environment
George Wuerthner
Range Riders: Making Tom Sawyer Proud
Clancy Sigal
It’s the Pits: the Miner’s Blues
Robert K. Tan
Abe is Taking Japan Back to the Bad Old Fascism
April 24, 2017
Mike Whitney
Is Mad Dog Planning to Invade East Syria?    
John Steppling
Puritan Jackals
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail