Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Obama’s Excellent Atomic Omission

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

 

 

More articles by:

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

May 22, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Broken Dreams and Lost Lives: Israel, Gaza and the Hamas Card
Kathy Kelly
Scourging Yemen
Andrew Levine
November’s “Revolution” Will Not Be Televised
Ted Rall
#MeToo is a Cultural Workaround to a Legal Failure
Gary Leupp
Question for Discussion: Is Russia an Adversary Nation?
Binoy Kampmark
Unsettling the Summits: John Bolton’s Libya Solution
Doug Johnson
As Andrea Horwath Surges, Undecided Voters Threaten to Upend Doug Ford’s Hopes in Canada’s Most Populated Province
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Surprising Election Results
Dana Cook
Canada’s ‘Superwoman’: Margot Kidder
Dean Baker
The Trade Deficit With China: Up Sharply, for Those Who Care
John Feffer
Playing Trump for Peace How the Korean Peninsula Could Become a Bright Spot in a World Gone Mad
Peter Gelderloos
Decades in Prison for Protesting Trump?
Thomas Knapp
Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State
Andrew Stewart
What the Providence Teachers’ Union Needs for a Win
Jimmy Centeno
Mexico’s First Presidential Debate: All against One
May 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Gina Haspell: She’s Certainly Qualified for the Job
Uri Avnery
The Day of Shame
Amitai Ben-Abba
Israel’s New Ideology of Genocide
Patrick Cockburn
Israel is at the Height of Its Power, But the Palestinians are Still There
Frank Stricker
Can We Finally Stop Worrying About Unemployment?
Binoy Kampmark
Royal Wedding Madness
Roy Morrison
Middle East War Clouds Gather
Edward Curtin
Gina Haspel and Pinocchio From Rome
Juana Carrasco Martin
The United States is a Country Addicted to Violence
Dean Baker
Wealth Inequality: It’s Not Clear What It Means
Robert Dodge
At the Brink of Nuclear War, Who Will Lead?
Vern Loomis
If I’m Lying, I’m Dying
Valerie Reynoso
How LBJ initiated the Military Coup in the Dominican Republic
Weekend Edition
May 18, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Donald, Vlad, and Bibi
Robert Fisk
How Long Will We Pretend Palestinians Aren’t People?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Wild at Heart: Keeping Up With Margie Kidder
Roger Harris
Venezuela on the Eve of Presidential Elections: The US Empire Isn’t Sitting by Idly
Michael Slager
Criminalizing Victims: the Fate of Honduran Refugees 
John Laforge
Don’t Call It an Explosion: Gaseous Ignition Events with Radioactive Waste
Carlo Filice
The First “Fake News” Story (or, What the Serpent Would Have Said)
Dave Lindorff
Israel Crosses a Line as IDF Snipers Murder Unarmed Protesters in the Ghetto of Gaza
Gary Leupp
The McCain Cult
Robert Fantina
What’s Wrong With the United States?
Jill Richardson
The Lesson I Learned Growing Up Jewish
David Orenstein
A Call to Secular Humanist Resistance
W. T. Whitney
The U.S. Role in Removing a Revolutionary and in Restoring War to Colombia
Rev. William Alberts
The Danger of Praying Truth to Power
Alan Macleod
A Primer on the Venezuelan Elections
John W. Whitehead
The Age of Petty Tyrannies
Franklin Lamb
Have Recent Events Sounded the Death Knell for Iran’s Regional Project?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail