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!
Victor Dricks is up to his usual tricks.
Dricks is the Region IV Public Affairs Officer for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). He’s based in Arlington, Texas, nearly 1500 miles away from Southern California. Half a country, and half a world away…
On Saturday the North County Times (nctimes.com ) published a commentary by Roger Johnson, asking for IMMEDIATE shutdown of San Onofre Nuclear Waste Generating Station. He got IMMEDIATE action: On Monday the NC Times published Victor Dricks’ response! Somehow he had heard about Roger Johnson’s commentary and must have worked weekends to counter it. I wonder if he collected overtime pay or just comp time for his efforts?
At any rate, congratulations, Roger Johnson! You’re scaring them!
Below are both items, plus Roger Johnson’s excellent follow-up to Dricks’ drivel. Dricks response is something only a propagandist could love: He takes exception to practically every word of Johnson’s letter and ignores countless facts (as Johnson points out in his follow-up). But what is really astonishing is Dricks’ description of the 1982 Sandia Labs study as “outlandish” and “unlikely” when all that’s missing is the rainstorm — we saw all the rest of it already happen in Fukushima Dai-ichi! Three times!
Our reactors can explode, just like theirs did. Our spent fuel can burn, just like theirs did.
In fact, what happened at Fukushima Dai-ichi isn’t over, isn’t as bad as it can get, and isn’t being fully reported! A recent busload of reporters, finally let in to “see” the plant for the first time since the accident, weren’t allowed off the bus, even though they were each dressed in full-body protective hazmat suits, to add to the 480,000 hazmat suits used so far at Fukushima Dai-ichi.
The NRC would have you, the public, FORGET FUKUSHIMA DAI-ICHI. More than eight months after the tragedy, Dricks isn’t even close to spelling it right, and he won’t dare to give the NRC’s official estimate of how many people Fukushima Dai-ichi will eventually kill (cancer takes many years to develop).
Of course, the NRC doesn’t make such estimates. It would be bad for business.
The NRC and the nuclear industry wants the public to think that our reactors, spent fuel pools, and dry casks are somehow less vulnerable, less dangerous, and better protected through better regulatory oversight than Japan’s were.
But it’s all lies.
Fukushima USA has nearly happened many times already: At Brown’s Ferry in 1975, at Three Mile Island in 1979, at Davis-Besse in 2002, during an earthquake a few months ago at North Anna, from a tornado near Calvert Cliffs a few years ago, and so on. It’s just a matter of time before a nuclear plant in America melts down, and there is a 2 in 104 chance it will be one of San Oofre’s and about a one in 25 chance it will be one in California — NOT counting any increased probability due to our nearby seismic faults and tsunami risks, or our aging/embrittlement issues, workforce issues, etc.. It assumes all other nuclear power plants are equally-poorly run, poorly built, poorly maintained, and have their own environmental risks that weren’t properly considered. 104 reactors. 104 mistakes.
The only way to significantly change the odds is to shut San Onofre down immediately and forever. The longer the fuel has cooled, the safer it becomes, and the less of it we make, the less we have to protect and guard for millions of years. Extremely toxic radioactive waste is created at San Onofre at the rate of about 500 pounds PER DAY.
Nuclear energy is a dangerous and costly mistake. it can easily be replaced with cleaner alternatives. Nuclear power is profitable for a select few, who use official mouthpieces such as Victor Dricks to lull the public into accepting the enormous and unnecessary risk nuclear power presents.
But Dricks’ lies can’t change the facts. His resignation should be demanded by all citizens who want their paid servants to tell the truth.
Russell D. Hoffman lives in Carlsbad, California. He is an educational software developer and bladder cancer survivor, as well as a collector of military and nuclear historical documents and books. He is the author and programmer of the award-winning Animated Periodic Table of the Elements. He can be reached at: email@example.com