Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Please Support CounterPunch’s Annual Fund Drive
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We only ask you once a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Our Atomic Dominoes Are Falling

Two more atomic dominoes have hit the deck.

At least a half-dozen more teeter on the brink, which would take the US reactor count under 100.

But can we bury them before the next Fukushima erupts?

And will we still laugh when Fox “News” says there’s more sun in Germany than California?

Wisconsin’s fully licensed Kewaunee reactor will now shut because it can’t compete in the marketplace.

Florida’s Crystal River will die because its owners poked holes in the containment during a botched repair job.

UBS and other financial experts say Entergy is bleeding cash at Vermont Yankee.  After blacking out the SuperBowl, Entergy has no problem stiffing a state that has sued to shut its only reactor.

But in the face being crushed by renewables and gas, the money men may finally pull the plug.

The same could happen to New York’s Fitzpatrick and Ginna reactors, as well as the two at Indian Point, which need water permits and more from an increasingly hostile state.  New Jersey’s Oyster Creek, slammed by Hurricane Sandy, and Nebraska’s Ft. Calhoun, recently flooded, are also on the brink.

The list of crippled, non-competitive and near-dead reactors lengthens daily.  Few are more critical than San Onofre Units Two and Three, perched on an ocean cliff in the earthquake-tsunami zone between Los Angeles and San Diego.

More than 8 million people live within a 50-mile radius of where San Onofre’s owners botched a $600 million steam generator replacement.  As radiation leaked, they may have lied to federal regulators, prompting US Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Ed Markey (D-MA) to demand an investigation.

After being down more than a year, Unit Three will almost certainly never reopen.  Unit Two may well stay shut at least through the summer.

If a rising grassroots movement can bury them both, it will mark a huge turning point in a state where renewables are booming with new revenue and jobs.

Which gets us to the Murdochian weather report.  A recent “Fox & Friends” was mystified by Germany’s popular (and very profitable) decision to phase out nukes while turning to solar, wind, increased efficiency and other Solartopian technologies.

Finally, Shibani Joshi figured it out:  “They’re a small country, and they’ve got lots of sun.  Right?  They’ve got a lot more sun than we do.”

The staggering laugh line that cold, dark Germany has more sunlight than a nation stretching from Hawaii to California to Florida could come only from an industry at dangerous odds with the planet on which it malfunctions.

This latest stretch of shut downs does not mean the death of the industry.   Both Georgia and Florida are being assaulted with legislation that would allow utilities to build new reactors while ratepayers foot the bill.

And some activists concerned about global warming still dream of carbon-free reactors they hope might someday alleviate the situation.

But they miss the reality that such plants will likely never exist.  Every promise this industry has made—from “too cheap to meter” to “reactors don’t explode” to “radiation is good for you”—has turned toxic.

They also forget that a fragile pool laden with enough fuel rods to poison countless millions still sways 100 feet in the air at Fukushima.  It remains horrifically vulnerable to seismic activity that could send it crashing down to a permanently contaminated earth.

Overall the industry’s back is dangerously to the wall.  We know it will squeeze every last cent from these dying reactors with less and less care for safety, especially since the federal government still insures them against the financial consequences of a major catastrophe.  Every day they operate heightens the odds on something truly apocalyptic to follow in the wake of Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima.

Meanwhile they continue to spew out huge quantities of heat and waste.  They divert precious capital from the proven green technologies that are now revolutionizing our energy economy in the only ways that can possibly save us from climate chaos.

This may yet become the first year in decades that the US has fewer than 100 operating commercial reactors.  It will also be the biggest year worldwide for the booming Solartopian industries that are transforming how we get our energy, create our jobs and grow our economy.

Lets just make sure we win that transition before the next reactor disaster does its worst.

Harvey Wasserman’s SOLARTOPIA!  OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH is atwww.harveywasserman.ning.com, along with WILL THE GOP STEAL AMERICA’S 2012 ELECTION?, co-authored with Bob Fitrakis.

More articles by:

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

October 18, 2018
Erik Molvar
The Ten Big Lies of Traditional Western Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lockheed and Loaded: How the Maker of Junk Fighters Like the F-22 and F-35 Came to Have Full-Spectrum Dominance Over the Defense Industry
Brian Platt – Brynn Roth
Black-Eyed Kids and Other Nightmares From the Suburbs
John W. Whitehead
You Want to Make America Great Again? Start by Making America Free Again
Lawrence Davidson
Israel’s “Psychological Obstacles to Peace”
Zhivko Illeieff
Why Can’t the Democrats Reach the Millennials?
Steve Kelly
Quiet, Please! The Latest Threat to the Big Wild
Manuel García, Jr.
The Inner Dimensions of Socialist Revolution
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ Over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Adam Parsons
A Global People’s Bailout for the Coming Crash
Binoy Kampmark
The Tyranny of Fashion: Shredding Banksy
Dean Baker
How Big is Big? Trump, the NYT and Foreign Aid
Vern Loomis
The Boofing of America
October 17, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
When Saudi Arabia’s Credibility is Damaged, So is America’s
John Steppling
Before the Law
Frank Stricker
Wages Rising? 
James McEnteer
Larry Summers Trips Out
Muhammad Othman
What You Can Do About the Saudi Atrocities in Yemen
Binoy Kampmark
Agents of Chaos: Trump, the Federal Reserve and Andrew Jackson
David N. Smith
George Orwell’s Message in a Bottle
Karen J. Greenberg
Justice Derailed: From Gitmo to Kavanaugh
John Feffer
Why is the Radical Right Still Winning?
Dan Corjescu
Green Tsunami in Bavaria?
Rohullah Naderi
Why Afghan Girls Are Out of School?
George Ochenski
You Have to Give Respect to Get Any, Mr. Trump
Cesar Chelala
Is China Winning the War for Africa?
Mel Gurtov
Getting Away with Murder
W. T. Whitney
Colombian Lawyer Diego Martinez Needs Solidarity Now
Dean Baker
Nothing to Brag About: Scott Walker’s Economic Record in Wisconsin:
October 16, 2018
Gregory Elich
Diplomatic Deadlock: Can U.S.-North Korea Diplomacy Survive Maximum Pressure?
Rob Seimetz
Talking About Death While In Decadence
Kent Paterson
Fifty Years of Mexican October
Robert Fantina
Trump, Iran and Sanctions
Greg Macdougall
Indigenous Suicide in Canada
Kenneth Surin
On Reading the Diaries of Tony Benn, Britain’s Greatest Labour Politician
Andrew Bacevich
Unsolicited Advice for an Undeclared Presidential Candidate: a Letter to Elizabeth Warren
Thomas Knapp
Facebook Meddles in the 2018 Midterm Elections
Muhammad Othman
Khashoggi and Demetracopoulos
Gerry Brown
Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics: How the US Weaponizes Them to Accuse  China of Debt Trap Diplomacy
Christian Ingo Lenz Dunker – Peter Lehman
The Brazilian Presidential Elections and “The Rules of The Game”
Robert Fisk
What a Forgotten Shipwreck in the Irish Sea Can Tell Us About Brexit
Martin Billheimer
Here Cochise Everywhere
David Swanson
Humanitarian Bombs
Dean Baker
The Federal Reserve is Not a Church
October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail