Nuclear Nightmare by Ralph Nader + Caldicott: UN lies about nuclear threat

by Ralph Nader
The Nader Page
Mar. 18, 2011

The unfolding multiple nuclear reactor catastrophe in Japan is prompting overdue attention to the 104 nuclear plants in the United States—many of them aging, many of them near earthquake faults, some on the west coast exposed to potential tsunamis.

Nuclear power plants boil water to produce steam to turn turbines that generate electricity. Nuclear power’s overly complex fuel cycle begins with uranium mines and ends with deadly radioactive wastes for which there still are no permanent storage facilities to contain them for tens of thousands of years.

Atomic power plants generate 20 percent of the nation’s electricity. Over forty years ago, the industry’s promoter and regulator, the Atomic Energy Commission estimated that a full nuclear meltdown could contaminate an area “the size of Pennsylvania” and cause massive casualties. You, the taxpayers, have heavily subsidized nuclear power research, development, and promotion from day one with tens of billions of dollars.

Because of many costs, perils, close calls at various reactors, and the partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania in 1979, there has not been a nuclear power plant built in the United States since 1974.

Now the industry is coming back “on your back” claiming it will help reduce global warming from fossil fuel emitted greenhouse gases.

Pushed aggressively by President Obama and Energy Secretary Chu, who refuses to meet with longtime nuclear industry critics, here is what “on your back” means:

1. Wall Street will not finance new nuclear plants without a 100% taxpayer loan guarantee. Too risky. That’s a lot of guarantee given that new nukes cost $12 billion each, assuming no mishaps. Obama and the Congress are OK with that arrangement.

2. Nuclear power is uninsurable in the private insurance market—too risky. Under the Price-Anderson Act, taxpayers pay the greatest cost of a meltdown’s devastation.

3. Nuclear power plants and transports of radioactive wastes are a national security nightmare for the Department of Homeland Security. Imagine the target that thousands of vulnerable spent fuel rods present for sabotage.

4. Guess who pays for whatever final waste repositories are licensed? You the taxpayer and your descendants as far as your gene line persists. Huge decommissioning costs, at the end of a nuclear plant’s existence come from the ratepayers’ pockets.

5. Nuclear plant disasters present impossible evacuation burdens for those living anywhere near a plant, especially if time is short.

Imagine evacuating the long-troubled Indian Point plants 26 miles north of New York City. Workers in that region have a hard enough time evacuating their places of employment during 5 pm rush hour. That’s one reason Secretary of State Clinton (in her time as Senator of New York) and Governor Andrew Cuomo called for the shutdown of Indian Point.

6. Nuclear power is both uneconomical and unnecessary. It can’t compete against energy conservation, including cogeneration, windpower and ever more efficient, quicker, safer, renewable forms of providing electricity. Amory Lovins argues this point convincingly (see Physicist Lovins asserts that nuclear power “will reduce and retard climate protection.” His reasoning: shifting the tens of billions invested in nuclear power to efficiency and renewables reduce far more carbon per dollar ( ). The country should move deliberately to shutdown nuclear plants, starting with the aging and seismically threatened reactors. Peter Bradford, a former Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) commissioner has also made a compelling case against nuclear power on economic and safety grounds (

There is far more for ratepayers, taxpayers and families near nuclear plants to find out. Here’s how you can start:

1. Demand public hearings in your communities where there is a nuke, sponsored either by your member of Congress or the NRC, to put the facts, risks and evacuation plans on the table. Insist that the critics as well as the proponents testify and cross-examine each other in front of you and the media.

2. If you call yourself conservative, ask why nuclear power requires such huge amounts of your tax dollars and guarantees and can’t buy adequate private insurance. If you have a small business that can’t buy insurance because what you do is too risky, you don’t stay in business.

3. If you are an environmentalist, ask why nuclear power isn’t required to meet a cost-efficient market test against investments in energy conservation and renewables.

4. If you understand traffic congestion, ask for an actual real life evacuation drill for those living and working 10 miles around the plant (some scientists think it should be at least 25 miles) and watch the hemming and hawing from proponents of nuclear power.

The people in northern Japan may lose their land, homes, relatives, and friends as a result of a dangerous technology designed simply to boil water. There are better ways to generate steam.

Like the troubled Japanese nuclear plants, the Indian Point plants and the four plants at San Onofre and Diablo Canyon in southern California rest near earthquake faults. The seismologists concur that there is a 94% chance of a big earthquake in California within the next thirty years. Obama, Chu and the powerful nuke industry must not be allowed to force the American people to play Russian Roulette!

[DS added the video.]

Caldicott: UN lies about nuclear threat

on Mar 18, 2011

Japan’s nuclear crisis is reminiscent of the past — both Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Helen Caldicott, the author of “Nuclear Power is not the Answer” explained disasters like this could cause global nuclear catastrophe and are exactly why nuclear power is not a viable option for solving the planet’s energy woes. She argued accidents are too risky and the UN, IAEA and the World Health Organization are covering up just how devastating it could be.

Updated March 19, 2011


“Why Are We Playing Russian Roulette With the American People?”: Longtime Nuclear Critic Ralph Nader Advocates Phasing Out Nuclear Power Industry

Democracy Now!
Mar. 18, 2011

Former presidential candidate and longtime consumer advocate and nuclear critic Ralph Nader strongly advocates phasing out nuclear power in the United States by calling for public hearings on the status of every single nuclear power plant. “What we’re seeing here is 110 or so operating nuclear plants in the United States, many of them aging, many of them infected with corrosion, faulty pipes, leaky pumps and combustible materials… Why are we playing Russian roulette with the American people for nuclear plants whose principal objective is simply to boil water and produce steam? … This is institutional insanity, and I urge the people in this country to wake up before they experience what is now going on in northern Japan.” [includes rush transcript]


(starts at 21:48)

via “Why Are We Playing Russian Roulette With the American People?”: Longtime Nuclear Critic Ralph Nader Advocates Phasing Out Nuclear Power Industry


Greg Palast: Fukushima Daiichi nuclear situation in Texas?


17 thoughts on “Nuclear Nightmare by Ralph Nader + Caldicott: UN lies about nuclear threat

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  10. Not even animals behave as barbaric as we humans towards each other. Extinct is for ever and the human race deserves it. And those merchants of death peddling their deadly wares…you are going under too. What a consolation, eh?

    • The point theoretically being to entomb it before it ‘coagulates’ & breaches, which hadn’t been achieved at Chernobyl, which was also a different sort of reactor involving graphite that had ignited.

    • In this case you are wrong and the old man speaks nonsense as all our media and politicians do!
      Fukushima are boiling water plants.
      Did you notice, that no real drawings of those reactors were shown anywhere?
      The Japonese government told the journalists, that in one (maybe nr.3) are used Plutonium rods, Did you hear, which matter is used for the other 4 reactors? I really searched for this information in the actual press as well as in knowledge base and any sites with the term “boiling water reactor” – I didn’t find any hint! As long as we don’t know about the used matte, nor the 2nd, 1st aand surrounding cooling systems, we cannot know anythig about the fission products. But I know definitely some other facts – physical basic rules!
      A blast as it happened in Tschernobyl can’t happen without pressure!
      Didn’t you hear or read, that the Japonese plants have lost all their water? Boiling system reactor means, that the nuclear fission is used directly to boil the surrounding water and turn it into vapor – without water they can’t blow up!
      The immediate danger is the melting of the nuclear matter and its radiation of the surrounding environment. Besides a part of the Japonese territory is this the Pacific Ocean. Melting means, that the rods turn into fluid of 3.000 – 6.000°C and this matter will follow the gravitation rules and melt the bottom of the hull!
      What will happen, if the plant is completely filled with sand or beton?
      The accident will not differ in any way, but it will need many many years to tear down the ruins!
      Tschernobyl was a very different reactor! After some about one hour the pressure blew up the whole reactor and this was a big blast, that brought fission matter and parts of the construction in the atmosphere more than 1500m at a time where the winds blew the cloud fast to north-west up to the shores of Denmark, where it met the usual North-West wind from the Atlantic with rainclouds. This rain came mostly down in Bavaria and Austria, where the mushrooms show an increased radiation till today – but nothing serious, because we don’t use mushrooms as basic food like potatoes.
      The Armageddon scenarios, that are created in blogs and social networks are pure nonsense and a significant sign for the lack of any basic knowledge in natural sciences in big parts of the Western population!
      Our public media takes part in such creations, known from Hollywood screenbooks for B-movies! Yesterday I read, that a chain reaction could occur in the reactor with Plutonium rods! That’s absolutely ridiculous!
      If you open the Wiki post is a link to explain different series of boiling reactors, linked to a book in Google Reader, that we cannot open
      The link at the 2nd graphic, titled: “Cross-section sketch of a typical BWR Mark I containment” –
      It’s not available in Germany.
      For me it’s a mystery, that we hear continually reports from Fukushima, but not an only word about the construction, the circulations and the matter as well the age of the nuclear rods! Basically we don’t know anything important! And I know, that Plutonium rods are not used for boiling reactors! Either it is not true, that there are Plutonium rods, or it’s not a boiling reactor, or it is any unknown and possibly not tested construction – I have no idea!
      For me it is most annoying, that all politicians and media are lying for principle! Even if there is no reason to lie! It’s simply their habit!

      • Actually the ‘old man’ is physicist & professor of theoretical physics & an ardent antinuclear activist for many decades. I would take his word for it long before Wikipedia references to boiling water reactors.

        He regularly blew our minds with String Theory on BAI for years. He comes closer to knowing the mind of god than most all believers.

        No doubt Chernobyl & Fukushima are different designs, it was the graphite at Chernobyl that burned spewing 1/3 of its isotopes into a plume that circled the globe. Despite the advantage of former over latter in terms of containment structures, if you let the fuel melt, it’s 6-7K degrees, will fuse, & burn through any containment, & per China Syndrome, hit groundwater & explode, you get a plume either way with any breach.

        True the ‘entombment’ over Chernobyl is degrading fast from all the bombardment, but boron absorbs neutrons, concrete & sand resists explosions & steam, something is better than nothing, & spraying hoses is like pissing on a bonfire.

        Bill Nye even tonight suggested they get ready to entomb the thing in case this cooling doesn’t work, and based on the news & inscrutable info from the Japanese, we can assume it’s far worse than reported.

        As Dr. Caldecott says, we all have a blip from Chernobyl, keep in mind cancer effects 40% and rising. Any containment is good containment where meltdowns are concerned.

      • & What reactor isn’t a ‘boiling water’ reactor, the whole idea of all fission plants is to generate heat in the water, creating steam to spin turbines.

        The structural difference between the two had nothing to do with their common purpose to boil water, create steam (i.e. pressure)! It’s been steam, & dissociated hydrogen that’s been blowing up Fukushima’s reactors this whole time.

        The only other thing that will blow them up besides steam is when someone retaliates against the US by flying a plane into one of those spent-fuel pools which are comparatively unprotected. But they still always lead to loss of coolant, melting of rods, and ultimately steam full of delicious isotopes.

  11. I completely and whole heartedly agree with Ralph Nader on this subject, for the energy these nukes put out, is not really worth the enormous amount of electricity it takes to run them!! After having said that how is it possible to reduce global warming if the process to run them causes global warming?? I firmly believe the new technology lies in the quartz chip, the most abundant mineral on earth.. faceted just so, it can be made to catch the suns rays and produce very effective results without any hydrocarbons at all.

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