Second Vermont Republic

A citizen movement committed to restoring Vermont to an independent republic, free to pursue life, liberty and happiness unimpeded by the demands of an imperial, corrupt and disintegrating United States.

Nuclear Roulette, by Kellie Linskey (BOOK REVIEW)

“Nuclear technology was originally devised as a tool to fabricate weapons of mass destruction,” explains author Gar Smith. “The goal was to create a nuclear arsenal that could deliver unprecedented level of death and devastation.” Nuclear power is a sensitive political topic with much controversy surrounding it. Smith takes a strong anti-nuke position in his book, and breaks down his argument into three parts: Fourteen Arguments against Nuclear Power; Cover Ups and Consequences; and The Path Forward: Better Options Exist.

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One of the biggest issues with nuclear power is the cost. It cost a lot of money to run nuclear power but also to keep those working around it safe as well.  “Between 1950 and 1990, US taxpayers spent $492 billion on the “direct” costs of nuclear power. Yet by 1980, nuclear reactors were producing only enough energy to provide 11 percent of the country’s electricity.” There is a bundle of money being invested into nuclear energy, but the question of whether it is worth it floats in the air. Is it worth the risk and all the money if we aren’t getting the most of out it?

Smith explains that taxpayers’ money is suppose to be going towards the creation of US jobs, specifically work on the plants. However, a lot of the construction and design jobs (high-paying) are going to countries overseas, specifically Japan and France. Therefore, Americans in need of a job and money are without and we are just helping those overseas get richer. During George W. Bush’s time as president, the US government spent $1.419 billion to support nuclear energy programs – and most of it did not go to the US economy.

Failure: one of the biggest issues with nuclear power plants. There are constantly plants being closed around the world due to safety problems among other issues. Plants are continuously being shut down, and sometimes the plants can stay closed for years on end, because once a chain reaction starts, it is hard to stop. Even if a power plant runs efficiently without any problems (which is rare) they still have to be shut down every 18 to 24 months for replacing, maintenance, and refueling. The shutdowns take around 39 days to complete and even when they’re back up and running it takes several weeks to reach full production capacity.

Disaster: that’s what happens to everything when a nuclear power plant explodes or has major complications. $500 billion plus? That’s the cost of cleanup so far when Chernobyl detonated in a rural region in Ukraine – the cleanup still continues to this day. Smith claims that this explosion could have very well been the cause of more than a million cancer deaths worldwide. The explosion affected so many people, directly and indirectly, without meaning to. When explosions happen, there is always a reaction that is seriously destructive. However, since Chernobyl was built in a remote place – the damages could have been higher. Most power plants in the US are built near major cities – how deadly could that be? There could not be a worse place to have a plant than near cities with thousands of people and booming industries. If there were to be another explosion in the States, we the people would have our lives turned upside down.

Nuclear power plants may be bad for people, but they are even worse for the environment, claims Smith. Promoters of nuclear energy claim it’s “clean,” however, it is not. Every second that passes, toxic fuel, and junk fills the air, lands, water and our bodies. Exposure to radioactive fumes etc can kill within days with high levels of exposure, but overtime we can develop diseases and cancers. Is this something that we want to risk when there are other possibilities out there? When an explosion occurs, there is an unusually high level of radiation in the air, which is NOT safe. Even if officials release a statement claiming that there is “no immediate harm,”, the key word here is “immediate” because there is no true safe level of nuclear exposure. This is just government’s way of covering it up and acting like there isn’t something wrong.

There is a way to avoid devastation, and that would be to put our money and resources into more reliable ways of energy. The 21st century world cannot afford to continue to invest in an expensive and dangerous energy option when more centralized and safer alternatives exist. Smith’s book is a wake up call for all those of us who inhabit Planet Earth – let’s stop playing “nuclear roulette” with the future of the planet and human civilization.

For more revolutionary writing, visit Chelsea Green Publishing.

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This entry was posted on November 5, 2014 by in Arts.
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