Thursday, April 27, 2006

We All Live in Chernobyl

Back when the Three Mile Island accident happened, a friend printed up t-shirts that said "We All Live In Pennsylvania", with the nuclear power symbol. Point being, it could happen here. It could happen anywhere that nuclear power plants are allowed to operate. And the wind blows nuclear material far, far from the original site. (Did you know that there are 10 sheep farms in Scotland under quarantine, cannot sell their sheep, because they are still contaminated with nuclear material that the winds blew there from Chernobyl in 1986?)

A good article from Harvey Wasserman, senior advisor to Greenpeace USA, on yesterday about this. He is especially upset about Patrick A. Moore's WaPo editorial in favor of resuming nuclear power plant construction, describing Moore as "[a] bit player in the original founding [of Greenpeace], Moore is cashing in on his stale, marginal association to Greenpeace for the benefit of his polluter-employers."

Did you know that you have no recourse if you are injured or killed by a nuclear disaster? Congress passed legislation to make nuclear power plant operators exempt, and no private insurance company will insure you against nuclear disaster. If it happens, it falls (no pun intended) on us.

Chernobyl Kills While Bought ex-Greenpeacer Shills

The 1986 explosion at the reactor outside Kiev was the world's worst industrial disaster. It spewed at least 200 times more radiation than the bombing of Hiroshima. It's a fitting tombstone for the most expensive technological failure in human history.

Chernobyl happened exactly 20 years ago. But it is 49 since the first commercial reactor opened at Shippingport, Pennsylvania, in 1957.

That day the nuke makers said it was "only a matter of time" before private insurers would protect the public from a Chernobyl or Three Mile Island-style accident, both of which they said were "impossible."

In the meantime, Congress passed the Price-Anderson Act, which shielded reactor makers from liability against what did happen at TMI and Chernobyl, and what could be happening as you read this.

A half-century later, we taxpayers are still holding the bag. Not one private insurer will guarantee you or your family against the financial consequences of a reactor disaster. Check out any US homeowner's insurance policy and you'll see their duck and cover in black and white.


In 1980 I reported extensively from central Pennsylvania on the consequences of the radioactive emissions at Three Mile Island, a year earlier. To this day it is not precisely known how much radiation escaped, or where it went.

But I saw the deformed animals. I spoke to the sick children and their dying parents. America has been fed some big lies lately, but the biggest ever told remains "no one died at Three Mile Island."

A quarter-century later, some 2400 central Pennsylvanians still can't get their day in court. TMI's victims and their families have sued the power company that irradiated them, but the federal courts refuse to hear their case. Why?


n perhaps the saddest line in the entire nuclear debate, Moore has termed the Three Mile Island accident "a success," apparently because it didn't explode like Chernobyl. But in a matter of moments, the TMI melt-down turned a $900 million asset into a $2 billion (or more) liability, with an unknowable final price tag or death toll. Not until 9/11/2001 would there be a similar "success" on our soil.

Moore's service to the nuclear industry is hardly his only calling. He shills for a tawdry crew of corporate eco-thugs, including forest clear-cutters and chemical polluters. In making himself a conduit through which pro-nukers and rich polluters can conjure the Greenpeace name, Moore is merely practicing the oldest profession in phony green garb. But even that won't outlast the killing power of the atomic reactors he and his cohorts are attempting to revive.

Previous posts: Chernobyl (April 26, 2006)

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