LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for PORTSIDE Archives


PORTSIDE Archives

PORTSIDE Archives


PORTSIDE@LISTS.PORTSIDE.ORG


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

PORTSIDE Home

PORTSIDE Home

PORTSIDE  April 2012, Week 3

PORTSIDE April 2012, Week 3

Subject:

Chernobyl's Tragedy-Induced Lessons

From:

Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 20:32:11 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (202 lines)

Chernobyl's Tragedy-Induced Lessons

by H. Patricia Hynes

April 19, 2012

Published by Portside

April 26 is the 26th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear
catastrophe. Given recent government approval of new nuclear
power plant construction in Georgia and South Carolina, it's
edifying to review Mikhail Gorbachev's seasoned reflections
on nuclear power.

In 2011 Gorbachev published Chernobyl 25 Years Later: Many
Lessons Learned.

In his retrospective, he cited three foremost lessons:
needed public oversight of the secretive and deceptive
nuclear industry; the new threat of terrorism to nuclear
plants; and the urgency of building a secure energy future,
from solar, wind and water. His statement could be construed
as an aging statesman's apologia for his role in the Soviet
Union's secrecy and slow response to the world's worst
industrial accident, prior to Fukushima.  After all, it was
Sweden who alerted the world, not the Soviet Union; and
Gorbachev endangered residents by delaying evacuation.

Seventy tons of combusted nuclear fuel and 700 tons of
radioactive graphite blanketed the disaster site. Belarus,
western Russia, and rich farmland of the Ukraine were
severely contaminated. Fearful of acute food shortages,
Soviet authorities relaxed permissible levels of
radioactivity in agricultural land.(1) Winds carried 50 tons
of fine particles to many parts of Europe and throughout the
Northern Hemisphere, blanketing 77,000 square miles with
radioisotopes of iodine, cesium, strontium, and plutonium.
Hunting, fishing and foraging remain restricted in many
contaminated regions of mainland Europe and the British
Isles.

The cost of Chernobyl - in death and illness, as well as
social cynicism and anomie - is incalculable. Distrust of
Soviet authorities grew so rapidly following the accident
that many affected people refused to take protective
potassium-iodide pills belatedly distributed by the
government. (1) In 2006 the Ukrainian Heath Minister
reported that more than 2.4 million Ukrainians suffered
health effects from the Chernobyl catastrophe. The highest
estimate of overall mortality from the Chernobyl explosion
and fire during the period April 1986 to the end of 2004 is
985,000 people. And some analysts attribute the collapse of
the Soviet Union beginning in 1989 to the "psychic blow" of
Chernobyl: nuclear power had the status of a "sacred cow";
its cadre of engineers and administrators, a sacred caste.
(1)

Gorbachev does not mince words, calling Chernobyl a
"tragedy...beyond comprehension" and "a shocking reminder of
the reality of the nuclear threat." Unbeknownst to most
people, he writes, there have been "some 150 significant
radiation leaks at nuclear power stations over the world."
He now works to implement his tragedy-induced lessons. As
Founding President of Green Cross International, with
branches in 31 countries, he heads the international Climate
Change Task Force to help ensure a just, sustainable and
secure future.

Like Gorbachev, the ex-Prime Minister of Japan Naoto Kan,
who resigned in the wake of disastrous management of the
Fukushima nuclear emergency, has become a critic of nuclear
power and an apostle of renewable technologies. Government
and industry secrecy about the extremity of the Fukushima
crisis, crisis chaos and mis-management, and false pride in
its technological prowess that perpetuated a myth of nuclear
safety - all risked destroying his country, says Nan.  With
other Japanese lawmakers he is launching a group "to create
a roadmap for ending the country's reliance on nuclear
power."

Chernobyl and Fukushima abound with morbid lessons - about
unmanageable nuclear accidents; myths of nuclear safety;
human and environmental costs far exceeding energy benefits;
and blinding technological hubris. Some countries are
heeding them and abandoning nuclear power, among them
Germany, Japan, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Switzerland.
Others are not: the US has re-licensed nearly more than 70
aging nuclear plants and supports new plants, as if we have
some God-given immunity to human and technical accidents and
uncertainties. The industry's grip on government persists,
despite the unequivocal admission by the recently retired
CEO of Exelon - a nuclear heavyweight and strong contributor
to Obama - that nuclear power is not economically viable. If
as some allege, the US is destined by our cultural history
of muscular technical prowess and frontier mentality in
space and elsewhere, then why not direct our vaunted
technical pragmatism to aggressively building secure and
affordable renewable energy systems?

Carbon-free, nuclear-free future

How can we achieve a carbon-free, nuclear-free future? For
one, the U.S. can emulate the commitment to conservation,
mandatory green building design, renewable energy
technologies and fuel efficient practices in Europe, which
has reduced the average carbon use per capita to one-half
that of the average American. Europe has three times the
wind power of the U.S., and photovoltaic capacity has grown
by 70 percent annually in recent years. Renewables fuel 40
percent of Sweden's energy needs and 20 percent of Germany's
electricity compared to 11 percent of U.S. electricity (most
from biomass and hydropower) in 2011. Solar and wind
comprise nearly one-half of all new electricity generation
in Europe. Recycled energy from cogeneration (combined heat
and power) systems constitute from 20 to 50 percent of
energy use in many European countries compared to 8 percent
in the U.S. The fuel standard for European vehicles is 50
mpg by 2012 compared to the U.S. average of 35.5 mpg by
2016. The EU has earmarked more than three times the amount
of money for high-speed trains than the Obama
administration. Were the United States to achieve the fuel
economy standards of Europe, demand for oil would drop by an
estimated 20 percent - an urgent thought given the oil
pollution tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico and climate change
upon us.

A critically acclaimed study, Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free:
A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy, prepared by the Nuclear
Policy Research Institute and the Institute for Energy and
Environmental Research, lays out a carbon-free and nuclear-
free roadmap for U.S. energy policy. The study analyzes more
than 25 available and nearly available renewable
technologies, green building design, high efficiency
vehicles and fuels for readiness for large-scale use, next
steps for large-scale implementation, and CO2 abatement
costs. The overarching finding is that "a zero-CO2 energy
economy can be achieved within the next thirty to fifty
years without the use of nuclear power." Further, the study
found that eliminating CO2 emissions can be achieved with
"available or foreseeable technologies," at affordable cost,
without buying carbon credits from other countries, and with
phasing out oil imports within 25 years.

Likewise, researchers Jacobson and Delucchi at Stanford and
University of California, Davis have laid out a roadmap for
energy policy in the next two to four decades, using a mix
of energy efficiency, wind, water, and solar technologies.
The barriers to achieving a renewable national and global
energy system, according to the authors, are fundamentally
political and social, not technological or economic.
Security analyst Michael Klare wrote recently, we are at a
crossroads - one being to cannibalize environmental
legislation and "gain access to additional stores of
[difficult to get] oil and gas...on coastal and wilderness
areas"; the other is intense and substantial investment in
renewable energies.

We Americans need a revolution in carbon-free nuclear-free
conservation, efficiency, and renewable technology scenarios
to assure they are developed and implemented for local
control, with democratic values, and freed from
multinational control and militaristic dual uses.  It's a
technical and moral debt we owe the world, as the largest
overconsumer of the world's finite resources and the
instigator of nuclear power in the guise of "atoms for
peace."

Sources

1. Stephanie Cooke (2009) In Mortal Hands: A Cautionary
History of the Nuclear Age.  London and New York:
Bloomsbury.

===

[H. Patricia Hynes is a retired Professor of Environmental
Health from Boston University School of Public Health and
current Chair of the Board of the Traprock Center for Peace
and Justice. She has written and edited 7 books, among them
The Recurring Silent Spring. She writes and speaks on issues
of war and militarism with an emphasis on women,
environment, and public health.]

==========

___________________________________________

Portside aims to provide material of interest to people
on the left that will help them to interpret the world
and to change it.

Submit via email: [log in to unmask]

Submit via the Web: http://portside.org/submittous3

Frequently asked questions: http://portside.org/faq

Sub/Unsub: http://portside.org/subscribe-and-unsubscribe

Search Portside archives: http://portside.org/archive

Contribute to Portside: https://portside.org/donate

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

April 2017, Week 4
April 2017, Week 3
April 2017, Week 2
April 2017, Week 1
March 2017, Week 5
March 2017, Week 4
March 2017, Week 3
March 2017, Week 2
March 2017, Week 1
February 2017, Week 4
February 2017, Week 3
February 2017, Week 2
February 2017, Week 1
January 2017, Week 5
January 2017, Week 4
January 2017, Week 3
January 2017, Week 2
January 2017, Week 1
December 2016, Week 5
December 2016, Week 4
December 2016, Week 3
December 2016, Week 2
December 2016, Week 1
November 2016, Week 5
November 2016, Week 4
November 2016, Week 3
November 2016, Week 2
November 2016, Week 1
October 2016, Week 5
October 2016, Week 4
October 2016, Week 3
October 2016, Week 2
October 2016, Week 1
September 2016, Week 5
September 2016, Week 4
September 2016, Week 3
September 2016, Week 2
September 2016, Week 1
August 2016, Week 5
August 2016, Week 4
August 2016, Week 3
August 2016, Week 2
August 2016, Week 1
July 2016, Week 5
July 2016, Week 4
July 2016, Week 3
July 2016, Week 2
July 2016, Week 1
June 2016, Week 5
June 2016, Week 4
June 2016, Week 3
June 2016, Week 2
June 2016, Week 1
May 2016, Week 5
May 2016, Week 4
May 2016, Week 3
May 2016, Week 2
May 2016, Week 1
April 2016, Week 5
April 2016, Week 4
April 2016, Week 3
April 2016, Week 2
April 2016, Week 1
March 2016, Week 5
March 2016, Week 4
March 2016, Week 3
March 2016, Week 2
March 2016, Week 1
February 2016, Week 5
February 2016, Week 4
February 2016, Week 3
February 2016, Week 2
February 2016, Week 1
January 2016, Week 5
January 2016, Week 4
January 2016, Week 3
January 2016, Week 2
January 2016, Week 1
December 2015, Week 5
December 2015, Week 4
December 2015, Week 3
December 2015, Week 2
December 2015, Week 1
November 2015, Week 5
November 2015, Week 4
November 2015, Week 3
November 2015, Week 2
November 2015, Week 1
October 2015, Week 5
October 2015, Week 4
October 2015, Week 3
October 2015, Week 2
October 2015, Week 1
September 2015, Week 5
September 2015, Week 4
September 2015, Week 3
September 2015, Week 2
September 2015, Week 1
August 2015, Week 5
August 2015, Week 4
August 2015, Week 3
August 2015, Week 2
August 2015, Week 1
July 2015, Week 5
July 2015, Week 4
July 2015, Week 3
July 2015, Week 2
July 2015, Week 1
June 2015, Week 5
June 2015, Week 4
June 2015, Week 3
June 2015, Week 2
June 2015, Week 1
May 2015, Week 5
May 2015, Week 4
May 2015, Week 3
May 2015, Week 2
May 2015, Week 1
April 2015, Week 5
April 2015, Week 4
April 2015, Week 3
April 2015, Week 2
April 2015, Week 1
March 2015, Week 5
March 2015, Week 4
March 2015, Week 3
March 2015, Week 2
March 2015, Week 1
February 2015, Week 4
February 2015, Week 3
February 2015, Week 2
February 2015, Week 1
January 2015, Week 5
January 2015, Week 4
January 2015, Week 3
January 2015, Week 2
January 2015, Week 1
December 2014, Week 5
December 2014, Week 4
December 2014, Week 3
December 2014, Week 2
December 2014, Week 1
November 2014, Week 5
November 2014, Week 4
November 2014, Week 3
November 2014, Week 2
November 2014, Week 1
October 2014, Week 5
October 2014, Week 4
October 2014, Week 3
October 2014, Week 2
October 2014, Week 1
September 2014, Week 5
September 2014, Week 4
September 2014, Week 3
September 2014, Week 2
September 2014, Week 1
August 2014, Week 5
August 2014, Week 4
August 2014, Week 3
August 2014, Week 2
August 2014, Week 1
July 2014, Week 5
July 2014, Week 4
July 2014, Week 3
July 2014, Week 2
July 2014, Week 1
June 2014, Week 5
June 2014, Week 4
June 2014, Week 3
June 2014, Week 2
June 2014, Week 1
May 2014, Week 5
May 2014, Week 4
May 2014, Week 3
May 2014, Week 2
May 2014, Week 1
April 2014, Week 5
April 2014, Week 4
April 2014, Week 3
April 2014, Week 2
April 2014, Week 1
March 2014, Week 5
March 2014, Week 4
March 2014, Week 3
March 2014, Week 2
March 2014, Week 1
February 2014, Week 4
February 2014, Week 3
February 2014, Week 2
February 2014, Week 1
January 2014, Week 5
January 2014, Week 4
January 2014, Week 3
January 2014, Week 2
January 2014, Week 1
December 2013, Week 5
December 2013, Week 4
December 2013, Week 3
December 2013, Week 2
December 2013, Week 1
November 2013, Week 5
November 2013, Week 4
November 2013, Week 3
November 2013, Week 2
November 2013, Week 1
October 2013, Week 5
October 2013, Week 4
October 2013, Week 3
October 2013, Week 2
October 2013, Week 1
September 2013, Week 5
September 2013, Week 4
September 2013, Week 3
September 2013, Week 2
September 2013, Week 1
August 2013, Week 5
August 2013, Week 4
August 2013, Week 3
August 2013, Week 2
August 2013, Week 1
July 2013, Week 5
July 2013, Week 4
July 2013, Week 3
July 2013, Week 2
July 2013, Week 1
June 2013, Week 5
June 2013, Week 4
June 2013, Week 3
June 2013, Week 2
June 2013, Week 1
May 2013, Week 5
May 2013, Week 4
May 2013, Week 3
May 2013, Week 2
May 2013, Week 1
April 2013, Week 5
April 2013, Week 4
April 2013, Week 3
April 2013, Week 2
April 2013, Week 1
March 2013, Week 5
March 2013, Week 4
March 2013, Week 3
March 2013, Week 2
March 2013, Week 1
February 2013, Week 4
February 2013, Week 3
February 2013, Week 2
February 2013, Week 1
January 2013, Week 5
January 2013, Week 4
January 2013, Week 3
January 2013, Week 2
January 2013, Week 1
December 2012, Week 5
December 2012, Week 4
December 2012, Week 3
December 2012, Week 2
December 2012, Week 1
November 2012, Week 5
November 2012, Week 4
November 2012, Week 3
November 2012, Week 2
November 2012, Week 1
October 2012, Week 5
October 2012, Week 4
October 2012, Week 3
October 2012, Week 2
October 2012, Week 1
September 2012, Week 5
September 2012, Week 4
September 2012, Week 3
September 2012, Week 2
September 2012, Week 1
August 2012, Week 5
August 2012, Week 4
August 2012, Week 3
August 2012, Week 2
August 2012, Week 1
July 2012, Week 5
July 2012, Week 4
July 2012, Week 3
July 2012, Week 2
July 2012, Week 1
June 2012, Week 5
June 2012, Week 4
June 2012, Week 3
June 2012, Week 2
June 2012, Week 1
May 2012, Week 5
May 2012, Week 4
May 2012, Week 3
May 2012, Week 2
May 2012, Week 1
April 2012, Week 5
April 2012, Week 4
April 2012, Week 3
April 2012, Week 2
April 2012, Week 1
March 2012, Week 5
March 2012, Week 4
March 2012, Week 3
March 2012, Week 2
March 2012, Week 1
February 2012, Week 5
February 2012, Week 4
February 2012, Week 3
February 2012, Week 2
February 2012, Week 1
January 2012, Week 5
January 2012, Week 4
January 2012, Week 3
January 2012, Week 2
January 2012, Week 1
December 2011, Week 5
December 2011, Week 4
December 2011, Week 3
December 2011, Week 2
December 2011, Week 1
November 2011, Week 5
November 2011, Week 4
November 2011, Week 3
November 2011, Week 2
November 2011, Week 1
October 2011, Week 5
October 2011, Week 4
October 2011, Week 3
October 2011, Week 2
October 2011, Week 1
September 2011, Week 5
September 2011, Week 4
September 2011, Week 3
September 2011, Week 2
September 2011, Week 1
August 2011, Week 5
August 2011, Week 4
August 2011, Week 3
August 2011, Week 2
August 2011, Week 1
July 2011, Week 5
July 2011, Week 4
July 2011, Week 3
July 2011, Week 2
July 2011, Week 1
June 2011, Week 5
June 2011, Week 4
June 2011, Week 3
June 2011, Week 2
June 2011, Week 1
May 2011, Week 5
May 2011, Week 4
May 2011, Week 3
May 2011, Week 2
May 2011, Week 1
April 2011, Week 5
April 2011, Week 4
April 2011, Week 3
April 2011, Week 2
April 2011, Week 1
March 2011, Week 5
March 2011, Week 4
March 2011, Week 3
March 2011, Week 2
March 2011, Week 1
February 2011, Week 4
February 2011, Week 3
February 2011, Week 2
February 2011, Week 1
January 2011, Week 5
January 2011, Week 4
January 2011, Week 3
January 2011, Week 2
January 2011, Week 1
December 2010, Week 5
December 2010, Week 4
December 2010, Week 3
December 2010, Week 2
December 2010, Week 1
November 2010, Week 5
November 2010, Week 4
November 2010, Week 3
November 2010, Week 2
November 2010, Week 1
October 2010, Week 5
October 2010, Week 4
October 2010, Week 3
October 2010, Week 2
October 2010, Week 1
September 2010, Week 5
September 2010, Week 4
September 2010, Week 3
September 2010, Week 2
September 2010, Week 1
August 2010, Week 5
August 2010, Week 4
August 2010, Week 3
August 2010, Week 2
August 2010, Week 1
July 2010, Week 5
July 2010, Week 4
July 2010, Week 3
July 2010, Week 2
July 2010, Week 1

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



LISTS.PORTSIDE.ORG

CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager