Monday, June 07, 2010


Barack Obama has advocated three dubious energy solutions. Most recently it was off-shore oil drilling, and we’re still seeing how that one turned out. Before drilling it was clean coal and nuclear. The nuclear really jarred with me at the time, quite undoing my initial delight that we actually had a president that could pronounce the word. Obama declared the modern nuclear power plant was safe, and the old Monty Burns models were a thing of the past. Unfortunately it’s starting to emerge that nuclear power regulation is as much of a corrupt clusterfuck as oil.

“Much like Captain Renault in Casablanca, the White House is suddenly shocked, shocked to find that oil rigs can explode, destroying ecosystems and livelihoods. The Obama administration has backed away from its offshore oil expansion policy in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe as the long-term environmental and economical consequences unfold in the Gulf States. Headlines are clamoring for the criminal investigations of BP, TransOcean, Halliburton and ultimately, the federal regulator, Mineral Management Services (MMS). Rather paradoxically, President Obama is using the oil spill to call for more nuclear power. Yet, with the exception of a handful of insightful political cartoonists, the obvious parallel between the regulatory delinquency of MMS and that of its nuclear equivalent - the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) - and the potential for an equally catastrophic accident in the nuclear sector, has not been drawn. As with the MMS debacle, the NRC is gambling with inevitable disaster with the same spin of the wheel of misfortune and with potentially even higher stakes. Investigations have already revealed that MMS had become too friendly and compliant toward the industry it was supposed to regulate. This hands-off approach proved to be a formula for inevitable disaster. Similarly, the NRC consistently puts the financial motives of the nuclear industry it is supposed to regulate ahead of public safety. In instance after instance, the NRC has chosen not to enforce its own regulations even in the face of repeated reactor safety violations, risking a serious reactor accident while leaving often high-risk safety problems to linger unresolved for decades.” (Click here for the rest)

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The secret word is Strontium

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