Member Perspectives: Nuclear Energy = Nuclear Madness

The American Solidarity Party platform takes specific positions on a number of issues, but our members often have a variety of well-formed opinions on other topics that all party members can consider and thoughtfully discuss. The strength of the party will always be our passionate defense of our four principles of respect for life, social justice, environmental stewardship, and a more peaceful world; however, it can also come from how we respectfully disagree about other issues that challenge our communities. This month, we consider the positions of two party members on nuclear energy.

Stuck on Stupid? (Nuclear energy = Nuclear madness)

by “Average Joe” Schriner

Enriched Uranium-235 has a half-life of 700 million years, give or take, oh, a couple million years. If one is exposed to enriched uranium, there’s a tremendously heightened chance they’ll get cancer and, well, die. So…we’ve built nuclear power plants to use this highly dangerous fission reaction to generate energy and nuclear weapons. What’s more, the containment vessels to hold the nuclear waste won’t last as long as the nuclear reaction.This makes me wonder if we are stuck on stupid?
Bonnie Urfer thinks so. We traveled to Luck, Wisconsin to meet with Ms. Urfer, who is the co-director of the non-profit watchdog agency Nukewatch. She said the government and nuclear industry claim that nuclear energy is “clean.” Well, the millions of people downwind from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the ones who developed extreme kidney disease, cancer, birth-defects in their babies…might not use the word “clean” in the same sentence with nuclear energy.

Nor would, maybe, the people living downwind from Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant after the meltdown caused by the tsunami. (Tsunamis happen in the darndest places, like earthquakes, tornadoes, and the occasional terrorist bombing…just sayin’.) Of course, this couldn’t happen in America, except for Three Mile Island and Davis-Besse.

In our campaign travels, we happened to be in Port Clinton, Ohio (home of the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Plant), the day they delivered the new, rather huge, nuclear reactor head. What was wrong with the old one? Strangest thing. A routine check-up at the plant a couple years earlier revealed that corrosion had chewed a hole into the reactor head. Only 3/16th of an inch of steel remained in this spot. No big thing if this kind of corrosion/rust is on my 2004 Equinox. It’s a whole other thing, however, if it’s eating away at a gigantic NUCLEAR REACTOR HEAD! The result if it had eaten all the way through (which wasn’t that much more)? Um, a catastrophic nuclear meltdown and a massive release of radioactivity.

If that had happened and the wind was blowing south from Port Clinton, Ohio, our family, living an hour south in Bluffton, Ohio, would have been right in the middle of the radiation fall-out zone.

And my children, most likely, would have looked like the kid from the Ukraine who comes here yearly. That is, they would have looked “ashen white.” How do I know this? Because on the other side of the state, in Northeastern Ohio, I interviewed a couple who is involved with the Children of Chernobyl Project. Kids living in the radiation fall-out zone of Chernobyl are brought over here for the summers by benevolent families “…so their immune systems can replenish themselves” because of the continual exposure to the radiation in the zone. Have I mentioned the 700-million-year thing? This couple told me the boy they sponsor (his parents have already died of cancer) is always ashen white when he gets off the plane, but by the end of the summer, some of his color returns—only to have to go back.

Now, when you Google “Children of Chernobyl,” some of the following images come up.

I often tell the press, and anyone else who will listen, that I’m running for president as a “concerned parent.” And I’m not just concerned about my children, but everyone’s children.

And frankly, how any parent can get behind an initiative (nuclear energy) that does this to kids so the parents can continue on being as comfortable as possible with their central heating, central air conditioning, running a bunch of unnecessary appliances, etc., is a huge conundrum to me.

What’s even more perplexing (yet nonetheless understandable given our fallen natures) is the highly complex set of rationalizations – read: rational lies – that we use to justify this nuclear madness. The next wave, of course, being that the next generation of nuclear power plants will be much safer.

Maybe so, but it remains that, while safer, the plants are still managing and containing extremely toxic radiation that: HAS A HALF-LIFE OF 4.5 BILLION YEARS! Have I mentioned that before? Oh, and one other thing. It doesn’t take a nuclear physicist from, say, MIT, to know that to make nuclear weapons you need nuclear power plants. Right now, we, worldwide, have enough nuclear weapons to blow the planet up hundreds, if not thousands, of times over, and it’s not just nuclear missiles. For instance, we used depleted uranium ammunition (bunker busting missiles, bullets…) in Iraq.

I attended a talk by Ohio Northern University Professor Ray Person, who was a member of an international coalition to ban depleted uranium munitions. Their beef? These munitions leave what they pierce, radioactive. So kids in Iraq, said the professor, play on the abandoned tanks, play in the abandoned pock-marked buildings… and cancer rates go through the roof. The ultimate irony? While we were looking for “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq, we left (and are still leaving) the country majorly radiated.

The ASP holds to Just War Principles, including not putting innocent civilians in harm’s way. These kids in Iraq are innocent civilians. The ASP calls for an end to nuclear weapons. The U.S., alone, has more than 2,700 deployable nuclear weapons. (And while we spend $50 billion on them a year, some 24,000 people starve to death every day in the world, according to UN figures. This would be like a limited nuclear explosion going off, every day!)
“What if we let the weapons inspectors into Montana?” I posed to an ABC News affiliate reporter in Toledo, just before we went into Iraq.

And the ASP calls for being good environmental stewards. The U.S. currently has 98 nuclear reactors, with another 50 or so in the works from Obama-era plans. The common denominator in all this? Nuclear power plants.

So if you boil down the whole ASP platform into What Would Jesus Do? (which, I mean, c’mon, that’s what it basically is), does anyone think for a minute (the Doomsday Clock, incidentally, is at two minutes—to midnight) that Jesus would get behind a technology that could leave children ravaged with severe kidney disease, many forms of cancer, and/or horrendous birth defects? Do we honestly think Jesus would get behind a technology that would open the door for mass annihilation of His planet? And short of mass annihilation, does anyone seriously think Jesus would get behind a technology that, say, in various geographic regions, would leave His natural handiwork irradiated FOR 700 MILLION YEARS?

Note: What about taking all the technological smarts being funneled into new nuclear plant designs and, instead, funneling it into developing much better green technology, much better home insulation strategies per region, much better energy conservation methods in general? And what’s more, what about a populace of parents who were willing to sacrifice some energy consumption, like what was done during World War II (across the board), for the sake of the next generation? When you think about it, World War II was, well, a war. And what we have today is, really, nothing less than A War on the Environment – from many fronts. Including nuclear.

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