Friday, April 29, 2011

In the Bioregional State, Nuclear Power Would Have Required Local, Ecological Approval: So It Would Never Exist

In the bioregional state, doctors could spend much less time in politics and more on healing though these gentlemen help us understand politics in an unsustainable society is required as one of the arts of healing.

Physicians for Social Responsibility: Out with the Parasite of Nuclear Power; The Regime Choice of Nuclear Power and Its Missing Long View
April 26, 2011
52:31 min

"Chernobyl's Ongoing Disaster for Economics, State Finance and Health; Fukushima Data Parallels"
This is a video press conference from Physicians for Social Responsibility. It is a panel discussion by many of their present and past Presidents. It was filmed in the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. this month.

So much of our 'individual' health risks are really in origin social and political issues and require ameliorating on this level first. This is the point of the bioregional state.

They are discussing three things. First, it's an update on Chernobyl's ongoing disaster. Yes, it's still continuing as a never-ending nightmare; cesium in the 2,000 square miles of "inhabitable" soil is still not disappearing in 25 years "as was expected," and no one knows why). 70,000 additional square miles are still heavily contaminated as well outside the exclusion zone, where people live though suffer incredible health problems--forever, since nuclear radiation is a genetically inheritable disaster.

Financially, many of the countries still suffer under the extortion of nuclear power, and it has mortgaged their future. For instance, Ukraine and Belarus spend in 2011 about 5-7% of their whole economy on the aftereffect of this one disaster. A fresh containment dome is required for Chernobyl. No one is putting up money to build it, and Ukraine is unable to afford it. It's already 15 years late in starting the more permanent sarcophagus, and three years more late after they really decided to rebuild the sarcophagus. Ukraine can only put $850,000,000 up for the project, when it really costs $100,000,000,000. This means that without another 100 billion dollars of mortgaged future, Chernobyl's sarcophagus will collapse sooner or later starting another nuclear disaster death cloud around the world and further mortgaging all our futures beyond this cost.

"Sarcophagus" is perhaps a poor name for Chernobyl's hasty containment walls. That word implies something completed, that the accident is dead and finished. However, Chernobyl's accident is very much alive, right now--and will be alive for thousands of years. "Vampire" is the word that comes to mind for me about the Chernobyl accident. Why? Because the word "vampire" implies something that is temporarily blocked though very much alive and waiting to get out and attack people from its coffin. The Chernobyl vampire will be nearly immortal compared to humans that created it and upon us it will continue to prey for thousands of years. The vampire will live longer than any human government that has ever existed, longer than any durable spoken or printed language, longer than this version of our human species.

Second, they are discussing the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant's ongoing disaster. From Japanese investigations monitoring 1,600 school grounds within and outside the current Japanese exclusion zone of 20 kilometers, far more than this exclusion zone is contaminated heavily already. How heavily? Levels of radiation (absorbed dose) in the soil and at 1 meter height in the air outside of the Fukushima Prefecture's exclusion zone exceed levels that led to complete evacuation of 350,000 of people around the Chernobyl disaster. They found "Chernobyl evacuation levels of Cesium-137" out to 40 kilometers. In the United States, official policy is only a 10 mile evacuation from a nuclear disaster, though the United States has removed its troops from around Fukushima to a 50 mile radius. Watch what they do instead of the lies they say.

Plus, the scale of Fukushima is far wider than Chernobyl:

- due to oceanic contamination (the highest radioactive water is coiling south is is just outside of Tokyo already by late April 2011; some fishing is already banned)
- due to Fukushima being four nuclear reactors exploding (one of them with MOX (multiple oxide fuel), the #3 building),
- due to some of these nuclear stations being 30 years old before exploding, with 30 years of assembled wastes there (Chernobyl was only several months old when only one reactor exploded; four old ones have exploded at Fukushima)
- and due to the massive number of curies all make this far worse than Chernobyl.

According to this estimate, "Chernobyl released 50 million curies of radiation. Fukushima has released 9 billion curies and counting." Let's look at that with zeros:

estimated Chernobyl so far, 50,000,000 curies released (over 25 years)
estimated Fukushima so far, 9,000,000,000 curies released (ongoing, 6 weeks)

The estimate is based on the known first hour of high radiation at Fukushima's single explosion, and then assumed that at least this amount, spread across four reactors, happens spread across a full day after that till now. If Chenobyl was rated a "7", the worst possible nuclear disaster level, Fukushima should be rated a 7 four times over, for a 28. It's likely far more than this if the Japanese government already admitted a lie of what is going into the air: 24 terabequerels/day was really 154 terabequerels/day.

From Yomiuri Shinbun (9:15PM JST 4/23/2011):

"The Nuclear Safety Commission under the Prime Minister's Office disclosed on April 23 that the amount of radioactive materials being released from the TEPCO Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant was 154 terabecquerels per day (1 tera is 1 trillion) as late as April 5 when the amount being released was considered stabilized.

On April 5, the estimated amount of radioactive materials released from Fukushima I Nuke Plant was 0.69 terabecquerels/hour for iodine-131 and 0.14 terabecquerels/hour for cesium-137. When the numbers were recalculated according to the INES method (converting cesium amount into iodine equivalent), the amount released turned out to be 6.4 terabecquerels/hour (which was 154 terabecquerels per day. Previously, the Nuclear Safety Commission had simply added the numbers for iodine-131 and cesium-137, and announced it was less than 1 terrabecquerel per hour."

And as for the water, add even more radiation: "Over 6 days, from April 1, 520 tons of highly radioactive water was released into the sea...much more than earlier reports suggested & 10,000 times more than Three Mile Island.")

Third, they are discussing the U.S. less from the downwind radioactive fallout from Fukushima (U.S. finds already clouds of plutonium, uranium, cesium, and iodine in its territory) and more related to the known risks of similar nuclear power plants in the United States. They are particularly concerned about all completely unshielded spent fuel pools throughout the United States's nuclear reactors that are highly over capacity. They are concerned about the many aged nuclear reactors, similar to Japan. They are concerned about the U.S. nuclear reactors that were built on earthquake fault lines, just like in Japan.

As I am writing this, there is simultaneously a nuclear scare of escaped radiation in Ohio, and tornadoes in the U.S. South have cut the external power to three nuclear power plants in Alabama. These three slow nuclear bombs are on internal diesel power generation only right now. Quoting their press release about the panel:
"[Previous President of Physicians for Social Responsibility] Dr. Jeff Patterson relayed his experiences at Moscow Hospital No. 6, where victims of Chernobyl were treated, saying 'The long-term effects of this spread of radiation are much more destructive than the one-time x-ray and gamma dose that people received at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We will not see the final outcome of this experiment for hundreds of years.'

The Institute for Policy Studies' Bob Alvarez spoke about how the Fukushima nuclear crisis underscores the vulnerability of spent fuel storage in pools to accidents or attack, especially the 31 reactors in the US with a similar design as the Fukushima reactors.

[President of Physicians for Social Responsibility] Dr. Andrew Kanter outlined the potential catastrophic effects of a Chernobyl- or Fukushima-scale accident in the United States and demonstrated PSR’s new online Evacuation Zone Map, which shows where a person lives in relation to a nuclear reactor and an evacuation zone. He discussed the difficult logistics of an evacuation and demands on medical personnel. [The map, which is available at, shows a person's residence in relation to a nuclear reactor and an evacuation zone.]

[Previous President] Dr. Ira Helfand wrapped up the event with a discussion of the harm to human health from radiation exposure, concluding 'the risks to public health, the economy and our environment from nuclear power far outweigh the benefits.'"
The doctors' prognosis is uniform. Nuclear power is a political and socially inflicted sickness, a self-inflicted parasite on our bodies and our politics. Out with the parasite and the human body can heal. Out with the parasite and our politics can heal. No one requires this parasite.

As a parasitical 'energy' choice that destroys the host and its environment, nuclear is clearly irrational. It's costs are far more dear than anything it can provide. It is an unrepresentative raw material regime demoting other sustainable choices that exist already.

What does this have to do with the bioregional state?

It is very likely that if the institutions of the bioregional state were in place 50 years ago when the first commercial nuclear power plant was attempting to get commissioned, nuclear power would have been avoided.

That was then. Though we live in the now and we plan for the future in the now. With the institutions of the bioregional state in place on the local level, we can have a social movement process now and in the long term that would fulfill local political and economic priorities first in decommissioning all nuclear plants. They are already a waste of money, many of them seldom ever breaking even at all. [1] [2] [3] This is particularly so for the ongoing financial extortion on the future in nuclear waste storage. If that cost is figured into the accounting, plus other catastrophic cleanup and permanent health damage genetically to people and to ecologies, costs are estimated to make purveyors of the 'economics' of nuclear seem even more irrational. On unaccounted costs of nuclear choices that make it clearly parasitical and suboptimal:

The Convenient Solution (The Economics of Abundant Renewables vs. Non-Required Unrenewables)
Greenpeace UK
9 min 27 sec

(Note Bene: this film, in one small part, holds to the canard of 'scientifically discovered anthropogenic climate change', later exposed in Climategate as based on nothing scientific except data fraud from the main scientists working with the U.N.'s IPCC. Climategate reveals indeed "the worst scientific scandal of our generation.")

There is some talk of converting nuclear plants to natural gas plants. This is still hardly ideal because exchanging one parasite for another is to avoid the process of healing. Simply write it off financially, admit mistakes, and start on sustainability now, or we are continuing down the ecologically dead-end path in denial.

The interactions of the bioregional state provide an ecological check and balance [1] [2] [3] against unrepresentative state elite decisions in all our material choices.

In this way the institutions of the bioregional state can move us toward sustainability. It does this by fleshing out the multiple localized priorities of all areas left unvoiced in material politics that has brought a lack of representation over risk into our lives and which has gatekept sustainable choices from the market that we already have.

Sweden has already shut down all its nuclear power. Germany is now mobilizing to do the same. Some countries in Europe are already almost at half of their electrical generation coming from renewable sources. Meanwhile, the U.S. is the best place in the world for wind generation, though only generates 1% of electricity from wind, and 50% of the U.S.'s energy still comes from the coal raw material regime. Denmark makes 80% of the world's wind turbines. It is a growth industry, and the U.S. is falling way behind and self-strangling itself with the nuclear and oil tapeworms. The point is hardly to recommend a novel 'one size fits all' solution to technology and energy, because it seldom fits anyone except the supply-sided groups and unrepresentative state elites that foist it upon every separate region. The point is to start a process whereby people decide on materials in a "polytopian" way for themselves in their own region based on their own priorities and how it fits into their local ecologies and economies.

Polytopia is a word to describe the bioregional state: multiple real places require maintaining instead the promotion of a singular artificial ideological nowhere that tends to become a nightmarish dystopia regardless of its origin if encouraged. Even if it calls itself 'green', if it becomes a singular ideology repressively implemented, it is hardly green.

As said in the definition of the bioregional state:
"Bioregional democracy (or the Bioregional State) is a set of electoral reforms and commodity reforms designed to force the political process in a democracy to better represent concerns about the economy, the body, and environmental concerns (e.g., water quality), toward developmental paths that are locally prioritized and tailored to different areas for their own specific interests of sustainability and durability. This movement is variously called bioregional democracy, watershed cooperation, or bioregional representation, or one of various other similar names—all of which denote democratic control of a natural commons and local jurisdictional dominance in any economic developmental path decisions—while not removing more generalized civil rights protections of a larger national state."
The two local level institutions of the bioregional state have been discussed before: the civic democratic institution and the commodity ecology, in all watersheds of the world.

Build it, this polytopia, and we may have a lever to decommission the many dead-end materials foisted upon us and our larger bodies, the ecology. Build it, and we may have a lever to replace them simultaneously with the already existing sustainable materials. Inquire within.
"The rise and fall of images of the future precedes or accompanies the rise and fall of cultures. As long as a society’s image is positive and flourishing, the flower of culture is in full bloom. Once the image begins to decay and lose its vitality, however, the culture does not long survive." -- Polak, The Image of the Future [(1973), p. 19]
What kind of image of the future do you want?

Friday, April 08, 2011

The Raw Material Regime: How Politics Demotes Green Future Options for Clean Energy

Environmental organization members wear yellow rain gear and carry umbrellas bearing symbols of radioactivity as they launch a campaign for the prevention of pollution from radiation in front of Sejong Cultural Center in Seoul, April 6. (Photo by Kim Jung-hyo)

Below is "Today's Column" from the Hankyoreh (English Version), the most respected paper in South Korea when journalists are polled. I wrote this last week. Now that radioactive rain has covered the world, including Korea, and milk is being dumped around the world because of the Japanese nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, reflect on this fact: nuclear or oil are unrequired. They are less material regimes of market choice and are more of a politically repressive regime of extortion. We have many options for energy sustainability now that give us completely zero emission, green, clean energy without pollution. As said at that link,
"[E]nergy is perhaps the most politically contentious raw material arrangement for two rationales. First, it is because there is so much money and dependency to be created in energy. Second, it is because none of that centralization or dependency is required. Only massive amounts of political corruption hold it in place as raw material regimes that hold off consumer choices in the interest of achieving consumer clientelism and a forced (non)-choice. It's like having a (non) 'choice' of 20 different brands of gasoline without having a choice in what engines run on, in your car."
Some of these completely clean energy options now are mentioned below. If unrepresentative politics and gatekeeping demotes our options, then only more representative politics in the bioregional state can provide for sustainability. I talk about that in my 30 minute interview, and you are welcome to listen to that here.

[Column] Korean Green Future Options for Clean Energy
By Mark D. Whitaker

Korea requires a well-planned energy future, and President Lee claims to be going full speed ahead--though to nowhere or oblivion? Korea has great, clean, green technologies that have been abandoned and ignored over the past ten years.

First, national policy should openly oppose oil or nuclear expansion because it’s easy: other native-Korean options exist. Second, oil and nuclear expansion should be resisted because expansion of such dirty industries is a form of extortion on the future.

There are two levels of oil or nuclear extortion. First dirty pollution creating lobbies convince governments to invest in nuclear reactors, oil pipelines, or terminals. After the bait is taken, corporations can hold a nuclear or oil gun to a government’s head to pay for their massive cost overruns because such toxic machines half built are good for little else. Second, once built, construction companies celebrate once more because such toxic creations have even more toxic waste storage costs and cleanup costs.

Particularly for nuclear, these costs mortgage the future and are required to be a top priority for perpetuity--or the rest of the existence of the country financially or ecologically, whichever one comes first. Once started, oil or nuclear are hard to keep from locking in their own extortive infrastructures and externalities for a suboptimal future. Once started, it is hard to keep their politics from locking out clean market options.

Dirty energy is a bad long-term politics, with catastrophically understated disasters while short-term construction interests get rich. Instead, construction industries should be getting rich expanding a clean, green infrastructure. If finance is the art of creating a preferred future, where are Korean finance and thus Korea’s future going?

On Friday, March 11, 2011, the largest ever-recorded Japanese earthquake struck its northeast coast followed by a 10-meter tsunami. It started one of the world’s largest nuclear accidents in previously “failsafe” technologies. Despite this, on the next business day, President Lee without a conscientious blink, officiated in a public ceremony in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The ceremony finalized a future plan for expanded dirty nuclear power internationally with construction of four Korean-made nuclear reactors. It is the “largest-ever energy contract awarded in the Middle East” at 20 billion dollars.

Tit for tat, Lee got equally dirty oil development in exchange for a dirty nuclear deal: “On the sidelines of the summit, Korea signed its largest-ever oil field development deal, potentially valued at 110 trillion won ($98 billion), with the UAE”. That is almost 10% of the current Korean economy, mortgaged to a toxic energy future. President Lee pretended nothing happened over the weekend to change his country’s path toward more risky, pollutive energy despite four nuclear reactors at Fukusihma Dai-ichi blowing up and the other two perhaps soon to do the same. He certainly sleeps soundly.

What’s the Korean, clean, green option? There are two domestic ones to think about and two others to worry about internationally. First, there are completely clean and green Korean techniques to generate energy for transportation instead of a requirement of hybrid cars. Several Korean corporations have completely electric cars. However, ultimately under Lee, instead of harnessing this technological option, his administration spent time creating signs banning electric cars from highways, discouraging market competition or improvement in fully electric transportation, and punishing people for using oil substitute additives in their cars. Already many electric cars go just as fast (or faster) than expensive, polluting oil cars. Energy refills are much cheaper: electricity, solar or otherwise.

Second, it may be mind bending to understand that water fuel solutions have existed for over a decade domestically. Korean corporation Best Korea won the 2001 Prime Minister’s award for their green, clean technology of water fuel: hydrogen on demand stored as water. They won another award from the Korean government for the best patented invention in 2000. The future is here. In fact, the future went by you ten years ago, Korea, and few noticed. Why? (“A Korean Manufacturer of Brown’s Gas Generators,” (8 min).)

Third, while Lee fiddles as Seoul burns in smog and potential nuclear fallout from Japan, Koreans should worry about foreign green futures outclassing polluting Korean ones. Japanese company Genepax has an entirely water based car. (Reuters. “Genepax’s Water Powered Car,”; 1:22 min.) It goes 300 kilometers on a liter of water--even tea works.

Reuters. Japanese Company Genepax's Water-Engine Car
1:22 min

Fourth, Indian (Tata Motors) and French (MDI) manufacturers have an entirely air based car: no pollution in or out, with an onboard air compressor/recharger. They call it a half oil and air “hybrid,” though the oil can be switched off to run on air as original models intended. These air cars have been mass manufactured for several years in India.

A Car That Runs 200 Miles (or Forever Without Stopping for Recharging) on Compressed Air
3:24 min.

MDI's air car even recharges itself via compressed air, so no stopping to refuel ever in this working model featured--one ongoing fill-up completely for free. How can it keep running without stopping? Well, the air car is moving through its own fuel all the time, right: the air? Simply turn driving into the refueling process as they do via an on-board fuel compressor run by the compressed air itself just like the engine. The engine runs cool as well, so overheating is hardly an issue.
Korean chaebol like Hyundai should wake up and smell the clean air: hybrid cars are a dead end with these options around. Instead, Korean chaebol can invest in any of these corporations to expand businesses in Korea to manufacture air and water-based transportation futures or for other applications. (For instance, Taiwan’s water fuel manufacturers have great water-fuel based home appliances like stoves.) Moreover, Korean fully electric cars should get a boost, instead of the boot, from the Lee administration. China already has fully electric car manufacturing.

Nuclear or oil has no part in a Green New Deal. It is a Gray Old Scam of extortion on the future painted green. Don’t wait until the (nuclear) wind changes, literally, or the next oil slick on the soon canalized Korean rivers. Think about a native technological future within 30 years that is electric, water, and air based without pollution. It’s doable. Does Korea have any positive image of the future, or does it only have a passive drift despite a wealth of options trod underfoot so carelessly?