In the Bioregional State, Nuclear Power Would Have Required Local, Ecological Approval: So It Would Never Exist
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
"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 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.
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 www.psr.org/evacuation2011, 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.'"
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.    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)
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    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?