We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Mad Science: The Nuclear Power Experiment

Click here to access article by Elaine Graham-Leigh from CounterFire (Britain).

What was the wet-dream of the nuclear industry advocates in the 1950s has resurfaced in this century as environmentalism. In reality this new effort is fundamentally driven by the needs of capitalists for cheap energy to keep their system's machinery going regardless of the health risks to the public. It is a recognition that the remaining fossil fuels are likely to become prohibitively expense. 
Nuclear power stations were supposed to produce electricity which was ‘too cheap to meter’, as Lewis Strauss, chair of the Atomic Energy Commission pronounced in 1954, as part of a vision of a futuristic ‘age of peace’, in which people would also ‘travel effortlessly over the seas and under them and through the air with a minimum of danger and with great speeds’ (p.15). The reality however did not live up to the science fiction: building and operating nuclear reactors turned out to take much longer, cost much more, and be more risky than had originally been anticipated.
Besides being dangerous, nuclear power is prohibitively expensive, but corporate advocates in their mad search of profits have managed to outsource most of the risk and expense to the 99 Percent.