Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Ebola Virus of Humanity

Unrestrained corporate power is the Ebola virus of our global ecological crisis. Rooting it out will demand a whole new level of resistance.

The worldwide march for the climate this weekend is focussed on moving us to a Solartopian energy supply, a green-powered Earth. The core engine of our economy must at last be made directly accountable to humankind and our Mother Earth. Until that happens, we are an endangered species.

But those who march must also focus on the real core problem: the nature of the modern corporation.

As currently structured, the corporation’s sole mandate is to make profit. Its insatiable need for more and more money, and its immunity from the consequences of its actions, are unsustainable in any sense.

Its fossil fuels heat our planet. Its atomic reactors threaten us all.... [read rest]
Wasserman does great work and writes very persuasively.

Unfortunately, regulatory capture is difficult to transcend.

For example, the NRC has decided that Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant shall remain running after its former lead inspector (for 5 years!) Michael Peck admitted in a confidential report that NO one knows whether the plant can withstand severe earthquake shaking. See here.

I grew up in CA and i know that plant sits on or immediately adjacent to a significant fault. I don't know how the catastrophic risks presented by nuclear PPs situated on faults can be ignored.

Actually, all nuclear PPs are subject to catastrophic risk, as illustrated by the work done on solar flares, downed transformers, and the risks of meltdowns and fires during extended nuclear power plant outages.

More risk is disclosed by a new study re-thinking the size and impact of off-shore quakes:

Tamara Audi (2014, September 15) New Study Rethinks Danger of Large Quakes From Deep-Sea Faults: Researchers Propose Model to Determine Maximum Magnitude of Temblors Possible in Given Time Periods. The Wall Street Journal,
 Most deep-sea faults in the Pacific Ocean may be capable of generating earthquakes greater than magnitude 9.0, according to new research to be released Tuesday. The study comes as seismologists are rethinking the danger posed by such deep-sea faults, called subduction zones, which can produce some of the earth's most powerful quakes. The quakes in these zones generate tsunamis, as one tectonic plate is thrust beneath another and massive swaths of the ocean are violently moved.
The devastating magnitude-9.1 quake in Sumatra in 2004 and the magnitude-9.0 quake that struck northeastern Japan in 2011 occurred in subduction zones that weren't previously believed to have high probabilities of producing such powerful temblors. Scientists had thought those faults and others like them were too old, among other reasons, to unleash such deadly power.Since those quakes occurred, scientists have been searching for ways to better calculate potential hazards of such faults, which are located throughout the Pacific and near some major cities.
Majia here: This earthquake study suggests new risks for nuclear power plants located near the ocean.

Yet, the US NRC refuses to shut down Diablo Canyon in CA, which is vulnerable both to on-shore and off-shore quakes. 

Remember when the NRC stated publicly after the Fukushima disaster that there was NO RISK of any similar event occurring in the US? Well
DiSavino, S. (2012, Feb 1). Nuclear accidents pose little risk to health: NRC. Reuters,
By Scott DiSavino

(Reuters) - The risk to public health from a severe nuclear power plant accident in the United States is "very small" because reactor operators should have time to prevent core damage and reduce the release of radioactive materials, U.S. nuclear regulators said in a study on Wednesday.

The study comes almost a year after the disaster in Japan in March when an earthquake and tsunami damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, causing reactor fuel meltdowns and radiation releases.

"Successful implementation of existing mitigation measures can prevent reactor core damage or delay or reduce offsite releases of radioactive material," the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in the study.

"As a result, the calculated risks of public health consequences from severe accidents modeled in the severe accident study) are very small," the NRC said. The study found there was "essentially zero risk" to the public of early fatalities due to radiation exposure following a severe accident.... [end]
Majia here: We see clearly now that the NRC is either in DENIAL or has succumbed to GREED by prioritized the profits and institutionalized interests of the nuclear-energy-weapons complex over public safety by DENYING the potential for harm despite ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS by former NRC regulators that they have no fricking idea what will happen to plants such as Diablo Canyon Nuclear PP in California in the event of a large earthquake, on-shore or off.

I believe that the Ebola virus of humanity is marked by the intersection of three distinct viral strains: Hubris, greed, and denial.

Here is today's image of Fukushima Daiichi, in pink with a touch of cloud in the right hand corner: