Sunday, April 29, 2007

Why The Independent Safety Assessment For Indian Point Is a Dead Strategy

IPSEC, Riverkeeper, Clearwater and more politicians than you can shake a stick at seem to be putting far to much faith in and ISA (Independent Safety Assessment) closing down Indian Point. Both Hillary Clinton and Congressman John Hall got some press coverage announcing their introduction of bills calling for and ISA, yet both knew going in the bills were meaningless fluff, placebos to make the citizens around the reactors feel good, create the impression they were doing all they could on our behalf. In a blog chat yesterday, John Hall felt sorry that I was/am so pessimistic...lets not confuse pessimism with being brutally honest with myself, and the world around. The call for an ISA here, and else where in America is wasted time, energy and effort, and the sooner we accept this reality, the sooner we can move on to exploring other options.

In the Senate, New York has Clinton and Schumer supposedly representing our interests. Do your homework, and what you will find, is two savvy politicos trying to have their cake and eat it too. Neither Clinton or Schumer has ever called for, or supported the closure of the Indian Point reactors. They are trying to walk a political tight rope, in the hopes of serving two masters. Hillary introduced the same bill last year that she brought forward this year...have you ever asked yourselves why last year she never got so much as one co-signer on board that legislation? Not even Schumer. Introducing the bill gives her cover, nothing more, and she has no intentions of moving the bill forward towards passage. Schumer gives us even less, meekly stating the facility should be operated safely.
John Hall's bill is nothing but a rehash of Congressman Hinchey's bill from last year, a bone tossed to his hopefully rising star freshman John Hall, a means to give him some cover in a still Republican district that will be hotly contested in 2008. Go take a look at the bill, see how many co-sponsors are on's a dog and pony show, a tool to get John Hall some face time in the local media. It's like that TV commercial with the phrase, "I'm working on it."
Even if the above scenario were not true, if Peter Pan showed up with some fairy dust, no bill asking for and ISA has a chance of being signed into law while George Bush is president. ZERO, ZIP, is not going to happen. To understand this, to grasp the why of Bush's push for the Nuclear 2010 Iniative, you have to understand how deep his ties to the nuclear industry really are, and to grasp that reality, you have to go back to his time as the Governor of Texas when the foundation stones were put in place.
Do a Google search for Valhi Inc., WCS and one man by the name of Simmons who with his friends [WCS president Ken Bigham, and WCS board member and lobbyist (and former U.S. Congressman) Kent Hance] donated some $170,000 to then Governor Bush and his Lt. Governor, Bob Bullock. The donations paid off, as George Bush cleared all obstacles for the siting of a Low Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Site owned by WCS, of which simmons had a huge ownership stake in. The fact that the site was to be forced upon a poor mixed (Mexican/Anglo) border town just 16 miles from the Rio Grand was not a problem for Bush...he'd put on a sombrerro, smirk, and all would be forgiven. Despite considerable public opposition, the Sierra Blanca dump was opened, and ethically challenged Bush and Simmons were both happy.
Bush and his handlers wanted him to be president. In helping Simmons, they had found a good supporter for George Bush's cause who had very deep pockets, the nuclear industry. Think about it. He could do a lot worse...GE, a nuclear titan owns a television network in NBC. Having a network in your corner in the build up for a presidential run can never hurt, and so the mold was cast to make George Bush the nuclear president. He was already more than cozy with two reactor owners in Texas Utilities and Houston Lighting and Power. In fact, two of his top staffers had left the governors office to lobby on behalf of the industry (Reggie Bashur and Cliff Johnson).
Bush's efforts and plan to woe the entire nuclear industry started paying big dividends almost immediately. Large donations started flowing in from various out of state nuclear titans such as Duke Power, Southern Company, and yes, Entergy Corporation, all of whom owned or operated nuclear power plants. These were three of the largest corporations in the South, giant companies whose major investors included some of the world's most powerful multinationals and global banks. Big enough friends, to get George Bush to the White House.
The plan worked, and now George Bush is repaying that loyalty. Who says there is no honor among thieves? This reality, this set of facts is why any legislative attempts to get and ISA are dead. The NRC knows this, the nuclear industry knows this, and George Bush not only knows it, but has assured it while he is president. It is reality, it is truth, and reactor host communities have to accept this and find new workable stategies if we are going to stop the continued wrong rubber stamping of license renewal applications for these troubled reactors. Call up Congressman John Hall's office, and if his office staff is honest and truthful, they will tell you that I speak the truth.

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