TEPCO and Japan just dodged a Chernobyl bullet this past Monday when a 6.8 on the Richter scale earthquake came far to close to destroying SEVEN reactors on the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant site. The IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and the NEI (Nuclear Energy Institute) spent most of last week trying to down play the significance of the event, and insist that the public was in NO IMMEDIATE DANGER. Based on the political spin of these PRO-NUCLEAR groups, and TEPCO itself, suppose the first question we all need to ask ourselves, is when was the last time you saw a insignificant incident carry with it a bill of $1.7 BILLION dollars? You can bet that price tag will continue to go higher as days and weeks turn into months, and possibly years.
Looking back on Hurricane Katrina here in America, the second question that came to mind, "Will TEPCO follow Entergy's nefarious and repugnant example, and try to stick the citizens of Japan with the clean up and repair bill? After Hurricane Katrina, many lower and middle class families suffered, and found themselves homeless, Entergy used the Federal Bankruptcy Courts to basically hold New Orleans hostage. Eventually, they were successful in forcing government to come up with grant money to the tune of almost $300 million, even though the parent company that year recorded almost $500 million in profits. How many families could have been made whole, had homes rebuilt if it were not for Entergy's rape of the system. Will the citizens of Japan find themselves held hostage in a similar fashion as the TEPCO tragedy unfolds in the coming months?
Reading about the expected costs from this Three Mile Island like event, considering the fact that NEI, the NRC and even the IAEA have classified this as and insignificant event, the citizens of America should be truly alarmed with the Price Anderson Act which protects nuclear reactor owners from financial liability in the case of a significant nuclear event or terrorist attack on and American Reactor. Nuclear Industry damages are capped at ten billion dollars in such a horrid scenario, with our government stating Congress can authorize money to cover any financial shortfalls in making a community whole. A significant nuclear incident, or 9/11 like terrorist attack on a reactor such as Indian Point would see damages instantly soar into the hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars.
Federal law protects NRC licensees, and it is impossible for citizens to buy nuclear accident insurance. Two years later New Orleans calls for Federal Government assistance fall on deaf ears, and the tab there is far less than the tab would be after a nuclear accident. Do any of us really see government making a nuclear reactor host community WHOLE once a nuclear reactor has imploded, contaminating the land for tens if not hundreds of miles around it for hundreds if not thousands of years...forget NRC's false assurances that such and event cannot happen, and instead look at the nuclear fallout patterns in the aftermath of Chernobyl. Congress msut repeal the Price Anderson Act, as the time has come to END the handouts to this failing industry.
$1.7 Billion dollars is a lot of money for a small nuclear incident. Here in New York where two planes took down the twin towers we have 21 million people living within 50 miles of Indian Point. Entergy's Indian Point sits adjacent the Hudson River on a KNOWN earthquake fault, and is only 24 miles up river from New York City. Congressman John Hall's call for an ISA will not stop the wrongful relicensing of Indian Point. Only citizen outrage will accomplish that reality. 50,000 or 100,000 people marching on the plant would force the NRC to hear our voices. Congressman John Hall, Congressman Maurice Hinchey, Senators Schumer and Hilliary, and Governor Spitzer overnight could put that many people in front of these troubled and failing reactors...problem is, they do not have the political balls, nor desire to do that. For them it is a numbers game, and the numbers are all about them keeping their jobs, rather than about human health and safety. If they want to keep playing games, then the job falls to us as citizens to organize and make our voices heard.
Kashiwazaki-Kariwa should be a WAKE UP CALL to all GREEN CITIZENS of America that a Nuclear Renaissance is not the answer to Global Warming. Kashiwazaki-Kariwa should be a wake up call to the citizens of America that we need to demand an end to the Price Anderson Act that protects the nuclear industry and its profits at the expense of our nation, and every host community in America. The NRC may want to rubber stamp Entergy's license renewal application for Indian Point, but we as citizens have the numbers to stop them, even if it means a massive sit in at the failing Entergy owned site on the Hudson River.
One thought in closing...the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa reactor site alone has over 20,000 barrels of low level waste stored on site, 400 of which tipped over and spilled in this incident. The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa site is new as reactor sites go, and yet they have over 2,800 barrels of low level radioactive waste stored on site for each of the seven reactors. With some 440 nuclear reactors operating currently in the world, that means we have conservatively one million, two hundred and thirty two thousand barrels of low level radioactive waste just sitting around waiting for another accident to happen...any one care to tell us where the nuclear industry is going to store all this long lived radioactive waste that GROWS with each passing day?