A major pro-nuke "surge" against the renewable solution to global warming is about to erupt in California.
State assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine) has moved for a statewide vote to allow new nuclear power plants to be built in the Golden State. He wants to repeal the 1976 law requiring a solution to the nuke waste problem before new reactors are built. A business cartel says it wants to build a new reactor near downtown near downtown Fresno. (For more information on the California situation, visit http://www.a4nr.org/)
So the nation's biggest state may soon be at war over new nukes. In essence, it's King CONG (Coal, Oil, Nukes and Gas) versus Solartopia. The core issue is who will control our energy: corporations, or the public.
The irony is that we stand at the brink of the greatest technological revolution in human history. But we're being dragged away from it by Big Money's push for a technology with fifty years of proven ecological disaster and financial failure.
Green energy is poised to remake our world.
Wind power is the cheapest form of new generation now available. There are sufficient wind resources between the Mississippi and the Rockies to generate, with available technology, 300% of the electricity we use. There's enough in North Dakota, Kansas and Texas alone to do 100%.
Solar technologies ranging from green architectural design to desert power towers to photovoltaic cells that go on every rooftop are booming toward a multi-billion-dollar mainstay of our electric supply. Bio-fuels based on sustainable, organic practices can transform our transportation sector. Tidal, wave, geothermal, ocean thermal and a wide range of other green production processes stand at the brink of epic profitability.
Meanwhile, increased efficiency and revived mass transit are the cheapest, cleanest ways to salvage the energy we waste. In concert, these revolutionary green technologies are poised to bring us to Solartopia, a post-pollution planet powered totally by energy harvested in harmony with our Mother Earth. They promise an abundance of efficient supply with the power to boom our economies and save our ability to survive on this planet.
But here's the hitch: renewable energy has the "flaw" of tending toward community control. In the long run, a true Solartopian revolution must involve re-shaping our corporate culture into one based on sustainability, accountability and grassroots democracy. Though some astute corporations are cashing in, in the long run green technologies are the door to decentralization...and economic democracy. A green-powered Solartopia will own its energy supply at the grassroots. Wind, solar, bio-fuels---they hold the keys to community control.
Against all that, new nukes are the ultimate weapon of mass distraction. There have been numerous rationales put forth for building more reactors. Except to an entrenched corporate power elite, none of them make any sense.
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Some advocates claim new reactors can fight global warming. In fact, through their own "normal" emissions, in the construction process, in mining, milling and enriching fuel, in decommissioning, in managing radioactive waste, in accounting for inevitable catastrophic accidents and terror attacks, in weapons proliferation, and much much more, atomic reactors are a global warming nightmare.
Some also claim nukes will generate cheap electricity. But fifty years of proven failure (the first commercial reactor opened at Shippingport, Pennsylvania in 1957) says exactly the opposite. Overall, the nuke power experiment has been a trillion dollar disaster, with explosions, melt-downs, cost overruns, expensive failures, massive subsidies, undoable insurance, deregulatory bailouts and much more on the debit sheet.
Overall, at its ultimate corporate root, the new nuke push is a coup d'etat, a rightist putsch to prevent the community ownership of our Solartopian energy supply.
The irony in California could not be more obvious. The only way the industry can build new nukes is for the community to NOT require a solution to the radioactive waste problem.
The world was told fifty years ago that such a solution was "just around the corner." It was also told atomic energy would be "too cheap to meter."
These two biggest of all 20th Century industrial lies are about to be rationalized and atomized by a corporate King CONG desperate to hold power.
But the vision of Solartopia burns bright and real.
Humankind now possesses all the technology we need to solve global warming and bring us a world of post-pollution prosperity. The new nuke surge just declared in California is an early test in the larger war for a sustainable future.
The question about to be asked in California, and worldwide, is: Do we have the will to win Solartopia for ourselves and our children?
Harvey Wasserman's SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH, A.D. 2030 is at www.solartopia.org. He is senior advisor to Greenpeace USA and the Nuclear Information & Resource Service, and senior editor of www.freepress.org, where this article first appeared.