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Japan's Nuclear Meltdown, the Economic Meltdown, and the Gulf Oil Meltdown All Happened for the SAME REASON

George Washington's picture




 

Apologists for the nuclear power industry pretend there are no better
alternatives, so we just have to suck it up and suffer through the
Japanese nuclear crisis.

But this is wholly illogical. The truth
is that we can store spent fuel rods in dry cask storage, which is much
safer than the spent fuel rod pools used in Fukushima and many American
reactors.

As the Nation pointed out:

Short
of closing plants, there is a fairly reliable solution to the problem
of spent fuel rods. It is called “dry cask storage.” Germany adopted it
twenty-five years ago. Instead of storing huge amounts of spent fuel
in pools with only roofs over them, small amounts of spent fuel rods
are surrounded with inert gas inside large steel casks. These casks are
quite stable and secure. At Vermont Yankee one of them was mistakenly
dropped a yard or more when a crane malfunctioned—and the cask was
fine.

 

But there is a problem with dry cask storage: it costs
money. The track record of the atomic energy industry in the United
States—less so in Japan—is to spend as little money as possible and
extend the life of old plants for as long as possible, no matter the
risks.

We could build a new, safer generation
of nuclear power plants which have inherently safer designs, such as
low-temperature reactors and thorium reactors.

But the owners of the
nuclear plants can make more money with the ridiculous designs and
cost-cutting measures used at Fukushima and elsewhere.

As the Christian Science Monitor notes:

Just
as the BP oil spill one year ago heaped scrutiny on the United State's
Minerals Management Service, harshly criticized for lax drilling
oversight and cozy ties with the oil industry, the nuclear crisis in
Japan is shining a light on that nation's safety practices.

***

Russian
nuclear accident specialist Iouli Andreev, who as director of the
Soviet Spetsatom clean-up agency helped in the efforts 25 years ago to
clean up Chernobyl ... said the sequence of events at Japan's Fukushima I
suggested that the plant's owner, Tokyo Electric Power Company
(TEPCO), may have put profit before safety. The fire that broke out
Tuesday in reactor No. 4's fuel storage pond may have been caused by a
desire to conserve space and money, he suggested.

 

"The Japanese were
very greedy and they used every square inch of the space. But when you
have a dense placing of spent fuel in the basin you have a high
possibility of fire if the water is removed from the basin," Andreev
told Reuters.

 

TEPCO has come under fire in the past for falsifying safety records at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. In 2002, according to The Wall Street Journal,
TEPCO admitted to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency that it had
falsified the results of safety tests on the No. 1 reactor.

 

This
was only one in a string of scandals and coverups to mar the Asia's
biggest utility company. In 2007, the company initially said there was
no release of radiation after an earthquake damaged its
Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, but later admitted that radioactive water
spilled into the Sea of Japan.

And less than a year ago, on June 17, a reactor at Fukushima I lost electricity and saw a dangerous drop in cooling water, Bloomberg reported.
TEPCO's president failed to adequately investigate to prevent the
current crisis, said Iwaki City council member Kazuyoshi Sato ...

Indeed, Tepco has covered up cracked reactor core containment vessel and other serious problems for decades.

And this is not limited to Tepco. As one commentator writes:

Back
in the late 80’s, when I was working for an environmental firm in New
Jersey, one of the temps who came through said he’d just come from
working at a nuclear plant. He said that his design, as delivered, had
sufficient margin and backups to take care of whatever could possibly
happen.

 

The owners thanked him for his work, then sent it to
other engineers who cheapened down the whole design. Thinner walls in
the pipes, fewer fasteners in the connections, less mass in the
building walls, the whole bit. Saving money on the build to pay for
higher profits, higher interest to the backers, and generally
harvesting the value that should have been spread over the plant’s
lifetime. He just shook his head.

The
nuclear accident was largely caused because of Tepco's penny-pinching,
just as the Gulf oil spill was caused by the fact that BP cut every
corner in the book ( see this, this, this, this, and this).

And
just like BP captured the agencies which were supposed to regulate it,
nuclear agencies have been wholly captured by the nuclear power
companies. For example, as the above-quoted Christian Science Monitor
article notes:

Andreev, the Russian scientist, has also accused the IAEA of being too close with corporations. "This is only a fake organization
because every organization which depends on the nuclear industry – and
the IAEA depends on the nuclear industry – cannot perform properly."

And the same is true of the economic crisis. As I've extensively documented,
the crisis was caused by big banks and other financial players taking
irresponsible and speculative gambles, committing fraud and fudging the
numbers, using too much leverage, and other dangerous behavior. See this and this.
And - just as with the nuclear and oil industries - the government
"regulators" have all be captured by the big companies they are supposed
to police, helped the bank robbers pull off the heist, and then helped cover it up afterwards.

Stiglitz Speaks Truth to Power

Nobel prize winning economist Jospeph Stiglitz has been speaking out on this same theme this week.

As Linda Keenan and Janine R. Wedel note:

Stiglitz describes well the intertwining of state and private power [quoting Stiglitz]:

The
personal and the political are today in perfect alignment. Virtually
all U.S. senators, and most...[House] representatives...are members of
the top 1 percent....are kept in office by money from the top 1
percent, and know that if they serve the top 1 percent well they will
be rewarded by the top 1 percent when they leave office. By and large,
the key executive-branch policymakers on trade and economic policy also
come from the top 1 percent. When pharmaceutical companies receive a
trillion-dollar gift--through legislation prohibiting the
government...from bargaining over price--it should not come as cause
for wonder....Given the power of the top 1 percent, this is the way you
would expect the system to work.

Stiglitz points
out that a system gamed to benefit only that 1 percent is destined to
sink us all, eventually, because it means America is squandering its
productivity, efficiency, and much-needed infrastructure dollars. We
would go a step further and say that this system, of, by, and for the 1
percent, is what paved the way for some of the greatest disasters of
the new century. The BP-Transocean Oil Spill and the Wall Street
collapse might never have happened without the promotion by shadow
lobbyists of loose regulation and/or weak enforcement that benefited
themselves and their elite brethen. Japan might not be facing a nuclear
crisis, were it not for the fact that the very old reactors at the
Fukushima Daiichi plant got an extension to keep operating despite
safety concerns. That decision was a byproduct, critics say, of Japan's
own gamed system known as amakudari, or "descent from heaven",
a longstanding, widespread practice in which Japanese senior
bureaucrats retire to high-profile positions in the private and public
sectors.

 

A string of smaller, but still terrible disasters can be
traced to weak regulation and/or spotty enforcement: the half-billion
eggs that had to be recalled last year; a 2009 plane crash that killed
50 people, which Frontline traced back to the "cozy"
relationship between the FAA and carriers, allowing some of them to
operate flights despite safety violations; and several mine disasters
that have killed dozens in recent years. A Washington Post
analysis found that more than 200 former congressional staffers,
regulators and retired lawmakers work for the mining industry as
lobbyists, senior executives, or consultants. Those last two roles make
it possible for top power brokers to shadow lobby - they go
unregistered simply by evading formal registration and refusing the
accept the title of lobbyist, even if lobbying is essentially what they
are doing.

 

***

 

A signature feature of the shadow
lobbyist era is not just a manipulation of public policy, but also an
embrace of "failing upward". No matter the track record, the elite 1
percent seek more of the same. Transocean executives thought they
deserved rich bonuses, as did their unabashed, deeply entitled peers on
Wall Street, despite their staggering failures.

 

The CEO of mine
operator Massey, who retired a few months back, is due to get a
reported 12 million dollars, a year after Massey's Upper Big Branch
mine exploded, killing dozens. And then there's egg producer Jack
DeCoster, who's been called "Teflon Chicken Don." For years DeCoster
has fought various workplace safety and environmental violations. Yet
here's what one lawyer who sued DeCoster's company said about him, to Tribune reporter Andrew Zajac: "He gets fined and things happen to him, but he comes back. He always bounces back."

 

The insulation from failure is galling, to be sure, but it's much more than that. It is both an outrage and
a clear and present danger. If executives and stealth power brokers
face no repercussions for making risky bets or pushing the limits on
safety to save a buck or working the system to their advantage no matter
the consequences, what incentive do they have to act more responsibly
in the future?

 

As Stiglitz wrote Wednesday:

 

The
entire financial sector was rife with agency problems and
externalities. Ratings agencies had incentives to give good ratings to
the high-risk securities produced by the investment banks that were
paying them. Mortgage originators bore no consequences for their
irresponsibility, and even those who engaged in predatory lending or
created and marketed securities that were designed to lose did so in
ways that insulated them from civil and criminal prosecution.

 

This
brings us to the next question: are there other "black swan" events
waiting to happen? Unfortunately, some of the really big risks that we
face today are most likely not even rare events. The good news is that
such risks can be controlled at little or no cost. The bad news is that
doing so faces strong political opposition - for there are people who profit from the status quo.

 

We
have seen two of the big risks in recent years, but have done little
to bring them under control. By some accounts, how the last crisis was
managed may have increased the risk of a future financial meltdown.

 

Too-big-to
fail banks, and the markets in which they participate, now know that
they can expect to be bailed out if they get into trouble. As a result
of this "moral hazard", these banks can borrow on favourable terms,
giving them a competitive advantage based not on superior performance
but on political strength. While some of the excesses in risk-taking
have been curbed, predatory lending and unregulated trading in obscure
over-the-counter derivatives continue. Incentive structures that
encourage excess risk-taking remain virtually unchanged.

 

So, too,
while Germany has shut down its older nuclear reactors, in the US and
elsewhere, even plants that have the same flawed design as Fukushima
continue to operate. The nuclear industry’s very existence is dependent
on hidden public subsidies - costs borne by society in the event of
nuclear disaster, as well as the costs of the still-unmanaged disposal
of nuclear waste. So much for unfettered capitalism!

 

***

 

In the
end, those gambling in Las Vegas lose more than they gain. As a
society, we are gambling – with our big banks, with our nuclear power
facilities, with our planet. As in Las Vegas, the lucky few - the
bankers that put our economy at risk and the owners of energy companies that put our planet at risk - may walk off with a mint. But on average and almost certainly, we as a society, like all gamblers, will lose.

 

That, unfortunately, is a lesson of Japan’s disaster that we continue to ignore at our peril.

The
bottom line is that if we continue to let the top 1% - who are never
satisfied, but always want more, more, more - run the show without
challenge from the other 99% of people in the world, we will have more
Fukushimas, more Gulf oil spills and more financial meltdowns.

As one commentator passionately put it:

Make
no mistake. Nuclear power can be safe... if designed by honest and
prudent people. Make no mistake. The economies of nations and planets
can function well, and life can continuously improve... if only real,
physical goods (including gold and silver) are exchanged in
transactions.

 

Make no mistake. Life can be good. Life can be
efficient. Life can be benevolent. Life can continuously improve as
years go by, and as humans learn more about the nature of reality. The
reason everything is getting worse can all be traced back to the
predators-that-be, the predator-class, and their endless dishonesty.

 

Honesty => life, health, happiness, success.
Dishonesty => death, disease, misery, failure.

The dishonest [...] the predators must go.

Note:   This is not a question of
left-versus-right. The war between liberals and conservatives is a
false divide-and-conquer dog-and-pony show created by the powers that
be to keep the American people divided and distracted. See
this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this.

Instead, it is a question of the powers-that-be waging war on the freedom and wealth of the American people. ... and the people of the entire world.

 

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Sat, 04/09/2011 - 09:41 | 1153126 PPagan
PPagan's picture

Agree strongly about cause. Solution less clear. "Greed of 1% is cause" AND "Greed is a fact of life". True, "Corporations as people" adds a layer of complication, but who put them there? Greed of 1% (humans).

 

History of revolutions shows us: once in power, revolutionaries become like those they replace. Almost all humans have greed; power makes that greed more destructive.

 

Question: who of us has dealt correctly with their greed, and how?

 

My belief: only individual mastery (transcendence, deconstruction, seeing through, whathaveyou) of ONE'S OWN petty, greedy, selfish, arrogant, fearful ego offers a genuine solution.

Pointing fingers is fine and appropriate, but the finger should always point both ways (in as well as out).

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 12:03 | 1153265 blindman
blindman's picture

i like this comment. 

here a video.

http://www.youtube.com/user/peacsees

.

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 07:56 | 1153064 Bob
Bob's picture

Greed is a fact of life.  Everyone has it.  The problem is that the Corporation is a "person" whose only human characteristic is greed . . . by charter and statute. 

Is it any wonder that when these guys get so much richer than real people, the society is ruled by psychopaths?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxAJ4g84xzE

 

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 11:14 | 1153226 Ned Zeppelin
Ned Zeppelin's picture

Bob's dead on.  An obvious fact that people can easily miss. When you politically empower these non-human organizations, whose life is potentially unlimited, they will bulldoze over human concerns via their sheer size, accumulated wealth and corrupting power.  If anything, laws should be crafted to constantly weaken these beasts and keep them within a controllable size - hence anti-monopoly laws. But the war has been long since lost, and the 1% has this firmly under control.  TBTF is all too true, but it is not so much because of the damage to the "general good" their demise will cause, but rather, because they will stop at nothing to make someone else pay for their continued survival. The beasts are loose and in charge.  That is what we found in the fall of 2008, at the hands of dedicated TBTF servants like Hank Paulson, a traitor to the American people if there ever was one.  The choice of political system, whether republic or dictatorship, matters little to these beasts, the former just being a little bit more difficult to control, because of the increased costs of systemic bribery and political and regulatory capture.  But the benefit there is that the outcome can be spun as the results of a free society, when the only freedom you really have in the face of this is to, once in a while, elect Tweedle Dee or Tweedle Dum to office, but never really seeing who the Tweedles really answer to in the final analysis. 

Remember, the world and the US would have easily survived the collapse of some big banks, and the bankruptcy of Goldman, in the fall of 2008 but that was never the point - it was the loss of life for these behemoths, and the lost fortunes of its owners and controllers, that was to be avoided at all costs.  Your cost.

A rich man grieves the loss of a single dollar, and he cares not if it comes out of your pocket to save him from that loss.  That is what you are up against. .

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 00:28 | 1152783 PulauHantu29
PulauHantu29's picture

 

"Why steal less, when you can steal more, eh?"

Wall Street Mantra

'splains everything a happening.

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 01:03 | 1152825 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

It's not "stealing".  It's harvesting.

From the ewe's viewpoint, her baby is being stolen and sacrificed for the lamb stew.  From the shepherd's viewpoint it is merely reaping what they have sown.

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 00:02 | 1152744 boiltherich
boiltherich's picture

Deepwater Horizon, Fukishima, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, every economic downturn in history, in fact everything business has ever touched that was bad for you and me is due to a single motive, GREED!  Watch out for genetically modified crops, they carry more death than all other greed combined in the history of man.  Any six year old can figure this out.  Santa, the Easter Bunny, saints and messiahs, prophets and leprechauns, all bizarre notions we still feed to our kids, and the nobility of corporations and government is one we have to swallow whole every day to get by. 

Perfect example, the Ford Pinto, the bean counters convinced the managers who in turn convinced the CEO and the board of directors that any possible lawsuits resulting from their cars exploding would be less than the cost of continuing to install a 2 dollar metal strap on the fuel tank.  They assumed X millions of Pinto sales times the 2 bucks for the strap that would prevent people burning to death and current jury awards for faulty manufacture and the result was that the cost of the dead customers was under the profit they could make by leaving the strap off.  They had not counted upon a jury awarding 120 million in Oklahoma (of all places, how bad do you have to fuck up to get that kind of award there? I was shocked and happy at the verdict)...

In 1977, Mark Dowie of Mother Jones Magazine, using documents in the Center files, published an article reporting the dangers of the fuel tank design, and cited internal Ford Motor Company documents that proved that Ford knew of the weakness in the fuel tank before the vehicle was placed on the market but that a cost/benefit study was done which suggested that it would be "cheaper" for Ford to pay liability for burn deaths and injuries rather than modify the fuel tank to prevent the fires in the first place. Dowie showed that Ford owned a patent on a better designed gas tank at that time, but that cost and styling considerations ruled out any changes in the gas tank design of the Pinto.

Money MONEY cash lucre, dough pence pennies bread.  The hell with you and your vermin kin, I got mine and my kids win!

Nuclear power can be very safe (and clean), check out Hyperion and it's mini-nuke plants.  They need no water supply, they are small, work on much the same principal as those on aircraft carriers or subs, self contained, buried under about an acre of ground, zero employees, zero chance of melting, they are taking orders for them at about 25 million a pop, small enough to be trucked to the install site, and they produce enough juice for about 20 thousand homes at current consumption rates.  Imagine if we could cut consumption by 50% with micro wind and solar, better insulation and design.  Use on site geothermal and ban plasma TV.  Do you know that plasma which is not so popular here is the rage in the EU, especially Britain, and they use so much power that government estimates that they have to build four new power stations just to run plasma TV? 

Japan, the US, and Russia all have had planning and infrastructure problems related to nuclear power, and all is well when all is well, but it is so catastrophic when all is not well that we simply can't have huge mass nuclear, just not acceptable.  And as the plants age places like France which gets most of it's electrics from power will have similar if not worse problems.  One meltdown there and wine will be so expensive we can't get it.  These mini nukes can't melt down, require no infrastructure more complex than a hole.

The economics are also interesting, and that is what we all have in common right?  An average American home at recent pricing uses $200 per month in electricity.  I use a little more than half that but I am conservative and live alone in a modern two bed apartment structure, in a very temperate climate.  Twenty thousand homes at two hundred per month is four million a month billing at today's rates (about 12 cents per kWh).  A plant costing twenty five million finished and installed cost would be paid for in less than one year, and yet they operate uninterrupted without any maintenance for 6-7 years, and do not need replacement of the fuel for over twenty five years.  When they are due for replacement the whole fuel module is lifted on a crane and put on a truck to go back to the factory.  A new one is installed.  In the meanwhile it has produced a billion two hundred million in electricity without any rises in utility rates from this day on.  For a reactor that has no security issues whatever.  No employees, no cooling, no infrastructure other than a way to hook into the grid, and requires at most an acre of ground which is landscaped because the whole thing is buried. 

But then electricity provided by such mean would be economical, very profitable, at a 10-20 dollar per month flat rate given time value of money, no matter how much you use within reason.  It would be many thousands of small businesses and not a few huge conglomerates soaking us every month.  Can you imagine the sheer joy of putting a load of laundry in your dryer and not worry about how you will pay for it when the bill comes in?  I do.  Heated pools could come back in style, and since energy is essentially fungible at base it would make gas and gasoline cheaper too.  Too good to be true?  Look into it and decide for yourself, I assure when they find a way to make you a debt slave to it you will get your electricity from safe abundant nuclear. 

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 01:00 | 1152815 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

How will the EE PTB control the Proletariat if they don't control their energy supplies?  Have you forgotten who runs the show?

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 22:15 | 1152504 tomster0126
tomster0126's picture

such contradictory spending policy--spend money on military and blowing things up, and pinch pennies on things like education, healthcare, and environmental safety in businesses.  what a sham, the U.S. govt's fiscal policy and Japans are responsible for thousands of deaths due to nuclear spills that couldve been prevented!

 

www.forecastfortomorrow.com

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 21:43 | 1152409 aerial view
aerial view's picture

You nailed it GW! Many of the top 1%ers I know are cheap, greedy, abusive egomaniacs who really think they are better than everyone else and often prey on illegals and honest, hardworking people for their ill-gotten gains.

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 20:58 | 1152270 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

Apparently there is no "greed" among the parasites, shills, and flacks: our masters in DC.

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 20:38 | 1152193 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

Gettin' better but i'll never "be there" for the simple fact that if you ask any investor in a bank "would they like to invest in a lending institution whose business plan consists of getting a bail out" they would all answer "obviously not."  In other words "we're rife with bailout fever always" and yet...if you are to be a successful business you need to stick to business.  To give a specific example:  when Jamie Dimon starts lecturing the US Congress what it needs to do then clearly he needs to gain an understanding what he needs to do too.  (Although clearly he can fly his lear jet back to the White House anytime.)  The question of why Congress feels it should incentive business to do what is it's suppose to do is i agree a little odd and obviously it is the job of business to coopt  the regulator.  But answer me this:  how did Wall Street win via "the collapse"?  (Note to Jamie Dimon--JP Morgan lectured Teddy right in the White House itself and had no problem telling him or anyone else "what the deal was."  Not Congress however.)  the crisis of 2008 did result in for lack of a better word "free money."  but while that might incentivize debt holders who were the ones in fact bailed out--it did not apparently incentivize the debt holders to actually do anything with "their business"--since the prime beneficiary of the "free money" are those who kept on taking risks and just plain old ran their business.  those who have run their businesses "in the name of the bond holder" (Citi/BofA/GM/Chrysler/the entire electric utility industry/the entire healthcare industry) have all been left in the dust.  Should there be a sudden explosion in inflation due to "government being government"--so be it i say.  to take the opposite of what Stalin said in WWII  "quality is a quantity all it's own" too.  Needless to say that quantity is like gold very small and always needed.

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 20:35 | 1152192 medicalstudent
medicalstudent's picture

though nuke power may be safe...

 

its not right to burden the next several hundred years of people with a mistake.

 

free market would not insure a 2-d effup.

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 20:32 | 1152191 medicalstudent
medicalstudent's picture

honest money keeps people honest.

 

dishonest money lets people lie.

 

why do we let people lie if we prize truth?

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 20:00 | 1152084 XenOrbitalEnginE
XenOrbitalEnginE's picture

Yes,  and agree with pitz (minus profanity, as I'm a gent.)

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 19:55 | 1152074 thegr8whorebabylon
thegr8whorebabylon's picture

We're all Somalian now.

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 19:07 | 1151950 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

+10

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 19:06 | 1151945 bugs_
bugs_'s picture

private profits and socialized losses.

having said that the Japanese issue also has the taint of "dual use" which pushed the risk profile further out.  because the "dual use" is an instrument of Japanese national security policy - yes some of that risk was knowingly accepted by the Japanese government.   So there is an improper mixing of National Security goals within the whirlpool of corporate goals.

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 18:59 | 1151928 illyia
illyia's picture

The reason?

We used to call it CORRUPTION... absolutely!

But now that we live in a mafia state it's just normal fubar....

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 18:56 | 1151906 whatz that smell
whatz that smell's picture

the monkeys and their descendants are doomed cause skynet says so period.

praise be the hal9000! may your children mate with machines forever.

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 18:41 | 1151862 kevinearick
kevinearick's picture

The bottom line is that if we continue to let the top 1% - who are never satisfied, but always want more, more, more - run the show without challenge from the other 99% of people in the world, we will have more Fukushimas, more Gulf oil spills and more financial meltdowns.

Unfortunately, I think this comment about greed/lust, which the empire employs to replace more appropriate natural responses, describes a very large percentage of the global population. It would be nice to assume simple ignorance, but all these activities prove willful ignorance - stupidity. Best to get some distance.

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 18:37 | 1151847 Laddie
Laddie's picture

The idea that there is SAFE nuclear power is insane.

It is just a matter of time till the next.

Chernobyl is STILL spewing stuff into the air according to a BBC story a day or two ago, the covering is riddled with picture window size holes. It said that Putin will get on it at the right time, too costly you see.

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 18:14 | 1151775 jmc8888
jmc8888's picture

Yep, an American Gov't using a Hamiltonian system, rather than a federal reserve private foreign corporation, would not have to borrow it's own money, and can fund nuclear projects that don't have to be 'profitable', but instead focus on providing energy as safe as possible.

When TEPCO has to pay off loans it took out to build their energy generation facilities at all costs, you get a situation like we have (especially when earthquake/tsunami occurs).  It of course isn't just nuclear, you can say the same with oil (as said by GW), natural gas, coal, etc.

Arguably the most important thing to couple with energy production is safety in procuring said energy.  In today's bankster world, it's Profit #1, Provide Energy #2, then somewhere down the line pass the gov't captured fools watered down 'stress tests' in order to appear as if safety is #1...hell perhaps even make a commercial on it lauding your safety record.  If you know what Enron did to California in the early 2000's regarding electricity, you know even #2 is not sacrosanct.  [for those that missed it/don't remember....I'm referring to the 'rolling blackouts' in california...which no doubt killed some people....all so Enron could profit (and better hide it's later uncovered frauds).  Now, what did they say caused these blackouts? Regulations.

No...it was caused by illicit profit motives by the 'smartest guys in the room'. 

There's plenty left in the world to profit on.  When it comes to nuclear power, or offshore drilling, the profit motive to repay the bankster loans must be curtailed.  The pure Enron style rape must be ended.  This way, when federally funded [through credit uttering] and insured, old designs can be replaced with newer ones, unsafe practices can be improved upon when new knowledge arrises, and when something is deemed unsafe or having a problem it can be shut down.

Paying back bankster loans (which was never their money since they created it) should not be a reason to operate unsafe energy production facilities.  Sadly, as we know all to well in this world, everybody works to pay off debt or to squeeze an extra percent of profit.  Sometimes both. Enron, BP, TEPCO. 

The gov't can't do better than these clowns? Well as long as it's not staffed by people PAID by these clowns.  It doesn't have to, but people will have to pay attention.  That's how gov't works. (and most in the 40-70 age range...didn't...now it's 'too hard' and they just want to 'shut it down'...even though the fed will still print for fraud regardless) You either pay attention and hold account, or you have what we have, the diametric opposite. 

Plus we can fund fusion, which is just like someone wanting to invest in the horseless carriages in the 1860's or Airplanes in the 1890's.  Ahead of it's time, but not by much. 

As my grandfather once said to my father, you see those guys over there, they invested in electric rail cars and automobiles...guess what happened to those that kept investing in stagecoaches.

But then again, if energy gets scarce, there's lots of profit.  Does anyone think they won't play with this notion, given TEPCO, ENRON, and BP?  Forget the consequences and lead time of opportunity cost, profit now.  They will, at our expense.

Glass-Steagall

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 18:05 | 1151760 blindman
blindman's picture

if risk = probability x consequence then you can see that

the common denominator, the "same reason", for the 3 failures

is the comfort level that develops when one, (%),  has the

liberty to transfer the consequences of their endeavors to

other people.  the consequences are transferred and the risk

becomes 0,  but only for them.  for the affected the risk mounts

from all the endeavors of these liberated 1 %.  the people become

the pool of bad debt, mistaken identity, lost causes, anatomical

deformity etc...  the financial profits flow, at best, through them/us.

to the rescued tbtf and their representatives.  now that they have been

bailed out it is time for them to administer some economic discipline

on their saviors,  using the resources they were just granted.  so,  we will

be beaten with our own limbs,  again

this has become the working model of the financial, legal, military, industrial,

energy model.   so ..  check out these ...

http://archive.wbai.org/

guns and butter / david ray griffin, dr.

Friday April 8 9:00am   1 hour  

and this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCHN-1Yk5LI

.

and this gary null and jesse ventura interview / wbai link above.

Friday April 8 12:00pm   1 hour  

.

 

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 17:56 | 1151738 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

http://www.gereports.com/ge-clean-technology-heats-up-clintons-china-trip/

 

Comments, critiques and photoshops welcome.  Caption competition?

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 18:17 | 1151792 blindman
blindman's picture

hillary:  "at breakfast, wasn't your tie pink?"

mark:  "wow, suddenly, i can't feel my hands?"

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 17:53 | 1151732 CustomersMan
CustomersMan's picture

 

         NEED TO KNOW IF THERE'S ANOTHER NUCLEAR PROGRAM GOING ON UNDER THE JAPANESE REACTORS ?

 

 

       There is some discussion of a nuclear FACILITY for WEAPONS PRODUCTION under the seemingly harmless above ground reactors, and that's why 2 of the 3 were off-line but somehow still online for the work going on below. And that the explosions may have occurred as a result of whats going on below ground.

 

        For those HAARP watchers, this could be another reason for its targeting along with STUXNET. Not Sure, but that "blue flash" during yesterday's quake looked suspicious.

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 17:51 | 1151724 New_Meat
New_Meat's picture

" The truth is that we can store spent fuel rods in dry cask storage, which is much safer than the spent fuel rod pools used in Fukushima and many American reactors."

Of course we can -- especially after the decay heat has been knocked down and the energetic half-lives have gone away.  Say--well, give it five years in the pool.  We have public experience with this, e.g.:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=617XwoqBjQE

and the Clinton-era folks spinning it with "they didn't process Pu when we were in charge."

But, much more important, is the near-term decision forced on the operating plants that they have to keep the spent fuel on site vs. placing it into a rather more safe location, such as Yucca Flats, where your dry-cask solution has been designed to work for long-term storage.

When you get around to doing root-cause analysis, perhaps you could examine all of the reasons that Yucca Flats storage has been killed?

This would help those interested:

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&tn=%22power+to+save+...

(readable, accurate, balanced, especially with the prototype interim fuel storage facility in NM, where the locals are happy)

But I said "when you get around to root cause,"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9peZ5WOtL0

- Ned

 

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 17:35 | 1151659 psychologicalmess
psychologicalmess's picture

i'm new here.  have been reading so much, all the articles about gold and silver.  i don't have much.  some, but not much, and as i read comments on the articles about PMs, the jubilation, my thinking is that with nuclear disaster in Japan, the effects of this, the radiation, not just on the Japanese, but across the world, and already in produce grown in California, in milk and milk products, etc., there's really not much to celebrate.  i mean, you may have some silver and gold, but it's not going to do you any good when it's one big wasteland out there and it almost is right now.  

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 17:49 | 1151712 DispenzPez
DispenzPez's picture

There is a school of thought that says to allocate to food and lead projectiles first, PMs second.  Why?...After a collapse will the oligarchy control the use of PMs to even the black-market level through neighbor-on-neighbor spying for reward.  Conspiracy theory?...maybe.  But when the goin' gets really tuff the outcome will be very unpredictable.  An ocean of Black Swans.

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 17:12 | 1151565 tony bonn
tony bonn's picture

another homerun by the grey eminence mr george washington....

yes the the plutocrats and the their criminal and murderous penny penching and greed are at the root of these great evils....i have seen greed promotion at companies go to extreme irresponsibility....i have always said, pay me now or pay me later but pay me you shall....

it is time for a tax on these 1% monster-threats....

keep writing, george.....i love everything you say.....

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 17:12 | 1151557 flacorps
flacorps's picture

Greed is not alone. There are six other deadly sins, any of which can account for any human evil.

Human beings are sinners.

Period.

The fault is not in our stars but in ourselves.

If you can get past two millenia of accreted garbage and read the gospels for what they are, you will find some grace ... and some answers.

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 17:51 | 1151723 Reptil
Reptil's picture

I disagree because we're capable of much more. In my daily dealings with ordinairy people (such as mystelf), there's two archetypes in this respect: The destroyers and the builders.

Normally these are in a sort of equilibrium. That balance is totally lost. Because ordinairy men have been persuaded that control over the destiny of their group is outside of their hands, because the scale of our society. Thus, subsequently a few have been able to take control, and are seemingly methodically breaking down systems, and this instills the selfreinforcing thoughtpattern, that it's hopeless, since we're not capable of better...

Personally I reject that, it's never just one or the other, absolutes are unnatural.

Whether the destruction is by design (there's circumstantial evidence to suggest this) or because of a flaw in ever expanding society, or both, I don't know. I do know that with enlargement of scale so does the potential of corruption.

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 18:18 | 1151797 DispenzPez
DispenzPez's picture

Interesting points.  Maybe the destroyer/builder un-equilibrium you speak of today is due in large part to a mature society.  Mature defined as: One that has reached some sort of pinnacle of self described safety and wealth.  

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 07:03 | 1153032 Reptil
Reptil's picture

Yes, I'd go even further, and say that's part of the inevitable decay of any human society. It causes the corruption of it's top layer, and the loss of a need for creative change (human society adapting to a changing environment).

In doing so outside challenges and threats are ignored, because taking these seriously might lead to a weakening of the position of those in power, at least that's the idea. The image of "everything is under control, we got this" must be preserved. In doing so, society as a whole is hollowed out. Of course the smarter ones figure out "everything is under control" and even the rule of law is a joke. Which then leads to more corruption, to be able to compete.

We are truly in a society where corruption has become the defining characteristic to reach the top, and all else is subject. This will continue to deteriorate. I think that there's going to be a split though, a part of society that doesn't want to go down with the rest. I'm fortunate I realise I've found ZH and other places, where there's critical thought.

Cheers!

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 10:24 | 1153170 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

Doing a little imagineering, I can envision some cavemen sitting about the campfire gnawing on the day's kill.   Nice fire and a congenial conversation of grunts and snorts.   In the darkness can be seen a pair of fiery eyes, then another pair, then more.   Somewhat frightened, a brave fella tosses a scrap of bone into the woods -- the eyes disappear.

Next night?   You guessed it.   Pretty soon a set of the seemingly menacing eyes wanders close only to be exposed as a cute little mutt of a wolf puppy.   The rest is canine history.  

Today, those who sit about the corporate campfires are frightened.  The fiery eyes in the darkness are the ones they have been tossing scraps to for centuries.   The tamed camp loiterers are the politicians who have been civilized to a degree, but the canine teeth are still there, ready to devour.  

The original "producers" have plundered the land and squandered the resources -- and they know the time has come to either move to the next fertile valley or stand and fight the hungry hordes.  A point is reached at which scraps from the fruits of industry no longer satiate the masses.  We are there.

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 17:22 | 1151604 DispenzPez
DispenzPez's picture

+1. Undermine the pillar of discipline, that's required to follow a truly just course, from the foundation and rot will take its place.  How many sheeple are watching American Idol right now on their DVR?

 

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 17:03 | 1151493 Amish Hacker
Amish Hacker's picture

I can't remember when there were this many flavors of dishonesty, at practically every level. The US housing market melted down because or the connivance of appraisers, inspectors, brokers, ratings agencies, investment banks, and on down the line, not one of them telling the truth. Fukushima melted down for the same reason, because the contractors, inspectors, engineers and managers failed to show any integrity.

Welcome to the New Normal, where worthless assets are valued at par because they're going to be "held to maturity," where financial markets are managed for the express purpose of preventing price discovery, and where common sense is as rare as common courtesy.

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 20:54 | 1152256 XPolemic
XPolemic's picture

I can't remember when there were this many flavors of dishonesty, at practically every level. 

Of course you can not. The last time the West had an Empire of this size was 2000 years ago. There is nothing unusual about current events in a historical sense, but there are some interesting precedents in the modern age.

First, we are in the atomic age. That does NOT bode well if this collapse becomes a global war.

Second, we have 7 billion mouths to feed, with diminishing yields and rising food insecurity.

Third, events are transmitted instantly around the world through a global communications network,producing reactions to those events that create even events, which also produce reactions, spiralling faster and faster. This implies that once the party gets started, it will spiral out of control faster than anyone predicts.

I think this century is going to be rather extreme. That is if we make it to the end of the century.

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 17:14 | 1151574 DispenzPez
DispenzPez's picture

Infuriating, agreed.

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 16:57 | 1151447 Bartanist
Bartanist's picture

Or, if you prefer the longer term plan:

http://www.jayweidner.com/TheCulling1.html

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 16:53 | 1151430 ParisianThinker
ParisianThinker's picture

Now listen up. Marc Faber said today that the 1% have to cheat the system because they are outnumbered by the poor. They are the only ones who "work" and the rest just want "more" entitlements and to be loafers.

If you can stand to listen to his interview today on CNBC, good for you. Business must be bad. I have now cancelled my subscription.

He sounds more and more like the incoherent Gaffafi.

See http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000015563

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 06:33 | 1153015 Reptil
Reptil's picture

His comments are instrumental in that he echos the sentiments of that part of society perfectly. And I know, I've been there in an earlier period in my life (before I became too disgusted of it all and just left).

The sense of entitlement, coupled with an assumption of a positive development, because of their leadership, mirrored onto the life (read: failure to get to the top) of the common person, is not based in any reality.

This article I can only agree with: http://www.oftwominds.com/blogjan11/Elite-privilege01-11.html

Thus, these people have clearly become incapable of real leadership.

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 16:49 | 1151394 rosiescenario
rosiescenario's picture

...as mentioned, the thorium cycle reactor design has some big advantages.

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 18:15 | 1151794 New_Meat
New_Meat's picture

perhaps, but none wrt spent fuel.  Same w/fusion "activations". - Ned

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 16:45 | 1151363 anony
anony's picture

Absolutely.

In summary:

"The Law of (un)intended Consequences".

Detail:

The Men, primarily, are badly flawed human beans. 

They don't think so because their larger than average brains got them to a certain level, and therefore they assume they are near perfect, nearly infallible. 

Others either don't care about or are unwillling to admit they are totally ignorant of the long-term consequences of their actions, or because they think they will be dead before their power---- that allowed them to effect change of any kind---comes back to haunt them  e.g. Greenspan, Abe Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Hitler, Clinton, Bush, Frank, Dodd, Cox, Rubin, and so many others it would take years to list them all.

This has all been captured long ago:

Outsized Pride, lack of humility, hubris. Unhealthy self-regard. 

Arrogance as demonstrated by Lord Blankfein and his zionist minions on Wall Street, Fleet Street, in Cameroon, and Hong Kong, backed up by a few strategically placed completely corrupt government officials (Geithner, the bernank, Chris Cox, Hank Paulson, clinton, bush, Grahamm, Leach, Bliley, etc) that rewards them for utter failure at the expense of everyone else on the planet, and the power to steal from everyone without consequence.  Truly, Midases everyone of them. Simply print their way out of their own troubles.

 

 

 

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 16:46 | 1151362 anony
anony's picture

.

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 17:36 | 1151342 Reptil
Reptil's picture

Nailed it GW.

And no, german spent fuel is transported (by train) to Le Havre (Normandy, France) reprocessed, and then the waste is shipped off to Russia, to be dumped in some unknown Siberian forest. That was the italian nuclear waste that was shipped off to be buried in fresh water wells in Somalia and under a few metres of sand on their (once) rich fishing grounds. And some of it was put on boats and sunk off near italian holliday maker destinations. (I'm not in the slightest way making a joke. Reality is far more cruel than I ever hope to be.)
Of course this is arguably better than pressing it into grenade tips and shooting it at reïnforced steel, so that it vaporises in a hot toxic dustcloud, and renders large swaths of land permanently uninhabitable.

"Long term survival trumps short term greed" It's a very simple but yet for modern individuals a very complicated subject. Our leaders have become insane, and urgently need to be disposed of. It's either that or going extinct within a few generations.

Ponder this please? The sun puts out EM alongside it's solar flames. Occasionally these are not met by the earth's magnetic field, and not deflected back into space. Occasionally, like in the 19th century these break through, and cause every electronic circuit to melt in on itself. Apart from the total chaos and a setback to ehm 1200 AD, we'd then have a thousand fission plants that will spontaniously start an uncontrolled meltdown. If so, it'll look like a unique concert of a thousand runaway nukes blowing the fission tune like mad, angry trumpets.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/04/storms2012/

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Geomagnetic_reversal#Futu...

http://www.scribd.com/doc/1442512/US-Air-Force-space-weather

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1553/1 (second paragraph)

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tomchivers/100008500/nasas-2013-sol... (bit of a bullshit article, but some good links)

Add to that the fact that the sun is extraordinarally active, since we're entering a part of space that energises our sun and planets, and that we're "overdue" on a polar shift and reset, and I think we have the perfect automated "selfdestruct" primed and waiting... 2013 they expect a big one.

WE HAVE TO TURN THOSE NUKES OFF

http://cdn0.sbnation.com/imported_assets/471134/5kg4k1.jpg

I need a beer.

Good weekend everybody..

 

Sun, 04/10/2011 - 04:31 | 1154588 MSimon
MSimon's picture

If you are seriously worried about uranium don't go near the beach. The sand is full of uranium. And don't use cement to make your buildings. It is full of sand. And ciner blocks? Very bad. It is porous.

The hazards of uranium and DU are vastly over rated.

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 19:58 | 1152081 George Washington
George Washington's picture

Reptil: You make a great point.  I wrote it up:


When This Happens, Most Nuclear Power Plants in the World Could Melt Down

Cheers

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