When I was a kid in the 70’s, everybody listened to KGON, the local FM rock station, and it was avowedly liberal: pro-pot, anti-Nixon, anti-war, with a great cast of hippie-ish DJ’s that became like family. As Archie and Edith wistfully sang, “Those Were the Days.” They had a feature in the morning, “Nukes in the News,” which poked fun at the near-daily shutdowns, cost overruns, and other problems that always plagued that particular branch of corporate welfare, and this was before Three Mile Island and “The China Syndrome.” Somehow, back then people understood, and it was uncontroversial to say on the airwaves, that Nixon was a crook, drug laws were stupid, wars were pointless disasters, and nuclear power was about the dumbest idea anybody ever thought of. All these things are of course still true today, but few in our media understand this, and fewer recognize that the fact that such plain truths are still contested, much less denied, is a searing indictment of the way these bozos have screwed up doing their jobs over the last few decades.
President Obama announced recently that part of our efforts to combat global warming would be to “invest” in “new” nuclear power. This cuckoo idea has been a favorite of such “liberal” rags as the NYT and WaPoo, and of course involves large corporations scooping up copious amounts of taxpayer dough, so it’s the sort of idea any politician might find attractive. But honestly, just because the media was born yesterday doesn’t mean actual Americans were, and will never support nuclear power in their communities, and all it will take is the first plant going up amid protests and doubling and trebling of its budget that this idea will slither into the swamps from which it emerged, along with the reputations of the feckless politicians who supported it.
Forty years of nuclear power fiascoes has taught us a number of things, President Obama, so please take note:
1) The private market will never risk its money on nuclear power, owing to the 50% default rate and ruinous risks.
2) There is still no permanent place to store waste that will remain toxic for 100,000 years.
3) There will be accidents, given the appalling safety record of the industry, and
4) There is ZERO public support for this demented waste of money.
Those who would forget history are doomed to repeat it, and too bad Obama didn’t listen to KGON. Whenever government takes a big leap into nuclear power , it always turns out the same, just ask the bonkers former Republican governor of Washington, Dixy Lee Ray (KGON called her Risky Delay). This outspoken anti-environmentalist plunged her state into a decade-long financial and public relations disaster with her wanton embrace of the aptly named WPPSS (Washington Public Power Supply System), which set out to build seven nuclear plants based on wildly overstated demand projections; only one ever went briefly online, and the rest were mothballed, abandoned, or aborted after Bechtel and the like made off with billions in state funds.
This time, the giveaway is even more flagrant, since the federal government is proposing to take on all the risk without even participating in any of the potential upside like Dixy did; whatever fake “profits” the corporate welfare queen, in this case Southern Companies, makes by overcharging its customers for “new” nuclear power it will get to keep to buy lead-lined private planes, US Senators, and such. Ain’t bipartisanship grand?
Had KGON not long ago been bought out by Clear Channel and vanished into prerecorded obscurity, they would undoubtedly be dusting off “Nukes in the News.”