Saving South Dakota

On July 22nd, an engineer is selling, er I mean, discussing, the underground nuclear waste dump…um, I mean, research laboratory.  It puts a nice spin on it, when you call it “research”, doesn’t it??  Clearly, this guy is going to market the idea to people–this is not about giving information to the public so that they can decide whether this is a wise decision or not.  The way that this project has been shoved through without much public input tells you that it is not what the public wants nor needs.

We have report after report on nuclear waste leaking at other sites:  New Mexico and Washington StateHere’s another report on it.

I don’t care about geology supporting it here in South Dakota.  It’s not natural and not supposed to be in the Earth.  It will come back to bite us in the arse…we have seen this over and over.  The arrogance is astounding.

They voted against this in the UK, and that is why they want to bring their waste here!!

This decision shows that dumping waste in uncertain geology near one of the country’s most pristine national parks is not a solution. Ministers must now re-consider their nuclear ambitions and turn their attention instead to clean, sustainable and renewable energy.” (Leila Deen, Greenpeace)

Yeah, so the proposed site is near the pristine and beautiful Black Hills…so again, they want to bring the waste and dump it here??

Evidence given by Prof Stuart Haszeldine (Haszeldine), a geologist at the University of Edinburgh, played an important part in raising concern. He said: “This has been a very short-sighted policy, run by driving local councils into volunteering for the wrong reasons: financial inducements. A lot of information is being suppressed in the process to entice councils into accepting technically flawed sites.

In my humble opinion, there are NO sites that are NOT flawed.  And I am sure the information given out is not telling the whole truth about a sites ability to keep the waste from leaking into the ground or water or air.

Ultimately, do we believe in evidence-based policy or political opportunism to exploit communities with limited economic opportunities?”  


It just boggles the mind that nuclear power was given the go ahead without a clear way of disposing of nuclear waste.  And the benefits versus costs of nuclear power is not sustainable.  As Ralph Nader once said — nuclear power is an expensive way to boil water.

This is especially bad when we have the resources, like solar power, to create power.  We have the ability to go off-grid and create our own power source.  This would be the best way to a) create independence for folks; and b) create an energy usage awareness for folks so that they conserve energy with the knowledge of their responsibility.  One has to ask why this hasn’t been pushed by the government, when they are creating such fear and panic about terrorists?  Isn’t creating one’s own power a way to thwart terrorists?  Why would we even have nuclear energy with the accompanying waste sites that could become targets for terrorists?

Here’s a really good article on nuclear waste by riverkeeper.

Each reactor routinely emits relatively low-dose amounts of airborne and liquid radioactivity. This radioactivity represents over 100 different isotopes only produced in reactors and atomic bombs, including Strontium-89, Strontium-90, Cesium-137, and Iodine-131. Humans ingest them either by inhalation, or through the food chain (after airborne radioactivity returns these chemicals to earth).

Each of these chemicals has a special biochemical action; iodine seeks out the thyroid gland, strontium clumps to the bone and teeth (like calcium), and cesium is distributed throughout the soft tissues. All are carcinogenic. Each decays at varying rates; for example, iodine-131 has a half-life of eight days, and remains in the body only a few weeks. Strontium-90 has a half-life of 28.7 years, and thus remains in bone and teeth for many years.

These chemicals are different from “background” radiation found in nature in cosmic rays and the earth’s surface. Background radiation, while still harmful, contains no chemicals that specifically attack the thyroid gland, bones, or other organs.

I love that they make the point that background radiation is different than nuclear radiation.  A favorite talking point of nuclear regulatory commission and nuclear power advocates is to claim that there is natural radiation in the atmosphere….therefore, one cannot escape radiation…so it’s okay to poison us with nuclear radiation.  Um-hmmm.

(It’s important to note that radioactive iodine is bad for you — but iodine itself is a needed component of the thyroid to function properly.  That’s why the thyroid takes such a big hit — it recognizes the iodine and grabs it, but the radioactive part destroys the thyroid.  The only thing I know of that counteracts radioactive iodine is potassium.  That is why they were handing out potassium tablets when the Three Mile Island (1979) accident happened.)

What the Thompsons say they found out during their time inside TMI suggests radiation releases from the plant were hundreds if not thousands of times higher than the government and industry have acknowledged — high enough to cause the acute health effects documented in people living near the plant but that have been dismissed by the industry and the government as impossible given official radiation dose estimates.

This carries more weight for me than anything the government nuclear scientists say.  They are protecting their jobs and the Thompsons were trying to inform the public about what truly happened at Three Mile Island…and they paid for it…

The Thompsons tried to draw attention to their findings and provide health information for people living near the plant, but what they say happened next reads like a John Grisham thriller.

They tell of how a stranger approached Randall Thompson in a grocery store parking lot in late April 1979 and warned him his life was at risk, leading the family to flee Pennsylvania. How they ended up in New Mexico working on a book about their experiences with the help of Joy’s brother Charles Busey, another nuclear Navy vet and a former worker at the Hatch nuclear power plant in Georgia. How one evening while driving home from the store Busey and Randall Thompson were run off the road, injuring Thompson and killing Busey. How a copy of the book manuscript they were working on was missing from the car’s trunk after the accident. These allegations were detailed in several newspaper accounts back in 1981.

I strongly encourage you to click on the “interviews” link in the story.  I can’t link to it here because it is a PDF file.

It includes the story of Jean Trimmer, a farmer who lived in Lisburn, Pa. about 10 miles west of TMI. On the evening of March 30, 1979, Trimmer stepped outside on her front porch to fetch her cat when she was hit with a blast of heat and rain. Soon after, her skin became red and itchy as if badly sunburned, a condition known as erythema. About three weeks later, her hair turned white and began falling out. Not long after, she reported, her left kidney “just dried up and disappeared” — an occurrence so strange that her case was presented to a symposium of doctors at the nearby Hershey Medical Center. All of those symptoms are consistent with high-dose radiation exposure.

There was also Bill Peters, an auto-body shop owner and a former justice of the peace who lived just a few miles west of the plant in Etters, Pa. The day after the disaster, he and his son — who like most area residents were unaware of what was unfolding nearby — were working in their garage with the doors open when they developed what they first thought was a bad sunburn. They also experienced burning in their throats and tasted what seemed to be metal in the air. That same metallic taste was reported by many local residents and is another symptom of radiation exposure, commonly reported in cancer patients receiving radiation therapy.

Peters soon developed diarrhea and nausea, blisters on his lips and inside his nose, and a burning feeling in his chest. Not long after, he had surgery for a damaged heart valve. When his family evacuated the area a few days later, they left their four-year-old German shepherd in their garage with 200 pounds of dog chow, 50 gallons of water and a mattress. When they returned a week later, they found the dog dead on the mattress, his eyes burnt completely white. His food was untouched, and he had vomited water all over the garage. They also found four of their five cats dead — their eyes also burnt white — and one alive but blinded. Peters later found scores of wild bird carcasses scattered over their property.

Chilling, isn’t it??  The stuff of horror movies…only it’s real.

If you want to see a good film, watch The China Syndrome, about just such an event.  It was eerie that the film was released just a month or two before the TMI accident.

Meanwhile, they’re putting signs for “race for the cure” for cancer all over the city….while they spray cancer-causing chemicals on their perfect, weed-free lawns with a nuclear waste dump in the neighborhood.  Yep.






One thought on “Saving South Dakota

  1. Pingback: Business Ethics Blog Posts 7-18-2016 The Neoliberalism Slam Edition – Pilant's Business Ethics Blog

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s