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What the Red Queen Believes Before Breakfast - Updated
About Nuclear Reactors, Weapons and Waste
The Red Queen on Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Weapons, San Onofre, Diablo Canyon, and Radioactive Waste
“Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said. ‘One can’t believe impossible things.’ I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.'“ – Louis Carroll – Through the Looking Glass
By James Heddle - EON
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Six Impossible Things The Red Queen Believes Before Breakfast About Nuclear Energy
1. It’s clean and green, never has any radioactive emissions in normal operation, and has no carbon emissions at any part of the nuclear cycle from mining, to milling, to refining, to transport, to operation, to radioactive waste management.
2. It’s safe; history doesn’t show there’s been at least one a major nuclear disaster every 10 years since the birth of the Nuclear Age. Nobody died at Chernobyl or Fukushima, and now nature and wildlife are flourishing around the plants.
3. There are safe dose levels of radioactive exposure; in fact, a little can actually be good for you. It’s called ‘hormesis.’
4. There is no real connection between the nuclear energy and nuclear weapons industries, but we need both to maintain national security.
5. Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMNRs) will be inherently safe and won’t produce much radioactive waste, which is, anyway, easy to manage and isolate from the environment for millions of years.
6. A revival of the failing commercial nuclear energy at tax-payer and rate-payer expense is necessary to save us from climate change and will be well worth the price.
Six Impossible Things The Red Queen Believes Before Breakfast About Nuclear Weapons
1. The United States does not maintain and constantly upgrade its nuclear weapons arsenal in order to threaten or dominate other countries, but only for deterrence of potential attacks by others.
2. The nuclear weapons industry is completely separate and independent from the private, investor owned commercial nuclear energy production industry.
3. The nuclear weapons industry and the nuclear powered Navy are not in any way dependent on the continued existence of the financially troubled commercial nuclear power industry; they do not benefit from the tax-payer and rate-payer subsidized manufacturing infrastructure, the university-educated labor pool and the research facilities of commercial power production.
4. There are many enduring roles for U.S. nuclear weapons to maintain world peace.
5. “The conditions do not now exist for the United States to safely take additional steps to further reduce the number and role of U.S. nuclear weapons.” Source.
6. Other countries have refused to join the growing international consensus against nuclear weapons represented by the 2021 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons ( TPNW ), and continued U.S. national security requires possession of up to date nuclear weapons.
Six Impossible Things The Red Queen Believes Before Breakfast About San Onofre’s Radioactive Waste Dump by the Sea
1. Southern California Edison and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission can be trusted to always make decisions in the best interests of public safety.
2. The xxx tons of stranded, highly radioactive spent fuel rods now stored at San Onofre in a flood, tsunami and earthquake zone are sure to remain safe well into the future.
3. The air-cooled, thin metal, welded canisters in which the irradiated rods are now stored will not develop through-wall cracks and leaks as a result of stress-corrosion cracking in the damp, salt air.
4. As soon as the location for a Consolidated Interim Storage Facility (CISF) can be found - hopefully in New Mexico or Texas – the San Onofre canisters will be the first to be moved there by rail or highway.
5. Though the canisters are not approved for transport, they can be placed in protective over-packs for transport when the time comes. Despite reports that coastal cliffs are crumbling under the railroad tracks over which the heavy containers will have to be moved, there will be no problem getting them out of there, once a target location has been found.
6. There will be no need to spend the money to build an expensive hot-cell facility in which the canisters can be robotically opened and the fuel rods inspected before they are repackaged in safely storable, transportable, thick casks for indefinite storage in a secure, climate-controlled building to await eventual transport.
Six Impossible Things The Red Queen Believes Before Breakfast About Diablo Canyon’s Extended Operation
1. There are no credible risks involved in operating an aged nuclear reactor – reportedly one of the most embrittled in the nation and located near several active earthquake faults – for 10 or twenty or more years past its designed lifespan.
2. No inspection of the embrittled reactors is necessary to assess risks.
3. The electricity produced by the plant is necessary to prevent blackouts of the state power grid.
4. The plant’s operation will not interfere with inputting electricity from renewable sources.
5. It is only fair that rate-payers around the state outside PG&E’s service area be charged for power they are not receiving.
6. Diablo’s continued operation is necessary to help save the planet from climate change.
Six Impossible Things The Red Queen Believes Before Breakfast About Radioactive Waste
1. Radioactive waste is an economic and energy resource and can now be safely reprocessed for a number of peaceful uses, and does not lend itself to intentional deployment as a weapon of mass destruction.
2. The management, storage and reprocessing of radioactive waste can be an ecologically valid growth industry far into the future, thus supporting the continuation of nuclear power production, which, as we all know, is the only solution to climate change.
3. We now have the know-how and existing state-of-the-art technologies and containment systems necessary to keep fast-growing tons of corrosive radioactive waste from nuclear energy and weapons production safely isolated from the environment for millions of years.
4. The approximately 88,000 metric tons of highly radioactive Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) in the form of used irradiated fuel rods sealed in thin, welded steel containers vulnerable to corrosion cracking now stranded at over 93 commercial nuclear reactors operating in the United States at 55 locations in 28 states around the country are not ticking time-bombs waiting to be detonated by accident, terrorist sabotage, or rocket attacks from foreign adversaries.
5. The development of technology able to transmute radioactive waste into harmless and even useful substances is just around the corner.
6. It’s only a matter of time before a site is found in the U.S. for a federally operated, deep geological repository where the tons of unwanted radioactive waste materials from around the country can be safely transported over rails, roads and barges and dumped for eternity, that will never infiltrate into the water or soil, and be perpetually overseen by highly trained, well-funded teams of expert technicians.
James Heddle Co-Directs EON, the Ecological Options Network with Mary Beth Brangan. The EON feature documentary S.O.S. - The San Onofre Syndrome - Nuclear Power’s Legacy will be released later this year.
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