RADIOACTIVE TRASH: Plutonium is forever. Notes from the NO NUKES concert, September 1979
RADIOACTIVE TRASH: Plutonium is forever
Notes from the NO NUKES concert, September 1979
Compiled with commentary
by Arthur Topham
March 19, 2011
“I see a bad moon arising
I see trouble on the way
I see earthquakes and lightning
I see bad times today.”
~ John Fogerty,
Credence Clearwater Revival
“My frustration with the mindless assurance which automatically follows every nuclear accident or radiation spill, namely, that there is ‘no immediate danger’, can be quickly grasped.”
~ Dr. Rosalie Bertell
Now that the unthinkable approaches the very real in terms of the absolute madness of nuclear power and the world, again, stares in horror, disbelief and fear as the Fukushima, Japan meltdown manifests before its eyes, the prescient words of wisdom, common sense and forewarning spoken by Dr. Rosalie Bertell a quarter century ago suddenly take on a new and added dimension for millions of people facing imminent uncertainty and a future that bodes to make Charles Dicken’s Bleak House look like a Sunday picnic by comparison.
With the ominous possibility of even greater and grimmer scenarios occurring at any given moment as the globe begins to experience increasing magnitudes of earth shifting, it is hoped that finally the terrifying truth will dawn upon humanity that they have been duped for the last sixty-six years by a troupe of psychopathic maniacs into believing that nuclear power was a safe form of energy.
Strange karma indeed that the ill-fated nation of Japan, having already born the brunt of two needless atomic blasts, should once again be subjected to an event of nightmarish proportions while the rest of the planet cringes at the very thought of it occurring within their own immediate domains.
As a species it begs the question as to whether or not we are truly self-conscious beings or merely mind-controlled minions of some extremely dark and sinister evil force whose hideous agenda is only now beginning to be realized en masse.
To have, for the most part, unquestioningly accepted as reasonable, logical and sane, the fabulous, psychotic, delusional proposition that it was actually feasible to safeguard nuclear waste for hundreds of thousands of years is likely the most blatant and poignant illustration of just how unintelligent, brainwashed and dumbed down humanity actually is.
Many of the younger generations of activists and thinkers will not recall the famous “No NUKES” concert that took place at Madison Square Gardens September 19-23, 1979. Organized by a team of conscientious activist musicians and artists working under the label of “The Muse Concerts for a Non-Nuclear Future”, promoters Ron Delsener and Tom Campbell and Tim Sexton, along with musicians Jackson Browne, Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills, Nash, John Hall and Bonnie Raitt put on an amazing three day show featuring such artists as: The Doobie Brothers, Jackson Browne, Crosby, Stills and Nash, James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Carly Simon, Graham Nash, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Raydio Nicolette Larson, Poco, Chaka Khan, Jessie Colin Young, Ry Cooder, John Hall, Gil Scott-Heron & Sweet Honey in the Rock.
If ever we needed a reunion and a resurgence of such energies again it’s today!
What follows in this post and others planned, will be articles, information and graphics contained in an information booklet enclosed in the original album.
P.S. A big thanks to R. Cobb for his bitter-sweet graphic including that fine 3-eyed, 3-legged guard! 🙂
Every year, each 1000-megawatt atomic reactor produces 9000 gallons of high-level liquid wastes, plus tons of solid radioactive residues. By the year 2000, the U.S. will be stuck with a billion cubic feet of this lethal stuff, enough to build a four-lane, foot-thick highway from New York to California.
Some of the stuff is “low-level” – contaminated tools, machinery, filters, air masks, clothing, etc., which even after brief exposure to radiation become too “hot” to use again, and must be buried.
Even more dangerous are “high level” wastes, spent nuclear fuel and materials heavily exposed to the fission process. Often in liquid form, these wastes have to be stored in tanks that have a horrendous track record for leaks and accidents. The heat, radioactivity and corrosive properties of the liquids quickly destroy most materials. Tanks that have been in use for just twenty years have already begun to disintegrate.
The biggest chunk of atomic reactor wastes are the spent fuel assemblies – huge, heavy, highly radioactive racks of special metals and atomic by-products. The industry once claimed that the fuel in these assemblies could be chemically “reprocessed” and then reused in reactors. The industry promised that as much as a third of the uranium rods could be reclaimed and that plutonium there could be used to feed breeder reactors, which would in turn create more plutonium.
But the industry’s promises have turned into disaster. The only commercial fast breeder built in the U.S. – Fermi I, near Detroit – almost blew up in 1966, and has been permanently shut. the experimental Clinch River Breeder Reactor in Tennessee has become the subject of fierce congressional debate, and has been labeled a “technological turkey” by its critics, whose ranks include the Carter Administration.
Three major industrial attempts at reprocessing have failed miserably, costing hundreds of millions of dollars and doing enormous environmental damage at sites in West Valley, New York; Morris, Illinois and Barnwell, South Carolina. Reprocessing has also been widely opposed because it makes accessible the element plutonium, a small quantity of which was used to make the bomb that destroyed Nagasaki.
Plutonium eats through just about anything, and a tiny grain is capable of inflicting a fatal case of lung cancer. According to the NRC, more than 7000 pounds of bomb-grade plutonium is missing from U.S. nuclear facilities. [Possible that might help to explain where Israel acquired the plutonium to built its large arsenal of nuclear weapons. A.T.]
Meanwhile, the technology for converting wastes into bombs has become widely known. The continued production of bomb-grade wastes virtually guarantees the spread of nuclear weapons through the world – and not necessarily just to governments.
As of now, the atomic trash is piling up at nuclear sites and no one knows what to do with it. “Swimming pools” used to store spent fuel are being stacked up with two or three times as much material as they were designed to hold, making them as dangerous as the reactors themselves. “Last resort” schemes for getting rid of the stuff range from shooting it into the sun to floating it onto the polar ice cap to injecting it into the ocean floor.
The most serious attempts have aimed at burying the wastes deep in the earth. But plans to use a federally approved salt mine near Lyons, Kansas had to be abandoned when the Kansas geological survey found the site was far wetter than previously believed. Another deep site is being developed near Carlsbad, New Mexico, but experts warn that it, too, will fail.
A special presidential task force on the waste problem has conceded that even a test project won’t be working until the late 1980’s.
Plutonium has a radioactive half-life of 24,400 years, meaning it will be dangerous to life – and must be stored with total precision – for at least 240,000 years.
Small wonder nobody wants the stuff in their back yard.