“For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.”
– Richard Feynman (1918-1988) American physicist, Nobel Prize in Physics (1965)
“Truth is treason in the empire of lies”
- Ron Paul, United States Congressman, Texas.
Both of these observations are pertinent to the nuclear disaster in Japan. In 1976, the University of Massachusetts Press published THE ACCIDENT HAZARDS OF NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS by Richard E. Webb. It was a completely non-ideological work based on the author’s study of nuclear power technology. A trained nuclear physicist, Webb was an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts at the time.
Unfortunately for Webb, the scientific community had adopted the gospel that nuclear power plants were the wave of the future and were completely safe. But if they were so safe, why had Congress enacted the Price Anderson Act strictly limiting damages for any nuclear power plant accident? The answer was that it was needed to guarantee that the capital could be raised to meet America’s future electricity needs since the country’s economic growth depended upon it. Webb was universally attacked, lost his teaching job and was shunted into obscurity. The book is still available though. You can buy it on Amazon.com. You can read the truth that the scientific community in and out of academia deemed treasonous in their empire of lies.
Now that the chickens are coming home to roost in Japan, it is time to revisit Webb’s study. In 2008, with Wall Street unwilling to finance new nuclear plants, U.S. Senators Joseph Lieberman and John Warner advanced legislation to provide $544 billion for new nuclear plant development. Now Lieberman says that in light of the Japan disaster, America should reconsider its pro-nuke policy.
During the same time frame as Webb’s book, Avery Lovins published THE SOFT ENERGY PATH, arguing in favor of renewable, non-dangerous energy such as solar and wind. Jimmy Carter, during the oil embargo, authorized the Department of Energy to launch a program promoting alternative sources of energy. He spoke to the American people on television wearing a cardigan. Ronald Reagan was quick to ridicule him, insisting that Americans were “not going to freeze in the dark.” On becoming president, Reagan canceled Carter’s initiatives and directed the Department of Energy to develop breeder nuclear reactors based upon their ability to provide an endless source of energy by generating more fuel than they use. Because of the cost and the dangers associated with the technology, Reagan’s plan went nowhere. Instead, he announced that America would always come to the aid of the “House of Saud,” guaranteeing America’s dependence on Middle Eastern oil for the indefinite future.
Saudi troops have now entered neighboring oil-rich Bahrain to put down a Shiah-led uprising against a backward monarchy
out of fear that they could be next. Their actions are as dangerous as the breeder reactors. Bahrain is predominantly Shiah and the absolute monarchy is Sunni. The Shiah resent the widespread discrimination against them, something that is prevalent in Saudi Arabia as well. Iran, a Shiah nation, is not likely to stand by and accept the repression of its co-religionists. Should it decide to take action against Saudi Arabia, the Middle East will go up in flames and because of the danger to oil supplies, the stock market will crash again. It is already tanking so it is not hard to imagine what the impact of all-out war in the Middle East will be. Forget any economic recovery. Instead, there could be an economic collapse of monumental proportions, with growing demand that America intervene in the Middle East to protect its energy supplies.
With nukes now off the table and oil an unreliable energy source, coal and natural gas will soar in price, generating inflation while the economy tanks and gas hits five dollars a gallon. The world that Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller created will exacerbate the problem. Ford, who first mass-produced automobiles, said that the cities were “dead,” as Americans, armed with their cars, flocked to the suburbs. Rockefeller, who proclaimed individualism to be “gone, never to return,” provided the fuel bland conformist suburbia needed as its lifeblood. The entire vanilla American way of life will no longer be able to sustain itself. Private homes heated by oil and cars, the only means of everyday transportation, will become exorbitantly expensive to maintain. There will have to be a mass transition to electric vehicles with power generated by coal and natural gas, something not likely to happen overnight, along with a total redevelopment of infrastructure to centralize populations and provide mass-transit. “Hold on to your hats. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”