Posts Tagged With: Nuclear Power Plant


If there was ever an event to make one rethink the wisdom of nuclear power, its in the news each day. I’m not surprised, but certainly dismayed that Obama is still forging ahead with nuclear power plants. I heard a government nuclear expert speak and declare, “There were only 64 deaths in Chernobyl.”   Lie by omission doesn’t go down well with me. Yes, 64 deaths from the actual explosion, but the clean up crews that went in?  They sickened and died. Many people with radiation poisoning died slow deaths from cancer and other maladies. But they didn’t mention those. Or, that even today, radiation in animals can be found in Germany and other areas affected by Chernobyl. Some people will portray the Chernobyl site as a wonderland of nature’s recuperation. Grass and plants and bushes and herds of deer, rabbits, mice, birds, etc. Visitors are now safely allowed in the exclusion zone, the air is pure. But, they don’t mention the animal anomalies, albino birds, two headed mice, mixed colored furs and feathers, and, in this unnatural laboratory, subsequent generations of mice becoming more and more resistant to radiation. I guess that’s a plus and its reassuring to know. There are also poor farmers who have moved back to Chernobyl and are living in this exclusion zone. Again, a natural laboratory. Their future  is uncertain. The government there is not testing these people. 

The Nuclear Lobby doesn’t want anyone to talk about the fact that lead containers storing spent rods that were supposed to keep radiation out of our water supply and soil for 10,000 years are now leaking. Or that the costs to build a nuclear power plant compared to wind, solar, geo thermal, even dams, is enormous. To keep a nuclear power plant running after its up and working is very expensive. To keep the reactor cool warms huge amounts of water around a nuclear power plant. The warming of water  has a negative affect on the natural life in that water. Regular inspections of nuclear power plants, demanded by law,  have been spotty and in some areas, non existent for periods of time.  Never have the actual costs of a natural disaster like an earthquake been factored into the costs. Why is it that nuclear power is getting huge investment monies instead of alternative, cheaper, safer power? And, alternative,cheaper, healthier fuel?

Our government, even when the budget was balanced, couldn’t, or didn’t want to,  find enough money to test all the chemicals companies use in consumer products to find out whether they are harmful or not. Gasoline additives allowed in California’s pumps have contaminated every bit of soil and water in this state, and, it turns out, the chemical did nothing to enhance the fuel it was supposed to make better. Scientists are baffled by how to get rid of the stuff. Unregulated, unknown, costly…profitable to Dow.

So, now that we are in the middle of a lengthy recovery, and slashing programs is on the table, can we trust our government to handle the horrendous unknowns and disastrous potential of more nuclear power plants?
I don’t think so.

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Yesterday was a travel day, driving the back roads of New York State and Connecticut as we press East. On the way we passed one of the power plants that kept partner Jim here for many years.

Haze or smog covered, we are unsure. It sits on the Eastern shore of the Hudson River near Peekskill, N.Y. The road brought us within touring distance of  West Point, but the internet informed us West Point doesn’t open for tours this early in the season. Its always good to check before you go. It came as a surprise that  Bear Mountain State Park was closed to us because the road cannot accommodate motor homes. Even so, NY City so dominates your vision of New York its easy to forget that the back country in many places is rural and green with rivers and pleasant small towns. We enjoyed the slower paced drive away from the interstates.

We visited Hershey’s Chocolate Factory in Hershey, PA. earlier in the month, thinking to see how chocolate was made. Instead we found a Disney-like grounds with all kinds of attractions; a rose garden; 3-D Movies; trolley Rides; and, in short, a wonderland for kids. In one attraction, kids, or adults for that matter, can put on the aprons and make their own cookies with all the sprinkles, choco bits and candy decos. Fun for sure.

We rode little cars through a fake factory that took us from where the cacao beans are grown to the final mixing and packaging of the candy bars and other products. Very swift and simple; about five minutes; probably perfect for kids attention span, and of course, the wonderful lure of chocolate treats.

In the picture, it actually looks like real, liquid chocolate, but its  painted to appear that way. The kids probably don’t notice or care. There is no one to answer questions you might have. They have an extensive gift shop with some fun products and unlikely ones as well and mountains of candy.

As we drove through town, and  if you don’t read the visitor center brochures carefully, you can think that every attraction in Hershey, PA. is funded by the Hershey Company.  Many of them are. Hershey’s has done very well by the town named for Milton Hershey, who was born here. He funded the zoo and other community projects, but his greatest contribution, with all that sweet money, is the wonderful school he started for impoverished children..
Milton Hershey and his wife could have no children. He built a school which started out as a kindergarten through 6th grade with housing and travel expenses for poor kids from all over. When he died, he left his entire fortune in a trust fund for that school. Now the school goes from kindergarten through college. It includes a medical college, lighted tennis courts, an olympic sized track, swimming pool, a visual arts center and agriculture and environmental studies center. The grounds are extensive and beautifully manicured with spacious individual houses for poor students. An amazing place. In fact the Founders Hall Rotunda has a 74 foot high ceiling, the 2nd largest in the world. He was a generous benefactor and his trust fund continues to support this marvelous place.  He, of course, didn’t live to see this Founders Hall. As long as we keep buying Hershey products, this school will continue to serve a grateful public.

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Karen invited Jim and I for dinner and served Cornish Game Hens stuffed with apples. Asparagus, sweet potatoes with nutmeg butter, and wine rounded out the meal. Desert was poached pears with chocolate sauce. I have to say, dinner was delectable and the Cornish game hens were a wonderful treat as I hadn’t eaten them in years. They were a popular entree during the 1960’s and 70’s for dinner parties but have lost their appeal in recent years, mainly because they’ve become expensive. Maybe the stagnant economy has some nuggets because they are quite inexpensive right now.
But, the point of all this is that Jim was a quality control engineer for a nuclear plant in the 1970’s and he was being wined and dined by the powers that be from a Nuclear Power Facility in North Carolina.They were hoping for his approval, so they could renew their license.
“They took me to this upscale restaurant with tuxedo ed waiters in a private upstairs dining room, ” remembered Jim. “Nothing was too good for me. The wine and the food was the best you could buy when a high end entree at a good restaurant was $10.99 for a steak.
At this restaurant, the Cornish Game Hens were priced at $12.99 and $15.00 without buckshot. “It was written right on the menu. I never forgot that entree.”
He may never have forgotten the memory, but I realized for the first time that Cornish Game Hens, really were “game”.
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