We’ve been doing a little work near Al Gore’s hometown of Carthage, Tennessee and very close to TVA’s monument to folly, the Hartsville Nuclear Plant. That would be the one which after an untold amount of money, maybe a couple of billion, was spent in 7 years of construction on another one of those infamous GE boiling water reactors only to be shut down when TVA decided they didn’t need the capacity.
It’s a beautiful area with rolling hills, the Cumberland river and great farmland which was only until a few years a major tobacco growing area. Now the unused cooling tower stands as a surreal idol to corporate and government insanity, visible for miles especially when standing in an elevated location.
All I can say is … whew, that was close. Many of us were none too pleased with the thought of a nuke plant in our area. About 50 miles upriver from Nashville’s drinking water, had it gone on line who knows what the outcome would have been. At the least, spent fuel rods would have been accumulating waiting for someone to figure out what to do with them and TVA’s power of eminent domain would have had giant transmission lines spreading out in all directions through the farmland. The worst case scenario would be difficult to envision but we all know now what it could be.
Speculation of using the site as an industrial park and even as a private for profit prison never materialized so TVA is still spending a ton of money maintaining the complex which of course becomes part of our monthly electric bill.
Interesting stories about the site have become part of the local lore. Some have come up with it as a HAARP outpost. More about that here and here. I actually talked Sunday to an old friend who works for the same Hartsville radio station referred to in these articles and all he could say was the stories appear to have come from one source, his former boss at the station. It also seems that the alleged eyewitness accounts/recordings of strange goings on there have disappeared from the web so there’s no confirmation. Still, you never know. The government possibly could be reluctant to let this expensive site go to waste.
As we were traveling alongside the Cumberland river yesterday, the conversation turned to how strong the currents are and that a swim across the river could well end up a death by drowning. It reminded me of what TVA has been reluctant to pursue … run-of-river electric generation. Small scale with some environmental impact but nothing compared to coal fired, large dams and nuclear power. With hundreds of miles of river currents not being utilized, why is this not being considered as an alternative?
Anyway, despite the eyesore that the giant cooling tower is upon the countryside, the Hartsville nuclear plant is still my favorite. It’s the one that never came on-line.
A friend keeps making the joke that “It’s going to be a great gardening year. Just like the Gilligan’s Island episode Pass the Vegatables Please.”
Here’s the plot …
Gilligan finds a crate of radioactive vegetable seeds. The plants grow quickly and grossly misshapen, but the Castaways are so hungry for new items in their diet that they consume them quickly. The plants, when eaten, give the castaways super-human powers. Of course, after he realizes that the vegetables are radioactive, the Professor saves the day by having the castaways eat the soap they had been making to absorb the radioactivity.
‘Art’ predicts life so we’ll go with the Professor’s advice and try and eat our way out of this current radioactive mess we’re in.
aangirfan has a post Foods to Protect Against Radiation and it reminded me of what we think we need to eat that may be to our advantage in fighting off the invisible devils that plague us.
How to Protect Yourself from Radiation is another overview and there are many other folks who have sound advice.
People are talking about all kinds of exotic remedies that may be of great value. Herbs and supplements I’m sure are useful but there’s a problem for those of us of limited means. We won’t be able to get any of these ‘medicines’ and pay the light bill at the same time. That leaves us pretty much with a diet only resistance and on the budget we can swing.
Growing our own, organic, raw, local, non-processed, non-GMO are some of the keywords. You know what to do. I don’t have to repeat it. Suggestions for a poor man’s fight against poisons are always appreciated.
But when the seeds become radioactive … we’ll know we’re in trouble. Gilligan warned us.
This unknown artist’s rendition seems symbolic of our times.
“We’re being swamped.”
music h/t Aletho News
Written by Chris Floyd
Thursday, 29 May 2008
Did you hear the alarming story about a country led by draconian Muslim religious extremists acquiring enriched uranium for their nuclear plants — plants which could be weaponized anytime in the future, putting weapons of mass destruction in the hands of Sharia law fanatics who repress women, chop off heads and throttle all dissent? What’s more, they were given this weapons-grade material by a rogue nation led by a goonish tyrant who gained power only because he was the wastrel son of the former leader. Break out the regime change machinery right away; this evil must be stopped!
What’s that? No, we’re not talking about Iran getting souped-up nukestuff from North Korea. We’re talking about George W. Bush’s bestowal of enriched uranium on his pals and business partners, the Saudi royals, the most draconian religious tyrants in the world. Harvey Wasserman has the goods at Democracy Now:
How strange: Bush and the many beaters of drums for war with Iran tell us over and over that Tehran’s nuclear program must be aimed at building weapons, for why else would a country awash in oil want to pursue nuclear energy? Yet when Bush’s smooching buddy King Fahd and his immensely corrupt court of baksheeshers — led, of course, by the billion-dollar bribe maven, Prince Bandar Ibn Sultan (or as he is known in America’s own two-bit royal family, “Bandar Bush”) — say they want to supplement their oil resources with nuclear power, why, that’s perfectly logical. Enriched uranium? By all means, be our guest!
The truth is that the Saudis have been trying to get hold of nuclear weapons for decades, with the active help of their business partners, the Bush Family. As the New Yorker reported years ago, the Saudis paid Saddam Hussein at least $5 billion from 1985 to 1990 to support his nuclear weapons program, with the understanding that they would get some of the big bombs for themselves. What’s more, this sinister transaction was carried out with the full knowledge and tacit approval of, among others, a certain president named George Bush:
Then Saddam did a bad thing: he messed around with another set of Bush Family business partners: the Kuwaiti royals. [See the postscript after the jump for more details.] That was the end of his Bush/Saudi-backed nuke program. (The Reagan-Bush administrations had also helpfully supplied Saddam with materials for chemical weapons too, then provided him with military intelligence to help him direct this CW at the Iranians). But it was not the end of Saudi Arabia’s quest for an “Islamic bomb.” They simply turned to Pakistan, which, wisely, has never upset a Bush Family business partner. As Greg Palast reports:
Whether the Saudis had the same arrangement with Khan as they did with Saddam — “Here’s the loot, go make bombs, then give us some” — is not known. (Well, the Bushes probably know, but not us peons) The Saudis’ current yen for enriched uranium would tend to indicate that there was some other pro quo for their layout of quid. But even if Dr. Khan has not already given the Saudis a couple of nukes to play with, someone else has provided them (and the rest of the world) with handy-dandy blueprints for building a bomb. And who might that be? Why, that nation-devouring scourge of WMD everywhere, of course: George W. Bush.
As we noted here in November 2006, the Bush Administration dumped thousands of captured Iraqi documents on the internet, including, as the New York Times put it, “detailed accounts of Iraq’s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb.” Just hours after this story broke, six Arab nations formally announced they were launching nuclear programs of their own: Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates — and Saudi Arabia. From the November 2006 post:
As we further noted at the time, these nuclear bomb blueprints were dumped on a world where
So here are your “National Security” stalwarts in action. This is how much they really care about restraining nuclear proliferation and keeping nightmare weaponry out of the hands of tyrants, terrorists and extremists. In their endless, ruthless, relentless quest for blood money — for the power and privilege that war and fear and human suffering bring — our militarist elites are more than happy to put the whole world at risk.
(There is a postscript after the jump.)
Here’s more on how the Bush Family used the U.S. military as its own private militia to help out their Kuwaiti business partners. From a piece written in 2005:
Isn’t this where we came in?
As the story notes, this is precisely the same thing that Saddam alleged before the first Gulf War — allegations that happened, by and large, to be true. There was also a huge financial conflict between the two countries: Kuwait had given Saddam some $10 billion during the Iran-Iraq war to help him keep the “Persian horde” (and revolutionary Shiite tide) from sweeping through the region. In those days, Saddam was seen as the bulwark of the Arabs against this threat to their regimes. After the war, the Kuwaiti royals decided that money had been a loan, and they wanted it back; Saddam insisted that it had been a straight-forward payment for services rendered.
All of this — the oil theft, border encroachments, the debt row — dovetailed with the long-standing (pre-Saddam) belief among Iraqis that Kuwait was actually part of their national territory, unfairly gouged out by the British colonial map-makers to give their court favorites, the al-Sabahs, a nice accessible oily playground. Of course, the whole region — including the creation of Iraq itself — was carved up in similar fashion by a few bureaucrats in London, setting the stage for what will obviously be centuries of rancour and conflict in the region. (The same way the arbitrary, unnatural borderlines throughout much of Africa have led to decades of chaos and war.)
But this is not the place to get into the merits, if any, of these various conflicts. The point is, they existed, and were the root causes of the first Gulf War — which was itself the spark not only for the second, current war but also for the “war on terror.” For it was the installation of American troops on the “sacred” soil of Saudi Arabia that led Osama bin Laden to turn against his former allies and paymasters in the Reagan-Bush administrations, and declare “war” on the United States.
And here’s an historical footnote you don’t often see — or rather, you NEVER see it in the mainstream media: another reason for bin Laden’s pique is that HE wanted to fight Saddam in Kuwait. Here’s how it happened.
Negotiations brokered by the Arab League had come very close to resolving the immediate conflict between Saddam and Kuwait. The talks finally foundered on the Kuwaitis’ insistence on getting their $10 billion loan/gift back from Saddam. When a desperate, last-ditch effort by the League was put on the table, with Saddam massing troops on the border, the Kuwaiti royals were unruffled: “We will call in the Americans.” (This at a time when Bush officials were testifying under oath before Congress that the US had no obligations or agreement with Kuwait to defend it from attack. This was also the time when Bush’s woman in Baghdad, April Glaspie, famously told Saddam that the US would not take sides in this dispute between Arab nations.)
Ah, but you see, there was one other very important connection in the tangled web that led to war: President George H.W. Bush had been a long-time business partner of the Kuwaiti royals, a connection going back 30 years, since the days that his CIA-connected company, Zapata Oil, had drilled Kuwait’s first offshore wells. Despite the fact that there was no compelling American interest in jumping into this regional conflict, Bush had no compunction about shedding American blood to protect his partners and his investments.
But how to convince the American people to intervene in a falling out among thugs in the far-off desert? Hit them in the pocketbook, of course. The internal Arab struggle was pitched as a dire threat to the American economy. After the invasion of Kuwait, Cheney solemnly announced that Saddam had massed a huge military force on the Saudi border. In a matter of days, Cheney said, Saddam could seize the Saudi fields and cut off the main U.S. oil supply. Only war would save American jobs.
But it was all a lie. The St. Petersburg Times (Florida) obtained satellite imagery of the Kuwaiti-Saudi border: there were no troop concentrations there, just miles of empty desert. Military intelligence reports confirmed the absence. Yet this phantom border build-up was given as the main reason for ditching negotiations and moving to war. Cheney refused to explain the anomaly.
Then came the atrocity stories. A comely Kuwaiti lass testified before Congress that she had seen Saddam’s evil minions ripping innocent babies from hospital incubators. Outraged Congressmen repeatedly cited this abomination in their calls for war. Bush I cried that Saddam was “worse than Hitler.” (And given the fact that Bush’s father did business with Hitler – even after Germany declared war on America – he perhaps had some unique insights in this regard.)
But the atrocity stories were also a lie, part of a $10 million PR campaign to “sell” the idea of war to the public. The comely lass was in fact the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to Washington – where she had safely passed the invasion, having seen neither incubators, dead babies nor a single Iraqi marauder.
Where does Osama come in? After Saddam crossed the border into Kuwait, Osama went to his patrons, the Saudi royals, and offered the services of his CIA-trained army of holy warriors from the Afghan war. Let me fight Saddam and drive him from Kuwait, Osama said. But the Saudis and Kuwaitis refused. They preferred the services of a more powerful warlord: George Bush, who used U.S. forces as his own private militia to bail out his royal business partners. The rest, as they say, is history.
Now we see that — surprise, surprise! — the same old national interests and concerns and conflicts have re-emerged in the “new” government of Iraq. Doubtless in good time the new government of Iraq — of whatever political or religious stripe — will the feel the pressing need to acquire weapons of mass destruction to defend itself from outside threats and assert its importance in the region. And the whole ungodly bloody mess can start anew.
History doesn’t just repeat itself: it comes back up again and again, like a bad case of botulism from gobbling raw meat.