Deep concerns

Thirty-eight years ago last week– March 28, 1979 — disaster struck at 4 a.m. at the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear power plant in central Pennsylvania after its cooling system failed. It remains the worst nuclear accident in American history. We woke up to the horror and fear that morning at breakfast, and I cry as I remember this.

At the time, we lived downwind from TMI, in Delaware County. I have three children. We were all very frightened. On that day life changed for all of us. That evening I read an essay that one of my kids wrote for an English homework assignment. The topic was to write about where you saw your life 20 years in the future.

My child saw no future. My child did not expect to be alive in 20 years. My child had no plans to go to college, no plans to get a job, no plans to ever marry and have a family. This from an 11 year old! Mothers cry when their children are afraid and she can’t keep them safe. But I could at least try.

My life, starting from the TMI disaster has taken a completely different path. It started my activism, so I could show my child that I would work for a safe future. For many years through the 1970s-1990s I was very actively protesting the use of nuclear power in the US.

In 1998-99, as an environmental activist, I participated in a joint mission of women environmentalists from the U.S., Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and Russia who came together in the U.S. for a week, then together again a year or so later in the Ukraine. I shared and learned much information about TMI and Chernobyl. One of the women from Ukraine was a physician who was working with the Children of Chernobyl. This was in 1999, 13 years after Chernobyl, 20 years after TMI, and long before Fukushima. Her presentation on the devastation at Chernobyl was so disturbing I still sometimes dream of the pictures of those children.

Fast forward to March 22. On that day the first meeting of the new PA Nuclear Energy Caucus took place in Harrisburg and, “Pennsylvania became the first state to host a nuclear energy caucus, a bicameral and bipartisan group of lawmakers that will focus on nuclear energy issues. Nuclear plants generate 37 percent of Pennsylvania’s electricity. The state has five operating nuclear plants and generates the second most electricity from nuclear behind only Illinois. The plants also support 15,000 jobs and contribute $2.3 billion to the state’s gross domestic product.” (March 28, 2017 by Daily Energy Insider Reports)

It appears that the purpose of this caucus is to keep state in the top producers of nuclear energy in the country. And they are using the same old tired reasons… jobs, economic growth, and “clean” energy. All of those benefits can be found by using renewal fuels.

Today’s news. Radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant is higher than at any time since the 2011 meltdown. Radiation is extremely high in the primary containment vessels (PCV). The levels are so lethal as to kill within minutes of exposure.

The high levels are even killing robots and cameras sent into the PCV. The radiation is mostly contained inside the PCV, but there is a leak. There are reports of Fukushima radiation being found on U.S. coastal shores. These higher levels will slow the clean-up process.

Vicki Smedley

Jersey Shore

Submitted by Virtual Newsroom