The Land Trust is once more hosting Nuclear Watch South‘s
No Nukes Y’all JAMboree on Saturday, August 23, from 4:00-11:00 pm.
AVIVA AND THE FLYING PENGUINS headline this year’s bill with the ever-popular EX-P.A.N.D. BAND, SUSANNAH MASARIE, neighborhood teen bands LOCAL ESTABLISHMENT and FUISTé, Wing doing poetry, Jacquelyn Howard dancing, ThinkSpeak and Joanne Steele singing, and much, much more. Come on out to Rock the Bomb under the starry skies of Lake Claire near Little Five Points!
$10 donation requested, teens $5, kids free. Burritos and drinks extra. Proceeds benefit Nuclear Watch South. For more info: nonukesyall.org.
For Glenn Carroll’s description of NWS’s work in the August Clarion, read on.
GIVE NO NUKES Y’ALL A DANCE!
by Glenn Carroll
How do Lake Claire residents sleep at night, knowing all kinds of radioactive waste might be sneaking through the neighborhood on roads and rails as they slumber?
Maybe it helps to know Nuclear Watch South is keeping tabs on the situation and sounding the alert, as it has done since organizing in our own community 37 years ago. Founded in 1977, GANE (Georgians Against Nuclear Energy) changed its name in 2006 to better reflect its expanding mission, and is still on the job, advocating a safer environment free of nuclear weapons and radioactive poisons.
On Saturday, August 23, 2014, Nuclear Watch South stages its annual No Nukes Y’all JAMboree fundraising bash at the Lake Claire Community Land Trust. Headliners Aviva & the Flying Penguins and ever-popular Ex-P.A.N.D. Band will join Susannah Masarie, ThinkSpeak, bellydancer Julianna Illien, poet Stephen Wing and others to support Nuclear Watch South’s work at a righteous dance party under summer skies.
What does Nuclear Watch South do to make our world safer? Stopping the MOX plutonium fuel boondoogle and stopping CWIP taxes for additional reactors at Plant Vogtle are at the top of the group’s to-do list.
MOX is a controversial scheme to secure 50 tons of surplus U.S. weapons-grade plutonium by turning it into experimental nuclear reactor fuel. (Fifteen pounds of plutonium can make a nuclear weapon powerful enough to destroy a city the size of Nagasaki, Japan.)
Plutonium is vulnerable to theft and use in a nuclear weapon because, even though it is fissile and explosive, it really isn’t all that radioactive. The goal of MOX (short for “mixed oxides of uranium and plutonium”) is to irradiate the plutonium and create a high-radiation barrier which makes it “self-protecting.” MOX would require $30 billion to process the plutonium (creating significant waste streams), remanufacture the plutonium into MOX reactor fuel, and, this is important, irradiate the MOX fuel in nuclear reactors. The alternative to MOX, plutonium immobilization, would simply embed the plutonium in the high-level, radioactive glass log program at Savannah River Site (SRS) using 35,000,000 gallons of hot liquid wastes left over from making the plutonium in the first place.
Well, the Big Money went for MOX (of course) and since 2001, Nuclear Watch South has conducted a legal intervention before the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to block the MOX factory license, working with a national lawyer and Union of Concerned Scientists’ expert to raise serious plutonium security issues that are still unaddressed and currently under appeal with the Commission. The ill-fated MOX factory is 15 years behind schedule, 750% over budget and not one of the nation’s nuclear reactors will sign up for experimental plutonium fuel, earning the half-built factory the nickname “MOX Factory to Nowhere.” Even as I write, President Obama is threatening veto if Southern lawmakers keep trying to resurrect the MOX plutonium fuel factory which the White House budgeted for “cold standby” in fiscal year 2015. Could this really be the end of MOX?
Right across the river from MOX and SRS sits Georgia Power’s Vogtle nuclear complex where two unneeded, risky reactors are under construction. The contentious additional Vogtle reactors are at the forefront of a much ballyhooed “nuclear renaissance” which has devolved into a “nuclear retreat.” Georgia plods along with dead-end reactor projects even as the rest of the world sprints ahead in the long-predicted renewable energy revolution and enjoys record-breaking low costs of new solar and wind power.
Georgia Power’s $20 billion reactor program depends on an unusual tax called Construction Work In Progress (CWIP). The CWIP tax, listed on Georgia Power customer bills as “Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery,” charges in advance for Vogtle construction costs.
Southern Company and Georgia Power used the CWIP tax to borrow $6.5 billion in tax-free, interest-free U.S. treasury dollars called “federal loan guarantees.” And get THIS, Georgia Power is guaranteed 11% return on equity (profit) by the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC), yet another huge, monopolistic perk cited by the feds as justification to hand our tax dollars over to Southern Company.
Last summer, Nuclear Watch South worked with an economist to intervene at the PSC in the formal Vogtle construction review. Our expert analyzed 10 years of Georgia Power annual report data which show flat and declining electricity sales, flying in the face of 4% annual growth projections used to justify the additional reactors at Vogtle. Georgia Power’s unused generating capacity is hovering above 50%, the national average is 17%.
It is clear, additional Vogtle reactors are not needed! There has never been a better time to stop this $20 billion boondoggle eclipsing solar and wind development in Georgia!
Visit www.nonukesyall.org to sign a petition to Stop CWIP and send an action letter to the PSC. Get in touch with Nuclear Watch South to get more active on these and other nuclear issues. And come out to meet up with your Nuclear Watch South volunteers and give No Nukes Y’all a Dance on August 23 at the Lake Claire Community Land Trust!
Oh, yeah, and rest assured that nuclear waste will never move silently through our communities while Nuclear Watch South is on the job.
Glenn Carroll is coordinator of Nuclear Watch South.