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Obama’s SOTU emphasis on fossil fuels and nuclear power: colluding with special interests, denying science, destroying the planet, killing all the people

Installment 2

By Summers Marshall Jefferson


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February 19, 2012


Word Key (to date):

Dick and Dub:  former V.P. Dick Cheney, and former president, George W.

ASSi:  A shill for special interests: (Wikipedia definition of shill:  “A shill, plant or stooge is a person who helps a person or organization without disclosing that he or she has a close relationship with that person or organization.”)

Fossil fuel speak (oilspeak, gasspeak, coalspeak):  Propaganda and talking points of the fossil fuel industry, delivered to ASSi politicians and pundits, to be repeated to uninformed Americans. (“We need less regulation”)

Nuclearspeak:  Propaganda from the nuclear power industry…(e.g., “clean” nuclear energy)

Wake Up, Uninformed America

Any American with a brain the size of a pea should be aware that most incumbent Republican Congressional and Gubernatorial elected officials, as well as most past and present wannabe Republican Presidential candidates (which includes those now debating one another), are bought-and-paid-for shills for special interests.

Those who now hold elected office routinely and flagrantly commit the “ultimate betrayal”.  In the case of Senators and Representatives, they’re elected by the voting citizens of their states and sent to Congress specifically to represent the needs and best interests of the majority of their constituents.  They’re paid an annual salary of approximately $175,000, which places them in the top 10% of wage-earners in America (a recent poll showed the top 10% of American wage-earners average $164,000 annually), and they receive a multitude of benefits that accompanies their salary.  The average American worker would be happy to receive such a salary, with or without perks.

But $175,000 annually is considered chump-change to Republican members of Congress, who receive millions of dollars in campaign contributions (and from insider-trading information) by representing the wishes of the wealthiest 1% of Americans—their largest donors and “handlers”-- while ignoring the interests and needs of the 99% majority of voters who elected them and sent them to Washington in the first place.  Therein lies the ultimate betrayal.

Yet, about half of American voters in the 99% majority bracket appear to have less than pea-sized brains, witnessed by the fact that they continually vote against their own interests, for Republican candidates who routinely betray their trust time and again.  Go figure.

The point remains: If your annual income places you in the 99% of Americans, you have no good reason to vote for a Republican candidate.

This is not to say that Democrats don’t also solicit and receive corporate funding, and thereby place themselves in a position to legislate in favor of their largest contributors.  One has only to Google, “How much money did oil companies contribute to John McCain—(or to Barack Obama)—in  the 2008 Presidential election” to learn the amount each received.

Democrats just aren’t so blatant and flagrant about it, and they aren’t the outspoken shills for special interests that their Republican counterparts are.

It’s a sad statement of our times that the “Citizens United”, Supreme Court decision of January 21, 2010 has placed our democracy in jeopardy by allowing both national and international corporations to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in an attempt to buy the candidates of their choice in any election, and to spend an equal amount to discredit and defeat the candidate that opposes their views.

Consider the following statements from, “Most Biased Supreme Court Decision Since Dred Scott, 1857”, by Warren Turner, written February 1, 2010, days after the “Citizens United” decision:

 “Just 10 days ago, in the Supreme Court’s most radical intervention into politics ever, and with the most overtly-biased decision ever handed down by the United States Supreme Court, we, the people, lost our individual freedom to elect political candidates of our choice in every jurisdiction in America, in a partisan Supreme Court decision now projected to permit the corporate takeover of our electoral system.”

“Corporations, those metaphorical inventions of mankind, which have (1) “no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires”, and which are further known to swallow up their own kind, have now been granted the same rights as individuals under the “Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission” ruling. January 21, 2010, will now live in infamy as the day individuals lost their democratic voices to corporations.”

“Corporations, both domestic and multinational, now have the ability to spend all the money they wish to elect American political candidates who reflect their policies and goals, and to spend a similar amount of money to defeat those candidates who oppose their policies and goals.”

“What does this mean? In a local, county, state or federal election, for every campaign ad placed by a political candidate without corporate support, a corporate-sponsored candidate can (and will) place 100 campaign ads—or 1,000 campaign ads if corporations choose--thereby inundating media streams and subsequent American political elections with candidates who are no more than spokespersons for special interests.”


*****(My comment):

Still think our founding fathers considered “we, the people”, and “corporations” as equals after reading Jefferson’s following statement, from the above source - “Most Biased Supreme Court Decision Since Dred Scott, 1857”?

“But Thomas Jefferson said it best in a letter to George Logan on November 12, 1816: “I hope we shall…crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and to bid defiance to the laws of our country”.”

*****Of course the “Citizens United” ruling places both Democratic and Republican incumbents and candidates for public office in the compromising position of accepting campaign contributions from the wealthiest corporate donors (and subsequently supporting corporate legislative interests and goals), to balance any financial support their opponents might receive—even though these corporations might be major environmental polluters.

By contributing substantial amounts to both parties’ candidates, corporate legislative interests are assured, no matter the outcome of the election; another winner for the 1% (versus the 99%).


On Friday night, February 17, 2012, on the HBO, “Real Time” show, hosted by Bill Maher, I listened to a brief discussion of  energy by Bill and two of his panel members, Elliott Spitzer and Stephen Moore. 

Bill Maher mentioned that the Obama administration had just approved funding for a new, nuclear power plant—the first to be built in 30 years--, and stated that although he did not specifically care for nuclear energy, he believed it to be cleaner than fossil fuel energy.

Immediately, Stephen Moore a shill for special interests, began extolling  the virtues of natural gas (and everything else, corporate); and Elliott Spitzer (generally one of the brightest people in the room on most issues) stated his belief that natural gas was a good intermediate fuel until wind and solar energy could be developed, nationwide.

Bill Maher has written a new book titled, “New, New Rules: A funny look at how everybody but me has their head up their ass.  My suggestion for Bill would be to change the title of his book to, “When it comes to the subject of energy, I, and all of my guests, also have our heads up our asses.” 

I’ve yet to see an invitee on the show who is proficient on the topic of renewable energy, in general, and renewable fuel in particular, produced from appropriate crops grown by American farmers within American borders; such information could very well save us all from global warming and/or nuclear holocaust. (Such information will be contained in my next installment.)

There’s certainly been no discussion forthcoming about the most important subject in American politics—a clearly defined, safe and sane, national energy policy.  And we’ll never hear an intelligent discussion of energy policy and sensible, alternative energy sources from ASSi politicians who are in the pockets of fossil fuel and nuclear energy companies.  We’ll only hear nuclearspeak and fossil fuelspeak.

For Stephen Moore, a shill for the fossil fuel industry (and every other special interest), there’s little to be said.  His head is so far up the ass of the fossil fuel industry that his feet are barely visible.

And for Elliott Spitzer, I would advise that he read about the glaring and dangerous absurdity of including natural gas in our national energy policy that I wrote about in my first installment, “Obama’s State of the Union address: environmentally irresponsible, life threatening, and unacceptable.”

It appears that none of the three has seen Josh Fox’s brilliant “Gasland” documentary, though it has been written about and talked about and aired on PBS numerous times in the past year, and it still can be downloaded for free AND viewed free online at the internet site of,  It is a prerequisite for anyone wishing to learn about “fracking” for natural gas to watch this hour-long documentary, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2011.

Mr. Spitzer’s state of New York is smack-dab in the middle of the Marcellus Shale formation, and gas companies will soon be “fracking” for gas right in his own back yard.  This will give him the opportunity to experience first-hand the wonderful world of (un-named and proprietary) carcinogenic compounds contaminating the soil and water and air in his vicinity.

For these three, collectively, and all other Americans who are uninformed on the subject of fossil fuel energy—energy derived from coal, oil, and natural gas--please Google any questions you may have as soon as possible, and don’t speak for or against any specific form of energy until you actually know something about it.  Misinformation is much worse than no information at all. 

Energy is THE most important subject of our times, because energy policy and all its diverse ramifications impact the life or death of planet Earth, and the life or death of all life forms that a healthy planet supports—including our own lives.

What would be more ignorant than to destroy our planet to support our energy needs, particularly when there are far safer and more sensible ways of providing the energy we require?

Be aware that the polluters who don’t give a twit about the environment (and constantly demand “less regulation”), who care only about their own enrichment and their corporations’ bottom lines, are blasting and drilling as you’re reading this, blowing away our mountains, drilling beneath our oceans, and blasting their fracking chemicals beneath the lawns in America’s back yards; and they exist and prosper because they support our elected officials and disseminate misinformation to an uninformed citizenry.

I wonder how many people realize that Mercury found in the fish we eat is deposited in ocean waters by coal-fired power plants?  How many know that the escalation in ocean acidity and water temperature comes from CO2 sequestered there from burning fossil fuels? And because they can only exist at finite levels of temperature and acidity, coral reefs will be gone by the year 2050 - their loss is irreversible, and losing coral reefs is the equal of losing rain forests?

Want to see the last remaining glaciers in Montana’s Glacier National Park?
Better hurry along; a hundred years ago there were 150 glaciers of 25 acres or more, and today, only 25 exist.  And from the accelerated effects of global warming, those 25 glaciers are predicted to be history by the year 2020.

How many people are aware that 550 mountaintops in the Appalachian range of Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky have been leveled to the ground, compromising human health and devastating the environment in the process?  How many are aware that every time we turn on a light switch, 40% of that energy comes from coal-fired power plants, the dirtiest form of fossil fuel energy?

Every American should make it a point to watch Phylis Geller’s award-winning documentary, “Coal Country”, which gives the same insight into the coal industry as “Gasland” provides for the natural gas industry.


Appalachian Heartbreak—Time to End Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining.

“Coal is America’s dirtiest energy source—and the country’s leading source of global warming pollution. Pollution from coal plants produces dirty air, acid rain, and contaminated land and water.
“Nowhere is the debate over how far we are willing to go for inexpensive energy more contentious than in the coalfields of Appalachia. It is there—between the hollows of West Virginia, beyond the bluegrass of Kentucky, bordering the Blue Ridge of Virginia, and above the smoky vistas of Tennessee—where mining companies are blowing up America’s oldest mountains to get the coal beneath the peaks. Without a doubt, mountaintop removal is the world’s worst coal mining. Often referred to as “strip mining on steroids,” it is scarring the landscape and threatening communities throughout Appalachia.

Instead of extracting the coal by underground mining, mountaintop removal uses explosive charges and large machinery to remove the mountain and get to the coal. More than 500 mountaintops have already been destroyed and more than one million acres of forest have been clear-cut. Well over a thousand miles of valley streams have been buried under tons of rubble, polluting drinking water and threatening the health and safety of all who make their home in the region.

Ultimately, mountaintop removal is a symptom of failed federal energy and environmental policy and a conscious effort on the part of the mining industry itself to keep consumers, businesses, financers and state and local government in the dark about the extent of extraction-related harm from coal use.”

(Rob Perks:  Natural Resources Defense Council.)

I simply can’t believe that in this internet age, when one has only to type the words--“what are the environmental dangers of drilling for natural gas”, or, “what are the environmental dangers of coal mining”, or, what are the environmental dangers of burning coal”, or, what are the environmental dangers of drilling for oil”, or, what are the environmental dangers of burning gasoline”, into any computer search engine--NOBODY is doing it.


Why won’t anyone in a leadership role speak for the obvious benefits of renewable energy and renewable fuel, which is available to us right now, and can easily be implemented by government policy and legislation, right this minute; near-perfect, clean fuels, produced from fuel crops grown by American farmers within American borders, that do not release CO2 and methane and other pollutants which are sequestered in our atmosphere and our oceans?

Of course I realize that the voice of nearly every politician and pundit has been bought-and-paid-for by the fossil fuel industry, and thereby slanted or silenced; but surely somebody in a leadership position must speak the truths voiced by every competent scientist on earth…mustn’t they?

Certainly, patriotic and responsible Americans won’t stand stoically by and allow the collusion of government and the fossil fuel/nuclear power industries to destroy the planet and kill us all…will we?

President Obama has set in motion—against all competent, scientific evidence and information—a fossil fuel energy policy that will destroy the planet; expanded exploration and drilling for oil and gas all over the United States and in the Arctic; drilling off our shores, in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and in the Gulf of Mexico; and a continuation of mountain top removal coal mining that daily damages the environment and jeopardizes human health for all those living in the blasting/drilling area.

Although the stated reasons for accelerating the exploration and drilling of fossil fuels in this country are to reduce the amount of fossil fuels we import, the simple scientific fact is that continued burning of ALL fossil fuels is harmful to the environment, no matter their source; and accessing fossil fuels from within our own country by drilling and fracking and blasting is more harmful to our own environment and our own human health.

It is simply unfathomable at this point in time for any President to advocate accelerated exploration and drilling for fossil fuels.  Despite the denial of global warming by ignorant politicians and pundits who are shills of the fossil fuel industry, climate change caused by manmade emissions of CO2 from burning fossil fuels is a universally-accepted scientific fact.

(From Wikipedia)

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned in November 2011 that extreme weather will strike as climate change takes hold. Heavier rainfall, storms and droughts can cost billions and destroy lives. Estimates suggest that every dollar invested in adaptation to climate change could save $60 in damages.


Since the first United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio De Janeiro in June, 1992, produced the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change--annual, international meetings have been held (through the UNFCCC meeting in Durban, South Africa, in November/December, 2011), to address the stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.   As of May, 2011, 194 countries were signatory to UNFCCC.


Further, our president is reviving and providing funding for a renewed and disaster-ridden program of nuclear power that was laid to rest among concerns for human life and environmental disaster more than 30 years ago, when Obama was a teenager of sixteen.

Every American should read, “Insurmountable Risks: the Danger of Using Nuclear Power to Combat Global Climate Change”, a report by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, by Brice Smith. 

It’s available online and can be downloaded for free, and is a comprehensive rebuttal of any attempt to mitigate climate change with the use of nuclear power.

Every American should also read, “Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy”, a joint project of the Nuclear Policy Research Institute and the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, by Arjun Makhijani, Ph.D., downloadable, free, at:  

The central finding of Dr. Makhijani’s book is this:

Central Finding

The overarching finding of this study is that a zero-CO2 U.S. economy can be achieved within the next thirty to fifty years without the use of nuclear power and without acquiring carbon credits from other countries. In other words, actual physical emissions of CO2 from the energy sector can be eliminated with technologies that are now available or foreseeable. This can be done at reasonable cost while creating a much more secure energy supply than at present. Net U.S. oil imports can be eliminated in about 25 years. All three insecurities – severe climate disruption, oil supply and price insecurity, and nuclear proliferation via commercial nuclear energy – will thereby be addressed. In addition, there will be large ancillary health benefits from the elimination of most regional and local air pollution, such as high ozone and particulate levels in cities, which is due to fossil fuel combustion.

By the end of the century, climate change and its impacts may be the dominant direct driver of biodiversity loss and changes in ecosystem services globally.... The balance of scientific evidence suggests that there will be a significant net harmful impact on ecosystem services worldwide if global mean surface temperature increases more than 2o Celsius above preindustrial
levels or at rates greater than 0.2o Celsius per decade (medium certainty).

    • United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005)

The potential impact on the public from safety or waste management failure and the link to nuclear explosives technology are unique to nuclear energy among energy supply options. These characteristics and the fact that nuclear is more costly, make it impossible today to make a credible case for the immediate expanded use of nuclear power.

    • The Future of Nuclear Power, MIT (2003)

Further, the deadly combination of fracking and blasting and drilling for fossil fuels, coupled with the construction and operation of nuclear power plants, is a double whammy for the environment that has the potential to destroy our planet and kill us all.   


The battle to cease further construction of nuclear power plants was fought and won nearly 40 years ago; why must Americans once again protest for our own safety to an administration hell-bent on destroying the planet and nuking us all, IF we survive the effects of global warming from accelerated burning of fossil fuels?

And to what end are these most environmentally-destructive and life-threatening forms of energy being advocated and implemented?  This Administration’s collusion with the fossil fuel and nuclear power industry seems to indicate that the life of our planet and the life of every American citizen is being placed in jeopardy from this point forward for the political expedience of securing another term in office.

Of course, any informed American voter is aware that nearly every Republican member of Congress and every Republican Presidential candidate to date (including the dysfunctionals now debating each other) is a full-fledged, outspoken, shill for ALL corporate special interests.  

Their lunatic chanting of, “Drill, Baby, Drill”, at the 2008 Republican National Convention defined the depths to which they would delve to secure corporate campaign funding from the oil industry; so the situation could only be worse if a Republican were President.

However, regarding energy policy--with his support of nuclear power AND fossil fuels--it appears President Obama may have taken a position very similar to the right-wing, Republican corporate shills, of Boehner, McConnell, Ryan, Cantor, et al., (but not quite as far right as the certifiably-insane Rick Santorum, who, just days ago declared that humans should seek instant gratification and satisfy their energy needs no matter the cost to the environment.  It’s his theology.)


*****According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, the last reactors built were the “River Bend” plant in Louisiana; construction began in 1977 and the plant came on line in 1986.  The last plant to begin commercial operation is the “Watts Bar” plant in Tennessee; construction began in 1973, and the plant came on line in 1996.)

I wish President Obama were a bit older so he could vividly remember the protests and picket lines and sit-ins and further demonstrations against nuclear power plants nationwide, and specifically the plant at Diablo Canyon, in San Luis Obispo County, California, in the 1970’s, still ongoing after 40 years. 


*****Earthquake hazard at Diablo Canyon

Main article: Diablo Canyon earthquake vulnerability

Diablo Canyon was originally designed to withstand a 6.75 magnitude earthquake from four faults, including the nearby San Andreas and Hosgri faults,[8] but was later upgraded to withstand a 7.5 magnitude quake.[9] It has redundant seismic monitoring and a safety system designed to shut it down promptly in the event of significant ground motion.


Pacific Gas & Electric Company went through six years of hearings, referenda and litigation to have the Diablo Canyon plant approved. A principal concern about the plant is whether it can be sufficiently earthquake-proof. The site was deemed safe when construction started in 1968.
However, by the time of the plant's completion in 1973, a seismic fault, the Hosgri fault, had been discovered several miles offshore. This fault had a 7.1 magnitude quake 10 miles offshore on November 4, 1927, and thus was capable of generating forces equivalent to approximately 1/16 of those felt in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.[10]
The company updated its plans and added structural supports designed to reinforce stability in case of earthquake. In September 1981, PG&E discovered that a single set of blueprints was used for these structural supports; workers were supposed to have reversed the plans when switching to the second reactor, but did not.[11] According to Charles Perrow, the result of the error was that "many parts were needlessly reinforced, while others, which should have been strengthened, were left untouched." [12] Nonetheless, on March 19, 1982 the Nuclear Regulatory Commission decided not to review its 1978 decision approving the plant's safety, despite these and other design errors.[13]
In response to concern that ground acceleration, or shaking, could cause spillage of submerged fuel rod assemblies which, upon exposure to air, could ignite, PG&E and NRC regulators insist that the foregoing scenario is anticipated and controlled for, and that there is no basis to anticipate spillage.[14] Additional seismic studies are in process, however completion of those studies is not a condition precedent to re-issuance of the operating licenses for the two onsite units.[15]
Starting October 22, 2008, Unit 2 was taken offline for approximately two days due to a rapid influx of jellyfish at the intake.[16]
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's estimate of the risk each year of an earthquake intense enough to cause core damage to the reactor at Diablo Canyon was 1 in 23,810, according to an NRC study published in August 2010.[17][18] In April 2011, in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear incident in Japan, PG&E asked the NRC not to issue license renewals until PG&E can complete new seismic studies, which are expected to take at least three years.[19][20]

****Demonstrations in California: No More Nukes!
Sun Apr 3 2011 (Updated 04/12/11) Californians React to News: Japan's Disaster Equals ChernobylDemonstrations in California: No More Nukes!
Tuesday Apr 12th, 2011 8:47 AM :Japan Disaster at Chernobyl Level, Admit Japanese Authorities



A spike in the level of radioactive iodine, linked to the release of I-131 from Japan's Fukushima Daichii plant, was discovered in milk samples in California's San Luis Obispo County in late March. Then on April 2nd, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a press release, stating that radioactive material in California's rainwater is the result of the nuclear disaster in Japan.

While health officials are rushing to assure the public that these increases present no danger to human health, Californians are expressing deep concern about the possibility of a Fukushima-like scenario in their state, where two nuclear reactors are poised near earthquake faults on the coast. During a protest in the San Francisco Peninsula city of Menlo Park, held shortly after the magnitude of Japan's crisis became evident, demonstrators called for the immediate halt of the "rubber-stamping of licenses for nuclear reactors by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission". More demonstrations are scheduled for the month of April.

In San Francisco there is an urgent call to action for April 14th. Organizers are encouraging California residents to speak out at the Board of the California Public Utility Commission's public meeting to call for the closure of Diablo Canyon, a nuclear reactor that is a mere 200 miles from the city.

Mothers for Peace, a group that protested the establishment of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in the 1970's and has continued to question its safety, is organizing a mass demonstration on April 16th at Avila Beach, California, near that nuclear plant.

April 26th will see a global day of action against nuclear power on the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl. Demonstrators will gather in cities throughout the U.S. and in many countries. Near San Francisco, a protest will be held in Menlo Park.

EPA: Increase in Radioactive Levels in California from Japan Disaster | Radioactive Iodine Found in Milk in San Luis Obispo County | Japanese Authorities Admit: Japan Disaster Equal to Chernobyl


 *******Or, much more recently, on February 1, 2012:

Radiation Leak At San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station: Officials Say 'Tiny Amount' Could Have Escaped

MICHAEL R. BLOOD 02/ 1/12 08:27 PM ETAssociated Press AP

LOS ANGELES — A tiny amount of radiation could have escaped from a Southern California nuclear power plant after a water leak prompted operators to shut down a reactor as a precaution, but plant workers and the public were not endangered, officials said Wednesday.
The leak was detected Tuesday afternoon in Unit 3 at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, about 45 miles north of San Diego. The seaside plant was taken off line while investigators tried to determine what happened.
While the leak wasn't large enough to require the plant to declare an emergency, any possible leak of radiation into the atmosphere is rare. Also concerning was that "many" tubes that carry pressurized radioactive water were damaged, according to a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The tubes are part of equipment that is virtually new, having been installed in 2010.

******(Ever notice how radiation leaks are always “tiny” and “won’t harm anybody”, when reported by the energy company running the plant?


(Same story):  Daniel Hirsch, who lectures on nuclear policy at the University of California, Santa Cruz, said he was concerned that the problem occurred with recently installed equipment. "Edison has historically not been candid about the problems at San Onofre. That lack of transparency causes tremendous distrust and increases risk," Hirsch said.

"It makes one wonder about the quality assurance for the replacement equipment," he added. "This is not due to old equipment breaking but new equipment that wasn't up to snuff in the first place.


-----Or on the East coast, 100 miles south of Washington, D.C.

(To the Obama Administration:  You’ll have to duck and cover if this one melts-down.)

 Louisa quake shaping debate on future of nuclear power

r0918 nuke
A cooling pond receives hot water from the power plant and allows it to cool before it is released into Lake Anna.


Dominion's nuclear plants have shut down more often than average...
A post-earthquake tour of North Anna nuclear power station
A post-earthquake tour of North Anna nuclear power station
Dominion Power's North Anna nuclear power station in Mineral, Va. automatically shut down on Aug. 23, when a 5.8 earthquake struck, epicentered 11...
» More
By: Michael Martz | Richmond Times Dispatch
Published: September 18, 2011
» Comments | Post a Comment
Nine days after an earthquake shut down the North Anna nuclear plant in August, federal regulators launched a public reappraisal of the seismological risks posed to commercial reactors east of the Rocky Mountains.
The timing might have been coincidental, but the magnitude-5.8 quake is reshaping a national public debate over safety standards for nuclear reactors in central Virginia and other areas more vulnerable to seismic upheaval than once thought.
"What we have seen at North Anna has underscored that the reassessment is right on target," said Joey Ledford, a spokesman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Coming less than six months after a much more powerful earthquake triggered a tsunami that crippled a Japanese nuclear plant, the quake that shut down North Anna on Aug. 23 has revived a 40-year-old debate over whether the plant should have been built in Louisa County, much less be allowed to expand.
But for Dominion Virginia Power, operator of the two reactors at North Anna and two more in Surry County, the shutdown — the first caused by an earthquake in the United States — also has shown that the plant can withstand a bigger quake than it was designed for without suffering significant damage.
"I wish it hadn't happened to us, but the plant really did quite well with it," said David A. Heacock, the company's chief nuclear officer.
North Anna's two reactors already had been identified among 27 east of the Rockies as prone to higher earthquake risk than they had been designed to face, so industry critics say the Aug. 23 quake wasn't entirely unexpected.
"It would be more of a concern if it had happened at a plant thought to be safe" from increased earthquake risk, said David Lochbaum, director of the nuclear safety project at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Washington-based critic of the nuclear power industry.
Lochbaum said new safety criteria for plants in the region are long overdue, both for the industry that ultimately will have to apply them at individual plants and the public whose health and safety are at stake.

"We need this resolved so that skill rather than luck is protecting us in the future," he said.

*****So, the double whammy effect that the Obama administration is now promoting:  Global warming exacerbates extremes in weather—of hurricanes, rainstorms, floods, tornadoes, and earthquakes.  Is the goal to build nuclear power plants, and ramp up drilling for fossil fuels to ascertain if nuclear power plants can withstand dangerous extremes in weather they were not built to withstand? Further, why frack in the vicinity of nuclear power plants--to test the scientific theory that hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for natural gas can actually cause earthquakes?
“Fracking could have caused East Coast earthquake”

Experts are looking for a reason behind Tuesday afternoon’s unlikely 5.8 magnitude earthquake that shook people up and down the East Coast, and some are saying that a recent rise in fracking could be the culprit. Hydraulic  fracturing, or “fracking,” is the man-made splintering of underground rocks to expedite the exploiting of natural resources. It’s become a widespread phenomenon since its introduction in 2004, and though the practice can help increase supplies of oil and gas without reaching out internationally for imports, the result it can have on the geological make-up of the Earth can be ravaging. Now some experts say the rise in fracking could be to blame for yesterday’s quake.
The odds of a quake exceeding a magnitude of 5.5 occurring in central Virginia are so slim that Dominion Power determined only around six quakes of that size would occur in the area over the next 10,000 years. Dominion was looking at building a third nuclear reactor at their power plant in North Anna, VA, where facilities had to be taken offline yesterday as a result of the quake. Despite predicting that the site would be scarcely affected ever by a tremor, the quake’s epicenter was only mere miles from the nuclear facility.
Dominion, which confirmed in February that it will be building a third reactor for the plant, was rated by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission as the seventh most-likely site to receive damage from a quake, taking into consideration the 100-plus plants from coast-to-coast. Even still, the plant had its earthquake-sensing seismographs removed in the 1990s in order to save money.
When sites are subjected to fracking, waste salt water is injected back into the earth once fractures are created; in some cases, as many as 3 million gallons of the waste can be put into the earth in each well. Though earthquakes out east are unlikely, Braxton County West Virginia, only 160 miles from the epicenter of Tuesday’s tremor, has seen eight minor movements in 2010 alone. That site has also seen a slew of fracking operations in the several years before it.
Explicitly, the United States Geological Survey has published a finding confirming that processes like fracking can be to blame for “natural” disasters. "Earthquakes induced by human activity have been documented in a few locations in the United States, Japan and Canada,” writes the USGS. “The cause was injection of fluids into deep wells for waste disposal and secondary recovery of oil and the use of reservoirs for water supplies."
Out West, geologists have blamed fracking on earthquakes that unexpectedly shook up the state of Arkansas, which recently saw over 20 small tremors in a single day. Freak earthquakes have also occurred in regions of Texas, New York and Oklahoma that should not be likely sites of epicenters, though those locales have all seen a rise in fracking in recent years.
Multi-stage fracking, which can drill several miles deep in the Earth, has only become prevalent in recent years. Once introduced, however, Arkansas, West Virginia and Texas all saw an unexpected increase in quakes across the region. The correlation has caused concern in other parts of the country, including West Virginia, where residents are asking lawmakers to reconsider the legality of fracking, which can not only cause earthquakes but is overall detrimental to the local ecosystem. One incident in central Virginia occurred in 2008 when fracking caused an explosion of a natural gas pipeline that created a fireball that stretched up to half a mile long and tall and injured five people.
Mineral, VA, the site of Tuesday’s quake’s epicenter, is only 90 miles from the West Virginia border, where activists are rallying to change the lax state legislation which has caused companies to conduct fracking operations more and more and recent years.

*******From the Marcellus Shale Deposits on the East Coast to the Barnett Shale in Texas, and 20 total shale deposits in the United States:

“Fracking for shale in our backyards: Contaminating our land, poisoning our water, poisoning our air, and killing all the people with 650 (identified) known or suspected carcinogens.  There’s more—but we can’t tell you their names; they’re proprietary.”          (SMJ)

(From “Shale Gas”, Wikipedia):

“US President Obama's administration has sometimes promoted shale gas, in part because of their belief that it releases fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than other fossil fuels, but some scientists have urged caution. In a May 2010 letter to President Obama, the Council of Scientific Society Presidents[18] cautioned against a national policy of developing shale gas without a more certain scientific basis for the policy. This umbrella organization that represents 1.4 million scientists noted that shale gas might actually aggravate global warming, rather than help mitigate it. In late 2010, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency[19] issued a new report, the first update on emission factors for greenhouse gas emissions by the oil and gas industry by the EPA since 1996. In this new report, EPA concluded that shale gas emits larger amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, than does conventional gas, but still far less than coal.

Methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas, although it stays in the atmosphere for only one tenth as long a period as carbon dioxide. Recent evidence suggests that methane has a global warming potential (GWP) that is 105-fold greater than carbon dioxide when viewed over a 20-year period and 33-fold greater when viewed over a 100-year period, compared mass-to-mass.[20] However, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a preeminent authority on this issue, ascribes a GWP of only 25 to methane over a 100-year period, and only 72 over a 20-year period.”[21]


(My comment): 

Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for gas is being done in identified shale formations in the United States. 

I reiterate, please heed the significance of the above entry from Wikipedia: 

“In a May 2010 letter to President Obama, the Council of Scientific Society Presidents”—WHO REPRESENT 1.4 MILLION SCIENTISTS—“cautioned against a national policy of developing shale gas without a more certain scientific basis for the policy.”

They warned “…that shale gas might actually aggravate global warming, rather than help mitigate it.”

As the Obama administration, ignoring all scientific advice and information,  rushes headlong into tomorrow with an energy policy that has the capacity to destroy our planet and kill us all, who will now speak up for the health and welfare of our people and our planet?


Next Installment: 

1. Where are the American patriots who will speak out against the lunacy of  the current Administration’s scientifically-bereft energy policy?

2. Examining the safe and sensible solution of producing biofuels, both ethanol and biodiesel, from crops grown by American farmers on American soil, to allow a transition from the environmental and life-threatening dangers of the expansion of fossil fuel and nuclear energy.

3. How to elect responsible leadership in 2012 that is dedicated to the most basic tenet of a civilized society: to safeguard the health and welfare of the planet on which we live, and the life forms our planet supports, including our own lives.