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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

February 18, 2010

THE DANGERS AND POLITICS OF OBAMA GOING NUCLEAR

KARL GROSSMAN, COUNTERPUNCH - Just how dangerous [nuclear power] is has been underlined in a book just published by the New York Academy of Sciences, Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment. Written by a team of scientists led by noted Russian biologist Dr. Alexey Yablokov, using health data that have become available since the 1986 accident, it concludes that the fatality total “from April 1986 to the end of 2004 from the Chernobyl catastrophe was estimated at 985,000 additional [cancer] deaths.” This is in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and other countries where Chernobyl’s poisons fell. The toll, they relate, continues to rise.

Chernobyl was a different design from the nuclear plants which the U.S., France and Japan seek now to build but disasters can also happen involving these plants and they, too, produce the highly toxic nuclear waste poisons. The problem is fission itself. It’s no way to produce electricity.

Obama has been aware of this. As he stated at a Londonderry, New Hampshire town meeting on October 7, 2007: “Nuclear power has a host of problems that have not been solved. We haven’t solved the storage situation effectively. We have not dealt with all of the security aspects of our nuclear plants and nuclear power is very expensive.”....

Rahm Emanuel, now Obama’s chief of staff, as an investment banker was in the middle of the $8.2 billion merger in 1999 of Unicom, the parent company of Commonwealth Edison of Chicago, and Peco Energy to put together Exelon. David Axelrod, now a senior Obama advisor and formerly chief campaign strategist, was an Exelon consultant. Candidate Obama received sizeable contributions from Exelon executives including from John Rowe, its president and chief executive officer who in 2007 also became chairman of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the U.S. nuclear industry’s main trade group.

It’s not only been nuclear opponents who have seen a link between Exelon and the Obama administration. Forbes magazine, in its January 18th issue, in an article on John Rowe and how he has “focused the company on nuclear,” displayed a sidebar headlined, “The President’s Utility.” It read: “Ties are tight between Exelon and the Obama administration,” noting Exelon political contributions and featuring Emanuel and Axelrod with photos and descriptions of their Exelon connections.

The Forbes article spoke of how last year “Emanuel e-mailed Rowe on the eve of the House vote on global warming legislation and asked that he reach out to some uncommitted Democrats. ‘We are proud to be the President’s utility,’ says Elizabeth Moler, Exelon’s chief lobbyist,” the article went on. “It’s nice for John to be able to go to the White House and they know his name.’”

Chicago-based Exelon’s website boasts of its operating “the largest nuclear fleet in the nation and the third largest in the world.” It owns 17 nuclear power plants which “represent approximately 20 percent of the U.S. nuclear industry’s power capacity.”....




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