Stephen Lendman is a writer, syndicated columnist, activist, News TV personality, and radio show host. He currently writes for and and hosts, since 2007, a progressive radio show at The Progressive Radio News Hour on The Progressive Radio Network.

Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA, raised in a modest middle income family, attended public schools, received a Harvard BA in 1956 and a Wharton MBA in 1960. After six years as a marketing research analyst, Lendman became part of a new small family business in 1967, remaining there until retiring in 1999.

Since then, he has devoted his time to progressive causes, extensive reading, and since summer 2005 writing on vital world and national topics, including war and peace, American imperialism, corporate dominance, political persecutions, and a range of other social, economic and political issues.

He is also author of the celebrated books "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity" and "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War".

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Lies, Damn Lies, and Safe Nuclear Power

by Stephen Lendman


In any form, nuclear power is inherently unsafe. For decades, nuclear expert Helen Caldicott warned it must be abandoned, saying:

“As a physician, I contend that nuclear technology threatens life on our planet with extinction. If present trends continue, the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink will soon be contaminated with enough radioactive pollutants to pose a potential health hazard far greater than any plague humanity has ever experienced.”

Anti-nuclear activist/expert Professor Karl Grossman agrees, calling “Atomic Energy: Unsafe in the Real World” in his June 29 article, saying:

“Nuclear power requires perfection and no acts of God” to avoid accidents that may become catastrophes. Humans and technology aren’t perfect. Natural and other type disasters happen. “(W)e can’t eliminate them. But we can – and must eliminate atomic energy” or it will eliminate us.

On March 18, Bloomberg said Japan’s Fukushima disaster “follows decades of falsified safety reports, fatal accidents and underestimated earthquake risks in Japan’s atomic power industry.”

The same is true in America and elsewhere – governments, regulators, and power companies suppressing vital truths, instead of shutting down inherently unsafe plants, making all of them ticking bombs.

Fukushima, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island exploded. Others as bad or worse are assured, irradiating vast parts of the earth disastrously. On June 22, headlined, “US heading toward nuclear disaster,” saying:

“After a yearlong investigation, AP concluded that many of the nation’s facilities are still (operating) because the safety standards that they are held to have been repeatedly weakened as regulations (for the world’s most hazardous industry became) more and more lax.”

After reviewing tens of thousands of government and industry studies and documents since the 1970s, it concluded that the industry-run Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) falsified arguments, saying “safety margins could be eased without peril.” As a result, not only are Americans endangered, so is one-fifth of the nation’s electricity supply.

Many problems AP found could trigger a nuclear disaster, including broken seals and nozzles, rusted pipes, aging facilities past their useful life, and numerous examples of shoddy maintenance and management laxity. Nonetheless, NRC officials rubber stamp license extensions, including 66 facilities over 25 years old re-licensed for another two decades, instead of responsibly shutting them down.

Vermont Yankee is perhaps the most notorious. Licensed to begin operating in 1972, Vermont’s Senate voted 26 – 4 against re-licensing in February 2010, citing radioactive tritium leaks, falsified management statements, a 2007 cooling tower collapse, among other problems, proving the facility is a disaster waiting to happen.

Nonetheless, on March 21, 2011, the NRC extended its life for another 20 years until 2032. Moreover, Entergy, Vermont Yankee’s owner and America’s second largest nuclear generator after Exelon, sued to revoke a state law, giving it legislative authority to suspend operations when its current license expires next March.

The plant, in fact, has the same GE Mark 1 Boiling Water Reactor design as Fukushima’s Units 1 and 2. According to Citizens’s Action Network’s Bob Stannard:

“It’s unimaginable to think that the NRC would declare this plant safe when (it) houses 640 tons of spent fuel in an unprotected fuel pool with no containment vessel. In Japan, the plant that’s in the worst shape has only 80 tons.”

If Vermont Yankee blows, perhaps all Vermont and New England go with it, and given its deplorable state, it may if it’s 20 year extension isn’t stopped.

Mid-America Threatened

In Missouri, record floods threaten two nuclear plants – the Cooper Nuclear Station and Fort Calhoun Station, yet little about either is reported, especially on television where most people get news. In early June moreover, the FAA issued an indefinite “no-fly hazards” restriction over the facilities to conceal the worst of what’s happening.

Both plants issued low level “unusual event” alerts that may rise to catastrophic ones. On June 30, the Omaha World-Herald reported that both plants store spent fuel rods in open casks. As a result, if Missouri River flood levels rise enough, they’ll “overflow them and carry contaminated water downstream.”

Both plants “use outdoor, above-ground entombment (called dry cask storage) for its oldest fuel,” kept in welded shut steel canisters placed “inside concrete bunkers that rely on outside air flowing” to dissipate residual heat. Allegedly, bunkers and canisters can withstand flooding. They may soon get a chance to prove it.

On June 15, contributor Tom Burnett headlined, “Ft. Calhoun Spent Fuel In Ground Pools, Flooded Already?” saying:

“Ft. Calhoun is the designated spent fuel storage facility for the entire state of Nebraska….and maybe for more than one state.” It’s stored in ground-level pools underwater but open on top. “When the Missouri River pours in there, it’s going to make Fukushima look like an x-ray. But that’s not all. There are a LOT of nuclear plants on both the Missouri and Mississippi and they can all go to hell fast” if flood waters or other natural disasters threaten them.

Ft. Calhoun’s spent and recently removed fuel are stored “OUTSIDE the reactor waiting to wash away or explode – which will destroy about 15,000 square miles of what used to be the corn belt,” besides the potential human toll.

In fact, “Calhoun may already be spewing radiation into the flooding Missouri.” However, an information blackout keeps the public uninformed, including about an NRC report effectively saying it’s unprepared “to protect the intake structure and auxiliary building against external flooding.”

Nonetheless, Omaha Public Power District CEO Gary Gates told AP:

“There is no possibility of a meltdown. The floodwaters are outside of Ft. Calhoun, not inside,” AP adding:

“Fort Calhoun is the subject of more public concern because the floodwaters have surrounded that plant and forced workers to use raised catwalks to access the facility.” Cooper Nuclear Station “is more elevated, so the floodwaters aren’t as close to the facility.” But the facility is by no means out of danger.

NRC chairman Gregory Jaczko also claims flooding endangers neither plant, words he may later eat if levels keep rising. In fact, Public Citizen’s Tyson Slocum believes conditions are dangerous, saying:

“We’re inches away from (Calhoun) nuclear plant being flooded. It’s already an island. And we still have a very real possibility of flood levels rising….There’s always the possibility of the situation escalating, especially when we don’t control all the variables. That’s what happened in Japan.”

“There’s no question that there’s significant concern about the threat that rising flood waters pose to flooding certain operations of the plant that could disable certain critical safety features, including cooling systems.”

Cooper may also be endangered, he added, saying:

“We wouldn’t be having this conversation if this were a wind farm or if this were a solar power installation. Nuclear power inherently poses enormous risks to our communities. We really have to start questioning whether (it) should be a viable part of our 21st century energy mix.”

Any sane person would call that a no-brainer.

In addition, conditions appear worse, not better, after a protective Calhoun facility water-filled berm collapsed on June 26 after being struck by some heavy equipment. As a result, “(m)ore than 2 feet (60 cm) of water rushed in around containment buildings and electrical transformers,” according to Reuters.

Most disturbing is that very likely the worst of what’s happening is suppressed. Moreover, it’s standard practice for all major industries to protect their bottom line priorities, aided by complicit regulators, government officials, and media bosses, dismissive of public safety concerns.

As a result, the official IAEA Chernobyl death count was 4,000 when, in fact, a New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) study concluded numbers approaching one million and counting. Moreover, little information explained how BP destroyed America’s Gulf and gravely harmed the health and livelihoods of millions of area residents.

In early June, the Nuclear Energy Institute, a US industry lobbying group, claimed:

“No health effects are expected among the Japanese people as a result of the events at Fukushima.” In fact, weeks after the March 11 disaster, two distinguished nuclear experts, Christopher Busby and Marion Fulk, publicly said northern Japan (one-third of the country) is uninhabitable and should be evacuated. By now perhaps most or all Japan is affected, as well as many other parts of the world, including American air, water, soil and food contaminated by hazardous radiation levels.

America’s Southwest On the Edge

In late June, the Las Conchas fire began in New Mexico’s Sante Fe National Forest, 12 miles southwest of the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). It’s America’s largest nuclear weapons research center, storing huge amounts of nuclear waste, including a reported 30,000 55-gallon drums of plutonium, the most toxic substance known.

According to the Los Alamos Study Group (LASG), a LANL site called “Area G” houses a nuclear dump, 19 miles from Sante Fe Plaza. “It’s Growing. And It’s Ours Forever:”

  • — larger than the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, NM;
  • — permanent waste is kept “in shallow unlined pits and shafts covered with dirt;”
  • — enough’s there to “fill 1.4 million 55 gallon drums – plus (another 60,000 drums) of temporarily-stored waste;”
  • — weapons testing and production adds another 54,000 drums annually;
  • — “two other mesas (will also be used) for dump sites;”
  • — regulatory oversight is entirely absent; and
  • — most waste “is entirely unnecessary.”

In fact, weapons development, testing and production way exceeds Cold War levels, even after America’s 2010 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia. It was an agreement more in name than substance, given Washington’s determination to pursue nuclear superiority by replacing old weapons with new, improved, more destructive ones.

As a result, LASG said LANL weapons design and testing continue. “Production of plutonium bomb cores has begun. A second plutonium plant is planned. Many more tons of plutonium are needed for the bomb factories. Huge new facilities for weapons testing and or novel kinds of nuclear processing – which will produce even more waste – are planned.”

Everything is dangerous and secret. LASG worries most about:

  • — increasing US Southwest drought, creating conditions for raging fires; and
  • — natural or engineered “unexpected events,” causing “unthinkable” nuclear catastrophes, including one affecting LANL, surrounding areas, and potentially much of America’s Southwest because bad enough nuclear accidents are unforgiving.

Whether current Los Alamos fires qualify isn’t known. On June 28, AP said midday flames were “as close as 50 feet from the grounds.” LANL safety assurances aren’t reliable, nor is information about potential widespread contamination if containment doesn’t work.

In Los Alamos, Senator Tom Udall (D. NM) said, “We are throwing absolutely everything at this that we’ve got.” As a precautionary measure, the city’s entire 11,000 population was evacuated.

According to Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety executive director Joni Arends:

“The concern is that (drums of plutonium) will get so hot that they’ll burst. That would put this toxic material into the plume. It’s a concern for everybody.”

She also worries that fire may affect LANL nuclear-contaminated soil. With a staff of about 15,000, the facility is huge, including 2,000 buildings, covering over 36 square miles on nearly four dozen sites.

It’s been around since WW II as part of the Manhattan Project. Thereafter, it evolved into a major scientific and nuclear research facility, developing, testing and producing state-of-the art weapons, as well as multidisciplinary work in various fields, including national security, space, renewable energy, medicine, nanotechnology, and supercomputing.

About one-third of its technical staff are physicists, one-fourth engineers, one-sixth chemists and materials scientists, and the others involved in mathematics, computational science, biology, geoscience, and other disciplines. Along with Alameda County, CA’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, it’s one of two Department of Energy facilities designing nuclear weapons and related activities.

Because of fire, lab facilities were shut for days. Moreover, 30 or more of its structures were destroyed, yet LANL claims its buildings were constructed to meet strict nuclear safety standards. In Japan, Tokyo Electric (TEPCO), regulators and government officials gave similar nuclear safety assurances, even after disaster struck, and still suppress vital information millions of Japanese citizens need to know. America’s NRC does it notoriously.

Why expect LANL to operate otherwise, especially given its sensitive work and large amounts of stored nuclear waste, including plutonium, perhaps vulnerable to ignite and spread over a wide area disastrously, despite officials calling the exposure risk small. Maybe they’re right, maybe not but won’t say. On June 30, Los Alamos County Fire Chief Douglas Tucker said the fire could double or triple in size before it’s checked, adding:

“We have fire all around the lab. It’s a road away.”

On June 29, the Sante Fe Reporter said nearly 93,000 acres were consumed. Its feature story headlined, “Flash Point: The West is burning. Is global ‘weirding’ to blame? saying:

Another 60,748 acres are ablaze, threatening LANL. It’s not one big fire. Since last July, nearly 1,000 ignited around the state, most in the past few months because of tinderbox dry conditions. They’re also across the West from Texas to California, as well as north to Colorado and Utah. In nearly a year, over 711,000 New Mexico aces were lost.

In a separate report, writer Chip Ward said Arizona and Texas are burning besides New Mexico and other states. However, residents close to Los Alamos live in fear, worried that smoke plumes might contain deadly radiation, especially plutonium if it ignites. Unless prevented, “the West is ours to lose,” and perhaps a whole lot more.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at Also visit his blog and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. He is also the author of “How Wall Street Fleeces America

The Progressive News Hour

Lizzie Phalen is a journalist/activist, supporting people’s struggles globally against US/Western imperialism.

She spent time in Tripoli, may go back, and will discuss what she saw firsthand, including bombing civilian targets and killing noncombatants.


YouTube - Veterans Today -


Resin supplier’s gaff causes recall headaches.(Brief Article)

Inspection Monitor February 1, 1998 Sims Medical, formerly Intertech Resources, Ft. Myers, FL, Florida District.

A change in resin suppliers resulted in complaints of split tubing for anesthesia-device maker Intertech Resources, now known as Sims Medical, despite the fact that the resin appeared to meet specifications. These complaints in turn set off an inspection, which ultimately led to a product recall, according to newly released inspection documents.

The complaints involved the Pediatric Disposable Anesthesia Breathing Circuit and followed a switch to a backup resin supplier, AT Plastics of Edmonton, Alberta. According to the inspection records, the cracks could cause leaks in the system. website ft myers fl

Following the complaints, Intertech contracted L.J. Broutman and Associates to perform an independent analysis. Broutman traced the defect to a “substantially lower” environmental stress crack resistance in resin from AT Plastics, the EIR stated.

Intertech stopped using AT Plastics, based on the Broutman report, but by that time an undetermined number of these units already had been distributed, the EIR said.

As of the March 1994 inspection by investigator Melissa Hill, more than four months after Broutman issued its findings, Intertech had not recalled the product. According to Frank G. Willis, vice president, manufacturing, when used as directed in the labeling, the device posed no safety risk and no injuries had been reported, the documents stated. website ft myers fl

Company consents to recall Nevertheless, the company agreed to recall products made with AT Plastic resin as a result of the inspection — once it finalized its recall procedures, which were still awaiting approval as of the inspection date.

The lack of recall procedures did not make it to the 483, but an undocumented specification change did. Hill noted in the records that the company had altered cuff specifications for the tubing in its device master record, but could not locate the device history record that referenced this change.

On the positive side, the EIR stated that Intertech had taken the initiative of purchasing resin-testing equipment to prevent a recurrence of defective resin components.

Attempts to reach Sims for an update were unsuccessful.

Sims Medical/Intertech Resources, Ft. Myers, FL, 3/1-4/94, Doc. 108228M, $4 plus handling.

The views expressed herein are the views of the author exclusively and not necessarily the views of VT, VT authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, technicians, or the Veterans Today Network and its assigns. LEGAL NOTICE - COMMENT POLICY

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11 Responses to "Lies, Damn Lies, and Safe Nuclear Power"

  1. Tom Valentine  July 2, 2011 at 6:06 am

    The Hindu lore speaks of having six blind men describing an elephant, each from their own limited perspective. With nuke energy, we have millions of blind or ignorant perceivers and the primal motive is fear.
    My perspective is as blind as any, but I spent more years chasing free energy invention than any other journalist, and I attest to the power of International finance having far more potency than fission or fusion.

  2. Martin B.  July 2, 2011 at 3:32 am

    Google “Rossi Cold Fusion” for promising alternatives to nuclear energy. It is suppressed in the MSM. It is obvious why. If Rossi’s invention is true, then it will stop the energy monopoly. Rossi’s powerplants are small scale.

  3. adeUK  July 2, 2011 at 1:53 am

    A recent AP report states that there is a proposal in place to change the frequency various parts of the national electrical grid run at. The frequency differences will be minor, but will force an end to the national grid as we know it. The only way frequencies can be different at all in separate locations around the nation is to not have a grid at all.

    They are attempting to childishly play this down as something that will mess up clocks. But what it really means is that they are going to dismantle the national power grid entirely.

  4. hareli  July 1, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Why can’t they bury the nuke plant underground the way Iran is doing? Way underground. It’s insane to have something like that above ground where dissidents could pitch a bomb into it? Or it could fall apart with an earthquake.

  5. Subvet416  July 1, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Helen Caldicott gave a speech once in the late 1970s in which said a nuclear war would be the first one in which the survivors envied the dead. A man stood up in the crowd and shouted “Ma’am, there’s already been a war like that, in Vietnam!”

  6. David A. White  July 1, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    “Lies, Damn lies and half lies”, Where there is big money, there is danger. Nuclear power is dangerous, no one disputes that fact. The world needs a new fuel source, since nuclear and fossil power is generated with the only difference its source of heating the water. When we can find a cheap alternative to coal and nuclear fuel rods, then both will be history.

  7. Doug  July 1, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Excellent summary of the dangers of nuclear power, weapons and the inherent dangers of the waste. We are definitely in trouble and I would urge all people to get involved and stand up against the ‘madness’. We will need the best and brightest to figure a way out of this mess. Plutonium is so toxic, that a handful, distributed equally amongst the people of the earth, would kill all. Again, it is named after the ‘God of the Underworld or better known as Hell. The connection between nuclear power and nuclear weapons would be another topic of interest for writers to pursue. Unfortunately, I cant find disagreement with any of the information you have provided. What people do with this information will be critical to our future. Thank you, Steven.

  8. Art  July 1, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    We keep using paper clips because nothing better has been invented. We have never abandoned a technology because it was not effective enough. Technologies are discarded only when a superior alternative has replaced them. I find all these “natural disasters” and viruses hitting nuclear facilities and the subsequent calls for shutting them down unnatural. It seems to help monopolizing the technology in the hands of a few and shift the share of energy to the oil companies.

    • Truth Seeker  July 1, 2011 at 3:21 pm

      A little history of Energy: Tesla – who was written out of the history books because J.P. Morgan did not want Free Energy because he could not put a meter on it and make money. If you research Tesla you will find that much of modern technology owes much to Tesla. He had devised some 30+ free energy devices by the time of his death.

      What is Free Energy? Look around at nature and ask where are the plugs? Where are the wires? Exactly… there are none. That simple concept and a will to know how to tape into nature was what drove Tesla and many who studied him. There have been many who have succeded, but they are always met with men in black suits.

      Another Energy source shoveled under the carpet is Alcohol. Ford built his first combustible engine to run on Alcohol, but Rockefeller the big oil giant wanted to dispose of his waste product from the petrochemical processing called pyrolysis called gasoline, still used today. How did he do it? He simply price his waist product lower than farmers could feasibly grow and produce it. Which by the way, is the exact process (pyrolysis) you can create Alcohol from cellulose that Ford was doing at the turn of the 20th Century. In fact, many other starchy plants as well as cellulose could produce enough alcohol for the entire United States by only using 5% of the arable land and not remotely touching the human food supply, including corn. See David Blumes work in his book “Alcohol can be a Gas”. Alcohol burns cleaner, has higher octane, burns cooler than gas and will increase the engine life of a car because it burns much much clearer that gasoline. There are ways to combine Alcohol with oils to create diesel that are not widely known or talked about either.

      Next, Hemp another energy source and deemed to be the Billion dollar crop in popular magazine in 1938, till the farmers of America caught on that DuPont and their cronies had made it very difficult to cultivate by requiring famers to obtain a license and for the government to meddle into their affairs in the 1937 Marijauna Tax Act. All the Founding Fathers of this country grew Hemp & the Declaration of Independence was printed on Hemp paper. That plant alone could completely clean up all the industrial mess in the world in people would wake up the suppression of Hemp. See Jack Herer’s book “The Emperor Wears no Clothes”.

      Geo-Thermal Energy – tapping into the earth’s nature heat source could power the entire planet by creating clean energy through steam generators.

      The also newly buzz Cold – Fusion that has getting a big coverage these days, but Big Oil will never let it through the politics of business, unless they own and control it like they do with solar panels… Oh you didn’t know that Big Oil is into Solar? Oh yes, if it has anything to do with Energy, they own part of, or control it. There are hundreds of inventions that have been bought up by the Oil Companies and if the inventor does not take their offer they are jailed or disappear. There have been over 200 US Patents approved that get over 100mpg through vaporizing fuel that somehow never make it to market. In fact, one famous inventor Stanley Meyer got his buggy to drive across the country on 20 gallons of water!

      Oh you didn’t know that cars can run on water? Well GM has a prototype the Hy-Wire that was set to hit the market by 2012 that was a fuel cell that actually worked. There was news segment all over the web a few years ago, that showed a little of how it worked, but haven’t heard too much about that lately.

      You see it’s all about control. Free Energy means freedom from those who seek yours. Henry Kissinger said “control energy, you control a nation”… “control food, you control people” ! Any guess what Monsanto is all about? Any bets whether Henry Kissinger is involved?

      The same names pop up in Medicine, Energy, Industrial, Finance, you name it…. If it has to do with controlling humanity, Rockefeller, Morgan, Carnegie, DuPont’s, Gould, etc… were involved at the beginning of the 20th Century… We do not need their nuclear energy, they need nuclear energy. They need it to control people and you think really think you need them?

      Did you know that there is at least one agency that operates outside the government that not even the President of the US can control or request information from. Guess what agency that is?

      Annie Jacobsen was interviewed by Jon Stewart regarding her book Area 51 and she said, “that What’s more disturbing, as Stewart points out, is the revelation that the DOD (Atomic Energy Commission) apparently has its own separate security and secrecy apparatus, which is why former Presidents of the US have been denied access to information regarding the activities at the site, for lack of “need to know,” status. Of course, this is nothing new to many of us, and still to this very day, does not seem to spark the kind of public outrage that perhaps it deserves.”

      Now if that doesn’t sound like a Government within the Government, I don’t know what does.

    • hareli  July 1, 2011 at 5:04 pm

      You’re right about Tesla.

      Geo-thermal recently shown to create earthquakes or some other disturbance when the heat released. The Germans halted all production as a result.

      The guy who invented the car that ran on water (because I was going to have him redo my car for me in 1995) died…actually, he suicided himself into a tree was the official reason…on the way to a conference to demonstrate it. He already had the thing tooling around town and the local highway at 70 mph. I saw the home movie. He poured a quart of water in and off he went. Then someone broke into his house and stole a lot of his papers.

    • Art  July 1, 2011 at 7:10 pm

      Thanks for the review. Intel also seems to have already had GBs faster processors, but it makes more money to sell them at a 200MB increments. I am just not convinced why those who call for end of nuclear energy are not bothered to find out who created Stuxnet which threatened Iranian, Japanese, and German facility cooling systems.

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