"Robert Weissman" "Public Citizen president"Averting catastrophic climate change is the greatest challenge facing humanity. We’re decades late in responding appropriately, and there is absolutely no time left to waste.

That makes today’s announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency of revised performance standards for new power plants so critically important.

It’s a certainty that industry will claim this rule will injure consumers. We’re past time for policymakers to be distracted by such misleading claims.

Power plants account for 40 percent of U.S. carbon pollution. We have the technology and solutions — starting with scaled up investments in energy efficiency — to transition to a clean energy economy in a way that creates jobs and does not result in higher energy prices for consumers.

Moreover, consumer well-being depends on preventing the worst climate change scenarios, which constitute the greatest long-term threat to our economy.

The proposed rule for new power plants will limit carbon dioxide emissions for any new coal fired power plant to roughly match those of new natural gas power plants, and will finally begin to level the playing field for technologies such as wind, solar, geothermal and energy efficiency, which have been forced to compete against heavily subsidized fossil fuels, including coal.

We look forward to working with the EPA and other stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of this important consumer and public health safeguard.

Comments

  • Bev

    I agree that climate change has to be meaningfully dealt with before the climate destabilizes (climate has only been stable for the last 8,000 years making agriculture possible for the first time), and I think this is a good beginning in the correct direction with much more to go.

    However, today I want to ask you to interview Arnie Gunderson, Rep. John Conyers and former Rep. Dennis Kucinich on a severe problem that has a short timeline/deadline of just two months. Quoting Harvey Wasserman: “We are now within two months of what may be humankind’s most dangerous moment since the Cuban Missile Crisis.Fukushima’s badly damaged Unit 4.”

    Arnie Gunderson’s website:
    http://fairewinds.com/

    An Arnie Gunderson interview. Start at 24:30 to hear Arnie Gunderson a nuclear engineer, a licensed reactor operator, holder of a nuclear safety patent, and former nuclear industry senior vice president:

    http://fairewinds.org/media/radio/olympic-insanity-gundersen-charge-fukushima

    Olympic Insanity + If Gundersen were in Charge at Fukushima
    Posted On: Sep 10, 2013

    Libbe HaLevy from Nuclear Hotseat radio interviewed Arnie Gundersen about the current state of problems at Fukushima Daiichi and asks what he would do if he were in charge of the disaster site.

    ………

    Harvey Wasserman references Arnie Gunderson and makes strong demands to do this correctly in his following article. See:
    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/09/20-1
    Published on Friday, September 20, 2013 by Common Dreams

    The Crisis at Fukushima’s Unit 4 Demands a Global Take-Over
    by Harvey Wasserman

    We are now within two months of what may be humankind’s most dangerous moment since the Cuban Missile Crisis.Fukushima’s badly damaged Unit 4.

    There is no excuse for not acting. All the resources our species can muster must be focused on the fuel pool at Fukushima Unit 4.

    Fukushima’s owner, Tokyo Electric (Tepco), says that within as few as 60 days it may begin trying to remove more than 1300 spent fuel rods from a badly damaged pool perched 100 feet in the air. The pool rests on a badly damaged building that is tilting, sinking and could easily come down in the next earthquake, if not on its own.

    Some 400 tons of fuel in that pool could spew out more than 15,000 times as much radiation as was released at Hiroshima.

    The one thing certain about this crisis is that Tepco does not have the scientific, engineering or financial resources to handle it. Nor does the Japanese government. The situation demands a coordinated worldwide effort of the best scientists and engineers our species can muster.

    Why is this so serious?

    We already know that thousands of tons of heavily contaminated water are pouring through the Fukushima site, carrying a devil’s brew of long-lived poisonous isotopes into the Pacific. Tuna irradiated with fallout traceable to Fukushima have already been caught off the coast of California. We can expect far worse.

    Tepco continues to pour more water onto the proximate site of three melted reactor cores it must somehow keep cool. Steam plumes indicate fission may still be going on somewhere underground. But nobody knows exactly where those cores actually are.

    Much of that irradiated water now sits in roughly a thousand huge but fragile tanks that have been quickly assembled and strewn around the site. Many are already leaking. All could shatter in the next earthquake, releasing thousands of tons of permanent poisons into the Pacific. (Note: A relatively small earthquake struck Fukushima prefecture on Thursday, an indication of the inevitable occurrence of larger future ones in the area.)

    The water flowing through the site is also undermining the remnant structures at Fukushima, including the one supporting the fuel pool at Unit Four.

    More than 6,000 fuel assemblies now sit in a common pool just 50 meters from Unit Four. Some contain plutonium. The pool has no containment over it. It’s vulnerable to loss of coolant, the collapse of a nearby building, another earthquake, another tsunami and more.

    Overall, more than 11,000 fuel assemblies are scattered around the Fukushima site. According to long-time expert and former Department of Energy official Robert Alvarez, there is more than 85 times as much lethal cesium on site as was released at Chernobyl.

    Radioactive hot spots continue to be found around Japan. There are indications of heightened rates of thyroid damage among local children.

    The immediate bottom line is that those fuel rods must somehow come safely out of the Unit Four fuel pool as soon as possible.

    Just prior to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that shattered the Fukushima site, the core of Unit Four was removed for routine maintenance and refueling. Like some two dozen reactors in the US and too many more around the world, the General Electric-designed pool into which that core now sits is 100 feet in the air.

    Spent fuel must somehow be kept under water. It’s clad in zirconium alloy which will spontaneously ignite when exposed to air. Long used in flash bulbs for cameras, zirconium burns with an extremely bright hot flame.

    Each uncovered rod emits enough radiation to kill someone standing nearby in a matter of minutes. A conflagration could force all personnel to flee the site and render electronic machinery unworkable.

    According to Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer with forty years in an industry for which he once manufactured fuel rods, the ones in the Unit 4 core are bent, damaged and embrittled to the point of crumbling. Cameras have shown troubling quantities of debris in the fuel pool, which itself is damaged.

    The engineering and scientific barriers to emptying the Unit Four fuel pool are unique and daunting, says Gundersen. But it must be done to 100% perfection.

    Should the attempt fail, the rods could be exposed to air and catch fire, releasing horrific quantities of radiation into the atmosphere. The pool could come crashing to the ground, dumping the rods together into a pile that could fission and possibly explode. The resulting radioactive cloud would threaten the health and safety of all us.

    Chernobyl’s first 1986 fallout reached California within ten days. Fukushima’s in 2011 arrived in less than a week. A new fuel fire at Unit 4 would pour out a continuous stream of lethal radioactive poisons for centuries.

    Former Ambassador Mitsuhei Murata says full-scale releases from Fukushima “would destroy the world environment and our civilization. This is not rocket science, nor does it connect to the pugilistic debate over nuclear power plants. This is an issue of human survival.”

    Neither Tokyo Electric nor the government of Japan can go this alone. There is no excuse for deploying anything less than a coordinated team of the planet’s best scientists and engineers.

    We have two months or less to act.

    For now, we are petitioning the United Nations and President Obama to mobilize the global scientific and engineering community to take charge at Fukushima and the job of moving these fuel rods to safety.

    If you have a better idea, please follow it. But do something and do it now.

    The clock is ticking. The hand of global nuclear disaster is painfully close to midnight.

    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

    Harvey Wasserman

    …………

    Arnie Gunderson on a visit to Japan was told that Japan does not have the money to fix the problem the correct, safest way. This is a world problem, not just Japan’s. We all need to help.

    In order to have the public/government Debt-free, Interest-free money to fix Fukushima, I think the American Monetary Institute has the best solution. The site is at http://www.monetary.org/ and is headed by Stephen Zarlenga, Director, along with former U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich. A past supporter is current U.S. Representative John Conyers. This topic should be foremost to the politicians most affected: U.S. Senators from California, Oregon and Washington need to be interviewed, called, emailed, visited about a congressional bill that provides enough funding with a simple accounting change which needs to be re-introduced before the end of the next 2 months, HR 2990, see: http://www.monetary.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/HR-2990.pdf

    And, a similar bill should be passed in Japan.

    American Monetary Institute
    PO BOX 601
    VALATIE, NY 12184

    Phone
    518-392-5387
    or 224-805-2200
    E-mail
    ami@taconic.net

    Speakers at the just finished 9th conference who would work to get the public money needed in the U.S. and Japan to fix Fukushima and save lives and life on this planet. See:

    The American Monetary Institute is pleased to announce its
    9th Annual AMI Monetary Reform Conference
    September 19-22, 2013, at University Center, Chicago

    The American Monetary Institute proudly announces its 9th annual Monetary Reform Conference in Chicago. Our conferences launched the modern grass roots movement for U.S. monetary reform and thereby World reform. You are invited to attend this important meeting in beautiful downtown Chicago. Our money system clearly needs a serious overhaul to secure economic justice, peace and prosperity as we enter the third millennium. True reform, not mere regulation, is necessary to move humanity away from a World dominated by fraud, warfare and ugliness and toward a world of justice and beauty. You can avoid discouragement and join with us in this adventure to achieve positive money results for America and the world.

    Don’t be discouraged because the villians who created the present crisis, have manipulated governments to bail them out. The media, which has made such “errors” possible, and the economic theories behind banker activities already stand accused in the public mind.

    Main Themes of the Conference: Implementing Monetary Reform now!

    The Monetary Reforms
    The main focus of the conference will be for researchers to describe and make the case for the kind of monetary reforms advocated, presenting both the logical and historical basis for them, and the mechanics of implementing them. Extensive question and answer periods and panel discussions can air doubts or concerns regarding the desirability of the reforms and suggest refinements. Included will be discussions of research and thinking methodology.

    Achieving the Reforms – What we can do now
    Selected political, social and monetary activists will give the benefit of their experience in educating, raising public awareness, organizing and motivating people and governmental bodies to influence public policy decisions.

    Using the Reforms
    Presentations on how a properly reconstituted money power within government will be effectively used to “promote the general welfare”. These will focus on Infrastructure Programs particularly how to pay for the $2.2 trillion the American Society of Civil Engineers tells us is needed to maintain our infrastructure over the next 5 years, through monetary reform. Understand that we include the “human infrastructure” of Health Care and Education within infrastructure! With proper monetary reform all these things become possible, including education and health, upgrading America’s crumbling infrastructure, towards futuristic energy efficient, eco-friendly designs well within the reach of today’s technology and economy. We can create hospitable, clean, cities of the future using 21st century solutions.

    Confirmed Speakers for 2013

    Prof. Joseph Huber from Martin-Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg in Germany, one of Europe’s most important monetary reformers, will analyze Modern Money Theory and the associated views on money, credit, and debt.

    Dr. Michael Kumhof, Deputy Division Chief of the Modeling Division, Research Department, IMF, will present his findings when applying the Chicago Plan, basis of HR 2990, to today’s economy using computer modeling techniques.

    Prof. Kaoru Yamaguchi will give an outstanding analysis of HR 2990, placing it through his advanced systems analysis software, determining it would pay off the US national debt and provide the necessary funding for infrastructure (solving the unemployment problem) and do it without inflation.

    Prof. Steve Keen, advanced Australian banking and monetary investigator, author of the important book “Debunking Economics,” which can begin leading the way out of the economic morass which economics has undeniably created around the world.

    Prof. Richard Werner has emerged as the central figure advising monetary authorities of the European money system to cease their destructive austerity programs, and he will discuss his involvement with this issue.

    Prof. Nic Tideman of Virginia Tech (formerly Senior Economist on the President’s Council of Economic Advisors) discusses how banks will compete after monetary reforms are in place.

    Prof. Michael Hudson, UMKC professor and PBS commentator and one of the rare economists to accurately forecast the mortgage and housing debacle – in a front page Harper’s Magazine article – will share his latest important observations on what the banking establishment is up to now.

    Stephen Zarlenga is Director of the American Monetary Institute and author of The Lost Science of Money. He will highlight the progress at AMI, and the direction of monetary reform in America.

    Jamie Walton, a knowledgeable money reformer from New Zealand, describes HR 2990 and why all three elements must be put into effect. He works on monetary legislation in Washington DC.

    Robert Poteat, long term and meticulous monetary researcher, is certainly among the top half dozen in America in awareness of monetary systems. He is the leader of the AMI Chapters in Portland, Seattle and Central Washington. Previously he has discussed why monetary reform is largely a moral question.

    Joseph Pijanowski, the Directing Business Representative of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Union, Local 126, focuses on the monetary solution to American labor problems our country faces.

    Mark Pash is a Certified Financial Planner with a Bachelors and Masters in Business Administration, from UCLA and USC respectively. He will review his 24 reasons for monetary reform and the 13 ways to overcome the inflationary objection.

    Andrew Jackson is currently Head of Research at Positive Money in the UK. He will discuss Positive Money’s strategy for progressing the monetary reform agenda in the UK, before showing how this links into his latest research, a proposal to combine monetary and fiscal policy which will allow the state to create and spend money into circulation.

    Greg Coleridge, Director of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee. He is on the National Steering Committee of the Move to Amend/Campaign to Legalize Democracy Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD) national collective.

    Steven Walsh, leading Chicago educator and expert authority on New England Colonial moneys, will describe how banks create money out of thin air.

    Joe Bongiovanni
    …………

    This would be the way to have the money to solve Fukushima. Then afterwards, still having the money available from a Debt-free, Interest-free public/government money would turn this economy around fast and create jobs to solve many other pressing problems. Money would continue to do good works by permanently circulating unlike Debt money which is extinguished from existence once paid back as payments on banks loans. We can never get out of debt when our money is debt. And, we have done this six times in our past with brave Presidents like Washington, Lincoln and Kennedy. It is tried and true. Support and Protect all politicians who would do this beneficial monetary change for all of us. And, support those politicians who would fix Fukushima safely for all of us.

    • Bev

      Pardon my spelling. Correction: Arnie Gundersen

      And, I do want to make the point that if government shuts down driven by the GOP’s un-funding of healthcare, they are shutting down our urgent need and ability to help ourselves, our world and our future existence by not addressing and reducing the great risks of a poorly funded, poorly engineered attempt at Fukushima. Then healthcare or any other topic will matter little, if we are irradiated and the outcome is genocide, specicide. The lack of a real attempt to fix this is unacceptable. Please interview very soon the above people for the best efforts as we may be able to save each other.

      Another note, the near decade long building and supplying of caves by Bush/Cheney for a few to perhaps survive, but, yet not try best solutions, is not acceptable. The GOP cannot shut down government and run to caves. Where are all the politicians across the entire spectrum, and all the people across our nation, Japan, and the world who would want to solve this problem for life on this planet?

      I wish us courage, luck, the best information and best solutions.

  • Bev

    Pardon me as I should have looked before leaping. I had a comment that has not posted which among other things was about the following:

    “I was wondering whether the following idea has any merit. Could all people on the planet incorporate to regain their “human” rights and become a bigger corporation than all other corporations in which case, would politicians then work for the peoples’ corporation? It could be called Public Citizens’ Incorporated Human Rights…or something better.”

    Maybe Public Citizen Incorporated to Safely Survive Fukushima….

    Knowing your high level of successful activism for the common good, I was hoping to reference back to you here, and increase traffic between you and others most aligned especially at Truthout http://truth-out.org/news/item/19073-risky-repair-of-fukushima-could-spill-15000-times-the-radiation-of-hiroshima-create-85-chernobyls and others.

    I see that the post did not “take”, perhaps too off topic or not unifying enough. Something. Pardon me. I really don’t want to hamper in any way Fukushima being solved or attempted to be smartly engineered, well funded in order to try to solve for everyones’ sake across the board, across the planet.

  • Bev

    One of the links to article that has not posted which should lead to Ralph Nader, Arnie Gunderson and former Japanese Prime Minister conference on NY nuclear power plants, now misdirects link.

    The following is correct:

    RALPH NADER TO JOIN FORMER JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER NAOTO KAN AND OTHERS FOR NUCLEAR PANEL DISCUSSIONS

    Seminars to focus on ongoing lessons from Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear catastrophe and the future of nuclear power in New York and Boston.

    http://new.livestream.com/FukushimaLessons/newyork

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