Long Term View In the meantime the nuclear power industry has been set back for quite some time. A year after the disaster only 2 of Japan's nuclear plants are online. Although throughout Asia is racing to complete as many as 60 new nuclear reactors, the Japanese may be more accurately pointing to the future. They may not have come fully accepting of the fate that awaits them, they have moved closer to a smaller, aging population with a steady-state economy. Something with world desperately needs more of. In his book "Collapse" Jared Diamond explores why human cultures meet their own ends. He also gives examples of how a few isolated island civilizations came to be durable and self-sustaining over a long history. The only large community he found that achieved that end was Japan prior to European contact. Yes it was royalist. Yes it was isolationist. Yes it was xenophobic. But the Japanese managed a highly evolved culture over centuries without destroying their island environment. With no coal or petroleum the Japanese won't be able to have a 21st Century industrial economy without nuclear power. But they cannot afford nuclear power and the world cannot afford an 21st century industrial economy. We have had our own trouble. The unfixed aftermath of Katrina hitting New Orleans and the BP oil well disaster despoiling the Gulf of Mexico illustrate America's inability to deal with natural and man-made disaster. We are poorer because of it. Let us hope the Japanese can show us a way in the dark. .
WHERE: Koloa Kauai Canoe Club This evening we finalized our plans for tomorrow's meeting with Senator Hee. We are going to gather at the canoe hale around 1:30pm. The Senator is bringing several of his staff people, and it is important to have him meet as many of the tenants, family members, and Wailani Road residents as possible. Friends and members of the KCA are welcome to help show the senator that we have community support. It is also our chance to ask the senator questions, and to firm up our plans. JoAnn Yukimura is supposed to attend. She is going to introduce her resolution this Wednesday to the County Council. Also, those that can bring food/drinks, please do so. See you tomorrow.
Neighborhood in Crisis By Joan Conrow on 6 March 2012 for Kauai Online - (http://www.forkauaionline.com/article/Local_News/Cover/Koloa_Camp_A_Neighborhood_in_Crisis_a_Neighborhood_in_Change/3325072)
Ask folks what they like most about living in Koloa Camp, and they'll answer without hesitation: the tight-knit community.
They also speak about the sense of history, and of place, that comes from living in century-old homes that previously housed Japanese field workers on the first sugar plantation in Hawai`i. As they see it, the boxy, metal-roofed relics from a bygone era do more than provide shelter. They also reflect a local lifestyle that is fast disappearing on Kaua`i.
So when Koloa Camp residents learned, via 120-day eviction notices sent out on Nov. 8, 2011, that their landlord, Grove Farm, planned to tear down their homes and build 50 new ones, they quickly banded together.
Families living in eight homes are affected, along with tenants renting five agricultural lots. They've been given until March 8 to vacate.
Camp residents began meeting every Sunday afternoon in the canoe hale that is also slated for demolition, and soon word of their plight spread to all points of the island. Folks showing their support for the residents packed the Koloa Neighborhood Center for meetings in December and January, when Grove Farm representatives detailed the company's plans to develop Waihohonu, named after the stream that flows near the camp.
Groundbreaking is scheduled for April, with construction expected to take about three years. Company officials said the project would provide affordable homes that are in big demand on Kaua`i.
Though Grove Farm offered to give Koloa Camp tenants the first chance to buy — the two- and three-bedroom houses range from 800 to 1,300 square feet and are tentatively priced at $230,00 to $485,000 — residents said they couldn't qualify for loans at those prices.
But mostly, they didn't want to see their neighborhood destroyed, leave homes where some had lived their entire lives, say goodbye to neighbors who felt like family.
“It's historically relevant and a valuable asset to this community,” says Kepa Kruse, who grew up in the camp. “It's what makes it old Koloa town.”
Eager to find an alternative, camp residents suggested the company instead build on land it owns on nearby Ala Kinoiki Road. But Grove Farm rejected the idea, saying the 6.5-acre proposed site was about half the size of Koloa Camp. Furthermore, it would take extensive time and money to change the zoning of the land from agriculture to residential.
Residents were beginning to get discouraged when developer Peter Savio stepped forward.
He had previously helped the residents of Poamoho Camp on O`ahu buy their houses when the Del Monte pineapple plantation shut down, and he thought a similar approach would work in Koloa.
“I'm here to give Grove Farm and everyone a way out,” says Savio, who offered to buy the camp at its appraised value, which is currently unknown, for the purpose of selling it back to the residents. “We're not asking for a discount or anything less than the market value. I really would love to see some of this history preserved. That's what excites me about these plantation camps.”
Grove Farm, which did not respond to a request for comment, formally rejected Savio's offer in mid-February.
But Savio, like the residents he represents, remains hopeful.
“I believe there's a lot of support on Kauai for saving the camp,” Savio says. “I do not see a local company strong-arming the community when there's an option like this.”
Added Kruse: “The camp residents are not moving.”
In keeping with that vow, they're making plans that center around staying, not leaving. They want to apply for assistance to preserve the historical structures, plant trees to stabilize the stream banks, create a community garden that will double as a hands-on learning place for sustainable living, and share their neighborhood with others.
“I see it as a chance to pass on a community, a historic camp, an `ohana, to the next generation,” says Koloa resident John Patt.
Residents of Koloa Camp have gotten the support of Hawai`i State Legislators in their bid to remain in their homes. On March 2, the State Senate approved a resolution calling upon Grove Farm to immediately put the evictions on hold and allow the Koloa Plantation Camp tenants to remain in their homes until alternative solutions are developed. The residents are supposed to be out by March 8.
The resolution also urges Grove Farm to engage in meaningful discussions with the tenants of Koloa Plantation Camp regarding the future plans for the plantation property and the development of alternative solutions.
The resolution, which is non-binding, now goes to the state House of Representatives for a vote..
I’m fussy about the words I use. Words matter, after all. For example, anarchy is not chaos, though you’d never be able to distinguish the two based on anything presented by the mainstream media. As a further example, I’m averse to any form of the word “sustain” because we don’t and we can’t. I’ve distinguished between sustainability and durability in this space in essay form and also in a recent presentation. If the
Laws of Thermodynamics aren’t compelling enough for you, consider this: Wal-Mart allegedly has poured more money into “sustainability” than any other institution on Earth.
In this brief essay, I’d like to take issue with a couple other terms. As I’ve pointed out recently, I’m a fan of the gift economy (which is not based on barter). I explain below. In addition, I differentiate between building social capital and contributing to a decent human community.
My customary gifts include hosting visitors at the mud hut, delivery of presentations for no charge, and copies of my latest book at my cost (or, to those interested in an electronic version of the page proofs, no cost at all). Here at the mud hut, I strive to promote and expand the extant gift economy. This approach makes perfect sense, considering how we began this relationship more than four years ago, when my associates on these 2.7 acres offered my partner and me the gift of an acre (we declined, and we now share the property and the attendant responsibilities). In the name of comfort for our friends and neighbors, we barter, too, and sometimes work within the customary system of fiat currency.
But I prefer an economy of gifts, which has been the prevailing model for most of our existence as human animals. Gifting removes the pressure associated with placing monetary value on the exchange of goods and services in a barter system. And, to me at least, it seems more compassionate and personal than other alternatives.
Many people believe they are doing themselves a favor by building social capital. I hear this phrase often, and I bristle every time. Employing the root word of a heinous system that developed as the industrial revolution began is hardly a sure-fire strategy for winning friends and (positively) influencing people. The process of “building social capital” equates connivance with decency. Analogous to use of a barter system, the act of building social capital suggests a deposit is being made, and will be drawn upon later, perhaps with interest (i.e., usury).
In contrast to developing social capital, I believe we should work to contribute to a decent human community. As an aside, I’m often asked why I use the phrase, “human community” instead of “community.” This is exactly the type of question I have come to expect from individuals who wrongly believe we are the most important species on Earth.
We’re destroying virtually every aspect of the living planet, and yet we believe we’re the foundation on which robust ecosystems depend. Viewing your place in a human community, and your contribution to that human community, is analogous to development of a gift economy. By striving to contribute, instead of invest, I can focus on developing life-affirming ties instead of dreaming about the return on my investment. By serving my neighbors, rather than determining how my neighbors can serve me, I become an integral part of a valuable system. As such, the whole, holistic system becomes increasingly durable.
Sharing gifts to develop a durable set of living arrangements within a decent human community: If you can imagine a better goal, please let me know.
The Gift Economy By Mark Boyle on 1 November 2011 for Seismologik - (http://www.seismologik.com/journal/2011/11/1/the-gift-economy.html)
Everyone from politicians to journalists and economists like to conflate words relating with finance with words relating to economy. You thought the were the same thing, right? That's OK, so did I. But they're not the same thing. I wish I could say this conflation occured from utter stupidity, but my suspicion is that it has been a long and relentless campaign by the corporatocracy (read John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hitman) to ensure that people can't even think of an economic model that isn't money based.
This is most apparent when I hear businesspeople and political leaders telling us something isn't economically viable, such as leaving the rainforest as a rainforest or giving a living wage to the people who make the stuff we use within an economic system we forced them into. An economic system is really only a method of managing all that we have been gifted as wisely as possible, not just for humans but for all the family of life. If we destroy our ecologies, there are no economies.
The way people talk of The Economy, you'd swear it was life's Holy Grail. When did happiness, intergrity, fulfilment, fun, honour, respect, love, courage, craftsmanship and connection stop becoming the most important things for us in our lives?
The money based economy is only one form of economy. And it's a terrible one. There are other forms to choose from. My favourite, as you may know, is The Gift Economy.
Ideally, this would be 100% localised, with the gifts flowing from local Nature through local people. It would involve local permaculture, crafts, foraging, feasting, music, dance, storytelling all produced by the people of an area, for the people of an area. People participating in life, not just consuming life.
But we're a million miles from there, so for now we can start by at least restoring the spirit of The Gift Economy, even if it is not fully localised for now. That will happen as global crises converge - unfortunately it will, most likely, be forced on many rather than voluntarily chosen by them. Their loss.
So I propose a new economic and political system that can be used right now (without having to go to the polls to elect a different shade of the corporatocracy in): The Gift Economy.
The good news about this system is that there are no leaders required, just tools and models that people can use to organise things themselves, from the bottom up. Like the current political and economic models, I'll break this down into departments.
The Department of Resources
Many of you seem to use Freeconomy for this now. Which is fine and I've no problem with that, but there are projects out there better set-up to deal with this.
The obvious are Freecycle and Freegle (the latter was set-up because of silly admin issues with Freecylce HQ). With both, find your local group, join it, and then post any items you want to give away, or ask members for stuff you need. For other ways, there is now the likes of LetsAllShare and Ecomodo.
For items such as books, use ReaditSwapit or better still set up a local book-swapping evening. For clothes, again, set up a local clothes swapping evening, I know many people who've done this very successfully by running clothes swapping parties at their house or a free venue.
The Department of Transport
In the ideal world, the Dept. of Transport would encourage people to work where they live, helping produce what little their communities need off the land they live on. Therefore walking would be the transport of choice. Rambling really is the best pace of life.
Again, everyone walking everywhere is not exactly going to happen this year. So next up the ladder of unsustainability is bicycles. Use the Sustrans network of cycle tracks, and use punctureless tyres. If for whatever reason you don't want to cycle (i.e. you're lazy, you're scared, you don't give a shit about fossil fuel use or wars in the Middle East or climate change, you have children who need to be protected from The Dangerous World) there are many other options. Before anyone gets all worked up, I'm joking. Actually I'm not. Stop making excuses and cycle.
Like hitching. But again, hitching is very dangerous, at least one person worldwide every 15-20 years has a nervy experience with it, and the media rightly blow it out of all proportion. So again, there are more options.
Set up a FreeBus like these wonderful people in Bristol. If that sounds like a little bit too much hassle to have to do (instead on being something incredibly inspiring, which it is), then use Blablacar, Liftshare, Mylifts, Freewheelers or National Car Share, depending on which one best meets your needs at this point in time.
Whichever you choose, you will save money, you will save resources, you will meet new friends, you will limit your negative impact, and you'll maximise your positive impact.
The Department of Skills, Labor & Knowledge
I'm not going to ramble on here - if for some reason you read this blog but still aren't a member of Freeconomy, then just join and stop being an ass. You get to meet like-minded people, get help with things for free, learn skills, and get access to a huge database of tools you can borrow. You can offer all of the above yourself too, if you want to be nice. There is also the forum if you want to tap into the knowledge of people outside your own local radius.
In Bristol the local group organises a free weekly skillsharing event called Freeskilling. The teachers teach for free, the venue hosts for free, the organisers organise for free, the people learn for free. Simple. Here is the programme for Freeskilling in Bristol this month, for example.
The reason I founded Freeconomy was because it didn't already exist. I'm not into reinventing the wheel. All other alternative economies were still based on the dogma of exchange, whereas I felt that unconditonal giving, doing things just-for-the-love-of-it with no formal exchange, was a much more loving and uplifting way to be on this earth.
But if you want to persist with exchange, there are other options. LETS and Timebanks just to name two. But really - just join Freeconomy. Its in over 160 countries now, with 25,000 members in the UK alone, so there is a large database of great people with useful skills, tools, knowledge and free spaces instantly at your fingertips, waiting to help you, get to know you, and be helped by you.
The Department of Housing & Accommodation
Because the land was robbed from us and given to the banks via a debt based money-creation process, this is difficult. You could live wild in the woods (which I must admit is my absolute ideal and hope to one day), and take your chances. You could build a simple dwelling from 100% local materials and become a Freeman on the land, but this again comes with risks (risks I believe need to be taken by those brave enough) and you do need to understand it all completely before even thinking about it.
For the slightly less courageous but equally adventurous, there is couchsurfing, where you can sleep on millions of couches around the world for free, and allow other members to sleep on yours too when your time comes around. Not only do you save lots of money, you get access to a kitchen and often internet, and get to find out all the really good places to see and experience when you are on the road.
If you want to live with little or no money, why not go wwoofing for a week/month/year. It really helps organic growers, you learn new skills and meet great people, and you could do it completely moneyless.
The Department of Education
If I had a penny for every parent who told me they couldn't live without money because they have to send their kids to school, I'd have bought up the land of all England and returned it to the Gift Economy by now. I do understand your woes and concerns.
But we talk about sending kids to school as if its some sort of positive thing to do to them. Normal school is hideous. They're factory farms for the economic slaves of the future.
We also talk about reading and writing as if it is some sort of thing that we should never question. They have to be good, unquestionably good, right? If you think language and numbers are so great, then read Charles Eisensteins The Ascent of Humanity to get a new (or old?) perspective.
If you want inspiration for education, then look no further than Bunker Roy's incredible project in India, the Barefoot College. Satish Kumar's small school and Schumacher College (both of which admittedly are expensive but shouldn't be and could be done for free if the will of the community was there) are other examples. But ideally, Homeschool with other parents in your local community. More and more parents are doing it, and the more that do the easier it becomes.
Whatever you choose, just don't teach them the usual crap that will no longer be relevant in twenty years - teach them foraging, food growing, communication skills, carpentry, art, music, dance, signing, how to make things from local materials and the like. Teach them how to be the fullness of their humanity.
The Department of Food
Grow in whatever space you have - the windowsill, the back garden, the allotment or some land. Use Permaculture and Forest Gardening approaches to make the most of your limited space. Grow what you like to eat. If you're busy, grow the crops that need least looking after. If you're skint, grow the food that you like but that's most expensive to buy.
If you want to go to an even more sustainable level, then forage. Take a course, read some books (Food for Free by Richard Mabey is a good starter), go out to the hedgerows, practice, research, practice, research, practice, research ad infinitum.
Are the wilds in your area been replaced by supermarkets and their carparks? If so, go skipping (dumpster diving for you American English speakers) - its not exactly The Gift Economy, but you can make the gift on their behalf, given that these corporations haven't the integrity and care to redistribute it themselves.
The Department of Technology
Everything is technology - language, numerical system, compost toilet or bicycle. I used to think a Blackberry and Apple were fruit, but apparently not (lets reclaim our language people!), apparently they're phones and gadgets.
Use Linux (Ubuntu). Use OpenOffice. Use open source technologies, or help create them. Use Hushmail (an encrypted email - you may as well cc in the authorities to your emails from hotmail, yahoo, gmail etc), use DuckDuckGo for searching without tracking by Big Brother, use TrueCrypt to encrypt any personal folders you wouldn't like The Man to read.
Most of all - stop buying crap you don't need, and work less because of it. Be free. Use the appropriate level of technology.
The Ministry of Defense (aka The Ministry of Offense)
Fuck that. Be nice. Life simply - if you don't have any wealth, you'll rarely be bothered. I left my caravan unlocked for three years. Everyone knew I had nothing of worth, save a laptop whose screen is sellotaped to the kepboard. Organise members of your community to learn ways of resolving conflict peacefully and learn NVC. Learn how to defend yourself if it comes to it. Get fit, might come in handy some day. And if someone is repeatedly raping your Mother (I had to get it in there, you'd have been disappointed) or abusing your brother, then take an appropriate level of action. Good, vague phrasing there I hope.
The Department for Culture, Media & Sport
Make your own song. Make your own dance. Make your own beer, wine and cider (let Andy Hamilton help). Organise your own street party. Learn an instrument. No excuses, just learn one. Play games. Run. Make love. Go skinny dipping. Put on free film nights in your house. Do anything. Just don't waste your life on the internet writing blogs telling people how to not waste their life on the internet.
Stop consuming. Participate in life. I'll say it again in case you didn't get it the first two times. Stop consuming. Participate in life.
For free music, use Grooveshark, the world's biggest free jukebox.
The Department of Health
Eat well - local, organic, fresh. Exercise lots. Love yourself. Lots.
Your physical health depends on your mental health, so do things that make you happy and fulfilled. Get to know your local alternative practitioners, you'll find many on Freeconomy. Learn whichever form best works for you. Learn your own body again, become aware of what it needs.
For deeper types of healing, there are other methods such as Ayahuasca.
When I first began living without money I made my chronic hayfever almost non-existent using a weed called Plantain, a natural anti-histamine. It cured it 90%. But do you want to hear something completely far out, man? Last year I decided it was stupid and that
a) being allergic to pollen was ridiculous, and
b) that I am in control of my own body,
and so for two months coming up to hayfever season I kept telling myself I don't have have fever any more. And you know what? Come June, not a sniffle. Not one.
Too hippy? Not scientific enough? Then go and pump various types of over-the-counter pills into yourself, and that'll sort out all your problems. Or take a steroid injection. That'll restore you to full health. Promise.
And this is all just the tip of the iceberg. I could write a book (you can get it from your library - or pass it forward once you've read it) about all the other ways to live in The Gift.
I wish you all the courage in the world to move away from the money economy, and into the Gift Economy. Freeconomy isn't the world's largest alternative economy. Nature is. Join Her.See also: Ea O Ka Aina: Moneyless Man - Mark Boyle 10/22/10 .
"My friends think just because we live in Hawaii, we live in paradise. ... Are they insane?"
Those lines, as spoken by actor nonpareil George Clooney, helped my fellow Nebraskan Alexander Payne collect another Oscar this year, for the screenplay of his film "The Descendants."
Clooney's character, Matt King, goes on to list the everyday ills that beset Hawaii, which, he tells us, are much the same as those afflicting people on the mainland: cancer, infidelity, homelessness and the rest. That is doubtless true. But, oddly for a shrewd lawyer and landowner who has lived his whole life in the ambrosial isles, he fails to mention that Hawaii is crumbling under the blows of cultural and environmental devastation.
Don't worry: this is not a late-breaking film review. I liked the movie, and I have no quarrel with its focus on family conflict. But all the same, having just returned from Hawaii, I'm here to tell you that it's shocking to see how how science and religion are playing out in "paradise."
The science is simple: climate change and development are killing the islands by inches. Warming, acidifying seas are bleaching the coral. Ever-stronger storms and foolishly placed seawalls are eating the beaches. More than two-thirds of Kauai's beaches are under threat. On Oahu, a quarter of them, gone. Near my brother's home in Kailua lies one of the most beautiful stretches of beach on Earth, but in the five years since I last visited him, half of it has sunk beneath the waves.
Ah well, you may sigh with a Gallic shrug, beaches are for the pampered bourgeoisie. But there's more: Rising seas are swallowing low-lying islands. Untrammeled development and invasive species have made Hawaii the epicenter of the world's unfolding ecological disaster. Only two of every 10,000 acres of American soil lies in Hawaii, yet one-third of all our endangered species struggle for survival there.
You might think that if the very land under your feet were threatened with catastrophe, rescuing it would be your most urgent concern. And so it is, for some Hawaiians. In 2007, a state-commissioned panel released a high-minded plan for sustainability. Some nods to self-preservation have since been nodded: free charging stations for electric vehicles, for example, along with a few wind turbines, are now emplaced. But the fact remains that the vast majority of Hawaii's electricity comes from burning fossil fuels, so the gesture is, well, a gesture.
Where does religion enter in? At the very heart of the matter. Traditional polytheistic, animist Hawaiian religion had everything to do with sustaining life on the slender arc of land that was home to the kānaka maoli, or Hawaiian people. Of course, like all religions, it was multidimensional and more, but there can be no gainsaying that it conferred on the chief a responsibility to negotiate favorable terms with the forces of nature so as to assure prosperity of his people. In return, the chief got to live in comparative luxury. Unlike the pope or president of the Latter Day Saints, however, he was liable to be overthrown if the forces of nature did not cooperate. It was faith with accountability.
Then, the missionaries showed up. As Mark Twain wryly observed, these sanctimonious busybodies labored hard to make the Hawaiian people "permanently miserable" by stamping out their religious culture, traditions and beliefs, and by "telling them how beautiful and how blissful a place heaven is, and how nearly impossible it is to get there."
Since then, Christianity has crushed the remnants of polytheism. Those who have the deepest roots in Hawaii have succumbed to the missionaries in far greater numbers than the newcomers. All over Oahu, I saw "HE>i" bumper stickers on old pickups. (Decoded, it reads, "He is greater than I.")
On the Big Island, a native street preacher on a corner in Hilo hollered and shook his Bible at passers by. To find native Hawaiian religion (safely tucked away in the arms of history), you have to go to the Polynesian Cultural Center -- owned and operated by the Mormon church.
What native Hawaiians have traded in for is a religion that, though it varies in its particulars from Catholic to Protestant to Mormon, unites in its focus on the hereafter. Who cares if this world goes to hell, so long as you go to heaven?
In fairness, I must add that the churches to which native Hawaiians today belong aren't entirely indifferent to this world. But for the past two decades right up to the present day, their number one earthly priority is to fight gay marriage.
It's a losing effort in the wrong fight. For if old-time religion continues to share a political bed with the Denier Industry, future Hawaiian beach weddings will have to be conducted underwater. That'll confound the Holy Controllers: Who can tell the sexes of a couple dressed in wet suits?
Following the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Japanese Government raised the level of allowable radiation exposure from 1 to 20 millisieverts per year, even for children.
NHK: "On April 19th, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology announced that the amount of radiation a child can be exposed to in one year is 20 mSv."
IAN: Officials proclaim that 20 millisieverts per year is safe, but is it? In this video we'll test the official claim of safety against established radiobiological science. The same science upon which the United States National Academy of Sciences predicts that 20 millisieverts of radiation will not only cause cancers all across Fukushima, but will primarily kill women and children.
In this video we'll also test the official claim of safety against recently published research, such as the largest study of nuclear workers ever conducted. Comprising over 400,000 workers from 15 counties, the study found increased cancer mortality among nuclear workers exposed to an average of 2 millisieverts per year. That's just one tenth of the allegedly safe 20 millisieverts per year allowed in Fukushima!
In this video we'll see that the public is being misled buy governments and major media into a false sense of safety regarding nuclear fallout, obstructing the ability of citizens to be fully informed so that we can make sound decisions that direct our democracies to safe-energy futures.
So stay tuned, as we cover all that and more.
United States National Academy of Sciences is a logical resource to consult about the state of radiation science. And the Academy regularly publishes reports on low-dose radiation risks. The reports are based on decades of epidemiological and radiobiological research from which risk-predicting models are built. The Academy's most-recent report provides both raw data and instructions so that you can apply their risk models to a wide range of exposure scenarios. With the Academy's report we can therefore find the cancer risk of 20 millisieverts.
This is the Academy's data table for estimated cancer cases caused by 100 millisieverts of radiation, stratified by age and segregated by sex. Highlighted in yellow are the predicted number of cases for All cancers per 100,000 persons. Immediately we can see that the risk of cancer uniformly decreases as age increases for both males and females. In other words, children are most vulnerable to radiation.
Plotting these data yields this graph. This cancer-risk graph keeps this shape irrespective of dose. This shape is therefore the face of radiation-induced cancer risk across the human lifespan.
Following the Academy's instructions on scaling the model to specific doses, the lefthand y-axis is re-calibrated to the predicted cancer cases caused by the allegedly safe 20 millisieverts. And here in turn are re-calibrations for 10 and for 2 millisieverts. According to the academy, there is no harmless dose of radiation.
Obviously 20 millisieverts is not safe! But what's most remarkable is that children, and most especially girls, are the most at risk of radiation-induced caner. In fact, girls are almost twice as vulnerable as same-aged boys, and a 5-year-old girl is 5 times and an infant female 7 times more vulnerable than a 30-year-old man. So girls bear the brunt force of radiation's impact on the human race. Consider what this says about the ethics of nuclear-energy advocates who are aware of this fact.
These data from the National Academy of Sciences are freely available to all major media and government officials. Yet rather than informing the public of the actual state of radiation science and the real risks of nuclear power, they lead us instead to believe that 20 milisieverts of radiation is either safe or its effects are a complete mystery.
CBS: "Residents traveled to Tokyo to protest after the government loosened safety limits despite the fact the long-term impact of low-dose radiation is unknown. The long-term impact of low-dose radiation is unknown."
IAN: Even worse than a failure to inform, major media lead the public to believe that scientific models of low-dose radiation risk, such as we've just reviewed, don't even exist. Yet outside the media's cocoon of blissful ignorance, science marches forward, further characterizing the risks of low-dose radiation. And the flow of incoming evidence published since the Academy's last report in 2006 suggests that the Academy's risk model is either accurate or may underestimate risk.
In 2007 the largest study ever conducted on occupational low-dose radiation exposure was published. The study contained over 400 thousand nuclear-industry workers from 15 countries. The study found a significant relation between radiation dose and cancer mortality.
The average period of nuclear-worker employment in the study was 10.5 years, and the average dose accumulated over those years was 19.4 millisieverts. This implies an average annual dose of 1.85 millisieverts per year. So with an allowance of 20 millisieverts per year, Fukushiman children may receive up to 10 times the dose rate associated with increased in cancer among adult nuclear workers.
To get a more-accurate estimate of the average annual dose, this data table showing the average-cumulative dose and years of employment for each country is useful. From these data we find that the average annual dose for the whole cohort was 1.95 millisieverts per year, again rounding off to 2 millisieverts per year. The data provided by the study also allow calculation of the median annual dose of the whole cohort, which was lower still, at merely 0.45, or one half of a millisievert, per year.
So the representative dose-rate among the nuclear workers was at most one tenth of the 20 millisieverts per year allowed in Fukushima. And yet that much-smaller dose over an average of 10.5 years is correlated with elevated risk of cancer mortality.
To get a sense of the distribution of exposures, 90% of the workers in the study received cumulative doses under 50 millisieverts over their entire period of employment, which overall was 10.5 years on average. So dividing 50 millisieverts by 10.5 years suggests that dose-rate for most of the workers was probably below 5 millisieverts per year, one forth of the maximum annual dose for Fukushimans.
To get a sense of the distribution of the radiation effect over the 15-country cohort, the authors eliminated each country from the study one at a time one to see if eliminating one country's data eliminated the indicated radiation effect. In each sub-analysis they found that the excess risk ratio, or ERR, was higher than, but compatible with, the National Academy of Sciences' BEIR VII risk model, which was the risk model we previously reviewed. So the indicated radiation effect was not biased by data from any particular country.
The authors of the study noted that worker smoking is a possible confounding factor since lung cancer was common among the workers. However, other smoking-associated cancers showed little relation to radiation dose and the authors concluded that even if smoking played a role, it cannot fully account for the dose-relation of cancer to radiation. So the possibly that cancer-correlation was actually an artifact of smoking does not appear to be the case.
So let's recap, the 15-country study authored by 51 radiation scientists, is the largest study ever conducted of nuclear workers; it found increased cancer risk among workers; the average worker dose was 2 millisiverts per year; most workers received under 5 millisiverts per year; and the maximum dose allowed in Japan is 20 millisieverts per year, 10 times higher than the average annual worker dose and 4 times higher than most worker doses.
Two years later in 2009, Jacob and colleagues analyzed the 15-country study we just reviewed plus eight other nuclear worker studies. What makes nuclear-worker exposure especially relevant to areas contaminated by nuclear fallout is that both exposure scenarios deliver doses at a slow persistent rate. And the meta-analysis of Jacob and colleagues suggest that such slow-dose rates might be more harmful than fast-dose rates.
For example, this chart from Jacob et al shows excess cancer-mortality risk found in nine studies of nuclear workers. Each study is denoted by a red dot whose rightward displacement from 0 risk along the bottom axis denotes the degree of increased risk found in that study.
In contrast, the blue dots represent the comparative excess risk among the atom-bomb-survivor cohort, adjusted to match the sex-ratio and average age of the nuclear workers in each study. As we can see, the red dots are usually more rightward displaced than the blue dots, and therefore most nuclear-worker studies found a higher risk of cancer mortality than among atom-bomb survivors.
This is a significant finding because radiation-risk models are largely founded upon fast-dose exposures like from the atomic-bomb blasts, and it had been assumed that fast-dose rates were more harmful. However, the findings of Jacob and colleagues bring this view into question.
As an editorial on the findings of Jacobs et al in the journal Occupation and Environmental Medicine, observed:
"a number of recent studies challenge the assumption that low-dose-rate exposures to penetrating forms of ionising radiation are less effective at causing cancer than high-dose-rate exposures." [because] "risk estimates for people who received low-dose-rate exposures tend to be larger than, or similar to, the corresponding estimates derived from the study of Japanese atomic bomb survivors."
This graph from Jacob et al demonstrates the discrepancy of risk models. The two leading risk models are on the left. The second is the National Academy of Sciences' cancer-risk model we examined previously. Both risk models are based largely on the fast-dose-rate exposure experienced by atomic-bomb survivors. But the third bar on the right represents higher level of risk derived from the slow-dose rate of nuclear workers.
So the cutting edge of meta-analytical research suggests that the leading contemporary radiation-risk models may actually underestimate the carcinogenic efficiency of low-dose radiation.
Science is not only further clarifying the harmful effects of low-dose radiation on large-scale macroscopic level but on the microscopic level as well. Recent research has increased the fidelity of data in the low-dose range regarding radiation-induced genetic damage.
Chromosomal translocations are a form of genetic damage resulting from faulty repair of DNA molecules damaged by genotoxic chemicals or radiation. Chromosomal translocations, also known as chromosomal aberrations, are believed to result in many forms of cancer. And an increased frequency of chromosomal aberrations is recognized as an indication of an increased risk of cancer. As such, radiation-induced chromosomal aberrations are fundamental to the causal mechanism of radiation-induced cancer.
It has been well documented that medium-to-high dose radiation increases chromosomal aberrations, but the influence of low-dose radiation has been less certain. But if this mechanism of radiation-induced cancer occurs at low doses, there would be little reason to doubt that low-dose radiation can cause cancer.
In 2010, Bhatti and colleagues published a meta-analysis of studies that examined the influence of medical X-rays examinations on the incidence of chromosomal translocations. They sought to gain greater precision on the impact of low-dose radiation by pooling data from multiple studies.
Not only did they find a dose-response in the low-dose range, but to their surprise the frequency of chromosomal aberrations per unit of radiation increased below approximately 20 millisiverts. Moreover, at doses below approximately 10 millisieverts the frequency of aberrations per unit of radiation increased further still, and by an order of magnitude. Given these findings, evidence for the carcinogenicity of radiation at low doses could hardly be more logically indicated. Let's examine this formally.
The Hypothetical Syllogism is a two-premise argument schema of classical logic of the form: Given that, if it's the case that P, then Q, and if it's the case that Q, then R, then we may conclude that it's also the case that if P, then R.
Plugging the scientific evidence we've just reviewed into the Hypothetical Syllogism we may reason: Given that, if there's low-dose radiation, then there's more chromosomal harm, and if there's more chromosomal harm, then there's more cancer, then we may conclude that if there's low-dose radiation, then there's more cancer.
Now, to some degree this syllogism may be an over simplification. The largely uncharted complexity of biological systems are not easily reducible to arguments of elementary logic. However, that said, our inputs into this valid argument schema are the outputs of state-of-the-art biological research, so the conclusion at this point in time appear to at the least be plausible.
In this video we've reviewed both established radiobiology and recent radiobiological research. From this broad scientific base we've observed that
The National Academy of Sciences predicts increased cancer risk from exposures below 20 mSv/y.
Research published since the Academy's last report in 2006 corroborates that prediction.
Recent research also suggests the Academy's risk model may underestimate cancer risk.
Recent research also finds that radiation exposures below 20 mSv are associated with genetic damage.
Therefore, both historical and cutting-edge scientific research consistently demonstrate that Japan's allowance of 20 millisieverts per year is not safe..
“We are revitalizing an ancient form of transportation … using just the power of the wind and the tides … to move goods and people,” says skipper Fulvio Casali. In their CSA (community supported agriculture), the Salish Sea Trading Cooperative uses nearly no petroleum to transport organic produce and other goods from the north Olympic Peninsula to northwest Seattle.By sea they use community volunteer sailboats, and by land an electric delivery truck. Come on board with cofounders Casali, Kathy Pelish, and Alex Tokar, who are patiently redeveloping the skills and infrastructure for the return of “a whole fleet of sailboats blanketing Puget Sound” in the post-petroleum era. Video above: Janaia Donaldson interview with people connected to Salish Sea Trading Cooperative. From (http://youtu.be/m59EUo_IIWU).
Janaia Donaldson: Deanna why do you choose to get your box of CSA produce from the Salish folks instead of from somewhere else?
Deanna Duke: There's two things that I really try to do in my life. One is to support local agriculture. The other is to lower my carbon footprint. So this fits both. Since the Salish CSA gets local food from organic farms and it's mostly carbon free. So that's why I choose Salish. And I like the idea of creating more of a community environment with being able to sail from Ballard over to Sequim. I just like the idea of that—it's pretty cool.
Janaia: Some folks in northwest Seattle are using sail to go across the Puget Sound to the north end of the Olympic peninsula to pick up boxes of organic produce from a farmer there, and bringing them back by sail, to members of their community supported agriculture group, using nearly no petroleum. Hi, welcome to Peak Moment. I'm Janaia Donaldson. My partner Robin and I, in honor of that, have used bike to tape several of their segments. Let's go meet them and see what they're up to.
Janaia: I'm sitting in the cockpit of a sailboat in a dock in Ballard, near Seattle, Washington, with the co-founders of the Salish Sea Trading Cooperative. I'm here with Alex Tokar, Kathy Pelish, Fulvio Casali, who is also the skipper of this boat, the Soliton. Fulvio, you guys are doing some kind of an interesting project, the first I've heard of like this. Tell us what it is.
Fulvio Casali: We are revitalizing an ancient form of transportation. Moving on the water, using just the power of the wind and the tides. Which has been done by humans for millennia. We're trying to reestablish it, and while doing it, we're also trying to basically redevelop the skills and infrastructure that's needed to make it a viable form of transportation. To move goods and people on water between communities that are on the water. It's a way to transition into a world where fossil fuels become more scarce. Basically offering alternatives to keep trade and movement going by other means.
Janaia: So the particular form your project is taking is what?
Pelish: Specifically what we're doing this year as we start out is a small-scale CSA. Community Supported Agriculture program. We have about 30 customers, and we're delivering twice a month to Ballard. The boats go up to Sequim.
Janaia: What are you delivering? Let's go back to what a CSA delivers.
Kathy: Wonderful fresh organic vegetables from Nash's produce in Sequim.
Janaia: Tell us where that is relative to where Ballard is.
Alex Tokar: Seattle is at the lower middle of the Puget Sound. We go up the Puget Sound through Admiralty inlet and around the corner, around Port Townsend—that's about 30 miles or so up to that spot. And then another 15 or so along the Straits of Juan de Fuca, and then pop into Sequim bay. It's about 45 miles by water directly, with the wind behind us. When you're tacking it can be 60 miles. With mistakes, it can be even bigger.
Janaia: So you head out from Ballard and you work with whatever comes. Now, are you working with what the tides are?
Fulvio: Yeah, we have to time the departure. At every point we have to time it to make use of the tides, the currents, and the wind. Because otherwise the trip would take twice as long, easily.
Janaia: Describe a trip. If somebody were a mouse stealing on board, what would they experience?
Kathy: A lot of fun.
Janaia [to Kathy and Alex]: You crew, you two crew.
Kathy: Yeah, it's also great in terms of talking to the community. We have a group of about 13 people where we have different volunteers, skippers and crew. There's a whole backstory as well. You have the boxes come onboard the boat, and you do the provisioning.
Janaia: Let us depart with you.
Fulvio: Sure. We cast off from the dock. From this location, we first have to go through the Ballard locks, wait for the railroad bridge to open, go past the bridge, and then basically we're in the open waters of Puget Sound. At that point, we are free to sail and to make the trip as fast or as slow as we can. Depending on…basically we are out there and we see the conditions. What's actually right now here on the water? What's the wind doing right now? Based on that, we pick the right sail plan, the right sails to use, the right course that we can move as fast as possible. Right away we'll see porpoises and all kinds of fun sea life. Seals and sea lions and all kinds of birds. If it's dark—because we do sail through the night most of the time—especially in the summer we have some astounding luminescence. As the boat moves through the water, we see a spectacle that is almost….
Kathy: It's almost like having fireworks in the water.
Janaia: Like a light show.
Alex: It's a bit like "Avatar."
Janaia: When you say "we," usually how many people are joining you on a boat to crew with you.
Fulvio: Usually two other people; there's three of us aboard the boat usually. That allows us to take turns resting, and always having one or two people sailing the boat.
Kathy: I think one of the fun things to do, actually very technology-based, is we do Twitter. We use that technology so that people who have signed up can follow as we're going along on the trip. They can see as we pass through the locks, up past Admiralty, approaching Deception Island and getting into Sequim.
Janaia: How do people find you on Twitter?
Fulvio: Our Twitter name is @SalishSeaCoop.
Alex: A couple more things about planning that route. The route gets planned days earlier, like the week or four days earlier, by going through and looking at when the tides are changing. It's actually a fairly complex route to Sequim, because we have to catch the ebb out of Admiralty inlet, so when the tide's going out we need to be in at Admiralty Inlet. We need to follow that all the way as close as we can to Sequim. But then near Sequim we have to flip it and ride the flood into the harbor, because the currents in the harbor are too strong to go against usually by wind.
Kathy: It speaks to what Fulvio said earlier, which is that one of the larger missions is to reskill people. There are people who get on a sailboat and use the engine, and rarely sail. That's not what we're about. We're looking at this—as fossil fuel depletes more and more, and we as a society start to triage it, which we need to do—there are medical needs, for example, that are more important than people than filling up your diesel and going motoring. So for me, part of why this is exciting too, is that you're learning this skill. And I think it gives you a sense of what life might be like in a future that I think, going forward, our lives are going to slow down a little bit.
Janaia: I want to continue the trip so we can take our viewers with us. So we've got ourselves in the Sequim bay. What happens over there?
Kathy: It's a very protected bay, and a very narrow entrance. It is very much like threading your way through. So we slowed down considerably, took our time, did not run aground, did not run into anything.And we call ahead. We're partnered with Nash's. We call ahead to our friend there, Sid, who comes with the truck with the produce boxes. We meet him at the dock there, and then we go ahead and load the boxes. And then depending on the skipper and the plan, you would either turn around and leave. Or when I did it, we actually slept. We were tired and we decided we had enough time that we could sleep there.
Janaia: I'm with Sid Maroney, who's the Farm Share Coordinator at Nash's Organic Produce, who's just loaded … tell me what you're doing.
Sid: Well, we packed these boxes last night from produce that we harvested this week off the farm. They're going to Seattle by way of sailboat.
Janaia: Okay. We've just come from your farm. Let's follow this to the boat.
Janaia [to skipper Martin Adams and crewman Alex Tokar]: So tell us what's happening at this end.
Alex: We've just finished a 30-hour trip from Seattle. We left at 8:30 in the morning on Thursday, came in here about 2:15 pm.
Janaia: This is the sailboat. So, carry on. You're loading her up and taking her back.
Alex: Yup. We're loading her up and hoping to get back in time to make the delivery, which is Sunday morning 10 o'clock.
Janaia: Will it be tight, time-wise?
Martin: It's hard to say. We'll motor if we have to, to make that 10 o'clock time line.
Janaia: Since there's going to be another day or so before you go back, do you have to ice them? We're talking about older technology, right?
Fulvio: Yeah, we get a couple boxes of ice and we position them so the ice keeps everything else pretty cold in the cabin. On this boat, we use the aft cabin, which is really nice. This boat, as 99% of all sailboats built in the last fifty years, is not built for transporting goods. It's a pleasure boat. But the aft cabin, below where we're sitting right now, is a perfect hold for cargo, for boxes. One nice thing about transporting by boat is that the water here is so cold—it's under 50 degrees year round—and the boxes are so close to the water that it doesn't take much to keep them cold, even in the summer.
Kathy: There's a natural cooling action.
Janaia: So we're using, again, the natural elements to help you along here. So you navigate, you sail your way back.
Alex: I'd like to say a little bit. There are basically check points along the way, so that you know you have to be in the flood by the time you get to Port Townsend, to be coming in. Because if you're not there, and if the ebb starts before you get out of Admiralty Inlet on the way back to Seattle, you're kind of doomed, so that…
Kathy: Doomed in that you have to anchor. [Laughter] We haven't lost anyone yet.
Alex: I guess what I'm wanting to say is that we're not as pure as we could be. At certain times, if we have no wind, we can run the engine to make those check points. We're doing that this year when we have to, because we also have jobs, and we have limited amounts of time periods where we can actually be working on things. So on some trips we might have to run the engine for a half hour to forty-five minutes. So just little pieces to push us to check points if necessary. I wanted to say that so it doesn't look like we're perfect yet. Some trips we are, but not all trips.
Kathy: It's a work in progress. And we report it. We are logging it. I know with Fulvio, he notes the engine hours starting and the engine hours ending. But longer term, definitely as we reskill more and more people, the goal is to sail engine-less.
Janaia: So you do the reverse on the way back. You come into Ballard, into the dock. Then what?
[electric truck arrives at Ballard dock]
Janaia [to Kathy Pelish]: Cute car there, lady. This is Kathy Pelish who is part of the Salish Sea Trading Cooperative. She's the pick-em-up person.
Kathy: I'm the pick-em-up person, I'm kind of the back end, although I did go on the last trip. And a sailor, novice. So this is our little electric truck. It completes the journey in terms of low energy. No petroleum. It's electric.
Janaia: That's great, no petroleum.
Kathy: Uses batteries. Cool thing is it has a very nice flatbed, even though it's tiny.
[Janaia and Kathy walk down dock to the sailboat.]
Kathy: And here's our captain.
Janaia: Good morning. You made it!
Martin: Shall we do this, move veggies?
[everyone unloads boxes from boat to load electric truck]
Kathy: We are very fortunate to be partnered with Aster's Coffee Lounge, which has a great downtown Ballard location. It's on a couple of bus lines. We kept that in mind as well. We're encouraging people to bicycle to us, or take the bus. Then we set up a table outside of Aster's and we have our customers come between 10 am and 12.
For me, being kind of the back end person, it's been great—to use a gardening analogy, there's a lot of movement going on underground as you've built this network. I work with local restaurants like Ray's and get recipes from them, based on what's in the produce box.
We've got support from other community groups like SCALLOPS, which is Sustainable Communities All Over Puget Sound, and Transition Town Seattle. So these are the folks we kind of consider our kindred spirits. They've turned out in pretty strong support.
In about ten minutes we'll be getting customers. They pick up their boxes. Then they go home with printed recipes.
So we have about thirty [boxes for customers]. For the Thanksgiving trip coming up, pre-Thanksgiving I think we can get about forty. I think that's a pretty good target, a good showing of support from the community, that is to say, people get this. They understand what we're doing.
Janaia: I'm with Jenny Helm, president of Sustainable Ballard, which is part of Seattle. [Why are you choosing Salish Sea for your CSA produce?]
Jenny Helm: Salish Sea was conceived in Sustainable Ballard originally. I would do it for that reason alone, because it grew out of the passion of some of our members. But in addition I like the idea and the impact of petroleum-free transport. The produce is always so fresh, and I like that it's something that the people who are doing it are having fun, as well as helping out the planet.
Janaia [to Fulvio, Kathy and Alex]: What do you envision, in our last couple of minutes…where do you envision taking this forward?
Kathy: Part of my larger dream is to share this out to the larger SCALLOPS communities. So for example, Whidby Island has indicated an interest in this. Vashon Island has indicated an interest in this. I'd like to be able to give them…you know, we laugh and call this "Sail Transport in a Box". It's much more complicated than that, but we have done some of the ground research. We have consulted with attorneys. We know how to do this. We can say, "Okay, here's how you need to research the tide tables. Here's what you need to expect. Here's the skill level to look for in your skipper—that's the most important." Alex and I are fairly beginning sailors. So we've taken crew that is not all that experienced. What it comes down to is the skippers. This program would not make it without the skippers that we've had.
Janaia: How many skippers do you have now, that work with you?
Fulvio: Three. Four.
Janaia: This is a lovely idea, but you look at the size and scale of the city of Seattle, and certainly bringing a boatload of boxes of veggies over from Sequim once a week is not going to feed more than a few people on your block. Have you thought of scale…what are you trying to establish here?
Fulvio: It's true, this is a—you could say this is a cute operation. Other than proving a point, it may seem like, it's hard to see what it's doing.
Fulvio: My vision for the future is to have a whole fleet of sailboats blanketing Puget Sound, going back and forth doing commerce. That is what I envision, having real working marinas all along the Puget Sound. There used to be a mosquito fleet, in the early years of the twentieth century. There used to be docks at every little community along the Sound operated, where boats, like mail boats….
Kathy: … that pull up with chickens and eggs or produce…
Fulvio: And have a whole new base of skills, basically a whole new trade, for people to have jobs in this endeavor. I'd like to see that not just here but all over the country, and all over the world. And the reason I think we are doing the CSA to begin with is not because that's the end-all of this venture, but it's because it's hard. It's a hard thing to do. It's hard to have perishable produce on a boat that has to be delivered on time. But at the same time, it also reaches a lot of people. It touches many, many people. Many more than, say, you would touch by carrying a whole boatload of supplies for one company.
Kathy: It's an opening wedge. If I can change from the practical to speaking a little more idealistically: I'm teaching a Transition Town course at my church. When I mention this program… there's so much fear at this point in American society about fossil fuel depletion, and about climate change, and all the limits that we're hitting … so when you mention this, you actually see peoples' eyes light up. Like, "Oh yeah, Sail!" It's in our closet, in our historical closet. We forgot about that. Let's pull it out and dust it off, and let's make it happen again.
Janaia: why do you get CSA box from Salish Sea Trading Coop folks?
Andrea Faste': So many reasons. First of all it's a co-op, which is a great new—not new, but reviving form of organizing how we do business. It's great to know I haven't contributed any fossil fuel to the atmosphere in the delivery. I'm very concerned about climate issue. It's a way to stick it to the oil men. The people also are friends, they're engaged in supporting local agriculture, all of which is good. It's an old Scandinavian tradition to support sail transport around the sound. At one point there was a whole network, actually it was more steam, the little mosquito fleet. But the revival of that idea, that we can get our needs met within the Puget Sound area is really great.
Janaia [to Fulvio, Kathy, Alex]: What I experienced when people came to pick up their CSA boxes here, is that you have a really lovely sense of community. Folks proud to be part of this new kind of transport, sail, cooperative. There's lots of capital that you're building. Thank you for your entrepreneurial project. May you prosper and your vision come to fulfillment. Thank you.
You're watching Peak Moment. I'm Janaia Donaldson. I'm with the folks at the Salish Sea Trading Cooperative, bringing sail back into our lives. Join us next time.
Vermont's Attorney General appealed on Saturday a federal judge's ruling that had prevented the state from shutting down its only nuclear power plant, escalating a two-year battle over state's rights and atomic energy.
Last month, U.S. District Court Judge J. Garvan Murtha ruled that federal law preempted a state law that would have shut the Vermont Yankee plant in March, at the end of its original 40-year operating license.
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin says the state secured the right to decide whether it continues running as a condition of operator Entergy Corp's purchase of the plant in 2002.
Although Vermont is the only state in the nation with authority over its nuclear facilities, the debate is being closely followed by other states like New York that want more say over whether to continue running older plants.
"We have strong arguments to make on appeal. The district court's decision improperly limits the State's legitimate role in deciding whether Vermont Yankee should operate in Vermont beyond March 21, 2012," Attorney General William H. Sorrell said in a statement on Saturday.
"The court's undue reliance on the discussions among our citizen legislators, expert witnesses, advocates, and their constituents has the potential to chill legislative debates in the future. Left unchallenged, this decision could make it harder for ordinary Vermonters to clearly state their views in future legislative hearings," Sorrell said.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City will hear the appeal, he said.
While debate over the safety of nuclear energy has intensified since last year's Fukushima disaster in Japan, the battle over Vermont Yankee goes back several years.
In February 2010, the Vermont Senate, then headed by now Governor Shumlin, voted 26-4 against authorizing the Public Service Board to issue a certificate of public good that the state required in order to keep the 620-megawatt plant running.
But last year, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) -- which has authority over the nation's nuclear fleet - extended Vermont Yankee's original 40-year operating license for another 20 years until 2032.
"We as a state have had many important and legitimate concerns with Entergy Louisiana and its operation of Vermont Yankee that are not reflected in (Murtha's) opinion," Shumlin said in a statement on Saturday. "I support the Attorney General's work in getting a positive result on appeal."
STATUS CONFERENCE MARCH 9
Judge Murtha blocked the state from shutting the reactor before March 21, but required Entergy to seek the certificate of public good from the Board. Entergy has now filed for that certificate, which would extend operations another 20 years.
New Orleans-based Entergy Corp, the country's second-biggest nuclear power operator, said on Saturday it was ready to respond to the appeal and committed to ensuring the plant, which employs 600 people, continues to generate power.
The Public Service Board has scheduled a status conference on the Vermont Yankee case for March 9, according to state utility regulators.
In its filing with the Public Service Board, Entergy said the Board already "has a fully sufficient record, without taking any additional evidence, to issue a decision either amending the existing certificate of public good or issuing a new one to authorize operation of Vermont Yankee for twenty years."
Entergy originally filed with the Board in 2008 and hearings were held in 2009 before the state senate voted in 2010 to stop the Board from deciding on the certificate.
The Public Service Board is a quasi judicial board that supervises rates, quality of service and financial management of the state's utilities, including Vermont Yankee.
In his January 19 decision, Judge Murtha ruled the state laws were preempted by the Federal Atomic Energy Act because the state laws were enacted with radiological safety concerns in mind. The safety of nuclear power is a federal issue, not a state issue.
One state act required legislative approval for continued operation of the plant after March 21, 2012 before the Public Service Board could decide to grant a certificate of public good.
The state gained authority over the plant in 2002, when Entergy bought it from New England utilities and agreed to seek a new certificate of public good if it decided to run the plant beyond March 2012 when its first license expired.
Other states like New York are keen to have that kind of power over the state's nuclear plants.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to shut Entergy's 2,063-MW Indian Point plant in part because it is located within the heavily populated New York metropolitan area just 45 miles north of Manhattan. Entergy hopes to keep running the two reactors for another 20 years after their federal operating licenses expire in 2013 and 2015.See also: Ea O Ka Aina: NRC knows but hides info 7/10/11 Ea O Ka Aina: Katrina in New England 8/29/11 .
We expect ever-grosser competitive lying from the presidential primary candidates. We should expect no less from the media "analysts," politicians and academics competing for big business favors. With those expectations, we might be less disappointed by what we get.
These days, the hype about "economic recovery" is intense. Obama pitches it as a reason to reward him with campaign donations and votes. The money should flow in from the business community that wants badly to hide the fact that recovery has - from the beginning of this crisis - been only for them at the expense of recovery for everyone else. They need a president who hypes "recovery" as if it's about helping everyone in some general or "fair" way. The votes should come, Obama's team calculates, because average people are becoming increasingly desperate. They want someone in power who might help them even just a bit.
The Republicans had planned to use the economy against Obama (as he did against them in 2008). The recovery hype drove them to emphasize instead contraception, religion and the ever-popular Iran-bashing. By abandoning their attacks on "Obama's bad economy," Republicans leave the field to those hyping recovery.
The major media take their cues from politicians and their orders from the mega-corporations that own them. Mainstream academics, lowest on the public relations hype totem pole, celebrate recovery, too. Then they remember that they are supposed to be independent thinkers, so they find something about "the recovery" to "debate." That turns out to be, yet again, whether government interventions help or hinder economic recovery. In reality, big business leaders and the top politicians they control collaborate ever more closely for their mutual benefit. To mainstream academics falls the public relations task of pretending that big business and the government are adversaries.
However convenient to some, to speak of economic recovery today is false. There is no general improvement in economic conditions, let alone the sustained, self-reinforcing economic upturn that the word "recovery" is supposed to mean. Here is what we know early in March, 2012. The "good" news is about unemployment (slowly declining for a few months), retail sales (slowly rising) and especially sales of automobiles (rising quickly). It is also about corporate profits (high) and General Motors' (GM) profits (record high). Finally, the stock market had a nice upturn over recent months as well. That's pretty much it for the good news.
Here's the "bad" news. Housing prices are falling again (their much-hyped "recovery" earlier during the crisis turned out to be false). Manufacturing was down in the latest reports, while consumer spending and construction spending were flat. Consumer debt is rising again. The largest city bankruptcy in US history has been announced for Stockton, California (population: 300,000). State and city services across the country continue to be cut. Real wages and job benefits keep trending down.
A closer look at the good news raises even more doubt about "recovery" than the bad news does. Let's focus on those robust car sales and the hiring back of some laid-off auto-workers. Consider just two facts. First, the average age of cars on the roads in the US today is 10.8 years, making them the oldest fleet since the records began many years ago. People are not buying cars because they can afford them. Rather, their old cars now cost too much to repair too often. What they borrow to spend on car replacement now will require spending less on everything else in the months ahead. Second, hiring more auto-workers will have a much smaller impact on the US economy than rehiring used to. That is because the auto-industry bailout deal with the unions allows GM, for example, to hire "new" workers at $16 per hour, half of what they used to pay for the exact same jobs.
Looking closer at high corporate profits shows that they come more than ever from overseas activities of US corporations. Indeed, the country's sad condition and worse prospects are why so many US corporations place their hopes and investments outside the US.
The truth about "economic recovery" is that, for the mass of people, it is untrue. For the top 10 percent and especially the top 1 percent - those who brought global capitalism into crisis in 2007 - recovery has been real. They got the huge bailouts from Bush and Obama. They got the trillions in government loans at low interest that they then lent back to the government at higher interest rates (so much for how profits are capitalists' rewards for "taking risks"). To pay for its expensive bailouts (hyped as "stimulus plans"), the US government chose NOT to tax big businesses and their rich executives. Doing that, we were told by business and government alike, might "hamper the recovery."
So, the government borrowed trillions to "fund the recovery." And from whom? From the same banks, insurance companies, large corporations and rich executives whom the government had bailed out and NOT taxed. When those creditors began to worry that the US government's debt was becoming too high to sustain, they demanded that government cut back public services and use the money instead to pay interest and principal back to those creditors. And so it does.
"Recovery" is a recurring hype for a grotesquely unjust economic system. It is dusted off and reused whenever possible to cover the basic policy shared by both major parties in the US during major capitalist crises: help those at the top so maybe it will "trickle down" to everyone else. "Recovery" is the go-to word when business and government impose conditions to make the US more profitable especially for big business. Those conditions now include declining real wages, job benefits and public services for most Americans. They also include the huge numbers of personal and small business bankruptcies that cheapen the costs of second-hand equipment; empty office and retail space; and professionals (accountants, lawyers etc.) desperate for work.
"Recovery," in this capitalist economy, refers to profits, not to people..