[Marxism] Re: Nuclear Issues

Jesse Jack jjack99645 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 13 12:35:27 MDT 2006

> Plants are "safe" according to capitalist norms. They don't want
> accidents because they interrupt the flow of profits and are bad PR
> (plus they kill a few people). The fact that they produce tons of
> highly concentrated high level radioactive waste, with radioactive
> half-lives of hundreds of millions of years (e.g., U-235 has a
> half-life of 700 million years), and want to store the waste (at
> tax-payer expense) underground where it can seep into ground water and
> destroy the lives of countless people--these facts don't enter the
> capitalist calculations of what "safe" means.

I've worked with radioisotopes in the past and have received measurable
doses of nuclear radiation, which is perhaps why I'm not so terrified by
nuclear energy. In my previous line of work we made gamma radiographs using
very tiny iridium 192 sources. The "camera" you use to make the radiographs
is basically a lunchbox filled with depleted uranium that keeps you from
radiating yourself; however, as you're reeling reeling the source out to the
subject there is no shielding.

To get to the point, there was a very careful and detailed procedure for
changing out these tic-tac sized sources, and after we sent them off there
was an even more thorough process, including encasing them several times in
several different materials before burial. If disposal of these miniscule
waste products was so involved, I can't imagine that waste from nuclear
power plants is just stored in some 50-gallon drums and burried 5 feet
underground, like you see on TV. Even if it were, it's not like this sort of
thing doesn't happen all the time with other industrial wastes.

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