It's not Halloween yet, but if you're in the mood for a
true-to-life horror story you need look no further than the Bush
administration's energy and defense policies, which are attempting
to revitalize the lagging nuclear power industry. As David Proctor
writes in the Boise Weekly, a return to atomic energy
promises to reawaken the ghosts of a vast and malevolent federal
campaign to sell nuclear power to the populace at any cost.
Proctor reviews recently declassified documents detailing atomic tests conducted in the '40s, '50s, and '60s on unwitting citizens, tests that Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall later said 'knowingly and recklessly exposed millions of people to dangerous levels of radiation.'
The presidentially appointed Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) is obligated by law to protect the public but has routinely looked the other way, according to many studies. Even when courts ruled in favor of plaintiffs who had suffered the effects of radiation, and the government was forced to pay amends, the AEC continued to tell us that atomic energy is safe.
But, as Proctor notes, it's not just new power plants and weapons that threaten innocent Americans, it's also the massive amount of highly toxic nuclear waste we've already generated. The government hopes to haul this waste by rail and truck to certain underground storage facilities in the West, where, once again, we're told that it will be safely and innocuously laid to rest. But with the AEC's record of lies and fuzzy studies, how can we really be sure?