Archive for June 9th, 2013

Blood for Uranium

by lizard

The San Onofre nuclear power plant in Southern California—which has been shutdown since January, 2012—will not reopen:

The owners of the San Onofre nuclear power plant in Southern California, which has been shut since January 2012, said on Friday that they would close it permanently because of uncertainty over when it could be reopened.

The two reactors at San Onofre had not run since a small amount of radioactive steam escaped from new tubes damaged by vibration and friction. Coming months after the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown in Japan, the event prompted a wave of public opposition and set off a legal and regulatory battle that included Southern California Edison, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which manufactured the parts that leaked.

Those parts, called steam generators, cost more than $600 million. In the end, uncertainty over the plant’s fate “was not good for our customers, our investors, or the need to plan for our region’s long-term electricity needs,” said Theodore F. Craver Jr., chief executive of the utility’s parent company, Edison International.

For an administration with close ties to the nuclear industry, this news represents a setback. From the link:

While campaigning for president in 2008, Barack Obama promised that nuclear power would remain part of the US’s “energy mix”. His chief adviser, David Axelrod, had consulted in the past for Illinois energy company ComEd, a subsidiary of Exelon, a major nuclear-energy producer. Obama’s former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel played a key role in the formation of Exelon.

The Obama Administration’s ties to nuclear energy corporations like Exelon may be playing a much more significant role in shaping Obama’s foreign policy.

According to the scrappy investigative journalist, Greg Palast, if Bush’s foreign policy could be seen as blood for oil, with Obama, it’s blood for uranium:

I was once asked by a radio host to explain why Obama was so insistent on a massive military surge in Afghanistan. I said, “Who the hell knows?”

That was before I saw the Army’s missing “Country Study” of the mineral bonanza. It’s simple, it’s cruel and it’s how the world works. As I’ve said, if you liked blood for oil, you’ll love blood for uranium. While Obama had little use for the Iraq war over oil, war for uranium is another matter altogether.

Bush and Cheney came from the oil patch. To oilmen, Iraq has “strategic” value. Obama comes from the nuclear power patch, Chicago, home of America’s largest nuclear plant operator and one of Obama’s largest backers, Exelon Corporation.

Exelon was created by investment banker Rahm Emanuel – a deal that created Rahm’s personal fortune – before he became Obama’s White House Chief of Staff. (Emanuel is now Mayor of Chicago.) Exelon’s CEO was one of Obama’s earliest and largest fundraisers.

And David Axelrod, the man whose PR message of Hope and Change made Obama leader of the free world, made himself a leader of the PR world, says Bloomberg Business Week, by “operating from the shadows” to create fake “consumer” groups for Exelon.

Would President Obama really send Americans to die just for a bunch of uranium?

Yes, yes he would.

Obama always pitched the Afghan War as the good, sensible war to be fighting, and he followed through once elected with his “surge”. With help from the New York Times, which reported in 2010 on the vast mineral wealth below the barren landscape, the exploitive potential for Obama’s Chicago boys must have seemed too tantalizing to pass up. That, and the geopolitical competition with China made Afghanistan a must control region for Obama’s team of imperialists.

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