Ernest Moniz:  Department of Energy, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

One cannot exist without the other.  Without civil nuclear power, there can be no military nuclear power, and without military nuclear power, there is no civil nuclear power.” – French President Emmanuel Macron

“Imagine a death technology calling itself a nuclear renaissance. All it is, is a nuclear rebirth of an even more gouging crony capitalism, or corporate welfare system.” – Ralph Nader

Nuclear power in the US is in decline…42 reactor projects were abandoned, 41 built but closed, and scores now operate only thanks to government rescues…Nuclear power is a minor distraction, adding each year at best only as much electricity supply as renewables add every few days. It has no business case or operational need anywhere. - Amory Lovins

[C]ivilian nuclear power is merely a cover for producing more nuclear weapons.” – Alfred Meyer

By James Heddle By Mary Beth Brangan - EON

Psychopathological Nuclear Revivalism is on the Loose

·      At the last COP 28 Climate Summit, over 20 nuclear nations on four continents and their allies and vassal states pledged to triple their ‘nuclear capacities’ by the year 2050, thus multiplying planet-wide nuclear risks by orders of magnitude. Source

·      The U.S., China and Russia each have plans to build nuclear reactors on the moon. The reactors would be constructed by robots, run remotely via AI, and be prototypes for subsequent installations on other planets in the first phase of the hubristic galactic imperialism agenda. Source

·      Nuclear propulsion and energy production in space are considered essential for military uses like High Energy Laser (HEL) directed energy weapons, and for mining the resources on asteroids and other planets. Source

·      Although no working model of much-touted Small, Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMNRs) has yet made it off the drawing board, mass production of such reactors continues to be advocated both as a fictitious ‘solution’ for climate change, and as a necessary power source for the planned build-out of Artificial Intelligence (AI) facilities.

·      This is the same specious rationale being used for extending the operating licenses of obsolete, aged, inadequately maintained old style nuclear reactors that are scheduled for shutdown and decommissioning – like Diablo Canyon. There is even a push to restart obsolete reactors already shutdown like Palisades in Michigan.

·      The burgeoning spent nuclear fuel management industry is dominated by companies with dubious, predatory companies like Holtec International, which have their eyes on the massive accumulated decommissioning funds at each reactor site, dumping radioactive waste water into adjacent water systems, and even repurposing decommissioning sites for installation of their own brand of SMNRs.

·      Former Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, now head of the Energy Futures Initiative Foundation justifies nuclear revivalism because it supports the Nuclear Navy, spear tip of American power projection around the planet.

·      Nuclear energy, weapons and radioactive waste management industries are key, interlocking components of the Permanent War Economy, yet they could not survive without massive government subsidies and support (both overt and covert) with taxpayer dollars.

In her book Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters, M.I.T. professor and environmental historian Kate Brown reveals the schizoid cognitive and ethical contradictions of societies organized around the production of the deadly man-made element plutonium.  It is a history with relevance today. As the developments listed above clearly show, Crackpot Nuclearism is having a heyday.

In the widest context, this is the implied scope of what we have dubbed in our film ‘the San Onofre Syndrome.’  It is the dedication of unlimited resources to a quintessentially totalitarian technology, the products and societal spin-offs of which are antithetical to democracy and to life in all its forms.

 While our just released, multi-award-winning feature documentary SOS – The San Onofre Syndrome: Nuclear Power’s Legacy - focuses on the potential impacts of informed people power, and the universal conundrum of responsible radioactive waste management, our broadest intent is to use SOS screenings as a wake-up call and catalyst for discussions helping to make viewers aware of the enveloping presence of what is termed by proponents and critics alike the over-arching ‘the nuclear enterprise.’  

The Nuclear Enterprise impacts virtually all sectors and institutions of our society and incorporates the mutually co-dependent nuclear energy and nuclear weapons production industries, their shared industrial base of extraction, milling, fabrication, transportation; an extensive infrastructure of education, research, labor training; the growing radioactive waste management industry; and a powerful lobbying arm with global reach.  It is a ‘public-private partnership’ on steroids.

We have examined aspects of this Nuclear Energy-Weapons-Waste Complex and the geopolitical and cosmic context for the ‘Save Diablo’ PsyOp in previous articles including: The Real Nuclear Triad; Joined At The  Hip; Nuclear Revivalism as a Cargo Cult; and The Hydra-Heads of Armageddon Man.  Because of the widespread impacts of this Nuclear Industrial Complex, we now live in a literally MAD world in which the certainty of Mutually Assured Destruction of adversarial nuclear weapons states is seen as the main 'deterrent' to nuclear war.  Is this clearly insane, or what?

 Both government control of business (or ‘communism’), and business control of government (or ‘fascism’) are in the thrall of the nuclear enterprise – or nuclear energy-weapons-waste complex. 

Our documentary SOS, The San Onofre Syndrome: Nuclear Power’s Legacy, portrays a microcosm of this general situation with universal implications. We show the reality of this monstrous death industry, and the state and federal agencies that provide for its support, structure, and funding through portraying the events at San Onofre and the ordinary citizens who grapple with them.

Our five main characters work tirelessly to first shut down the leaking reactors that they live close to, and then discover the horrifyingly inept waste management plans.

The waste is being stored only 108 ft. from the rising ocean, in a tsunami and flooding zone, surrounded by earthquake faults and only inches above rising groundwater.

The industry does not have a plan for how to remove the waste or to safely move it technically, yet it promises the public that if it only had a place to put it, it would be easily transportable.  Billions are being dangled before impoverished - often minority - communities to allow them to be ‘consolidated interim storage’ sites, or CIS.

SOS specifically opposes the concept of Consolidated Interim Storage (CIS). CIS requires that the lethal waste be moved twice.  We also oppose the storage and long-distance transport of Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) in unsafe containers.  We oppose the idea of contaminating yet more land and communities, which are most of the time poor, minority people. 

SOS explicitly advocates for ongoing, transgenerational stewardship of spent fuel on existing reactor sites (or as close by as is safely possible to avoid the horrendous transportation risks) using aspects of the Swiss model for interim storage. 

The parts of the Swiss model technology that we need in the U.S. are:

1) a hot cell/dry handling facility for robotic handling; and

2) repackaging of the waste from inevitably short-term canisters into thick, monitored, inspectable, retrievable casks;  

3) stored in secure, climate-controlled buildings as close to the site of generation as is safely possible;

4) with ongoing skilled maintenance for as long as it is necessary.

This of course, is needed at every reactor site in the U.S. (and beyond) that currently is storing the ever-increasing volume of this lethal material.  Each site’s needs would be in the billions of dollars to do this properly.  But the industry makes decisions based on profit and so far, believes it won’t profit from safely managing the waste.

Therefore, it thinks of the problems of radioactive waste and nuclear risks in general, as a Public Relations problem and that if they only solve the P.R. problem, they can keep on making the messes and making profits from supposedly ‘dealing’ with them the cheapest, fastest way.  The billions in trust funds set aside for decommissioning from years of ratepayers’ fees are used by the industry with no adequate oversight or auditing.

So, this industry that must operate flawlessly to avoid catastrophic damage to the planetary DNA of all living creatures, makes decisions based on profits, not public health and safety.

Not even considering the any other adverse effects of this ultimate destructive force, the problem of the everlasting poisonous waste alone, in a sane society, would be enough to ban the use of this technology either for weapons or for boiling water to produce electricity.

 For more information and viewing options:


Mary Beth Brangan and James Heddle directed SOS together with Morgan Peterson, who also served as editor.


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