02/17/2014 by syrbal-labrys
I was a child of the Cold War years, spent childhood practicing crouching in school hallways prepared to “kiss my ass” goodbye if the nuke drill turned for real. I grew up to be a “cold warrior”, too, and served in walled Berlin at the Field Station with no windows and a “cock and balls” radar array on the roof. I climbed to the tip top of that red and white tower to look out the top and scrawl initials into the mass at the hatch.
The boogy man under all the beds of my childhood AND adulthood were nuclear. For years, I hated big windows — my mind’s eye constantly seeing them melting in the blast of a bomb. Ah, if only the worst things to fear were what could happen if the Russians do NOT “love their children, too.” Since the “Cold War” was declared more or less concluded and everyone decided the nuclear dragon could be tamed into producing such nice clean energy, but to call their plan for dealing with resultant nuclear waste “unthought out” is being kind.
Now that all things nuclear are in the hands of people making profits instead of people who wanted to survive to a post-war state, I find myself MORE frightened. People who want to go on making money LIE worse than generals trying not to scare the
horses people they serve. So, while officials in Japan go on saying the mess at Fukushima is really ‘not that bad, and being cleaned up’ — yes I very much doubt their (1)veracity and (2) ability to accurately access risk.
What humanity seems to have no shortage of is hubris, backed by Olympic grade stupidity. We make toxic garbage and think hiding it in a hole in the ground is sufficient. So, when holes such as this are near mined out salt domes and there is plentiful water? You get disasters like the Bayou Corne Sinkhole; still enlarging in spite of the first “Oh, it will stop — it will be self-limiting” predictions. All KINDS of nasty stuff is bubbling up on the roiled surface of that water.
So, imagine, if something worse than industrial waste was dumped in a hole full of salt? Say a containment facility for nuclear waste? And say that in this fragile enough environment, scarce water was sold to use for fracking for oil; that would make the area even more geologically at risk. Since sinkholes began appearing back in 2009, alarming the people in the small town supported by the Carlsbad Caverns Nat’l Park, it was apparent all was NOT well; and now that everyone is rushing to chorus the eternal “It’s not THAT bad.” I don’t find myself comforted. Being told “Well, once we know how big it is we can talk about stabilization” — in light of what happened to sinkholes associated with salt domes in Louisiana is not encouraging. I have to note how carefully distant media management keeps stories of the Carlsbad sinkholes and the nuclear “event” in the near vicinity.
I’m left with the sickening mental picture of Fukushima having eloped with Bayou Corne’s salt dome disaster to produce a very unlovable radioactive child in New Mexico’s “Land of Enchantment.” And yes, I know some miles separate the storage facility and the sinkholes. But, as the disingenuous expert talking heads have said they ARE seeking to define the “size and shape of the cavity.”
It feels to me as if we have ignored our decaying infrastructure and been brainless in the pursuit of money, especially oil money. It seems that America, faced with a need for more energy, decided ANYthing to get more oil (and thus more money) was acceptable instead of considering a possibly necessary lifestyle change that would enable life to sustainably continue. Rather like the beleaguered East Coast, running out of places to pile snow, we put our toxic garbage anyplace there were not too many people to scream “Not in MY backyard,” based on the assumption that nothing bad could happen. (My mind is making bad punnage of that statement since Bayou Corne’s growing disaster is in Assumption Parish.)
America’s center is not holding. Chanting “USA, USA!” is not fixing decaying bridges and declining water tables. Lake Meade is drying up, California may blow away before it can “slide into the ocean” as Republicans once screamed at me should occur. And pssst….you heard it here (possibly not first), WHEN enough Americans wake up to find there is no coffee, no more oil, no more roads that work, no more jobs, no more drinkable water, no more bountiful supplies of food, not even enough money to buy food for military members tasked with maintaining order? THEN you will find out why the NSA is actually storing meta-data. It isn’t about foreign terrorists, folks. The NSA crew must have read Pogo…because they HAVE met the enemy, and it is/will be US. We have largely distracted ourselves with silly toys while our world invisibly burns. Maybe we should ALL take up violin, because hey, that Roman bastard Nero shouldn’t be the only one making music for those-about-to-be-screwed, eh?