Galaxies far and now

It’s what’s inside that counts.

It’s what’s inside that counts.

(Come friend Aunt Ruthie on Facebook and let’s hang out.)

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away—in the late ’70s in San Luis Obispo, approximately—there was an anti-nuclear movement. No, really. It was all over the globe and especially active here in Sactown. But it was in SLO where Auntie Ruth saw it with her own eyes. Thousands of people assembled at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in a culminating day of protest. Rock stars sang and knowledgeable speakers extolled from the stage. All were fearful of how much could go wrong with nuclear power: such mysterious forces unleashed! Such high consequences if things go wrong! A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away …

It’s said that growing old is not for sissies, and part of growing old—the part that takes chutzpah (the renewable, sustainable kinds)—is having to fight and refight and refight the old battles over and over again. Ask any feminist who first defended Planned Parenthood in the ’60s and who must rise to do so one more time. Ask your favorite neighborhood anti-war activist. Maybe rent Inside Job—a must-see—and then ask any anti-corporado you know about the financial meltdown of 2008 and consider how Jimmy Carter confessed in the ’70s that the corporations wielded more power than he. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away … right?

There are, amazingly, spent fuel rods still sitting onsite at Rancho Seco. They’ll still be “hot” for thousands of years, Locally, that battle was won. But it’s not over. Some climate-change activists, like Stewart Brand, champion microreactors as part of the climate-change solution. Still, in France, where many nuclear-power stations are cooled from local waterways, according to Cleo Paskal on The Huffington Post, “In 2003, the rivers were so warm, they couldn’t be used to cool as normal. That caused the powering down or shutting off of 17 French nuclear reactors, costing French utilities hundreds of millions of dollars to buy power from neighboring countries.”

And then there’s Fukushima. Chernobyl. Three Mile Island.

And still, we don’t know what to do with the spent fuel. Still, we can’t anticipate the extremities of nature and how, exactly, our best laid plans can’t turn Ma Nature back. Still. All that’s old is new again. The galaxy far, far away is just around the corner. That is to say: no nukes.