May 13th, 2007

_Crimes Against Nature_ and comments on nuclear facilities

Subtitled: How George W. Bush & His Corporate pals Are Plundering the Country & Hijacking Our Democracy

Not one to pull punches is Bobby Jr.

I'm about halfway through it (part of the ongoing effort to actually _read_ these books I keep buying, in this case back in July of 2005. My excuse is that I had Teddy and have been a little distracted. Not, mind you, that I stopped reading. I just stopped reading anything not directly related to parenting.) and am starting to use it in part as a reference for missed scandals.

Add to my previous list: Steven Griles, pled guilty to obstruction of justice charges in connection to the widening Abramoff scandal, but Griles crimes are of another order entirely.

I'm still trying to figure out what precisely happened to Ralph Reed. I know he failed in his Lt. Gov. bid. I know he's somehow been connected to the Abramoff scandal (something about trying to hurt gambling businesses that would compete with the one he was supporting -- what a great thing for the former head of the Christian Coalition to be fronting). But be damned if I can figure out if anything has stuck to him yet. And he seems to be back out commenting on the '08 candidates on CBN and CNN and even weighing in on the Sharpton/Mormon thing. The lawsuit against him has been settled. We need a catchy phrase for this guy; shit does NOT stick to him.

Speaking of Abramoff, that whole thing revolved around the BIA which is part of the Interior, which is under Gale Norton, who stepped down last year. Possibly just in time?

But honestly, here's the real shocker. This is in Westchester (who says the rich can protect themselves from everything? The rich are delusional) County.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Point_nuclear_power_plant

Down the page there's a wikimapia link where you can look at a really great aerial photo of it.

Wow.

Creepy. That's right around 200 miles from here. Not far enough. And that isn't even the closest nuke -- Seabrook is less than 40 miles away. Vermont Yankee in Vernon is about 60 miles away. Pilgrim in Plymouth, MA is under a hundred and Millstone in Waterford, CT is just over a hundred. We're freaking surrounded.

Makes the 200 miles from Seattle to Hanford sound like a nice, safe distance, doesn't it? Don't get cocky. Reed College in Portland, OR has a reactor. Ripped from their website:

"The Reed College Reactor Facility was established in 1968 and is the only reactor operated primarily by undergraduates." Best of all, they don't even _have_ a nuke-e program. They run their little puppy full tilt so you can see it glow, and it's a "resource" for chemistry and physics students.

Gack.

But wait, there's more! U Mass Lowell has a small research reactor. And so does MIT. In Cambridge. On Mass Ave. Holy Shit. R. says it looks like an oil tank, except it's got really thick metal walls. R. thought they had downgraded it from weapons grade uranium, but doing a little looking around, we're not so sure. Worcester Polytechnic (even closer than Seabrook) has a nuke-e program and a reactor as well. And there's one in Narragansett, because, after all, RI needs one of their own. When we go on vacation this summer, I'll be so comforted knowing I won't be too far from one of these hazards.

Amazingly enough, R. knew and could rattle off in distance order all of the New England power reactors and the MIT reactor. I found out the old fashioned way: wikipedia.

There does not appear to be a reactor at the University of Washington anymore, altho WSU has one in Pullman. Here's a bit about the old UW reactor. A reactor with _windows_. (And by windows, I mean _glass_, not a software product from the Squish.)

http://www.washington.edu/alumni/columns/dec04/backpages.html

The article claims there are only 6 active research reactors on university campuses. This was inaccurate when the article was published in 2004 and is inaccurate today. (There's a chance they have some code meaning for "active research reactor", but I'm unable to divine what it might be. They are reactors and they are active.) Idaho, Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio, Penn and Oregon State U's all have reactors as does MIT and Worcester Polytechnic. And I haven't gone through the whole list yet.

Anyone interested in the idea that a nuke plant might use Windows (the software product) and what that would obviously lead to might look at this:

http://www.securityfocus.com/news/6767

In October of 2005, ABC News did a Loose Nukes special where they visited college reactors at 25 schools. What they discovered was hardly encouraging. I have to say I'm fairly impessed by what they did, and that they've maintained the information accessible on the web since then.

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/LooseNukes/

I particularly liked that Lowell PD Supe thought the reactor was shut down and therefore not a problem. Ha! Creepily enough, they didn't switch from highly-enriched to low-enriched until _2004_. Way to respond quickly to terrorist threats.

Even better, tho, ABC parked a Ryder truck next to the MIT reactor and no one questioned it. Oy.

Check out the comment here:

http://www.mne.psu.edu/edwards/PROJECTS/PSBR/PSBR.HTM

about efficient regulation.

Buried in this:

http://www.purdue.edu/UNS/html3month/2005/0510.UW.reactor.html

is some information about why there are so many poorly secured reactors using weapons-grade fuel. Because the guv-mint is too cheap to fix it -- and probably is also mis-estimating how much it would cost to do the change-over anyway. This may explain the assertion about six active research reactors above in the UW article. They might mean six reactors with weapons-grade uranium.