Harvey Wasserman wrote for The Free Press 13 May 2007, How creative mass non-violence beat a nuke and launched the global green power movement,
Thirty years ago this month, in the small seacoast town of Seabrook, New Hampshire, a force of mass non-violent green advocacy collided with the nuke establishment.How effective?
A definitive victory over corporate power was won. And the global grassroots “No Nukes” movement emerged as one of the most important and effective in human history.
It still writes the bottom line on atomic energy and global warming. All today’s green energy battles can be dated to May, 13, 1977, when 550 Clamshell Alliance protestors walked victoriously free after thirteen days of media-saturated imprisonment. Not a single US reactor ordered since that day has been completed.
Richard Nixon had pledged to build 1000 nukes in the US by the year 2000. But the industry peaked at less than 120. Today, just over a hundred operate. No US reactor ordered since 1974 has been completed. The Seabrook demonstrations—which extended to civil disobedience actions on Wall Street—were key to keeping nearly 880 US reactors unbuilt.The only new nukes ordered since then are the ones Georgia Power wants to build at Plant Vogtle on the Savannah River, for which Georgia Power customers are already getting billed Construction Work in Progress (CWIP).
Thirty years later, some things haven’t changed:
As in the 1970s, the cost calculations for new reactors that are fictional wish lists. Despite millions in PR hype, there is no core Wall Street funding for new nukes or reliable private insurance for liability in case of a major accident. There is also no solution to the problems of waste storage or terror attacks. Whatever economic case there might have been for atomic energy thirty years ago has long since disappeared.We already know what New Hampshire did: the NH legislature banned Construction Work in Progress (CWIP) and the Seabrook-building PSNH went bankrupt. No utility wanted to follow that path.
Until now, in Georgia, which has CWIP.
From these gatherings came a “Solartopian” vision of a fossil/nuke-free economy, powered by green energy, that the Clamshell demonstrators carried with them onto the Seabrook site. They were battling not just nuclear power, but an obsolete “King CONG” paradigm centered on coal, oil, nukes and gas. Once the immense resources being wasted on nukes and unclean fossil fuels were shifted to renewables and efficiency, they said, a green-powered Earth would come.Thirty years later, wind and especially solar energy are much more efficient and less expensive. And doctors in hard hats in Georgia are cutting solar ribbons and prices. If we can get Georgia Power out of the way with its CWIP and its territoriality law, we can have distributed renewable energy, resistant to terrorist attack, immune to OPEC oil prices, helping float county and city budgets, and bringing profit to rural south Georgia.
It’s sad that gapower is standing in the way when it could be leading the country in solar power and profits for its shareholders. Maybe we should help Georgia Power help itself, by banning CWIP in Georgia.