The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is living proof that corporations are in bed with government. The party that has been cheated on is us, the American people. And the manifestations of that unfaithful relationship, one based on lies of Commission and omission, are obvious but also potentially unimaginably catastrophic. Oh wait, Fukusima helps us imagine.
Indeed, "David Lochbaum, a frequent critic of the N.R.C. who recently worked as a reactor technology instructor there, said the agency too often rolled the dice on safety. “The only difference between Byron and Fukushima is luck,” according to a story in The New York Times.
This has been the problem we can trace all the way back to its predecessor organization, the Atomic Energy Commission and to the very inception of the domestic nuclear power industry, which corporations would only handle if they were relieved of liability, since no insurance company would touch the nuclear industry. Congress bent over and passed the Price-Anderson Act, which capped liability and corporations then jumped into this highly subsidized opportunity. The taxpayers basically paid for the whole thing and allowed the industry to just step in when it was time to collect profits. The US Geological Survey finds the uranium and the Department of Energy takes care of disposing the waste--the most poisonous material in the universe, if you are an Earthling. DoE also pays for research at the universities and much more. And, as the record shows, the NRC routinely ignores or is limp on enforcing safety measures that might cost the utilities.
I'm on an academic advisory council to a scholar who is investigating civil society response to corruption around the world. Why is it she can find cases on all continents but little in the US? When will we rise up and stop such blatant corruption? When government does so little to protect the people and corporate elites pocket the profits, that is classic corruption, dirty as a corroded pipe at the aging 104 reactors that are all meltdowns waiting to happen.