It’s indeed difficult to lampoon those who harpoon themselves, but let’s give it (ahem) a shot. This Tuesday at the A+ Firearms Training Classroom, the man recently graded highest among all lawmakers by a corporate front think tank, Sen. Don Gustavson, R-Sparks, will attempt to speak.
The occasion allows Don the Dumberer to simultaneously play to several voter bases, or kill several birds with one blast. (Dick Cheney, call your office.)
It takes place at the “U.S. Nuclear Energy Foundation Meeting Room” inside the firearms place at 808 Holman Way “next to the Christian Book Store.” (Are these guys lobbying God and Gustavson for nuclear weapon concealed carry permits?)
“Let’s revisit nuclear energy, a viable alternative. Think about it,” implores the nukies’ website which is (ahem) shot through with illiteracy but unabashedly accepts tax-deductible contributions.
One might think that the virulently anti-tax senator might avoid an outfit funded at least partially at taxpayer expense. One would be wrong.
According to its website, USNEF “is an independent foundation and not supported exclusively by any industry or nuclear association but by individual and/or business support in order to retain our independence of educational materials.”
Did you catch the wiggle room? They are not supported “exclusively” by any industry or nuclear association, which constitutes an admission that the nuke industry is among their backers — along with the U.S. Treasury.
Their website pimps both nuclear power and dumpsites.
The proposed Nevada nuclear waste dumpsite has been debated to death, but it just won’t die. Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, presented the solution to the 1999 legislative session: transmutation. It’s not reprocessing, which creates more nuclear material than it destroys. Transmutation involves bombarding with huge amounts of electricity, speeding up decay and reducing volume. (See the March 7, 1999, Barbwire linked to the web edition of this column at NevadaLabor.com.)
“The basic technology has been around for a long time,” I wrote back then. “If you want to make nuclear bombs, you have to transmute naturally occurring uranium into plutonium isotopes. By likewise bombarding with electrons some 70,000 tons of spent fuel rods from nuclear power plants, you can turn the stuff into roughly 230 pounds of lower level material.”
With domestic and foreign commercial nuclear junk piling up nationwide, along with all the irresponsibly unregulated military waste, transmutation’s day may come. The dangers of nuke transportation never have and apparently never will be adequately addressed. Trainloads of hazardous materials travel through the Rail City of Sparks every day.
Sen. Neal proposed a job-creating research program at the Nevada Nuclear Test Site. After the process is developed, building several strategically located plants would provide an optimal solution. Identifying the safest and shortest transportation routes must be the priority.
Tuesday might prove an interesting evening to see if one of the dimmest bulbs in the ledge can shed any light on Nevada’s nuclear addiction and affliction. Or you can picket the place.
Nukies like to tout the pseudo-fact that outside of the 1979 Three Mile Island disaster in Pennsylvania, there has never been another major nuclear event in this country. Residents of Arco, Idaho, might disagree. Arco likes to brag that it was the first U.S. community electrified by nuclear power. Yes, but on Jan. 3, 1961, its reactor melted down, causing three deaths. “It was the world’s first (and only U.S.) fatal reactor accident,” according to Wikipedia.
Blast from the past
I had the honor of associating with eminent utility economist David S. Schwartz during the 1981 Nevada legislative session.
“Nuclear plants provide very low cost power — when they work,” Dr. Schwartz once quipped, noting the huge amounts of costly downtime experienced by fragile nuke plants.
Travus T. Hipp was more pithy: “Nuclear plants are the most expensive way to boil water ever devised by man.”
Déjà vu all over again
On Friday, a Gomorrah South judge stopped the North Las Vegas city council from holding a re-vote in one precinct where an ineligible voter cast a ballot.
On election night, the challenger beat the incumbent councilcritter by one vote.
That rang a bell
In the 1980 Republican primary for a southwest Reno state assembly seat, Patty Cafferata likewise defeated Bob Kerns by a single vote. Kerns went to court where a registered Democrat, who had mistakenly been given a Republican ballot, testified that she voted for Mrs. Cafferata.
Judge Roy Torvinen ruled that there was no way to corroborate her assertion and he could thus not call it a tie. He added that he hoped whoever eventually won would address the gap in state law about such an issue. That apparently never happened. Kinda like the lack of rules governing congressional vacancies.
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Be well. Raise hell.
Andrew Barbano is a 42-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.