If I don't have that third martini, the terrorists will have won. This seems to be the logic of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's sudden decision to stop publishing nuclear plant safety and security deficiencies, because "it might help the terrorists".
Well, no-- what it actually does is allow the nation's (103?) active nuclear plants to operate under an even greater veil of secrecy than they do now. It is interesting to note, for example, that the Indian Point nuclear plant at Buchanan, New York, around 60 miles North of Manhattan, owned by the Entergy Corporation (which ominously has recently been advertising its safety and reliability... as if any of us have a choice about where our electricity comes from) is often touted for the benefits it provides to its local economy, i.e. virtually no property taxes for around 1,000 or 2,000 residents of Buchanan. New York, and a few jobs in the region (and the electricity of course, which otherwise would have to be acquired on the regional power grid, or supplied by other means, or worst of all, perhaps force reasonable conservation measures).
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Ah, but the economic damage, not to mention psychological. It is unclear to me how wide an area would have to be evacuated, or for how long. But keep this in mind: after the WTC, most of lower Manhattan was evacuated completely for a few days, and residents nearby, for months-- maybe a half-mile radius. Economic damage estimates are usually put in the $100 billion range.
Pretend instead we're talking evacuating a radius of 50 or 60 miles from a nuclear catastrophe. That's not only millions of people, but potentially the entire New York area-- not merely our largest population center, but the nation's (and probably the world's) leading business center. In short, it would make $100 billion seem like a bargain, compared to the probable economic devastation equivalent to a signfiicant part of our GDP-- especially if the area is uninhabitable for a significant amount of time.
And that's just one nuclear plant: we have over 100 of them up and running.
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Another group of Bush friends, the nuclear power industry. Are you surprised?