In 1966, there was a partial nuclear meltdown less than 30 miles from Detroit. Fermi 1, America’s first commercial breeder reactor experienced a near catastrophic disaster. It took four years for the reactor to be repaired, and it never worked as planned. In 1972, the reactor core was dismantled and the reactor was decommissioned. America’s first effort at operating a full-scale breeder had failed! In 1975 John Fuller published the book, How We Almost Lost Detroit, which details the history.
It nearly happened again…
In the early 90’s, I attended a civil disobedience at Fermi 2, in Monroe MI, where many of my friends in the environmental movement were arrested. We were calling attention to the “controlled release” of radioactive water into LAKE ERIE; the result of an accident, leak of radioactivity, and contamination of cooling water in the plant’s reactor. A pathetic two paragraph news article buried deep in the paper was almost all of the attention it received.
An industry and plant spokesmen reported that once the cooling water was released and diluted in the lake, the radioactive waste presented ‘no danger’ to the public. They failed, however, to mention the fact that they were calculating the resulting radioactivity based on diluting the waste in the entire lake! At the time, the nuclear industry exploited exemptions to the freedom on information act rules, and it was not clear how much contaminated water was released.
As we pray and support those that are suffering, let us remember that our collective indignation can be our strength. As we grieve, our shock, sadness and bargaining will turn naturally to a a real anger. Let us remember that anger is a survival response based on a perceived or legitimate fear. This is a legitimate fear. How can we channel that indignation into a positive force for change?
Lets stay focused and united, and may we be given inspiration to keep the fight alive.