Wednesday, August 28, 2013

  • As Strikes on Syria Loom, Is U.S. Ignoring a Diplomatic Track That Could Prevent More Violence?


    Britain is set to introduce a United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing military action in Syria as the United States and allies gear up for expected strikes on the Assad regime. The resolution condemns the Syrian government for allegedly using chemical weapons and authorizes "necessary measures for protecting civilians." Russia and China are expected to issue a veto, raising the prospect that a U.S.-led bombing could come through NATO. The Obama administration says military action in Syria would be aimed at responding to chemical attacks, not seeking regime change, but critics say similar claims were made at the outset of the NATO intervention in Libya. "There is no military solution," says Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies. "Extra assaults from the United States are going to make the situation worse, put Syrian civilians at greater risk, and not provide protection."

  • In Victory for Activists, Entergy to Close Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant; Will More Follow?


    One of the country’s oldest and most controversial nuclear plants has announced it will close late next year. Citing financial reasons, the nuclear plant operator Entergy said Tuesday it will decommission the Vermont Yankee nuclear power station in Vernon, Vermont. The site has been the target of protests for decades and has had a series of radioactive tritium leaks. In 2010, the Vermont State Senate voted against a measure that would have authorized a state board to grant Vermont Yankee a permit to operate for an additional 20 years. Its closure leaves the United States with 99 operating nuclear reactors, and our guest, former nuclear executive Arnie Gundersen, says he expects more to follow in the aftermath of Japan’s ongoing nuclear disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant. "These small single-unit nuclear plants — especially the ones that are like Fukushima Daiichi — are prone to more closures in the future because it just makes no economic sense to run an aging nuclear plant that’s almost 43 years old, and to invest hundreds of millions of dollars more to meet the modifications related to Fukushima," Gundersen says.

  • As Fukushima Raises Severity Level, Nuclear Expert Warns Radioactive Leaks Will Only "Get Worse"


    Japan’s nuclear regulator said today it has officially raised the severity rating of the latest radioactive water leak at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant to Level 3 on an international scale for radiological releases. The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), said last week that 330 tons of highly radioactive water leaked from a storage tank at the facility. Crews of workers have been rushing to check for leaks in hundreds of other tanks holding radioactive water. Japanese regulators have accused TEPCO of failing to properly monitor the storage tanks. "The problem is going to get worse," warns Arnie Gundersen, a former nuclear industry executive who has coordinated projects at 70 nuclear power plants around the United States. "Radioactive water is leaking out of this plant as fast as it is leaking in."

  • 50 Years After March on Washington, 1970 Documentary "King: A Filmed Record" Captures MLK’s Journey


    As part of today’s national commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, the rarely seen Oscar-nominated documentary about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement, "King: A Filmed Record...Montgomery to Memphis," is being screened in theaters nationwide. Largely made from original newsreel footage, the film was played at a "one time only" event on one night in 1970 at 650 theaters, but has since gone largely unseen. We air an excerpt of the film in which King delivers his famous "I Have a Dream" speech 50 years ago on August 28, 1963. And we’re joined by the film’s associate producer, Richard Kaplan. Click here to watch Part 2 of this interview and see video clips of King organizing and speaking in Montgomery and Birmingham.