Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism

By Ozzie Zehner | Go to book overview

4. The Nuclear-Military-Industrial Risk Complex

Boy, we ‘re sure going to have some wrecks now!
—Walt Disney, upon constructing a model train
to encircle his house

On March 16, 1979, Hollywood released a runof-the-mill film that might have been rather unremarkable had the fictional plot not played out in real life while the movie was still in theaters. The China Syndrome, starring Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon, and Michael Douglas, features a reporter who witnesses a nuclear power plant incident that power company executives subsequently attempt to cover up. Many days pass before the full extent of the meltdown surfaces. Just twelve days after The China Syndrome premiered, operators at the Unit 2 nuclear reactor at Three Mile Island, outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, received abnormally high temperature readings from the containment building’s sensors. They ignored them. Many hours passed before the operators realized that the facility they were standing in had entered into partial core meltdown. Power company executives attempted to trivialize the incident and many days passed before the full extent of the meltdown surfaced.

-81-

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Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • Figures ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction- Unraveling the Spectacle xv
  • Part I - Seductive Futures 1
  • 1- Solar Cells and Other Fairy Tales 3
  • 2- Wind Power’s Flurry of Limitations 31
  • 3- Biofuels and the Politics of Big Corn 61
  • 4- The Nuclear-Military-Industrial Risk Complex 81
  • 5- The Hydrogen Zombie 105
  • 6- Conjuring Clean Coal 121
  • 7- Hydropower, Hybrids, and Other Hydras 133
  • Part II - From Here to There 147
  • 8- The Alternative-Energy Fetish 149
  • 9- The First Step 171
  • Part III - The Future of Environmentalism 185
  • 10- Women’s Rights 187
  • 11- Improving Consumption 223
  • 12- The Architecture of Community 263
  • 13- Efficiency Culture 301
  • 14- Asking Questions 331
  • Epilogue- A Grander Narrative? 343
  • Resources for Future Environmentalists 349
  • Notes 355
  • Index 415
  • In the Our Sustainable Future Series 438
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