Tag Archives: Indian Point

The East India Company: Capitalism and Colonialism Hand-in-Hand

6 Mar
For the corporation – a revolutionary European invention contemporaneous with the beginnings of European colonialism, and which helped give Europe its competitive edge – has continued to thrive long after the collapse of European imperialism. When historians discuss the legacy of British colonialism in India, they usually mention democracy, the rule of law, railways, tea and cricket. Yet the idea of the joint-stock company is arguably one of Britain’s most important exports to India, and the one that has for better or worse changed South Asia as much any other European idea. Its influence certainly outweighs that of communism and Protestant Christianity, and possibly even that of democracy.
Companies and corporations now occupy the time and energy of more Indians than any institution other than the family. This should come as no surprise: as Ira Jackson, the former director of Harvard’s Centre for Business and Government, recently noted, corporations and their leaders have today “displaced politics and politicians as … the new high priests and oligarchs of our system”. Covertly, companies still govern the lives of a significant proportion of the human race.
The 300-year-old question of how to cope with the power and perils of large multinational corporations remains today without a clear answer: it is not clear how a nation state can adequately protect itself and its citizens from corporate excess. As the international subprime bubble and bank collapses of 2007-2009 have so recently demonstrated, just as corporations can shape the destiny of nations, they can also drag down their economies. In all, US and European banks lost more than $1tn on toxic assets from January 2007 to September 2009. What Burke feared the East India Company would do to England in 1772 actually happened to Iceland in 2008-11, when the systemic collapse of all three of the country’s major privately owned commercial banks brought the country to the brink of complete bankruptcy. A powerful corporation can still overwhelm or subvert a state every bit as effectively as the East India Company did in Bengal in 1765.

H/t 3QD.


As Nuclear Reactors Age, Funds to Close Them Lag – NYTimes.com

22 Mar

Shutting down nuclear plants is very expensive, even more expensive than building them in the first place. It’s not a simple matter of turning off the switch. You do that, and then you have to dismantle the plant and haul the nuclear waste away. Once you’ve done that, the land can be returned to productive use. If you don’t properly dismantle, then the land is useless and the radioactive waste is still dangerous.

In effect, these plants are Too Big To Be Turned Off. And they’re Too Dangerous to Operate. Seems to me we’re living Too Big to Be Responsible.

Entergy is at least $90 million short of the projected $560 million cost of dismantling Vermont Yankee; the company is at least $500 million short of the $1.5 billion estimated cost of dismantling Indian Point 2 and 3.

The shortfall raises the possibility that Vermont could tend one sleeping reactor for decades while New York oversees three; Unit 1 , another reactor at Indian Point, shut down in 1974 and has yet to be dismantled.

Even the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s chairman is uneasy about the prospect of a 60-year wait.

“These facilities should be cleaned up, and their footprints reduced as much as possible so that these areas can be returned to other productive uses within the community,” the chairman, Gregory B. Jaczko, said recently.

Gil C. Quiniones, the president and chief executive of the New York Power Authority, a state utility that sold Indian Point 3 to Entergy in 2000, called Entergy’s failure to plan for or finance the decommissioning of Indian Point in real time “stunningly irresponsible.”

via As Nuclear Reactors Age, Funds to Close Them Lag – NYTimes.com.

Indian Point Fire Safety Plan Rejected by Regulators – NYTimes.com

2 Feb

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Wednesday that it had rejected some of the Indian Point nuclear power plant’s procedures for assuring fire safety, noting that its two reactors lacked some equipment that was typically used to meet the commission’s regulations.

via Indian Point Fire Safety Plan Rejected by Regulators – NYTimes.com.

Is Indian Point the Next Fukushima? – NYTimes.com

17 Dec

The lack of attention to possible land contamination is a major gap in the American system of nuclear safety regulation. After Fukushima, it should be the main safety concern — and one that is not addressed by evacuation, no matter how efficient….

The essential characteristic of this technology is that the reactor’s uranium fuel — about 100 tons in a typical plant — melts quickly without cooling water. The containment structures surrounding the reactors — even the formidable-looking domes at Indian Point — were not designed to hold melted fuel because safety regulators 40 years ago considered a meltdown impossible.

They were wrong, and we now know that radioactive material in the melted fuel can escape to contaminate a very large area for decades or more.

via Is Indian Point the Next Fukushima? – NYTimes.com.

New York Denies Indian Point Plant a Water Permit – NYTimes.com

31 Aug

The battle is joined. It’s New York State vs. the Federal Government.

… the strongly worded letter from the Department of Environmental Conservation, issued late Friday, said flatly that Indian Point’s cooling systems, even if modified in a less expensive way proposed by Entergy, “do not and will not comply” with New York’s water quality standards.

It said the power plant’s water-intake system kills nearly a billion aquatic organisms a year, including the shortnose sturgeon, an endangered species. The letter also said that radioactive material had polluted the Hudson after leaking into the groundwater.

via New York Denies Indian Point Plant a Water Permit – NYTimes.com.

Teach-in: Shut Down Indian Point Nuclear Plant NOW

25 Apr

Saturday, 30 April, 4 – 8 PM, Judson Memorial Church Assembly Hall, 55 Washington Square South, New York City.

The teach-in will feature 3 speakers: Chris Williams of Pace University and author of”Ecology & Socialism”, Tim Judson President of the Citizens’ Awareness Network and Marilyn Elie-Co-founder of the Westchester Citizens’ Awareness Network. The speakers will go into the specifics of the Indian Point Nuclear Plant, it’s power production and N.Y’s useage, the Fukushima disaster and it’s potential parallels at Indian Point, and a broader context of the political and economic use of nuclear power. We will discuss strategy to shut it down.

Organized by Shut Down Indian Point Now!