Payin’ Through the Nose

(written by Steff Kayser, Steve Wacker and Kendra Wagner, copyright 2012 JSF Music)


Of all the social/economic/political issues out there, ENERGY has been the one that’s captivated me the most -- ever since hearing a lecture by the brilliant and energy-wise Amory Lovins in the early 80’s.


And of all the greed-motivated energy systems and policies we have, nuclear power is a most egregious scam. Set aside, for the moment, the environmental implications of radioactive material, the economics of this technology are a fiasco. The fact that NO private investment dollars have gone into nuclear power in the U.S. since the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 is a clue. This is not to say that someone isn’t getting rich off of these plants. They are! They build them with our tax dollars, then charge us for the electricity! Hmmm. And you can bet that cleanups and perpetual storage expenses will be on our tab, as well.


Now….our public money could be funding conservation and renewables instead, but the current Energy Suppliers have convinced us (or our reps in D.C.) that alternatives couldn’t possibly generate any significant percentage of our needs. This is simply NOT true. Look at what Germany has accomplished in the last couple of decades.


The problem is not technological limitations….the problem is greed. Alternatives - like solar, wind, micro-hydro and smart grids - open up the door to decentralized power generation. This is NOT what the Energy Lords want to see. They can’t control mini power plants spread out all over the place – on our roofs, in our streams, under the hood of our electric cars. And reducing consumption….well, that’s just plain un-patriotic!


So, when the tsunami hit Fukushima and their reactors spiraled out of control, I researched, and grew more outraged with each fact uncovered. For instance: power plants have a design lifespan of about 30 years, and yet the 40-year-old Fukushima facility had recently been granted a license renewal to operate for another 10. In other words, they figured it’d be okay to run these reactors for 50 years, even tho’ they were designed to last 30. It’s no surprise that these ‘cash cows’ are NOT decommissioned when they should be – since, apparently, greed trumps common sense.


Obviously, the tsunami could have damaged a brand new facility just as easily, but it brings to light the reckless, profit-driven mentality of these big Energy Suppliers. THIS material, above all others, offers a particularly nasty consequence ‘when’ handled unsafely. And frankly -- if you look historically at the unconscious behavior we humans exhibit -- it is always WHEN, not IF.


As a young man, I worked a grunt job for a spell at a reactor that was under construction. We’d actually sit inside the empty reactor core and eat our lunches. I saw first-hand some of the corners cut in the name of deadlines and budgets. These plants are built by regular ol’ carpenters, electricians, welders, etc. Not by elite MIT engineers. And inspectors, who are under pressure to keep things moving, sign off on deviations from the design specs (not always consulting the engineers), just as they do at every construction site. Difference is: when the plumbing breaks in your house, you suffer a little stain on the rug and have it repaired the next day. Honestly, would you hire, say, an average bio lab technician to set up a lab to house virus strains SO deadly that a single mishap could potentially kill millions of people? As competent as they may be, they are not equipped to do this particular job, IMHO. Remember, these nuke plants house many thousands of times more radioactive material than the Hiroshima atomic bomb. 


Anyway, the whole Fukushima event was tearing at me, so being a composer that has always used songwriting as an outlet for my feelings, I once again turned to music to express myself. With videographing help from my friend Ron Dalton, we slapped together this little video.


Please, give this issue some of your time. I could recommend various sources of information, but a good one-stop source would be The Rocky Mountain Institute, headed up by the aforementioned Amory Lovins. Check it out!


(-: steff



Copyright 2012 STEFF KAYSER