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The nuclear industry had supposed that with the new administration, happy days were here again. Of course, we should also consider those threats by land, some of which have already occurred. In February 1993, Pierce Nye, 31, of Bethel, Pennsylvania, said by his niece to have been recently discharged from a mental hospital as “cured,” managed to drive his mother’s Plymouth station wagon through an unguarded gate at Three Mile Island \(and bust through the door of the turbine building \(site of the infamous 1979 “incident;” one reactor is still descended a ladder into the deep dark of the condenser building. There, nuts or not nuts, he managed to elude an intensive four-hour local and state police manhunt. Transmission lines that have been cut, workers have attempted or committed suicide, and one worker went around saying he was so mad that he wanted to kill people. He slept in a coffin. There was also a worker who left his job with a nuclear plant to take up a new career as a serial killer. At Entergy’s plant in Millstone, Connecticut, security documents have been stolen along with a fuel rod. It certainly did give one something to think about, especially after reading that an alarming number of plants were flunking their Operational Safeguards Response Evaluations. OSRE, which the industry has been trying to elimifun exercise involving Nuclear Regulatory Commission teams composed of three mock terrorists, ideally wearing four-inch beards, plus one insider, who, after having been disguised for several years as Homer Simpson, has managed to figure out where the disaster button is. The intruders, the mole and the plant security guards pack toy pistols that signal a lethal hit by means of a red light. OSRE Comandante David Orrick, a former U.S. Navy SEAL captain, insists that these exercises are a sure way to train security personnel. So far the guards have failed 40 percent of the simulated attacks. \(“We ate ’em alive,” a mock terrorist told U.S. News The nuclear industry had supposed that with the new administration, happy days were here again. In May of this year, the National Energy Policy Group headed by Vice President Cheney had recommended an expansion of the nuclear power program. But there were complaints in Congress that the group had met “behind closed doors” in a “highly secretive manner.” The ever-vigilant Government Accounting Office requested that Cheney reveal who was present and what transpired at the secret meetings. When Cheney failed to comply, the GAO threatened a lawsuit, which would have been the first time in U.S. history that that the GAO went after such a such a high-ranking federal target. And then after September 11, the GAO put the lawsuit on hold, preferring to spend its time and resources on national security. And the Vice President seemed to fall off the radar screen, although a reliable Washington source tells me that Cheney was on an extended duck shoot in Pierre, South DakotaSiberia with a human face. With the demise of Enrona major player at those secret meetingswe could imagine that a few questions of the Vice President might be in order right now. What’s more, there might be a vacancy coming up on the National Energy Group, and it might be time for our friends in Washington to think about something in the way of policy options other than just slip sliding the re-authorization of the Price-Anderson Act. \(The Price-Anderson Act dates back 50 years. In effect it’s a built-in, federally subsidized insurance program for the nuclear industry that limits the liability of a plant in the event that “an accident” ever occurs. The weasels in the House pushed the re-authorization through the day after Thanksgiving, when it was guaranteed to receive no attention. The Senate has not yet voted Well, we are indeed in the holiday season. Time for New Year’s resolutions. Maybe someone will finally realize what the Japanese delegate to the IAEC was saying in a roundabout way. The plants are indefensible. It might be time to finally consider the proposal put forth by Bob Alvarez, former assistant to the Secretary of Energy during the Clinton administration. While at the DOE, he helped to obtain the first compensation ever given to governmental radiation victims, thereby wedging a foot in the door for thousands of victims, workers in private facilities, veterans of atomic bomb tests and people who live near nuclear power reactors. His alternative proposal for the nuclear plants is to shut them down, encase the spent fuel pools and the reactors themselves in bermed concrete and steel sarcophagithen replace them with conservation, solar energy and windmills. Of course, that would require a president with the desire to become something more than a petty politicianto become, perhaps, a statesman in the world of all living things. Anna Mayo reported on the nuclear industry and other issues for The Village Voice for over 20 years. 12/21/01 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 31 4.1404.0″