Government gets private interests to do its dirty work

On April 6, 2012 Mariah Blake published an article in Salon entitled The GOP’s nuke-dump donor. Rachel Maddow also covered this story by interviewing Mariah Blake. Ms. Blake describes how the US government absolved itself of the responsibility to solve the nation’s nuclear waste problem. It did this by turning to a private contractor, who then went to state and local governments to see who could be corrupted into allowing dumping sites in their jurisdictions. The strategy worked.

In short, the process goes like this:

1. Federal government subsidizes the establishment of a military and / or civilian fleet of nuclear reactors.
2. Private companies make profits on weapons development and the construction and operation of nuclear plants.
3. Federal government gets stuck with the cleanup bill.
4. Federal government can find no political solution to long-term storage of nuclear waste. The least horrible options are ruled out by NIMBY political interests.
5. In order to dodge its responsibility for public safety, the federal government puts the job up for private sector bidding.
6. Contract goes to private corporation with millions to invest in a project worth many more millions in profit.
7. Private corporation wins the bid and begins bribing lobbying state and local authorities to declare land safe for dumping of “low level” radioactive waste.

The process seems to be much the same in Japan. TEPCO made big money for years in operating nuclear plants and monopolizing the market on electricity, and now the national government has given a TEPCO contractor government contracts to haul radioactive waste all over the country for incineration (as reported by Alisa Descotes Toyosaki).

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