Thursday, March 17, 2011

"We Bring Good Things to Life"

Today is Thursday, 17 March 2011.

For almost four decades, it’s been public knowledge that General Electric's boiling-water nuclear reactors had a critical design flaw, and might easily fail. gE had to have known this since the beginning.

These are the reactors now failing in Japan.

“In 1972, Stephen H. Hanauer, then a safety official with the Atomic Energy Commission, recommended that the Mark 1 system be discontinued because it presented unacceptable safety risks. Among the concerns cited was the smaller containment design, which was more susceptible to explosion and rupture from a buildup in hydrogen — a situation that may have unfolded at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.” [*]

GE promoted this design because it was cheaper and easier to build, thus more marketable, and presumably yielding a higher profit margin.

Once again, private profit elevated above public welfare produces catastrophe.

It’s sickeningly ironic that GE’s long-time corporate motto was, “We Bring Good Things to Life”.

I salute the Japanese workers who are risking their lives in this entirely-avoidable tragedy.



Anonymous rtr said...

This points to a troublesome flaw in government's regulation infrastructure. The nuclear power industry is heavily regulated (not being synonymous with well regulated). It is readily apparent to the observant that the calculus of 'Ford Pinto' corporate thinking has a significant influence on regulatory decision-making. The simplistic cost-benefit analysis of measuring improved material standard of living arguments favoring profit over cost-neutral alternatives to comparable improvements to standard of living at the cost of societally tolerable losses of human life seems to consign the human condition into the willfully ignorant comfort of dark ages rather than fostering a societal search for enlightenment.

Profit should never be considered to be a sacred ideal that promises the salvation of a few in exchange for damnation of the whole.

4:42 PM  

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