Darl. Hearings – Day 4 (Mar. 24): Helen Caldicott, etc.

I attended the opening session of this 3-week hearing into the proposed expansion of the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station 3 days ago. Skipped Tues. & Wed., & went back yesterday for the afternoon session of Day 4. Mostly ‘cos Dr. Helen Caldicott was on the agenda…

** Note: if you go here, you can find hearing info such as the public hearing schedule, transcripts, Webcasts, etc. March 24th written transcript here Audio here

Since my mind is not particularly coherent right now, I’m really just jotting down some random thoughts:

  • Boy can government speakers ever be … dull!? Sometimes they actually read every line of their powerpoint presentation, & not only that, they speak in a monotone. Yikes…

  • I, meanwhile, was sneaking peeks at my copy of Alice in Wonderland, Chapter 7 – “A Mad Tea-Party,” since I always find this type of hearing (i.e., nuclear hearings) very reminiscent of going down a rabbit hole & taking part in a mad tea party at which absolutely nothing the nuke folks say seems to make any sense.

  • There sure are a lot of men in the nuclear industry!!! Lotsa men, lotsa dark suits, lotsa “experts.” I suppose a person could muse on why this industry is so male-dominated, & what that says about it…couldn’t one? (even maybe just that it’s a dinosaur…with no insult intended toward those innocent ancient dinosaurs…)

  • If you want to find passion at a hearing such as this one, don’t look for it among the corporate types. Or the government types. Not gonna happen. I think I first noticed this at a meeting of the International Joint Commission on the Great Lakes in the early 90’s. The people I came to refer to as “the suits” are so dull you’d think they were already dead. Sheesh…

  • The passion comes from the citizen intervenors. This same IJC meeting I just referred to got very livened up when activist extraordinaire Lois Gibbs came onto the scene. Hooey!!! (I’ve seen the same with David Suzuki. The minute he arrives at any gathering, the energy level takes a huge spike. Talk about passion!!)

  • Yesterday the passion came from Helen Caldicott, medical doctor & very long-time anti-nuclear activist. Lots of compelling testimony from Ms. Caldicott – about the health impacts of exposure to radionuclides, her passion as a doctor for preserving life, evidence from the Three Mile Island & Chernobyl nuclear accidents, & our need as a culture to stop adding these toxins unnecessarily to our world. Feisty lady! At one point she asked, given these deliberations amid the current nuclear crisis in Japan, “Have we all got a case of nuclear psychosis?”

  • Quotable & a vast understatement from Ms. Caldicott: “This is not a benign industry.” She also asked whether the world will end with a bang (nuclear war) or a whimper (endless & ongoing damage to human genetic material from the nuclear industry).

  • The panel? They didn’t even crack a smile when Helen C. made a joke. Yikes, what a serious-looking crowd… (But I have to admit, Chair Alan Graham was more than polite today, both to Helen Caldicott & very long-time Port Hope elder/activist, Pat Lawson. I’ve witnessed CNSC (Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission) head honchos being outright rude at hearings, so this was a welcome thing…

  • There was lots & lots of bafflegab & bullshit today – as usual. One teeny-tiny little thing I noticed was the continual use of the statement “There are no adverse effects from the project.” It strikes me that the tense of this is a little off. How can there be any adverse effects in the present?? It’s in the days ahead that the problems lie…

And finally, after listening to too many suits & too much bafflegab, this little phrase came to me:

Some of us are bought…& some of us are not.(1)


(1)At the time I was attending the Darlington hearings & writing these blog entries, I had not yet seen the Web site that lays out the salaries of the OPG  bigshots. It was sent to me months later. It’s here. You can see for yourself that some of these folks probably have a bit of a “golden handcuffs” problem. They earn so damn much money, they’d very likely say anything at all!? I actually had no idea how bang on I was, with my "Some of us are bought…& some of us are not" comment!!


P.S. Ms.Caldicott quoted Albert Einstein twice. “Our world faces a crisis as yet unperceived by those possessing the power to make great decisions for good and evil. The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.” – Einstein (1946) & “Nuclear power is one hell of a way to boil water!” I’m rather partial to this one too: “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.” - Albert Einstein

P.P.S. It’s all enough to make a person kinda crazy. The money that’s being spent on this exercise? All the staff time? Travel expenses? Accommodation expenses? Meal expenses? This kind of cash could keep an ENGO (environmental non-government organization) going for years

P.P.P.S. Lots of great nuke quotes/resources here