Below is my testimony for today’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s public hearing regarding the potential re-licensing of the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant:
My name is Dan Rutt. So, what are my credentials for being here tonight? I live in the kill zone of Davis-Besse. I have lived in the kill zone of nuclear plants almost my entire life. I suspect few could argue against the mournful reality that way too many people share these credentials.
I do have a B.S. in Biology. Though, I must confess, my B.S. pales in comparison to the B.S. of the nuclear industry and the NRC.
I also have a masters degree in public health. But I am not here to debate technical minutiae, nor to discuss the arrangement of deck chairs, the lack of lifeboats, nor the alleged unsinkability of the titanic nuclear industry.
Today, I am here as a poet and an activist. I am here as a child of mother earth and as a planetary citizen. Most importantly, I am here today as a prophet. And let it be said: nothing today will truer be said than that the nuclear industry and the NRC listen to profits!
I am here to do the impossible. I am here to topple a multi-billion dollar corporate empire with a mere wisp of democracy — approximately 3 minutes worth. Unfortunately, the NRC’s plan to protect itself from democracy is much stronger than it’s plans to protect us from nuclear disasters.
When the NRC circus comes to town, their death-defying prestidigitations may very well make you gasp. Still, we will be safely confined to grandstanding. This dog and pony show might allow us to bitch until we are hoarse. But, at the end of the day, the elephant in the middle of the big, flimsy tent, will do its thing, and the little people of this world will be left with the mess. And the NRC circus will skip town, to continue their tour de farce.
So, I am here to do the impossible. I am here to speak for a thousand generations in 3 minutes. Usually such hope and possibility requires the venue of something like American Idol. Well, my friends, we have an American idol: the nuclear industry. This American idol has reigned for 70 years. This American idol has rained nuclear waste across this great land. And today, 70 years later, as the waste of the nuclear fat cats grows larger, they offer a 600-page tome as their litter. And who dares wade through this litter box? Who dares to think inside this box? Who of us will not be pooped out? Can anyone venturing into this 600-page tomb view it as anything but a deathly undertaking? What box can possibly hold such eternally reigning transgressions? Do you have a staff member called Pandora by any chance?! There is only one sane solution: let’s idle this idol! The solution is simple: we must end nuclear generations to end nuclear generations.
The ultimate question for today is: In our call to shut Davis-Besse down, will we be heard?
Sure, NRC staff will herd our comments into another neatly formatted tome. But will we be heard? Sure, the decision-makers have ears, and stenographers, and word processors. But will we be heard?
Will the people affected by nuclear power generation be heard? They call this a public hearing. But the reality is that it is physically and metaphysically impossible for over 99% of those affected by Davis-Besse’s nuclear waste to be here — for the simple fact that they have not even been born yet. Will we weigh the testimony today to account for their interests, the interests of future generations?
Can you hear our great grandchildren cry out into the not-so-great ears of today’s nuclear executives: Why did you poison our world for a few kilowatts?
Can you hear our great, great grandchildren cry out into the not-so-great ears of today’s First Energy shareholders: Why did you rob our future for a few profits today?
Can you hear our great, great, great grandchildren cry out into the not-so-great ears of today’s parade of crooning cronies, sometimes called politicians: Why did you sell out your communities for a little patronage?
But…what if we are truly heard today? Then we might just hear:
The gentle whispers of our great, great, great, great, great grandchildren saying “good job” to the employees in the former nuclear industry — and by “good job” they don’t mean thanks for taking that decent paying job, but rather, holding out and demanding good jobs, jobs friendly to both working families and our environment.
If we are truly heard today, then we might just hear: the gentle whispers of our great, great, great, great, great, great grandchildren thanking the nameless thousands across this great land who worked for neither wages nor shareholder profits, but rather, worked freely for a world where it doesn’t pay to destroy our environment.
We must listen to our future generations. If not us, who? If not now, when?
As for me, in this generation, I will gladly live without Davis-Besse. I will gladly trade the sliver of energy produced during my lifetime to spare thousands of generations the poison of nuclear waste. Though make no mistake, even if the problem of nuclear waste disposal was somehow miraculously solved, I would still gladly trade this energy source simply to avoid the probability of a nuclear catastrophe from the safety disaster that Davis-Besse has so proven. Shut it down!
Please listen to the prophets who seek the good of all, not the profits which only enrich the few, at the expense of the 99%. THANK YOU!
by Dan Rutt, alias “Top Pun” (it’s just, my pun name)
It was early Monday mourning
When the Davis-Besse nuclear plant
At the base of Lake Eerie
From the once-great lakes
Now a watery grave for both sellers
Of atomic drivel
For what human remains
The event became known
Simply as “The rupture”
Leaving sleepy millions
In its wake
Sucked into a glowing sky
For who knows watt
Feudal to press release
Fore their heavenly reword
A paradise rolled
Entranced buy snake eyes
In charge of all that meters
Relegating us to hoarse power
Dealt a roil flush
In a conniving casino
Pain only in skullduggery
Forging height reason
And absolute faith in stonewall
As a bet
A dark wager
Echoing in the empty halls
Of unions and congress