My Field Trip to TMI

My Field Trip to TMI
Or Teach Your Children Well

By Holly Angelique

The Community Open House at TMI on September 21, 2010 could be best described as “Nuke the Children Night” at TMI.  There was overflow parking as all the families poured in, with kids in tow, in strollers, etc.  This was the first year that they were packing school busses and driving across the bridge to “The Island.”  Of course, they were just going as far as the parking lot and letting people stand at the base of one of the cooling towers. (I have been there before so I skipped the tour). I know they don’t talk about how they are draining the river, killing the fish, using asbestos, etc. 

They were also letting people into the simulation room.  Again, I have been there so I did not fight the crowds.  I don’t think they were doing actual simulations of emergencies—¬all talk of potential disaster was missing.  Instead, there were ads for job openings.

There was an information room/propaganda room.  One table had lots of NRC “fact” sheets—I took some of everything, but the NRC stuff was straight from the web-site.  There were a few other “desk-top” publications that I had not seen.  One is the NRC’s 2010-2011 Information Digest with a table of contents that covers (1) U.S. and worldwide nuclear energy, (2) nuclear reactors, (3) nuclear materials, (4) radioactive waste, (5) security and emergency preparedness.  There was also a nice, glossy pamphlet called, Reactor License Renewal: Preparing for Tomorrow’s Safety Today.  And then there was the newsletter, Inside Exelon: The Green Issue [okay, maybe the theme was not about the children, but simply “Lies”-but that is always a theme isn’t it?]

In addition to attractive displays to lure the children, they were giving away t-shirts, with a picture of the large phallis (I mean steam generator) on the back, advertising on one side, “Exelon” and on the other “Areva.”  I simply have to laugh that they actually advertise our dependence on the French government!  They also gave out foam light bulbs (to prove how “green they are” I guess), wrist-bands and a lovely re-usable grocery bag with the TMI logo on it.  Quite fittingly, the bag was jet black, symbolizing the dystopian future that they are bent on giving us!  Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the Exelon color crayons and plastic Exelon cups that make drinks look radioactive when you add ice (I guess kids are never too young to get “hooked on nukes.”)

In another room there was food, so I decided to have dinner.  I spoke with TMI spokesman Ralph Desantis (do you know that his degree is in social studies teaching?) I told him it was time to come back to our side.  Instead he introduced me to the Senior VP in charge of Mid-Atlantic Operations at Exelon Nuclear, Joe Grimes.  I told him that I was decidedly anti-nuclear, but he thought he could win me over to the “bright side” as he called it.  I asked about risk.  I think he said that was a worthwhile discussion to have—at a later date of course.  I asked about the logic behind building new plants in draught-prone areas like GA.  He said he was just there and they hadn’t had a drought in years.  I asked about the cost and he “assured” me that nuclear costs far less than most other forms of energy!  I said that this could be seriously debated but he was steadfast.  (Perhaps no one has told him about the $50 billion in taxpayer backed loan guarantees!).  I told him I was not going to interrupt his “party” with that debate but that he should call me when nuclear is “too cheap to meter!”  He did concede that, “they don’t always get it right!”

I looked for media and although there was a local Fox news van in the parking lot, I saw no real media presence (no reporters, etc.).  I would have loved to talk with someone from the media.  But after getting the “facts,” some souvenirs, dinner and an enlightening conversation with Joe, I decided it was time to head home.

I have not been able to get the faces of the innocent children of Middletown out of my mind.  So, let me end on a serious note, paraphrasing Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.  Let’s hope that our children “never ask us why?” because it truly “made me want to cry” as I looked around and all I could do was “sigh” and hope that one day they realize how hard we fought to end this nuclear power proliferation that they will surely inherit because “we love them.”