The nuclear disaster in Nebraska just got worse

You need to know this. The impending nuclear disaster in Nebraska just got worse. Over the weekend – a floodwall protecting the nuclear plant from the overflowing Missouri River gave way – inundating the facility in floodwater. The plant is less than 20 miles away from Omaha – Nebraska’s largest city – and is now cooling its reactors and spent fuel pools with back-up diesel powered generators.

Officials say water has not breached any of the buildings yet which are designed to withstand flooding of 1,014 feet – but currently floodwaters stand at 1,006 feet – and they’re expected to rise. It was a tsunami that triggered the world’s worst nuclear meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima plant a few months ago – and if floodwaters continue to rise and upstream dams can’t hold them in Nebraska – then the same thing will happen here – and we might lose Omaha.

The rest of the world is ditching nuclear power – we’re doing nothing except praying the flooding doesn’t get worse.


Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 49 weeks ago

Nothing fails like prayer or dangerous nuclear power plants designed and operated by CEOs whose primary goal is to maximize profits by cutting costs to the point that safety is sacrificed. That's why privatization will only result in our eventual demise....if the meteorites don't get us the greedy capitalist pigs will. Hope they have a lot of "Witch-ita" doctors on hand for the mass destruction that could happen. After all, we constantly heard from the Japanese authorities that they had it all under control and there is nothing to worry about. Now they are sacrificing their old people as human guinea pigs to soak up all those radioisotopes....wonder if there will be many "volunteers" here in the US for when the next nuclear power plant emulates the ones in Japan?

mysticw0lf's picture
mysticw0lf 11 years 49 weeks ago

For the record, my name is Kerry

Nothing is being said yet about the wild fire buring near Sante Fe, New Mexico -

This is a big one! And...scary!

charell's picture
charell 11 years 49 weeks ago

Best argument against nuclear power I’ve heard:

Thom, Nicole Foss is one of the most intelligent and wise persons I’ve had the pleasure to meet. (I include you in that category) She is an expert in energy and economics. I highly recommend that you invite her on one of your shows.

She blogs as "Stoneleigh" at:

RichardofJeffersonCity's picture
RichardofJeffer... 11 years 49 weeks ago

The nuclear plant in Nebraska Is another case where private companies with access to government policy makers can gamble with the American public’s lives. The fact that nuclear plants operate on major rivers and water ways in America would make a citizen think government was keeping a close eye on the everyday operations and the structural integrity of these nuclear reactors. The people regulating the nuclear industry make it easier for nuclear plants to operate with less protective measures against things like leaks, explosions, public being exposed to radioactive waste, safety measure, corrosion, rust, cracks and other things that could directly affect the health and welfare of the public all in the name of money.

gerald's picture
gerald 11 years 49 weeks ago

I believe that I have previously shared with you my thoughts on our young children. Whenever I see these children with their mother and/or father, I see these children as cannon fodder for our transnational corporations, for the rich, and for the politicians. Our cannon fodder will be asked to carry on our endless wars in the killing of God’s children. Our Anti-Christ nation will always be at war with some enemy to meet the needs of transnational corporations, the rich, and the politicians. We need not to forget that the manufacturing of weaponry is the United States of Mortal Sin major product and it is weaponry that sustains the Anti-Christ’s economy. War is our name and killing human beings is our game!

For the Guardians of Privilege (GOP) family values are perpetually glorified when working and ordinary children remain cannon fodder to be killed and maimed in our nation’s immoral and wrong wars.

gerald's picture
gerald 11 years 49 weeks ago

Please add this information to your favorite’s list!!!

And please add this information to your favorite’s list!!!

Thank you sincerely, Gerald! I am hopefully on the path to being a Christian, a progressive, a Democratic socialist, a peace activist, a Jesus liberal, and I am striving to be one of Jesus’ disciples!!!

gerald's picture
gerald 11 years 49 weeks ago

Socialism is the only answer for America's future!!!

Einstein on Capitalism and Socialism

Albert Einstein of course was not commenting on Britain in 2011 but he could have been. This was the great man writing in his book “Why Socialism?” in 1949 just 6 years from the end of his illustrious and iconic life. Here is Einstein’s argument against what he calls the grave evils of Capitalism: “I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils [capitalism], namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.”

Socialism is hope for the world!

gerald's picture
gerald 11 years 49 weeks ago

Albert Einstein sums up eloquently the nature of exploitation in Capitalist society:

“The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil. We see before us a huge community of producers the members of which are unceasingly striving to deprive each other of the fruits of their collective labor — not by force, but on the whole in faithful compliance with legally established rules. In this respect, it is important to realize that the means of production — that is to say, the entire productive capacity that is needed for producing consumer goods as well as additional capital goods — may legally be, and for the most part are, the private property of individuals.”

Indeed, Einstein saw this process very clearly, although the elites have worked tirelessly to keep all eyes off of them, in too many ways to mention here. The wheels of production in chaotic hands, and always serving selfish interests framed in extremely myopic historical spurts, will eventually be the demise of us all, including the businessmen who benefit materially in the short term. Is this the best humanity can do? I would hope not.

Enter a Truly New World

“The goal of a good society is to structure social relations and institutions so that cooperative and generous impulses are rewarded, while antisocial ones are discouraged. The problem with capitalism is that it best rewards the worst part of us: ruthless, competitive, conniving, opportunistic, acquisitive drives, giving little reward and often much punishment — or at least much handicap — to honesty, compassion, fair play, many forms of hard work, love of justice, and a concern for those in need.”

–Michael Parenti


RichardSRussell's picture
RichardSRussell 11 years 49 weeks ago

What do *I* think it will take to get us to abandon nuclear power? Some equivalent energy source that's as reliable, as safe, and as affordable, and which doesn't "solve" its waste-disposal problem by belching its waste products back out into the environment.

Fusion would be ideal, but it's been "just 5 years off" for about half a century now, so I'm not holding my breath.

PhilipHenderson's picture
PhilipHenderson 11 years 49 weeks ago

If owners of nuclear power plants were required to live within ten miles of the plants they own, then we could be assured they were safe. If the law required anyone who owned one percent or more of a nuclear profit plant must reside within a ten mile radius of the plant they would be safe. Nuclear powered submarines and aircraftcarriers are safer because the men and women who operate them must reside on the ship. Same deal.

Uncle Geo's picture
Uncle Geo 11 years 49 weeks ago

Scared the crap outta me with that "flooding of 1,014 feet".That's a lot of water -and if Nebraska had 1,014 feet of water on it, I dare say those of us in Minneapolis (not too far from Nebraska) would need to immediately flee in our canoes.

Just to be clear, they're talking number of feet above sea level. This is an uncommon way to refert to flood levels, even if it is more technically accurate. Usually, flood levels are "feet above flood stage", with flood stage defined differently in different areas.

Martin Sandberg's picture
Martin Sandberg 11 years 49 weeks ago

Let's take a look at what alternatives are available.

To replace a typical 1,000 MW power plant using large off-shore turbines of about 3.5 MW capacity would require, using the nameplate rating 1000/3.6 = 278 (rounding up) turbines. Now we have to take into account the fact that the average capacity factor of the world’s wind farms was 19.6% ( ). We’ll round up to 20% and we find that we need some 1,388 wind turbines to replace the 1,000 MW plant.

What would this cost? Using the actual numbers from Cape Wind, a well known project whose costs are public - 2.5 billion dollars as reported by for 130 3.6 MW turbines or about 19 million per turbine gives us 26 billion dollars, enough to build a dozen conventional plants or about 8 nuclear plants. This doesn’t even include the costs of the conventional, dispatchable power, for when the wind doesn’t blow, or a yet unknown way of efficiently storing vast amounts of electrical energy to back them up. Wind is insanely expensive.

Doing the same calculations for solar.

First we need to determine the capacity factor for solar and derating it is extremely complicated so we'll use NREL's PVWatts calculator for a best-cast Tucson, Az. scenario ( ). Using a 1 KW panel (for convenience) on a fixed tilt mount would be expected to yield 1663 KWh/year. We can now convert this into a derate factor by dividing it by the nameplate theoretical production of 1 KW * 365 * 24 = 8,760 KWh/Year. The resulting derate is .189 or, close enough to 20%, exactly the same as wind. So it will take 4,500 MW of panels to replace the plant.

What would this cost? From we find that the best price so far is a bit more than $4/watt. So the 1,000 MW replacement would cost $18 billion, again without the required dispatchable backup power or storage. Again, this is insanely expensive.

This is why we won't abandon nuclear or conventional power plants, its simply not possible.

David Abbot's picture
David Abbot 11 years 49 weeks ago

Well, there's probably two things that can happen with regard to nuclear accidents in America. 1) We could build more nuclear power plants with the same disregard for safety, and then the republicans' wet dream could occur: this entire planet could be poisoned for the next 20,000 to 30,000 years, and virtually everyone on the planet will die. Or, 2) We could come to our senses and only build small, neighborhood-sized nuclear power plants that use dismantled nuclear bombs for power sources, and these small power plants could be maintained by someone who lives in the neighborhood, so the maintenance guy has a clear vested interest in maintaining it properly. And if there was a spill or other accident, there wouldn't be enough radioactive material to harm anyone. I have heard this possibility from a retired nuclear inspector at the Bremerton Naval Shipyard, who used to supervise the decomissioning of nuclear-powered warships.

Admittedly, the first possibility, where everyone is killed by pointlessly careless radioactive spills and wastes, has the advantage- according to republicans- of Jesus coming back and ruling his kingdom on earth (although there is some question as to exactly what kingdom he would be ruling, since there wouldn't be any people left alive, but let's not quibble about inconsequential issues like that, because the important thing is that Jesus will come back after the republicans destroy everything and everyone including themselves). But the second possibility has it's own particular although totally insignificant advantages, such as humanity surviving and learning to respect this planet that we live with and on. The problem is, the republicans say that Jesus doesn't want it that way. They say that Jesus has personally told them that he wants global destruction, mass murder, riots, rounding up and slaughtering of minorities, and so on, because of course Jesus has always liked that sort of thing, and his Father (God) likes destruction, murder, and slaughter even more. Why, God has been promoting the benefits of destruction, murder, and slaughter ever since day one. But to quote Peter Falk, I have just one question, this one little thing I just can't get out of my mind, and I sure hope you can help me understand it, because I don't know what to think: from my reading of the bible, it seems to me that Jesus and God are more into the peace thing- you know, with the common sense, mutual respect and tolerance and so on, while the devil is the one who likes wars, torture, destruction, murder, and slaughter. Any republicans care to address this issue?

MichaelBear's picture
MichaelBear 11 years 49 weeks ago

I'd like to point out, before adding my opinion, that the loss ot electrical power was anticipated according to news accounts that I've read and as a result they put in an overhead line to back up the underground line. According to those reports the power was out only briefly while they switched to that backup, so the plant is not now running on generators. That happened Sunday, not today (Monday). Things there are bad enough even with correct info.

My opinion: so far they are lucky, but very close to the edge of disaster or catastrophe. Extreme weather coupled with the flood could bring down the overhead backup power and then it is back to the generators (for which they hvae 3 weeks of fuel?). If the generators are lost, then the batteries reportedly only have 4 hours of power and if similar to the Fukushima situation, there is a good chance that some un-thought-of piece of equipment that is not on the batteries will turn out to be critical. Humans are not ready to handle full-scale nuclear power beyond research.

Namaimo's picture
Namaimo 11 years 49 weeks ago

Nuclear power woes are a god-sent sign that we have to get serious about waste. Repugs will say "govt can't do it", but we dems have no solution, either. So we caucus with the repugs, and come up with a solution. Or not.

We're running out of planet to solve this.

Send the waste to the moon?

It would be unkind to the moon.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 11 years 49 weeks ago

Gerald, Einstein's words are both inspirational and filled with wisdom, thanks for sharing them.

Everytime I see the word CAPITALISM without the word regulated preceding it, I immediately think of FEUDALISM...hmmmmm!

Alaskacy 11 years 49 weeks ago

My family immigrated to the Omaha area before the turn of the last century from Northern Europe. From these four hard working immigrants we now number more than 3,000 with many of us still nearby the flooding nuclear power plant.

Each of these grand and greats in the family came to the USA to escape military conscription and church/state monarchies with unbearble taxes, continuous war and imprisonment of those who sought access to knowledge, civil rights and human freedoms.

2/3 of this 3,000 now claim "conservative values" that embrace the very issues that our grandparents sought to escape and they did. They were neither conservative or liberal. They were hard working, progressive, honest people who bonded their production to build granite capital buildings,highways, postal systems, hospitals and public schools and universities that a minimum wage laborer of my generation could afford to attend.

Most of us will now trade all of our safety and liberties to have the power. Very few would sacrifice the high standard of living for safety or by controlling the root cause which is our unbelievable population growth. It does not make any difference if it is nuclear power east of town or septic feed lots and mega farming west of town. Family reunions are now dominated by the religious and govenmental practices that stole from the common man and gave it to rich government, religious or business corporations. When you communicate directly with God and Newt it will all be OK and there is no rebuttal.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 11 years 49 weeks ago

I know what might help people realize nuclear power is dangerous, let's all start spelling and pronouncing it like Bush did......"NUKEULAR", this would raise some eyebrows!

Many thanks to Senator Sanders for being our voice of reason in a sea of insanity today.

meg goodwin's picture
meg goodwin 11 years 49 weeks ago

You ask what it will take for the US to get out of nuclear power?

A President with the BALLS to stand up to the energy industry and tell them to PAY THEIR OWN WAY!

Why are we taxpayers funding these unmanageable-waste creating death bombs? We should take the money we send them and use it to put solar panels on any business or home that gets sun on it. Germany did this and it was cheaper than the Nuke plant they were going to build, and is generating more energy than the power plant would have!

If you can't clean up your mess, don't create it and then ask US to bail you out..

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 49 weeks ago

...and the meek shall inherit the earth.....
....what's left of it after the capitalist pigs leave it as a burned out cinder.

gerald's picture
gerald 11 years 49 weeks ago

@2950-10K, Einstein died, I believe in 1955, and he still has left us his brilliant mind. Regulated Capitalism or Responsible Capitalism is nessary but I still believe that Socialism is the answer for America and the world.

My wife was listening to the radio as she was shopping and she mentioned that well over 50% of the children who are born are non-white. She thought she heard the figure 90% but I believe that figure must be wrong. To play it safe I put the percentage at over 50%. That is one reason why whitey will do what they can to keep non-whites from voting. WHITEY WILL NEVER EVER RELINQUISH POWER. WHITEY WILL COMMENCE A NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST BEFORE THEY RELINQUISH POWER TO NON-WHITES.

gerald's picture
gerald 11 years 49 weeks ago

Reflection of the week:

“Let us be aware of our power to create a dream of heaven where everything is possible. Help us to use our imagination to guide the dream of our life, the magic of our creation, so we can live without fear, without anger, without jealousy, without envy.”

~Don Miguel Ruiz

gerald's picture
gerald 11 years 49 weeks ago

Sad but very true!!!

May working and ordinary Americans rest in peace!!!!!

As my health deteriorates, I will go to my grave as an obsolete American.

gerald's picture
gerald 11 years 48 weeks ago

At Saturday Mass my wife sits next to a woman who has tried to have Father Frank place the American flag near the alter. I do not want a flag near the alter, especially an American flag. For me the American flag reminds me of hypocrisy on Christian values. We start immoral and wrong wars; we kill and maim God’s children; working and ordinary Americans are being enslaved and impoverished; incompetent bankers and Wall Street officials are being bailout by stealing our money (we are rewarding crooks and robbers); the lunatic fringe wants Christianity to be our nation’s religion, etc. How can Christianity be our religion? I am paraphrasing G. K. Chesterton – “It’s not that Christianity has been tried and failed; it’s that it has never been tried.”

I have a friend who attended the University of Notre Dame. There was a German professor who said that having the flag on or near alter is what got Germany in trouble.


This woman is not only a conservative crazy but also a Catholic crazy!!!!!!! Five good examples of Catholic crazy are the justices on the Supreme Court!!!

Tin Buoy's picture
Tin Buoy 11 years 48 weeks ago

FREE MARKET ACTIVISM! Is this possible????? Here is a thought. What would happen if we say to the White House that if they continue the tax cuts for the rich, we will all refuse to use direct deposit to pay our mortgages? How much money would that cost the banks to actually have to process paper checks. Consider the fact that they have to hire people to process them. It would take significantly more time, so that’s interest lost. I'm sure there would be a lot more repercussions. Is this feasible?

turtlemother's picture
turtlemother 11 years 48 weeks ago

hmm I understand Germany has been doing a lot of solar... they wouldn't do it if not practical...I believe the technology exists to have smaller solar installations, on rooftops, etc. every home , apt bldg could have solar... it is just expensive at this time to install... it doesn't have to be... Remember when laptops (notebooks) were a thouosand dollars? I just got a good lap top for $300..likewise, the price would go down for solar if the use goes up. One right now can take a class in building solar panels for one' s self. I think the energy businessess do not want solar becuase potentially it is very inexpensive .,

As far as our nation becoming unaddcited to oil, that might take a bit of doing. Habits are hard to break.

jsd 11 years 48 weeks ago

Sad to report that it would take a nuclear disaster of epic proportions for the debate to even happen seriously in the halls of US Congress, let alone concrete action to be taken. Perhaps the most cowardly batch of humans ever assembled, minus a handful of notable exceptions. Makes me sad and terrified at the same time!
Sept. 11 did not even begin a discussion about US foreign policy and its implications for our security. Why would we even think anything less on the disaster scale will provoke a humble, profound discussion about the soul of our nation, and the world we are leaving for the future?

jsd 11 years 48 weeks ago

Indeed, Kerry. That is a nightmare unfolding right in front of us. Where is the nat'l media? And not a word.... makes you wonder if they sort of pray for this stuff to happen. Dear New Mexico.....

Martin Sandberg's picture
Martin Sandberg 11 years 48 weeks ago

Actually they're doing it at the insistence of the greens, its not magically practical there either. If they are so foolish as to phase out nuclear power, their electrical rates will go up by about a third. It would go up by only that much because Germany is planning on switching to Russian natural gas, not solar.

"However, the leftist theoreticians will have difficulty explaining this recent development in the real world, where the rest of us live and work:

Germany’s plan to accelerate its exit from nuclear power generation may raise electricity prices by as much as 30 percent.

If nuclear power isn’t economically viable, shouldn’t energy costs fall when it is eliminated? If government subsidies cover the true cost of nuclear power, why won’t the German taxpayers enjoy a windfall of cost savings when that spending is discontinued? Despite all the leftist magical thinking, reality shows that nuclear power actually costs much less than its “green” alternatives."

straightawaykid 11 years 48 weeks ago

You asked what do I think would make us give up nukes? Maybe Ft. Calhoun flooding and turning the banks of the Missouri and Mississippi radioactive green in all those "red states" might do it. Seriously, it will take a large and widepsread disaster to register with the "I-see-nothing" Republicans.

SJC_3 11 years 48 weeks ago

There was a story about how NASA shuttle operations were turned over to private contractors. It was said that those people run everything down to the margin to maximize profits, but in the case of the space shuttle that was not a good idea. I believe the same applies to nuclear power plants.

xyoungblood's picture
xyoungblood 11 years 48 weeks ago

Except for the fact that the republicans would blame the Government for the accident, and push for more privatization.

cygnus1's picture
cygnus1 11 years 48 weeks ago

Hope this goes on this time.

Quote: “It was a tsunami that triggered the world's worst nuclear meltdown at Japan's Fukushima plant a few months ago.” -Thom Hartmann

Think of this: When the U.S. was bombing Afghanistan, the top brass commanding the American aircraft carriers ordered the Japanese operating their own refuelling tankers to bring them (the American) fuel from Bahrain for American war ships. It was easier for them to fuel up that way. The Japanese refused. In the end they complied after the Americans told them they would bomb Japan if they did not do exactly what they were told. The Japanese remembered Hiroshima all too well.

The Japanese people have been demonstrating against American foreign bases on their land. The Americans stay anyway.

The Americans along with Israel are losing the propaganda battle against Iranian peaceful nuclear plants. The world is turning against the Americans and Israel on this point.

Even the IAEA gives Iran a clean bill of health as it did Iraq.

With the Japanese car and truck industry hit by nuclear fallout, the American car industry is put back on its feet with little resistance.

Interestingly enough tectonic plates seem to not be near Japan to set off major earthquakes bringing on Tsusamis.

But an underground H-bomb explosion surely would.

Was the American base hit by the wave?

The more damage America does to the world on behalf of ‘its friend’ the more damage the U.S. will incurr on its own head. I can only hope the good people of the United States can find a way to take back their own country before its too very late.The United States military must stand with its own people against those who do not govern the United States for the good of all humanity, but are out to destroy it in the name of liberty.

radster63's picture
radster63 11 years 48 weeks ago

Having served in the US Navy which is the envy of the world, all it's aircraft carriers and submarines are nuclear powered, I support nuclear power. I absolutely do not understand what your line of thought is with your negatvie stance on our nuclear power plants. First of 3 Mile was a none event and there are not 3 headed cows walking around today as the pump failure was handled. Apparently you are the type that believes in Jane Fonda. Chernobyl was caused by a person performing a test they were not supposed to do in the first plact. It would be operating to this day if it were not for people not following proper procedures. An lastly, the situation in Japan was caused by the Tsunami, NOT the earth quake. Replacement of polluting coal fired plants is in deed the correct thing to do. You have to keep in mind that the mindset in Germany is somewhat of a joke. The warm and fuzzy thinkers have this dream that shutting down their nuclear power plants will do great things. The joke of this thinking is that Germany will be buying power from France nuclear powered electrical grid and or getting their power from natural gas generation which do pollute at least 50% of what a coal plant. There is nothing bad happening in Nebraska as it has been shut down for months for refueling and no it not going to cause a nuclear hollocaust as you are hoping for. So with that Thom, do go out and hug a wind generator to make yourself feel good.

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