[ RadSafe ] Claim that Film exposes “regulatory capture” of USA’s NRC by the nuclear industry

Roger Helbig rwhelbig at gmail.com
Fri Jan 27 07:20:33 CST 2012

The bad thing is that this film may very well make into a number of
theaters if it is being acclaimed at Sundance -

Film exposes “regulatory capture” of USA’s NRC by the nuclear industry

by Christina MacPherson

Sundance Diary: "The Atomic States of America" Turns the Lens on
Nuclear Power ONEARTH, BY BRUCE BARCOTT January 26, 2012 "....... The
Atomic States of America, a film based partly upon her memoir, Welcome
to Shirley.

McMasters’ book chronicled her childhood growing up in a blue-collar
Long Island town next to the Brookhaven National Lab, one of the
federal government’s leading nuclear research stations. In the 1990s,
news broke (thanks to citizen activists and a local newspaper
reporter) that Brookhaven’s three reactors regularly leaked deadly
nuclear materials into the local water supply.

McMasters didn’t realize what was going on until college, when a
roommate asked her, “Why are you always going home to all these
funerals? What’s going on there?” The answer: Cancer, cancer, and more

Atomic States directors Sheena Joyce and Don Argott, who made the
documentary Rock School in 2005, expand on McMasters’ material,
looking at other nuclear power plant-adjacent communities and their
chillingly similar experiences with radioactive leaks.

The great service of the film, besides being highly entertaining, is
its unmasking of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Most people in
towns near cooling towers had assumed the NRC was looking after their
safety. Joyce and Argott make a devastating case against that
assumption, showing how one more federal regulatory agency had turned
into a puppet of the industry it was supposed to oversee. By the end
of the film, the NRC was reminiscent of the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) prior to the financial meltdown.

“At one of the documentary filmmakers forums over the weekend, we
talked about this recurring theme of regulatory capture,” McMasters
told me. “Again and again, we’re seeing the corporations that are
supposed to be regulated take over the regulatory agency through money
and politics.”

Nothing illustrates that so starkly in Atomic States as the shocking
footage of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning
scientist, bowing to the humiliating taunts of Representative Joe
Barton, a republican from Texas who heads the House Committee on
Energy and Commerce. In the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear
disaster, Barton demanded to hear Chu declare he had no second
thoughts about the Obama administration’s plan to give loan guarantees
to private companies to build new nuclear power plants. Chu complied.
“That’s what I wanted to hear,” Barton chuckled. ....

Christina MacPherson | January 27, 2012 at 3:42 am | Categories:
Resources -audiovicual, secrets,lies and civil liberties | URL:

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