Trucker, Trucker-Braker, Braker
by Pat Cuney, Foundation for a Compassionate Society
Like everyone else in this country who wants to move products to market, now cities, power companies, and waste management corporations have to rely mainly on trucking companies and truckers to get their waste to dumps and storage places. That's not a problem. Trucking is the iron in the bloodstream of commerce.
You can't see it, touch it, taste it, or feel it-until you get prostate cancer, or your child is born with birth defects because your genes were damaged, or you develop breast, or lung, or bone cancer...
What's a problem is that the "products" are different from clothes, or furniture, even different from oil and gas. The waste coming out of nuclear power plants, uranium conversion and nuclear weapons facilities, irradiators, hospitals and for that matter, the original uranium itself fresh from the mines puts out waves of radiation to everything and everyONE around—just like radio waves. You can't see it, touch it, taste it, or feel it—until you get prostate cancer, or your child is born with birth defects because your genes were damaged, or you develop breast, or lung, or bone cancer—and then that's all you feel. Pain, and then anger. But it doesn't matter because then you're too sick to do something about it except look at your doctor and hospital bills—and know that you can't afford to pay them and they are more than what any insurance you can buy will cover.
Recently, 33 power companies ganged up on people in the Mescalero Apache Indian reservation in New Mexico. The Mescalero council voted "No!" to taking their radioactive waste. IT meant so much to the companies that they pooled their profits and offered $2,000 to every household if they would vote to let the companies dump their deadly waste on the reservation. $2000 won't restore a prostate gland or replace a breast, or even buy groceries for the kids when one of the parents is gone—or both. And what about you? Are you getting hazard pay for driving this waste around? What's your sex life worth? Or the quality and length of your life? What's your next child's life worth? How much insurance are you carrying? Remember, this waste is so toxic that no company in private industry or the U.S. government has produced any kind of container that can be used for the 100,000 or more years that this waste remains toxic to people. And, really, lead containers don't mean a thing to radioactivity. Even the lead vest you wear when you get an x-ray is like paper to this waste
If someone asks you to drive a load of this radioactive waste around, don't turn on that ignition key until you get some protection—
- a Geiger counter so you can see the size of your "dose;"
- some literature from a scientist or health researcher independent of the nuclear industry or government to interpret that dose;
- a cash bonus for hazardous pay of $50,000 a day on the road; and,
- $10,000,000 for hospitalization insurance for you and your family members starting from the day they ask you to drive off. And when they try to pressure you into buying that truck without these protections, you tell your union, your boss, the contractor, "There's only one solution to storing radioactive waste-quit making it."
Take your piece of the profits the big boys are making while they rape the earth and pollute your water. If you're going to go, might as well be rich. At least you can enjoy the ride out!
And, by the way, do you or any of your relatives or friends live or drive on or near these routes you're driving this stuff on? Do they know if they're in the lane beside you, they're getting dosed? Or parked sleeping at a rest stop near your truck? Or gassing up? And who would respond with what training in the event of an accident? Or whether there would be any way ever, to really clean up?
Pat wrote this for her campaign to alert and organize truckers to shut down nuclear transport. Call Pat Cuney at the Foundation for a Compassionate Society —512-472-5227— for more information about the effects of low level radiation or for related information.