As gas inches up to (and past in some places like Los Angeles) $4.00 a gallon, I remembered the last time there was a major outcry over prices at the pump. In 1973 the major culprit were the Oil companies and the major culprit now appears to be . . . yep, the oil companies.
Granted, the situation in the Middle East is uneasy at best, but it was in 1973 as well. However, in 1973 we weren't used to it. America enjoyed a seemingly limitless source of energy and oil and the crisis that confronted us then was pretty dramatic. So dramatic that NBC News devoted an entire 3 hours of Primetime programming to covering the story. Something that would never happen today. But in 1973 it was cause for major concern.
So today I'm going to run that entire show, all three hours. It's split up over three players and, even though I doubt you'll want to sit around and listen to it online, you will no doubt be better off downloading it and listening to it over several beers.
The story goes like this with highlights below:
Frank McGee (NBC News – Talking about Nuclear Power Plants): “If the emergency cooling system failed, if there were a meltdown, some scientists think an area half the size of Pennsylvania might be contaminated, 100,000 people might die.”
Nuclear Power Plant Spokesperson: “There is no industry the world has ever known that has such safety features built into it. And there is no activity, no industry, no technology that has ever been developed that has such stringent rules for operation.”
Public Safety advocate: “There’s a large majority of the reactor experts that the AEC (Atomic Energy Commission) relies on who have the most serious doubts about these safety assurances. We have hundreds of documents that have been suppressed by the AEC whose source was the safety community and these demonstrate very clearly that the controversy over the AEC’s claims is very deep and very serious.”
Bear in mind that six years later we had that episode at Three Mile Island - the Pennsylvania reference by McGee is purely ironic>