Congratulations to environmental allies who have successfully pressured the Obama administration to postpone -- and hopefully ultimately cancel -- TransCanada Pipelines' proposed Keystone XL Pipeline for Canadian tar sands crude oil. But tar sands crude oil isn't the only "dirty, dangerous, and expensive" energy source TransCanada dabbles with. According to its website, it also owns 48.8% of the 3,000 Megawatt-electric (MW-e) Bruce A nuclear power plant, and 31.6% of the 3,200 MW-e Bruce B nuclear power plant. Bruce -- a 9 reactor and radioactive waste complex located in Ontario on the shore of Lake Huron just 50 miles from Michigan -- is the largest nuclear power plant in the Western Hemisphere, and the second biggest in the world. TransCanada entered the nuclear power business despite warnings by NIRS in late 2002 about serious financial and environmental risks. (A primary bone of contention over the Keystone XL pipeline is its proposed route over the irreplacable Ogallala Aquifer; the Waste Control Specialists radioactive waste dump in Texas also threatens the Ogallala.)
John Rowe, CEO of Exelon, told reporters on November 9 that the idea that his company would construct a third nuclear reactor at Calvert Cliffs, MD, was "almost inconceivable." The two Calvert Cliffs reactors are owned by Constellation Energy which already withdrew from the project, leaving French partner, EDF, stranded. Exelon is about to merge with Constellation. EDF, as a foreign corporation, is prohibited by law from sole ownership of the new Calvert Cliffs reactor. EDF has been working to circumvent the law but the financial challenges were too burdensome for Constellation which opted not to move forward despite the promise of a loan guarantee from the federal government. Constellation withdrew due to financial concerns after the U.S. Energy Department asked for a fee of $880 million to compensate taxpayers for the risk they would take on a loan guarantee of about $7.6 billion, a fee Constellation said would doom the project. Read background here.
A new report by the International Atomic Energy Agency suggests that there is "credible" evidence that Iran's nuclear activities are designed to build a nuclear bomb but stops short of stating that Iran is on the verge of becoming a nuclear weapons state. The IAEA sourced intelligence from 10 countries. Although the report contains virtually nothing new and reinforces existing fears that Iran's nuclear activities do not have so-called "peaceful" intentions, the report also marks the first time all the data have been composited into one document. The report concludes: “The information indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device." Read more.
The New York Times has also reported on this story. As it reported on Thursday, the Iranian and Russian regimes have strongly criticized the IAEA report.
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