Just before President Obama's historic May 27th visit to Hiroshima, we asked why an apology would be out of the question? Could Obama not apologize on humanitarian grounds for the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki while saving face politically? Many disarmament groups, including Beyond Nuclear, also clamored for Obama to renounce his administration's decision to spend $1 trillion over the next 30 years on "refurbishing" and upgrading the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal. Obama's Hiroshima speech eloquently expressed compassion and the desire to "pursue a world without" nuclear weapons, but there was no immediate announcement on meaningful arms reductions. Read our provocative piece, which appeared in The Ecologist, Counterpunch and Truthout.
As anticipated by WTTW, and now confirmed with Exelon Nuclear filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
These three just announced reactor closures now join another already announced reactor closure by Exelon -- Oyster Creek, NJ in 2019. But Ginna, NY and Three Mile Island, PA are also non-competitive, and in serious trouble. Exelon is seeking massive ratepayer subsidies to keep those failing reactors afloat. (See graphic, here.)
But, despite Exelon's apparent moves to follow through on closing three reactors in IL, Crain's Chicago Business reports "Exelon could reverse the decision later if lawmakers act."
As David Kraft, Director of Nuclear Energy Information Service of Chicago, has already advised his members, we will need to remain vigilant.
Beyond Nuclear's Paul Gunter is in Boston today to challenge the Department of Energy's latest attempt to get New Englanders to "consent" to a radioactive waste dump in the region. Boston is the sixth of the DOE's series of "consent-based siting" meetings to feel out public sentiment toward both "interim" parking lot dumps and permanent repository sites. "Since they have never asked for our consent on making the waste, they won't get our consent to dump it here," said Gunter, who was part of the original opposition in 1985 to DOE's attempt to situate a long-term radioactive waste repository in Maine or New Hampshire. That effort threatened the elimination of entire towns and heritage by eminent domain for a "national sacrifice area." New Englanders not only rejected the dump but also the continued operation of nuclear power plants that produce the waste. The Boston meeting will be Webcast live. Make your voice heard by submitting comments to the DOE by July 31. More
Entergy's fleet of operating reactors (see map, right) is dwindling. Shutdowns have been announced for FitzPatrick, NY in early 2017, and Pilgrim, MA in mid-2019, in addition to Vermont Yankee's permanent closure in late 2014. The three worst performing reactors in the U.S., as designated by the Nuclaer Regulatory Commission (NRC), are Entergy owned and operated: Pilgrim, and Arkansas Nuclear One Units 1 & 2. Friends of the Earth, with Fairewinds Associates' Chief Engineer, Arnie Gundersen, as expert witness, has just filed an emergency petition with NRC, regarding severe degradation of baffle-former bolts at Indian Point (IP), NY Unit 2, essential for core cooling. FOE has called for not only IP 2 to remain in a safety shutdown, until the root cause analysis is completed, but is calling for an immediate emergency inspection at IP Unit 3, which is currently operating, despite unknown levels of bolt degradation. Meanwhile, local residents are blocking the construction of a large-diameter, high-pressure, fracked natural gas pipeline that would pass within just hundreds of feet of IP's safety systems, further exacerbating risks to 20 million people within a 50-mile radius in the metro New York City region. And energy industry investment analysts at UBS have advised that Entergy should do a favor for its own shareholders, as well as regional ratepayers, by retiring its problem-plagued, age-degraded Palisades, MI atomic reactor. Remarkably, despite NRC's complete regulatory retreat even in the face of "willful violations" of safety regulations, a very high Power Purchase Agreement (at ratepayer expense) sales price for its electricity, and cancellations of multiple major safety repairs, Palisades is still losing money. See our Reactor Safety website section for more on Entergy's worsening entropy.Entergy's Entropy: Calls grow for shutdowns before meltdowns
Grassroots environmental opponents to Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) scheme to dump radioactive waste on the Great Lakes shore at Bruce Nuclear Generating Station (the world's largest nuclear power plant, with eight operable reactors) in Kincardine, Ontario have long felt like voices in the wilderness. But in the past few years, first state legislators, and then the federal congressional delegation, in Michigan have helped lead a growing groundswell against this risk to the drinking water for 40 million people in eight U.S. states, two Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations. Resolutions have been passed by 185 local governments in both countries, representing nearly 23 million residents, opposing the dump. Now the Washington Post has reported on the issue, the first U.S. national media coverage in 15 years. OPG has said it will provide the Canadian Environment Minister, Catherine McKenna, the additional information she has requested by the end of the year, in hopes she will then approve the dump. See updates on this fight at our Canada website section, including how to take action to help stop this dump!