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Thursday
Jul302015

"France Plans to Reduce Nuclear in Favor of Renewables"

As reported by Eric Marx and ClimateWire/E&E, reprinted in Scientific American:

"France, one of the world’s leaders in nuclear energy production, plans to draw down nuclear’s share of electricity generation from 75 to 50 percent by 2025—giving itself a 10-year time frame equivalent to the complete shutdown now ongoing in Germany." More.

Thursday
Jul302015

Beyond Nuclear appeals scandalous NRC rule that has long undermined NEPA to facilitate new reactor construction

Beyond Nuclear has filed multiple appeals at the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia -- the second highest court in the land -- in opposition to Detroit Edison's proposed new Fermi 3 atomic reactor, and the construction/operation license recently rubber-stamped by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Terry Lodge, an attorney based in Toledo, serves as legal counsel for Beyond Nuclear.

One of the appeals represents the first legal challenge ever to a scandalous NRC rule change eight years ago that effectively undermined the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA): the Orwellian redefinition of a single word, "construction."

Bloomberg's Elliot Blair Smith broke the story on September 25, 2007 in an article entitled "Nuclear Utilities Redefine One Word to Bulldoze for New Plants."

More.

Thursday
Jul302015

Exelon threatens to close three reactors by early next year, absent $1.8 billion IL bailout

NRC file photo of two-reactor Quad Cities nuclear power plant in ILScott Stapf of the Hastings Group's tweet put it well: Nuclear blackmail: Exelon threatens to kill Quad Cities plant if IL lawmakers don't hand over loot.

As reported by Crain's Chicago Business, despite a windfall compliments of regional grid operator PJM (provided at ratepayer expense), Exelon Nuclear is nonetheless still threatening to close its two reactors at Quad Cities, unless the Illinois State Legislature provides it another massive bailout, to the tune of $1.8 billion.

Exelon has also said its downstate single reactor plant, Clinton, could be next to close, early next year, absent the state bailout. More.

Thursday
Jul302015

Uncompetitive IL nukes to recieve $600 million annual subsidy under PJM plan 

"Burning money" image by Gene Case, Avenging AngelsAs reported by Scott DiSavino in Reuters, a new "capacity factor" subsidy, at ratepayer expense, is being offered by the Pennsylvania New Jersey Maryland (PJM) grid operator to Exelon Nuclear, to help prop up several uncompetitive atomic reactors in Illinois.

"Capacity factor" refers to nuclear power's 24/7 "baseload" avaiability, but ignores the fact that nuclear power plants can experience years-long safety-related shutdowns.

The article concludes that "extra revenues from the capacity auction could keep the money losing reactors operating for a few more years until possible new carbon standards are available," as Exelon lobbies "federal, state and regional policy makers [to] find ways to compensate generators for the environmental and reliability benefits that non-carbon emitting nuclear plants provide."

Of course, nuclear power is not zero carbon. And, as David Kraft, Director of NEIS, has pointed out, other sources of electricity have inherent upsides, deserving of societal support. Wind power and solar photo-voltaics, for example, as well as energy efficiency, release even less greenhouse gases than nuclear power, and also do not generate forever deadly radioactive waste. More.

Wednesday
Jul292015

Deepwater Wind welcome, but U.S. still missing offshore opportunity

Beyond Nuclear released a press statement today welcoming the advent of Rhode Island's Deepwater Wind Block Island Wind Farm but pointing out the missed opportunities for major offshore wind production off the U.S. coastline.

TAKOMA PARK, MD, July 29, 2015 -- While the installation of the first wind turbine off the Rhode Island shore was celebrated this week, the U.S. still generates not one watt of electricity from offshore wind.  This missed opportunity, given a welcome but late start by the Deepwater Wind Block Island Wind Farm, means that the U.S. has so far failed to capitalize on the enormous energy potential from the country’s 2,069 miles of coastline. 

The U.S. could, according to the Global Wind Energy Council, meet U.S. energy demand four times over with offshore wind power alone.  And, as Beyond Nuclear discovered, when contesting the license extension of New Hampshire’s coastal Seabrook Nuclear Generating Station, offshore wind generated solely in the Gulf of Maine could power all of New England’s electricity needs.

“When we contested the Seabrook license extension we found that plant owner, NextEra, had summarily dismissed the future potential of renewable wind energy in little more than 350 words,” said Paul Gunter, Director of Reactor Oversight at Beyond Nuclear.  NextEra applied for in 2010, and subsequently received, a 20-year license extension for Seabrook, 20 years before the current license expired.  But as Beyond Nuclear showed, projecting the potential for renewable energy to replace the need for Seabrook 20-40 years from now was entirely ignored in the proceeding.  Read the full press release.