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Sunday
Dec062015

Entergy's Indian Point 2 shut down after electricity loss to control rods

Entergy's Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, on the Hudson River in Westchester County, NY, near New York CityAs reported by ZeroHedge, Entergy Nuclear has announced that a power loss to control rods led to the shutdown of its Unit 2 atomic reactor at the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant on the Hudson River in Westchester County, NY, near New York City. Entergy stated "The cause of the loss of power to the control rods is being investigated."

In a statement, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said "The company reports that there was no radioactivity released to the environment. I have directed the Department of Public Service to investigate and monitor the situation and a team is currently en route to Indian Point to begin its work."

Last May, after a transformer fire at Indian Point led to a large oil spill into the river, Gov. Cuomo travelled to the scene, and held a press conference at the nuclear plant within hours of the accident. His administration is taking many actions in opposition to a 20-year license extension at Indian Point. More.

Friday
Dec042015

James Hansen's curious nuclear addiction

On November 20, Beyond Nuclear's column, by Linda Pentz Gunter, ran in Counterpunch, questioning Hansen's contradictions as he espouses slow, expensive and dangerous nuclear energy while sounding the alarm that climate change must be addressed immediately.  Read the Counterpunch column.

This was quickly followed on December 3 by a Guardian article in which Hansen and his colleagues made some eye-stretching assertions that nuclear could not only address climate change but actually save civilization! All it would take would be to open 61 reactors a year.  Such departure from reality prompted a series of tweets from us, calling out this nonsense and found here.

Hansen et al.'s wild commentary also inspired a column by Solartopia's Harvey Wasserman (pictured) who speculated on whether Hansen wasn't in fact anti-nuke, such is his service to our cause in making such irrational statements.

"The case Team Hansen makes for nukes demands at least three blind eyes: one to current reactor realities (catastrophic), another to the timeline necessary to solve climate chaos (desperate), a third to what’s really happening in renewables and efficiency (spectacular)," Wasserman wrote.  Read the full article here. 

Friday
Dec042015

The Nuclear Ties to the Breakthrough Energy Coalition

Who is behind the Bill Gates led Breakthrough Energy Coalition and will these billionaire philanthropists be funding nuclear energy?  Beyond Nuclear took a look.

"The first question that crossed my mind when reading about the latest Bill Gates investment venture was “is this a cover to divert yet more money into nuclear energy?”  Gates unveiled his Breakthrough Energy Coalition at the start of the COP21 climate talks in Paris with much fanfare but few details, including the size of the financial commitment.

My suspicions were triggered not only by Gates’ already public commitment to nuclear energy research, but by the name selected for this collection of 28 of the world’s richest people (mainly men.)  The Breakthrough Institute, after all, is the name of the pseudo-green nuclear energy front group whose people promoted and starred in the 2013 nuclear power propaganda film, Pandora’s Promise.  But so far the Breakthrough Institute is lying low on the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, although I suspect not for long.

At first glance, the mission of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, whose collective wealth is three hundred and fifty billion dollars, sounds reasonable enough, even if it takes a while to get ones head around that kind of disposable income.  “The world needs widely available energy that is reliable, affordable and does not produce carbon,”   the group states.  The investors aim to provide “early-stage capital for technologies that offer promise in bringing affordable clean energy to billions of people, especially in the developing world.”  All quite noble.  But the madness is in the method."  Read the full article.

Friday
Dec042015

Decreasing economies of scale put pressure on remaining Entergy Nuclear merchant reactors

Entergy's Indian Point nuclear power plant, on the Hudson River near New York City.As reported by Syracuse.com, Entergy Nuclear's top executive in charge of its fleet of merchant nuclear power plants, William Mohl, has admitted that its remaining atomic reactors are under increasing pressure, due to loss of economies of scale:

"We don't have any immediate plans (to change direction) on Indian Point, but you start to have to think about what will you do down the road if you have a single asset in the Northeast,'' he said. "You just have less economies of scale. We're looking at that and what we need to do in that regard.''

Although his context was Entergy's two unit Indian Point nuclear power plant near New York City, in light of Entergy's recent rapid-fire decisions to close FitzPatrick in upstate NY (as early as a year from now, but hopefully sooner), and Pilgrim in MA (in mid-2019, but hopefully sooner), the same logic applies at Entergy's age-degraded, problem-plagued Palisades atomic reactor in MI as well. More.

Thursday
Dec032015

Fudging the nuclear numbers in France

If you love fudge, go to Paris.  Not for the confectionary, but to listen to the nuclear boosters clustered there whose favorite pastime is to fudge the numbers.  The American Nuclear Society is already pushing -- and citing from -- Nuclear for Climate, an initiative of the Center for Nuclear Science and Technology Information. 

ANS is trumpeting the 30 countries which “are operating 438 nuclear reactors” and the “67 new nuclear plants under construction.”  Except the 438 figure is conflated by counting all of Japan’s reactors as “operating”, even though only two have restarted since the Fukushima nuclear disaster. 

There were 62 reactors “under construction” as of July 2015 but the more pertinent stat, as noted in the 2015 World Nuclear Industry Status Report, is that five of these have been “under construction” for more than 30 years. 

The initiative even claims that “independent studies” show nuclear life-cycle emissions as equivalent to renewables, except the link goes straight to the NEI website, the industry’s trade group, which is anything but independent.  

Despite desperate efforts to paint itself a winner, nuclear continues to decline.  Between 1977 and 2015 a total of 92 of all nuclear construction sites were abandoned or suspended in 18 countries.