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ARTICLE ARCHIVE
Wednesday
Jul082009

Obama bows to nuclear lobby while Chu gives wows to new reactors

The Obama administration moved closer to supporting the nuclear industry lobby's push to build new reactors during Senate hearings on pending climate legislation. The administration's Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, sang the praises of a U.S. nuclear power revival. None of this made for a pretty picture - even if it was a predictable one - as the White House bent to nuclear industry demands in its effort to get a climate bill through the Senate. (Read more in The Guardian.)

"I think nuclear power is going to be a very important factor in getting us to a low carbon future," Chu told the Senate's environment and public works committee. "Quite frankly, we want to recapture the lead on industrial nuclear power. We have lost that lead as we have lost the lead in many energy technologies and we want to get it back."

The nuclear power industry is jockeying for potentially unlimited federal loan guarantees to fund expensive new reactors. If and when the industry defaults, the American taxpayer will foot the bill.

Wednesday
Jul082009

Obama's formative anti-nuclear years

Read President Obama's 1983 Columbia University anti-nuclear article here.

Wednesday
Jul082009

Nuclear companies running for the exits

On the heels of news that AmerenUE is backing away from a second reactor at Callaway, MO, comes the disclosure that Exelon is scaling back plans to build two new reactors in Victoria County, TX. Exelon has dropped its construction application and has requested just an Early Site Permit which does not require identifying a specific reactor design. Exelon CEO, John Rowe, cited the "limited availability of federal loan guarantees" in explaining Exelon's backpeddle.

In Ontario, Canada, the province has suspended plans for nuclear power plant refurbishment and new reactor construction. Meanwhile the planned pebble bed reactors slated for sites in South Africa look dead while in Britain the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate has put the proposed new French EPR reactors on ice, questioning their safety.

Wednesday
Jul082009

Cover up of leaks at U.K. reactor could have led to radioactive fire

Watch the outstanding Channel 4 British television report here about the radioactive leaks at the Sizewell A reactor and the close call that was averted by luck, then covered up for two years.

Wednesday
Jul082009

Canadian report recommends stricter radiation protection standard for water as tritium scandal widens

A May 21, 2009 report by a Canadian government agency task force has recommended stricter regulation on the release of tritium from nuclear reactors just as a slew of tritium leaks have been reported at U.S. reactors. Tritium, (a radioactive form of hydrogen), is clinically proven to cause cancer, birth defects and genetic damage with no known safe threshold dose. The Canadian report recommends the "safe" level be dramatically reduced to 500 picoCuries per liter. Current U.S. standards vary. Under Nuclear Regulatory Commission standards, the "safe" dose is one million picoCuries per liter, compared to the Environmental Protection Agency's 20,000 and the State of California's 400. Read the full report here and for more detail, see our June 12, 2009 Bulletin item here.