Nuclear power cannot address climate change effectively or in time. Reactors have long, unpredictable construction times are expensive - at least $12 billion or higher per reactor. Furthermore, reactors are sitting-duck targets vulnerable to attack and routinely release - as well as leak - radioactivity. There is so solution to the problem of radioactive waste.
RT has interviewed investigative journalist Karl Grossman (photo left) on the risks of age-degraded nuclear power plants like Indian Point near New York City, where rusted and even missing bolts are but the latest safety scare.
Entergy Nuclear's Indian Point Units 2 and 3 reactors, some 25 miles up the Hudson River from the New York City limits, are both operating on expired operating licenses, compliments of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's lax rules. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is leading the charge for Indian Point's shutdown.
So too is New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, whose office has sued NRC over its false Nuclear Waste Confidence policy. (Beyond Nuclear is an official party in the NY v. NRC II proceeding currently before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.)
Karl describes the potentially "catastrophic" risks of running reactors not 40 years, but 60 and even 80 years, including with power "uprates" -- operating aged reactors harder and hotter, to make more electricity, to make more money.
Karl points out that the answer is to shut these old nuclear power plants immediately, to eliminate the Chernobyl- and Fukushima-like reactor risks, and to stop the generation of radioactive waste. The electricity can be replaced with renewables like wind and solar, which are here today.
Karl serves as a Beyond Nuclear board member.
Entergy Nuclear, in an official regulatory communication with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), has committed to permanently shut down its James A. FitzPatrick atomic reactor in Scriba, NY (six miles northeast of Oswego, NY on the Lake Ontario shoreline, photo at left). The closure date is set at Janurary 27, 2017.
FitzPatrick is a General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactor. Having fired up in 1974, it is the same vintage, and identical in design, to the GE BWR Mark Is that melted down and exploded at Fukushima Daiichi, Japan in March 2011.
Although the reactor risks will cease, by definition, as soon as the last of the irradiated nuclear fuel is removed from the reactor core, the risks will continue in the high-level radioactive waste storage pool, as well as at the dry cask storage installation for irradiated nuclear fuel. Beyond Nuclear, and hundreds of other groups representing all 50 states, have long called for emptying of the vulnerable storage pools, and expedited transfer in Hardened On-Site Storage (HOSS) dry casks. (Irradiated fuel must cool for at least five years -- even longer for High-Burnup -- in the storage pool.)
Starting on January 28, 2017, long-term decommissioning challenges to "clean up" (that is, transfer to another location, such as licensed radioactive waste dumps out west) the radioactive contamination of the site and structures will present themselves. Beyond Nuclear has called for the empty pools to be preserved, as an emergency contingency for cask-to-cask transfer operations in the years, and perhaps even decades, of on-site storage ahead.
Nuclear power requires obedience, as well as massive subsidy and the suppression of competition from other forms of low-carbon energy. These are not attractive platform planks in market-oriented democracies, so subterfuge in the service of political clout is also needed.
Abhorrent prerequisites need not lead to political defeat these days. Raise enough money. Scare enough people. Demonize and hamstring enough alternatives. Hornswoggle enough regulators. Procure celebrity endorsements. Rhapsodize new designs transcending today’s shortcomings. Just don’t make fools of your backers, or befoul their living rooms.
That is where Fukushima fits in. A few times in the six-decade history of nuclear power, some event once deemed impossible has taken place—shifting the ground under politicians and investors and forcing the abandonment of plants well along or already built. [More.]
Coinciding with the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the ongoing Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, Dr. Ed Lyman at Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has published a report entitled Preventing an American Fukushima.
UCS's teaser on its website reads:
The U.S. has invested heavily in post-Fukushima nuclear safety—but it remains unclear how effective that investment has been.