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Nuclear Power

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.

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Friday
Nov182016

Lobbyists leave Trump transition team after new ethics rule

As reported by Politico:

At least three lobbyists have left President-elect Donald Trump's presidential transition operation after the team imposed a new ethics policy that would have required them to drop all their clients.

CGCN's Michael Catanzaro, who was responsible for energy independence; Michael Torrey, who was running the handoff at the Department of Agriculture; and Michael McKenna of MWR Strategies, who was focused on the Energy Department, are no longer part of the transition, POLITICO has learned.

Lobbyists who piled into the transition when it was being run by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie were caught off-guard Wednesday by a new ethics policy requiring them to terminate their clients...

Mike McKenna, a Republican energy lobbyist, told POLITICO that he "couldn't in good conscience deregister. I understand why transition did what they did. I'm not angry or annoyed or outraged."

He said he was reluctant to step down, but added, “at the end of the day, I needed to make sure that my clients, my business and my family were taken care of. I anticipate helping out as much as they will let me.”

McKenna focused on the Energy Department, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the transition. A former lobbyist for Koch Cos. Public Sector, McKenna now lobbies for Engie (formerly GDF Suez), Southern Co. and Dow Chemical.

Southern Co. is a major U.S. nuclear power utility, owning and operating Plants Farley (two reactors in AL), Hatch (two reactors in GA), and Vogtle (four reactors in GA -- including Units 3 & 4, currently under construction; if they ever actually operate someday, Vogtle would then become the largest nuclear power plant in the U.S.). 

Engie is also a major nuclear utility in Europe, with international expansion plans.

Monday
Oct242016

Yet another long overdue atomic reactor permanent shutdown: Fort Calhoun, NE switched off for good today!

Floodwaters on the Missouri River in spring and summer of 2011 lapped against safety significant buildings at Fort Calhoun atomic reactor in Nebraska, upstream of the state's largest city, Omaha.As reported by Cole Epley in the Omaha World-Herald, the Omaha Public Power District's (OPPD) Fort Calhoun atomic reactor permanently shutdown today, four and a half months after the nuclear utility's management proposed it, and the utility's board of directors voted in agreement.

Although OPPD emphasized Fort Calhoun's inability to compete with less expensive sources of electricity (including Nebraska's abundant wind power) as the reason for its decision, Fort Calhoun has also suffered serious safety problems for the past several years.

This included a close call with catastrophe, during historic floods on the adjacent Missouri River in the spring and summer of 2011. (This earned the atomic reactor the nickname "Port" Calhoun, as flood waters lapped against safety related systems, structures, and components! See the photo, above left.) It also included a fire, that smoldered within the plant for days, remarkably without response, also in 2011. The consequent two and half year shutdown cost Nebraskans several hundred million dollars (Fort Calhoun is publicly owned).

As soon as the irradiated fuel is removed from the core, Fort Calhoun can no longer suffer a reactor meltdown, by definition. In addition, no more high-level radioactive waste will be generated. That is the good news. The bad news is that the irradiated nuclear fuel already generated there, since 1974 -- currently stored in the indoor "wet" storage pool, and outdoor dry casks -- must be isolated from the living environment for the next million years.

Saturday
Oct152016

Karl Grossman: “How Cuomo’s $7.6 Billion Nuclear Bail-out Can Impede Wind and Solar”

Karl GrossmanInvestigative journalist Karl Grossman (photo, left) -- a Beyond Nuclear board of directors member -- delivered a presentation to Long Island Metro Business Action entitled  “How Cuomo’s $7.6 Billion Nuclear Bail-out Can Impede Wind and Solar." A link to the written presentation is provided here.

Karl has also posted the presentation at his own blog, linked here.

Thursday
Oct062016

Media coverage of the commemoration of 50 years since the Fermi 1 "We Almost Lost Detroit" partial meltdown/close call with radioactive catastrophe

“To the village square we must carry the facts of atomic energy. From there must come America’s voice.” --- Albert Einstein, June 1946. Photo credit: Mark Muhich, Sierra Club MI Chapter Nuclear-Free CommitteeA column in the LA Times, and an article in the Detroit Free Press, have covered this story. So too has the Monroe Evening News (note the one-minute video, of UCS's Dave Lochbaum explaining how a supposed meltdown mitigation safeguard at Fermi 1, actually led the meltdown); Michigan Public Radio's Stateside (an eight-minute interview with Fermi watchdog Michael Keegan); and the Toledo Blade.

Beyond Nuclear also raised the Fermi 1 meltdown on Thom Hartmann's "The Big Picture" on Oct. 6th (see from 45 minutes 00 seconds to 52 minutes 20 seconds).

The speakers at the downtown Monroe, MI press conference held at 3:09 PM, Wed., Oct. 6th -- the 50-year mark, to the moment, of the Fermi 1 meltdown -- included (from left to right, see photo): Terry Lodge, Toledo Safe Energy Coalition, and environmental intervention attorney against Fermi 2 & Fermi 3; Jessie Collins, Citizens Resistance at Fermi Two (CRAFT); Michael Keegan, Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes and Don't Waste MI (speaking); Ethyl Rivera, Alliance to Halt Fermi 3; Paul Gunter, Beyond Nuclear; and David Lochbaum, Union of Concerned Scientists.

See Beyond Nuclear comprehensive post about the "We Almost Lost Detroit" meltdown 50-year commemoration, including a large number of links to additional information and documentation.

Friday
Sep302016

DOE Task Force on the Future of Nuclear Power draft report calls for massive national subsidies to prop up dying industry

In Sept., 2016 the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, Task Force on the Future of Nuclear Power, published its Draft Report. The report calls for massive nationalized subsidies, to prop up dirty, dangerous/age-degraded, expensive/un-competitive, atomic reactors across the U.S.

[This Task Force report was cited in NIRS Nov. 2016 report, Too Big to Bail Out. The NIRS report, by its executive director, Tim Judson, estimates that a New York-style bail out, implemented across the U.S., could cost American ratepayers and/or taxpayers, a whopping $280 billion.]