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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
Mar252016

Entergy to permanently shut down FitzPatrick on Jan. 27, 2017

NRC file photo of Entergy's FitzPatrick atomic reactor in upstate NYEntergy 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.

Sunday
Mar202016

Bradford in BAS: When the unthinkable is deemed impossible: Reflecting on Fukushima

Peter A. Bradford, adjunct professor, Vermont Law School, and former Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner, Maine Public Utility Commission Chairman, and former New York State Public Utility Commission Chair, as well as Union of Concerned Scientists board member, has written a column in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (BAS) that begins:

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.]

Friday
Mar112016

Lyman at UCS: "Preventing an American Fukushima"

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.

Read more at UCS's website, and link to the full report.

Wednesday
Mar092016

Beyond Nuclear on TRT, debating nuclear power with industry lawyer

Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps was hosted on Turkish Radio and Television's (TRT) program "The Newsmakers." He squared off against attorney Elina Teplinsky, a parnter at the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Pillsbury, which serves as legal counsel to the nuclear power industry, domestically and internationally. The debate was on nuclear power's present status, and future prospects, on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the ongoing Fukushima nuclear catastrophe. Watch the debate during the first 16 minutes of the recording; also, the final minute of the episode has the host of the show recapping the nuclear power debate.

Friday
Feb262016

"A huge loss" for the public interest, ratepayers, and environment: Exelon Nuclear takeover of Pepco poised for approval

Sept. 17, 2015 PowerDC rally against Exelon takeover of Pepco, before marching to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser's office to deliver the hand-signed bannerAs reported by Crain's Chicago Business, the Washington Post, and Bloomberg, Exelon Nuclear is now poised to take over Mid-Atlantic utility Pepco. Exelon won the war, despite a determined public interest, ratepayer, and environmental group coalition winning all the battles against the controversial merger over the course of the past two years.

As quoted in the Blooomberg article:

"This is a huge loss for consumers, a discouraging setback for the institutions to protect them and a sad commentary on how things are done in the District," said Allison Fisher, public outreach director for Public Citizen.

(See Allison Fisher's full statement here.)

PowerDC issued a summary and action alert. More.