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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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Thursday
Aug012013

SACE Statement on Duke Energy Florida’s Cancellation of Levy County Nuclear Reactor Project

Contact: Jennifer Rennicks, Director of Policy & Communications, 865.235.1448, jennifer@cleanenergy.org

St. Petersburg, Fla.///NEWS STATEMENT/// Duke Energy Florida (DEF) today filed a motion with the Florida Public Service Commission to approve a settlement agreement that will cancel its proposed Levy County nuclear reactor project.

The project’s estimated cost to build two Toshiba-Westinghouse AP1000 reactors had skyrocketed by 400% to $24 billion from initial estimated costs of approximately $5 billion per reactor and the original in-service dates were delayed by at least eight years. The motion was filed in the annual nuclear cost recovery clause docket – which is set to begin Monday - that considers approval of costs related to proposed new nuclear generation and determines the reasonableness of projected costs.
 

According to Florida Public Service Commission staff testimony in this year’s docket, “As of December 31, 2012, DEF has spent approximately $962 million on the Levy project including AFUDC” (Allowance for Funds Used During Construction). Duke has not yet recovered this entire amount from the Commission. Hearings on the 2013 docket for Duke and FPL, which is also pursuing two new nuclear reactors at their existing Turkey Point plant near Miami, are scheduled to begin next week.

Dr. Stephen A. Smith, executive director of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, issued this statement about today’s decision to cancel the proposed Levy County nuclear reactor project:
 

“We welcome Duke Energy’s announcement today that they are seeking approval to cancel the controversial Levy County nuclear reactor project.  Since the merger, Duke’s leadership has taken a fresh look at these unnecessary nuclear projects and has absolutely made the right decision for Florida consumers.

While important details are still being resolved, Florida consumers should rejoice in knowing that the fleecing associated with this nuclear project will end. The time has come to stop throwing good money after bad.

SACE has long opposed this project and the nuclear tax recovery mechanisms that have been associated with it. SACE supports the need for Duke and FPL to have exit plans for these unnecessary reactors, however, we must stay vigilant in protecting consumers as the projects wind down.

The FL PSC has been negligent in its protection of Florida ratepayers and as these projects are cancelled, the Commission must stand strong in defense of consumers. But we also must ensure that the utilities do not continue to pursue high-risk, unnecessary projects as if there were no viable exit strategy.”

Join us for a media availability call tomorrow, Friday, August 2 at 11:00 a.m. EDT to speak with SACE experts on this case and today’s decision.

WHEN: Friday, August 2, 11:00 a.m. EDT

 

WHO:

Dr. Stephen Smith, Executive Director, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

George Cavros, Florida Energy Policy Attorney, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Sara Barczak, High Risk Energy Director, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

 

WHERE: Conference Dial-in Number: (605) 475-4000; Participant Access Code: 663387#

# # #

Founded in 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at www.cleanenergy.org

Thursday
Aug012013

Environmental interveners respond to Duke's cancellation of proposed new reactors at Levy County, FL

Washington, D.C.-based attorney, Diane Curran, represented environmental interveners NIRS and Ecology Party of Florida against the now-cancelled proposed new reactors at Levy Co., FLThe Ecology Party of Florida and NIRS, environmental interveners against Duke/Progress Energy's proposed new reactors at Levy County, FL, have responded to the announced cancellation:

The Ecology Party of Florida could not be happier that the proposed nuclear plant scheduled for construction in Levy County, Florida (LNP), has been cancelled by Duke Energy, which acquired Progress Energy Florida (PEF), the LNP applicant.  The Ecology Party, along with Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) waged a five-year battle within the confines of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s  (NRC) rigged system, challenging the construction of the plant. The challenge was based primarily on the fact that the water modeling used was unsuited for the karst geology at the site and that in combination with other mining projects in the area, including the nearby proposed King Road Tarmac mine which would have supplied materials for the plant. Due to this failing, the proposed LNP  would have irreparably harmed the aquifer, source of drinking water for the area. Dewatering the area further than it already has been would have resulted in impacts far more serious and far-reaching than those alleged by Progress and the NRC Staff.  The two groups presented evidence that any predictions in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) were inadequate and that the destructive consequences of withdrawing millions of gallons of water from the aquifer each day, as well as drawing all fresh water from the abandoned Cross Florida Barge Canal and its estuary in the Gulf had been grossly underestimated.

The Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) had not yet issued the necessary permit for the destruction of wetlands at the site and the Ecology Party, its members, and Hydroecologist Dr. Sydney Bacchus, primary expert for the Ecology Party, have been extremely active in opposing the project in the Corps' process. We believe our opposition and the compelling evidence we've submitted has had a bearing on the decision.

In response to news of the abandoned LNP project, Dr. Bacchus's reaction was, "This is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when the public refuses to accept false and inaccurate information fed to agencies by consultants and instead fights to have the truth exposed. I hope this will serve as a role model for future grass-root battles."

Diane Curran [photo, above left], who represented the Ecology Party and NIRS said, “It is great news for the environment that PEF apparently thinks Levy would be an economic disaster.  It would have been an even bigger disaster for the fragile wetlands where PEF wanted to build the reactors.”

Cara Campbell, Chair of the Ecology Party, pointed out, “The cost of this debacle had risen from 4 Billion dollars to 25 Billion. How much were the ratepayers of Florida expected to take?”

"The people, animals, plants and waters of the Nature Coast are figuratively sighing with relief that an area of recreation and sanctuary, the Nature Coast, will be nuclear-free!" said Mary Olson of Nuclear Information and Resource Service who supported efforts by Florida activists to intervene in the proposed Levy County 1 & 2 nuclear license.

Michael Mariotte, Executive Director of Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), added:

"The nuclear renaissance is in shambles. Earlier this week, the world's largest nuclear company, Electricite De France, announced it is leaving the U.S. nuclear market having failed to build any of the reactors it was planning. Now Duke Energy is giving up on the most expensive nuclear project ever proposed--and the only "greenfields" site in the supposed nuclear revival. The basic truths about nuclear power outweigh the fantasies of nuclear boosters: it remains too dirty, dangerous and expensive to be a viable source of new electricity."

Thursday
Aug012013

Cooper: Duke abandonment of Levy reactors fits into 2013 pattern of "rapid-fire downsizing" of nuclear power in U.S.

Mark Cooper of Vermont Law School's Institute for Energy and the EnvironmentEnergy economist Mark Cooper at Vermont Law School's Institute for Energy and the Environment has issued a media statement in response to Duke/Progess's announced abandonment of its proposal to build two new atomic reactors at Levy County, Florida.

Cooper's statement begins:

"The announcement by Duke that it is abandoning the Levy reactor project in Florida is the second such announcement by that utility in the space of just a few weeks. The Duke decision to pull the plug on Levy follows by just one day the announcement that the French-subsidized nuclear giant EDF is pulling out of the U.S. nuclear power market due to the inability of nuclear power to compete with alternatives and the dramatic reduction in demand growth caused by increasing efficiency of electricity consuming devices. Exelon, with the largest U.S. nuclear fleet, recently purchased the nuclear assets of Constellation in an effort to achieve synergies (i.e. lower the operating costs) of its nuclear assets. Entergy, the second largest nuclear operator, has reorganized its nuclear assets and is slashing staffing..."

On July 17th, Cooper published a report, "Renaissance in Reverse," documenting the likelihood that up to 38 atomic reactors nationwide would "retire early," before the expiration of their operating licenses, including a dozen at risk of near-term permanent shutdown, due to an array of economic, operational, and safety factors.

Thursday
Aug012013

Another one bites the dust: Duke to cancel proposed new atomic reactors at Levy County, FL

MAURICE RIVENBARK | Times The crippled nuclear power plant in Crystal River [photo, above] will not be replaced with a new nuclear facility in Levy County, state Rep. Mike Fasano said Thursday.---Tampa Bay TimesAs reported by the Tampa Bay Times, Florida State Representative Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey) has stated: "It's my understanding from a very good source that Duke Energy will announce after the close of the markets today that they will not be building the nuclear power plants in Levy County."

The article reports: 'Duke spokesman Sterling Ivey told the Tampa Bay Times the utility is issuing a press release about an announcement at 4:15 this afternoon.'

The proposed new nuclear power plant was supposed to have cost $4-6 billion, and to have been completed by 2016, when first proposed by Progress Energy in 2006. Recently, the price tag had risen to nearly $25 billion, and the estimated completion date had been delayed to 2024.

Florida's controversial "Construction Work in Progress" (CWIP) law, also known as the "advance fee law," has allowed Progress, and then Duke (which took over Progress) to charge ratepayers on their electricity bills for the construction of Levy County nuclear power plant. After intially supporting nuclear CWIP, Fasano has become an outspoken national opponent of the scheme. Even the Florida Tea Party has joined the chorus, including AARP and municipalities, in opposing risky CWIP subsidies to the nuclear industry at the expense of ratepayers.

In addition to Levy County, Progress/Duke has been able to charge ratepayers for senseless repairs and supposed upgrades at its doomed old atomic reactor, Crystal River. The nuclear utility managed to fatally crack Crystal River's containment in 2009, during a botched steam generator replacement, and earlier this year announced its permanent shutdown.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that Florida ratepayers could be on the hook for $3 billion in wasted expenditures at Levy County and Crystal River, collected via CWIP.

The article concludes:

'"Shame on Duke Energy, Progress Energy for taking the public on this ride knowing that they were never going to build the nuclear plants,'' Fasano said. "Shame on them."

Fasano called for the state Public Service Commission and the Legislature to conduct a full investigation into Duke's failed nuclear projects.'

Wednesday
Jul312013

Callaway atomic reactor remains closed following fire in central MO

NRC file photo of Callaway atomic reactorAs reported by KMOV TV-4 St. Louis, Ameren's Callaway atomic reactor, located in Fulton, Missouri, 90 miles west and upwind of St. Louis, remains shutdown, following a fire. Beyond Nuclear board member Kay Drey, a longtime watchdog on Callaway, was interviewed. She pointed out that design, construction, and operational errors have all occurred at Callaway, and that, while fires do happen, you sure don't want them to happen at atomic reactors.

KMOV then questioned Ameren's characterization of the fire as an "ununsual event," pointing out that a number of "unusual events" have occurred at Callaway in the past decade. For example, last April, three workers were burned by an electrical flash in the switchyard.

Kay has penned numerous pamphlets, including one written for nuclear workers' ("Know Your Risks, Know Your Rights"), as well as one ("Routine Radioactive Releases from Nuclear Power Plants") containing a close-up photo of the rooftop vent at Callaway for the unfiltered atmospheric discharge of radioactive gases such as tritium, as well as noble gases krypton and xenon (which radioactively decay into long-lasting, biologically active isotopes of strontium and cesium).

As covered by regional and even national media, Kay has also been actively concerned, as are many others, about a "nuclear fire" of a different kind: an underground landfill fire, inching ever closer to a decades-old radioactive waste dump at West Lake Landfill, just upstream from St. Louis drinking water intakes. The crisis continues to garner headlines on a regular basis, as government officials at all levels, under pressure from area residents, struggle with what to do on this, the 40 year mark of radioactive waste first being buried there. Kay has long led efforts to have the radioactive wastes removed from the Missouri River floodplain.