The subject line above is Scott Stapf of the Hasting Group's Tweet pointing to an article at Syracuse.com. The dirty, age-degraded, dangerous, expensive, uncompetitive Fukushima Daiichi twin design (a General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactor) on the Lake Ontario shore in upstate NY (see photo), couldn't close a moment too soon!
The nuclear industry is more than 50 years old. Its history is replete with a colossal financial disaster and a multitude of near-misses and catastrophic accidents like Three Mile Island and Chornobyl. Beyond Nuclear works to expose the risks and dangers posed by an aging and deteriorating reactor industry and the unproven designs being proposed for new construction.
"Pilgrim nuclear station one step from shutdown: NRC downgrades plant to bottom of performance list"
As reported by Christine Legere at the Cape Cod Times, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has ranked Entergy's Pilgrim atomic reactor in Plymouth, MA near Boston as tied for the worst performing in the country.
It is tied for worst performing with another Entergy nuclear power plant, Arkansas Nuclear One (ANO). A young worker was killed, and eight others injured, on an early Easter Sunday morning in 2013, when a 600-ton piece of equipment was accidentally dropped on them.
The article reports:
...Diane Turco, Harwich resident and co-founder of the anti-Pilgrim group Cape Downwinders, called the federal letter to Entergy good news. “The NRC has finally sent a strong message to Entergy — We are looking at closing Pilgrim as a response to the failures. Finally!” Turco wrote in an email.
Cape Downwinders has planned a rally at the Sagamore Bridge on Labor Day to protest the lack of an evacuation plan in the event of a nuclear accident and to call for the shutdown of the power plant.
...U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., also issued a statement on Pilgrim’s status. “For decades, I have raised concerns about Pilgrim’s operations, security preparedness, the safety of the surrounding communities in the event of a nuclear accident and the willingness of Entergy to dedicate sufficient resources to run the reactor safely,” Markey wrote.
The senator noted Pilgrim has the same boiling water design as the reactors that had meltdowns in 2011 at Fukushima, Japan, after a tsunami. “NRC must continue this aggressive oversight until Entergy can prove unequivocally that it has dedicated the resources, manpower and training to guarantee the safe and secure operation of this reactor,” Markey wrote.
Attorney General Maura Healey called the downgrade of Pilgrim “a disturbing development" in her written statement. “My primary concern is with the safety and well-being of the residents of Massachusetts, particularly those who live near Pilgrim. Entergy must act swiftly and decisively to correct these issues and restore the public's trust in its ability to safely operate this plant.”
Pilgrim watchdog Mary Lampert, a Duxbury resident and founder of PilgrimWatch, said this latest development was no surprise. “Pilgrim is an antique reactor built when the Beatles sang on Ed Sullivan’s show, and Entergy is unwilling to spend the money for the TLC required. It’s time to retire,” Lampert said...
The protest took place at the HQ of PUCO, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, in the state capital, Columbus. It marked the beginning of weeks of formal hearings, where PUCO will consider FirstEnergy's requested ratepayer bailout, including to prop up its dirty, dangerous, expensive, age-degraded, and uncompetitive Davis-Besse atomic reactor near Toledo on the Lake Erie shoreline.
Speakers included Harvey Wasserman of Solartopia fame, Bob Fitrakis of Columbus Free Press, Neil Waggoner of Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, and Pat Marida of Ohio Sierra Club Nuclear-Free Committee (who posted photos, including the one to the left). More.
As reported by the Chicago Tribune, Illinois-based Exelon Nuclear has warned its employees that layoffs may lie ahead, as five atomic reactors in the state continue to hemorrhage money.
Exelon has been buffeted recently. The Washington, D.C. Public Service Commission (PSC) rejected Exelon's proposed takeover of Mid-Atlantic utility Pepco. The PJM capacity auction left Exelon reactors in three states in the lurch. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan did not give nuclear lobbyists, especially at Exelon, what they wanted. And the Illinois State Legislature went on summer recess on May 31st, without giving Exelon the $1.5 billion bailout it requested, at ratepayer expense, to prop up its uncompetitive reactors.
During testimony under oath before the DC PSC, Exelon Nuclear CEO Chris Crane, who wrote the memo that prompted the Chicago Tribune article above, also indicated that should Exelon takeover Pepco, job cuts at Pepco will follow. Exelon and Pepco have made known they plan to appeal the DC PSC's rejection by the 30-day deadline.
Scott Stapf of the Hastings Group's tweet put it well: Nuclear blackmail: Exelon threatens to kill Quad Cities plant if IL lawmakers don't hand over loot.
As reported by Crain's Chicago Business, despite a windfall compliments of regional grid operator PJM (provided at ratepayer expense), Exelon Nuclear is nonetheless still threatening to close its two reactors at Quad Cities, unless the Illinois State Legislature provides it another massive bailout, to the tune of $1.8 billion.
Exelon has also said its downstate single reactor plant, Clinton, could be next to close, early next year, absent the state bailout. A dozen years ago, the Clinton site was a "Nuclear Renaissance" showcase, with a Nuclear Regulatory Commission rubber-stamped "Early Site Permit" for a second new reactor there, a proposal suspended many years ago now.
Nuclear Energy Information Service of Chicago has led the charge in opposition to the state nuclear bailout.
Earlier this week, E&E published an interview with John Rowe in which the former Exelon CEO said that shutting Illinois's uncompetitive atomic reactors is "the proper market-driven answer."