BEYOND NUCLEAR PUBLICATIONS
Search
JOIN OUR NETWORK

     

     

 

 

« Testimony of Beyond Nuclear, Before the Ohio House of Representatives – Energy Generation Subcommittee, Committee Meeting on Proposed H.B. No. 6 “Creates Ohio Clean Air Program” | Main | Vigilance needed against FirstEnergy Nuclear's attempted ratepayer/taxpayer robbery to prop up dangerously old atomic reactors »
Thursday
Jan312019

Trump & Perry tried bailing out old reactors during the last polar vortex. Will they try again this time?!

See the article in the Washington Post.

It reports:

Earlier in President Trump's administration, however, the Energy Department also pitched a more controversial proposal to keep electricity flowing during cold snaps. The department said such polar vortices are reasons to subsidize coal and nuclear power plants. 

Perry said that only those two types of power generation could assure grid reliability because they, unlike gas and renewable energy generators, could keep a 90-day supply of fuel on site. But critics of the plan saw it as a ham-handed effort to prop up Trump's political allies in the coal business.

The independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ended up agreeing with those naysayers. In a binding decision last year, all five of its commissioners, including four appointed by Trump, rejected the Trump administration's plan.

This begs the question: will President Trump and Energy Secretary Perry try again to bail out dangerously old reactors, at public expense, citing the current polar vortex?!

Of course, Trump and Perry's nuclear bailout push ignores the fact that atomic reactors have experienced unplanned and abrupt shutdowns -- as at Pilgrim in MA -- during severe winter weather, when their electricity was needed most.

According to FirstEnergy Nuclear, its Davis-Besse atomic reactor Shield Building was severely cracked by the Blizzard of 1978. After years of denying it, FirstEnergy then admitted that the Shield Building continues to crack, with every freeze-thaw cycle. Thus, instead of providing reliable electricity during severe winter weather, Davis-Besse's electricity becomes more and more dangerous to provide as time goes on. Failure of the Shield Building -- such as concrete spalling from the exterior face -- would not only fail to contain the large-scale releases of hazardous radioactivity during a meltdown; remarkably, the Shield Building's failure could cause the meltdown in the first place, as large chunks of heavy concrete fell on safety-significant systems, structures, and components below.

Trump and Perry are also ignoring the promise of renewable sources' electricity during severe winter weather -- geographically distributed microgrids electrified by wind power and solar power, for example, could provide safe, secure, clean, and affordable electricity, in a reliable and resilient manner, during even extreme winter conditions.

Frighteningly, the latest Trump appointee to FERC -- Bernard McNamee -- previously worked as the lawyer at DOE in charge of writing up the old nuclear and coal plant bailout, that FERC then rejected. Despite his obvious conflict of interest, McNamee has refused to recuse himself from voting on such a nuclear and coal bailout in the future.