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Thursday
Jun212018

NY State cautionary tale: risks to public pocketbooks & safety from bailouts to prop up failing old reactors

The radioactive ruins of Fukushima Daiichi, JapanOn June 14, Long Island-based investigative journalist (honored in early 2018 as "Environmentalist of the Year" by the Long Island Sierra Club), and Beyond Nuclear board member, Karl Grossman, published "$7.6 Billion Subsidy (Tax Increase) Buried in Electric Bill." Karl has also hosted Enviro Close-Up videos for decades, and his latest episode features an interview with New York attorney Susan Shapiro, who is leading the grassroots environmental coalition and ratepayer legal challenge against NY Governor Andrew Cuomo's 12-year bailout, at exorbitant NY ratepayer expense, to keep four dangerously old upstate atomic reactors, on the Lake Ontario shore, operating, despite their worsening safety risks and economic uncompetitiveness. The Ginna atomic reactor is nearly a half-century old; the 44-year old Fitzpatrick and Nine Mile Point Unit 1 are Fukushima Daiichi twin designs (General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactors; see photos from the aftermath of the three atomic reactor meltdowns in Japan, above left); the 31-year old Nine Mile Point Unit 2 is a closely related GE BWR Mark II design, which also has a containment that is very likely too small and weak to prevent catastrophic releases of hazardous radioactivity, in the event of a reactor core meltdown, as have occurred in Japan since March 11, 2011. Arnie Gundersen, chief engineer at Fairewinds Energy Education, has warned in his essay "Downstream" just how irreparable such radioactivity releases would be to the Great Lakes. Lake Ontario is the drinking water supply for many millions downstream, including in Toronto, Ontario, Montreal, Quebec, and numerous Native American First Nations, as along the St. Lawrence River. As nuclear power industry lobbyists have won similar bailouts for old reactors in Illinois, seek them in multiple other states, and have President Trump and Energy Secretary Perry's ear regarding a proposed $34 billion per year, "renewables-destroying," old reactor and coal burner bailout, for 80 power plants across 13 states, NY State's already unfolding cautionary tale should serve as a dire warning. (Speaking of "cautionary tales of the Nuclear Age," check out veteran journalist and author Stephanie Cooke's powerful book, In Mortal Hands.)