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The Nuclear Retreat

We coined the term, "Nuclear Retreat" here at Beyond Nuclear to counter the nuclear industry's preposterous "nuclear renaissance" propaganda campaign. You've probably seen "Nuclear Retreat" picked up elsewhere and no wonder - the alleged nuclear revival so far looks more like a lot of running away. On this page we will keep tabs on every latest nuclear retreat as more and more proposed new nuclear programs are canceled.

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Wednesday
May312017

Exelon threatens Three Mile Island closure without a state bailout as more health impacts emerge from 1979 meltdown

Exelon Generation Corporation has issued an ultimatum to the State of Pennsylvania that the Chicago-based nuclear giant will permanently close the remaining Three Mile Island atomic power plant in September 2019 if the State does not bailout the uneconomical generator. Three Mile Island Unit 2 was destroyed in an accident and partial meltdown on March 28, 1979. Three Mile Island Unit 1 has failed to auction its expensive power on the electric grid for three years straight denying Exelon power sales now out to 2021. Denied guaranteed customers on the electricity market, Exelon faces increasing economic pressure to permanently close the power reactor. Exelon is lobbying the state to legislate subsidies from ratepayers for the continued operation of TMI Unit 1.

At the same time, despite industry claims that no one has ever died from the TMI accident, health data linking impacts to increased cancers continues to come forward. Penn State College of Medicine released the latest study where researchers looked at tumors that turned into thyroid cancer and “observed a shift in cases to cancer mutations consistent with radiation exposure from those consistent with random causes.”

The late Dr. Steven Wing of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill conducted the first epidemiological study to observe a statistically significant increase (2 to10 times) of lung cancer and leukemia in populations downwind of the TMI accident when compared to those residents that were upwind. 

An online poll cleverly divides up  opposition to ratepayers subsidizing TMI between "No, it will raise my rates" and " "Let the market decide."  We suggest vote "No, it will raise my rates."

Thursday
May042017

UAE won't start up new reactors for now

Four nuclear power plants being built in the United Arab Emirates by South Korea firm KEPCO are on hold. The delay is due to the fact that the local operating company is "not ready to run the reactors," according to Reuters. The first of the four reactors was due to be completed this month. More

Thursday
May042017

Westinghouse fallout: now UK Toshiba nuclear project on hold

A plan to build a nuclear power station in Cumbria has been put on hold while the company behind it carries out a strategic review, reports the BBC.

NuGen, which is overseeing the planned Moorside plant, was initially co-owned by French firm Engie and Toshiba. Three AP 1000 reactors were planned for the site.

Last month the Japanese technology giant announced it was taking 100% control and that has led to NuGen announcing the pause.

The £10m scheme, near Sellafield, has been dogged by uncertainty as it was rumoured Toshiba would withdraw from all nuclear operations outside Japan due to multibillion-dollar losses. More

Friday
Apr282017

Environmental groups win big against South Africa nuclear plants

Secret plans to build new nuclear reactors in South Africa that were never subjected to an open, transparent and public process, have been quashed by a judge in Cape Town in a major victory for anti-nuclear and environmental groups there. David Fig, a leading academic and advocate against nuclear energy, wrote this analysis for The Conversation. The opening paragraphs are below. Read the full article here.

On 26 April 2017, coincidentally the 31stanniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, the Cape High Court presented its judgement on the case brought by Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and the Southern Africa Faith-Communities’ Environmental Institute. The two NGOs were challenging the way in which the state has determined that we should be purchasing 9600 megawatts of extra nuclear power. The judge, Lee Bozalek, used terms like ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘illegal’ to refer to the state’s behaviour and declared invalid the steps taken by the state. 

What has been deemed illegal are the state’s determinations that the nuclear build go ahead, its handing over of the procurement process to Eskom, the regulator NERSA’s automatic endorsement of the state’s plans, and the secretive agreement with Russia and two others with the US and South Korea on nuclear co-operation. Eskom’s request for information from nuclear vendors, a step taken to prepare the procurement, which ends on 28 April, is also invalid. 

Government will have to start again on all these procedures if it is serious about going ahead with the nuclear build. To do so legally, it will have to open up the process to detailed public scrutiny. The regulator will have to have a series of public hearings before the country can endorse its historically highest ever spend on infrastructure estimated at well over R1 trillion. The international agreements will have to be brought before the scrutiny of parliament.  Continued.

Thursday
Apr062017

Westinghouse bankruptcy sparks “negative outlook” for U.S. nuclear construction projects, threatens U.S. taxpayers with $8.3 billion default

Toshiba’s decision to declare bankruptcy for its Westinghouse Electric nuclear power manufacturer continues to send shock waves to global economies at home and abroad. Both Moody's and Standard & Poor’s financial services have downgraded Westinghouse Electric’s partner Santee Cooper and a joint construction project for the completion of V.C. Summer Units 2 and 3 to a “negative” outlook.  Also known as South Carolina Public Service Authority, the power company is a 45% owner along with SCANA for the construction of the two unit Westinghouse AP-1000 power reactor project which is sinking deeper into cost overruns and farther behind scheduled completion.  Additionally, given that the bankruptcy is legally termed as an “event of default,”  the U.S. taxpayer at increased risk to absorb an $8.3 billion federal loan guarantee from the Department of Energy for the dubious completion of two more Westinghouse AP-1000 units construction in Georgia at Vogtle Units 3 and 4.

Bloomberg reports that the Trump Administration is concerned by the global security issues raised by China’s interest in buying out Westinghouse Electric from Toshiba and is considering directly blocking the sale, encourage an American buyer or an alternative  non-Chinese “friendly” bidder or where the U.S. government itself invests in a bailout much like President Obama did for the U.S. automotive industry. China is already revealed behind nuclear espionage for Westinghouse Electric trade secrets to manufacture its own reactor designs.  The financial collapse of Westinghouse is figured to be part of the scheduled talks between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.