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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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Thursday
Dec082016

Beleaguered Entergy will close Palisades nuclear plant in 2018

The Palisades nuclear power plant in Covert, MI, will close in October 2018, its owner, Entergy, has announced. The notorious reactor has been beset by critical safety issues for decades, long neglected, ignored, or given a pass by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In July, nearly two dozen security workers at Palisades were placed on paid leave after inconsistencies in fire inspection records were found. Despite constant opposition from Beyond Nuclear and others, the NRC has consistently refused to close the plant, even though the Palisades reactor vessel has become brittle after decades of use. More details on this page, and comments from Beyind Nuclear, to come as the news unfolds. Read more.

Monday
Oct242016

Yet another long overdue atomic reactor permanent shutdown: Fort Calhoun, NE switched off for good today!

Floodwaters on the Missouri River in spring and summer of 2011 lapped against safety significant buildings at Fort Calhoun atomic reactor in Nebraska, upstream of the state's largest city, Omaha.As reported by Cole Epley in the Omaha World-Herald, the Omaha Public Power District's (OPPD) Fort Calhoun atomic reactor permanently shutdown today, four and a half months after the nuclear utility's management proposed it, and the utility's board of directors voted in agreement.

Although OPPD emphasized Fort Calhoun's inability to compete with less expensive sources of electricity (including Nebraska's abundant wind power) as the reason for its decision, Fort Calhoun has also suffered serious safety problems for the past several years.

This included a close call with catastrophe, during historic floods on the adjacent Missouri River in the spring and summer of 2011. (This earned the atomic reactor the nickname "Port" Calhoun, as flood waters lapped against safety related systems, structures, and components! See the photo, above left.) It also included a fire, that smoldered within the plant for days, remarkably without response, also in 2011. The consequent two and half year shutdown cost Nebraskans several hundred million dollars (Fort Calhoun is publicly owned).

As soon as the irradiated fuel is removed from the core, Fort Calhoun can no longer suffer a reactor meltdown, by definition. In addition, no more high-level radioactive waste will be generated. That is the good news. The bad news is that the irradiated nuclear fuel already generated there, since 1974 -- currently stored in the indoor "wet" storage pool, and outdoor dry casks -- must be isolated from the living environment for the next million years.

Wednesday
Sep142016

Old, nonworking nukes for sale

After spending more than 40 years and $5 billion on an unfinished nuclear power plant in northeastern Alabama, the nation's largest federal utility is preparing to sell the property at a fraction of its cost, reports NBC News. 

The Tennessee Valley Authority has set a minimum bid of $36.4 million for its Bellefonte Nuclear Plant and the 1,600 surrounding acres of waterfront property on the Tennessee River. The buyer gets two unfinished nuclear reactors, transmission lines, office and warehouse buildings, eight miles of roads, a 1,000-space parking lot and more. 

Two cooling towers can be seen in the reflection of a pond outside of the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant, in Hollywood, Alabama. Brynn Anderson / AP

Initial bids were due Monday, and at least one company has publicly expressed interest in the site with plans to use it for alternative energy production.  Read more.

Friday
Aug262016

Resources on just economic transitions when atomic reactors permanently shut down

Some resources (in backwards chronological order) on just economic transitions, for atomic reactor workers, municipalities dependent on their tax revenues, low-income households vis-a-vis electricity cost, etc., when atomic reactors permanently shut down:

Joint Proposal, between Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), environmental groups (Friends of the Earth (FOE), Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, Natural Resources Defense Council), and unions (including International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, IBEW), for the closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant at the end of its 40-year operating license in 2024-2025, and its replacement with energy efficiency and renewable sources of electricity, June 21, 2016.
http://www.pge.com/includes/docs/pdfs/safety/dcpp/JointProposal.pdf

Beyond a Band-Aid: A Discussion Paper on Protecting Workers and Communities in the Great Energy Transition, Arjun Makhijani, Ph.D., President, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER), Takoma Park, MD, June 10, 2016.
http://ieer.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/beyond-a-band-aid-just-energy-transition_2016_LNS-IEER.pdf

[Note that this discussion paper is mostly focused on the phaseout of fossil fuel industries in Maryland. However, nuclear power is touched upon. Even though it is Maryland- and fossil fuels focused, the concepts can and should be applied to atomic reactor shutdowns nationwide.]

April 23, 2016. NIRS and AGREE submit extensive comments to New York PSC that show how NY can meet its 2030 carbon emissions goals without nuclear (and thus without nuclear subsidies).

October 22, 2015. NIRS/AGREE analysis finds FitzPatrick reactor can be replaced with clean & renewable energy at a lower cost. Press release; full analysis

THE NEED TO FORMALLY ESTABLISH A PLANNED ECONOMIC MITIGATION FUND FOR REACTOR COMMUNITIES IN ILLINOIS, David Kraft, Director, Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS), Chicago, IL, May 7, 2015.
http://neis.org/wp-content/uploads/THE-NEED-TO-FORMALLY-ESTABLISH-A-PLANNED-ECONOMIC-MITIGATION-FUND-5-5-15.pdf

In addition, there must be some great resources coming out of Germany. After all, the fourth largest economy in the world is phasing out both nuclear power (completely, by 2022), and is decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by 85% (as compared to 2005 levels) by mid-century, through the expansion of renewables like wind and solar, as well as maximized energy efficiency. An Oct. 15, 2015 National Geographic article entitled "The Will to Change," in an issue entitled "Cool It" about the climate, appropriately gave much of the credit for the German energy transformation to the anti-nuclear movement.

Thursday
Jun232016

Exelon to close three Illinois nukes in 2017 and 2018: Quad Cities 1 &2 and Clinton

The Chicago-based nuclear giant formally notified the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it will permanently close its Quad Cities Units 1 & 2 and Clinton nuclear generating stations in Illinois.  The two Fukushima-style reactors at Quad Cities, both GE Mark I boiling water reactors will close in 2018 and Clinton, a GE Mark III boiling water reactor will permanently close in 2017.

The Exelon formal filing to the NRC is just the latest in a trend of reactor closure announcements across the country at Fort Calhoun in Nebraska by the end of 2016, Diablo Canyon Units 1 & 2 by 2025 in California. This latest trend of closure announcements follows on the 2013 shutdowns at Crystal River 3 (Florida), San Onofre 2 & 3 (California), and Kewanee (Wisconsin). Vermont Yankee (Vermont) permanently closed in 2014. Additional closure announces have been submitted to the NRC for Fitzpatrick (NY) in 2017 and the Pilgrim (Massachusetts) and Oyster Creek (New Jersey) nuclear power stations in 2019.  More reactor units, like Pennsylvania’s infamous Three Mile Island nuclear power station, are still pending formal announcements to the NRC.

Nuclear power is rapidly becoming redundant where conventional utility-scale renewable energy generation and efficiency cost less. Nuclear power’s full-on-all-the-time operating mode is recognized as inflexible to these increasing competitive electricity markets. Operating costs and major repairs for an aging and inherently dangerous nuclear technology have simply become unaffordable at many reactors. The added cost of even more safety-related nuclear accident retrofits is one more straw on the industry’s bowed economic back. Add to the steadily rising cost of nuclear power, energy efficiency is not only its cheapest competitor it is the quickest to deploy to customers at residential, commercial and industrial levels. As a result, electricity demand in the United States has continued to drop in five of the past eight years due to advances in energy efficiency technology.