More reactor closures for fracturing nuclear industry 
February 7, 2018
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Two of the latest announced casualties from the nuclear power industry's financial meltdown are both dangerous General Electric Mark I boiling water reactors. These reactors are identical to Japan’s three units at Fukushima-Daiichi that exploded into a radioactive catastrophe seven years ago in March 2011. There are now signs that the industry’s organizational structure itself is breaking up as well.

Nuclear energy giant Exelon Generation announced that the Oyster Creek nuclear power station will close in October 2018. Federally licensed until March 2029, Exelon had already cut a deal with the state New Jersey to retire on December 31, 2019 to avoid a state mandated cooling tower retrofit on the reactor's cooling system in order to stop cooking Barnegat Bay. The still earlier October 2018 shutdown is of course welcome but long, long overdue for the world’s first and oldest Fukushima-style reactor   A top Atomic Energy Commission safety inspector had first called for abandoning licensing and construction of all GE reactors in 1972 altogether after identifying a dangerous containment design flaw that ultimately demonstrated a 100% failure rate for the three units that experienced severe accident conditions.

Only days later, NextEra’s Duane Arnold nuclear power plant in Iowa announced it will be closing in 2025 after electricity contract talks found that their largest customer will not be renewing. Still, seven more years of dubiously safe operation is too long given the background story that three senior GE engineers publicly resigned their prestigious positions before Congress in 1975 because the reactor is not “a quality product.”

These recent closure announcements and economic failures are accompanied by an organizational fracturing in the industry itself, namely the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI).  Two large nuclear power companies, NextEra and Entergy, have quit the industry’s chief Washington, DC federal lobby and regulatory troubleshooting organization. NextEra is further suing NEI citing that NEI’s use of membership fees for policies that are “bad for the electricity industry as a whole."

The collapse of nucler power reveals its extreme cost and danger are only more real as the industry heads for the exits to abandon liability.

Article originally appeared on Beyond Nuclear (http://www.beyondnuclear.org/).
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