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.



Swan SONGS as Edison opts to permanently close San Onofre

Southern California Edison (SCE) has decided to permanently shutter its Units 2 and 3 San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) reactors in Southern Cal! Congratulations to all who fought so hard for this great victory! Read the Edison press release. Unit 1 at San Onofre was already shut down.

"This is very good news for the people of Southern California," said [a] statement from Friends of the Earth president Erich Pica. "We have long said that these reactors are too dangerous to operate and now Edison has agreed. The people of California now have the opportunity to move away from the failed promise of dirty and dangerous nuclear power and replace it with the safe and clean energy provided by the sun and wind."

U.S. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), who has called upon the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to investigate safety shortcuts at San Onofre, and has called upon the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate potential financial improprieties there, has hailed the permanent closure decision as a win for safety and oversight.

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee which has oversight on NRC, also issued a statement. She joined Rep. Markey in calling for not only an NRC investigation, but also a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) investigation into potential wrongdoing at San Onofre.

The AP has reported on this story. So have Bloomberg, the LA Times (including a second article), Enformable Nuclear News, Orange County Register, TV 7 San Diego, EcoWatch, CBS, and the Wall Street Journal.


San Clemente Green has called for a big celebration (11 AM) and press conference (11:30 AM CA time), and invites folks to please join them down in front of the nuclear power plant at 11:00 this morning, (may have to shift to south side of plant if too crowded), with the Media-Press Conference at 11:30. For more info., Contact: Annie Eddey, Senior Account Executive, Olive PR Solutions, Inc., m. 973.449.0921, o. 619.955.5285 x102.

At 12:30 PM Eastern (9:30 AM CA time), FOE and its expert, Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer at Fairewinds Associates, held a live press conference on the public beach in front of the San Onofre plant.

Southern CA Edison also held an hour long press conference.


Warren Buffett finally sees the light: MidAmerican Energy cancels proposed new "small modular reactor" targeted at Iowa

Des Moines Register graphicAs reported by the Des Moines Register, Warren Buffett's MidAmerican Energy has finally pulled the plug on a proposed new "small modular reactor" it was hoping that the ratepayers of Iowa would pay for, through "Construction Work in Progress" (CWIP) surcharges on their electricity bills. A powerful coalition, including AARP, Green State Solutions, Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, and others can claim credit for this environmental victory against nuclear industry greed, after a protracted three year long battle at the Iowa state legislature.

MidAmerican Energy’s decision to abandon new nuclear power development in Iowa reaffirms its earlier study and finding that nuclear power is too expensive. Buffett cancelled plans in 2008 for a new atomic power plant for Payette, Idaho. Given MidAmerican failed to pass on the financing cost to state ratepayers, Buffett’s recent financial analysis indicates the small modular reactor concept changes nothing for risking a financial meltdown.


Lingering death for fast reactor as Monju suspended

"Japan’s nuclear watchdog will indefinitely suspend the use of the Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor over the operator’s disregard for safety that continued even after the Fukushima nuclear crisis raised concerns across the nation," writes Hideki Muroya in the Asahi Shimbun. "The Nuclear Regulation Authority's order will deal a further blow to Japan’s nuclear fuel recycling program, which has long been plagued by technical problems and scandals.

"In the latest case, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, operator of Monju, was found to have skipped inspections of nearly 10,000 pieces of equipment since 2010, including crucial devices in the safety and emergency systems at the plant, based in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture.

"The company also violated its own safety regulations, according to the NRA.

"'Even when the reactor is offline, things stand in such a state,' an NRA official said after an on-site inspection of the reactor in February. “We cannot possibly approve a restart.” Read more. (Picture shows a still from video footage inside Monju during the 1995 sodium fire).


"Worst Week Since Fukushima: 4 Major Setbacks in 3 Days Are Latest Stumbles for U.S. Nuclear Power Industry"

Former NRC Commissioner Peter Bradford, and energy economist Mark Cooper, both of the Vermont Law School, as well as Dan Hirsch of the Committee to Bridge the Gap, held a telephone press conference yesterday on the subject of "WORST WEEK SINCE FUKUSHIMA: 4 MAJOR SETBACKS IN 3 DAYS ARE LATEST STUMBLES FOR U.S. NUCLEAR POWER INDUSTRY." An audio recording of the news conference has been posted online.

The four setbacks in three days include: 1) the cancellation of two proposed new reactors at South Texas Project, because they violate U.S. law against foreign ownership of nuclear power plants; 2) Southern California Edison's threat that if NRC does not allow it to restart operations at its crippled San Onofre nuclear power plant, it will permanently shutdown both reactors there; 3) Duke Energy's cancellation of two proposed new atomic reactors at its Shearon Harris nuclear power plant in North Carolina; and 4) Florida's amendment to its previously highly permissive "advance cost recovery" or "Construction Work in Progress" law, via which ratepayers have been gouged to pay for proposed new reactors, when there is no guarantee the proposed new reactors will ever actually get built or generate electricity.

Peter Bradford also added the May 7th shutdown of Dominion's Kewaunee atomic reactor in WI -- despite the 20 years of operating license still left to it -- as another example of the "worst week since Fukushima" for the U.S. nuclear power industry.


High noon for nuclear power: Dominion's Kewaunee atomic reactor permanently shut down!

Dominion's Kewaunee atomic reactor on the Lake Michigan shoreline of northern WI near Green BayAs reported by Platt's, at 12 PM Noon Central time today, Dominion's Kewaunee atomic reactor was permanently shut down. Last October, Dominion announced its intention to permanently close Kewaunee by mid-2013. Dominion had attempted to sell Kewaunee, but found no buyers. Platt's reports "CMS Energy -- which sold Palisades, its only nuclear station, to Entergy in 2007 -- had considered buying the plant, but decided against it because of low gas prices and investor pushback."

Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Associates, Inc points out that Kewaunee still had an operating license for another 20 years, but Dominion is unable to operate the reactor economically. Gundersen also points out that the 60-year SAFESTOR plan prior to decommissioning means Kewaunee will not be dismantled and cleaned up until about a century after it commenced operations, in 1973.

Duke Energy's announcement in recent weeks regarding the fatally cracked containment at its Crystal River, FL reactor, and today's final SCRAM at Kewaunee, are the first permanent shutdowns of commercial atomic reactors in the U.S. in about 15 years. Kewaunee joins Zion 1 & 2 in IL, and Big Rock Point in MI, on the list of reactors on the Lake Michigan shore permanently shut down. Point Beach 1 & 2 in WI, as well as Cook 1 & 2 and Palisades in MI, are reactors still operating on the Lake Michigan shoreline. Lake Michigan is a headwaters of the Great Lakes, 20% of the world's surface fresh water, and drinking water supply for 8 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations.