The New York Times has reported on the economics that have not only led to the Kewaunee atomic reactor's (photo, left) announced closure in Wisconsin, but also other pressures and forces on reactors, from Entergy's Indian Point near New York City to Vermont Yankee, Duke's Crystal River in Florida, Exelon's Oyster Creek in New Jersey, and Southern California Edison's San Onofre. The article speaks of "[t]he industry’s renewed glimpse of its mortality" and states "the nuclear industry may be nearing its first round of retirements since the mid-1990s." Kewaunee's closure will be the first at an American atomic reactor since several (Yankee Rowe, Massachusetts; Zion 1 & 2, Illinois; Big Rock Point, Michigan; Millstone Unit 1, Connecticut) in the mid to late 1990s.
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.
From The Washington Post: "Dominion Resources Inc. said Monday that it plans to close and decommission its Kewaunee Power Station in Wisconsin after it was unable to find a buyer for the nuclear power plant".
As nuclear power continues to crumble under the weight of its own disastrous economics, Dominion CEO, Thomas F. Farrell II, becomes the latest industry CEO to lose confidence in the nuclear business. "This decision was based purely on economics," Farrell said. Dominion also operates the two North Anna, VA reactors, where a proposed third reactor plan looks fragile at best. It also operates Millstone, CT and Surry, VA.
Reuters also reported on this story, stating that more atomic reactors could follow suit, their bad economics forcing their closure:
"Especially vulnerable under this scenario would be small, old single reactor sites.
Other units that could be on the hit list because they fit the profile include Exelon Corp's Oyster Creek in New Jersey, Xcel Energy Inc's Monticello in Minnesota, and Entergy Corp's Palisades in Michigan, Vermont Yankee in Vermont and Pilgrim in Massachusetts." More.
51% of the renewable energy on the German grid is put there by individuals (like us) and farmers. Individuals and private investors are contributing the equivalent generation capacity in renewables of20 nuclear power plants. None of it is state owned. More than one million Germans are involved as energy producers or investors in renewable energy production. According to Germany's environment ministry, "New ownership models such as citizens’ wind parks and energy cooperatives show that the Energiewende cannot only bring about environmental protection and economic growth, but also decentralized production structures in the hands of local initiatives.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has finally done what tens of thousands of Japanese people have been urging - agreed to phase out nuclear power in that country entirely. After demonstrators surrounded his residence every Friday and tens to hundreds of thousands of Japanese took to the streets in unprecedented protests, the Japanese government has agreed to have all nuclear power plants shut down by the 2030s. Noda admitted that the majority of the Japanese public favored a transition to zero use of nuclear power. The government had also been considering 15% and 25% usage. But the continuing aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi triple reactor meltdowns, and the perilous state of unit 4 at the site along with on-going radioactive releases made a continued pro-nuclear policy untenable. More.
The oldest operating French nuclear power plant, at Fessenheim near the German border, suffered a chemical explosion on September 5 that sent 8 workers to the hospital, two of them with steam burns. This was just the latest set-back for the French nuclear sector which is struggling to maintain a presence overseas but saw its Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR) all but canceled at the Calvert Cliffs, MD site on August 30. Fessenheim sits on the banks of a river and on an active fault line and has been the object of consistent and large opposition to its continued operation (Colmar rally in 2009 pictured). At first alarm, it was believed a fire had broken out as 50 firefighters were dispatched to the site, operated by EDF. Later, it was described as a chemical explosion that released "non-radioactive" steam. The newly-elected French president, François Hollande, said he would shut the Fessenheim plant during his five-year term which most observers believe means at the end of it, in 2017. Furthermore, his energy minister, Dauphine Batho, has been quoted recently describing nuclear energy as "necessary" and the "energy of the future" causing a flurry of critical and often derisory articles and commentaries in the French media.