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.



EDF seeks to end its U.S. nuclear misadventure

NRC file photo of Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant on the shoreline of the Chesapeake Bay in Lusby, MDAs reported by the Baltimore Sun, Exelon/Constellation Nuclear will pay Electricite de France (EDF) a $400 million "special dividend" payment, in exchange for severing partnerships at three U.S. nuclear power plants, totaling five reactors, including Calvert Cliffs Units 1 & 2 on the Chesapeake Bay in Lusby, Maryland (photo, left), and the Ginna and Nine Mile Point Unit 1 & 2 nuclear power plants on the Lake Ontario shore of Upstate, New York. EDF then has the option to sell its 49.99% stake in the nuclear power plants to Exelon between 2016-2022.

When Constellation abandoned the project, not wanting to risk its own skin in the game in exchange for a $7.5 billion federal nuclear loan guarantee offered by the Obama administration, EDF was left holding the bag as majority owner of the proposed new reactor, Calvert Cliffs Unit 3. But foreign ownership is illegal under the Atomic Energy Act, and no other American partner stepped up. The proposed new reactor was to have been a French Areva EPR (1,600 Megawatt-electric Evolutionary Power Reactor). Numerous additional proposed new EPRs have been indefinitely postponed or outright canceled across the U.S. and Canada.

As reported in the article, 'EDF Chief Financial Officer Thomas Piquemal said Tuesday that the deal represents what he hopes is "the last chapter of our U.S. adventure with Constellation," Bloomberg reported.

The Baltimore Business Journal also reported on this story.

As reported by Power Engineering International, EDF's CEO, Henri Proglio, speaking at a news conference in Paris, stated: "The circumstances for the development of nuclear in the US are not favorable at the moment. We are a major player in nuclear, but we are not obsessed by nuclear. Our development in the US will focus on renewable energy – that will be our vector of growth in the US.” (emphasis added)


Entergy Nuclear announces 800 job cuts nationwide

Map showing location of Entergy's "dirty dozen" atomic reactors across the U.S.In an article entitled "Vermont Yankee to cut about 30 jobs: Critics argue loss of work force could pose operation hazards," the Burlington Free Press reports that nationwide, Entergy will slash 800 jobs across its fleet of a "dirty dozen" atomic reactors.

The article quotes Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer at Fairewinds Associates, as to the safety risks associated with such workforce reductions:

' “Thirty is a big deal,” said Vermont Yankee critic Arnie Gundersen, a former nuclear engineer who lives in Burlington. “It’s like a car. As a car gets older it needs more repair, not less and here they are cutting mechanics.”

Gundersen, who served on a 2008 state oversight panel that looked at Vermont Yankee’s operations, said he thought that cutting 30 jobs would have to affect the safe operation of the plant. He noted that the panel concluded that Vermont Yankee was understaffed at that time after increasing output by 20 percent without adding staff.'

FoxBusiness has reported that Entergy Nuclear CEO, Leo Denault, has admitted to investors that "all options are on the table" regarding its non-utility, "merchant" reactors, such as Palisades in MI and its fleet in the Northeast, in deregulated, competitive electricity marketplaces. Last February, Denault admitted in a Reuters interview that needed safety repairs were a major financial challenge for Entergy's age-degraded reactor fleet.


Mayor, environmentalists declare victory of people power over nuclear power

Sarnia Mayor Mike BradleyAs reported by the Sarnia Observer, the Mayor of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, Mike Bradley (photo, left), has declared victory in a years-long campaign to block the shipment of radioactive steam generators, by boat on the Great Lakes, from Bruce Nuclear Generating Station in Kincardine, Ontario, across the Pacific, to Sweden. 

“It's a real testament to citizen power,” said Bradley, who has been a vocal critic of the move, along with a growing list of Ontario mayors, coalition groups, environmental activists, and U.S. Senators. “We're fighting a very large and powerful organization.”

First Nations, including the Mohawks, as well as hundreds of municipalities in Quebec representing millions of citizens along the targeted shipment route, made the difference for the resistance.

Kay Cumbow, the nuclear power watchdog in Michigan who first discovered the risky shipping scheme through her research, then warned and activated others, has said "Thanks to everyone who wrote letters, signed petitions and helped get the word out about the dangers of this scheme that would have put the Great Lakes at risk, endangered workers as well as communities enroute, and would have put radioactive materials into the global recycled metal supply."

Maude Barlow, national chairwoman of the Council of Canadians, was quoted by the Ottawa Citizen: "This is a huge victory for communities around the Great Lakes...The Great Lakes belong to everyone and communities have a right to say 'no' to any projects that will harm them."

As indicated by Mayor Bradley in a separate Sarnia Observer article, the next big fight against "nuclear madness" brewing at Bruce involves proposals by Ontario Power Generation, the Canadian Nuclear Waste Management Organization, and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to bury all of Ontario's so-called "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes -- from 20 atomic reactors across the province -- within a mile of the Lake Huron shoreline. Several communities near Bruce, largely populated by Bruce nuclear workers and in effect company towns, have also volunteered to be considered for a national Canadian high-level radioactive waste dump (for 22 reactors).


New World Nuclear Industry Status Report shows industry in decline

The newly published World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013 (WNISR) provides a reality check of the current situation and trends of an industry in great difficulties. Nuclear power generation experienced a record drop of 7 percent in 2012. The 140-page report provides many different health indicators of the global nuclear industry and, for the first time, an essential status report on the complex situation that arose from the triple meltdowns in Fukushima. Some of the key findings:


• A record decline in world nuclear power generation (–7% in 2012).
• A long term, steady drop of the nuclear share in global electricity production from 17% in 1993 to 10% in 2012.
• Rapid aging: average now 29 years with 190 units 30+ years in operation.
• Poor renewal with 6 units shutdowns vs. 3 startups in 2012 and 2 shutdowns vs. 1 startup in the first half of 2013.
• 800,000 tons of water in precarious storage at Fukushima contain 2.5 times the radioactivity released at Chernobyl. 
• China, Germany, India and Japan, in 2012, generated more power from renewables than from nuclear plants.

Download the full report.


30 Greenpeace activists breach security at French reactor

Between 20-30 Greenpeace activists successfully broke into a nuclear power plant at the giant Tricastin nuclear facility in southern France on July 15 prompting calls for an examination of security at French nuclear facilities. The action exposed the very real vulnerabilities of France, the longtime illusory nuclear “poster child” of nuclear power industry boosters. The activists screened messages on the side of the reactor building, including one that asks "ready to pat the price," pictured left. Read more.