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.



Cue up the bailout plea: Entergy might close aging FitzPatrick nuclear plant in New York State

Entergy's FitzPatrick atomic reactor (NRC file photo).The subject line above is Scott Stapf of the Hasting Group's Tweet pointing to an article at The dirty, age-degraded, dangerous, expensive, uncompetitive Fukushima Daiichi twin design (a General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactor) on the Lake Ontario shore in upstate NY (see photo), couldn't close a moment too soon!


"Exelon mulls closure of unprofitable Quad Cities nuke plant"

As reported by the Chicago Tribune, Exelon must decide by the end of September whether or not Quad Cities' two reactors will continue operating past May 2017 -- the current cut off for their electricity generation capacity commitments. The dirty, dangerous, expensive, age-degraded and uncompetitive reactors have been hemorrhaging money.

Increasing the likelihood of a permanent shutdown, Exelon's Quad Cities has failed to clear PJM capacity auctions; Exelon lobbyists have failed, thus far, to convince IL state legislators to fork over $1.5 billion of ratepayer money to prop up its troubled reactors; and the DC PSC rejected Exelon's takeover of Pepco, by which it had hoped to funnel Mid-Atlantic ratepayer money to IL to bail out its troubled reactors.

The article did not mention that Quad Cities Unit 1 and 2 are General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactors, identical in design to Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4.


"Gas deal could signal Southern’s drift from new nuclear projects"

As reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, a $12 billion deal merging Southern Co. and the AGL natural gas utility could mark the end of the "nuclear renaissance" for Southern.

The article reports:

This deal signals that “the nuclear renaissance is over for Southern,” said Robert “Bobby” Brown, a regulatory lawyer and former member of Georgia’s utility regulator, the Public Service Commission.

The article goes on:

The Atlanta company is building two new nuclear power units at its Vogtle site in Georgia and an advanced-technology coal-fired plant in Mississippi. Both those projects are years behind schedule and have resulted in billions of dollars of cost overruns that will be born by Southern’s shareholders or customers, or both. (emphasis added)

The Obama administration awarded Southern and its partners at Vogtle 3 & 4 a whopping $8.3 billion in federal taxpayer-back loans and loan guarantees. If the project defaults on its loan repayment, federal taxpayers would be left holding the bag.

That's 15 times more money than was lost to the U.S. Treasury by the Solyndra solar loan guarantee default. And Vogtle 3 & 4's risk of default is higher than Solyndra's was determined to be when the solar loan guarantee was awarded.

In addition to taxpayer subsidies, Vogtle 3 & 4 has been financed by "Construction Work in Progress" -- surcharges on ratepayers' electricity bills that are illegal in most states.


Ameren cancels Callaway 2 EPR in Missouri!

As reported by the Columbia Daily Tribune,  Ameren Corp. has officially cancelled its proposed new reactor, Callaway 2, by withdrawing its license application from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Ameren has previously suspended the project in May 2009.

The proposed new reactor was a French Areva EPR (so-called "Evolutionary Power Reactor"), the second to be officially cancelled recently (the other being Calvert Cliffs 3 in MD). At one time, seven EPRs were proposed across the U.S., with more under consideration in Ontario. Recently, Areva in France has entered bankruptcy, as an EPR in Finland has slipped further behind schedule and more over budget, and one in France has admitted potentially fatal construction flaws in the reactor pressure vessel (in Europe, the EPR is called the "Europena Pressurized Reactor").

Ameren's lobbyists failed for several state legislative sessions to overturn a 40-year old popular referendum in Missouri banning CWIP (Construction Work in Progress), another fatal blow to Callaway 2. Ameren was also passed over by the U.S. Department of Energy for hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies for R&D on SMRs (so-called "Small Modular Reactors").


"France Plans to Reduce Nuclear in Favor of Renewables"

As reported by Eric Marx and ClimateWire/E&E, reprinted in Scientific American:

"France, one of the world’s leaders in nuclear energy production, plans to draw down nuclear’s share of electricity generation from 75 to 50 percent by 2025—giving itself a 10-year time frame equivalent to the complete shutdown now ongoing in Germany."

The article concludes:

“Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come,” said Jedliczka [of the environmental advocacy group Négawatt Society], quoting Victor Hugo. “In the medium to long term, I am very optimistic that PV—both small and large—and wind will develop on their own without public support,” he said.

“Even in France,” he added, “where the opposition has proven itself adept at inventing, testing and improving all kinds of pitfalls for postponing the development of renewables technologies.”