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.



Indiana Senator drops nuclear incentives bill

From IndyStar: Nuclear power plants won’t be coming to Indiana any time soon, after all. A key state senator has pulled his bill that would have provided financial incentives to utilities to build nuclear plants. Sen. James Merritt, R-Indianapolis confirmed today he won’t hold hearings on his bill this session, and said construction of a nuclear plant is “probably more than a decade away.”

Another attempt at implementing Construction Work In Progress (CWIP) mercifully fails. CWIP fleeces ratepayers in advance, charging them for a nuclear power plant that may never be built. If built, it removes the financial burden of construction from the reactor owners. The upfront construction costs are one of the major deterrents to nuclear expansion and are usually only overcome at ratepayer expense. However, what makes the abandonment of this CWIP bill most interesting is that it was because of lack of interest from utilities who don't want to build uneconomical nuclear plants even if ratepayers front the construction costs.


Victory! Virginia Uranium backs off mine plan for now

Virginia Uranium, the company hoping to mine the Coles Hill site in Virginia, has suspended plans for the project. Despite investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in junkets to France and Canada for Virginia legislators and other lobbying efforts, the company was defeated by a large and diverse mass movement of opposition in the state.  Newly elected VA governor, Terry McAuliffe, has also expressed opposition to the plan which would have required the lifting of a long-standing moratorium against uranium mining in Virginia.

Opponents and critics, and even an analysis conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, raised serious doubts about the environment in Virgnia, both natural and regulatory. Citing its wet climate and recent episodes of violent weather, opponents vigorously opposed the plan. The threat to drinking water, wine country and farm land also provided a compelling reason to stop the project. No regulatory infrastructure exists in Virginia suitable to effectively monitor a project of this kind.

Virginia Uranium has said it will not walk away. However, for the time being, the company's retreat marks a resounding victory for grassroots organizing that brought in diverse allies and stakeholders across the board.


France withdraws its application to NRC for new reactor build in New York 

The UniStar Corporation, the shell corporation solely owned by Electricitie de France, the state-run foreign nuclear utility, announced today that they have formally withdrawn their application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build and operate a new reactor, Nine Mile Point Unit 3, on the shore of Lake Ontario at Oswego, New York.

Originally, France's nuclear "renaissance" in the U.S. envisioned about a half dozen or more new "Evolutionay Power Reactor" units ordered in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Texas, Missouri and Idaho. Fundamentally, the flight of U.S. domestic partners over the astronomical financial burden of new reactor construction has resulted in a licensing  train wreck over at NRC. 




WORLD BANK: "we don't do nuclear energy"

“We don’t do nuclear energy” was the categorical pronouncement made this week by the president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim. The World Bank says it will not fund nuclear power instead giving development money to sustainable energy projects.

Kim and UN leader Ban Ki-moon outlined efforts to ensure all people have access to electricity by 2030.  The announcement roundly contradicts a favorite sound bite of the Pandora’s Promise promoters who insist nuclear energy is the only hope to electrify the Third World. 

Pointing out that nuclear is an "extremely political issue," Kim stated that the bank would look only at new technologies, including solar, wind and geothermal energy. “We will show investors that sustainable energy is an opportunity they cannot afford to miss,” he said.

World Bank president Jim Yong Kim and UN leader Ban Ki-moon outlined efforts to ensure all people have access to electricity by 2030, as part of a joint effort by the U.N. and World Bank called The Sustainable Energy for All initiative. This initiative will focus on supplying modern energy services such as lighting, clean cooking solutions and power for productive purposes in developing countries, as well as scaled-up energy efficiency, especially in the world’s highest-energy consuming countries.

Kim said "The World Bank Group does not engage in providing support for nuclear power. We think that this is an extremely difficult conversation that every country is continuing to have..."

“And because we are really not in that business our focus is on finding ways of working in hydro electric power, in geo-thermal, in solar, in wind,” he said.

“We are really focusing on increasing investment in those modalities and we don’t do nuclear energy..."  

Clearly, the World Bank has adopted an energy funding policy that has abandoned nuclear investment in the developing world. This follows the Bank's only direct funding for a nuclear power reactor in Italy in 1959-- a General Electric design --to the tune of 40 million dollars (almost 2/3 of the construction cost). At that time, after a four year examination, the Bank concluded "...there were good prospects that power could be produced by a nuclear plant at costs competitive, or close to competitive, with power produced by a conventional plant..." but only under certain restrictions.

Turns out this initial Bank conclusion was too hopeful. The Garigliano nuclear power facility shut down in 1982, after being offline for four years and following a series of accidents and radioactive spills into groundwater eventually contaminating the Garigliano River. It appears, to its credit, the World Bank has learned from this decades-old mistake.

While the Bank has not directly funded nuclear power since this sole investment, there is evidence that the Czech Republic and Bulgaria funneled general funds from World Bank projects into nuclear energy. It is not clear that either the Czech Republic or Bulgaria would have fit the country profile for viable operation of nuclear power that the World Bank said, in the late 50's, was necessary for its funding nuclear. If not, it is possible these funds were misappropriated by the receiving countries. These restrictions included sufficient availability of capital, extensive generation and distribution systems, rate payers who could afford higher-than-normal electricity costs, high conventional energy costs, and back up energy capacity to compensate for nuclear power failure, among others.

Ultimately, the World Bank seems to conclude that an investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy is much better than one in nuclear, especially for underserved nations: "With the skyrocketing demand for electricity in underserved communities and the need to expand access to communities that have no service at all, the focus is on low cost, low investment alternatives..." CleanTechnica

Add to this the Fukushima catastrophe, the democratic and security hurdles that plague nuclear energy worldwide, and it becomes clear that the Bank is looking to fund a more safe, secure and affordable energy footing in the developing world.



"Nuclear giant taps wind tax credit that it's trying to kill"

Greenwire has published an article by Hannah Northey, E&E reporter, exposing the hypocricy of Exelon for exploiting the very wind power subsidy that it has attacked as giving the wind power industry an unfair competition advantage.

The article reports: "Amy Grace, a North American wind analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, pegged Exelon's wind PTCs [Production Tax Credits] for 2013 at $75 million to $100 million based on the company's 1.3 gigawatts of wind projects."

The American Wind Energy Association expelled Exelon from its membership in 2012 for Exelon's lobbying to kill the wind power production tax credit.

The reactors Exelon has identified as at risk of closing due to being outcompeted by wind power are: Clinton, Byron 1 & 2, and Quad Cities 1 & 2.

Quad Cities are identical in design to Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4 -- GE BWR Mark Is.

The near-term risk of closure comes despite Quad Cities already receiving a 20-year operating license extension rubberstamp from NRC, and Byron 1 & 2 having applied for one as well.