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.



Entergy re-affirms FitzPatrick will be closed about a year from now


#Goodbyetonukes. It's the new trend as Entergy says it will close FitzPatrick

The nuclear dominoes continue to fall with the latest announcement coming from embattled Entergy as the company announced it will close its FitzPatrick plant in upstate New York.  The closure is slated for late 2016 or early 2017.  The plant is the latest victim of the notoriously poor economics that have plagued the nuclear sector for some time.  Entergy has already closed its Vermont Yankee reactor and announced it will also shutter its Pilgrim plant near Plymouth, MA.  

The announcement that FitzPatrick will close is particularly welcome given the reactor, a GE Mark I boiling water reactor and the same design as those at Fukushima, is the only U.S. plant not to voluntarily install a hardened vent on its notoriously weak containment.  This means that if the reactor were to undergo a severe accident the plan would be to vent the radioactive and explosive gases and extremely hot steam into an adjacent building, blowing the doors off at ground level and releasing radioactivity into the atmosphere.  While the news of the reactor's impending shutdown is welcome, residents around Oswego and far beyond remain in peril for at least another year or more while the deeply flawed and dangerous reactor continues to operate.


Nuclear Energy Institute President says nuclear power is shutting down

Marvin Fertel, President and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), acknowledged on October 26, 2015 that “a few” more U.S. reactors are in line to announce permanent closure in the coming months. 

The nuclear industry’s chief K Street lobbyist conceded to a trend that Vermont Law School professor Mark Cooper  saw coming six years ago. Cooper’s nuclear economics study, “Renaissance in Reverse”, cites more than three dozen U.S. nuclear power station in financial trouble. Cooper identifies twelve reactors on the short list under the greatest financial pressure and likely NEI’s unidentified few. Cooper’s research shows that it’s more than just economics. Mounting risk factors, poor performance, local and state opposition are all weighing in as last straws.


Nuclear reactors are closing and we are counting

The United Bank of Switzerland (UBS), the second largest bank in the world, headlined that “Nuke Retirements are coming” in its September 24, 2015 global financial research issue of US Electric Utilities and IPPs. The international investment giant projects “a growing capitulation in the nuclear sector as the prospects for protracted downturn remains front and center.”   UBS forecasts, “We see both ETR (Entergy) and EXC (Exelon) as substantially exposed to this thesis: it has specifically emerged in recent days that not just ETR’s Fitzpatrick but also the Pilgrim unit could well be shut in lieu of investing to improve profile up to NRC levels. Further, we see EXC as highlighting this nuclear retirement thesis further with not just its Ginna plant in NY and Oyster Creek (NJ) plants poised to retire in 2019, but also now its Three Mile Island unit is at risk beyond known the ongoing saga in Illinois over support for Quad Cities, Clinton, and even Byron.”  UBS admits that its forecast “could well underestimate total retirements” as actual retirements might prove more aggressive particularly for the other single unit nuclear power stations. With Exelon’s two unit Quad Cities nuclear power plant in Illinois still posting losses, UBS sees the nuclear power corporation’s “plans to retire the plant as entirely credible (and seemingly committed to investors) should Illinois fail to produce a sufficiently attractive scheme” in spite of the fact that 50% of its nuclear assets are clustered in the state.

There is even more good news to be found in this particular UBS forecast where, “In turn, if retirements move forward as contemplated, we see a real corresponding uplift to the renewable industry as this becomes the growing source of 'plugging' for any further holes in meeting prospective carbon targets.” The UBS assessment undermines the pro-nuclear industry’s most prevalent false argument that “No Nukes” means more coal. It clearly doesn’t.

You can keep pace with these anticipated nuclear power plant closures and more by periodically visiting our website’s “Reactors are closing” page.



Pilgrim’s progress towards permanent closure

Entergy’s Pilgrim nuclear power station in Plymouth, MA is closer to permanent shutdown principally because of the reactors failing performance, mounting cost of inspecting and maintaining this inherently dangerous post-Fukushima technology and a steadily rising competitive “head wind” of abundant renewable energy.

It is clear to be seen that Pilgrim is in a financial melt down along with its parent company. Entergy’s stock has fallen 30% in the past year. It is of such increasing concern that even the Nuclear Regulatory Commission gave the Fukushima-style reactor the dubious distinction of being one of the most unsafe nuclear power plants in the country.

However, the 43-year old reactor is long overdue for permanent closure for more than its bad economics, failing performance and risky operation. This particular nuclear power station is infamous for being the focus of legislatively mandated epidemiological study conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) published in 1990 and re-published in 1996. The state health department’s case control study investigated the 22 towns in southeastern Massachusetts around the Pilgrim reactor and found a four-fold increase in a rare adult leukemia in the population that worked and resided the closest and the longest to the reactor.

We continue to support the tireless effort of the many citizens and groups who labor to hasten the closure of this dirty, dangerous and expensive nuke.  Shut it down, now.