Archive for the ‘Nuclear plants’ Category

Niigata governor says it is too soon to restart nuclear plants

October 16, 2014

TOKYO —

A Japanese governor said Wednesday the country should not restart any nuclear plants until the cause of the Fukushima meltdown is fully understood and nearby communities have emergency plans that can effectively respond to another major accident.

Hirohiko Izumida, governor of Niigata Prefecture – home to the seven-reactor Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant – said regulators look at equipment but don’t evaluate local evacuation plans.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pushing to restart two reactors in southern Japan that last month were the first to be approved under stricter safety requirements introduced after the Fukushima disaster. Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Shunichi Tanaka has called the new standard one of the world’s highest.

Regulators are inspecting 18 other reactors, including two in Niigata operated by the utility that runs the Fukushima plant, which experienced meltdowns following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. All 48 workable Japanese reactors are currently offline.

Izumida also said the Tokyo Electric Power Co was responsible for the Fukushima crisis and has no qualifications to resume operating a nuclear plant without fully clarifying unanswered questions about the accident.

Ensuring protection of nearby residents from radiation exposure as part of a multi-layer safety measure is an international standard, but still not required in Japan. Towns as far as 30 kilometers from the plant, an expansion from the 20 kilometers before the crisis, are now required to compile evacuation plans, but many have not. Niigata compiled its evacuation plan in June and is set to test it next month.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

___________________________

Comment: With the worst volcano eruption of Mt. Ontake (more than 50 dead) seismologists claim no predictability about volcano eruption (remember earthquake and tsunami at Fukushima Plant). The Sendai Plant, the most probable first restart candidate, is with this risk with the active volcano Sakurajima. Poor safety preparation and approval of the residents warn reckless restart.

Demonstrators rally against restarting nuclear plants

September 24, 2014

Demonstrators rally against restarting nuclear plantsCranes work at the tsunami-crippled Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plantAFP

TOKYO —

Some 16,000 people rallied Tuesday in Tokyo against the government’s plan to restart nuclear reactors, more than three years after the Fukushima disaster, Jiji Press said.

It was one of the largest anti-nuclear demonstrations since the nuclear watchdog on September 10 approved plans to restart two reactors at the Sendai plant in southern Japan.

“Three and a half years has passed since the nuclear accident, but self-examination has yet to be made,” Nobel literature laureate Kenzaburo Oe told the Tokyo rally, according to public broadcaster NHK.

“The government is going ahead with the plan to resume operation at the Sendai plant without compiling sufficient anti-disaster plans,” Oe said.

After the rally demonstrators marched through the capital, carrying banners reading: “We don’t need nuclear plants”.

On Sunday, new industry minister Yuko Obuchi said the resource-poor nation should be realistic about its energy needs as the government tries to convince a skeptical public about the necessity of nuclear power.

In pre-Fukushima Japan, nuclear power accounted for nearly one-third of the country’s energy needs.

The Nuclear Regulatory Authority has said the two reactors were satisfactory but hurdles still remain, including getting the consent of local communities in a country still scarred by the catastrophe where all 48 viable reactors are offline.

Widespread anti-nuclear sentiment has simmered ever since the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 caused meltdowns at Fukushima, sparking the worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl.

Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from their homes, many of whom have not been allowed to return. Scientists say some areas might have to be abandoned forever.

© 2014 AFP

Dismantling San Onofre Nuclear Plant Will Cost $4.4B

August 4, 2014

A couple walking on the sand in front of San Onofre nuclear plant. (photo: Lenny Ignelzi/AP)
A couple walking on the sand in front of San Onofre nuclear plant. (photo: Lenny Ignelzi/AP)

By Associated Press

03 August 14

 

ismantling the San Onofre nuclear power plant in Southern California will take two decades and cost $4.4 billion, but spent radioactive fuel will be held at the site indefinitely, according to a game plan from Southern California Edison.

The price tag could make it the most expensive decommissioning in the 70-year history of the nuclear power industry, U-T San Diego reported (http://bit.ly/1oZUoTU ).

The plant was shut down in 2012 after a small radiation leak led to the discovery of extensive damage to steam-generator tubes that carried radioactive water. Edison, which operated the plant, closed it for good last year.

On Friday, the utility laid out a draft plan for dismantling the twin reactors and restoring the property north of San Diego over two decades, beginning in 2016.

As early as 2019, the spent nuclear fuel would be transferred from cooling pools to dry storage in reinforced steel canisters, where it would remain until the federal government comes up with a permanent storage plan.

Highly radioactive reactor parts also will be stored in canisters, while those with lower levels of contamination will be taken to disposal sites in Texas and Utah.

Edison’s plan estimates that the decommissioning process will have minimal impact on local air and groundwater quality or on noise and traffic congestion.

The final decommissioning plan will be submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as soon as September.

Edison CEO Ted Craver told investors and analysts on Thursday that the utility already has enough money on hand from customers to pay for the project.

There’s still a question about how much utility customers will be asked to cover for billions of dollars in other costs, such as the price of the defective equipment and the replacement power purchased after the plant was shut down.

Edison, and the plant’s minority owner, San Diego Gas & Electric Co., have been negotiating with consumer advocates and state officials over how to divide those costs and have proposed a settlement agreement.

The California Public Utilities Commission must approve the deal.

 

Japanese Nuclear Plants For Sale

April 17, 2014
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I don’t understand why people are not talking about this but here it goes.  Japan has been working hard to export nuclear plants.  That’s odd, right?  After what happened in Fukushima?  I mean who would want it?  And if you want it, would you get it from Japan?

Here is an interesting fact.  Japan has accumulated at least 4000 nuclear warheads’ worth of plutonium, and in fact, it used to export plutonium to England where it was used to make nuclear weapons (1).  And that is actually an enormous feat for a nation with a peace constitution that bans wars as a means of conflict resolution, and for a nation with multiple regulations guarding against exporting weapons, which of course stipulate anything nuclear as a big no.  What I’m trying to say is that Japan has been very very dishonest about its nuclear policies. The numbers and the facts, which have become available after the accident, state that the nuclear energy has not been as efficient as what has been claimed, while the safety measures and potential risks have not been the primary concerns.  In fact some of us now believe that the primary reason why Japan acquired nuclear energy at the first place was to acquire bomb- making capability, along with the lucrative deals guaranteed by the western nuclear authorities (2).

Last year, one of the Japanese parliament members demanded detailed info regarding the export of the nuclear plant to Vietnam.  Many of us were stunned to see the disclosed papers completely filled with black rectangles, the contents were pretty much all censored due to national-security concerns (3).

Now, why would anyone want a nuclear plant from Japan?  One of the countries that desperately wants to get it, despite the overwhelming public opposition, is Turkey.  It’s the country where the US-backed Syrian rebels manufacture sarin gas (4).  It’s the country where the leaders conspire to pull off a false-flag attack in order to attack Syria (5).  It’s the country where thousands of peaceful demonstrators are being attacked, injuring 8000 and killing 11 of them last year.  According to what has happened in Japan, it’s certainly possible to deceive a population and the international community and develop a nuclear program that allows the nation to accumulate an enormous amount of plutonium and export it to other nations.  After all, what would be harder to deceive a population that endured two nuclear attacks on its soil, the population known to have a nuclear allergy from the unfortunate history?  Japan has managed to become an invisible nuclear giant.

I think I know why Turkey would want nuclear plants from Japan.  And I don’t like that at all.  Do you?

 

Moreover, Japan is also sending its officials to push its nuclear plant sales to such nations as Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, India, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bahrain, Quatar, Kuwait, Ukraine (6).

And it also raises another question.  Why would the Western authorities allow a country like Turkey to have nuclear plants?  Because it can trap such a nation under secret deals of the colluding powers, expanding and stabilizing their profit-oriented status quo guaranteed by the magic words “national security”.  Considering the relentless destabilizing efforts against natural resource-rich nations or against nations defiant to neo-liberal restructuring (7)(8), considering the relentless blackmailing of elected officials (9)(10), fake terrorist-brewing sting operations (11), or global surveillance to oppress journalists and whistleblowers along with the abundance of unjust laws and lawless elected officials colluding with the corporate criminals (12)(13)(14), it is logical to conclude that joining such a gang will result in swallowing the rules of thugs.  If you live by the sword, you will die by the sword.   If the trapped nation does not obey the ways of the western financial institutions, corporate standards, corporate-restructuring efforts and so on, there will be consequences.  Having nuclear plants with a shady motive would be a perfect tool of a blackmail.

And as we can see in Japan today, a catastrophic accident can trigger a further neo-colonial restructuring along with the militarization and the enactment of unjust laws to make sure that the population will be put under the rule of fear according to the Western principles.    Turkey is a earthquake-prone nation like Japan.  And we need to keep in mind that the accident doesn’t have to be triggered by a natural disaster.

It’s truly painful to say this, but Japan has lost its beautiful backbone with the nuclear disaster.   It is a result of the irresponsible pursuits of profits over humanity.  And the proof of the fact is in the dehumanizing exploitations put upon the people of Fukushima and beyond following the accident.  I do not want that to happen to another beautiful country like Turkey.

Note:  If the link doesn’t work, copy it and paste it into a browser window.

1. http://blog.livedoor.jp/home_make-toaru/archives/7461361.html

2. http://saigaijyouhou.com/blog-entry-1750.html

3. http://savekidsjapan.blogspot.com/2013/11/taro-yamamotos-first-questioning-at-diet.html

4. http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line

5. http://www.globalresearch.ca/turkey-wages-war-on-syria-leaked-recording-confirms-turkish-false-flag-attack/5375807

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4,000 sue GE, Toshiba, Hitachi over Fukushima disaster

March 13, 2014

NATIONAL MAR. 13, 2014 – 06:50AM JST ( 6 )

4,000 sue GE, Toshiba, Hitachi over Fukushima disasterA picture taken at Fukushima nuclear power plant on June 17, 2011 .AFP

TOKYO —

A class action lawsuit against nuclear suppliers General Electric, Toshiba and Hitachi has ballooned to around 4,000 claimants who are seeking damages over the Fukushima atomic disaster, the lead lawyer said Wednesday.

The claimants, hailing from Japan and 32 other countries including the United States, Germany and South Korea, want the U.S. and Japanese nuclear power plant suppliers to pay compensation, lawyer Akihiro Shima told media in Tokyo.

His comments came one day after the third anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in a generation.

The filing—which asks for a largely symbolic 100 yen per claimant—was described by Shima as the first lawsuit to be brought against nuclear power-plant suppliers over the 2011 accident.

It alleges that the firms did not make necessary safety updates to the stricken site, which was swamped by an earthquake-sparked tsunami. Embattled plant operator Tokyo Electric Power is facing massive lawsuits and compensation costs.

“General Electric, Toshiba and Hitachi failed to implement safety improvements to the four-decades old boiling water reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant,” a statement issued Wednesday alleged.

“The lawsuit is intended to bring attention to the system that protects the nuclear industry around the world,” it added.

The lawsuit was first filed in Tokyo District Court in January with just over 1,000 claimants, but many more have joined as word has spread.

Under Japanese law, nuclear plant suppliers are usually exempt from damage claims in the event of an accident.

“It is not our policy to comment on pending legal actions,” GE’s Japanese unit said in a statement when contacted by AFP.

But it added that the plant, which GE helped design, “has performed reliably for more than 40 years”.

It also cited a Japanese government report which “concluded that the accident was caused by the tsunami, and the resulting loss of seawater pumps and all electrical power, not reactor design”.

Toshiba and Hitachi both declined to comment.

On March 11, 2011, a 9.0-magnitude undersea earthquake sent a massive tsunami barrelling into Japan’s Pacific coastline.

The huge waves swamped cooling systems at the Fukushima plant, sparking reactor meltdowns and explosions that spewed radioactive materials across the vast farm region.

Although no one died as a direct result of the atomic accident, at least 1,656 Fukushima residents died due to complications related to stress and other conditions.

Tens of thousands were forced to evacuate the area and may never be able to return home.

© 2014 AFP

A picture taken at Fukushima nuclear power plant on June 17, 2011 . A TEPCO picture released on March 21, 2011 shows black smoke rising from reactor number three at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant

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  • 1

    Joe BudaiMAR. 13, 2014 – 07:27AM JST

    GE went ahead and provided reactors and assistance knowing full well the back up generators were in dangerous positions. Also the sea wall was too low. and last but not least the entire plant was located lower on the coast to save money, against initial suggestions that it be located much higher. Cheap nuclear power? Clean nuclear power? No such thing. firms like GE are pork projects in a make-work guise, nothing more.

  • 0

    gokai_wo_manekuMAR. 13, 2014 – 08:18AM JST

    Yes, Joe is right. GE designed the backup power to be underground anticipating a disaster like a tornado throwing cars against the emergency power generator building. Toshiba and Hitachi asked GE to change the design, but GE refused citing “safety considerations”.

  • -1

    zichiMAR. 13, 2014 – 09:08AM JST

    There are many serious design problems with the reactors at the Fukushima No 1 plant.

    Its unlikely, that 30 out of the current fleet of 48 reactors can meet the new safety standards set by the NRA. 13 are too old to retrofit and therefore more likely will be decommissioned. The four reactors from the Fukushima No2 plant won’t operate again, that leaves 14 possible reactors. The inspection work of the reactors by the NRA is behind on schedule.

    The power utilities have spent more than ¥14 trillion on updating the safety of their atomic power plants. On the anniversary of 3/11, the speaker of the lower house called for an end to nuclear energy.

  • -3

    Bear27840MAR. 13, 2014 – 09:41AM JST

    OUTSTANDING, since TEPCO and Abe will not do anything to help those affected by Fukushima’s meltdowns it is great that these people are taking on those who built it then let them sue TEPCO for messing it up.

  • -1

    danalawton1@yahoo.comMAR. 13, 2014 – 10:01AM JST

    In 1991 and 2008 there were incidents where TEPCO was told of flooding and Tsunami risk to the backup generator. It was well know that flooding could knock out the backup generator before 311. TEPCO gambled and the people lost. Considering how much I paid a month for electricity for a small apartment in Japan… these companies must have been raking in the cash…. but the money went to vacations and not preventive safety measures.

  • 0

    pondscumMAR. 13, 2014 – 10:37AM JST

    The devil is in the details. The question is what design criteria was given to GE? What requirements did the governmental authorities impose on the project? What did TEPCO specify? In the end it may be what the insurance companie(s) are willing to pay rather than the truth. And us little ones continue to suffer. :(

Please sign and share “No Nuke Power Plants!” petition

February 4, 2014
Thank you for your signing and sharing Nuke-free World petition.I have just created a new petition further focusing on No Nuke Plantsみなさん: 原発ゼロを!(Everyone, No Nuke Power Plants, Please!)

 
Nuke power plants can explode anytime due to disasters (earthquakes, tsunamis, etc.), terrorism, mishaps (mistakes, meltdown, negligence, etc.) with no solutions in safe storage of wastes and dangers for bomb making.
 
Tokyo governor election can become the paradigm shift from Nuke Hegemony to No Nuke (Power Plants) and Money-powered Global Systems to Life-oriented Global Systems.

Please sign and share with others to make our world safe and satisfactory:
http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/minasan_Yuan_Fa_zerowo/?eQFbdbb
Thanking you so much in advance,
Rosan Osamu Yoshida

84-Year-Old Nun Among Activists Jailed “To Bury the Truth” About U.S. Nuclear Policy

February 3, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 3, 2014
4:55 PM

CONTACT: Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA)

Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

WASHINGTON – February 3 – The Washington Post reports: “A federal judge has ordered a Catholic nun, a Vietnam veteran and a house painter from Duluth, Minn., to pay full restitution of $53,000 for damaging one of the nation’s most secure sites for nuclear weapons production. The three were convicted of sabotage last year for breaking into the facility.” They are currently in prison and their sentencing hearing was delayed from last week till Feb. 18. The Post reports: “The government had asked for the three to be given terms of five to nine years.”

The Post writes: “In the predawn hours of July 28, 2012, the trio cut through four fences at the Y-12 National Security Complex in nearby Oak Ridge, Tenn., where the fuel for the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, was produced during the Manhattan Project.

“Having essentially circumvented a glitch-ridden security apparatus that cost $150 million a year, they splashed blood and spray-painted biblical messages on the exterior of the building that warehouses an estimated 400 tons of highly enriched uranium — enough to fuel 10,000 nuclear bombs.

“In May, they were convicted by a jury of intending to harm national security and of damaging more than $1,000 in government property. Michael Walli, 65, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 58, have served a combined eight years of jail time for similar crimes that they categorize as symbolic disarmament actions and civil resistance against a far greater crime: the maintenance of a stockpile of immoral and costly weapons that violate international law.

“Rice [who is 84] was a teacher in West Africa for decades before returning to the United States to devote her ‘retirement’ to anti-nuclear activism.”

The U.S. Marshals have largely prevented contact between the jailed activists and the media, but the Guardian reported last week: “In a letter written in November to the Guardian while in prison in Ocilla, Georgia, where she has been held for either months since the trial in May, Rice said she had no regrets about the break-in that led to her incarceration and potentially lengthy sentence. ‘Of course,’ she said, in reply to a question over whether it was all worth it, in the light of the prison time served and the severity of the sentence.

“‘We … prepared over years of education and reflection and awareness based on personal experiences by each of us.’

“Asked about the sabotage charge against her, she wrote: ‘I don’t focus on any of this. It’s all based on lies and denial of known true facts of history and science.’

“Rice — who joined the order of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus as a teenager – and her co-defendants describe themselves as the Transform Now Plowshares, a reference to the passage in the Bible, Isaiah 2:4, which states: ‘They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.’ Their actions … were intended to highlight the vast gulf between the U.S.’s obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to disarm and its ongoing activities and production of nuclear weapon components at the Tennessee facility.”

PAUL MAGNO, pmagno at igc.org
RALPH HUTCHISON, orep at earthlink.net
Magno and Hutchison are fellow activists from the Transform Now Plowshares Support Group and are in regular contact with the jailed activists. Magno is himself a past Plowshares activist and spent 20 months in prison following an action in 1984. He said in a recent statement: “In this country, we often point to other nations, like China, Russia or Iran, where dissidents are imprisoned in order to silence their criticisms of the policies and practices of their governments. We like to think we are more enlightened, that in a free land like ours such draconian measures are out-of-bounds. But this case shows otherwise. The United States is determined to carry out its nuclear agenda, to continue to violate its treaty obligations, to build new bombs and new bomb plants, and they will even put an 84-year-old nun in jail for the rest of her life if that’s what it takes to bury the truth.”

###

A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.

Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) Links:

HomePress Center

US will cling to mass surveillance like nuclear weapons – Assange to RT

December 31, 2013

Published time: December 29, 2013 20:41
Edited time: December 30, 2013 10:02

Julian Assange said there is “no hope” that mass strategic interception – as it is termed by the US – will go away. The whistleblower then drew a historical analogy with how the US has retained nuclear weapons in the past.

Assange’s comments were made during a panel discussion of the documentary film ‘Mediastan’ on RT. The panel also included director Johannes Wahlstrom and Afghan journalist Enayat Najafizada, who participated in the movie. The film depicts different stages in undercover WikiLeaks journalists’ trips across Central Asia.

“These powers do not give up voluntarily any significant ability to control the world like that,” Assange told RT. He compared any US compulsion to cling onto such abilities as a form of need for global control, pointing out that after the end of the Cold War, the US retained excessive nuclear weapons, despite an enormous anti-nuclear lobby. “Many movies were critical of it – it was a very expensive system to maintain,” he said.

“The US could have reduced its numbers without any significant problem, and yet it still has 5000-6000 nuclear weapons,” he said, adding that there was no need for the country to maintain such a large arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Assange also pointed out further reasons for not standing down from the clutches of the existing system, describing it as “invisible, intangible, complex, and decreasing in cost by 50 percent every 18 months.”

Assange remained optimistic, stating that there has been a shift in the past few years.

“The internet has gone from a politically apathetic space to a new international body politic, which is just starting to find its feet. Edward Snowden was motivated largely by Bradley Manning, both by the success of his revelations and by the ill treatment of him in prison, demonstrating that the US government lacks moral authority and it is not possible to change the system from within. This very conversation is part of that process,” he said.

“So I am to a degree optimistic that there is a new international cultural consensus forming. It is largely embodied within the generation of young people between the ages of 15 and 35. And if it comes to a war between the older generation and the large body of the younger generation, the older generation is simply going to lose.”

“An important part of this process has been demonstrating that the old media organizations are simply a branch of the establishment power within their societies…we simply should not be surprised that The New York Times censors material, or that The Washington Post censors material, or the Guardian, or Central Asian Republic newspapers. They are power institutions. They have interests. What has gone on historically is that they have been very hypocritical institutions in pretending that they are always free to publish anything that is truthful and that the public is interested in. That is false and that is the illusion that needs shattering,” Assange added.

Still from RT videoStill from RT video

‘Mediastan’ was previously made available through the internet, as it dates back to 2011. However, it has not yet been released in cinemas.

While commenting on the success of the movie, Wahlstrom discussed the impact that WikiLeaks has had on the world.

“From a broader respect we can see that WikiLeaks’ releases have made a large impact and have changed the way we interact with media since then. If we just look at the whole NSA affair, which has gone on for the last half a year or so, it is a direct consequence of the WikiLeaks releases. And nowadays there is no direct censorship which is feasible by particular organizations,” he said.

“We are seeing the system where the ability for us to get access to this type of information is becoming much higher, and the price that we will have to be paying in the future would be much lower.”

Wahlstrom believes that privacy can be won back in a slow process of provoking conversation around the subject.

“Getting our privacy back is the same kind of question as getting democracy back, or freedom of information back. And in my point of view, this is a process you have to strive for more or less every day. And in that respect, there are many different things that can be done. But the most important part is building public awareness about these issues,” he told RT.

Journalist Najafizada, who agreed to take WikiLeaks information and attempt to publish it in Afghanistan, said his life was threatened while he was in possession of the material.

“For some time we decided to take these diplomatic cables from WikiLeaks and work with Afghan media organizations in Kabul and in many other provinces to publish, to make stories out of these cables. But unfortunately we later found out that having these materials with ourselves might be life threatening and would be difficult for Afghan media organizations to make stories out of them,” he said. “The risks to being a journalist in Afghanistan are so high. It is our responsibility to not give up.”

Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant to shutter

August 29, 2013

By 

Vermont Yankee
NRC
Vermont Yankee, on the Connecticut River, will soon be shut down for good.

Yet another American nuclear power plant is going to shut down permanently, giving New Englanders reason to be as excited as the nucleus of a decaying uranium isotope.

Entergy Corp. announced Tuesday that it will power down the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant next year.

This is just the latest in a string of bad news for the industry. Nuclear plants are also being shut down in California, Florida, and Wisconsin, and plans to build new ones are being canceledFrom Reuters:

 

Leo Denault, Entergy’s chief executive since February, said in an interview with Reuters that the plant was no longer economically viable due to a combination of rising capital costs after the September 11 attacks, Japan’s 2011 Fukushima disaster and low wholesale electricity prices stemming from cheap natural gas burned by competing plants.

“We did everything we could to keep the plant open,” he said, praising the 600 employees for operating the plant even when “they did not feel welcome in the state.”

Opponents of the plant were quick to voice their approval.

“This is not a big surprise to me and I don’t think it’s a big surprise to many who follow the economics of aging nuclear power plants,” [Peter] Shumlin, Vermont’s Democratic Governor who led the state’s fight to have the plant shut down when its initial operating permit expired in 2012, told reporters.

But the news came at a surprising time: Just two weeks ago, Entergy won a hard-fought U.S. Court of Appeals case. The court ruled that Vermont lawmakers, who’ve been worried by the plant’s poor safety history, lacked the authority to shutter it.

John Upton is a science fan and green news boffin whotweets, posts articles to Facebook, and blogs about ecology. He welcomes reader questions, tips, and incoherent rants:johnupton@gmail.com.

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Worst Week Since Fukushima: 4 Major Setbacks In 3 Days Are Latest Stumbles For U.S. Nuclear Power Industry

May 10, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 9, 2013
12:25 PM

CONTACT: Nuclear Experts

Leslie Maloy , (703) 276-3256 orlmaloy@hastingsgroup.com; andAlex Frank , (703) 276-3264 or afrank@hastingsgroup.com.

Reverse Renaissance? Experts Point to 6 Reactors on the Chopping Block and Passage of Anti-Industry Florida Law; Beleaguered Industry’s Woes Start With Bad Economics … and Go Downhill From There.

WASHINGTON – May 9 – Call it the “renaissance in reverse.” Not only is the U.S. nuclear power industry mothballing plans for planned reactors in North Carolina and Texas, it also is now pulling the plug (or threatening to do so) on existing reactors in California. All of that and the passage of anti-industry legislation in Florida happened last week (April 28th-May 3rd), easily the worst single week for the U.S. nuclear power industry since the March 2011 meltdown of nuclear reactors in Fukushima, Japan.

One day after the closure by Dominion Resources of the Kewaunee Power Station reactor in Wisconsin, three experts held a phone-based news conference today to comment on the recent string of adverse developments for the troubled nuclear power industry.

Peter A. Bradford , adjunct professor at the Vermont Law School, a former member of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and a former utility commission chair in New York and Maine, said: “2013 is another year in which the pumps can’t keep up with the rush of water aboard the ‘nuclear renaissance.’ It’s no surprise that any utility executive with a modicum of concern for his customers’ electric bills doesn’t consider this to be the right time to build a new reactor. However, the closing of existing reactors in the face of market realities is something new, suggesting that US nuclear generation may actually have reached a peak a few years ago that it will not attain again in our lifetimes.”

Mark Cooper , senior fellow for economic analysis, Institute for Energy and the Environment, Vermont Law School, and author of “Policy Challenges of Nuclear Reactor Construction, Cost Escalation and Crowding Out Alternatives” (2009), said: “From Florida and the Carolinas to Texas and on to California, the underlying issue driving the demise of nuclear power is the same: bad and unsustainable economics. In Florida, a ratepayer rebellion in the face of rapidly rising reactor costs shared the same roots as Duke’s abandonment of two reactors in North Carolina that were projected to have doubled in cost. In Texas, only foreign government-backed entities could afford the soaring costs of the STP reactors near San Antonio. In California, Southern California Edison is seeking to sidestep hundreds of millions of dollars in costs for damaged reactors that may simply be too expensive to repair. The story of nuclear power from coast to coast is one of bad economics.”

Between Tuesday to Thursday of last week, the following things happened:

Commenting on the setback for nuclear power in California, Daniel Hirsch , lecturer on Nuclear Policy at the University of California, Santa Cruz, president of the Committee to Bridge the Gap, a nuclear policy nonprofit organization, and co-author of a recent study about the severity of San Onofre’s steam generator problems, said: “San Onofre is crumbling. New steam generators in both Unit 2 and 3 failed in just a year or two of operations. Each plant has hundreds of times more damaged tubes than the typical reactor with new steam generators. Southern California Edison informed investors last week that it is likely to close both reactors permanently if it can’t get the NRC to approve restart of Unit 2 with an exemption from the requirement for a prior hearing to determine its safety. That is like a judge in the Old West saying: ‘We’ll hang ‘em now and give ‘em a fair trial later.’ It appears that Edison is convinced that its proposal to restart the damaged reactor without repairing or replacing the crippled steam generators can’t withstand the scrutiny of a safety hearing. Whatever the industry’s hopes for a revival of nuclear power, San Onofre’s steam generators seem to be working in the opposite direction.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: A streaming audio replay of a related news event will be available by 5 p.m. EDT on May 8, 2013 at http://216.30.191.148/worstweek.html.

SOURCE Peter Bradford , adjunct professor, Vermont Law School and Mark Cooper , senior fellow for economic analysis, Institute for Energy and the Environment, Vermont Law School

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