This is going to be awesome

kingcongpcmThere are just four days left until the historic People’s Climate March in New York City Sunday, September 21. It will be awesome–and that’s a word I don’t use very often.

The momentum for the Nuclear-Free, Carbon-Free Contingent is stunning; this Contingent is going to be awesome too. We’ve got  650 bright yellow with shining orange sun “Nuclear Power, No Thanks” flags (in English, Spanish and Japanese!); hundreds of posters, a giant King Cong prop, huge banners and much more. We’ve heard from people coming for this Contingent not only from New York and the Northeast, but from all over the country: North Carolina; Illinois and Ohio; Chicago; Nebraska; Tennessee; even California!

We hope you’ll join us there. Even if you haven’t made plans yet, there is still time!

We will be assembling on Central Park West between 73rd and 74th streets, and will be holding a rally there beginning at 10 am on September 21. Confirmed speakers so far include Dr. Arjun Mahkijani (IEER and author of Carbon-Free, Nuclear-Free); Jessica Azulay (AGREE); Julia Walsh (Frack Action & New Yorkers Against Fracking); Tim Judson (NIRS); Leona Morgan (ENDAUM, Clean Up the Mines); Japanese activist Yuko Tonohira; Michael Mariotte, MC (NIRS). Raging Grannies and New York singer/songwriter Joel Landy will perform. More speakers and performers will be announced soon. Continue reading

Burns, Baran approved as NRC Commissioners over GOP objections


Sen. Reid vows this passage to Yucca Mountain will never be used. Will Steve Burns and Jeff Baran ensure this door will remain closed?

President Obama’s two appointees to the NRC were confirmed by the full Senate yesterday on near-party line votes.

Jeff Baran, a former top energy aide to California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman, was confirmed by a 56-44 vote; former NRC General Counsel Steve Burns was confirmed by a 60-40 vote.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the ranking member of the Senate Environment Committee, and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) were the only Republicans to vote for both nominees.

The Republicans generally seemed to oppose the nominees because they were supported by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Although President Obama made the nominations, there is a widespread belief that the nominations were made only with the strong support of Reid and that Reid is stacking the Commission with people who will oppose the Yucca Mountain radioactive waste dump.

This could be critical if Democrats lose the Senate in the upcoming election and Reid thus loses his power to control the agenda of the Senate floor–where Reid currently ensures no pro-Yucca legislation will be considered.

This was pretty much acknowledged by Republicans last week when Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) told the Hill newspaper, “that Reid was the main hurdle for Republicans to get the project moving again.

“We knew Mr. Reid being majority leader, it wasn’t going to see the light of day,” Upton told reporters.

If the Senate flips, Upton said, then Yucca is a “priority” for Republicans.”

For his part, Reid said the Republicans should give up on Yucca: “Yucca Mountain is all through,” Reid told reporters on Tuesday. “As long as I’m around there’s no Yucca Mountain. It’s been through two presidents.”

“Clinton opposed it. Obama opposed it. The place is mothballed out there. It’s all through,” he added.

Michael Mariotte

September 17, 2014


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What does Southern Co.’s CEO know that we don’t?

Southern Company CEO Thomas Fanning (left) selling former DOE Secretary Chu on the wonders of Vogtle, 2012.

Southern Company CEO Thomas Fanning (left) selling former DOE Secretary Chu on the wonders of Vogtle, 2012.

The question of the day is what does Southern Company CEO Thomas Fanning know that the rest of the world doesn’t?

The question arises because on September 5th, Fanning sold nearly all his stock in Southern Company, more than a million shares, putting nearly $47 million into his bank account. He kept only 35,000 shares.

That’s a tidy sum, and would seem to be incentive enough to sell–unless one thought the stock would rise higher. It’s not like Fanning was selling off a few shares because he needed some cash to renew a country club membership or something. No, Fanning sold more than 90% of his stake in the company he runs. Not many people have pressing bills of $47 million. Continue reading

Visualizing the climate march

pcmpressnonukesWith just over three weeks to go until the September 21 People’s Climate March, we are receiving more and more questions from people about everything from logistical details to the message of the Nuclear-Free, Carbon-Free Contingent.

In some cases, we just don’t have answers yet–especially on some of the logistical issues, some of which are pretty important. The People’s Climate March didn’t exactly have everything planned when the organizers announced the event. From our perspective, it seems more like the event was announced with the hope that it would take off, and the planning would depend on the response.

Fortunately, the event has taken off and momentum clearly is building. About 200 buses to NYC are confirmed and more are being chartered from various areas of the country just about daily. There are special trains coming from the West Coast and from Washington DC. There are car caravans being set up. And, of course, with tens of millions of people living within commuting range of New York City, there is a huge local base to draw on who don’t need chartered buses or other special transportation. Continue reading

Fukukshima aftermath, August 2014

Three and a half years later, the Fukushima accident shows no signs of ending.

Three and a half years later, the Fukushima accident shows no signs of ending.

Three and a half years after the onset of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, its ramifications continue to reverberate across the world, but as one would expect, especially in Japan.

A quick roundup of some recent Fukushima-related news:

Two Japanese economists released their study this week showing that financial costs of the accident are now at 11 trillion Yen, or about $106 billion. That’s about twice previous government estimates. Continue reading

UBS: It’s time to join the (solar) revolution

UBS: the falling costs of solar power and battery storage combined with increasing use of electric vehicles means the end of large power plants--faster than you might think.

UBS: the falling costs of solar power and battery storage combined with increasing use of electric vehicles means the end of large power plants–faster than you might think.

Already this year we’ve reported on several major investment banks and analysts that argue the future is solar power. First there was Goldman Sachs (Goldman Sachs sees a solar future for the U.S.–and that has nuclear utilities running scared), then Barclay’s (Nuclear industry wins short-term victories, but losing long-term battle), then Bloomberg (Bloomberg sees a renewable-powered future), then Citigroup (Citigroup: The revolution will not be televised).

Now the giant multinational investment firm UBS has joined the march toward a clean energy future.

In a letter to its clients, UBS says flat out: “It’s time to join the revolution.”

Right now, the payback period for installation of rooftop solar plus battery storage is about 12 years. That means that after 12 years, the homeowner’s electricity is essentially free. Continue reading

NRC approves radwaste rule; ends reactor licensing moratorium. Magwood phones it in.

PrintThe Nuclear Regulatory Commissioners today approved its controversial replacement for its “waste confidence” rule that was slapped down in 2012 by a federal court and also approved a resumption of new reactor licensing and license renewal activities.

The new replacement rule essentially gives up on the notion of “confidence” that a permanent high-level radioactive waste repository will be built in any foreseeable time frame and instead expresses the agency’s support for the concept that “continued storage” in the absence of a permanent repository–even for millenia–is just A-OK with them. Continue reading