Nuclear heartburn: even IEA says solar could become world’s dominant energy source

IEA projections for solar PV by region.

IEA projections for solar PV by region.

Sending chills down the spine of nuclear and coal utility executives across the world, the International Energy Agency (IEA) yesterday released two reports that assert solar power could become the dominant source of global electricity production by mid-century.

This is the same IEA that has consistently and dramatically underestimated the potential contribution of renewables over more than a decade. As we pointed out on July 17, 2014,  since at least 2000, Greenpeace has been far more accurate when projecting renewable energy use than the IEA. As RenewEconomy, based in Australia, put it, “The forecasts from the IEA are not the most dramatic that can be found, but they are significant because the IEA is essentially a conservative organisation that was created in the 1970s to defend developed countries’ access to fossil fuels.”  Continue reading

Still no confidence in NRC radwaste policy

There are 43 dry casks--neither hardened nor secure--sitting outside at the shuttered Connecticut Yankee reactor.

There are 43 dry casks–neither hardened nor secure–sitting outside at the shuttered Connecticut Yankee reactor.

On June 8, 2012, a federal court threw out the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s “waste confidence” policy, setting into motion a chain of events that still hasn’t stopped rattling the commission and the entire nuclear power industry.

The court ruled that with the shutdown of the proposed Yucca Mountain, Nevada, radioactive waste repository and no new repository on the horizon, the NRC had no basis to say that it had confidence that radioactive waste would always be managed safely.

Since the Atomic Energy Act requires that the NRC have such confidence in order to issue reactor licenses (and license renewals), the NRC was forced to institute a moratorium on issuance of all reactor licenses. Continue reading

The nuclear industry’s game plan: kill the competition and fleece the ratepayers

On Sunday we marched en masse, with a message of the solution to the climate crisis. The nuclear industry is fighting back.

On Sunday we marched en masse, with a message of the solution to the climate crisis. The nuclear industry is fighting back. Photo by Paule Saviano.

What was that we said just two days ago? Now that the climate march is over, the real work begins….

The past two days have demonstrated, in almost shocking fashion, the immutable truth of that statement. The nuclear industry, especially the nation’s largest nuclear utility Exelon, is laying down the gauntlet and acknowledging its game plan–which is following just about exactly the scenario a NIRS paper published last week described.

At a hearing before the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) on Tuesday, Exelon finally revealed the bribe it wants the state to approve in order to keep Exelon’s unprofitable reactors running: a rate increase that would add $580 million per year to Exelon’s coffers.

That amounts to a stunning 8% rate increase for northern Illinois ratepayers just to keep five currently unprofitable reactors operating. For southern Illinois ratepayers, whose rates are lower than those upstate, the percentage increase would be even higher.
Continue reading

Nuke-Free photo gallery now online

marchingNIRS has now posted a photo gallery of the massive Nuclear-Free, Carbon-Free Contingent at the People’s Climate March in New York City on September 21, 2014.

The gallery is rather randomly ordered right now–something we hope to fix if and when we get a few minutes (hours) in the near future–and we also expect to add more photos as they keep coming in. For now, there are nearly 200 photos in the gallery ranging from a couple of pics from the Saturday afternoon strategy meeting in NYC; to the early morning site preparations–stapling flags and posters to cardboard tubes and the like; to photos of most of the rally speakers and performers (not sure we have them all yet); to many photos of the Contingent and the march itself.

You can view the gallery here; just click on any photo to enlarge.

You can also access the gallery, and all follow-up information on the Contingent and March, at our ongoing Contingent website here.

Michael Mariotte

September 24, 2014

Permalink: http://safeenergy.org/2014/09/24/nuke-free-photo-gallery/

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We made history; now the real work starts

The Cape Cod portion of the Nuclear-Free, Carbon-Free Contingent preparing to march.

The Cape Cod portion (and a few South Carolinians) of the Nuclear-Free, Carbon-Free Contingent preparing to march.

No matter how you look at it, 400,000 is a lot of people.

It’s not the largest crowd I’ve ever been in: that was the nearly two million at President Obama’s first inauguration. Nor the largest demonstration: that was the million at the 1982 nuclear freeze march in New York City. And the 1970 Atlanta Pop Festival I went to was somewhere around 800,000 (but, of course, who remembers that one? Probably not even many who were there…).

But it’s still a lot of people.

And to put it in a more appropriate perspective, it’s as many or more people than participated in some other seminal events that changed history and the trajectory of American politics and lives: the 1963 civil rights March on Washington, the 1969 Woodstock festival, the November 1969 anti-Vietnam war mobilization, the 1979 No Nukes protest in Washington after Three Mile Island. Continue reading

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!

ASSEMBLY POINT/RALLY
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

yucca102

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

Permalink: http://safeenergy.org/2014/09/17/burns-baran-approved/

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