Oops. Not so fast on Yucca Mountain…

Sen. Reid has reason to be happy: “This is just one reason why the Yucca Mountain project will never be built..."

Sen. Reid has reason to be happy: “This is just one reason why the Yucca Mountain project will never be built…”

Yucca Mountain backers may have been a little, shall we say premature, in their glee two months ago when the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), under court order, released Volume 3 of the Safety Evaluation Report (SER) for the project.

That section of the SER concluded that the Department of Energy’s design for the Yucca Mountain project indicates “compliance with the performance objectives and requirements that apply after the repository is permanently closed.” Continue reading

Solar advances and utility changes

A Clean Energy Collective community solar installation in Boulder, CO.

A Clean Energy Collective community solar installation in Boulder, CO.

Fracking dominates the energy headlines, and there is no doubt that the cheap natural gas produced by fracking is a major contributor to the ongoing economic woes of a good number of nuclear reactors and coal plants.

But fracking has its limits and its own problems. Not only is protest against the practice growing (for good reason), but gas is and always will be a fossil fuel. And ultimately–hopefully before the tides are lapping daily through Manhattan–the nation and world will get serious about climate change and realize that continued use of fossil fuels is simply not sustainable nor conducive to continuing human life on Earth. Continue reading

Electricity storage’s time has come

Part of the "smart town" Panasonic is building in Japan.

Part of the “smart town” Panasonic is building near Tokyo, Japan.

Everyone knows that solar and wind power are variable energy sources; neither on its own produces electricity 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. For that matter, no electricity source can do that indefinitely: nuclear reactors have to be shut down for weeks for refueling every 12-18 months and occasionally suffer unplanned shutdowns; coal plants break down and need repairs, so do gas-powered turbines. Continue reading

Misplaced priorities

Congress will send even more taxpayer dollars to dirty energy interests these next two years, but it won't stop the relentless march of clean energy.

Congress will send even more taxpayer dollars to dirty energy interests these next two years, but it won’t stop the relentless march of clean energy.

The big nuclear news in the omnibus federal budget bill currently before Congress is that the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste project receives no new funding for 2015–much to the chagrin of some in the nuclear industry and its Washington backers.

Small victories do matter, and that is indeed a victory. Although given the makeup of the incoming Congress, the next budget could well include a ton of taxpayer dollars directed once again at that failed endeavor. Congress has never been too concerned with the concept of “good money after bad.” Continue reading

Why is the US teaming with Russia to gut international nuclear safety standards?

The U.S. is teaming up with the people who brought us Chernobyl. Not in an effort to improve nuclear safety, but to block new safety rules proposed by Europe.

The U.S. is teaming up with the people who brought us Chernobyl. Not in an effort to improve nuclear safety, but to block new safety rules proposed by Europe.

Even after 30 years at NIRS, some days the news is just so appalling that it makes one want to scream. And some days, the actions of the U.S. government–regardless of who is in charge–are just wrong on so many levels that it makes one embarrassed to be an American.

Today is one of those days.
Continue reading

The utility pushback against clean energy accelerates

A wind farm in south-central Kansas. Wind has brought enormous benefits to the state over the past decade. Is the state ready to throw that away for ideological reasons?

A wind farm in south-central Kansas. Wind has brought enormous benefits to the state over the past decade. Is the state ready to throw that away for ideological reasons?

We have been saying for months that the nuclear and coal industries are on the ropes–that’s true and grows more evident daily. But on the ropes doesn’t mean dead, and, as we have been warning for months, large, wealthy industries like these don’t go down easily.

NIRS’ Tim Judson laid out the industry’s plans in his September paper, Killing the Competition, and the industry is following the script he predicted. Now, in the lull between the comment period of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and its final revision, followed by each state having to develop a State Implementation Plan, the nuclear and fossil fuel industry’s pushback against the clean energy future that threatens to make them extinct is accelerating across the country. Continue reading

Nukes, climate, and the actions of thousands

noradsymbolartYesterday was, in some ways, the culmination of months of NIRS’ work on nuclear power and climate issues, as we showered the Environmental Protection Agency with many thousands of public comments on its proposed Clean Power Plan. That followed months of outreach that resulted in the turnout of many thousands–far more than we had expected–for the Nuclear-Free, Carbon-Free Contingent to the People’s Climate March in September. Continue reading