Nuclear Newsreel, Friday, January 24, 2014

Can clean energy replace the shuttered San Onofre reactors in California? Why yes, it can. But it won’t happen automatically: the utilities that owned the reactors may not like the idea of so much rooftop solar they don’t control; they’d rather have new natural gas plants.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) once again plays politics with Paducah uranium enrichment plant workers. On Wednesday, we pointed out a long piece from Huffington Post published last June detailing McConnell’s relationship with the facility and US Enrichment Corporation (USEC). For many years, McConnell ignored rising evidence of serious health problems both among the workforce and in neighboring communities caused by radiation from the plant. Finally, after an expose in the Washington Post, he acted to set up a health fund for plant workers–but not for affected residents in nearby communities, who were left on their own. Now, as McConnell is running in a primary against a Tea Party challenger, his first TV ads tout his support for the plant workers. But The Huffington Post argues the plant may turn out to be a liability for McConnell: it’s been shut down and most plant workers already have been or will be laid off. And the plant’s owner, USEC, which has been floating entirely on taxpayer largesse, is expected to declare bankruptcy early this year.

GE/Hitachi fined $2.7 million over false statements made to NRC about new reactor design. The statements were made during the NRC’s design certification review for the company’s ESBWR reactor design. Not that anyone is actually building one of those at the moment, though Detroit Edison says it wants to at its Fermi site near Detroit…

Another day, another radioactive tritium leak: this one yesterday at the Perry reactor near Cleveland.

First potential offshore wind farm in U.S. survives Koch-backed lawsuit, but faces another. This was the 12th lawsuit attempting to stop the proposed Cape Wind project off of Cape Cod, and the Cape Wind developers have won every one of them. But the Koch Brothers seem to have unlimited money and a distate for all forms of clean energy, so they’re trying another lawsuit.

Lux Research: Solar prices to fall by up to 30% by 2020. No surprise there given the rate solar prices have been falling. If anything, this may turn out to be a conservative prediction.

Solar power deserves a shout out today! So say it loud! A very good blog piece on solar power from our friends at Southern Alliance for Clean Energy prepared for today’s Solar Power Shout Out.

China may have deployed more solar in 2013 than America has installed period. Shuffling through Chinese statistics apparently isn’t all that easy, so a concrete conclusion is still elusive, but Bloomberg New Energy Finance says China may have installed 12,000 MW of new solar power last year. The previous high worldwide for one year was Germany, in 2010, with 8,000 MW. The U.S. currently has just over 10,000 MW of installed solar power, but is growing rapidly, and actually installed more new solar than Germany last year.

If you missed our post yesterday replying to one of four climate scientists who responded to a grassroots letter signed by 300+ groups urging them to reconsider their support for nuclear power as a climate strategy, just scroll down. We think it’s worth a read.

Michael Mariotte


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