Nuclear Newsreel, Thursday, April 3, 2014

Nuclear Power

Another day, another poll–this one from Gallup–showing Americans support renewables & conservation, oppose more nukes. You’d think politicians, who are supposedly expert at reading polls, might have figured out which side of the issue to be on by now. But they haven’t.

Eight hour Alert over after smoke seen at Exelon’s Fukushima-clone Quad Cities nukes. Cause not yet known.

First inspectors re-enter New Mexico’s WIPP nuclear waste site after leak; however, no information has yet been revealed on what caused radiation releases on two occasions in the past two months.  Meanwhile, an expert witness in the original WIPP licensing hearing writes in the Santa Fe New Mexican that the problems at WIPP are greater than has been let on so far. Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips concludes:

Many years ago, at a public hearing in Albuquerque, WIPP proponents argued that if the WIPP site should fail, the site could be cleaned up by “overcoring” the barrels of radioactive waste, removing both the barrels and the contaminated salt, and “hauling it away.” Members of the audience responded, spontaneously, almost in unison, by asking: “Where is away?”

There is no “away.” There is no other repository ready to receive the waste from WIPP. This is why so many of us had urged the DOE to leave the waste above ground, in double containers, where it could be readily monitored for any leakage and be readily retrieved if necessary. The task now before us monumental. How to retrieve the waste at WIPP without further compromising the integrity of the site is a challenge of epic proportions.

What says “good for business” better than a high-level radwaste dump? Texas Gov. Rick Perry may be the first Governor ever who likes high-level radwaste so much he wants to open a new dump in Texas.

Excellent piece from excellent paper: There’s a lot of gall in Duke Energy’s latest move suing over unbuilt reactors.

The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) released a new study yesterday stating that it does not expect large numbers of people to contract cancer and other diseases from exposure to Fukushima radiation–certainly not enough to impact the country’s current cancer rate. But the committee did note a “theoretical possibility” of increased thyroid cancers among exposed children, who are more vulnerable to radiation expsoure.

In a quick analysis of the report, Dr. Ian Fairlie, co-author of The TORCH report--what we believe is the most reliable study on Chernobyl effects–for the most part agrees with UNSCEAR’s estimate of the collective dose from Fukushima radiation, but calculates that means approximately 5,000 people will die as a result of exposure from the accident. Even if that’s not enough to increase the cancer rate, it’s still a lot of people.

One half of the new "Safe Confinement" at Chernobyl.

One half of the new “Safe Confinement” at Chernobyl.

Despite the continuing difficulties in Ukraine, work at the Chernobyl disaster site continues. That’s probably because the funding is coming from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and not the country’s looted coffers. The first half of the New Safe Confinement, which is designed to last 100 years and thus allow full decommissioning of the site, has been completed and soon will be rolled over the existing and hastily constructed sarcophagus.

Good-bye and Good Riddance! Electricite de France (EDF) and Exelon have reached a deal that enables EDF to leave the U.S. nuclear power business. EDF is half-owner of Constellation Energy’s five operating reactors, which Exelon obtained when it bought Constellation last year. EDF joined with Constellation in the mid-2000s to build new Areva EPR reactors in the U.S. at Calvert Cliffs, MD and Nine Mile Point, NY, two projects that ended poorly for the company. EDF was denied a license for Calvert Cliffs-3 and has officially withdrawn the license for Nine Mile Point-3.

Clean Energy

Writing for CleanTechnica, Chip Martin warns that utilities claim to love solar power so much that they’re planning to smother it to death. Actually, the utilities involved don’t really solar at all, they’re just constantly looking for new ways to prevent its widespread adoption and the accompanying threats to their profits and very existence.

Inside Washington

Yesterday we noted that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (R-OR) had introduced a new tax extenders bill without including production tax credits for renewables, and said that he was likely to introduce those as amendments to the bill. Well, this morning Wyden introduced a new version of the bill, and those tax credits are back in it, with a two-year extension. We’ve heard the credits have bipartisan support, and now expect them to pass the full Senate. But what happens to the legislation in the House is anyone’s guess at this point.

Michael Mariotte

April 3, 2014

Permalink: https://safeenergy.org/2014/04/03/nuclear-newsreel-thursday-april-3-2014/  

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