Tag Archives: Google

Nuclear Newsreel, Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Waste Control Specialists radioactive waste dump in Andrews County, Texas. WCS wants to triple the site's capacity and slash its liability at the same time.

The Waste Control Specialists radioactive waste dump in Andrews County, Texas. WCS wants to triple the site’s capacity and slash its liability at the same time.

It’s been a while since we caught up on the news, so let’s jump right in….

Nuclear Power

EPA chief Gina McCarthy has in essence admitted that our analysis of the EPA’s proposed carbon rules is correct: they are intended to boost the nuclear power industry, and are especially an effort to protect those uneconomic reactors–mostly owned by Exelon–that would close without more subsidies. However, McCarthy also demonstrated that she doesn’t know much about nuclear power or the reactors she’s trying to keep open: “There are a handful of nuclear facilities that because they are having trouble remaining competitive, they haven’t yet looked at re-licensing (to extend their operating lives). We were simply highlighting that fact,” McCarthy said at a round-table discussion with business leaders in Chicago. In fact, of the dozen or so reactors that have been publicly cited as in danger of closing because they’re losing money, only Exelon’s Clinton reactor has yet to receive a license extension. Perhaps that lack of knowledge at the top levels of the EPA is the reason the proposed rule is so inartfully worded.

In any case, McCarthy’s admission is just one more reason to make sure the largest possible response is provided to the EPA. The first step is signing and spreading the word about the NIRS/CREDOMobilize petition here. The next step is to begin organizing to attend, speak out and protest at the four public meetings EPA is setting up for public comment.  Continue reading


The nuclear industry’s Earth Week assault on renewables, electricity markets

The Clinton nuclear reactor nearly bankrupted the small utility and rural co-ops that originally built it. Despite being bought for a few cents on the dollar by Exelon, it still isn't economic and may face shutdown. Photo by cryptome.org.

The Clinton nuclear reactor nearly bankrupted the small utility and rural co-ops that originally built it. Despite being bought for a few cents on the dollar by Exelon, it still isn’t economic and may face shutdown. Photo by cryptome.org.

As we’ve warned several times over the past few weeks, the nuclear industry is not taking the threat of more reactor shutdowns lying down–not simply because many of their reactors can’t compete against renewables and gas anymore. With the recent formation of the front group Nuclear Matters, which exists only to defend operating reactors and appears to be funded solely by Exelon; in numerous and clearly coordinated op-eds placed in key media outlets in Exelon and Entergy’s service areas; in an increasing number of public appearances by top executives from nuclear and fossil fuel-dominated utilities; and in an unknown number of backroom lobbying visits, the nuclear industry is waging a full-press campaign to hang on to its aging dinosaurs as long as possible.

That campaign intensified this week, beginning on Earth Day, with a new and more explicit assault on renewables, some revised framing of their arguments, and at least some new details on the kind of bailouts and market-rigging the industry wants to support existing nuclear reactors at ratepayer expense.

Fortunately, the wind power industry, at least, has begun to fight back. Anti-nuclear activists need to do the same.

Continue reading

Nuclear Newsreel, Tuesday, February 4, 2014

EPA seeks to “modernize” radiation standards. At least that’s how The Hill put it. What really appears to be happening is a new effort to reduce current levels of protection–which are already inadequate. NIRS will be analyzing the EPA’s proposed new rules and letting you know their implications and how you can participate in pushing back against industry-dominated “reforms” and use this opportunity to act to improve them instead.

Minnesotans: feeling lucky with that reactor at Monticello? Nice op-ed from John LaForge at Nukewatch published in the St. Cloud Times, and a great example of how activists can help keep nuclear issues in the public eye. There are thousands of newspapers in the United States that accept op-eds, and there are thousands more online blogs, magazines and other periodicals. Let’s keep them well-stocked with articles on nuclear and clean energy issues.

Another great example of activists in action: Alliance for a Clean Environment (ACE) documents radiation spikes near Limerick nuclear reactors near Philadelphia–and then gets the results published in the local newspaper.

Yesterday we wrote about Comcast’s plan to start selling electricity in Pennsylvania. Today, it’s Google’s turn–a quick look at Google’s march to becoming an energy company.

Outgoing Duke Energy Chairman Jim Rogers says some rather startling things in a farewell interview with EnergyBiz magazine. While he still supports nuclear power, he says that if he were beginning his career now, he’d be an insurgent. Indeed, he sounds a lot like someone from Google, “I would come into the industry as someone who is an attacker, not a defender. I’d want the solar on the rooftop. I’d want to run that. I’d want the ability to deploy new technologies that lead to productivity gains to the use of electricity in homes and businesses. I would go after the monopoly that I see weakened over the last 25 years. My goal would be to take customers away from utilities as fast as I could, because I think they’re vulnerable. Regulations will not be changed fast enough to protect them. The business model will not be changed fast enough.”

Michael Mariotte

Permalink: https://safeenergy.org/2014/02/04/nuclear-newsreel-tuesday-february-4-2014/

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Nuclear Newsreel, Thursday, January 23, 2014

This article is pretty skimpy on information, but this can’t possibly go well: it seems that Iran, France & Argentina are teaming up to encourage construction of a new reactor in Bolivia. If true, we guess France isn’t really all that worried about Iran’s nuclear programs….

EcoWatch: Japanese cooperatives collaborate to help monitor Fukushima radiation in soil and food.
Ukrainian power prices likely to double for nuclear safety upgrades; green groups want investment in renewables instead. I’ll refrain from saying a lot about Ukraine right now–my wife is Ukrainian and is plugged into constant livefeeds from the Maidan. I’ve been to Ukraine several times, some for extended visits, and what’s happening there this week is both inspiring and horrifying. But I will say the Yanukovich government is both self-serving and incredibly incompetent at anything that is not self-serving. In this case, those multi-billion dollar loans from Russia–and all the strings that come with them–aren’t going to help matters that much when money for fundamental needs like electricity is being diverted to prop up Ukraine’s aging and extremely dangerous fleet of Soviet-era nuclear reactors rather than being invested in a more modern energy infrastructure. Of course, in this case much of the electricity from Ukraine’s reactors is for export–yet it is Ukrainian ratepayers who will have to bear the burden of the increased costs.

Outgoing California PUC Commissioner warns that utilities would strangle rooftop solar if they could and that the PUC has to continue to keep a close eye on them. But he also added that California has far more opportunity to shape energy policy than is the case at the federal level right now. “We are at an inflection point where the convergence of new technologies, changing economics and, I hope, an added urgency to address our deteriorating climate, will combine to create exciting new business and policy opportunities,” said outgoing Commissioner Mark Ferron. The PUC is also going to have its hands full as the campaign to close the state’s last nuclear reactors, at Diablo Canyon, heats up this year.

The American Wind Energy Association debunks myths about wind power’s impact on wildlife. Anti-wind power forces (often funded by fossil fuel and nuclear interests) continue to perpetuate the myth that wind turbines kill huge numbers of birds. Actually, they don’t–at least not the kinds of numbers those interests would have you believe. And the industry is getting better and better at reducing its impact on wildlife. Compare that to the ongoing devastation of marine life caused by once-through cooling systems used by many nuclear reactors. At both California’s Diablo Canyon and New York’s Indian Point reactors, the killing of marine life is at a point where state action to force cooling towers is a major roadblock to their continued operation. Licensed to Kill, published by NIRS and other groups back in 2001, first brought the issue to public attention and remains the most thorough investigation of the impact of nuclear power on marine life.

New Jersey Sierra Club files petition to require the state to set energy efficiency targets; charges Gov. Christie and legislature have diverted clean energy program funds. North Carolina has supplanted New Jersey as the state with the second-most installed solar capacity (behind California), and the Sierra Club says that New Jersey was once a national leader in energy efficiency, but has fallen to the middle of the pack.

Perhaps there is at least one progressive sector in government these days: according to a U.S. Conference of Mayors survey, mayors across the country are planning significant investments in energy efficiency over the next five years. Yet another reason why utilities should not be relying on past projections of increased electrical demand.

The Iowa Supreme Court will decide the fate of rooftop solar power in the state and perhaps set a precedent for other midwestern states as well. Utility companies want to protect their monopoly and say they should be the only ones allowed to provide electricity to customers. If the Court upholds that view, it will prevent the growing practice of other companies leasing or selling solar PV systems directly to customers. A District Court judge last March ruled in favor of the solar companies–hopefully the Supreme Court will follow suit. Seems to us this is not only about smart energy policy, but about fundamental democracy. Why shouldn’t people be allowed to use alternatives to the utility monopoly?

Duke Power teams up with far-right ALEC to attack growing use of solar power in North Carolina. Even though a startling 40% of North Carolina state legislators are members of ALEC, the extremist group (is there any other accurate way to describe them) failed in previous attempts to overturn state law beneficial to solar power. This year, as it is doing in other states, ALEC is attempting to repeal net metering laws, which allow ratepayers to sell any excess solar power back to the grid, and which, as solar becomes more widely adopted, reduces the need for expensive nuclear and fossil fuel power. ALEC and Duke need to be defeated again.

Some 200 energy experts issued a report yesterday to President Obama telling him bluntly: you don’t need Congress. The report recommends a number of actions the President can take on his own to support clean energy and help prepare the country for the energy systems of the 21st century. We don’t agree with all of them (and we haven’t see the full report, just the executive summary)–especially on natural gas–but we’re pleased to see that nuclear is not being promoted, at least it isn’t mentioned in the summary. This National Journal article includes a link to the executive summary.

Is Google becoming an energy company? Yes, that’s probably an important question. Here’s one opinion.

Two articles today from SmartGridNews on the future of smart grids and distributed generation. This piece points out that while distributed generation provides a firm foundation to integrate Solar PV into the grid, policy needs to catch up with technological advances. This article takes a similar view but goes into more detail about what needs to be done.

Michael Mariotte

Permalink: https://safeenergy.org/2014/01/23/nuclear-newsreel-January-23-2014/

Note: If you’d like to receive GreenWorld via e-mail when new posts are published, send your name and e-mail address to nirsnet@nirs.org and we’ll send you an invitation. Note that the invitation will come from a GreenWorld address and not a nirs.org address, so watch for it.