Tag Archives: Pilgrim

Revisiting the pawn/toast prognostication as more reactors close

Another one bites the dust: New York's Fitzpatrick reactor will close permanently next year.

Another one bites the dust: New York’s Fukushima-clone Fitzpatrick reactor will close permanently next year.

In mid-September, I wrote a piece delving into prognostication–always a dangerous endeavor–identifying (with tongue slightly in cheek) the nation’s most troubled nuclear reactors and dividing them into two piles: pawn or toast. Toast was those reactors most likely to shut down; pawn indicated that while on the precipice, the utilities would go to great lengths to avoid shutting them down.

Only six weeks or so later, enough has happened to revisit that list and see how we’ve done. Continue reading

Pilgrim’s closure, and what’s next for New England.

Entergy's Pilgrim reactor--the latest victim of nuclear power's increasingly wretched economics, not to mention sustained citizen activism.

Entergy’s Pilgrim reactor–the latest victim of nuclear power’s increasingly wretched economics, not to mention sustained citizen activism. Photo by Enformable.

A generation or so ago, New England was one of the most nuclear-dependent regions in the nation. If one defines New England as including New York, then that relatively small corner of the U.S. map was home to 15 commercial nuclear reactors 25 years ago–only the state of Illinois had a more concentrated nuclear presence; regionally, no other area is even close to that concentration on a square-mile basis.

Today, New England is leading the nation away from nuclear power, and toward the energy efficient, renewables-powered system of the 21st century. Today’s news from Entergy that it will close its Pilgrim reactor by mid-2019–and probably a whole lot sooner–is just the latest manifestation of that process, and it’s a process that is accelerating. Continue reading

Mainstreaming the nuclear exit

Exelon's Ginna reactor in New York, one of a growing number of economically troubled reactors. Photo from IAEA.

Exelon’s Ginna reactor in New York, one of a growing number of economically troubled reactors. Photo from IAEA.

It’s no great revelation to say that the mainstream media, fractured though it may be these days, holds great power. It’s not direct power; the media can’t make actual decisions. Rather, the media grabs a theme–a meme if you want–and holds on to it, and repeats it, and provides slight twists to it so it can be repeated again, until it becomes accepted wisdom. While the media, especially the mainstream media, is often behind the curve, behind reality, once it catches up and snares and spreads that meme, it doesn’t take long for it to establish itself. And once a concept becomes accepted wisdom, then the actual decisions tend to follow in unison. As a group, politicians rarely stray far from accepted wisdom. Continue reading

Some unanswered questions

The Summer reactors construction site July 30 2015. As Alice Cooper once sang, "we still got a long way to go...." - (c) 2015 - SCHighFlyer@gmail.com

The Summer reactors construction site July 30 2015. As Alice Cooper once sang, “we still got a long way to go….” – (c) 2015 – SCHighFlyer@gmail.com

There are some questions that are simply unanswerable; for example, how is it that Donald Trump’s approval rating is not zero? What defect in the U.S. educational system has resulted in some actual adults, with actual grade school, high school, and perhaps even college degrees, believing that an egomaniacal, perennially publicity desperate billionaire has anyone’s interests in mind other than his own?

Then there are questions that just beg for an answer, but we probably won’t get one. Here are a few of those: Continue reading

The great nuclear bailout list: who’s a pawn, who’s toast.

Washington DC residents rally outside the District Building September 17, 2015 against Exelon's proposed takeover of Pepco.

Washington DC residents rally outside the District Building September 17, 2015 against Exelon’s proposed takeover of Pepco. Photo by Tim Judson

When a nuclear power utility says one of its reactors is economically troubled and it may close early, should you believe it? For that matter, when a nuclear power utility says anything at all, should you believe it?

Since the answer to the second question is almost always no, the answer to the first is self-evident. Continue reading

Still more ratepayer bailouts needed, says Entergy exec

"I've made it clear FitzPatrick [pictured here, from NRC] has been a marginal unit for a while," he said. "We're really counting on some positive changes in market design to be able to continue to run it," says Entergy exec William Mohl.

“I’ve made it clear FitzPatrick [pictured here, from NRC] has been a marginal unit for a while,” he said. “We’re really counting on some positive changes in market design to be able to continue to run it,” says Entergy exec William Mohl.

The nuclear power industry increasingly reminds one of nothing so much as the spoiled brat (or, possibly, the greedy king Midas) who, upon receiving a gift, instantly wants “more!”

Thus, when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) June 10 approved a plan put forth last December by the PJM grid–the largest of the three major grids in the U.S.–to reward high-performing power plants and penalize low-performing units, Entergy’s (the second largest nuclear utility) instant reaction was “more.” Continue reading

Visualizing the climate march

pcmpressnonukesWith just over three weeks to go until the September 21 People’s Climate March, we are receiving more and more questions from people about everything from logistical details to the message of the Nuclear-Free, Carbon-Free Contingent.

In some cases, we just don’t have answers yet–especially on some of the logistical issues, some of which are pretty important. The People’s Climate March didn’t exactly have everything planned when the organizers announced the event. From our perspective, it seems more like the event was announced with the hope that it would take off, and the planning would depend on the response.

Fortunately, the event has taken off and momentum clearly is building. About 200 buses to NYC are confirmed and more are being chartered from various areas of the country just about daily. There are special trains coming from the West Coast and from Washington DC. There are car caravans being set up. And, of course, with tens of millions of people living within commuting range of New York City, there is a huge local base to draw on who don’t need chartered buses or other special transportation. Continue reading