For years, the nuclear industry insisted that civilian nuclear power had nothing to do with weapons programs. That was then. Now, in a desperate attempt to keep no-longer-competitive nuclear plants from being shuttered, the industry claims there really has been a connection all along, and electricity customers should pay a premium to keep it going. It is one claim too many. In its latest public effort, the nuclear industry got several dozen retired generals and admirals, former State, Defense and Energy Department officials, three former chairmen of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and a sprinkling of former senators, governors, industrialists and other worthies to sign a June 26, 2018, letter to Energy Secretary Rick Perry attesting to the connection between U.S. nuclear power plants and national security. The letter urged him to weigh in with federal and state rate-setting bodies to raise customers’ electricity bills to keep U.S. nuclear plants from shutting down, however much that will cost. Nuclear power has not succeeded in escaping its origin. It was born in the federal government, was suckled by the government, and has always relied on government support and protection. The industry preferred a system of federal regulation that gave the public essentially no say in the deployment of nuclear plants. It was an easy path for the industry to get its way, but only for a time. The crutch that seemed to make it unnecessary to react to public and market feedback also held back improvements. Now that nuclear plants are threatened with shutdowns, the industry can only think of more federal and state subsidies. In this latest effort, the industry wraps itself in the flag to urge Washington to find a way to stick ratepayers with the tab. It should be ignored.
National Interest 8th Aug 2018 read more »
Nuclear power’s tenure as the leading source of zero-carbon electricity may be coming to an end. After decades of stalled nuclear plant development and the recent surge of increasingly cheap wind and solar deployments, the newcomers are pulling ahead. In the first five months of 2018, renewables produced 20.17 percent of U.S. electricity and nuclear produced 20.14 percent, according to Energy Information Administration data compiled by Ken Bossong of the Sun Day Campaign. A similar record was hit in the first three months of 2017. In the two most recent months included in the data set, April and May, renewables outproduced nuclear by more than 10 percent.
Green Tech Media 9th Aug 2018 read more »
A group of senators recently sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) expressing concern over a draft proposed rule on nuclear power plant decommissioning that has been presented to the commissioners for review. The rule includes proposed changes to emergency preparedness, physical security, cyber security, funding assurance, financial protection requirements and environmental considerations, among other issues. Sens. Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Kamala Harris (D-CA) said in their letter to NRC Chair Kristine L. Svinicki that the rule would limit the general public’s opportunity to participate in the decommissioning process. They also wrote that the rule does not adequately address concerns about the long-term storage of spent nuclear fuel and reduces financial protections, especially in case of an accident, which increases financial risk for taxpayers and communities. “By failing to propose a comprehensive set of decommissioning and cleanup regulations, by automatically approving facilities’ exemptions from safety, security and emergency planning regulations, and by continuing to rubber-stamp the industry’s post-shutdown decommissioning activities report, as currently drafted, this proposed regulation would abdicate the NRC’s responsibility to ensure the safety of these plants,” the senators wrote. “This is more an absence of rulemaking than a rule that will affirmatively guide plants and communities through the decommissioning process.”
Daily Energy Insider 9th Aug 2018 read more »
Rick Perry Rejects Facts in Favor of Coal and Nuclear Bailouts. As is typical with this administration, substance and science and evidence are inconsequential compared to ideology, and their attempts to bail out money-losing coal and nuclear plants are no exception. Here’s a quick take on how we got here and what to expect next.
Union of Concerned Scientists 9th Aug 2018 read more »
A $2.2 billion jump over eight months in the estimated cost to complete two nuclear reactors in Georgia could spell doom for the project. The actual increase won’t be final until the project’s budget is revised, and it will require that the private and public utility owners vote on whether to continue the work at Plant Vogtle. The project is about 67% complete, according to the latest estimate.
Bond Buyer 9th Aug 2018 read more »