mdsolar writes ""CLINTON, Ill.—
— Exelon's six nuclear power plants in Illinois have failed to turn a profit over the last five years, and the 27-year-old plant here is the most vulnerable for closing, a Chicago Tribune analysis has found.
Chicago-based Exelon, parent of Commonwealth Edison, and the nation's largest operator of nuclear power plants, said last month that unless market conditions improve, it will announce plant closings by the end of this year.""Link to Original Source
mdsolar writes ""Safety problems that triggered extra inspections or oversight by regulators declined again last year at U.S. nuclear power plants.
But a nuclear watchdog group said Thursday that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission continues to be marred by inconsistent enforcement and safety lapses in overseeing America’s 100 nuclear power plants.
“Like Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic character Dr. Jekyll, the NRC is plagued by a split personality,” said David Lochbaum, the Chattanooga-based director of the Union of Concerned Scientists Nuclear Safety Project. “In many cases, the agency does an admirable job protecting the public and industry workers by enforcing safety regulations. But the agency too often turns into Mr. Hyde, and that kind of behavior could lead to a serious accident.”....
Last year, there were 14 instances at 10 nuclear plants that prompted extra NRC inspections and oversight, which Lochbaum termed “near misses.” That was the smallest number since the Union of Concerned Scientists began tracking such events in 2010.
“While both the number and severity of near-misses dropped in 2013 compared with events from 2010 to 2012, it is far from time to declare victory and reallocate resources and attention elsewhere,” Lochbaum said.""Link to Original Source
mdsolar writes "Federal regulators and Entergy are ignoring lessons from the Fukushima disaster in Japan and relying on "entirely unrealistic and unreasonable" assumptions about what would happen if there was a severe accident at the Indian Point nuclear power plant, according to the state attorney general.
Those include determining the region could be decontaminated within 90 days, which, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office said, would require 1.5 million workers. It also said the cleanup's price tag in a worst-case scenario could top $1 trillion, seven times more than Entergy has estimated."Link to Original Source
mdsolar writes "Officials of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the nuclear power industry expect the first application to be filed with the agency in 2018 or 2019 for a license renewal to operate a power reactor or reactors beyond 60 years.
At a Nuclear Energy Institute forum in Washington Tuesday, neither NRC nor industry officials named specific plants considered likely to apply, and it was not clear from their remarks if any nuclear operator has yet volunteered to be the first to apply."Link to Original Source
mdsolar writes ""From 2011 through 2013, as the overwhelming majority of the new reactors that had been proposed as part of the “Nuclear Renaissance” were abandoned or delayed, the industry blamed low natural gas prices. In 2013, when five old reactors were retired early, and today with many old reactors being considered for early retirement, the industry blames low wholesale prices that result from a market that is distorted by the entry of subsidized wind power.
The irony in these complaints is that for fifty years the selection of generating capacity has been rigged in favor of nuclear power with socialized accident insurance and waste management costs, forced purchase of overpriced power, and advanced recovery of construction costs. Nuclear advocates complaining about policies that balance things out a bit to give other generation resources a decent chance of delivering electricity would be laughably hypocritical, if it weren’t so important. In fact, if the playing field were actually level, nuclear would be in even more trouble than it is.""Link to Original Source
mdsolar writes "Winter is the time when nuclear power ought to be at its best. Cooling water is not lacking which sometimes troubles summer operations. Electricity demand is high in the northern states, and with cold weather emergencies, an "extra reliable" power source ought to be appreciated. But starting with the troubled Indian Point reactor in NY on January 6 this year, there has been a rash of unplanned shutdowns of nuclear power reactors. Beaver Valley in PA went down the same day, while Fort Calhoun in NE had an ice blocked sluice gate on the 9th. The next day, Robinson in SC shutdown while on the 17th, Monticello in NM led both Harris in NC and Comanche Peak in TX on the 18th in going dark. In MD, Calvert Cliffs' double shutdown on the 22nd is causing grave concern at the NRC as it paints a history of carelessness and January closed out with two more shutdowns at Millstone in CT and Salem in NJ. Already this month two reactors have shutdown, one at Diablo Canyon in CA and twice now at North Anna in VA on first on the 2nd and then on the 9th of February.
While the nuclear power industry has been jaw boning about fuel supply diversity and some strain had been put on natural gas supply infrastructure in the Northeast with this winter's weather, does demonstrating nuclear unreliability like this really support their ideas or would a few more domestic natural gas pipe lines and under-river electric transmission lines down from Quebec be better investments in keeping warm in the winter?"Link to Original Source
mdsolar writes "Nuclear power plants are becoming uneconomical and closing. They can't compete in deregulated wholesale markets. In the Midwest, low natural gas prices are keeping wholesale prices low and aging nuclear plants can't catch up with deferred maintenance and still make a profit. In the Northeast, a history of dishonesty on the part of Entergy, an owner of used nuclear power plants, has made it difficult for them to get long term contracts and has turned eyes towards hydro power from Quebec. Markets should punish incompetence and dishonesty. But Forbes is claiming that these deregulated markets are artificial, and we need to look to the Southeast for real markets: markets where regulators choose forms of generation and guarantee profits for large utilities while working to keep competition out through lobbying against renewable energy standards. Those markets don't seem to lack artificiality. According to detailed analysis, dumping nuclear power makes achieving climate goals less costly as well. Forbes, living in backwards world, claims that keeping uneconomical nuclear plants helps rather than hurts these goals. Nuclear power started life with lies about low costs, claiming it would be too cheap to meter. Many people lost their investments in the 1970's and 80's as this was revealed as a lie. They just can't seem to help themselves. They are too compulsive to come clean. Lots of other deceptions in this piece, See how many you find."Link to Original Source
mdsolar writes ""[T]he nuclear power industry's three top potential allies — government, bankers and consumers — [are] unhappy. That is a public relations disaster.
Nuclear's legitimate arguments now fall on deaf ears when the industry claims it can produce electricity 24/7 with low emissions, reduce a reliance on high-polluting coal and ease a rapidly rising dependence on low-cost natural gas.
What was supposed to be the industry's latest publicity coup — the 2013 documentary film Pandora's Promise, about longtime anti-nuke environmentalists turned pro-nuke missionaries — has generated little positive impact on public opinion so far. Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster did not help.
While crowing that this country should embrace a nuclear renaissance, the nuclear industry instead is watching its stable of 100-plus aging nuclear reactors across the nation start to falter. Already, as many as 38 reactors in 23 states are at risk of early retirements, with 12 of those facing the greatest risk of being shut down.
The Department of Energy is even reviewing one scenario under which a third of the country's reactors would be shuttered. So said DOE assistant secretary for nuclear energy Pete Lyons this past week during a nuclear energy conference in Washington, D.C.""Link to Original Source
mdsolar writes "Some of Exelon Corp.’s 10 nuclear power plants are unprofitable and may need to close in 2014 if “a path to sustainable profits” cannot be found, company President and CEO Chris Crane said in a Feb. 6 conference call to discuss fourth quarter results.
Exelon runs the nation’s largest nuclear fleet, operating 17 reactors in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. While Crane did not name the plants at risk, analysts believe the Clinton and Quad Cities plants, both in Illinois, are most in danger of shutdown."Link to Original Source
mdsolar writes "Winter is the time when nuclear power ought to be at its best. Cooling water is not lacking which sometimes troubles summer operations. Electricity demand is high in the northern states, and with cold weather emergencies, an "extra reliable" power source ought to be appreciated. But starting with the troubled Indian Point reactor in NY on January 6 this year, there has been a rash of unplanned shutdowns of nuclear power reactors. Beaver Valley in PA went down the same day, while Fort Calhoun in NE had an ice blocked sluice gate on the 9th. The next day, Robinson in SC shutdown while on the 17th Monticello in NM led both Harris in NC and Comanche Peak in TX on the 18th in going dark. Calvert Cliffs in MD's double shutdown on the 22nd is causing grave concern at the NRC as it paints a history of carelessness while January closed out with Millstone in CT and Salem in NJ. Already this month two reactors have shutdown at Diablo Canyon in CA and North Anna in VA.
While the nuclear power industry has been jaw boning about fuel supply diversity and some strain had been put on natural gas supply infrastructure with this winter's weather, does demonstrating nuclear unreliability really support their ideas or would a few more domestic natural gas pipe lines and electric transmission lines down from Quebec be better investments in keeping warm in the winter?"Link to Original Source
mdsolar writes "The European Commission is assessing how it should augment its nuclear disaster insurance. Ingmar Schumacher calls for full transparency of insurance costs in the cost-benefit evaluation of the nuclear industry.
The continuing nuclear disaster at Fukushima has concentrated minds on the risks of nuclear catastrope in Europe — all the more so as estimates of Fukushima's cost rise towards a giddying US$500 billion.
And so it is that the European Commission is considering whether, and how, it should amend the insurance of nuclear power plants on European territory. In the event of the unthinkable taking place in a European reactor, who will pay the cost?"Link to Original Source
mdsolar writes ""In a new twist to a widening tale of ethical lapses in the military, the Navy is investigating cheating allegations against about one-fifth of its trainers at a school for naval nuclear power reactor operators.
It is the second exam-cheating scandal to hit the military this year, on top of a series of disclosures in recent months of ethical lapses at all ranks in the military as it transitions from more than a decade of war-fighting.
Unlike an Air Force cheating probe that has implicated nearly 100 officers responsible for land-based nuclear missiles that stand ready for short-notice launch, those implicated in the Navy investigation have no responsibility for nuclear weapons."
The trouble with eternal vigilance is that sometimes you blink and eventually you'll blink at just the wrong time...."Link to Original Source
mdsolar writes "Seventeen foundations announced their commitment to divest their stocks of fossil fuel companies Thursday, and pledged to invest in companies working in renewable energy, efficiency and other environmental causes.
The foundations, which together control about $1.8 billion in investments, have joined to form the Divest-Invest Philanthropy, an organization that includes groups such as the Ben and Jerry’s Foundation, the Park Foundation and the Wallace Global Fund.
Ellen Dorsey, Executive Director of the Wallace Global Fund, said on a press call Thursday that foundations face ethical as well as financial imperatives to divest their stocks of fossil fuel companies. The Wallace Global Fund’s main priority is environmental health, and that, coupled with the “readily available” and profitable investment opportunities in clean energy, made divestment a logical choice for the Fund, Dorsey said. The Fund’s portfolio is nearly 100 percent free of fossil fuel companies."Link to Original Source
mdsolar writes "Just over half of the 183 nuclear missile launch officers at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana have been implicated in a widening exam cheating scandal, the Air Force said on Thursday, acknowledging it had "systemic" problem within its ranks.
The cheating was discovered during an investigation into illegal drug possession among airmen, when test answers were found in a text message on one missile launch officer's cell phone. The Air Force initially said 34 officers either knew about the cheating or cheated themselves.
But Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told a Pentagon news conference on Thursday that the total number of implicated officers had grown to 92, all of them at Malmstrom, one of three nuclear missile wings overseeing America's 450 inter-continental missiles, or ICBMs."Link to Original Source
mdsolar writes "Many of the issues faced today by opponents of tyranny have already been confronted by Pete Seeger. In 1955 he told the House Un-American Activities Committee “I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this.” He was then indited for Contempt of Congress. Blacklisted from TV, he found new ways to spread his message of liberty and anti-fascism eventually defeating censorship at the Smothers Brothers Show. Seeger passed away Monday at age 94."Link to Original Source