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Comment Nuclear subsidies are forever (Score 1) 212

Nuclear has had vast subsidies to get started, but it turned out to also need them to opperate, the Price-Anderson subsidy, if eliminated, would close all nuclear power instantly. And, owing to nuclear waste manegement intractability, it will need subsidies long after all power plants close. Nuclear has been a losing proposition from the start, and we can only hope that the irresponsible run-to-failure attitude of some operators won't result in tremendously more public expense.

Comment Re: Mature technology (Score 0) 212

The subsidies seem to be driving costs down so it may be economically beneficial to continue them for a while longer. It is also cheaper now to close nuclear and replace with wind and solar so subsidies may help to make that switch more rapid and save money overall. Climate action may also argue for subsidies, averting future economic damage.

Comment Wrong calculation (Score 1) 212

Solar and wind have not finished producing power that the subsidies supported while nuclear plants are closing but will still draw subsidies for thousands of years without producing more power. The solar and wind subsidies will dilute to a number indistinguishable from zero but nuclear will always be an expensive goverment induced market distortion, a bad choice from start to eternal filthy finish.

Submission + - Panel votes to extend nuclear power tax credit (thehill.com)

mdsolar writes: The House Ways and Means Committee voted Wednesday to remove a key deadline for a nuclear power plant tax credit.

The legislation from Reps. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) would remove the requirement that newly-built nuclear power plants be in service by 2020 in order to receive a tax credit for producing power.

The credit was first enacted in 2005 to spur construction of new nuclear plants, but it has gone completely unused because no new plants have come online since then.
The bill passed 23-9, with only Democrats opposed.

It would likely benefit two reactors under construction at Southern Co.’s Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in Georgia and another two at Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station in South Carolina. Both projects are at risk of missing the 2020 deadline.

Rice emphasized that it is not an expansion of the tax credit, because it can still be applied only to a total of 6,000 megawatts of generating capacity, as it was written in 2005.

“This bill ensures that the 6,000-megawatt capacity authorized by Congress in 2005 is fulfilled as intended, and stops there. This is not an expansion of the program,” Rice said at the committee meeting.

“When Congress passed the 2005 act, it could not have contemplated the effort it would take to get a nuclear plant designed and licensed.”

Blumenauer said he supports the legislation because he believes it could make small modular nuclear reactors a reality.

“It’s part of our future to see if we can make nuclear energy work in a way that’s safe and effective and manageable. Making this production credit work with this technology is an important step in that direction,” he said.

But some Democrats and environmentalists opposed the bill due to their overall objections to nuclear power. They pushed the Ways and Means Committee to instead act on renewable power tax incentives, such as credits for geothermal and similar technologies that were left out of a wide-ranging tax bill last year.

“I think the real problem with nuclear power is that it does better in a socialist economy than in a capitalist one, because nuclear energy prefers to have the public do the cleanup, do the insurance, cover all of the losses and it only wants the profits,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas).

Submission + - EPA Proposes New Water Rules for Nuclear Emergencies (wsj.com)

mdsolar writes: In the wake of a nuclear emergency, the Environmental Protection Agency thinks it would be acceptable for the public to temporarily drink water containing radioactive contamination at up to thousands of times normal federal safety limits.

The agency is proposing this in new drinking-water guidelines for use in the weeks or months after a radiological event, such as a nuclear-power-plant accident or terrorist “dirty” bomb.

The EPA has been looking for years at issuing drinking-water guidelines as part of a broader set of recommendations about what to do if radioactive material is released into the environment. Agency officials have said the 2011 accident at the Fukushima nuclear complex in Japan, where radiation was released, influenced their thinking on the matter.

Public comments on the proposed drinking-water guidelines are still being evaluated and the EPA expects to release a final document sometime this year, an agency spokeswoman said.

In written filings, the EPA said its normal radiation-safety limits, which are based on presumed exposures over decades, can be relaxed for a relatively brief period in the wake of emergencies without unduly increasing people’s risk of harm. The new guidelines would help officials decide when protective actions, such as bringing in bottled water, are needed.

Opponents of the EPA drinking-water proposal, including the New York attorney general and environmental groups, say the initiative represents a drastic departure from normal protection limits and could endanger people’s health. Internal EPA documents written by agency officials and obtained by environmentalists under the Freedom of Information Act, also raised concerns.

Submission + - Unfinished Nuclear Plant, 4 Decades and $5 Billion Later, Will Be Sold (nytimes.com)

mdsolar writes: After spending more than 40 years and $5 billion on an unfinished nuclear power plant in northeastern Alabama, the nation’s largest federal utility is preparing to sell the property at a fraction of its cost.

The utility, the Tennessee Valley Authority, has set a minimum bid of $36.4 million for its Bellefonte Nuclear Plant and 1,600 surrounding acres of waterfront property on the Tennessee River. The deal includes two unfinished nuclear reactors, transmission lines, office and warehouse buildings, eight miles of roads and a 1,000-space parking lot.

Initial bids are due Monday, and at least one company has expressed interest in the site, with plans to use it for alternative energy production. But the utility is not particular about what the buyer does — using the site for power production, industrial manufacturing, recreation or even residences would all be fine, said Scott Fiedler, an agency spokesman.

“It’s all about jobs and investment, and that’s our primary goal for selling this property,” Mr. Fiedler said. The utility hopes to close the deal in October.

The interested buyer, Phoenix Energy, based in Nevada, has said it will offer $38 million for Bellefonte in hopes of using it for a non-nuclear technology to generate power.

Submission + - Sellafield safety concerns over staff shortages and nuclear waste stored in plas (telegraph.co.uk)

mdsolar writes: Britain’s biggest and most toxic nuclear waste site is facing fresh questions over its safety after allegations that staffing levels are frequently too low and that radioactive waste is being stored in degrading plastic bottles.

If a fire were to break out at the Sellafield site in Cumbria, it could “generate a plume of radiological waste that will go across Western Europe”, one whistleblower claims in a BBC Panorama documentary.

Staffing at Sellafield fell below the “minimum safety manning level” on average once a week in the six months to May this year, according to figures obtained by the BBC. In the year to July 2013, there were 97 incidents with too few workers, it said.

The Cumbrian site is also still storing radioactive plutonium and uranium in plastic bottles originally intended for temporary storage, some of which are now degrading, it claimed.

While Sellafield is working to deal with the bottles, there are still more than 2,000 of them on site, it claimed.

Sellafield is home to the majority of the UK’s nuclear waste, much of it housed in ponds and silos constructed in the 1940s and 50s. The eventual clean-up is expected to take more than 100 years and cost tens of billions of pounds.

The BBC allegations are the latest in a series of safety concerns to be raised about the site, which in 2013 was fined £700,000 after sending bags of radioactive waste to a regular landfill rubbish dump.

Submission + - SPAM: Typhoons cause 'ice wall' to melt at Fukushima nuclear plant

mdsolar writes: Rainfall from recent typhoons caused partial melting of the “ice wall” at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, allowing highly radioactive water to leak from around the damaged reactor buildings, the plant’s operator said Sept. 1.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said melting occurred at two sections of the ice wall, which is designed to divert groundwater away from the reactor buildings.
TEPCO officials believe that during the latest typhoon, contaminated water from around the reactor buildings flowed through openings of the ice wall created by the deluge and reached downstream toward the sea.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - SPAM: OPPD announces official closing date for Fort Calhoun nuclear plant: Oct. 24

mdsolar writes: The Omaha Public Power District will permanently shut down its nuclear plant at Fort Calhoun on Oct. 24, according to a recent letter from the utility’s top executive to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Correspondence obtained by The World-Herald and dated Aug. 25 was sent to officials at the NRC and the State of Nebraska.

“OPPD has completed analysis of the factors influencing the date for shutdown of (Fort Calhoun),” OPPD President and Chief Executive Tim Burke said in the letter.

Thus will kick into gear the plant’s decommissioning, which includes the removal and transfer of nuclear fuel from the reactor into the spent fuel pool. That’s where the fuel rods will be placed for about 18 months while they burn off energy to the point they can cool to a level that permits transfer into a more permanent storage facility.

In all, the decommissioning process could take up to 60 years and will cost OPPD as much as $1.5 billion.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - SPAM: Canadian Medical Association completes divestment from fossil fuels

mdsolar writes: The Canadian Medical Association’s General Council, held last week in Vancouver, may well be remembered as the moment that Canadian MDs made climate change — dubbed “the biggest health threat of the 21st century” by the World Health Organization — a priority.

First, the diagnosis of climate change as a health emergency was laid out in detail by one of Canada’s most well-respected doctors, Dr. James Orbinski, who accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) in 1999. The Canadian Medical Association then confirmed it had in fact completed the divestment of its organizational funds from fossil fuels.

The meeting kicked off with a keynote address by Dr. Orbinski, one of Canada’s most noted humanitarians. “There is no question that climate change is the biggest health threat of our time,” he said, adding that "we cannot possibly live, we cannot possibly survive, we cannot possibly thrive” without a functioning biosphere. He spoke of the disproportionate impacts on Canada’s North, where temperature increases are already in the range of three degrees Celsius, and about the risks of extreme weather, wildfires, flooding and changing patterns of infectious disease.

One of the most passionate moments of Dr. Orbinski’s speech came when he was discussing the malnutrition and food-security risks of climate change.

“In 2011, climate-change driven drought affected 13 million people and 500,000 people died, in the Horn of Africa. This is utterly unacceptable," he said. "That we simply know this and we allow it to continue. It requires that we see ourselves differently in relation to others in the world. This is the consequence of climate change. It is profound and it is utterly unacceptable.“

Link to Original Source

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