Did you catch "The Meltdown: Three Mile Island" on Netflix?
TMI remains a danger and TMIA is working hard to ensure the safety of our communities and the surrounding areas.
Learn more on this site and support our efforts. Join TMIA. To contact the TMIA office, call 717-233-7897.


The message about the soaring cost of NuScale’s proposed SMR is getting out.
"This is nuts:" European power prices go negative as springtime renewables soar | RenewEconomy
California prices are in negative territory this morning.  The Spring brings this out – solar production is high, loads are low.  Add some wind, and you have a glut.  
In the US, this is compounded by the production tax credit for earlier wind products.  Producers receive 1.9 cents/kwh when they produce.  So they continue producing when the price goes negative.  This is devastating for nuclear, as it does not have the flexibility to follow the market.  
In the Pacific Northwest, we have an interesting twist on this.  During the “fish flush” season, when juvenile salmon need to get to the ocean by the time their bodies evolve to salt water species, we have to run hydro through the turbines.  We cannot spill too much of it over the top, as that results in nitrogen supersaturation of the water, which can contribute to gas bubble disease in the juveniles.
But, the article that Arnie sent, with prices predicted to go to -235 Euro/MWh, is really quite extraordinary.

“This is nuts:” European power prices go negative as springtime renewables soar
31 May 2023

Balmy springtime weather across Europe and growing renewable energy capacity has led to multiple days of negative wholesale power prices across the continent, highlighting the need for increased energy storage capacity.
A number of factors have led to consistent negative wholesale power prices across Europe over the last few weeks.
Energy analyst Gerard Reid has been highlighting these trends stemming not only from increased renewables and favourable weather conditions, but also the impediment to stable generation levels caused by nuclear power.

For example, according to Reid, Denmark “consistently meets 85% of its weekly energy needs from renewables. However, on particularly windy days … Denmark’s strong interconnections with neighbouring countries enable it to export up to 50% of excess power.
“This demonstrates the benefits of interconnection, but it also reveals the limitations when considering the current situation of excess power across Europe.
“Countries like Spain, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden are experiencing zero or negative prices due to surplus production as they have reached the limit of what they can use or even export.”
Reid followed this up a week later, explaining that wholesale power prices dropping to zero or negative in the Nordics “stems from substantial snow melt in Norway, Sweden, and Finland, fuelling hydro turbines and generating large amounts of electricity.”
MetDesk meteorologist Theo Gkousarov concurred, explaining how the recent weather conditions have led to negative prices.
“An area of high pressure dominating across much of central and north-west Europe” resulted in ‘lots of solar power generation across the area,” he said.
Similarly, in Finland, “an oversupply of hydroelectric power” resulted from “excessive springtime meltwater”.
But it is not just the weather that is delivering abundant renewables, while also making life difficult for network operators.
“Additionally, the inflexibility of nuclear power exacerbates the situation, as it’s difficult to adjust its output,” explained Reid.
“Furthermore, the region witnessed the addition of new generation capacity last year, including 5 GW of wind power and the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor in Finland, boasting a capacity of 1.6 GW.
“Simultaneously, weak power demand in the Nordics, primarily due to Sweden’s weak economic environment, compounds the issue of oversupply. Consequently, the least flexible generators, such as run-of-the-river hydro and nuclear plants, incur costs to offload excess power.”
Reid and Gkousarov both highlighted the recent price volatility of wholesale power prices across Europe that has been seen over the last 10 days.
Over the weekend in Europe, negative wholesale prices hit across a huge portion of Europe, with prices rising from negative by on average EUR100 per MWh when the sun set.
On Sunday, power prices in the Netherlands were expected to hit negative EUR235/MWh, while prices in Germany at lunchtime hit -EUR129/MWh.
As Reid put it: “This is nuts.”
The problem is that companies are having to pay to offload excess electricity generated due to the inflexibility in the systems.
And while long-term solutions, according to Reid, include “building more pumped hydro storage … upgrading existing hydro facilities … increasing flexible demand … building out grid infrastructure,” the immediate solution is short-term batteries.
“Batteries are destined to become integral components of our power systems in the future,” said Reid.
“The pressing question is whether traditional power generators can act swiftly enough to avoid losses from generating and selling electricity below their operating costs.”

Joshua S Hil
The amounts of Fukushima waste water  radioactive inventory are listed further down in this linked TEPCO document. It doesn't specifically mention plutonium, but plutonium is part of the inventory.

This waste water radioactive inventory reinforces the point we should not focus only on tritium in any radioactive waste water.
A biochemist once told me, "think of radiation as bullets. Whatever it hits is what it harms."
Tap water quality reports in the U.S. give limited or no information about radionuclides in our drinking water. The below EWG database provides public tap water reports for water utilities in the U.S.
Donna Gilmore
NRC Revokes License of West Virginia Company
The NRC has issued an order revoking the license of a Huntington, West Virginia, industrial 
radiography company based on its submittal of inaccurate information and lack of a qualified 
radiation safety officer.
The NRC’s Office of Investigations conducted an investigation involving APINDE Inc., which led to a 
determination that in the company’s initial application to the agency for a license to use nuclear 
materials, as well as in related correspondence, APINDE submitted an inaccurate training 
certificate and inaccurate information regarding the recent radiography experience for the 
individual proposed as the radiation safety officer. In addition, the company subsequently 
requested a new radiation safety officer be added to its license, but submitted an inaccurate 
training certificate for that individual.
Following the NRC’s initial identification of the issues, the agency issued an order on Aug. 22, 2019,
suspending APINDE’s license. Although the company provided a response acknowledging the 
errors and stating it would take corrective actions, it failed to take steps to provide the agency 
with reasonable assurance that it had addressed the issues.
Based on this lack of action, the NRC is revoking the company’s license. The revocation and 
termination of the license will take effect within 30 days unless the company can demonstrate good 
cause for that not to occur.
A copy of the revocation order will soon be made available in the NRC’s electronic documents 
system, ADAMS.
APINDE cannot conduct NRC-licensed activities unless it applies for and receives a new license.

Nuclear Information and Resource Service


On April 15, 2023 utilities in Germany shut down the country’s three last remaining nuclear power plants. These closures mark the successful planned phase-out of German nuclear energy from the nation’s grid.  

Our latest blog explores Germany’s Energiewende (“energy transition”), the overarching policy commitment to achieve a low-carbon, nuclear-free economy and transition to renewable energy. The recently completed phase-out of nuclear power is a major milestone for Germany’s energy transition.  

It is a success story. 

Germany’s energy transition has, so far, resulted in a massive build-out of renewable energy and significant reductions in emissions. Germany’s transition shows that an energy policy grounded in environmental values works – and the earlier climate policy is implemented, the sooner the climate policy goals can be realized. Above all, the German energy transition shows the tremendous power of active citizenry, organized social movements, and activism to transform policy and successfully demand change. 


Thank you for all you do!  

The NIRS Team

Diane D’Arrigo

Denise Jakobsberg

Tim Judson

Quinn McCann

Hannah Smay  

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We are striving to block Holtec from barging high-level radioactive wastes on Lake Michigan, from Palisades in Covert Township, Michigan to the Port of Muskegon. But non-Holtec nuclear power plant sites could also barge highly radioactive wastes on Lake Michigan, if this Holtec dump in New Mexico opens, as from Wisconsin's three reactors, to the Port of Milwaukee. The barges would off-load the high-level radioactive waste containers onto trains at the ports, for the rest of the shipment journey by rail.

For more info., see: https://www.nirs.org/wp-content/uploads/factsheets/mibargefactsheet92804.pdf

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, working in cahoots with DOE and NRC, is also exploring options for additional nuclear power plants to barge high-level radioactive waste, not only on Lake Michigan, but also upon the surface waters of additional Great Lakes. See: https://archive.beyondnuclear.org/radioactive-waste-whatsnew/2016/1/20/doe-undertaking-logistical-planning-for-shipment-of-stranded.html

Please get this press release below out to reporters/your media lists. Thanks!

---Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear and Don't Waste Michigan



  For immediate release 

  Contact: Kevin Kamps,  kevin@beyondnuclear.org, 240-462-3216
  Diane D’Arrigo, dianed@nirs.org, 301-270-6477, extension 3
  Michael Keegan, mkeeganj@comcast.com, 734-770-1441

Rose Gardner, nmlady2000@icloud.com, 575-390-9634

Terry Lodge, Legal Counsel for DWM et al., tjlodge50@yahoo.com, 419-205-7084

Stephen Kent, skent@kentcom.com, 914-589-5988




Today, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced it approved licensing for Holtec International’s controversial consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) in southeastern New Mexico’s Lea County, not far from the Texas border.  The facility is designed to store high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants across the U.S. But NRC approval notwithstanding, a recently enacted New Mexico State law and multiple federal court challenges may yet block the project.

Holtec’s Bid to Enter the Nuclear Waste Storage Business

Holtec International is a New Jersey-based company which manufactures radioactive waste containers and decommissions nuclear power plants. But, in an unprecedented scheme, Holtec recently sought to return to operations a reactor in Michigan which was already shut down and which it supposedly acquired for the purpose of decommissioning only. It has also proposed building two-dozen so-called Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMNRs) of its own design, using federal and state subsidies including $7.4 billion in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-issued nuclear loan guarantees. The SMNRs are proposed to be built in New Jersey, Michigan, and Ukraine.   

Holtec now seeks to branch out into consolidated storage and its associated high-level radioactive waste transportation. On the New Mexico CISF scheme it partnered with the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance (ELEA), a quasi-governmental entity comprised of Eddy and Lea Counties (which border one another), as well as their county seats of Carlsbad and Hobbs, New Mexico.  ELEA owns the targeted nuclear waste CISF site’s land surface, and would take a large cut of the proceeds.

Giant Capacity May Signal Storing Foreign and Military Nuclear Waste

The Holtec-ELEA nuclear waste CISF would store up to 173,600 metric tons of highly radioactive irradiated fuel (often euphemistically called “spent” nuclear fuel or SNF, despite the fact it is highly radioactive and lethal), as well as Greater-Than-Class-C (GTCC) radioactive waste from commercial nuclear reactors. The facility would hold up to 10,000 canisters of nuclear waste, inserted into pits in a platform which sits on the surface.  Part of the canisters would stay above the natural land surface.

“If opened, the site could become home to the biggest concentration of radioactive waste in the world,” reported Diane D’Arrigo, Radioactive Waste Project Director at Nuclear Information and Resource Service.

The Holtec-ELEA CISF’s nuclear waste storage capacity would be in addition to another planned CISF some 40 miles to the east in Andrews County, Texas.  If built, it would be able to store 40,000 metric tons of irradiated fuel and GTCC in above-ground dry casks. The Texas facility, proposed by Interim Storage Partners, LLC (ISP), was granted construction and operation license approval by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on September 13, 2021.

Since the entire SNF inventory at U.S. commercial reactors is just over 90,000 metric tons, experts have questioned why the Texas and New Mexico facilities would need a combined capacity of 213,600 metric tons, and whether the projects may be aiming to store nuclear waste from abroad and/or from the military.

There is precedent for shipping irradiated fuel from other countries to the U.S. for storage at Idaho National Labs. And in 2018, a test shipment of a mock SNF cask was transported from Europe to Colorado. Lead ISP partner Orano (formerly Areva) of France services the largest nuclear power reactor fleet of any single company in the western world. It lacks facilities in France to permanently dispose of the country’s own waste. 

The consortium backing the ISP facility includes Waste Control Specialists, LLC (WCS), a national dump for so-called “low-level” radioactive waste, located immediately adjacent to (and upstream of) the New Mexico border.  WCS loudly proclaims its ties to the U.S. military, which needs to dispose of its own highly radioactive wastes.

Nuclear Waste Transport Dangers 

Opening a CISF in the U.S. would trigger many thousands of shipments of domestic irradiated fuel across many of the Lower 48 states, through a large percentage of U.S. congressional districts. SNF canisters and transport casks are subject to so-called “routine” radiation emissions, as well as leakage and other failures, which would pose threats to thousands of communities along the transportation routes.

“Transporting highly radioactive waste is inherently high-risk,” said Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Specialist with Beyond Nuclear. “Fully loaded irradiated nuclear fuel containers would be among the very heaviest loads on the roads, rails, and waterways. They would test the structural integrity of badly degraded rails, for example, risking derailments. Even if our nation’s infrastructure gets renovated someday, the shipping containers themselves will remain vulnerable to severe accidents and terrorist attacks.

They could release catastrophic amounts of hazardous radioactivity, possibly in densely populated urban areas.”

“Even so-called ‘incident-free’ shipments are like mobile X-ray machines that can’t be turned off, in terms of the hazardous emissions of gamma and neutron radiation, dosing innocent passersby, as well as transport workers," Kamps added.

Kamps’ February 24 letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, cc'd to governors and state Attorneys General across the U.S., warned of the dangers of transporting high-level radioactive waste. "The recent train wreck at East Palestine, Ohio demonstrates the urgency of the problem and the potential for a serious radiological accident from nuclear waste transport," he wrote. "Environmental toxicologists have expressed deep concern that detection and response to release of hazardous chemicals in East Palestine were ineffective and untransparent and failed to protect public health and safety. But if the train that derailed had been carrying SNF or other highly radioactive wastes, the consequences would have been much worse."

The Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board has recommended spending a minimum of a decade to develop better irradiated nuclear fuel cask and canister designs before attempting to transport highly radioactive wastes. Yet Holtec and ISP expect their nuclear waste CISFs to open and start accepting shipments in just the next few years. 

State Laws Could Block CISF Projects

Multiple lawsuits in federal appeals courts and state laws opposing storage and disposal of irradiated nuclear fuel in both New Mexico and Texas could upend both nuclear waste CISF schemes.

Siting nuclear facilities is supposed to be consent-based, but both Texas and New Mexico have made it abundantly clear they do not consent.  In advance of the NRC licensing the ISP facility in September 2021, the Texas legislature overwhelmingly approved a bill banning storage or disposal of high-level radioactive waste including SNF in the state, and directing the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to deny state permits the ISP project needs. The measure passed the Texas Senate unanimously, and passed the Texas House 119-3. Texas Governor Greg Abbott then signed the bill into law.

"This kind of bipartisan vote is very rare", said Karen Hadden, Executive Director of the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition based in Austin, TX. "The message should be loud and clear: Texas doesn't want the nation's deadliest nuclear waste and does not consent to being a dumping ground." 

In the runup to the Legislature passing the law, opposition to the ISP project in Texas was widespread and vocal. Abbott and a bipartisan group of U.S. Congressional Representatives from Texas wrote strong letters to the NRC opposing the project. Andrews County, five other counties and three cities, representing a total of 5.4 million

Texans, passed resolutions opposing importing nuclear waste from other states to Texas. School districts, the Midland Chamber of Commerce and oil and gas companies joined environmental and faith-based groups in opposing the ISP project. The City of Fort Worth, Texas submitted a Friend of the Court brief supporting appeals against ISP in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Strenuous opposition to nuclear waste CISFs is also widespread in New Mexico. The state recently enacted Senate Bill 53 (SB53) barring storage and disposal of highly radioactive wastes in New Mexico without its explicit consent. New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed SB53 into law on March 17, 2023,  immediately after it had passed both houses of the State Legislature.  Grisham has strongly objected to both nuclear waste CISFs on either side of New Mexico’s southeastern border since before she became governor in 2019.

“I am thankful that the New Mexico Legislature voted to stop this dangerous nuclear waste from coming to our state, and for Governor Grisham for signing it into law,” said Rose Gardner of Eunice, New Mexico, co-founder of the environmental justice watchdog group Alliance for Environmental Strategies. Gardner’s hometown is very close to the ISP project site in Texas, as well as to the Waste Control Specialists, LLC (WCS) national dump for hazardous and so-called “low-level” radioactive waste. Every single one of thousands of rail shipments of highly radioactive waste bound for the ISP CISF would pass through Eunice. 

“I live less than five miles from the ISP site, yet my community in New Mexico has had no vote and no choice, and gave no consent for nuclear waste to be stored at the facility,” she said. “I have long been concerned about WCS and its voracious appetite for bringing more and more nuclear waste to my area, claiming it now needs a license for high-level radioactive waste because the waste disposal business wasn't making enough money.  I hope my concerns will be heard by a higher court than the NRC."

Gardner has served as a standing declarant in legal challenges to both the Holtec and the ISP CISFs in federal court.

Lawsuits Argue CISFs Violate Federal Law 

Two sets of lawsuits seek to block the ISP project in Texas and the Holtec project in New Mexico on the grounds that they violate federal law. They have been pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for years. 

In January 2023, the court rejected all opponents’ appeals against the Interim Storage Partners nuclear waste CISF in Texas. However, a separate federal court, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, is still considering appeals against the ISP CISF from the State of Texas, as well as from Fasken Land and Minerals, LLC/Permian Basin Land and Royalty Owners. 

After being held in abeyance for several years, now that NRC has approved the license for the Holtec nuclear waste CISF in New Mexico, federal appeals against it are likely to move forward.  The briefing phase of the D.C. Court of Appeals lawsuit is expected to resume soon, and other federal appeals are also ripe for judicial consideration in the 5th and 10th (Denver) circuits, pending final agency action.

These lawsuits argue that nuclear waste CISFs violate federal law. Consolidated interim storage facilities are predicated on the assumption that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will enable SNF transportation by taking title to commercial reactor waste as it leaves the reactor sites, thus relieving the licensees of their liability for it. But transferring responsibility for highly radioactive nuclear waste from private businesses to the federal government is specifically prohibited by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as Amended (NWPA) -- unless and until a geologic repository is open and operating.  By DOE’s own admission, an operating geologic repository remains at least 25 years away. 

The prohibition against DOE taking title to commercial reactor waste was included in the NWPA precisely to guard against “interim” storage sites becoming de facto permanent surface dumps for nuclear waste. But the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s CISF licensing process was pushed ahead anyway in defiance of the law, on the theory the law will be changed by Congress and the President. 

Former New Mexico U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman, who chaired the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, was adamant that this “linkage” between any “interim” site to an operating final repository remain in the law.

“The NRC never should have even considered these applications, because they blatantly violate the federal Nuclear Waste Policy Act by assuming that the federal government will take responsibility for the waste before a permanent repository is licensed and operating,” said Diane Curran, an attorney for Beyond Nuclear, one of the groups that brought the suits.

”Licensing the ISP and Holtec facilities would defeat Congress’s purpose of ensuring that nuclear waste generated by U.S. reactors will go to a deep geologic repository, rather than to vulnerable surface facilities that may become permanent nuclear waste dumps,” Curran added.

Participants in the legal challenge to the Holtec CISF include the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) Beyond Nuclear, Sierra Club, and Don't Waste Michigan, et al., a national grassroots coalition of watchdog groups, including the New Mexico-based anti-nuclear collective formerly called Nuclear Issues Study Group (recently renamed DNA, short for Demand Nuclear Abolition). Additional coalition members include: Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination (MI); Citizens’ Environmental Coalition (NY); Nuclear Energy Information Service (IL); and San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (CA). Federal appeals before the D.C. circuit court have also been filed by

Fasken Land and Minerals, Ltd., and Permian Basin Land and Royalty Owners, which advocate for ranching and mineral rights.

"The grand illusion that the nuclear power industry will figure out what to do with the lethal nuclear waste later, is now revealed,” said Michael J. Keegan of Don't Waste Michigan, one of the lead intervenors in the lawsuits. “There is nowhere to put the waste. No community consents to accept nuclear waste -- not Texas, not New Mexico, not Michigan, or anywhere on this planet.  We have to stop making it. No more weapons of mass deception!" 

Nuclear Regulatory Commission - News Release
No: 23-031 May 9, 2023
CONTACT: David McIntyre, 301-415-8200
NRC Issues License to Holtec International for Consolidated Spent Nuclear Fuel Interim Storage Facility in New Mexico
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a license to Holtec International to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel in Lea County, New Mexico.
The license, issued May 9, authorizes the company to receive, possess, transfer and store 500 canisters holding approximately 8,680 metric tons of commercial spent nuclear fuel for 40 years. The company said it plans to eventually store up to 10,000 canisters in an additional
19 phases. Each expansion phase would require a license amendment with additional NRC safety and environmental reviews.
The spent fuel must be stored in canisters and cask systems certified by the NRC as meeting standards for protection against leakage, radiation dose rates, and criticality under normal and accident conditions. The canisters are required to be sealed prior to arrival at the facility. They will be inspected upon arrival and will remain sealed during onsite handling and storage activities.
The NRC’s review of the license application included a technical safety and security review, an environmental impact review and adjudication before an Atomic Safety and Licensing Board. A safety evaluation report, documenting the technical review, is being issued along with the license. A final environmental impact statement was published last July and supplemented in October. The environmental study included extensive public input during its development and during the comment phase. The adjudication resolved contentions filed by several local and national petitioners.
Information about the Holtec application and the NRC’s review is available on the NRC website. Licensing documents will also be posted on this site.
The NRC has previously issued similar licenses for away-from-reactor storage installations. Private Fuel Storage received a license in 2006, but was never constructed. The NRC issued a license in September 2021 to Interim Storage Partners LLC for a proposed storage site in Andrews, Texas. ISP has not yet initiated construction.
Constellation CEO: Nuclear PTC Could Extend Reactors’ Life to 80 Years
Company to Invest $900M in Producing Clean Hydrogen at Nuclear Plants
May 8, 2023
Constellation says the IRA's tax credits for nuclear could boost its profits by $100 million per year and help extend the life of its reactors to 80 years.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission - News Release
No: II-23-014 May 8, 2023
Contact: Dave Gasperson, 404-997-4417
NRC Begins Special Inspection at Urenco USA Facility
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has launched a special inspection at the Urenco USA uranium enrichment facility in Eunice, New Mexico. The inspection follows an April 21 incident involving the operation of a crane near a building that handles uranium hexafluoride without the required safety controls present.
The facility is safe, but the event raises concerns about safety protocols at the site and warrants additional NRC inspection as it involves a breakdown of controls designed to prevent chemical, radiological, and criticality hazards – the primary concern at U.S. fuel cycle facilities. Two similar events occurred in 2022, prompting the NRC to propose Urenco USA receive a $70,000 civil penalty earlier this month.
The inspection began today and inspectors from the NRC’s Region II office in Atlanta are at the Urenco USA plant. Over several days, the inspectors will assess the effectiveness of previous corrective actions taken by the facility to implement safety controls during construction activities and evaluate the appropriateness of the company's overall response.
“The recurrence of safety incidents at the Urenco USA fuel fabrication facility is concerning, and we expect all our license holders to prioritize safety, strictly adhere to the highest standards, and take prompt action to correct deficiencies,” said NRC Region II Administrator Laura Dudes. “We're committed to holding all NRC license holders accountable and taking appropriate action to protect public health and safety.”
The inspection team will document their findings and conclusions in a public report typically issued within 45 days of the completion of the inspection.
Former Nuclear Leaders: Say ‘No’ to New Reactors
The former heads of nuclear power regulation in the U.S., Germany, and France, along with the former secretary to the UK’s government radiation protection committee, have issued a joint statement that in part says, “Nuclear is just not part of any feasible strategy that could counter climate change.”

The statement issued Jan. 25 notes the importance of global action to combat climate issues, but the four leaders say nuclear power is too costly, and too risky an investment, to be a viable strategy against climate change.

The four leaders issuing the joint statement include:

  • Dr. Greg Jaczko, former Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and founder of Maxean, an energy company.
  • Prof. Wolfgang Renneberg, a university professor and former Head of the Reactor Safety, Radiation Protection and Nuclear Waste, Federal Environment Ministry, Germany.
  • Dr. Bernard Laponche, a French engineer and author, and former Director General, French Agency for Energy Management, former Advisor to French Minister of Environment, Energy and Nuclear Safety.
  • Dr. Paul Dorfman, an associate fellow and researcher at the University of Sussex, and former Secretary UK Govt. Committee Examining Radiation Risk from Internal Emitters.

Here’s the text of the statement:

“The climate is running hot. Evolving knowledge of climate sensitivity and polar ice melt-rate makes clear that sea-level rise is ramping, along with destructive storm, storm surge, severe precipitation and flooding, not forgetting wildfire. With mounting concern and recognition  over the speed and pace of the low carbon energy transition that’s needed, nuclear has been reframed as a partial response to the threat of global heating. But at the heart of this are questions about whether nuclear could help with the climate crisis, whether nuclear is economically viable, what are the consequences of nuclear accidents, what to do with the waste, and whether there’s a place for nuclear within the swiftly expanding renewable energy evolution.

“As key experts who have worked on the front-line of the nuclear issue, we’ve all involved at the highest governmental nuclear regulatory and radiation protection levels in the US, Germany, France and UK. In this context, we consider it our collective responsibility to comment on the main issue: Whether nuclear could play a significant role as a strategy against climate change.

“The central message, repeated again and again, that a new generation of nuclear will be clean, safe, smart and cheap, is fiction. The reality is nuclear is neither clean, safe or smart; but a very complex technology with the potential to cause significant harm. Nuclear isn’t cheap, but extremely costly. Perhaps most importantly nuclear is just not part of any feasible strategy that could counter climate change. To make a relevant contribution to global power generation, up to more than ten thousand new reactors would be required, depending on reactor design.”

The statement includes a list of items (below) the leaders see as making an argument against nuclear power.

In short, nuclear as strategy against climate change is:

  • Too costly in absolute terms to make a relevant contribution to global power production
  • More expensive than renewable energy in terms of energy production and CO2 mitigation, even taking into account costs of grid management tools like energy storage associated with renewables rollout.
  • Too costly and risky for financial market investment, and therefore dependent on very large public subsidies and loan guarantees.
  • Unsustainable due to the unresolved problem of very long-lived radioactive waste.
  • Financially unsustainable as no economic institution is prepared to insure against the full potential cost, environmental and human impacts of accidental radiation release – with the majority of those very significant costs being borne by the public.
  • Militarily hazardous since newly promoted reactor designs increase the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation.
  • Inherently risky due to unavoidable cascading accidents from human error, internal faults, and external impacts; vulnerability to climate-driven sea-level rise, storm, storm surge, inundation and flooding hazard, resulting in international economic impacts.
  • Subject to too many unresolved technical and safety problems associated with newer unproven concepts, including ‘Advanced’ and Small Modular Reactors (SMRs).
  • Too unwieldy and complex to create an efficient industrial regime for reactor construction and operation processes within the intended build-time and scope needed for climate change mitigation.
  • Unlikely to make a relevant contribution to necessary climate change mitigation needed by the 2030’s due to nuclear’s impracticably lengthy development and construction time-lines, and the overwhelming construction costs of the very great volume of reactors that would be needed to make a difference.

—This commentary solely represents the views of those releasing the statement and is published as a courtesy by POWER.