Activists: Please Help Flood the Senate With Letters Against the Dirty Energy Bill!

May 17, 2010

 

Dear Activists,

 

214 organizations and small businesses have now signed the media statement against the Kerry-Lieberman “climate” bill, which would give the nuclear industry $54 billion in taxpayer loans for new reactor construction, and an as-yet-uncalculated amount—but probably comparable—in new tax breaks for the nuclear industry.

Meanwhile, this “climate” bill actually provides less support for renewables and energy efficiency than the very weak Waxman-Markey bill that passed the House. In short, the climate “solution” the Kerry-Lieberman bill envisions is a nuclear-powered energy future.

The stakes are high: if we don’t stop this bill as it’s now written, it will send our energy policy in the wrong direction for decades to come.

We ask every organization that signed the statement to forward this link to your members and supporters and give them the opportunity to make a statement of their own to their Senators: http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5502/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=3016

If you have a Facebook or other social networking page, we also ask that you post the link there.

5,000 letters have gone in so far, but we’re expecting the Nuclear Energy Institute and other industry supporters of this bill (Entergy, Exelon, Duke Power, etc etc) to mount their own “grassroots” campaign for the bill. We need every letter we can get with the clear message: oppose the Kerry-Lieberman bill.

Let us know if you’ve forwarded the link. We sent it to about 20,000 people (and we’ll send it out again soon). The Redwood Alliance sent it to 700 people! Thanks! Who’s next? Let’s see if working together we can get this link to hundreds of thousands of people by the end of the month and ensure that every Senator’s inbox is deluged with our message!

Thanks for your help,

Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
nirsnet@nirs.org
www.nirs.org

Unit 1 at Susquehanna nuclear plant shuts down safely

MAY 15, 2010

Contact:
Joe Scopelliti, 866-832-4474
jjscopelliti@pplweb.com

Unit 1 at Susquehanna nuclear plant shuts down safely

Operators at PPL’s Susquehanna nuclear plant near Berwick, Luzerne County, Pa., safely shut down the Unit 1 reactor Friday night (5/14) during equipment testing.

“During the refueling and maintenance outage that concluded last month, we made several equipment upgrades, including installing a new integrated digital control system for plant equipment and replacing turbines that power pumps providing water to the reactor vessel,” said Jeff Helsel, PPL’s Susquehanna plant manager.

“While plant personnel were performing a required test on the control system and the pumps, operators shut down the unit because established test limits were met,” he said.

All equipment responded to the shutdown as designed. There was no equipment damage.
“We have been performing a series of tests with the new control system to ensure the safety and reliability of the unit. We will complete an evaluation of the shutdown and have Unit 1 generating electricity again,” Helsel said.

The Susquehanna plant, located in Luzerne County about seven miles north of Berwick, is owned jointly by PPL Susquehanna LLC and Allegheny Electric Cooperative Inc. and is operated by PPL Susquehanna.
PPL Susquehanna is one of PPL Corporation’s generating facilities. Headquartered in Allentown, Pa., PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL) controls or owns nearly 12,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the United States, sells energy in key U.S. markets and delivers electricity to about 4 million customers in Pennsylvania and the United Kingdom.

UN Atomic Chief Amano Warns That Nuclear Accidents May Rise

From BusinessWeek:

Nuclear accidents may occur more often as atomic technology spreads and countries build more reactors, International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano said.

“Member states are considering the introduction of nuclear power plants,” Amano said during a May 14 interview in his 28th-floor office overlooking Vienna. “We cannot exclude accidents. If there are more, we have certain risks.”

The IAEA expects as many as 25 nations to start developing nuclear-power facilities by 2030. The total global investment in building new atomic plants is about $270 billion, the Arlington, Virginia-based Pew Center on Global Climate Change said on Feb. 17. Interest in nuclear power is growing at the fastest rate since the Three Mile Island accident in the U.S. in 1979 and the Chernobyl explosion in Ukraine in 1986, IAEA statistics show.

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Retired Millstone worker alleges safety compromises at Millstone, NRC

From the Day:

Federal regulators are investigating allegations by a retired Millstone Power Station worker that plant owner Dominion puts profits ahead of safety and that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is not thoroughly managing safety issues.

David Collins of Old Lyme, a pro-nuclear retiree who took a company buyout in March, says the way Dominion has handled staffing cuts in key areas at the nuclear complex, along with an electrical mishap that forced a manual shutdown at the plant and the monitoring of fire doors, contribute to a "cover-up culture" that could compromise public safety just the way it was compromised in the late 1990s at the Waterford plant and in 2002 at the Davis-Besse reactor in Ohio.

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Power plants face closures

From San Diego Union-Tribune:

Three power plants on the San Diego County coastline face major changes — from shuttering operations to building new cooling towers — in the wake of a landmark ruling by California’s water-quality officials to protect sea life.

The State Water Resources Control Board last week decided to phase out once-through cooling for seaside power plants because the process kills more than 2.6 million fish and 19 billion fish larvae annually, according to the agency. The policy may be contested by energy companies concerned about the cost of compliance, including fitting new infrastructure into existing facilities.

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Peach Bottom: NRC Integrated Inspection Report

Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station - NRC Integrated Inspection Report 05-277/2010002 and 05-278/2010002

ADAMS Accession No. ML101320455

Download PDF

Susquehanna Steam: Integrated Inspection Report

Susquehanna Steam Electric Station - NRC Integrated Inspection Report 05-387/2010002 and 05-388/2010002

ADAMS Accession No. ML101320103

Download PDF

Power politics

From the Boston Globe:

On February 24, Randy Brock, a Republican state senator in Vermont, did something he never expected to do. He voted to close Vermont Yankee, the state’s only nuclear power plant. A longtime supporter of the plant, Brock did not want to vote this way. He considers nuclear power safe, environmentally friendly, and reliable and wants the plant to stay open. But a series of problems at Vermont Yankee forced his hand. “If their board of directors and its management had been thoroughly infiltrated by anti-nuclear activists,” he says, “they could not have done a better job destroying their own case.” Vermonters – including the senator – were fed up with the way the plant was being run, so he voted no.

The Vermont vote, coming just a week after President Barack Obama announced $8.33 billion in federal loan guarantees for companies building two new nuclear reactors in Georgia, would seem to show a New England stuck in the no-nukes 1980s, out of step with the nuclear fever sweeping the rest of the country. In March, Gallup reported that support for nuclear power as “one of the ways to provide electricity” had climbed to a new high of 62 percent. In the same poll, 28 percent of Americans said they “strongly favor” nuclear power, the highest Gallup has measured since it first asked the question in 1994.

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So, You Want to Invest in Nukes

From the Wall Street Journal:

Investors who want to participate in a nuclear-power revival, take note: It's not for the faint of heart.

That's because the nuclear industry is subject to greater risks than other parts of the power sector. Nuclear plants are extremely costly and take years to build. Most new reactor designs are still awaiting certification by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and no utility in the U.S. has received the commission's permission to build and operate a new plant.

On top of that, the entire power sector is suffering because of depressed demand for electricity caused by the global recession and growing energy-conservation efforts. Low natural-gas prices also mean that nuclear plants look more expensive when compared with plants powered by fossil fuels.

Nevertheless, many investors believe nuclear power will make a comeback because reactors can produce huge amounts of electricity and could substitute for coal-powered plants, cutting pollution. Dozens of new plants are planned for South Korea, China, India, the U.K. and other nations. In the U.S., the Obama administration has proposed up to $54 billion in loan guarantees to jump-start new construction, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is processing applications for nearly two dozen proposed reactors.

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Finland’s 100,000-Year Plan to Banish Its Nuclear Waste

From the New York Times:

On a wooded island more than a hundred miles northwest of Helsinki, in the town of Eurajoki, Finnish engineers are digging a tunnel. When it is done 10 years from now, it will corkscrew three miles in and 1,600 feet down into crystalline gneiss bedrock that has been the foundation of Finland for 1.8 billion years.

And there, in a darkness that is still being created, the used fuel rods from Finland’s nuclear reactors — full of radioactive elements from the periodic table as dreamed up by Lord Voldemort, spitting neutrons and gamma rays — are to be sealed away forever, or at least 100,000 years.

The place is called Onkalo (Finnish for “hidden”) and it is the subject of “Into Eternity,” a new documentary by Mr. Madsen.

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