TMI Update: Jan 14, 2024


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.
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Utility scale solar farms contribute to bird diversity
 
New research has shown that solar parks can play a positive role in promoting bird diversity in the agricultural landscape of Central Europe. The scientists said solar farms offer food availability and nesting sites.

JANUARY 10, 2024 LIOR KAHANA
 
 
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This is a lot of birds, but it is only 0.016% of the estimated 7.2 billion birds that live in the US. It is also significantly less than the 5–6.8 million killed each year by communication towers, the 60–80 million killed by automobiles, the 67–90 million killed by pesticides, or the 365 million to one billion killed by cats each year in the US, according to a study published in Nature.
 
Even if we adapt Merriman’s model to reflect the predicted increase in wind power across the US, as modelled by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) in its outlook for 2021, turbine deaths come nowhere close to these figures. The 90% increase in wind power from 2021–50 envisaged by the EIA would see 2.22 million birds killed annually by mid-century. 
 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission - News Release
No: 24-002 January 10, 2024
CONTACT: Office of Public Affairs, 301-415-8200
 
Raymond V. Furstenau Named Acting Executive Director for Operations
 
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced today that Raymond V. Furstenau, currently head of the agency's Office of Research, has been named as acting Executive Director for Operations effective Jan. 27, upon Daniel Dorman's retirement and until a permanent replacement is selected.
 
The EDO position is the highest-ranking NRC career position with responsibilities for overseeing the agency's operational and administrative functions and serving as the chief operating officer.
 
"Ray is a seasoned executive with exemplary communication and management skills. He's the right person to lead the NRC staff while the Commission works together to identify a permanent Executive Director for Operations," said NRC Chair Christopher Hanson.
 
Furstenau joined the NRC in 2018. Previously, he served at the Department of Energy in a variety of roles, including acting as Assistant Secretary of Nuclear Energy and working at the DOE Idaho Operations Office for more than 28 years. Furstenau served as an officer in the Army Finance Corps and in the Army Reserve. He holds a bachelor's degree in applied science and engineering from the U.S. Military Academy and a master's degree in nuclear science and engineering from Idaho State University.
 

JANUARY 10, 2024
New York Times Minimizes Impacts of Three Mile Island
BY KARL GROSSMAN

Image courtesy of Exelon.

The New York Times minimized the impacts of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident in its obituary this week for Joseph Hendrie, the chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission at the time of the accident. Hendrie was removed from the NRC chairmanship eight months after the accident because, as then President Jimmy Carter put it, under Hendrie’s helm the NRC was “unable to fulfill its responsibility for providing an acceptable level of safety for nuclear power plants.”

The Times reported that in its obituary for Hendrie.

There was a “pull quote” in the middle of The Times piece: “He was fired after the meltdown at the nuclear power plant.”

But a reader would not know exactly what the problem was by reading the obituary Monday, written by Trip Gabriel, a national correspondent of The Times.

Of the Three Mile Island accident, “Minimal radioactivity was released, and there were no immediate deaths,” Gabriel writes in its fourth paragraph. “But official miscommunication and lingering confusion over the severity of the threat inflamed a long-running national debate about nuclear safety. Movie theatres that year were showing ‘The China Syndrome,’ a hit thriller about a nuclear plant disaster. Nearly 200,000 protesters turned out in New York City six months after Three Mile Island for an antinuclear rally.”

Among researchers determining that there were substantial deaths as a result of Three Mile Island radiation releases have been Steven Wing and his colleagues at the University of North Carolina. “Study Links Three Mile Island Radiation Releases to Higher Cancer Rates,” was the 1997 article by Joby Warrick in the Washington Post.

It began: “Researchers have linked radiation releases from the Three Mile Island nuclear plant to higher cancer rates in nearby communities in a study that could reopen debate over the nation’s worst commercial nuclear accident. The report, released today, concludes that increases in lung cancer and leukemia near the Pennsylvania plant suggest a much greater release of radiation during the 1979 accident than had been believed. Previous studies concluded that radiation exposure to humans was minimal. A 1990 Columbia University analysis using the same data as the new study found no clear connection between the accident and cancer rates among residents living near the plant.”

It quoted Wing, an associate professor of epidemiology, saying: “The cancer findings, along with studies of animals, plants and chromosomal damage in Three Mile Island area residents, all point to much higher radiation levels than were previously reported.”

The research was published in Environmental Health Perspectives, the journal of the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Science.

Science magazine in a 1997 article reported that “After reexamining the region’s cancer statistics and measured radiation levels, epidemiologist Steven Wing and his colleagues at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, concluded that more radiation may have escaped than was measured and that the risk of some cancers did rise. Wing found that people presumed to have been exposed to the highest doses of radiation were almost twice as likely to develop lung cancer as were those who received the lowest doses. His team also found that the risk of adult leukemia was almost seven times higher for those in the highest exposure group.

The book “Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America’s Experience with Atomic Radiation” devotes many pages to the Three Mile Island accident including in a chapter titled “People Died at Three Mile Island.” Published in 1982, it was authored by Harvey Wasserman, a journalist who has specialized in nuclear power; Norman Solomon, an investigative reporter and media critic; and Robert Alvarez and Eleanor Walters, director of and associate director of the Environmental Policy Center in Washington, D.C. Alvarez also was senior policy adviser to the U.S. Energy Department secretary and a senior investigator for the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs.

The book presents research done on cancer and the Three Mile Island accident including that of Dr. Ernest Sternglass, long professor of radiation physics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. It quotes Sternglass in 1981 stating: “The Three Mile Island accident will turn out to have produced the largest death toll ever resulting from an industrial accident, with total deaths from all causes likely to reach many thousands over the next 10 to 20 years.”

I wrote and presented a TV documentary in 1993, “Three Mile Island Revisited,” beginning with, standing with the Three Mile Island plant in the background, saying: “The nuclear industry says that nobody died because of the accident back there at Three Mile Island but don’t tell that to the people here in Goldsboro or others living in what’s become a valley of death surrounding Three Mile Island.”

I conducted interviews about how cancer had become widespread in and around Goldsboro and how quietly the owner of Three Mile Island had given cash settlements, some as high a $1 million, to members of families of those who died or were left with health impacts as a result of the accident.

A superb new documentary on Three Mile Island is “Radioactive: The Women of Three Mile Island” which was released last year and is being widely shown throughout the world. Directed, written and produced by Heidi Hutner, a professor of environmental humanities at Stony Brook University, it has received many awards.

In it, resident after resident of the area around Three Mile Island is interviewed and tells of widespread cancer that has ensued in the years that have followed the accident—a cancer rate far beyond what would be normal. Accounts shared in the documentary are heartbreaking.

In “Radioactive,” a whistleblower who had worked at the nuclear plant tells Hutner of the deliberate and comprehensive attempt by General Public Utilities, which owned TMI, to cover up the gravity of the accident and its radioactive releases, especially of cancer-causing Iodine-131 and Xenon 133.

An attorney, Lynne Bernabei, involved in litigation in the wake of the accident, says the Three Mile Island “cover-up was one of the biggest cover-ups in history.”

The Times obituary for Hendrie, a physicist, points out that he was a booster of nuclear power. It relates: “Dr. Hendrie, who was appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1977 to lead the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the government agency in charge of nuclear power safety, came in as a proponent of nuclear energy, criticized by environmentalists as too supportive of the industry.” It quotes Hendrie as saying when he was appointed: “My biggest challenge will be to keep nuclear power as a viable energy option.” Gabriel writes that Hendrie “pledged to end ‘the tortuous and Kafkaesque hearings’ on proposed nuclear plants.”

And even though Hendrie was bounced from the NRC chairmanship in the wake of the Three Mile Island accident, he “remained one of the five members of the regulatory commission through the end of his four-year term in June 1981,” it adds. And, “in March of that year, President Ronald Reagan reappointed him chairman in an acting capacity.”

Then Hendrie, the obituary continues, “returned to the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y., where he had worked for two decades before joining the regulatory commission. In the 1960s, he had helped design and build a type of research reactor, the High Flux Beam Reactor, which provided very intense beams of neutrons.”

There was no mention in The Times obituary about what happened to the High Flux Beam Reactor. It was shut down in 1997 after it was found to be leaking radioactive tritium into the groundwater under Brookhaven National Laboratory—groundwater that flows into the community just south of the laboratory, Shirley. “Welcome to Shirley: A Memoir from an Atomic Town” was published in 2008, written by Kelly McMasters, a professor at Hofstra University who grew up in Shirley. In the book, she writes of the widespread cancer among people in Shirley which she links to the “nearby leaking nuclear laboratory.” Hendrie’s Brookhaven National Laboratory is a Superfund high-pollution site.

The obituary ends with a paragraph in which Gabriel writes: “Most recently, new interest has arisen in nuclear power as the largest source of non-carbon emitting energy at a time of heightened awareness of the climate crisis.” Not mentioned is how the nuclear fuel cycle—including mining, milling and enrichment—is carbon-intensive, and nuclear power plants, as did that High Flux Beam Reactor, emit carbon, radioactive Carbon-14.

I started writing my first book on nuclear power the day of the news of the Three Mile Island meltdown happening. In the book, first published in 1980, “Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power,” in a chapter with a focus on the press and nuclear power, I quote Alden Whitman, a reporter at The New York Times for 25 years, telling me that “there certainly was never any effort made to do” in-depth or investigative reporting on nuclear power. Why this attitude? “The Times does regard itself as part of the establishment…They get nervous when they attack industry. Certainly when they attack industry that is heavily involved in finance and the banks as nuclear power is, they would get very up tight.” Even in the wake of Three Mile Island, said Whitman, The Times’ stories on nuclear power have been “tucked away, put in the middle of the paper.”

This tradition continues at The New York Times.

Karl Grossman, professor of journalism at State University of New York/College at Old Westbury, and is the author of the book, The Wrong Stuff: The Space’s Program’s Nuclear Threat to Our Planet, and the Beyond Nuclear handbook, The U.S. Space Force and the dangers of nuclear power and nuclear war in space. Grossman is an associate of the media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion.

Joseph Hendrie, 98, Dies; Key Figure in the Three Mile Island Crisis

He was chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 1979, when America faced its worst nuclear power mishap in history.

A black and white photo of Joseph Hendrie wearing a suit and glasses and sitting in front of a microphone.

Credit...Nuclear Regulatory Commission

By Trip Gabriel

Joseph M. Hendrie, a physicist who led the Nuclear Regulatory Commission during the country’s worst nuclear power accident, at Three Mile Island — a mishap that chilled Americans’ trust in nuclear energy for decades — died on Dec. 26 at his home in Bellport, N.Y., on Long Island. He was 98.

His daughter Barbara Hendrie confirmed the death.

An expert in nuclear reactor safety, Dr. Hendrie was chairman of the commission on March 28, 1979, when a commercial reactor located on an island in the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania experienced a sudden loss of cooling water and a partial meltdown of its radioactive fuel.

Two days later, on Dr. Hendrie’s advice, the governor of Pennsylvania ordered the evacuation of pregnant women and preschool children within five miles of the area.

Minimal radioactivity was released, and there were no immediate deaths. But official miscommunication and lingering confusion over the severity of the threat inflamed a long-running national debate about nuclear safety. Movie theaters that year were showing “The China Syndrome,” a hit thriller about a nuclear plant disaster. Nearly 200,000 protesters turned out in New York City six months after Three Mile Island for an antinuclear rally.

Dr. Hendrie, who was appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1977 to lead the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the government agency in charge of nuclear power safety, came in as a proponent of nuclear energy, criticized by environmentalists as too supportive of the industry.

ImageA black and white photo of Mr. Hendrie wearing a suit and sitting in an ornate room on a sofa across from President Jimmy Carter, who is also wearing a suit and is sitting in an armchair.
Mr. Hendrie with President Jimmy Carter, who appointed him to lead the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 1977.Credit...Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum

“My biggest challenge will be to keep nuclear power as a viable energy option,” he told Newsday, his local paper, when he was appointed. He pledged to end “the tortuous and Kafkaesque hearings” on proposed nuclear plants.

But the president fired Dr. Hendrie eight months after Three Mile Island, following a blistering report by a presidential commission that called for sweeping changes in how nuclear plants were built and regulated.

The report did not fault Dr. Hendrie by name. But it was critical of the regulatory commission, saying it was “unable to fulfill its responsibility for providing an acceptable level of safety for nuclear power plants.” Mr. Carter said a change of leadership at the commission was needed “in the spirit” of the recommendations he received.

Victor Gilinsky, who served on the commission with Dr. Hendrie, described him in an interview as a nonbureaucratic type, “given to outbursts of honesty,” whose candor may have led to his dismissal.

In the days after the accident, when asked at a news conference in Maryland about worst-case scenarios, Dr. Hendrie had said it might be necessary to evacuate residents as far as 20 miles from the site. Gov. Richard L. Thornburgh of Pennsylvania was upset, Dr. Gilinsky said, and complained to President Carter. “That’s what forced him out; he was giving his honest opinion.”

Though he lost the chairman’s job, Dr. Hendrie remained one of the five members of the regulatory commission through the end of his four-year term in June 1981. In March of that year, President Ronald Reagan reappointed him chairman in an acting capacity.

He returned to the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y., where he had worked for two decades before joining the regulatory commission. In the 1960s, he had helped design and build a type of research reactor, the High Flux Beam Reactor, which provided very intense beams of neutrons. Scientists from far and wide came to Brookhaven to use it for their experiments.

“He was one of those rare individuals who possessed a deep technical understanding of nuclear science and engineering and the ability to successfully manage a large and diverse work force supporting many nuclear related activities, including both theoretical and experimental work,” Joseph P. Indusi, a former colleague of Dr. Hendrie’s at Brookhaven, said in an email.

In 1984, when Dr. Hendrie became president of the American Nuclear Society, a professional group for nuclear engineers, he told its publication, Nuclear News, that he had few regrets about leaving a high-profile government career for a quieter life of research.

“On balance, I’m glad to be out of it,” he said. “The stress level is high enough so that it’s a very wearing proposition. You just drain down your internal reserves. But it’s also a very exciting enterprise, and I miss the hurrah from time to time.”

Joseph Mallam Hendrie was born on March 18, 1925, in Janesville, Wis. His father, Joseph Munier Hendrie, was an executive at General Motors who moved the family to the Detroit area. His mother, Pearl (Hocking) Hendrie, was a homemaker.

During World War II, Dr. Hendrie served in the Army Corps of Engineers in the Pacific. He graduated from Case Institute of Technology in Cleveland (now part of Case Western Reserve University) in 1950 with a degree in physics, then earned a Ph.D. in the same subject from Columbia University in 1957.

He met his future wife, Elaine Kostel, an instructor at an Arthur Murray dance studio in Cleveland, on a blind date. She later worked in public relations for the Navy. She died in 2019.

Besides his daughter Barbara, Dr. Hendrie is survived by another daughter, Susan Hendrie-Marais; a grandson; and a sister, Jane Heinemen.

In the first uncertain week after the Three Mile Island accident, there were fears verging on panic that the reactor could melt down and release devastating radioactivity. That never came to pass, although the full extent of the damage was not learned until years later, when it was determined that 50 percent of the reactor’s nuclear fuel had melted.

The accident was triggered by a stuck valve, compounded by human error. The result was that not enough cooling water was reaching the reactor core, which led to damage and the release of a “small amount of radioactive material,” according to the Department of Energy.

Several studies of long-term health effects found no increase in several types of cancer caused by radiation in the region.

Still, Three Mile Island froze the development of nuclear power in the U.S. for decades. For 32 years after the accident, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued no new permits for reactors. Since 2010, only two new reactors have come online, while a dozen shut down before their licenses expired because they were not economical.

More recently, new interest has arisen in nuclear power as the largest source of non-carbon-emitting energy at a time of heightened awareness of the climate crisis. Gallup polling last year found more support for nuclear power than at any time since 2012. The Biden administration has directed $6 billion from an infrastructure law to bail out economically shaky reactors, which provide about half of the nation’s carbon-free electricity.

A correction was made on Jan. 6, 2024: An earlier version of this obituary misstated the year of a Gallup poll that found more support for nuclear power than at any time since 2012. It was last year, not this year.


When we learn of a mistake, we acknowledge it with a correction. If you spot an error, please let us know at nytnews@nytimes.com.

Pioneering Nuclear Startup Lays Off Nearly Half Its Workforce
NuScale is the second major U.S. reactor company to cut jobs in recent months.
Alexander C. Kaufman
 | 

Almost exactly one year ago, NuScale Power made history as the first of a new generation of nuclear energy startups to win regulatory approval of its reactor design ― just in time for the Biden administration to begin pumping billions of federal dollars into turning around the nation’s atomic energy industry.

But as mounting costs and the cancellation of its landmark first power plant have burned through shrinking cash reserves, the Oregon-based company is laying off as much 40% of its workforce, HuffPost has learned.

At a virtual all-hands meeting Friday afternoon, the company announced the job cuts to remaining employees. HuffPost reviewed the audio of the meeting. Two sources with direct knowledge of NuScale’s plans confirmed the details of the layoffs.

By Friday evening, NuScale’s stock price had plunged more than 8% as investors sold off shares. NuScale did not respond to a call, an email or a text message seeking comment.

Surging construction costs are imperiling clean energy across the country. In just the past two months, developers have pulled the plug on major offshore wind farms in New Jersey and New York after state officials refused to let companies rebid for contracts at a higher rate.

But the financial headwinds are taking an especially acute toll on nuclear power. It takes more than a decade to build a reactor, and the only new ones under construction in the U.S. and Europe went billions of dollars over budget in the past two decades. Many in the atomic energy industry are betting that small modular reactors ― shrunken down, lower-power units with a uniform design ― can make it cheaper and easier to build new nuclear plants through assembly-line repetition.

The U.S. government is banking on that strategy to meet its climate goals. The Biden administration spearheaded a pledge to triple atomic energy production worldwide in the next three decades at the United Nations’ climate summit in Dubai last month, enlisting dozens of partner nations in Europe, Asia and Africa.

The two infrastructure-spending laws that President Joe Biden signed in recent years earmark billions in spending to develop new reactors and keep existing plants open. And new bills in Congress to speed up U.S. nuclear deployments and sell more American reactors abroad are virtually all bipartisan, with progressives and right-wing Republicans alike expressing support for atomic energy.

A rendering from the Idaho National Laboratory shows what NuScale's debut power plant was supposed to look like.

A rendering from the Idaho National Laboratory shows what NuScale's debut power plant was supposed to look like.

IDAHO NATIONAL LABORATORY

But the U.S. trails rivals like China and Russia in deploying new types of reactors, including those based on technologies that scientists working for the federal government first developed.

Until November, NuScale appeared on track to debut the nation’s first atomic energy station powered with small modular reactors. But the project to build a dozen reactors in the Idaho desert, and sell the electricity to ratepayers across the Western U.S. through a Utah state-owned utility, was abandoned as rising interest rates made it harder for NuScale to woo investors willing to bet on something as risky a first-of-its-kind nuclear plant.

In 2022, NuScale went public via a SPAC deal, a type of merger that became a popular way for debt-laden startups to pay back venture capitalists with a swifter-than-usual initial public offering on the stock market.

In its latest quarterly earnings, NuScale reported just under $200 million in cash reserves, nearly 40% of which was tied up in restricted accounts.

On a call with analysts in November, Ramsey Hamady, NuScale’s chief financial officer, said the firm expected to “take in about $50 million worth of cash from customers from work that we do.”

But the firm spent more than that in the previous three-month cycle ― a function, the executive said, of how project costs fluctuate regularly.

“This isn’t just a fixed-expense business. There’s variable expense, and there’s a lot of discretionary spending,” Hamady said. “We spend more as we have contracts, and we pull in our spending as contracts either get pushed out or delayed or whether we want to focus more on discretionary spend or nondiscretionary spend.”

Did you just lose your job at NuScale or another green energy company? Our reporter wants to hear from you. Email Alexander C. Kaufman at alexander.kaufman@huffpost.com, or text him securely on the encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 631-455-8855.

 

An aerial view of the core module of China's Linglong One, the world's first commercial small modular reactor, installed on Aug. 10 in Changjiang Li Autonomous County in China's Hainan province.

An aerial view of the core module of China's Linglong One, the world's first commercial small modular reactor, installed on Aug. 10 in Changjiang Li Autonomous County in China's Hainan province.

CHINA NEWS SERVICE VIA GETTY IMAGES

NuScale, which has four other projects proposed in the U.S. and tentative deals in at least eight other countries, isn’t the only nuclear startup navigating choppy waters.

In October, Maryland-based X-energy, which is working with the federal government to develop a next-generation reactor using gas instead of water for cooling, cut part of its workforce and scrapped plans to go public.

In September, California-based Oklo appeared to lose a more than $100 million contract to build its its liquid-metal-cooled “micro-reactors” at an Air Force base in Alaska, as the independent Northern Journal newsletter first reported. But the Defense Department said in a statement that the deal was never finalized, and that the bureaucratic change that took place in the fall and appeared to revoke Oklo’s contract was a misunderstood procedural technicality. Oklo said it’s on track with plans to start selling shares on the New York Stock Exchange later this year.

Nor are the nuclear industry’s high-tech newcomers the only ones with issues.

The U.S. utilities that operate the world’s largest fleet of traditional reactors balked last month at the Biden administration’s proposed regulations for making clean hydrogen fuel. Constellation, the country’s top nuclear operator, said the rules rendered existing reactors ineligible for a lucrative tax credit for making hydrogen with carbon-free electricity, and threatened to sue the administration.

The first fuel loading at the Consumer Power Company of Michigan's Palisades Plant Unit 1, Calvert, Michigan, 1974. The Palisades station shut down last year as natural gas gobbled up its share of the electricity market. The plant's new owner, and the state of Michigan, want to work with the Biden administration to restore power production at the Palisades nuclear station.
The first fuel loading at the Consumer Power Company of Michigan's Palisades Plant Unit 1, Calvert, Michigan, 1974. The Palisades station shut down last year as natural gas gobbled up its share of the electricity market. The plant's new owner, and the state of Michigan, want to work with the Biden administration to restore power production at the Palisades nuclear station. 

SMITH COLLECTION/GADO VIA GETTY IMAGES

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago triggered an energy shock as European democracies scrambled to find alternatives to buying natural gas from Moscow. The constant need to replenish pipelines using a fuel with a wildly fluctuating price put a new premium on nuclear energy’s steady 24-hour output without needing refueling for two years or more. To boot, nuclear reactors don’t produce planet-heating emissions, and they generate orders of magnitude more electricity, more frequently and on less land, than solar panels or wind turbines.

Yet as the U.S. and its allies sanctioned the oil and gas exports funding Russia’s war chest, the Kremlin’s state-owned nuclear company, Rosatom, has remained immune, since American and European reactors depend on fuel that it enriches. Russia is building most of the new reactors in the works in places like Bangladesh, Egypt and Turkey, and just signed a new deal for more in India.

China, meanwhile, is constructing more reactors at home than nearly all the world combined, and built four large-scale reactors using the leading new American design before the U.S. could complete its first.

Former President Donald Trump banned U.S. nuclear companies from working in China, a prohibition Biden has maintained. In December, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to ban Russian uranium imports. While it’s unlikely to become law, the U.S. last year finally took the first step toward supplying its own nuclear fuel again.

At an industrial site in Ohio this past autumn, the private company that succeeded what was once the U.S. government’s in-house nuclear fuel enricher began producing the American-made alternative to a special kind of uranium fuel that companies like Oklo need. In just the last few months, three new uranium mines have entered into production in Arizona and Utah.

There’s a clear demand. The price of uranium eclipsed $91 per pound this week for the first time since the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA 
Dept. of Environmental Protection
Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01/2/2024

CONTACT: 
DEP Newsroom
717-787-1323 



DEP Highlights National Radon Action Month, Provides Free Radon Test Kits
Testing for radon is one of the easiest actions Pennsylvanians can take to keep their homes safe and families healthy

 

Harrisburg, PA – January is National Radon Action Month, marking a time of increased outreach and public awareness for this serious health hazard. 

Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally through the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks. It can seep into homes through cracks in basements and foundations, then build up inside to concentrations many times the recommended level. 

“Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer after smoking in the United States, and is a serious concern within the Commonwealth,” said Jessica Shirley, Interim Acting Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). “The Department of Environmental Protection remains committed to working with home builders, school districts, realtors, and other Pennsylvania departments to address radon issues and keeping all Pennsylvanians safe.” 

Radon is responsible for an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year in the U.S., according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and about 40 percent of Pennsylvania homes have radon levels above the EPA action level of 4.0 pCi/L (picocuries per liter). While radon problems may be more common in some regions, there is potential for any home to have high radon levels. 

Pennsylvania is particularly prone to elevated radon levels, and the only way homeowners can know for certain if they have a radon problem is to test their home. DEP recommends that all homes, public and private buildings get tested. The best time to test is during the colder months, when homes and buildings are closed and radon is most likely to be trapped and build up to higher levels. 

DEP and the American Lung Association are working together to provide radon test kits to Pennsylvania residents who have not yet tested their homes for this dangerous gas. Free radon test kits are available throughout the Commonwealth from the American Lung Association, while supplies last. Test kits are funded through a grant from DEP and the EPA State Indoor Radon Grant Program. 

“Radon in homes is more common than many people think. Exposure to radon shouldn’t be taken lightly because it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States,” said Kevin M. Stewart, Director of Environmental Health for the American Lung Association. “The good news is that it is easy to test for radon. Do-it-yourself test kits are simple to use and inexpensive.” 

Radon test kits are also available at many home improvement and hardware stores, as well as from Pennsylvania-certified radon laboratories. Radon test kits typically cost approximately $20-$30. Completed test kits are sent to a Pennsylvania-certified lab where the sample is analyzed, and the results are sent to the home or building owner. Homeowners are also able to hire a state-certified radon testing company to do the testing for them. The public is encouraged to call DEP’s Radon Division at 717-783-3594, or the Radon Hotline at 800-237-2366, for help with interpretation of their test results and what follow-up action may be necessary.  

Permanent radon mitigation systems typically cost between $800 and $1,200 and require minimal maintenance. A list of state-certified radon contractors, labs, and testers is available on DEP’s website. The list is also available by calling 1-800-23-RADON. 

General view of Cofrentes nuclear plant

Cofrentes nuclear power plant is pictured before a storm in Cofrentes, near Valencia, Spain, September 15, 2021. REUTERS/Eva Manez/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights


MADRID, Dec 27 (Reuters) - Spain on Wednesday confirmed plans to close the country's nuclear plants by 2035 as it presented energy measures including extended deadlines for renewable projects and adjusted renewable auctions.

The management of radioactive waste and dismantling of the plants, whose shut down will begin in 2027, will cost about 20.2 billion euros ($22.4 billion) and will be paid for by a fund supported by the plants' operators, the government said.

The future of the country's nuclear plants, which generate about a fifth of Spain's electricity, was a hot issue during the recent electoral campaign, with the conservative opposition People's Party (PP) pledging to reverse the planned phase-out. More recently, one of the main business lobbies called for extending the use of these plants.

Among other measures were changes to the rules governing development of new green energy projects and renewables auctions.

The government agreed to extend key administrative deadlines for new projects. The deadline to obtain a building permit, for example, was increased by six months to 49 months.

Renewable auctions may now include qualitative criteria to take into account social and environmental standards to "recognise the added value of European products," the Energy Ministry said in a statement.

($1 = 0.9021 euros)

 
Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against NuScale Power Corporation (SMR) on Behalf of Investors – Nationally Ranked Investors’ Rights Firm Holzer & Holzer, LLC Encourages Investors With Significant Losses to Contact the Firm
| Source: Holzer & Holzer
 

ATLANTA, Dec. 27, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Holzer & Holzer, LLC informs investors that a shareholder class action lawsuit has been filed against NuScale Power Corporation (“NuScale” or the “Company”) (NYSE: SMR). The lawsuit alleges that Defendants made materially false and/or misleading statements, as well as failed to disclose material adverse facts about the Company’s business, operations, and prospects. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that Defendants made materially false and/or misleading statements and failed to disclose material adverse facts about the Company's business, operations, and prospects throughout the Class Period and misled investors by failing to disclose that (I) because of the effect of inflationary pressures on the cost of construction and power, the Company and UAMPS would be unable to sign up enough subscribers to fulfill the CFPP; (2) Standard Power did not have the financial ability to support its agreement with NuScale; and (3) as a result, Defendants' positive statements about the Company's business, operations, and prospects were materially misleading and/or lacked a reasonable basis. throughout the Class Period.

If you bought NuScale shares between March 15, 2023 and November 8, 2023 and suffered a significant loss on that investment, you are encouraged to discuss your legal rights by contacting Corey Holzer, Esq. at cholzer@holzerlaw.com or by toll-free telephone at (888) 508-6832 or you may visit the firm’s website at www.holzerlaw.com/case/nuscale/ to learn more.

The deadline to ask the court to be appointed lead plaintiff in the case is January 16, 2024.

Holzer & Holzer, LLC, an ISS top rated securities litigation law firm for 2021 and 2022, dedicates its practice to vigorous representation of shareholders and investors in litigation nationwide, including shareholder class action and derivative litigation. Since its founding in 2000, Holzer & Holzer attorneys have played critical roles in recovering hundreds of millions of dollars for shareholders victimized by fraud and other corporate misconduct. More information about the firm is available through its website, www.holzerlaw.com, and upon request from the firm. Holzer & Holzer, LLC has paid for the dissemination of this promotional communication, and Corey Holzer is the attorney responsible for its content.  

CONTACT:
Corey Holzer, Esq.
(888) 508-6832 (toll-free)
cholzer@holzerlaw.com

Editorial: 
Opinion by The Times Editorial Board • December 28, 2023

It looks like California is going from solar leader to solar loser.

A year after regulators at the state Public Utilities Commission voted to gut the successful incentive program that has helped put more than 1.8 million solar systems on homes and businesses, the consequences are becoming distressingly clear.

Preliminary data from the rooftop solar industry shows a steep drop in installations and widespread job losses since April. That’s when the PUC’s changes to the net energy metering program took effect, slashing the compensation new solar customers receive for the excess power they feed into the grid.

The commission sided with utilities, organized labor and consumer advocates who argued that incentives were so generous that solar customers weren't paying their fair share to maintain the power grid, raising electricity rates for lower-income households and renters without solar arrays.

It’s not a surprise that eviscerating the financial incentives for consumers to invest in solar power would cause sales to plummet. But it’s still incredibly disappointing to see the outcome of state regulators’ wrecking-ball approach play out so predictably.

The analysis by the California Solar & Storage Assn. found that sales of rooftop systems in the state have dropped between 77% and 85% since April. That’s backed up by data from Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric showing that customers' applications to connect their solar systems to the grid dropped between 66% and 83% in the months since incentives were reduced, compared with the same time period in 2022.

The industry group forecasts that 17,000 jobs — one-fifth of all solar jobs in California — could be lost by the end of 2023 as the reduction in incentives comes on top of high interest rates and inflation. That’s a steeper decline than the industry experienced in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic brought most solar installations to a halt.

Undermining the rooftop solar market is the opposite of what California should be doing to combat climate change. The world recorded its hottest year in 2023 and is experiencing worsening storms, heat waves and wildfires and other disasters. Yet, state regulators are doubling down.

Last month, the five-member panel of commissioners appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom voted to slash solar incentives again, this time making it far less financially viable for apartment buildings, schools, strip malls, farms and small businesses to go solar. These decisions serve the interests of the state's three big investor-owned utilities, who want to get solar electricity from large-scale arrays in the desert where it can be generated more cheaply. Organized labor also stands to benefit from the change. As the rooftop market falters, there will be more need for union-built solar projects to help the state meet its renewable energy goals.

The gutting of rooftop solar incentives isn’t hurting only the local regional companies that install residential systems. It’s also dragging down big, publicly traded companies like Enphase Energy that supply the equipment used in rooftop arrays.

Keeping solar financially viable and affordable for as many Californians as possible to generate renewable energy on their homes, apartments, businesses, schools and churches isn’t too much to ask. It’s an imperative for our planet.

Newsom and his PUC appointees should keep an eye on this alarming decline in solar jobs and installations and, if it continues, intervene. You can’t be a leader in the fight against climate change by crashing the solar market. It’s not too late to reverse course, reestablish strong consumer incentives for solar systems with battery storage and stem the damage to a cornerstone of California’s clean energy future. 

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