Summary of July 19, 2010, Category 1 meeting with Exelon to discuss re-submittal of its Cyber security plan
Download ML102070025 (PDF)
PEACH BOTTOM ATOMIC POWER STATION: NRC EVALUATED EP EXERCISE - INSPECTION REPORT NO. 05000277/2010502 AND 05000278/2010502
From the New York Times:
Solar photovoltaic systems have long been painted as a clean way to generate electricity, but expensive compared with other alternatives to oil, like nuclear power. No longer. In a “historic crossover,” the costs of solar photovoltaic systems have declined to the point where they are lower than the rising projected costs of new nuclear plants, according to a paper published this month.
“Solar photovoltaics have joined the ranks of lower-cost alternatives to new nuclear plants,” John O. Blackburn, a professor of economics at Duke University, in North Carolina, and Sam Cunningham, a graduate student, wrote in the paper, “Solar and Nuclear Costs — The Historic Crossover.”
This crossover occurred at 16 cents per kilowatt hour, they said.
From the Rutland Herald:
The New England Coalition, a nuclear physicist and his activist son want the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to lower the peak temperature of Vermont Yankee’s nuclear fuel cladding, saying data and studies show that the margin of safety in the event of a loss of coolant accident is down to 30 seconds.
The NRC earlier in spring had already agreed to consider the matter raised by Mark Leyse of New York City, but in a review track that will take years, not months. The New England Coalition wants the margin of safety increased immediately.
Leyse and Raymond Shadis, senior technical adviser to the coalition, say Vermont Yankee’s peak cladding temperature of 1,960 degrees Fahrenheit only gives the plant operators 30 seconds to react during a loss-of-coolant incident scenario. They have petitioned to have Entergy Nuclear, the owner of Vermont Yankee, lower the peak temperature to 1,832 degrees Fahrenheit, if not lower. Vermont Yankee already operates with a lower temperature than the standard 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit set for most nuclear reactors.
Here is a startling fact: US power plants waste more energy than many countries use, including advanced economies like that of Japan. The wasted energy is in the form of heat thrown off when power plants produce electricity.
This is one of the points being brought to light by the International District Energy Association (IDEA), as it promotes new federal incentives for heat efficiency.
While the US is focusing on cleaning up its electricity supply, it tends to ignore heat energy, even though it represents 31% of the energy we use, particularly to heat and cool buildings, warm water, and manufacture products.
The Gulf spill is the largest environmental disaster in American history, but Congress has done NOTHING to pass a clean energy climate bill.
Heck, the Senate can’t even pass an oil spill responsebill. So how exactly does this happen? While there’s no one single answer to that question, one that needs to receive a lot more attention is the huge amount of money the fossil fuel industry throws around in Washington.
During this session of Congress alone, oil and coal companies have spent almost $15,000,000 on direct political contributions to our elected officials. And you can’t say that they don’t get their money’s worth. Their investment buys weak environmental regulations, giant subsidies for their companies and a national energy policy that keeps us dependent on dirty energy even in the face of disasters like the BP tragedy in the Gulf.
Enough. If we ever want to stop the flow of oil we’ve got to stop the flow of dirty money into Congress. That starts right now with YOU in your community and with yourmember of Congress. Download our “Dirty Energy Money” toolkit today and find out exactly how.
Here’s what we’re going to do: Members of Congress are currently home on break untilSeptember 9th. It’s the perfect time to pay a visit and ask them about the dirty energy money they’ve taken. Our friends over at Oil Change International have collected data on each and every member of Congress, including yours, and how much dirty money they’ve received. We’re asking activists like you to take that information and use it in a personal delivery to your Representative asking them to donate all that dirty money toGulf Coast recovery efforts.
It’s as simple as that. With the BP Deepwater disaster fresh in the public’s mind and the elections right around the corner, there’s never been a better time. In the toolkit you’ll find everything you need for your delivery and we’ll be here to help. Don’t wait,download the to toolkit today.
Cleaning up Congress starts with your Representative. It doesn’t matter how little or how much they have taken, it’s all part of the $15,000,000 and it’s all part of the problem.
Greenpeace Online Organizer
The Latest Fairewinds Report about Vermont Yankee is now posted here.
Event Number: 46164
Region: 1 State: PA
Unit:  [ ] [ ]
RX Type:  GE-4, GE-4
NRC Notified By: MARTIN LICHNTER
HQ OPS Officer: HOWIE CROUCH
Notification Date: 08/10/2010
Notification Time: 10:02 [ET]
Event Date: 08/10/2010
Event Time: 09:11 [EDT]
Last Update Date: 08/11/2010
August 2, 2010
Below is a sign-on letter put together by our friends at PSR and Beyond Nuclear, which will be hand-delivered to Japanese officials in a couple of days. The letter points out several reasons why Japan’s export-import banks should not fund nuclear reactor projects in the U.S. (it has been widely speculated, for example, that NRG’s proposed South Texas project would supplement U.S. taxpayer loans with additional loans from such banks).
To sign on, please do not hit “reply”! Please send your name, organization, city and state to Morgan Pinnell at PSR: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for all you do,
August 4, 2010
Dear Japan Bank for International Cooperation and Nippon Export and Investment Insurance officials,
We are writing to share with you the financial risks involved with new atomic reactor projects proposed in the United States. The environment for nuclear construction in the US is highly uncertain – much more so than in the rest of the world. The US has immense renewable energy resources that are truly unparalleled around the world and a larger potential for efficiency gains than in any other industrialized nations. As a consequence of these fundamental marketplace and technology risks, investment in new reactors in the US will remain extremely risky, even if climate legislation is enacted that raises the price of fossil fuels.
Electricity demand has plummeted in the U.S. due to the two-year economic recession. The large projected increases in electricity demand made just a few years ago – which served as the basis for many new reactor proposals – are now highly unlikely to be reached for another decade or more.
At the same time, the US has a host of lower-cost alternatives to meet the need for electricity, even in a carbon-constrained environment. The U.S. has abundant renewable energy resources that are significantly cheaper than new reactors. Estimated costs for constructing new reactors in the U.S. have quadrupled since 2001, while the cost of renewable technologies continues to decrease. Currently, the estimated cost for electricity from a new reactor is 12 cents to 20 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared to 3 cents per kilowatt-hour for efficiency, while several plentiful renewable resources including wind and biomass come fall in the range of 5 to 10 cents. Moreover, there is growing confidence in the availability of alternatives. Recent estimates of the natural gas resources have increased dramatically and the price has tumbled and is expected to remain low. Cogeneration opportunities are abundant in the U.S. industrial sector.
Meanwhile, the US uses far more electricity per capita than other industrialized nations, leaving a lot of potential for efficiency to further dampen electricity demand. Climate policy, which may put a price on carbon emissions, will also likely create a very substantial mandate for efficiency technology and renewable energy that will dramatically shrink the need for new, nonrenewable, large baseload generating capacity. It is not only renewable electricity standards and energy efficiency resource standards that will have this effect, but also building codes, appliance efficiency standards, and increases in funding for weatherization retrofitting of buildings.
In addition to the supply- and demand-side risks in the US, significant problems with new reactor designs have meant that none have received final certification from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Until their reactor designs are certified, no proposed new reactors can receive an NRC combined construction and operating license (COL). Design problems are likely to delay licensing and further increase the costs.
Moody’s Investor Services have called new reactors a “bet the farm” investment. Credit rating agencies have downgraded some US utilities proposing to build new reactors. In 2003, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated the likelihood of default for loans made to nuclear reactor developers to be “very high – well above 50 percent.” CBO has not developed a more recent estimate, but the necessary conditions for new reactors have only deteriorated further since then.
Due to Japanese corporate involvement in many of the proposed US reactor projects, it might appear that they would make good investments. The reality, however, is that the projects involving Japanese companies have suffered the same delays, design problems and financial difficulties as other proposed nuclear projects. With decreased U.S. electricity demand, an abundant supply of cheaper alternatives and ongoing design problems, investment in new reactors in the U.S. is simply as bad a deal for Japanese as it is for Americans.
Just as we have warned American taxpayers and elected officials about these very serious financial risks, we also urge you to very carefully consider these risks before deciding to invest in new atomic reactors in the United States.