Nuclear Power Is Not "Green Energy": It Is a Fount of Atomic Waste

Monday, November 14, 2016 By Arnie Gundersen, Truthout | News Analysis

Starting in 1971, I became a card-carrying member of the "nuclear priesthood." I began as a licensed nuclear reactor operator and progressed through the industry to become a senior vice president. I believed, with religious fervor, that by helping to build and operate atomic power reactors, I would be creating power that was "too cheap to meter." The historic 1973 gasoline shortages and long lines of cars queued at the pumps made it clear to me and hundreds of other nuclear engineers that nuclear power was the only solution to the "energy shortage." In the 1970s and '80s, solving this apparent energy shortage was our only mantra. At that time, there was no scientific data connecting fossil fuels to climate change.

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NRC Approves Transfer of Susquehanna Nuclear Plant Licenses from Talen Energy to Riverstone Holdings

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved the indirect transfer of the operating licenses for the Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, Units 1 and 2, from Talen Energy Corp. to the portfolio companies of Riverstone Holdings, as part of Riverstone’s proposed acquisition of Talen.

The Susquehanna plant has two boiling water reactors and a dry cask spent fuel storage installation located in Berwick, Pa. The reactors are licensed to operate through July 17, 2042, for Unit 1 and March 23, 2044, for Unit 2. The plant is operated by a subsidiary of Talen, Susquehanna Nuclear LLC, which holds a 90-percent ownership stake in the plant. The indirect transfer does not affect the remaining 10 percent, held by Allegheny Electric Cooperative Inc.

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Three Mile Island Generating Station Unit 1 Offline for Planned Maintenance

LONDONDERRY TWP., PA. (Dec. 1, 2016) – Operators took Three Mile Island Generating Station Unit 1 offline early this morning to perform planned maintenance on one of several pumps that provide water to the reactor. This maintenance cannot be performed with the plant online.

Three Mile Island is located 12 miles south of Harrisburg, Pa. in Dauphin County. The plant produces enough carbon-free electricity for more than 800,000 homes. TMI makes a significant impact on the central Pennsylvania economy, including injecting more than $60 million per year through salaries paid to employees. Join us on Twitter and You Tube.

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Sirens to sound for three minutes at 12:15 p.m.

LONDONDERRY TWP, PA (Nov. 29, 2016) — Exelon Generation will conduct its semi-annual, full volume test of the emergency warning sirens surrounding Three Mile Island Generating Station on Thursday, Dec. 1 at approximately 12:15 p.m. This is one of two semi-annual tests performed each year.

The TMI emergency warning siren system consists of 96 sirens located in parts of Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties that are located within a 10-mile radius of TMI. The sirens are not a signal to evacuate, but a warning to tune to a local Emergency Alert Broadcast television or radio station. County emergency management authorities activate the sirens, which can be used in the event of any emergency, including severe weather.

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NRC Begins Scoping Effort for Environmental Review of Proposed WCS Interim Spent Fuel Storage Facility

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is seeking comments from the public on the issues to be covered in the environmental review of an application from Waste Control Specialists to construct and operate a facility to store spent nuclear fuel in Andrews County, Texas. The NRC will prepare an environmental impact statement to document its evaluation of those impacts and is now taking public comments on the scope.

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(On Communication Received and Providing Opportunity to Respond)

On November 1, 2016, Mr. Sabatini Monatesti submitted an e-mail and an attachment to members of the Board assigned to preside over an appeal from the NRC Staff’s denial of a request for access to sensitive unclassified non-safeguards information (SUNSI) in the above captioned proceeding.

The submission does not appear to have been properly filed through the Commission’s E-filing system as required by 10 C.F.R. § 2.305(c).

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Attention: West Coast friends -

John LaForge is currently on a speaking tour in your area! Attend one of these upcoming book talks to learn more about the dangers of nuclear weapons--and please help us spread the word.

Thurs., Oct. 13: Berkeley, CA - 7 pm at Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists

Fri., Oct. 21: Poulsbo, WA - 6:30 pm at Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action.

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(a campaign for a sustainable energy future)

News Advisory

For Release:  Wednesday - October 5, 2016
Contact:  Ken Bossong, 301-270-6477 x.11
Washington DC – Two new reports from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) confirm that nuclear power is rapidly losing the race with renewable energy sources.
EIA's latest "Monthly Energy Review" (with data for the first half of 2016) notes that during the first six months of this year, renewable sources (i.e., biofuels, biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, and wind) accounted for 5.242 quadrillion Btus (quads) of domestic energy production.  This includes thermal, liquid, and electrical forms of energy.  By comparison, nuclear power provided only 4.188 quads.  That is, renewables outpaced nuclear by more than 25%. [1]
Meanwhile, FERC's latest "Energy Infrastructure Update" (with data through the end of August 2016), states that the total available installed generating capacity in the U.S. from the combination of utility-scale (i.e., greater than 1-MW) hydropower, wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal has grown to 215.82 gigawatts (GW) or 18.39% of total generating capacity.  Nuclear power's installed capacity is only107.06 GW or 9.12% of the total. Thus, renewable energy generating capacity is now more than double that of nuclear. [2]
However, actual electrical generation by nuclear plants for the first seven months of 2016 is 19.9% of total generation. That is still higher than that provided by renewable sources which contributed 15.8% (a figure which does not include electricity produced by distributed renewables such as rooftop solar). [3]
But while nuclear power's share of net electrical generation has remained essentially flat over the past decade -- e.g., it was 19.4% in 2006, renewable energy's share is growing rapidly -- increasing from 9.5% ten years ago to 15.8% today [4] -- with EIA forecasting continued strong growth in the years ahead. [5]
"If renewable sources maintain their current growth rates, they could fully eclipse nuclear in the trifecta of not only energy supply and generating capacity but also electricity production within the next five or six years," concluded Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign.  

# # # # # # #

[1] U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Monthly Energy Review," September 27, 2016
[2] Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, "Energy Infrastructure Update," September 30, 2016
[3] U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Electric Power Monthly"(see Table ES1.B), September 26, 2016
[4] Ibid. (see Table 1.1)
[5] U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Short-Term Energy Outlook," September 7, 2016


Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release

NRC Issues Confirmatory Order to Power Resources, Inc.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a Confirmatory Order to Power Resources, Inc., of Casper, Wyo., documenting actions that the company has agreed to take to ensure it maintains complete and accurate records of radiation surveys of personnel exiting its facilities.

The order formalizes commitments company officials made to the NRC following an investigation of activities at the company’s North Butte facility in Campbell County, Wyo. The NRC preliminarily determined that a former operations supervisor falsified a record of exit surveys that was supposed to be conducted on Sept. 12, 2013. In fact, the surveys required by NRC regulations were not conducted.

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