Visions of a Nuclear Free World-Ending Atomic Power One Plant at a Time


English: Anti nuclear power movement's Smiling...

 

 

 

by KARL GROSSMAN

 

Southern California Edison’s announcement last week that it will close its troubled twin-reactor San Onofre nuclear power plant—along with other recent setbacks for atomic energy in the United States—marks a downward spiral for nuclear power.

And it could—and should—mean a great advance for the implementation of safe, clean, renewable energy technologies. “We have long said that these reactors are too dangerous to operate and now Edison has agreed,” said Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth, after the announcement Friday. “The people of California now have the opportunity to move away from the failed promise of dirty and dangerous nuclear power and replace it with safe and clean energy provided by the sun and wind.”

S. David Freeman, former head of the Tennessee Valley Authority and other utilities, at a joint news conference with Pica Friday, said it was a “step in the right direction and another move toward the renewable revolution that’s underway in California.”

Also this week, Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy scrapped plans to build nuclear plants in Iowa. Last month, Dominion Resources announced it was shutting down its Kewaunee nuclear plant in Wisconsin. Also last month, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission ruled that a partnership between Toshiba and NRG Energy to build two nuclear plants in Texas violated a U.S. law barring foreign control of nuclear plants. Further last month, Duke Energy announced it was scuttling plans to build two nuclear plants in North Carolina. This came after Duke’s earlier announcement that it would close its troubled Crystal River nuclear plant in Florida.

From 104, the U.S. in short order has gone to 100 operating nuclear plants—and most of these are also plagued with safety and financial problems. Many also face strong opposition and

demands they be shut down.

“This industry is on its final trajectory downward,” said Pica Friday. He said that with these events, the NRC should be renamed the Nuclear Retirement Commission.

At the news conference, Freeman said that having a nuclear power-free and greenhouse gas-free world are the two most needed things to be done to “sustain life…on Earth.”

That nuclear power is a threat to life is not a new issue—it’s been central to the battle against nuclear power even before the first commercial nuclear plant in the U.S., the Shippingport plant in Pennsylvania, opened in 1957.

But new in recent decades have been the great advances in safe, clean, renewable energy technologies led by solar and wind, rendering nuclear power unnecessary.  Germany has become a global model in jettisoning nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and is committed to a goal of 100% of its energy coming from clean, renewable sources.

A few hundred miles from the San Onofre plant, in San Francisco last month, a conference—“Pathways to 100% Renewable Energy”—was held serving as an international organizing and strategy event. It was hosted by the Renewables 100 Policy Institute of San Francisco. Experts in energy and finance, political leaders and renewable energy activists spoke on the feasibility of 100% renewable energy.

Study after study have now determined that renewable technologies can provide all the power the world needs.The Renewables 100 Policy Institute presents many on its website (www.go100percent.org) including “A Plan to Power 100% of the Planet With Renewables,” a 2009 cover story ofScientific American, a conservative and most careful publication.

The challenge has been converting this understanding to action, particularly considerng how special interests pushing their energy products—nuclear, oil, gas and coal—have a hold on so many governments around the world. At the conference, a “global alliance” was formed to “build political will among a critical mass of decision makers and set a required goal of 100% renewable energies.”

Also a big problem has been the ignorance in much of mainstream media about energy issues—especially concerning nuclear power. For example, at the news conference Friday, Matthew Wald, who covers nuclear power for The New York Times, demanded most defensively of Pica how he squared eliminating “2,400 megawatts of carbon-free energy” that would be generated by the San Onofre nuclear plant. Wald either doesn’t want to acknowledge or doesn’t know that the “nuclear cycle”—the mining, milling, fuel enrichment and other components of nuclear power—emit greenhouse gases and contribute substantially to global warming, and thus the energy from San Onofre was never “carbon-free.”

The San Onofre plant, built along an earthquake fault, has been an obvious threat to anyone traveling along Interstate 5, the major highway linking San Diego and Los Angeles. Its twin domes sit right next to Interstate 5.

“We are now left with one of the largest, most concentrated nuclear waste piles on the planet,” said Ace Hoffman of Carlsbad, California, who has written extensively about the serious safety problems at San Onofre. “This will be an eternal problem, but thankfully it is no longer a growing problem…It will take millions of years—not just days—to be safe, but at least we are headed in the right direction.” As to the employees of San Onofre, said Hoffman Friday: “I hope they all will find jobs in the solar and wind technology energy sectors.”

Two nuclear reactors amid millions of people will now be shut down permanently. The electricity they would have generated can be replaced, said utility veteran Freeman, an engineer, through energy efficiency and with solar and wind power made available on-demand with a variety of energy storage systems.

And, as Damon Moglen, climate and energy director of Friends of the Earth, said at the conference, with San Onofre’s closing “we will see California move even more decisively” on renewable energy and become “one of the largest non-nuclear economies on our planet .”

That’s a big step in the vision of a nuclear power-free world using energy that people can live with—safe, clean renewable energy.

Karl Grossman, professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College of New York, is the author of the book, The Wrong Stuff: The Space’s Program’s Nuclear Threat to Our Planet. 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.

 

San Onofre is Dead and So Is Nuclear Power


The sun sets on San Onofre. (Photo: dolanh/cc/flickr)From his California beach house at San Clemente, Richard Nixon once watched three reactors rise at nearby San Onofre. As of June 7, 2013, all three are permanently shut.

It’s a monumental victory for grassroots activism. it marks an epic transition in how we get our energy.

In the thick of the 1970s Arab oil embargo, Nixon said there’d be 1000 such reactors in the US by the year 2000.

As of today, there are 100.

Four have shut here this year. Citizen activism has put the “nuclear renaissance” into full retreat.

Just two of 54 reactors now operate in Japan, where Fukushima has joined Chernobyl and Three Mile Island in permanently scarring us all.

Germany is shutting its entire fleet and switching to renewables. France, once the poster child for the global reactor industry, is following suit. South Korea has just shut three due to fraudulent safety procedures. Massive demonstrations rage against reactors being built in India. Only the Koreans, Chinese and Russians remain at all serious about pushing ahead with this tragic technology.

Cheap gas has undercut the short-term market for expensive electricity generated by obsolete coal and nuke burners. But the vision of Solartopia—a totally green-powered Earth—is now our tangible long-term reality.

With falling prices and soaring efficiency, every moving electron our species consumes will be generated by a solar panel, wind turbine, bio-fueled or geothermal generator, wave machine and their green siblings.

As of early this year, Southern California Edison’s path to a re-start at San Onofre seemed as clear as any to be expected by a traditional atomic tyrannosaur.

But with help from Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Senator-to-be Ed Markey (D-MA), a powerful citizen uprising stopped it dead.

So did the terrifying incompetence and greed that has defined the nuclear industry from the days of Nixon and before.

San Onofre Unit One shut in the 1990s due largely to steam generator problems.

In the early 2000s, Units 2 & 3 needed new steam generators of their own. In the usual grasp for more profits, Edison chose untested, unlicensed new designs.

But they failed. And the whole world was watching. In the wake of Fukushima, two more leaky tsunami-zone reactors surrounded by earthquake faults were massively unwelcome.

So a well-organized non-violent core of local, state and national activists and organizations rose up to stop the madness.

At Vermont Yankee, Indian Point, Seabrook, Davis-Besse and dozens of other reactors around the US and world, parallel opposition is escalating.

Make no mistake—this double victory at San Onofre is a falling domino. Had the public not fought back, those reactors would have been “fixed” at public expense.

Today, they are dead.

Worldwide, there are some 400 to go. Each of them—including the 100 remaining in the US—could do apocalyptic damage. We still have our work cut out for us.

But a huge double-step has been taken up the road to Solartopia.

There will be no Fukushimas at San Onofre.

A green-powered Earth is that much closer.

And we have yet another proof that citizen action makes all the difference in our world.

So seize the day and celebrate!!!

Harvey Wasserman

Harvey Wasserman’s Solartopia Green Power & Wellness Show is at www.progressiveradionetwork.com, and he edits www.nukefree.org. Harvey Wasserman’s History of the US and Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth are atwww.harveywasserman.com along with Passions of the PotSmoking Patriots by “Thomas Paine.”  He and Bob Fitrakis have co-authored four books on election protection, including How the GOP Stole America’s 2004 Election, atwww.freepress.org.

PRESS RELEASE- San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) to close permanently #goodnews


SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EDISON PLANT - NARA - 542593

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EDISON PLANT – NARA – 542593 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Media Relations (626) 302-2255
Investor Relations Contact: Scott Cunningham (626) 302-2540
Southern California Edison Announces Plans to
Retire San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station
Company Will Continue its Work with State Agencies on Electric Grid Reliability
ROSEMEAD, Calif. (June 7, 2013) — Southern California Edison (SCE) has decided to permanently
retire Units 2 and 3 of its San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS).
“SONGS has served this region for over 40 years,” said Ted Craver, Chairman and CEO of Edison
International, parent company of SCE, “but we have concluded that the continuing uncertainty about
when or if SONGS might return to service was not good for our customers, our investors, or the need to
plan for our region’s long-term electricity needs.”
Both SONGS units have been shut down safely since January 2012. Unit 2 was taken out of service
January 9, 2012, for a planned routine outage. Unit 3 was safely taken offline January 31, 2012, after
station operators detected a small leak in a tube inside a steam generator manufactured by Mitsubishi
Heavy Industries (MHI). Two steam generators manufactured by MHI were installed in Unit 2 in 2009 and
two more were installed in Unit 3 in 2010, one of which developed the leak.
In connection with the decision, SCE estimates that it will record a charge in the second quarter of
between $450 million and $650 million before taxes ($300 million – $425 million after tax), in accordance
with accounting requirements.
After months of analysis and tests, SCE submitted a restart plan to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
(NRC) in October 2012. SCE proposed to safely restart Unit 2 at a reduced power level (70%) for an
initial period of approximately five months. That plan was based on work done by engineering groups
from three independent firms with expertise in steam generator design and manufacturing.
The NRC has been reviewing SCE’s plans for restart of Unit 2 for the last eight months, during which
several public meetings have been held. A recent ruling by an adjudicatory arm of the NRC, the Atomic
Safety and Licensing Board, creates further uncertainty regarding when a final decision might be made on
restarting Unit 2. Additional administrative processes and appeals could result in delay of more than a
year. During this period, the costs of maintaining SONGS in a state of readiness to restart and the costs
to replace the power SONGS previously provided would continue. Moreover, it is uneconomic for SCE
and its customers to bear the long-term repair costs for returning SONGS to full power operation without
restart of Unit 2. SCE has concluded that efforts are better focused on planning for the replacement
generation and transmission resources which will be required for grid reliability.
“Looking ahead,” said Ron Litzinger, SCE’s President, “we think that our decision to retire the units will
eliminate uncertainty and facilitate orderly planning for California’s energy future.”
Litzinger noted that the company has worked with the California Independent System Operator, the
California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission in planning for Southern
California’s energy needs and will continue to do so. 2 of 2
“The company is already well into a summer reliability program and has completed numerous
transmission upgrades in addition to those completed last year,” Litzinger said. “Thanks to consumer
conservation, energy efficiency programs and a moderate summer, the region was able to get through
last summer without electricity shortages. We hope for the same positive result again this year,” Litzinger
added, “although generation outages, soaring temperatures or wildfires impacting transmission lines
would test the system.”
In connection with the retirement of Units 2 and 3, San Onofre anticipates reducing staff over the next
year from approximately 1,500 to approximately 400 employees, subject to applicable regulatory
approvals. The majority of such reductions are expected to occur in 2013.
“This situation is very unfortunate,” said Pete Dietrich, SCE’s Chief Nuclear Officer, noting that “this is an
extraordinary team of men and women. We will treat them fairly.” SCE will work to ensure a fair process
for this transition, and will work with the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) and the International
Brotherhood of Electric Workers (IBEW) on transition plans for the employees they represent.
SCE also recognizes its continuing safety responsibilities as it moves toward decommissioning of the
units. SCE’s top priority will be to ensure a safe, orderly, and compliant retirement of these units. Full
retirement of the units prior to decommissioning will take some years in accordance with customary
practices. Actual decommissioning will take many years until completion. Such activities will remain
subject to the continued oversight of the NRC.
SCE intends to pursue recovery of damages from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the supplier of the
replacement steam generators, as well as recovery of amounts under applicable insurance policies.
For updates, please visit http://www.SONGScommunity.com, or follow us on Twitter at
http://www.twitter.com/SCE_SONGS and on http://www.facebook.com/SCE.
San Onofre is jointly owned by SCE (78.21 percent), San Diego Gas & Electric (20 percent) and the city
of Riverside (1.79 percent).
About Southern California Edison
An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest
electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 14 million via 4.9 million customer accounts in a 50,000-
square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.

 

Do you understand #Nuclear Liability, Mr. M. R. Srinivasan?


Anuj Wankhede, dianuke.org 

I was surprised and amused at the weak defense that M. R. Srinivasan offers in THE HINDU dated 15/10/2012 where he seems to have taken on the mantle of the Attorney General of India.

As a current and an ex member of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) there are obvious conflicts of interest here which make him feel that the Indian Liability laws related to civilian nuclear disasters are too strong.

Well, perhaps, he can explain why, after billions of rupees are being poured into this madness of nuclear energy, India only has less than 3% power from nuclear energy? In his own words, Tarapur started 43 years ago. Surely, ANY industry would / should have progressed far beyond this and delivered much more.

M. R. Srinivasan further goes on to state with pride that we have built several PHWR reactors“on our own” and that was because there was limited liability and the industry had a free hand!!

Even today, the VVER reactors being commissioned at Koodankulam require Russian or Croatian experts to build, load and operate them. Where is the question of India having developed anything indigenous in its nuclear program? It has been and will always remain a foreign suppliers dream project aided by supplicant Indian scientists.

To come to his first point about GE and Canada. Let us understand that GE is NOT a charitable institution which came to India to give its know-how. They came to do a multi million dollar business knowing fully well that the risks of doing business in India were far lower than in their any other country!

Mr. Srinivasan, you seem to be patting your own back. But, for the knowledge of our readers, can you inform us what our “learned” scientists have learned about Fast Breeder Reactors or Thorium based reactors in this half century. And how far are they from even a prototype reactor which is paying them months and years for no reason? Every few months, NPCIL and DAE say we are just month’s ways from commissioning such a project. Do you think Indians believe you anymore Mr. Srinivasan?

Survivors of the Bhopal gas tragedy protest outside the Prime Minister’s office in New Delhi on May 4, 2010 before filing RTI petitions on the nuclear liability bill. Photo: THE HINDU

To even compare the Indian Nuclear Liability Law and the Price Anderson Act in the USA is a joke. That US Act –passed in 1957– covers theDepartment of Energy (DOE) facilities, private licensees, and their subcontractors including the USEC uranium enrichment plants, and national laboratories.

The US Act further states clearly that “Companies are expressly forbidden to defend any action for damages on the grounds that an incident was not their fault.”

Does the Indian Act indemnify all of these parties? Just including suppliers has got the nuclear lobby into a tizzy!!

In the US, nuclear suppliers, operators and all those concerned with the project must pool money and keep it ready to compensate damages in case of accidents. No insurance company in its right mind would anyway underwrite such dangerous projects. So, the money comes directly from the pockets/profits of these nuclear bigwigs such as GE and Areva.

I particularly thank Mr. Srinivasan on bringing up the topic of liability and how India made progress because of not having a liability regime. He talks with pride of the complexities and the factors at play. Read this hilarious statement:

Let us look at the way an owner-operator manages a nuclear power plant. Even where a plant has been supplied by a single entity under a turnkey contract, many vendors, often running into thousands, would have supplied many components. During operation, the operator incorporates many changes and modifications to improve the reliability, ease of operation and efficiency. They may or may not have been done in full consultation with the original suppliersof equipment. Chances that sub-suppliers would be consulted on changes are very small.”

Awesome!!! So you mean a multibilliondollar plant is constructed and then ‘suitably’ modified to the whims and fancies of the supplier-operator while nothing can be done about it!!

Then why have environmental clearances too? Simply claim that you are planning a building and then go ahead adding floors and extensions to it!! It happens all the time in India, so why not do that with your nuclear plants too?

Has Mr. Srinivasan even heard of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) in California which is lying idle since January because of the VERY same reasons he talks about? The operator and supplier made changes to the designs. These changes were incorporated and installed for the operator by the contractor, Mitsubishi. However, within months after these ‘upgrades’, radiation was detected and because of that, the plant has had to be shut down. It remains shuteven now and will probably never restart. Yet, the burden of running even this shut plant falls on the people of California who are paying for it through higher electricity bills because nuclear power plants cannot be simply locked away like textile mills, they contain deadly radioactive material which needs constant monitoring and maintenance even during shut downs!

A Liability law seeks to set a level playing field in case of a civilian nuclear accident. The learned gentlemanmakes reference to and even ridicules the Supreme Court orders of “polluter pays”!!!

Obviously he is in contempt of court and I hope the SC takes suomoto action against him,

Mr. Srinivasan should probably explain why we should have ANY laws in this country? If airplanes and railways cause accidents, why make them accountable or liable? If someone kills another person, do not prosecute him, let him go free. After all, that is the meaning of “free market” to you Mr. Srinivasan, right?

Let anyone come to India, pollute, plunder, loot, take their profits, cause damages and then scoot……We are after all a banana republic. A nuclear banana.

Anuj is a Masters in Management Studies, an avid environmentalist who believes that bigger the problem, bigger the opportunity.

He can be reached at benchmark.anuj (at)gmail.com and 9757475875

 

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