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Ratepayer ripoff: $19 billion nuclear plant for Virginia

text-my-money-2Flag-USAVirginia group says new nuclear plant would be boondoggle, WP,  By Alan Suderman | AP July 12 RICHMOND, Va. — If Dominion Virginia Power goes ahead with plans to build a $19 billion nuclear plant, it would be one of the biggest ratepayer rip-offs in the history of producing electricity, a consumer group said in comments filed Tuesday.

In the comments filed with state regulators, the Virginia Citizens Consumer Council argue that Dominion Virginia Power should stop spending money on a potential new plant because it will unfairly burden the company’s customers while enriching its investors.

“The rich get richer and the ratepayers get poorer,” said Mark Cooper, a senior fellow for economic analysis with the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School who was hired by the VCCC as an expert witness……..

The attorney general’s office estimates that the cost of building North Anna 3, which wouldn’t be completed until 2029, would raise residential rates by 25 percent.

The Virginia State Corporation Commission’s three commissioners would have to give approval for Dominion to build North Anna 3. If approved, the company would be guaranteed a profit on all reasonable and prudent construction costs.

Cooper said the potentially large and steady cash flow from building North Anna 3 is what entices Dominion to continue to pursue the project. But he said customers would unfairly have to pay at least $6 billion more than is necessary to comply with potential federal emission rules. That would rank the project as “one of the grossest examples of enrichment by a utility” in the “entire history of energy production,” Cooper said. ………

July 13, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

At film sreening of “Indian Point” New Yorkers express their nuclear anxieties

FilmNew Yorkers express fears of Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant at documentary screening, Crains, 11 July 16 
A discussion with a nuclear operator and anti-nuclear protesters kicked off a two-week screening of Indian Point at Lincoln Center

By  The start of a two-week-long Lincoln Center film screening of Indian Point, a documentary about the controversial nuclear power plant in Buchanan, N.Y., gave New Yorkers an opportunity to share their concerns about their safety five years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

The film offers a look inside the power plant, located 35 miles from midtown Manhattan on the Hudson River. In addition to speaking with several anti-nuclear advocates, director Ivy Meeropol gained unprecedented access inside the highly guarded plant for her 94- minute documentary.

On July 8, Meeropol and the film’s subjects, including Indian Point senior control room operator Brian Vangor, science journalist Roger Witherspoon, activist Marilyn Elie and former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Gregory Jaczko answered New Yorkers’ anti-plant questions after the first screening of the film at Lincoln Center’s 85-seat Howard Gilman Theater. The film will have five showings daily until July 21.

With more than 50 million people living in close proximity to the facility, the Indian Point Energy Center’s continued operation has stoked a great deal of controversy in the surrounding community, including a vocal anti-nuclear contingent concerned that the kind of disaster that happened at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant could happen in New York.

“How do we close Indian Point down as soon as possible?” one concerned citizen asked after the film screening.

“We don’t,” Witherspoon said. “The NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) is the only one who has the authority to do that.”

Meeropol was quick to explain that her film was “not about whether nuclear power is good or bad.” Instead she sought to understand the impact of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster on New York.

“The relevant questions to me [while making this film] were: Do we continue operating aging plants, especially one like Indian Point, which is situated in the middle of the largest population of any nuclear power plant in the nation, and if so, who or what organization will make sure these plants are run safely?” the director said…….

July 13, 2016 Posted by | Resources -audiovicual, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear power’s reality – a horrible industry

Horrible reality of nuclear power JIM GRIFFIN Diablo Canyon is finally shutting down. It should never have been built in the first place, especially over two earthquake prone fault lines. In fact, as we can see now, no nuclear power plants should ever have been built.

Sooner or later they always leak radiation, and nuclear fuel waste takes 250,000 years to decay into lead — a massive and mounting problem. Nuclear waste will be a huge issue at Diablo many years after the complex closes. It is true that there in no Co2 and no addition to climate change. But there is totally toxic radiation that no container material can outlast.

Nuclear power has always been a bad idea, good on paper but only if you ignore half the story. Horrible in reality.

PG&E is an especially bad player. Think of all the people poisoned in Hinkley, Calif. (Erin Brockovich) and many other places, and all the pollution and the gas line accidents. Think of the totally cowed  Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and the Nuclear Regulatory Agency, corrupted and co-opted through a cozy relationship with PG&E and other big energy  corporations, who then get away with murder and receive a slap on the wrist for their crimes, if anything.

As long as PG&E and other major utilities exist as huge profit obsessed corporations they will  manipulate all types of energy sources and markets, along with the media and the politicians, keeping prices high and with everything tightly in their control.  The Diablo complex doesn’t begin to close for eight full years — more than enough time for PG&E to pull strings and grease palms to have the recent agreement/settlement gutted or greatly watered down. Watch and see.

In my opinion, “public” utilities should really be publically owned and run democratically, co-operatively and transparently by and in the interests of consumers, not investors and fat-cat executives. This is the only way that renewable energy, alternative energy, energy storage, and all other possibilities can be developed and provided in a socially responsible way. And nuclear power ended forever.

Jim Griffin has lived in San Luis Obispo for five years. Jim has been a progressive political activist since his mid-teens, taking part in anti-war movements, the civil rights movement, labor union struggles, and other movements for human, civil, and democratic rights.

July 13, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Republicans trying to roll back the Iran nuclear agreement

Iran Nuclear Deal Faces Triple Threat in Congress on Anniversary  kambizf  

      • Three measures seek to derail agreement signed a year ago
      • Iran says it still waiting for full benefits from the accord

Republican lawmakers are pushing three measures to roll back a nuclear agreement with Iran, while the Obama administration’s lead negotiator for the accord defended its implementation one year after the deal was struck.

Three bills dealing with the agreement, under which Iran agreed to curtail its nuclear program in return for an easing of economic sanctions, are scheduled for a vote this week in the House of Representatives, where Republicans have a majority. The measures would then go to the Senate, which may not take them up before September.

One of the proposals would impose new sanctions on Iran over any sponsorship of terrorism or human rights violations. Another would bar the purchase from the Islamic Republic of “heavy water,” a non-radioactive byproduct of both the manufacturing of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. The third would block Iran’s access to the U.S. financial system, including the use of the dollar.

All three measures have been met with promises of a veto from the White House. Without the Iranian accord, “we would have been forced to confront the reality of how to address Iran’s nuclear program in a world where diplomacy had failed,” Stephen Mull, the State Department’s lead coordinator for Iran nuclear implementation, said Tuesday at a Bipartisan Policy Center conference in Washington.

‘No Better Deal’

“There was no better deal to be had,” Mull said. “If Iran continues to meet its obligation and we walk away, we walk away alone. ”

While the U.S. remains concerned about Iran’s missile program, support for terrorism and human rights violations, within the confines of the nuclear agreement, “this deal is working,” Mull added.

After a decade of isolation under U.S.-led international sanctions, Iran is now seeing greater interest from businesses and banks in its $370 billion economy. However, Iranian officials complain that six months after the economic sanctions were eased, the country has yet to witness the financial benefits many predicted.

 Remaining U.S. sanctions as well as the threat sanctions could be reimposed, have kept many foreign companies away, according to Iran. Mull cited Iran’s weaknesses in transparency, banking and corporate governance.

“Iran has a lot of homework to do,” Mull said.The three bills expected to be voted on this week in the House are in addition to a measure introduced to derail Boeing Co.’s agreement last month to provide 109 aircraft to Iran’s national airline, a deal valued at more than $17.6 billion. That would be the biggest business transaction between the two countries since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the U.S. hostage crisis.

In issuing its veto threat this week, the White House emphasized that the legislation would undermine the viability of the nuclear agreement.

The deal “is critical to ensuring that Iran’s nuclear program is and will remain exclusively peaceful, which is profoundly in the national security interest of the U.S. and the international community,” according to the statement.


July 13, 2016 Posted by | Iran, politics, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Department of Energy not able to meet deadline on demolishing Hanford’s Plutonium Finishing Plant

safety-symbol-SmFlag-USADOE wants deadline extension for Hanford PFP demolition, TriCity Herald, 11 July 16 

Plant supposed to be demolished in September

DOE could start demolition in fall

In talks with regulators on setting new deadline

BY ANNETTE CARY The Department of Energy will not be able to meet a legally binding deadline to have Hanford’s Plutonium Finishing Plant demolished by the end of September, but demolition might be ready to start then.

DOE is in talks with its regulators, the Washington State Department of Ecology and the Environmental Protection Agency, to set a new Tri-Party Agreement deadline, said DOE spokesman Mark Heeter during a media tour of the nuclear reservation Monday.

The new deadline that DOE has proposed has not been made public.

DOE had long said that its contractor, CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co., would start tearing the main portion of the plant down in the spring of 2016 to meet the September deadline. Now it says demolition will start in the fall.

Preparing the plant for demolition has been some of the most hazardous work performed at any of DOE’s cleanup sites, say officials on the project.  The plant is the largest, most complex plutonium facility in the DOE cleanup complex, and parts of it were heavily contaminated with plutonium, including a form of plutonium that easily disperses into the air……..

Demolition of the plant will be done carefully with the building pulled apart “piece by piece,” Heeter said. What remains of the building will be disposed of either at a central Hanford landfill for low-level radioactive waste or eventually shipped to a national repository in New Mexico, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, for waste contaminated with plutonium.

July 13, 2016 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment