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“Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power” – latest edition

Book Cover UpBailing out aging nuclear power plants can impact development of renewable energy technologies, Enformable,  17 Oct 2016 “……. “Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power”. The latest edition, issued after the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe began, is available for free, courtesy of the publisher, on my website,

Cover Up was the first of several books I’ve written on nuclear technology. I’ve written thousands of articles, too, and hosted and written many TV programs on nuclear power broadcast on the nationally-aired TV program I’ve hosted for 27 years, Enviro Close-Up.

Since Cover Up’s publication in 1980, I’ve also been on the lecture circuit—including being paired by my lecture agency with a leading advocate of nuclear power, John Sununu, the former New Hampshire governor. I’ve spoken at colleges and universities across the U.S. and also overseas, including making presentations in six trips to Russia in the 1990s and early 2000s as Russia sought to create a new energy program—before Vladimir Putin’s iron fist came down. My last presentation in Russia, a keynote address at a conference in Siberia on nuclear power, in Tomsk, a so-called “atomic city,” a center of Russian nuclear activity, was supported by the U.S. State Department.

I start Cover Up declaring: “You have not been informed about nuclear power. You have not been told. And that has been done on purpose. Keeping the public in the dark was deemed necessary by the promoters of nuclear power if it was to succeed. Those in government, science and private industry who have been pushing nuclear power realized that if people were give the facts, if they knew the consequences of nuclear power, they would not stand for it.”

“Equal to that of the State of Pennsylvania”
For example, although those Brookhaven Lab scientists downplayed the dangers of nuclear power, studies I obtained from BNL itself projected huge and dire consequences of an accident. For example, over and over again in BNL’s report, WASH-740 Update, is the line that “the possible size of the area of such a disaster might be equal to that of the State of Pennyslvania.” This was written a decade before the Three Mile Island accident almost turned that BNL projection into fact.

I reprint in Cover Up this line and many other passages from government documents on the dangers of nuclear power as facsimiles—reprinting the actual documents themselves—so nuclear promoter could not deny them.

Covering up, deception, continue today.

The push for nuclear power has been—and is—a huge con job, one of the biggest the world has ever seen. From the claim of Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Lewis Strauss that nuclear power would be “too cheap to meter,” to the insistence of nuclear promoters through the years that nuclear plants are safe, to what the some nuclear scientists have advanced as the “hormesis” theory—that radioactivity is good for you; it exercises the immune system—the falsehoods run deep. It almost makes the tobacco industry look like pikers.

$7.6 Billion Bail-out Plan
And now we have in New York State a $7.6 billion plan advanced by Governor Andrew Cuomo and supported by the state’s Public Service Commission, the members of which the governor appoints, to bail out four aged upstate nuclear power plants.

The bail-out would be part of a program that includes a “Clean Energy Standard” under which 50 percent of electricity used in New York by 2030 would come from “clean and renewable energy sources”
To subsidize the upstate nuclear plants, there would be a surcharge for 12 years on electric bills paid by the state’s residential and industrial customers. Business owners, because of their larger use of electricity, would be particularly hard hit.

Nuclear power is dirty, dangerous and expensive—very expensive. And these days, nuclear power cannot compete economically.

As Jessica Azulay, program director of the state’s Alliance for a Green Economy, explains about the bailout: “Without these subsidies, nuclear plants cannot compete with renewable energy and will close. But under the guise of ‘clean energy,’ the nuclear industry is about to get its hands on our money in order to save its own profits, at the expense of public health and safety.”

What are the arguments made by the bail-out plan’s promoters?
The four nuclear plants are needed to offset climate change. A nuclear plant doesn’t emit carbon or greenhouse gasses, they say, a key nuclear industry argument in a time of great concern over climate change for nuclear plants nationally and worldwide. What is never mentioned by these nuclear promoters, however, is that the “nuclear cycle” or “nuclear chain”—the full nuclear system—is a major contributor of carbon emissions and greenhouse gasses.

“Nuclear is NOT emission-free!”

As Manna Jo Greene, environmental director of the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, wrote to the state Public Service Commission on this: “Nuclear is NOT emission-free! The claim of nuclear power having ‘zero-emission attributes’ ignores emissions generated in mining, milling, enriching, transporting and storing nuclear fuel.”………

October 19, 2016 Posted by | resources - print | Leave a comment

The R Street Institute’s “sober assessment” of nuclear power costs

  scrutiny-on-costsNordea Bank taps BNY Mellon as US debt, equity portfolios custodian, SNL, October 12, 2016 

By Andrew Coffman Smith Seven nuclear power plants may have to retire early because of large capital expenses and transmission congestion costs, not low wholesale power prices brought on by cheap and available natural gas, according to a new analysis.

The R Street Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, on Oct. 6 published a “sober assessment” of the risk exposure of 29 merchant nuclear power plants in competitive wholesale markets. The study examined the operations and maintenance, or O&M, costs and day-ahead pricing of those plants and five other nuclear power plants that recently closed or have announced their retirements.

“[W]hile natural gas certainly has affected the industry by putting a ceiling on prices, the facilities that are closing are ones located in areas with considerable transmission constraints, that have required significant and unexpected capital investments to extend their operational life or where closure has been a response to heightened regulatory oversight,” R Street energy policy director Catrina Rorke found.

Rorke did not find any substantial risk that ISO New England Inc.‘s two remaining nuclear plants that have not yet announced plans to shutter may have to do so, nor any “widespread closure risk” for PJM Interconnection LLC‘s 16 remaining nuclear plants.

However, she did find that four out of the five nuclear plants in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator Inc.‘s market already have O&M costs above day-ahead price signals and are at risk of closing. Those plants are NextEra Energy Inc.‘s majority-owned Duane Arnold Energy Center in Iowa and its wholly-owned Point Beach unit in Wisconsin, as well as DTE Energy Co.‘s Fermi plant and Entergy’s Palisades plant, both of which are in Michigan.

In Electric Reliability Council of Texas Inc.‘s market, Luminant Generation Co. LLC‘s Comanche Peak plant and the South Texas Project, which is partially owned by NRG Energy Inc.CPS Energy and others, are also at risk of closure because of a narrow margin between O&M costs and the hub price. However, the report said ERCOT’s use of scarcity pricing during supply shortages could provide enough payments to keep them operational.

In addition, the analysis singled out Exelon Corp. and EDF Group‘s jointly-owned R.E. Ginna in the New York ISO as operating at a loss for every megawatt-hour generated. Ginna is one of three nuclear plants that are expected to be subsidized under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s clean energy standard.

The study’s findings questioned if industry wide interventions, such as creating subsidies or including the price of carbon within electricity markets, are needed to prevent further early retirements as many within in the nuclear energy industry desire. New York earlier this year approved a subsidy for three at-risk nuclear power plants that could amount to almost $7.6 billion over 12 years. Supporters claim that the alternative of allowing those plants to retire early would still be more costly for both ratepayers and the environment.

As for the recent closures or announced retirements, Rorke found that those nuclear power plants also had “substantial additional financial challenges beyond natural-gas prices.”

“Transmission congestion and large capital expenditures have been the two factors that tip the scales in favor of retirements,” the study concluded……..

October 19, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

USA’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Safety Directives

safety-symbol-SmFlag-USANuclear (Information) Power, UCS,  , DIRECTOR, NUCLEAR SAFETY PROJECT | OCTOBER 18, 2016 DISASTER BY DESIGN/SAFETY BY INTENT #54

Safety by Intent

Robin Morgan wrote that “Knowledge is power. Information is power.”

Among many lessons learned from the March 1979 core meltdown at Three Mile Island was the need to collect, assess, and disseminate relevant operating experience in a timely manner. In other words, nuclear information has the power to promote nuclear safety, but only when that information is shared so as to replicate good practices and eradicate bad ones. Both the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the nuclear industry undertook parallel efforts after Three Mile Island to improve operating experience efforts.

NRC’s Information Sharing

The centerpiece of the NRC’s operating experience efforts is its generic communications program. The NRC instituted this program before the Three Mile Island accident, but took steps following the accident to expand the program and to shorten the time between events and advisories. The NRC also lowered the threshold used to screen the information to share more operating experience with plant owners.

The NRC has issued thousands of generic communications since the Three Mile Island accident.Bulletins and Generic Letters typically alert owners to a potential problem and require them to either confirm their facilities are not vulnerable or implement measures to reduce vulnerabilities.Regulatory Issue Summaries and Information Notices typically apprise owners about operating experience but do not require that the owners take specific actions in response.

Examples illustrating these various generic communications are:

    • Bulletin 2003-01, “Potential Impact of Debris Blockage on Emergency Sump Recirculation at Pressurized Water Reactors,” warned owners that a rupture inside containment of a pipe filled with steam or water could generate large amounts of debris as the high pressure fluid jetting from the broken pipe ends scoured coatings off equipment, insulation off piping, and even paint off walls…….
    • Generic Letter 2007-01, “Inaccessible or Underground Power Cable Failures that Disable Accident Mitigation Systems or Cause Plant Transients,” warned owners about a rash of unexpected failures of electrical cables. Many of the electrical cables had been qualified for 40 years of service, but failed before the end of their qualified lifetimes due to submergence in water. Several of the failed cables had been routed through underground metal conduits and buried concrete trenches. Groundwater or rainwater leaked into the conduits and trenches, subjecting the cable insulation to more rapid deterioration than anticipated………
    • Information Notice 2011-13, “Control Rod Blade Cracking Resulting in Reduced Design Lifetime,” warned owners of boiling water reactors about experience at a foreign nuclear plant. Workers discovered severe degradation of the control rods caused by irradiation-assisted stress-corrosion cracking. …….
    • Regulatory Issue Summary 2015-11, “Protective Action Recommendations for Members of the Public on Bodies of Water,” reminded owners of their obligations under Appendix E, “Emergency Planning and Preparedness for Production and Utilization Facilities,” to 10 CFR Part 50. Specifically, the regulatory issue summary reinforced the NRC’s expectation that owners’ emergency plan measures account for all affected members of the public whether on land or on water.
    • Regulatory Issue Summary 2014-12, “Decommissioning Fund Status Report Calculations—Update to Low-Level Waste Burial Charge Information,” informed owners that they could use data in Revision15 of NUREG-1307, “Report on Waste Burial Charges: Changes in Decommissioning Waste Disposal Costs at Low-Level Waste Burial Facilities,” in preparing periodic funding status reports required by 10 CFR 50.75(f). Owners are required to estimate the cost of decommissioning their facilities based on (1) labor rates, (2) energy costs, and (3) low-level waste disposal costs. The U.S. Department of Labor periodically publishes data on labor and energy costs that owners can use. The regulatory information summary identified a source of low-level waste disposal cost data acceptable to the NRC.

Nuclear Industry’s Information Sharing

The nuclear industry formed the Institute for Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) in December 1979 as part of its responses to the Three Mile Island accident. Information sharing is one of several functions performed by INPO to support the nuclear industry……..

UCS’s Disaster by Design/ Safety by Intent series of blog posts is intended to help readers understand how a seemingly unrelated assortment of minor problems can coalesce to cause disaster and how effective defense-in-depth can lessen both the number of pre-existing problems and the chances they team up.


October 19, 2016 Posted by | Reference, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear power plant maintenance stoppages cause France’s electricity prices to rise

French winter forward power prices rally on fresh nuclear concerns  Reuters By Vera Eckert and Bate Felix FRANKFURT/PARIS, Oct 18 French forward power prices hit fresh highs on Tuesday on persistent worries over further nuclear power reactor downtime in coming months at five plants, which could tighten European electricity supplies in winter.

Nuclear watchdog ASN has told state utility EDF to conduct tests on the five nuclear reactors before their scheduled maintenance period, potentially adding further pressure to the country’s already tight supply situation.

ASN said in a statement that the five reactors to be tested were: the 1,500 MW Civaux 1 (no maintenance date set); 900 MW Fessenheim 1, scheduled to go offline on Oct. 22; 900 MW Gravelines 4, scheduled for planned outage in April 2017; 900 MW Tricastin 4, scheduled for statutory outage on Oct. 22, and the 900 MW Tricastin 2 scheduled for outage in April 2017……..

French grid operator RTE said on Tuesday that French nuclear power production in September fell to its lowest in 18 years due to the issues with French reactors. Output has been on a steady decline since May………

Traders questioned France’s seemingly patchy outage reporting standards compared with their northwest European peers, who update the market of any slight changes in production outlook, especially since French power markets are exerting such a big pull over the broader European energy complex.

“Why is the market mover of all European commodities not saying a word about its own nuclear problems?,” a trader said.

French energy market regulator CRE said separately that it was paying attention to the reasons for the sharp rise in French forward power prices, and was paying particular attention to transparency obligations under European Union REMIT regulations. ($1 = 0.9098 euros) (Additional reporting by Oleg Vukmanovic and Geert De Clercq; Editing by Mark Potter and Adrian Croft)

October 19, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

Sellafield Ltd and EDF Energy help set up UK’s new Nuclear College

nuclear-teacherflag-UKWork starts on new national nuclear college , News and Star UK New National College for Nuclear Northern Hub breaking ground at Lakes College. 18 October 2016 

Work on the new £15 million National College for Nuclear, at Lillyhall, started this week.

Set to open next September, the hi-tech facility will become one of two centres. The second will be built at Bridgewater in Somerset.

The Northern Hub, built at the Lakes College site, will feature virtual reality suites allowing learners to experience nuclear installations in a virtual environment, science and radiation laboratories and specialised design and modelling suites.

To mark the occasion, the first sod for the nuclear college was cut at a ground breaking ceremony at the site on Monday.

The region’s industry chiefs turned up to witness the event along with students who will use the college.

The National College for Nuclear will train the next generation of nuclear workers in a range of specialised careers, and aims to train over 7,000 learners across both facilities by 2020………

Chris Nattress, principal of Lakes College, said……

“For the region’s students, it means training for local jobs at a facility on their doorstep. But it also means being part of opportunities at a national level.”

Led by Sellafield Ltd and EDF Energy, in partnership with Lakes College and the University of Cumbria, the training facilities will include a realtor simulator and engineering workshops……

October 19, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment