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Karl Grossman and Libbe Halevy on how to battle the nuclear cartel and win!

Award-winning journalist Karl Grossman shares insights on the Indian Point Closure Agreement, the hidden manipulation tactics of the Institute for Nuclear Power Operations (INPO)  and gives us examples on how activists have successfully scuttled nuclear industry plans.

This synopsis is of an interview between Libbe Halevy from Nuclear Hotseat and Karl Grossman. The audio of the full uncensored  interview can be found on this link;

India Point, an existential threat

The interview begins with a discussion on Indian Point. In response to Libbe Halevy`s question on these New York based plants Karl Grossman cut straight to the chase;

“These are 2 aged problem plagued, beyond disasters, waiting to happen”

He goes onto say that here are 2 reactors leaking tritium into the Hudson River and that the plants have been called by a representative of River Keeper NGO;

“The biggest existential threats in the region”

The plants are just 30 miles from Times Square NY. There are 20 million people within 50 miles of these nuclear plants. Present arrangements for closure (and not quickly enough according to Karl) are that Indian Point 2 will be closed in April of 2020 and Indian Point 3 by the end of April 2021.

Looking at the extensive agreement with Entergy, Karl points out that all the nuclear workers will be re-trained at the states expense to work with the new renewable technologies that will replace them. Karl thinks that this is a good escape agreement. He does mention that if there was some unforeseen emergency that the plants lifespan could be extended another 2 years beyond the agreed closure date.

“Their record (the nuclear plants) has been absolutely abysmal and continues to be abysmal, in fact, my dear friend Harvey Wasserman said they are not disasters waiting to happen but disasters already happening and have been happening for many years” and goes onto say “These plants have been operating without licenses”

Entergy had been trying to get the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to rubber stamp the extension of these plants and the NRC had already given 85 reactors out 99 a twenty year extensions so far.

This means that most US plants now have 60 year lifespans (20 years over their planned lifespan) and the nuclear lobby is trying to get yet another 20 year extension to run the plants for up to 80 years!

Another problem Karl see with these long life extensions is that the NRC has also allowed the reactors to run hotter and harder to produce more electricity.

“ Its like taking an 80 year old car on the interstate and then running it at 90 miles an hour which is like asking for a catastrophe, asking for a disaster, so in light of this the closure (even though it is four years away)of the Indian Point plants is my judgment good news”

Libbe then presses Karl to define the clauses within the new agreement that might allow the plants to run for longer. Karl then goes onto say that the main issue being brought up by the nuclear lobby is what will replace the lost capacity? Karl explains that Governor Cuomo has put in place a program of development of renewable energy sources with off shore wind turbines being the main replacement source. The very first off shore wind farm began operating off Block Island in December 2016 (five wind turbines) and that the next phase will be off New Jersey south of NY city and a Norwegian company will be building in central Long Island as well.

Karl goes onto say that steps toward energy efficiency have also made an impact in reducing the need for electrical capacity and that the concerns of the nuclear lobby in this area, that the missing 2000 megawatts from the nuclear plants, will be offset by these projects and other projects including solar.

On the issue of Solar panels Karl mentions his homes solar capacity and indeed many homes in the US that have solar energy for their domestic use because of the huge reduction in cost of solar panels and associated equipment over recent years. Some of the new panels have as much as 36 percent efficiency, a marked improvement from years past. Karl makes these points that will ensure that the nuclear capacity will not be needed and Libbe points out the bonus factor of having an energy source that will not kill us as well!

Karl talks of the Calculation of Reactor Accident Consequences (CRAC 2) written by the NRC at Sandia National Laboratories (certainly a pro nuclear report). This report covers every nuclear power plant in the USA and reports on accidents that can happen to each plant and the consequences. The figures for the core meltdown accident at Indian Point 2 say that peak early fatalities 46,000 people would be effected peak early injuries 141,000 and and peak cancer deaths 13,000

“I think this is an under estimate”

and a cost of 274 billion dollars (At 1980 costings from the report) which at scale cost today might be 1 trillion dollars.

“A portion of the USA rendered uninhabitable because of radioactivity”

Indian Point 3 would give about the same kind of damage to health and the economy but slightly higher (10 to 20 percent higher). If the accident happened in the winter, as is the case now, the contamination plume would be heading directly south towards New York City center.

Libbe then brought up a recent article Karl did on Enformable (and other online journals) in which he talked with an engineer from Indian Point with 30 years experience. And as the story of the Indian Point nuclear agreement was breaking in the New York Times, this General Electric whistleblower said he didn`t want give his name but he had some important information to offer.

Karl was a bit reticent to use an unnamed source but the information concerning how the nuclear industry manages nuclear incidents and other bad news was just too important to not report on. The main issue is with color coded reports and this engineer said that he had seen about 100 of the most serious red colored national reports (that denotes an incident that could lead to a nuclear reactor core meltdown). The whistleblower said that it was not right that the public could not see these reports.

“INPO is a private organization that cant be accessed by the Freedom of Information Act and that is so wrong” said Karl.

The whistle blower told Karl that the NRC watchdogs can not make surprise inspections either. The watchdogs need to get permission from the upper management of the plant giving the lower managers time to clean up the problem. The engineer then went on to tell Karl that the industry has “thrown out the window” all the older and comprehensive reactor life time studies to enable the 60 and 80 years extension applications.

“They will ignore the standards to benefit their wallets, for greed, with total disregard for the countries safety”

On the green myth that nuclear does not produce greenhouse gases, the engineer went on to say that the industry ignores the whole nuclear manufacturing processes (mining, milling, fuel, processing etc) that do create greenhouse gases. The whistleblower was still concerned with Indian Point although they are due for closure.

How to trump Trumps nuclear plans!

Libbe then asks Karl what strategies will the nuclear industry use to keep nuclear plants open and earning them money?

Karl mentions an added problem concerning president Trump as well as the nuclear industry lobby. He quotes an article from Bloomberg where the Trump administration was asking how they might keep nuclear power alive. Karls main concerns are to do with how the Trump administration might block the increasing surge in renewable growth. He talked about how Eminent Domain was used by the NY state to threaten to take land and assets from the nuclear Industry if they did not close Shoreham nuclear plant down and cease plans for further nuclear reactors.

“Now Long Island is nuclear free”

Another strategy used recently to block the nuclear industry concerns the pollution outflows from nuclear plants where the local government refused to allow Entergy to get a permit. This and the fact that nuclear is no competition for the renewables that are planned, meant that Entergy had to give up its plans for further nuclear in NY State. Karl goes on to talk about the successful fight against the Brookhaven National Laboratory.

“Long Island is nuclear free, the notion, the myth that you can`t fight City hall - that`s a myth created by City hall – You can fight City Hall and you can win! And even in dark times, I mean that even the fight against B Shoreham and Locus nuclear power scheme and for many nuclear plants, that went off during the time of Reagan (and) the first George Bush, these were hard times politically because of the nature of the people in the Whitehouse and now I think we are going to have, I fear, as dark a time- If you can imagine; even darker and if the people organize, if the people act, if the people resist, they can win and just let me add as a footnote; In the fight against Shoreham there were different organizations with different strategies….”

Karl then goes on to explain the different strategies used by these different groups and that to get good people elected is a priority and that all the groups should be working together. Karl mentions that to fight against the nuclear industry we should work locally, nationally and globally.

In the USA Beyond Nuclear and Radiation and Public Health with Joe Mangano. Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace to name a few are worth supporting.

Link to CRAC 2 report

Link to Karls article on Enformable Oped News etc ;

Radiation and Public Health


Beyond Nuclear

Other resources;

INPO – Institute for Nuclear Power Operations promotes excellence in the operation of nuclear electric generating plants.

Wikileaks info on INPO listing employees C.V`s

INPO Fukushima Lessons learned August 2012 (shows how much the costs of nuclear reactors are going to go up if the recommendations on this are followed. There is little mentioned on the local and downwind populations health risks)

Soucewatch on the NEI (who work closely with INPO) – According to its website, the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) is “the policy organization of the nuclear energy and technologies industry and participates in both the national and global policy-making process. NEI’s objective is to ensure the formation of policies that promote the beneficial uses of nuclear energies and technologies in the United States and around the world.”

Synopsis of Interview by Shaun McGee

Posted to 20th February 2017


February 20, 2017 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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