nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Who wants to host the nuke carcass…?

http://www.fairewinds.org/newsletter-archive//oegf127i8zwvkcg5koxzivdipspzk9, June 22, 2017Demystifying Nuclear Power, Atomic Power and a Just Transition for ‘Host Communities’   By Maggie Gundersen &Ben Shulman-Reed, Atomic power plants are shutting down faster than they are being built.  These reactors conceptualized in the 1960s are failing because they are old and they are being closed because they are not competitive with renewables and therefore economically unfeasible.  People around the world understand that a Fukushima-like disaster can happen anywhere, anytime.  The nuclear power industry that dreams of building a new nuke every twelve days for the next 35 years) – totaling 1000 new rectors by 2050) are facing the harsh reality that atomic energy is not needed and is no longer wanted.

In the United States (U.S.), where largest amount of atomic power reactors in the world are located, Pilgrim in Massachusetts, Indian Point outside New York City, Oyster Creek in New Jersey, Diablo Canyon in California, and most recently Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania have recently announced their intent to close in the near future. While the shutdown of American nukes is good for our economy as well as the planet’s environment, decommissioning is a costly and complicated process that takes a toll on the local communities that hosted these giant facilities. When a nuclear power reactor shuts down, an incredible amount of work must be done to ensure a just, smooth financial transition for the local economy and also to create long-term viable storage for its toxic radioactive waste, which the U.S. Government has failed to provide. In addition to hosting the physical radioactive carcass of the power reactor for decades, the local community must restructure its economy to make it more diverse and self-sufficient as well as creating a more healthy and sustainable energy future.

Unfortunately, the usually small and economically stifled cities and towns, often referred to as ‘host communities’ to these atomic power reactors are not always given a voice at the table when it comes to deciding plans for their future – yet they are the true stakeholders. Fairewinds has continuously monitored and reported upon the challenges and defects of the Vermont Yankee atomic reactor and the lack of stakeholder respect given to its Windham County host. When it came time to close reactor in 2014, the Vermont Legislators and State Officials found themselves having to stand up to both Entergy (Vermont Yankee’s parent corporation), and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) the alleged federal regulator for the nuclear power industry, for the Vermont’s own State’s rights and for the rights of all Vermont citizens.

Vermont is still negotiating the terms of the decommissioning process for Vermont Yankee – the state’s lone nuclear power plant and is becoming a leading example for nationwide regarding how to advocate for a smooth and just transition from atomic power operations to decommissioning and dismantlement. Vermont is seeking a just transition that will protect all the stakeholders, not only the profit interests of the power plant’s corporate owners.

The real question for all nuclear power plant host communities is: who is protecting and advocating for the rights of the ratepayers, for the level of decontamination at the site, nearby aquifers and watersheds, and an orderly economic transition for all the people in the impacted surrounding communities? The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), while the controlling interest in radiological standards and decommissioning processes on each site, does not examine or consider any of these critical human rights issues.  All the environmental justice and human rights issues of assuring ongoing open access to clean air, safe water, and uncontaminated food from the remaining carcass of a shutdown atomic power reactor falls upon local and state governments throughout the US. Vermont is leading the way in creating an open and transparent process for local communities to self-advocate in creating a safer and more transparent decommissioning process and transition to a safe and permanently uncontaminated dismantlement of these highly radioactive nukes.

By opening a wide dialogue as we all advocate for an open and transparent decommissioning process, we believe the U.S. can shed its title of founding nuclear energy and instead become a global leader in cleaning up the mess we started. By following Vermont’s of paying close attention to the interests of our local governments, ratepayers and host communities, we all will begin to achieve just and safe transitions from the glut of toxic radioactive nuclear power plant carcasses coming our way as atomic power continues to become economically unviable.

It is Fairewinds’ goal to help communities work together to achieve a safer transition in their energy futures by shifting energy paradigms to an economically feasible and environmentally compatible model for the health and survival of our species and our planet.

Advertisements

June 23, 2017 - Posted by | decommission reactor, USA

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: