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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

USA’s nuclear power industry is not sustainable, and critics have known this for a long time

What Is the Future of US Nuclear Power Industry?  VOA 15, Aug 17  As America’s nuclear power industry continues to suffer major economic difficulties, some are questioning whether it can – or should – survive.

The latest setback came July 31, when state power companies in South Carolina halted construction of two reactors. After spending about $9 billion, the companies decided that increasing costs and repeated building delays did not make the project worth finishing…..

Industry groups had hoped the South Carolina reactors would mark a new beginning for U.S. nuclear power and show the benefits of the latest technology….o…nly two new nuclear reactors are currently being built in the United States – both of them in Georgia. The reactors were the first large nuclear plants to be started in the United States in more than 30 years. And the future of those reactors is uncertain.

The project – currently about half-finished – has also suffered major cost overruns and delays. For now, the company’s parent, Japan-based Toshiba, has promised to provide at least $3.7 billion to finish the project……

opponents say they’ve been hearing the same arguments in support of nuclear power for decades.

Paul Gunter is a longtime anti-nuclear activist. He co-founded the Clamshell Alliancein 1976. The group was formed to oppose the Seabrook Station nuclear plant in New Hampshire. He and hundreds of other protesters were arrested during non-violent demonstrations against the project. Gunter says his main opposition was that the licensing approval process was corrupt.

“For example, you couldn’t raise the issue of, what are you going to do with all the nuclear waste from Seabrook? And that question was not allowed in the licensing proceeding.”

Seabrook Station was eventually completed at a cost of about $7 billion and began operations in 1990. The Clamshell Alliance helped shape America’s anti-nuclear movement for many years to come.

Another defining moment came after the Three Mile Island plant accident in Pennsylvania in 1979 – the worst nuclear disaster in U.S. history. A series of mechanical and human mistakes sent one of the reactors into a partial meltdown, sending large amounts of radiation into the surrounding area.

Gunter says even before that accident, there were clear signs the nuclear industry would not be economically sustainable. Today, he says neither state utility providers nor large energy companies are willing to put up money for risky nuclear projects.

“So the only way that you can revive nuclear power is going to be through socializing its financing through the rate payer and the taxpayer. But at this point, we’re seeing the rate payer become the irate payer – when you waste billions and billions of dollars and decades on a predictable outcome.”…

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August 16, 2017 - Posted by | history, opposition to nuclear, USA

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