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Physicians for Social Responsibility challenge the 20 year license extension for old enbrittled Point Beach nuclear statiion

Physicians group challenges license extension for Point Beach nuclear plant
Chris Hubbuch | Wisconsin State Journal  26 Mar 21, An anti-nuclear group is seeking to block efforts to keep Wisconsin’s only operational nuclear power plant running through 2050.

Physicians for Social Responsibility filed a petition Tuesday asking federal regulators for a hearing on the application to add 20 years to the licenses for the Point Beach Nuclear plant in Two Rivers.The Madison-based nonprofit cites concerns about the age and structural integrity of the reactors, which began operation in 1970 and 1972, the public health risks of an accident and the heated water the plant dumps into Lake Michigan.

“These reactors are plagued with a long history of operational difficulties and embrittlement which make the risk of a catastrophic accident untenable for the safety of Wisconsin residents and the environment,” said Amy Schulz, a nurse and president of the Wisconsin chapter of PSR. “One simply needs to look at the financial, environmental and health costs paid by the people of Japan and Ukraine after the accidents at Fukushima and Chernobyl to recognize the folly of this relicensing proposal.

”The group also contends renewable energy sources provide safer and more economical alternatives to the plant, which sells electricity under contract to We Energies at a rate nearly double the average wholesale price in the Midwest.NextEra Energy last year filed an application asking the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to add 20 years to licenses for the two reactors at the 1,200-megawatt plant, which is Wisconsin’s single-largest source of electricity.Last renewed in 2005, the current licenses are set to expire in 2030 and 2033.

PSR filed the petition on behalf of 10 members who live within 50 miles of the plant, which they say poses a risk to their health and safety.Arnold Gundersen, a nuclear engineer and former plant operator testifying on behalf of PSR, said the Point Beach reactors “do not meet basic licensing requirements” and have been degraded by decades of radiation.

“Point Beach is the worst neutron embrittled reactor pressure vessel in the country, at risk of fracturing like glass in an emergency,” Gundersen said.The petition also calls the Point Beach units “super predators” that kill millions of aquatic organisms as they suck more than a trillion gallons of water per day from Lake Michigan and return the heated water.Hannah Mortensen, executive director of PSR Wisconsin, said while blocking the application extension is a long shot, the group hopes to at least persuade regulators to require the installation of cooling towers, which she said would mitigate some of the damage.“Lake Michigan already has enough problems with climate change,” Mortensen said.NextEra spokesman Peter Robbins said the company would respond to the group’s concerns through the NRC’s application review process……….

other witnesses for PSR question the value of the plant, which is under contract to provide electricity to We Energies. Under that agreement, the utility pays $55.82 per megawatt hour this year, about 63% higher than the average wholesale price for electricity in the region. By 2033, the cost rises to $122.45 per megawatt hour.The anti-nuclear group argues it would be far cheaper for ratepayers to replace the plant with a combination of solar panels with battery storage, energy efficiency measures and advanced grid controls.“Essentially it’s uneconomical to have Point Beach running into the future,” Mortensen said. “We actually have over 10 years to develop a plan. And the infrastructure is all there.”

March 27, 2021 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. […] Physicians for Social Responsibility challenge the 20 year license extension for old enbrittled Poin… […]

    Pingback by Physicians for Social Responsibility challenge the 20 year license extension for old enbrittled Point Beach nuclear statiion – NOGODINVOLVED | March 27, 2021 | Reply

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