King CONG vs. Solartopia, The Progressive December 5, 2016, Harvey Wasserman “………Some 10,000 arrests of citizens engaged in civil disobedience have put the Diablo nuclear reactors at ground zero in the worldwide No Nukes campaign. But the epic battle goes far beyond atomic power. It is a monumental showdown over who will own our global energy supply, and how this will impact the future of our planet.
On one side is King CONG (Coal, Oil, Nukes, and Gas), the corporate megalith that’s unbalancing our weather and dominating our governments in the name of centralized, for-profit control of our economic future. On the other is a nonviolent grassroots campaign determined to reshape our power supply to operate in harmony with nature, to serve the communities and individuals who consume and increasingly produce that energy, and to build the foundation of a sustainable eco-democracy…….
with this dangerous and dirty power have come Earth-friendly alternatives, ignited in part by the grassroots movements of the 1960s. E.F. Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful became the bible of a back-to-the-land movement that took a new generation of veteran activists into the countryside.
Dozens of nonviolent confrontations erupted, with thousands of arrests. In June 1978, nine months before the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island, the grassroots Clamshell Alliance drew 20,000 participants to a rally at New Hampshire’s Seabrook site. And Amory Lovins’s pathbreaking article, “Energy Strategy: The Road Not Taken,” posited a whole new energy future, grounded in photovoltaic and wind technologies, along with breakthroughs in conservation and efficiency, and a paradigm of decentralized, community-owned power.
As rising concerns about global warming forced a hard look at fossil fuels, the fading nuclear power industry suddenly had a new selling point. Climate expert James Hansen, former Environmental Protection Agency chief Christine Todd Whitman, and Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand began advocating atomic energy as an answer to CO2 emissions. The corporate media began breathlessly reporting a “nuclear renaissance” allegedly led by hordes of environmentalists.
But the launch of Peaceful Atom 2.0 has fallen flat.
As I recently detailed in an online article for The Progressive, atomic energy adds to rather than reduces global warming. All reactors emit Carbon-14. The fuel they burn demands substantial CO2 emissions in the mining, milling, and enrichment processes. Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen has compiled a wide range of studies concluding new reactor construction would significantly worsen the climate crisis.
Moreover, attempts to recycle spent reactor fuel or weapons material have failed, as have attempts to establish a workable nuclear-waste management protocol. For decades, reactor proponents have argued that the barriers to radioactive waste storage are political rather than technical. But after six decades, no country has unveiled a proven long-term storage strategy for high-level waste.
For all the millions spent on it, the nuclear renaissance has failed to yield a single new reactor order. New projects in France, Finland, South Carolina, and Georgia are costing billions extra, with opening dates years behind schedule. Five projects pushed by the Washington Public Power System caused the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. No major long-standing green groups have joined the tiny crew of self-proclaimed “pro-nuke environmentalists.” Wall Street is backing away.
Even the split atom’s most ardent advocates are hard-pressed to argue any new reactors will be built in the United States, or more than a scattered few anywhere else but China, where the debate still rages and the outcome is uncertain……..
Where once it demanded deregulation and a competitive market, the nuclear industry now wants re-regulation and guaranteed profits no matter how badly it performs.
The grassroots pushback has been fierce. Proposed bailouts have been defeated in Illinois and are under attack in New York and Ohio. A groundbreaking agreement involving green and union groups has set deadlines for shutting the Diablo reactors, with local activists demanding a quicker timetable. Increasingly worried about meltdowns and explosions, grassroots campaigns to close old reactors are ramping up throughout the United States and Europe. Citizen action in Japan has prevented the reopening of nearly all nuclear plants since Fukushima.
Envisioning the “nuclear interruption” behind us, visionaries like Lovins see a decentralized “Solartopian” system with supply owned and operated at the grassroots………
[In Germany] the transition is succeeding faster and more profitably than its staunchest supporters imagined. Wind and solar have blasted ahead. Green energy prices have dropped and Germans are enthusiastically lining up to put power plants on their rooftops. Sales of solar panels have skyrocketed, with an ever-growing percentage of supply coming from stand-alone buildings and community projects. The grid has been flooded with cheap, green juice, crowding out the existing nukes and fossil burners, cutting the legs out from under the old system.
In many ways it’s the investor-owner utilities’ worst nightmare,………
The revolution has spread to the transportation sector, where electric cars are now plugging into outlets powered by solar panels on homes, offices, commercial buildings, and factories. Like nuclear power, the gas-driven automobile may be on its way to extinction.
Nationwide, more than 200,000 Americans now work in the solar industry, including more than 75,000 in California alone. By contrast, only about 100,000 people work in the U.S. nuclear industry. Some 88,000 Americans now work in the wind industry, compared to about 83,000 in coal mines, with that number also dropping steadily.
Once the shining hope of the corporate power industry, atomic energy’s demise represents more than just the failure of a technology. It’s the prime indicator of an epic shift away from corporate control of a grid-based energy supply, toward a green power web owned and operated by the public.
As homeowners, building managers, factories, and communities develop an ever-firmer grip on a grassroots homegrown power supply, the arc of our 128-year energy war leans toward Solartopia.
Harvey Wasserman’s Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth is at solartopia.org. His Green Power & Wellness Show is at prn.fm. He edits nukefree.org. http://www.progressive.org/news/2016/12/189107/king-cong-vs-solartopia
Bradwell Notes NuClear News No 91, Jan 2017 Maldon District and Essex County Council are paving the way for Bradwell’s Chinese-built nuclear plant by offering free Mandarin lessons to councillors. Professor Andy Blowers, chairman of the Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG), said “it may be that neither council possesses expertise in understanding what is proposed. And learning Mandarin will not compensate for that.” (1)
BANNG has been opposing new nuclear development at Bradwell for the last 8 years, on the grounds that the low-lying site is totally unsuitable for such development and, now, also because of concerns, shared with others, regarding security issues and Chinese involvement in such sensitive UK infrastructure. Professor Andy Blowers said: “There is a long process ahead before any new nuclear power station can be built at Bradwell. The rigorous Generic Design Assessment has not yet commenced and then there will be a planning process in which Maldon District and Essex County Councils will be consultees. By celebrating in any way, the County Council potentially compromises its disinterested role as a consulted planning authority. The suggestion that there is something to celebrate could give the impression that a new Chinese power station will simply be waved through”. (2)
Meanwhile the NDA’s policy of spreading nuclear waste around the country to save money continues. Essex County Council has voted to lift restrictions imposed only 4 years ago and to allow Magnox, operators of the Bradwell site, to transfer Intermediate-Level Waste (ILW) from Dungeness and Sizewell to the Bradwell Interim Storage Facility (ISF). The restriction had decreed that only Bradwell-generated waste could be stored there. Bradwell will now become a regional nuclear waste store for the indefinite future and a precedent for the import of further wastes may have been set. The planning approval means that the long-held principle of selfsufficiency, whereby each site hosts its own wastes, is contravened. (3)
In a surprise move EDF and Chinese nuclear company CGN have consulted Mersea Island residents over the proposed new nuclear power station at Bradwell. The previous official position was that Mersea Island was in the wrong planning area (despite being much closer to and directly downwind from the site). If people want to share their views on the project they can do so via the website: http://www.bradwellb.co.uk (4)
Sizewell C EDF Energy has launched its stage2 public consultation on the proposals for two EPRs to be built at Sizewell. The consultation is open until 3 February 2017. (1)
Community leaders who met to discuss the proposals agreed that the developers need to offer a better deal for Suffolk. Nearly 80 town and parish representatives along with members of the Joint Local Authority Group (JLAG) concluded that EDF Energy’s stage two consultation for Sizewell C has failed to make enough progress from its proposals four years ago. The key concerns raised at the summit focussed on the proposed accommodation campus, whose location near Therberton is feared to lack the required infrastructure to transport up to 2,400 workers to and from the construction site. Other issues included EDF’s alleged failure to “fully understand the communities of east Suffolk” and their concerns. The summit also heard that EDF’s proposals to have 35 metre high “spoil heaps” would have a significant impact on those living and visiting the area and it was not yet clear what mitigation would be provided. Transport routes for construction material were also said to be unclear, with EDF urged to provide more detail about how much would be brought in by road, sea and rail. (2) http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo91.pdf
How a high school student helped block Quebec’s uranium industry Financial Post, Damon van der Linde, Dec. 15, 2016, MISTISSINI, Que. — Hunting grouse on a snowy road that cuts through the forest north of his home in the Cree community of Mistissini, Justice Debassige reflects on why, as a 17-year-old high school student in 2012, he started a petition against a uranium exploration project 215 kilometres away.
“I read research on how it damages the land and the water, so that was what drew me in,” he said, while searching for birds down the road towards the now-shuttered site owned by Boucherville, Que.-based Strateco Resources Inc. “It’s something to really think about when we’re out here.”
Debassige said he couldn’t have imagined at the time that his petition would be the catalyst for a complete moratorium against exploration of the radioactive mineral across Quebec, result in a $200-million lawsuit by Strateco Resources against the government and pit the federal nuclear safety agency against a provincial environmental commission.
But it did, and The Matoush Project — named after the Cree family that traditionally use the land for hunting, fishing and trapping — in northern Quebec’s Otish Mountains has lost its glow…….
Debassige and two other classmates collected about 200 signatures from students and staff in opposition to the project, which caught the attention of Shawn Iserhoff, Mistissini’s youth chief at the time. He raised the concerns with the Mistissini Band Council and in the spring of 2012, Strateco arranged two days of hearings in the community………
“The traditional Cree way of life is based on the land,” said Thomas Coon, former president of the Cree Trapper’s Association, in an office that has a map showing how the entire vast territory is covered by family trap lines that are passed down through generations.
“As much as possible we try to avoid any dangerous, damaging project. With uranium, it’s damage that can never be repaired.”…….
As Strateco’s stock plummeted, anti-uranium activism grew in both the Cree and environment organizations. A group of Cree youth garnered media attention in late 2014 by walking 850 kilometres from Mistissini to Montreal and the movement also drew support from the global anti-nuclear activists. ……. the MiningWatch Canada advocacy group argues uranium’s current lack of social acceptability is based on the long-term risks of storing millions of tonnes of the radioactive mining waste.
“If the industry can show that they can handle the waste with a risk factor that is acceptable, maybe the social acceptability will change in the future, but at the moment it’s not there,” said Ugo Lapointe, spokesperson for MiningWatch in Quebec………
Debassige, now 22, won a Nuclear-Free Future Award in 2015 on behalf of the Mistissini youth for his efforts against uranium development on Cree land. Today, bringing home two birds he shot for his family’s dinner, he still doesn’t think the potential economic benefits of uranium mining are worth risking what he and his community already have.
“There’s vast open space where I can possibly one day teach my children what my father taught me: how to survive out on the land,” he said. “We’re connected to the land spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally.”
Anti-nuclear group applauds closing of Palisades nuclear plant Entergy Corp., has announced in a news release Thursday, Dec. 8, that the Palisades nuclear power plant in Covert Township will close in 2018. (Mark Bugnaski / MLive.com) By December 08, 2016 COVERT, MI — Kevin Kamps, a representative of the anti-nuclear group Beyond Nuclear, has long called for the closure of the Palisades nuclear power plant near South Haven.
It appears that Kamps will soon have his wish.
Entergy Corp., the plant’s owner, announced the facility’s impending closure in a news release Thursday, Dec. 8. The plant will receive its final load of fuel in 2017 and close permanently on Oct. 1, 2018, according to the company.
Kamps praised the announcement in a news release issued Thursday.
“Entergy’s announcement today that it will permanently shut down the Palisades atomic reactor by Oct. 1, 2018 is most welcome to the large number of Michiganders, and beyond, who have fought so hard, for so long, to get it shut down,” he said……
Kamps pointed to the fact that the plant’s reactor is one of the most “embrittled” nationwide, arguing that keeping it open until 2018 poses serious risks.
“Nearly two more years of operation is a frightening prospect for a catastrophic release of hazardous radioactivity due to pressurized thermal shock fracture of the vessel,” he said. “The good news is that, after permanent shutdown and removal of irradiated nuclear fuel from the reactor core, no more meltdown can happen, and no more high-level radioactive waste will be made.”
The “embrittled” reactor puts it at risk of cracking, prompting the NRC in 2014 to begin a three-year review of results of tests on the reactor.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission determined that the plant operated safely in 2015, but it was under increased NRC oversight for the first three quarters of 2015 due to its failure to accurately calculate radiation doses to workers during an activity in 2014. ……..
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, urged the community to not turn its back on those employees in the coming years.
The plant’s closure will not noticeably impact the power grid, according to Consumers Energy.
After the plant closes for good in 2018, Kamps said area residents and environmental watchdogs should remain vigilant as the facility and dismantled and any lingering contamination is addressed. http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2016/12/anti-nuclear_group_applauds_cl.html
Signature campaign against nuclear energy http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/signature-campaign-against-nuclear-energy/article9342726.ece C. JAISANKAR, 15 Nov 16 The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) on Sunday called upon the youngsters to speak up against nuclear energy.
Speaking at an awareness programme after launching the signature campaign against nuclear energy here, Suba. Udayakumar, PMANE coordinator, said that several countries including the United States, France and Japan had given up the policy of installing new nuclear plants several years ago following Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters.
They had realised the dangers of nuclear plants to humans and environment.
However, the Central government was continuing to promote nuclear energy. It has planned to set up more nuclear plants at Kudankulam without addressing the apprehensions of people. It showed that the government was not bothered to listen to the genuine grievances of people, he said.
Sundarrajan, coordinator, Poovulagin Nanbargal, said that the government had not come out with a proper plan to dispose the waste being generated from nuclear plants. It was high time to create awareness among the people on the ill effects of nuclear plants. The people, particularly youngsters, should come forward to join the movement against nuclear energy, he added.
Anti-nuclear scientist group aims to boost influence amid growing defense research fears http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161113/p2a/00m/0na/004000c November 13, 2016 (Mainichi Japan) Japanese scientists are trying to make Pugwash Japan, the domestic arm of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs — an international organization working toward the abolition of nuclear arms and war — more active and influential amid concerns that the defense industry and scientific community are growing increasingly closer.
The Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs held its first world meeting in the small fishing village of Pugwash, Canada, in 1957 during the nuclear arms race of the Cold War, and has since worked on and advocated for the elimination of nuclear arms and weapons of mass destruction. Japanese physicist and 1949 Nobel Prize laureate Hideki Yukawa had actively participated in Pugwash meetings, including the first session, and Japan has hosted international Pugwash conferences, but the number of Japanese scientists involved in the movement has been dropping in recent years.
Since individual scientists join the conference based on their own qualifications, Japanese scientists who took part in past international meetings launched Pugwash Japan to spread the message. The Japan group decided in September to relaunch a better-organized Pugwash Japan with a code of conduct and membership system after an international Pugwash general conference was held in the city of Nagasaki in November last year. The group’s aim is to open the door wider to those who are interested in the group’s activities and strengthen its influence in policy making.
The newly reformed Pugwash Japan, headed by nuclear engineering professor Tatsujiro Suzuki at Nagasaki University, will hold its first general meeting in Tokyo on Nov. 27. It will have some 40 members, with Keio University professor emeritus Michiji Konuma — who worked with Yukawa — on the steering committee, and 16 advisers such as engineer Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, a special adviser to the Japan Science and Technology Agency and former chairman of the Science Council of Japan, and University of Tokyo professor emeritus Seigo Hirowatari.
Member scientists are set to discuss concerns regarding defense research in Japan and the challenges to nuclear disarmament that remain following U.S. President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Hiroshima. To ensure unrestrained discussion, the meeting will be closed to the public, but results of the debate will be incorporated into the statements it releases to the public. The organization is also considering holding symposiums for the general public.
Pugwash Japan chairman Suzuki said he hopes that the group provides scientists with an opportunity for open-minded discussion based on the two pillars of the Pugwash Conference — social responsibility of scientists and dialogue across divides. He added, “We’re concerned about the current tendency for everything to lean toward national security and hope that our discussions that will lead to policy proposals.”
Please sign and share widely
To the Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi,
We are women living in Fukushima prefecture, where a massive accident unparalleled in history occurred on March 11, 2011, at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
As a result of this accident our lives changed dramatically. Among us, there are those who lost their homes, those who lost their jobs, those who lost their hometowns and friends, those who lost their future, those who lost their joy in life, and those who lost their very lives. All of this was taken by the nuclear accident.
Even now, some five and a half years after this accident, the accident is still unresolved. We live surrounded by radioactive debris which emanated from the reactor. Even as our government pushes us to return to our homelands, many people think of their children’s health, and they feel that they cannot return to their original homes. At the current stage, in Fukushima prefecture alone, some 174 children have been found to have contracted thyroid cancer. We are deeply worried about the wide-ranging health hazards that will appear in the years to come.
Presently court proceedings to determine legal responsibility for the nuclear accident itself have not yet been opened, and the accident’s cause, the question of human error, the question of whether the accident was handled appropriately, have not yet been clarified. Now, the problem of restarting nuclear power plants across Japan has surfaced, and battles are being fought through the courts to keep these plants from restarting. As with Takahama Nuclear Power Station, some nuclear plants’ operation has been suspended.
Under these circumstances, the fact that Japan is attempting to sell nuclear power plants to other countries, is embarrassing and most unfortunate. When we consider that a similar type accident might happen at one of India’s nuclear power plants, we are filled with concern. That is, as women who experienced firsthand the suffering that the Fukushima accident has brought, we do not wish anyone in the world to have the same experience we did.
Mr. Modi, we would like to invite you to visit Fukushima and see its condition firsthand. The destroyed reactor, the towns where people can no longer live that have become like abandoned towns, the mountains of radioactive rubble, the towering incinerators, and children who can no longer play freely outside. After you have seen the reality of Fukushima, then we urge you to think carefully about the nuclear cooperation agreement.Nuclear power plants will not bring happiness to your citizens. We who experienced the injury of the nuclear accident, we came to understand this through our own bodies and lives.
Mr. Modi, for the Indian people and the future of India, please do not sign the India-Japan Nuclear Cooperation Agreement. We beseech you to make a wise judgment.
Fukushima Women Against Nukes
Fukushima Women Against Nukes is a network of women that started in September 2012, using various direct actions such as sit-ins, demonstrations as well as petitioning TEPCO and others to demand justice for everything that the Fukushima Daiichi disaster has taken away from them. They are also strongly opposed to restarting any of Japan’s nuclear reactors and are working for a nuclear free world (website: http://onna100nin.seesaa.net)
Message from Lalita Ramdas, Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace
I have just read this deeply moving and passionate appeal written by the women of Fukushima, clearly calling the attention of the world, especially the people of Asia, and particularly our Prime Minister as he prepares to visit Japan later this week, and according to media reports, sign the India-Japan Nuclear Agreement.
I was in Fukushima earlier this year. It was one of the most educative experiences of my life. We visited shattered homes and families, were witness to miles of devastated landscape, thousands and thousands of black bags containing radioactive materials where there should have been fields and crops. I met and spoke to many of the women who have signed on to this letter ……women and mothers deeply impacted and anxious on behalf of the kind of future this scenario offers for their children and grandchildren.
As the women who wrote this letter urge, before our Prime Minister signs the nuclear deal with Japan, he also needs to see this reality, to talk with the people who are still suffering from the devastation and see the human and economic costs of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011, in order to understand exactly what could happen to his own people if he moves ahead with his nuclear program.
The message from the people of Fukushima is powerful, one which none of us, especially our government, can afford to ignore. I hope that the Indian media publicizes it widely.
Activists recount pioneering win over nuclear power on Sonoma Coast ROBERT DIGITALE THE PRESS DEMOCRAT | October 29, 2016
The anti-nuclear activists standing in the rain Saturday morning at Bodega Head displayed some similarities to a pair of cyclists pedaling south a few miles away on Highway 1: Both parties were resolute, exposed and increasingly getting drenched.
The activists had come to Bodega Bay to remember two long-ago battles against nuclear power and to consider how their future struggles could affect global efforts to safely reduce greenhouse gases and limit climate change. One past struggle resulted in a striking victory, forcing the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. in 1964 to halt plans for a proposed nuclear plant on the very spot the soggy activists stood: Bodega Head. That triumph has long been described as a major advancement for what became California’s environmental movement, a force that, among other things, passed a voter initiative to preserve the state’s coastline.
However, the second campaign failed in the early 1980s to stop the construction of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant near San Luis Obispo. That plant, which opened in 1985 and is now the sole operating nuclear facility in California, was slated this summer for closure by 2025, when its permits expire.
One aim for Saturday’s gathering was “for the Bodega generation to talk to the Diablo generation,” said Mark Evanoff, one of the event’s organizers……….
Looking forward to Diablo’s planned closure, two speakers Saturday told the audience that California must show the world it can shut down a nuclear plant without turning to coal, oil or natural gas to meet the state’s energy needs.
By doing so, “we really pierce a big hole in the argument” of those climate change advocates who suggest that perhaps nuclear power should remain part of the solution to ending reliance on fossil fuels, said Carl Ziechella, a senior policy advocate in Sacramento with the National Resources Defense Council……..
On Saturday, the veterans were reminded that the Bodega Head battle was begun mostly by county residents, who then were able to link up with key outside allies…….. http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/6241381-181/activists-recount-pioneering-win-over?artslide=0
Wylfa Newydd protesters brand nuclear power ‘dangerous and dirty’, Daily Post, 28 Oct 16
People Against Wylfa B say it’s ‘ironic’ the Japanese company behind the new plant are not building in their own country. Nuclear is an “old fashioned, dangerous and dirty technology” according to a group opposed to a new plant being built on Anglesey.
Pawb (People Against Wylfa B) have responded to Horizon Nuclear Power’s latest consultation by questioning the Japanese firm’s commitment to construct the £12bn power station in view of no new nuclear plants being planned in Japan……..
Last year, the Prime Minister of Japan at the time of the disaster, Naoto Kan, visited Anglesey and urged residents to oppose the Wylfa plant.
Dylan Morgan, a founding member of Pawb, said Hitachi, who own Horizon, are being “totally irresponsible” in persisting with its nuclear “obsession”. He added: “The technology is old fashioned, dirty, dangerous and very expensive.
“It’s ironic that a Japanese company are so adamant that a reactor is built here in Wales, when they can’t do so in their own country.
“Due to the high levels of heat and radioactivity, the waste will have to be stored on site for decades.”…..http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/wylfa-newydd-protesters-brand-nuclear-12093470
The groups are concerned that the “interim” storage facility may become the de facto permanent home
for the highly toxic waste……. taxpayers footing the entire bill, those that generated the waste would have no incentive to ensure its safe disposal in a permanent geologic repository.
‘storage sites’ likely would create a de facto high level national waste sacrifice zone.
Four Groups Urge NRC To Halt Review Of License Application For High-level Nuclear Waste Dump In Texas https://www.yahoo.com/news/four-groups-urge-nrc-halt-review-license-application-143000265.html WASHINGTON and AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 27, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ –– Opposed to an industry scheme that risks a proposed short-term nuclear waste storage site becoming a permanent site while sticking taxpayers for the bill, four leading national and Texas groups — Beyond Nuclear, Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), Public Citizen, and the Texas-based Sustainable Energy & Economic Development (SEED) Coalition — are calling on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to follow the law and terminate its review of the license application for the controversial plan by Waste Control Specialists (WCS) to construct an interim high-level nuclear waste dump in Andrews County, TX.
WCS seeks a permit to build and operate the supposedly short-term storage facility for up to 40,000 metric tons of highly dangerous nuclear waste in Andrews County, but only if the U.S. government first assumes responsibility for the waste and further agrees to ship it to the Texas site by rail. The license application is for the first 5,000 metric tons but the company’s promotional materials show they are planning on expanding the site to accommodate more than half of the estimated 75,000 metric tons of commercial nuclear waste currently in the U.S.
The groups are concerned that the “interim” storage facility may become the de facto permanent home for the highly toxic waste. Given the long battle over Yucca Mountain, the groups have zero confidence that Congress or federal regulators would have the stomach for fighting to move the nuclear waste a second time from WCS or any other “interim” site. And, with utilities totally off the hook and taxpayers footing the entire bill, those that generated the waste would have no incentive to ensure its safe disposal in a permanent geologic repository.
Available online at http://pubc.it/2eMSaXM, the letter from the four groups to the NRC’s top executive argues that the WCS proposal would require the NRC to break federal law, which bars the U.S. government from assuming responsibility for interim waste storage in the absence of a federal repository for permanent disposal. They contend that, until a long-term geological repository is ready, federal law forces utilities to solve their own interim storage problems, including bearing the economic burden for facility construction and operation, and liability for accidents.
The groups’ letter demands that NRC immediately drop its review of the WCS application, including its plans to embark on an environmental study.
High-level radioactive wastes are irradiated nuclear fuel rods, and short-term exposure at close range, with no shielding, can cause immediate death. Lesser exposure can cause death or cancer for over a million years. It is so dangerous that Congress required that it be buried deep underground in geologically isolated repository for millennia. This danger also prompted federal lawmakers to prohibit putting taxpayers on the hook for “interim” solutions that could become de facto permanent surface storage sites.
According to the groups, there is no safety imperative for moving the waste to a consolidated storage facility. The safety and security of our toxic nuclear waste stockpile, not financial gain for this private entity, should drive NRC waste storage activity. Rather than reviewing this premature and illegitimate proposal the NRC should focus its efforts on safeguarding the onsite storage of waste at nuclear facilities across the country.
“By requiring a permanent deep geological repository to be operating beforecentralized interim storage could be opened, Congress wanted to prevent the very real danger of a de facto permanent parking lot dump – a nuclear waste storage site that would be designed for the short-term but be there forever,” said Kevin Kamps, radioactive waste specialist, Beyond Nuclear. He added: “WCS is a cynical shell game and taxpayers are sure to lose. Congress was right that liability for the costs of storing commercial irradiated nuclear fuel belongs with the generators and should not be shifted onto the backs of the American public.”
Diane D’Arrigo, radioactive waste project director, Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), said: “Moving nuclear power waste over roads, rails and waterways to a supposedly temporary site puts us all at risk and creates only an illusion of a solution.”
Karen Hadden, executive director, SEED Coalition, added: “Due to risks of radioactive contamination from leaks or accidents or potential terrorist actions, nuclear waste should only be moved once, and only when a deep underground permanent repository is in place that could safely isolate the dangerous waste for the million years that it will remain hazardous.”
Tom “Smitty” Smith, director of the Public Citizen Texas office, said: “Texans do not consent to the risky plan to store high-level radioactive waste at private sites on an open pad above ground in Texas. Another company near Hobbs New Mexico – less than 50 miles away — is expected to file an application to open a storage site that would accept the rest of the nation’s high level nuclear waste. These twin ‘storage sites’ likely would create a de facto high level national waste sacrifice zone. This proposal invites disaster because the private owners will be cutting costs at every turn to maximize profits. If there was radioactive contamination our land, air, water, and human health could be harmed for millennia.”
Public support for renewables rises as nuclear and fracking falls, Edie.net 27 October 2016, source edie newsroom
Public backing for nuclear energy and fracking has fallen in recent months while support for clean energy continues to surge, according to the latest opinion tracker from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
The new figures highlight a negative impact on support for nuclear and shale gas exploration in the wake of Government energy policy decisions, with the majority of people across the UK voicing support for the use of clean technologies.
Public backing for the use of nuclear energy significantly fell in the past three months, with support falling to 33% from 36% in the previous quarterly review. A quarter were opposed to nuclear strategy, in the wake of the Government’s recent controversial decision to give the go-ahead to the Hinkley Point C power station.
In terms of support for shale gas extraction, half of respondents stayed neutral (48%) or said they were unsure (2%), reflecting a general lack of detailed public knowledge. One-third were opposed to fracking, while only 17% provided their backing, representing the lowest level of public support since the tracker began in 2012. The report identified the loss or destruction of natural environment as a major reason for a shift towards opposition.
Renewable energy continued its high level of popularity at 79%, up two points from the previous tracker in May. Opposition to clean technologies was very low at 4%, with only 1% strongly opposed. Solar technology achieved the highest support at 82%, while back for wave and tidal energy remain very high at 75% each.
Commenting on the results, renewable energy company Good Energy chief executive Juliet Davenport said: “Renewable energy still remains the UK’s favourite form of energy – it’s local, it’s sustainable and it’s pioneering.
“Government should listen to public opinion, champion renewable energy and throw its weight behind tackling climate change. What would you rather picnic next to – a wind turbine or a nuclear reactor? I know which one I’d choose.”
The tracker revealed a record high of 71% of people supporting onshore wind, up from the previous high of 70% in 2014. This echoes the findings of opinion poll carried out by market research and consultancy firm ComRes last week, which revealed the British public’s overwhelming support for onshore winddespite Government cutbacks……http://www.edie.net/news/10/Public-show-support-for-renewables-revolution/
Poll finds support for nuclear phaseout, SwissInfo Ch By Urs Geiser , 21 Oct 16
A proposal to decommission Switzerland’s nuclear power plants by 2029 has the backing of a majority of citizens, according to a survey conducted seven weeks ahead of a nationwide vote. Despite this, pollsters believe the initiative is likely to be defeated on November 27.
Supporters of the Green Party proposal had a 21% lead over opponents seven weeks before polling day, while 7% of respondents were undecided, results published on Friday showed.
“The political left, women and citizens in the French-speaking part of the country are in favour,” said Claude Longchamp of the leading GfS Bern research and polling institute.
Supporters face a strong alliance of opponents, including centre-right parties, parliament, the government and the business community.
Longchamp said the grassroots of the centrist Christian Democrats are likely to play a key role……..http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/november-27-vote_poll-finds-support-for-nuclear-phase-out/42529278
Charities reject case for nuclear extensions as EDF begins lobbying of SNP, Common Space, Nathanael Williams 18 Oct 16 As the SNP ends its autumn conference, green groups resist attempts to extend nuclear power in Scotland
ENVIRONMENTAL groups have come out in opposition to attempts by the energy company EDF to persuade the SNP to extend the lives of Scotland’s two nuclear power stations.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Scotland has also dismissed claims by the energy giant that the only way for Scotland to meet its energy demands was to invest more in nuclear power.
Instead, campaigners have emphasised the importance of renewables as the main source of economic growth, jobs and sustainability.
“Independent analysis has shown that our electricity system could be powered almost entirely by renewables within two decades without the need for any gas, coal or nuclear power in Scotland.” Lang Banks
Speaking to CommonSpace, Lang Banks, the director of WWF Scotland said: “Despite EDF’s claims, there’s simply no need for the two remaining nuclear power stations in Scotland to have their lives further extended.
“Independent analysis has shown that our electricity system could be powered almost entirely by renewables within two decades without the need for any gas, coal or nuclear power in Scotland. The analysis also shows that Scotland would maintain security of supply and its position as an electricity-exporting nation.
“From opinion polling, we know that the majority of the Scottish public support the view that all of our nation’s electricity should be generated from pollution-free renewables.
The Scottish Government’s forthcoming energy strategy provides the perfect opportunity to set out a bold vision of becoming the EU’s first fully renewable electricity nation by 2030.
“Embracing such a vision would ensure that we secure the maximum economic and social benefits that would come from a transition toward a zero-carbon society.”
“Despite EDF’s claims, there’s simply no need for the two remaining nuclear power stations in Scotland to have their lives further extended.” Lang Banks
WWF was responding to the French energy company, which owns two Scottish nuclear power stations, announcing at an SNP fringe event that it will re-started its lobbying the Scottish Government for an extension of the lives of both power stations.
Paris-based EDF took over the plants at Torness and Hunterston when previous operator British Energy plc went into administration over mounting costs of storing the highly radioactive residue created………
“The Scottish Government’s forthcoming energy strategy provides the perfect opportunity to set out a bold vision of becoming the EU’s first fully renewable electricity nation by 2030.” Lang Banks
Last month, WWF Scotland was among a number of charities including Friends of the Earth Scotland (FoES) which protested the decision to give a go-ahead to the new nuclear plant at Hinkley in Sussex. The main reason for campaigners objections to the Hinkley plant were the vast costs of construction and the better deals for customers if solar and hydro were invested in.
They additionally argue that Scotland’s progress in renewables capacity warrants further development of wind, hydro, solar and tidal and a rejection of nuclear. WWF Scotland’s research showed that this year, renewables generated 57 per cent of Scotland’s electricity consumption. The Scottish government in turn has set a target that by 2020 the equivalent of 100 per cent of gross annual electricity consumption will be renewables derived.
From a legal perspective, the building of any new nuclear power station in Scotland would require consent from Scottish Government Ministers under the Electricity Act of 1989.
The Scottish Government at the moment has stated it will not seek new nuclear facilities but has not been explicit in its rejection of extensions to existing ones. However, they were not avalible to comment when contacted by CommonSpace. https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/9670/charities-reject-case-nuclear-extensions-edf-begins-lobbying-snp
Nuclear waste dump protesters bring the fight from outback South Australia to the city, By Lauren Waldhuter http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-15/nuclear-waste-dump-protesters-bring-the-fight-to-adelaide/7935954
Traditional landowners from South Australia’s outback have brought their fight against proposed nuclear storage facilities to the steps of Parliament House.
About 3,000 people rallied against proposed nuclear waste dumps, with Aboriginal families affected by nuclear testing at Maralinga among the crowd.
The State Government is considering whether it should store the world’s high-grade nuclear waste at a site somewhere in South Australia.
At the same time, the Federal Government is considering building its first storage facility for Australia’s low-grade radioactive waste, having short-listed Wallerberdina station, near Hawker in the Flinders Ranges, as a preferred site.
Traditional landowner Karina Lester said many people did not want to see either proposal go ahead.
“We are starting to unite and we are starting to really think about how we’re going to fight this, because it concerns us and we have a cultural responsibility,” she said.
“People travelled from the Mid North [and] from Ceduna as well to be part of this event and it was so important that they gathered here today to say ‘enough is enough’.
“Having Yalata crew, having Ceduna crew, the Yappala crew being involved is so strong for us as Aboriginal people.”
Renowned film director Scott Hicks lent his voice to the cause, with particular concern about the high-grade dump.
“To me it’s an idea that doesn’t make sense on any level I can look at it,” he said.
“It doesn’t make economic sense. We can’t even predict the price of coal a month from now. How can we predict the price of nuclear waste 100 years from now?
“Why would we want to leave a legacy for our children’s, children’s children and beyond 100,000 years, that can never be taken away?”
What is being proposed?
- Low-to-intermediate level radioactive waste generated in Australia stored in a purpose-built facility
- It would include materials such as nuclear medicine by-products
- This waste is currently stored in more than 100 sites across Australia, in metropolitan areas, regional towns and cities
- The project promises at least 15 ongoing jobs and $10 million in funding for the host community once the facility is operational
- The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission found SA could store the world’s high-grade nuclear waste
- Sealed waste would be stored 500 metres underground in a purpose-built facility
- The facility could create up to 5,000 jobs during construction and 600 ongoing jobs
- It is tipped to generate $5.6 billion of annual revenue for SA once established
Swiss ban new nuclear reactors http://reneweconomy.com.au/2016/swiss-ban-new-nuclear-reactors-39247 By Craig Morris on 11 October 2016 Energy Transition
Another setback for the “nuclear renaissance”: Switzerland voted on Friday to focus more on renewables and efficiency. For the first time ever, new nuclear plants are officially off the table—though admittedly, none were planned. The Swiss just “adopted the Energiewende,” writes the Neue Züricher Zeitung. Is no one paying attention? Craig Morris has the details.
Now here’s a news item you probably haven’t heard, at least judging from what I can gather on the internet: Switzerland’s new Energy Act (Energiegesetz, PDF) of 30 September 2016. You would think that, given its scope and Switzerland’s central role in Europe’s power sector, the following contents would have warranted a mention at, say, Reuters, CNN, Bloomberg, and Co.:
- The generation of non-hydro renewable power is to grow from 1.7 TWh last year (PDF in German and French) to 4.4 TWh by 2020 and 11.4 TWh by 2035 (nearly tenfold).
- “Per capita energy consumption” is to shrink by 16 percent from 2000 to 2020 and by 43 percent by 2035. “Per capita” is an important caveat in a small country whose population can easily grow quickly. (Switzerland’s is up around 10 percent over the past decade, like even smaller Norway’s.) Unfortunately, the law does not specify the most important aspect here: final or primaryenergy?
- Power consumption is to drop by 3 percent by 2020 and 13 percent by 2035.
- The law also, confusingly, speaks of “expanding” hydropower to 37.4 TWh by 2035 – even though it came in at 39.5 TWh last year. (If any readers know how to dissect this, please drop us a comment below.)
- It amends the 2003 Nuclear Energy Act (here’s the old one) to ban permits for new nuclear reactors. It also bans the reprocessing and export of spent fuel rods for reprocessing (except for research purposes with the consent of the Bundesrat). And “changes may not be made to existing nuclear plants.”
There’s a lot more in the law, much of which deals with the policy mechanisms (level of feed-in tariffs, etc.). But what’s above is a real breakthrough. So why has it gone unreported in English?
One reason may be that a referendum could change everything, as the Swiss press explains (in German). But the report also suggests there is little support for such a referendum in industry, so the referendum may not even take place; in other words, the Swiss business world is happier with renewables and efficiencythan with old-school energy production, consumption, and waste.
Another referendum will be held on 27 November 2016: the one for a closure of the existing reactors (in German). It does not necessarily stand a good chance of passing; parliamentarians overwhelmingly reject it (it’s an idea of the Swiss Greens). On the other hand, a recent survey of the public revealed support for a total phaseout by 2029 (basically, a limited service life of 45 years per reactor). This idea may have as much as 58 percent public support (in German)—possibly another example of politicians out of touch with the people. The first reactor to be shut down would then go offline in 2019. Leibstadt, the youngest, would be the last to go in 2029.
Opponents of the phaseout referendum will reportedly not try to reject the idea of a nuclear phaseout outright. Instead, they will try to win over the “silent majority” of undecided voters in the middle of the political spectrum by simply arguing that setting a specific date or service life for all reactors makes no sense. This clever tactic is likely to succeed, but a quick comparison with the historic debate in Germany over a nuclear phaseout suggests something less savory for nuclear supporters. Remember that slippery slope? By the time you resort to the tactic of “setting a date for a phaseout makes no sense,” you have reached the bottom of it. There is no way back up the slope for nuclear at that point.
Oddly, the Swiss press outlets all report that the new law is part of the government’s “Energy Strategy 2050” even though “2050” is never even mentioned in the new Act. This law is in fact just a starting point. By the end of this year, we will probably know what direction the country is headed.
One wonders when the international media will catch on. Maybe never—or did you know that Switzerland implemented a nuclear phaseout (by 2034) in the wake of Fukushima back in 2011?