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Space is to become Donald Trump’s new theatre of nuclear war

Turning Space Into a War Zone  

The Trump administration is pushing hard on its scheme to create a Space Force.  Last week Vice President Pence, chairman of a newly reconstituted National Space Council, in a speech at the Pentagon declared: “The time has come to write the next great chapter in the history of our armed forces, to prepare for the next battlefield.”

Pence claimed—falsely: “Our adversaries have transformed space into a warfighting domain already and the United States will not shrink from the challenge.”

Trump, who in June announced he was “directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces,” following Pence’s address Thursday promptly tweeted: “Space Force all the way!”

At the same time, signaling that the Space Force drive will be used politically, the Trump campaign organization sent out an email asking supporters to choose between six Space Force logos that were depicted. “President Trump wants a Space Force—a groundbreaking endeavor for the future of America and the final frontier,” wrote Brad Parscale, campaign manager of “Donald J. Trump for President, 2020.” “To celebrate President Trump’s huge announcement, our campaign will be selling a new line of gear.” He asked backers pick “your favorite logo.”

“THIS IS A CRUCIAL MOMENT WHERE THE PUBLIC MUST STAND AND SAY ‘HELL NO!” SAID BRUCE GAGNON, COORDINATOR OF THE GLOBAL NETWORK AGAINST WEAPONS & NUCLEAR POWER IN SPACE, ON HIS BLOG. “STAR WARS” ISN’T “AFFORDABLE, IS AN INSANE IDEA, AND WOULD VERY LIKELY LEAD TO WW III—THE FINAL WAR,” SAID GAGNON.

THE  GLOBAL NETWORK, BASED IN MAINE AND FOUNDED IN 1992, DECIDED AT ITS ANNUAL MEETING, IN JUNE IN OXFORD, UNITED KINGDOM, TO HAVE THE SPACE FORCE SCHEME BE THE TARGET OF ITS “INTERNATIONAL WEEK OF PROTEST TO STOP THE MILITARIZATION OF SPACE.”

IT WILL BE HELD BETWEEN OCTOBER 6 AND 13 WITH PROTESTS AND OTHER ACTIONS AGAINST THE SPACE FORCE PLAN HAPPENING THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES AND INTERNATIONALLY. WOMEN’S INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR PEACE AND FREEDOM, U.S. CHAPTER, IS THE CO-SPONSOR.

“HOW IN THE WORLD CAN OUR BANKRUPT NATION AFFORD TO PAY FOR STAR WARS WHICH THE AEROSPACE INDUSTRY HAS LONG CLAIMED WOULD BE THE LARGEST INDUSTRIAL PROJECT IN HUMAN HISTORY?” SAID GAGNON. “THE ONLY WAY IS TO COMPLETELY DESTROY SOCIAL PROGRESS—CUT SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICARE, MEDICAID AND WHAT LITTLE IS LEFT OF THE WELFARE PROGRAM. ARE YOU GOING TO STAND FOR THAT?” Continue reading

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August 17, 2018 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Trump administration is fulfilling the National Rifle Association’s wildest dreams

Donald Trump, Gunrunner for Hire https://www.thenation.com/article/donald-trump-gunrunner-for-hire/, The administration is fulfilling the National Rifle Association’s wildest dreams., By William D. Hartung, AUGUST 14, 2018 

August 17, 2018 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and nuclear submarines: the dilemma about dismantling them

Navy, Civilian Nuclear Regulators Struggling Over How to Dismantle Former USS Enterprise, USNI News ,By: Ben Werner, 

August 17, 2018 Posted by | USA, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

“unwelcome” step towards nuclear plant closures

FirstEnergy takes “unwelcome” step towards plant closures, WNN, 16 August 2018

The company on 15 August said it had filed with the NRC details of the training programme for the professionals who will supervise the removal and on-site storage of fuel from the plants after their shut-down.

“Today’s NRC submission is a necessary milestone for us but not a welcome one,” Don Moul, FES president and chief nuclear officer, said………. A solution must be reached by mid-2019, when FES must either purchase the fuel required for Davis-Besse’s next refuelling or proceed with the shutdown. http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/FirstEnergy-takes-unwelcome-step-towards-plant-clo

August 17, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Danger in transporting nuclear materials through Michigan

Request to ship nuclear material through Michigan draws concerns MLive News, By Brad Devereaux   bdeverea@mlive.com

August 17, 2018 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

New Mexico State could still block Holtec’s nuclear waste dump plan, despite federal approval

State could block nuclear storage site near Carlsbad even if federally licensed, By Adrian C. Hedden / Carlsbad Current-Argus, N.M. (TNS), August 16th, 

State lawmakers maintained they will have a say in a proposed facility to store high-level nuclear waste near Carlsbad and Hobbs, despite an opinion issued by New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas suggesting New Mexico will have a limited role in licensing the project.

New Mexico Sen. Jeff Steinborn (D-36), who chairs the New Mexico Radioactive and Hazardous Waste Committee said Balderas’ opinion was informative but did not preclude lawmakers from preventing the facility from operating.

The committee convened in May to study the project proposed by New Jersey-based Holtec International, and held its third meeting on Wednesday at University of New Mexico-Los Alamos.

Opposed to the project, Steinborn said state lawmakers owe their constituents a full review of the proposal.

More: Who is Holtec? International company touts experience in nuclear storage

“I think it’s kind of a troubling deficiency in the government if the state doesn’t have to give consent to have something like this foisted upon it,” he said. “The State of New Mexico owes it to the people to look at every aspect of it.”

In Balderas’ response to multiple questions asked by Steinborn, he cited numerous past cases that Balderas said created a precedent that state governments have almost no role in federal licensing for nuclear facilities.

More: Attorney general: New Mexico has little say in Holtec proposal

He said the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has the sole authority to license the facility, and the state’s authority would likely begin once it went into operation, providing some recourse if something goes wrong.

“While it is abundantly clear that the state cannot license or otherwise directly regulate interim storage facilities, the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that state tort law can provide a remedy for injuries suffered as a result of nuclear plant operation,” Balderas wrote.

But Steinborn said he and the committee intended to make their voices heard well before the plant could go into operation.

He said even if the federal NRC does issue Holtec the needed license, the state could fight back by blocking utilities and infrastructure such as water and transportation access – cutting off the facility’s ability to operate. Continue reading

August 17, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Call for scrutiny of Florida electrical utility’s involvement in Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion project

Citing ‘potential mismanagement,’ state senator asks for study of JEA’s nuclear power costs  Jacksonville.com By Nate Monroe , 16 Aug 18

Central Florida state Sen. Debbie Mayfield has asked the Legislature’s auditing and accountability office to study JEA’s involvement in a faltering and increasingly expensive nuclear power project, citing it as an “alarming example” of “potential mismanagement” at the city-owned electric, water and sewer utility.

JEA’s involvement in the Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion project has largely simmered in the background this year as City Hall was embroiled in a contentious debate over whether it should sell the utility to a private operator. But the costs associated with JEA’s share of Vogtle — which could total $4 billion over 20 years — have concerned city and utility officials and credit-rating analysts.

JEA has told the Plant Vogtle co-owners it wants the project canceled, and utility officials are actively searching for ways to get out of the contract it has with the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, one of the co-owners

Mayfield, who represents a state Senate district that includes Brevard and Indian River counties about 150 miles south of Jacksonville, wants the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability Office to complete an in-depth study of JEA’s contract with MEAG, and to submit a report to the House and Senate leadership by Feb. 1.

“Citizens from the community have expressed concern over recent events and published reports that suggest serious issues surrounding the spending and operation decisions of the JEA,” Mayfield wrote in a Wednesday letter to the legislative auditors.

…….. JEA signed the Plant Vogtle nuclear power agreement in 2008, when industry analysts considered nuclear power to be on the upswing

…….In recent years, however, the fortunes of nuclear power have nose dived, stemming in large part from the availability and low cost of natural gas.The Plant Vogtle expansion is the only remaining active project of its kind in the nation and has experienced explosive cost overruns and delays in the completion dates.  Zahn said JEA’s decision to invest made sense in 2008 but that the structure of the contract has left JEA in a bad spot, especially as the cost has skyrocketed. ……..

Mayfield said in her letter that JEA initially projected a $140 million burden that over time has grown to $2.5 billion. Zahn pegged the overall cost — both JEA’s share of debt for the construction of the reactors and the cost of buying power for 20 years — at about $4 billion. http://www.jacksonville.com/news/20180816/citing-potential-mismanagement-state-senator-asks-for-study-of-jeas-nuclear-power-costs

August 17, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel deeply sceptical over sale of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant to Holtec and SNC Lavalin

Citizens Advisory Panel Skeptical Over Sale of Pilgrim Nuclear Powerplant, WCAI ,  SARAH TAN , 16 Aug 18

Panel members peppered Entergy and Holtech officials with questions regarding their finances, their plans for decommissioning and their plans for where they’ll store spent nuclear fuel. Former state senator Dan Wolf said the fact that Pilgrim could be sold to not one, but two companies, concerned him.

“And it concerns me that as one of the things I see as part of the presentation is the financial strength of the business, which would imply that if the business gets weak financially there’s not going to be safety? The two should be disconnected, and I don’t see evidence of that,” Wolf said.

Many also expressed worry that the sale could happen without any input from the state. …….. http://www.capeandislands.org/post/citizens-advisory-panel-skeptical-over-sale-pilgrim-nuclear-powerplant#stream/0

August 17, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Richard Glick unaware of his agency assisting in nuclear and coal bailout

Glick ‘at a loss’ over FERC role in Trump coal and nuclear bailout, The Democrat commissioner said he has no knowledge of FERC’s efforts to assist the Trump administration in supporting money-losing coal and nuclear plants. Utility Dive,     Gavin Bade

Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Richard Glick said Wednesday he has no knowledge of efforts at his agency to assist the Trump administration in bailing out money-losing coal and nuclear plants.

“I would like to know what they’re doing,” Glick said, referring to the FERC staff. “I think Commissioner [Neil] Chatterjee would like to know what they’re doing and so would Commissioner [Cheryl] LaFleur, so I just thought I’m kind of at a loss right now trying to figure out what they are doing.”

FERC later said that it was only providing technical assistance to ensure critical electricity infrastructure is protected, but Glick said even that role had not been communicated to him and other commissioners.

“The commission does provide technical assistance and has been doing that for a long time,”  he said on the sidelines of the Midcontinent ISO Market Symposium in Indianapolis. “Maybe that’s what [Pugliese is] doing. I honestly just don’t know.”

The comments from Pugliese, a Trump political appointee hired by then-Chairman Chatterjee last year, reignited concerns from former regulators that the agency may be falling under the political influence of the Trump administration and sparked calls from liberal groups for the chief of staff to resign……..https://www.utilitydive.com/news/glick-at-a-loss-over-ferc-role-in-trump-coal-and-nuclear-bailout/530276/ 

August 17, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Legal move to get money returned to ratepayers, over failed South Carolina nuclear power project

Attorneys for SCE&G customers ask for all money collected since nuclear cancellation, By Andrew Brown abrown@postandcourier.co, Aug 15, 2018 Updated 3 hrs ago

·         COLUMBIA — Attorneys suing South Carolina Electric & Gas say the power company should have to refund everything it collected for its failed nuclear project over the past year — some $452 million in all.

·         In a motion filed Wednesday, lawyers representing SCE&G ratepayers say the utility should have dropped its nuclear financing charges from electric rates as soon as it told construction workers at the V.C. Summer power plant to leave the site.

·         They say state law only allows SCE&G to charge people for the nuclear project while it is under construction or if it’s fully built — something the company gave up after it abandoned the $9 billion investment on July 31, 2017.

·         The nuclear project was dropped after nine years of work on the power plants. SCE&G’s customers paid more than $1.8 billion to finance the endeavor.  The troubled utility company is now facing a wave of legal challenges due to the unfinished reactors —now considered the biggest economic failure in state history.

·         The new motion threatens to pile another massive liability onto SCE&G’s books.

·         State lawmakers already forced the power company earlier this month to temporarily slash its nuclear charges, a move that reduced its customers’ bills by 15 percent and will cost the company roughly $270 million by the end of this year.

·        Those customers will also receive a rebate for the power they purchased between April and July.

·         The attorneys opposing SCE&G want to go even further, however. They’re effectively asking a state judge to order SCE&G to repay the entire $37 million per month the utility collected since August of last year. If the judge rules in their favor, part of that money could go to SCE&G electric customers who join the proposed class action lawsuits. ……….https://www.postandcourier.com/business/attorneys-for-sce-g-customers-ask-for-all-money-collected/article_2f5c0a7c-a0c2-11e8-8a68-0baaf18b8b0e.html

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

For the first time, scientists can reliably estimate highly radioactive cesium-rich microparticles released by Fukushima nuclear disaster 

First reliable estimates of highly radioactive cesium-rich microparticles released by Fukushima disaster  https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-08/gc-1re081218.php GOLDSCHMIDT CONFERENCE

Scientists have for the first time been able to estimate the amount of radioactive cesium-rich microparticles released by the disaster at the Fukushima power plant in 2011. This work, which will have significant health and environmental implications, is presented at the Goldschmidt geochemistry conference in Boston*.

The flooding of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) after the disastrous earthquake on March 11 2011 caused the release of significant amounts of radioactive material, including cesium (Cs) isotopes 134Cs (half-life, 2 years) and 137Cs (half-life, 30 years).Initially scientists thought that all Cs was released in soluble form. Now however, they have realized that a part of the released Cs was in the form of glassy microparticles, formed at the time of the reactor meltdown; these particles were thrown over a wide area, but until now there has been no reliable estimate of how much radioactive cesium-rich microparticles was deposited in the surrounding area, and how this material was distributed.

Now a group of international scientists, led by Dr. Satoshi Utsunomiya (Associate Professor of Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan) has been able to give the first accurate estimates of the amount of the radioactive microparticles in the environment. This work describes the significance of the microparticles to current radiation levels, and provides fundamental data for a future re-evaluation of health risks from the highly radioactive microparticles which remain in the local environment.

Most of the glassy microparticles are only a few microns in size, and were spread alongside the soluble cesium. The soluble cesium is generally bound to clay minerals after wet deposition, with the clay minerals also forming particles, so it was difficult to distinguish the cesium-rich microparticles from cesium absorbed on clay.” said Dr Utsunomiya, “However, we realized that the cesium-rich microparticle has an extremely high radioactivity ~1011 Bq/g compared with the much lower radioactivity for cesium-sorbing clay particles, and this can be used to distinguish the two types. So we have established a novel procedure to quantify the cesium-rich microparticles by applying a quantitative autoradiography method”.

Autoradiography exposes a photographic film or detector to a radioactive source, which causes the radiation to show up on the film (medical X-rays is the most common autoradiography technique). The team determined the threshold radioactivity for Cs-rich microparticles in the sieved fraction based on the relation between photostimulated luminescence signal and radioactivity. They applied this method to soil samples from 20 affected areas.

Dr Utsunomiya continued “In certain areas, these glassy particles are highly concentrated, so they are a major concern. We have found up to 318 of these particles in just 1 gram of soil, near the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Most of these particles are still in the ambient environments, indicating the high stability.

Since the Fukushima accident we have been gradually coming to understand how the microparticles were distributed, and what this might mean to health and the environment. As you would expect, there are more radioactive particles nearer the reactor: we believe that there was a proportion of cesium released as soluble material, but we have found that the area south of the reactor contains a higher proportion of glassy particles. Our estimate is that around 78% of radioactive cesium was released as glassy particles. Many of the microparticles have been washed down from roofs and from plants, and have now gathered in radioactive hot spots.

Now that we have a better idea of the quantities involved and how the radiation has been distributed, it gives our team a better idea of how to approach the effect on health, which is obviously a major concern. This work does not imply that there is any additional radiation which has been missed – the total amount of cesium released at Fukushima remains the same. However, the glassy particles have concentrated the radiation, which means that there is still much new work to be done to understand how this concentrated radiation might affect health”

Commenting on the work, Dr Ken Buesseler (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) said:

“The idea of microparticles has not been ‘missed’ in the assessment of total cesium levels in soil after Fukushima; it has been included, although this work highlights the fraction found in cesium microparticles. So we shouldn’t think that there is additional radiation to worry about, but nevertheless in this highly concentrated form it may have different health impacts. These researchers have done a fine job of developing new tools to quantify these microparticles, and that is an important story to tell”

###

Dr Buesseler was not involved in this work, this is an independent comment.

*Part of the work was also recently published: Ikehara et al, Environmental Science & Technology, 52(11), (2018) 6390-6398, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.7b06693. This press release contains additional material and comments.

August 15, 2018 Posted by | radiation, USA | Leave a comment

US Government’s own Energy Information Administration (EIA) says renewable energy is surging while nuclear is declining

EIA Data Undermines Trump’s Love Affair With Coal & Nuclear https://cleantechnica.com/2018/08/13/eia-data-undermines-trumps-love-affair-with-coal-nuclear/  August 13th, 2018 by Joshua S Hill


A handful of reports published over recent weeks by the US Government’s own Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) have revealed that coal and nuclear continue their decline across the country, while renewable energy continues to surge with longevity which will quickly take it out beyond the reach of the United States’ traditional generators.

So far this month, the EIA has published its “Electric Power Monthly” report and its “Short-Term Energy Outlook” for August, while FERC published its “Energy Infrastructure Update.” When taken together, and excluding an expected decline in utility-scale solar capacity additions, it is good news for the renewable energy industry and bad news for the United States’ coal and nuclear sectors.

Specifically, the United States’ renewable energy sources — consisting of biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, and wind — now provide more electricity than nuclear power in over half the states across the country, and more electricity than coal in a third of the states. Further, according to data compiled from the reports by Ken Bossong of the Sun Day Campaign, over the next three years of capacity additions and retirements, the US coal industry will experience a net-loss of 15,898 megawatts (MW) and the nuclear industry will only see a net-increase of 756 MW.

Conversely, utility-scale renewable energy capacity is expected to skyrocket by 156,981 MW over the same time period, led primarily by wind energy with nearly 91 gigawatts (GW) and solar with just over 52 GW.

“EIA and FERC data underscore that the renewable energy train has left the station,” noted Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “Trying to reverse that situation with costly subsidies for environmentally-polluting nuclear power and coal defies common sense.”

“Nuclear and coal simply can’t compete with renewable energy,” said Tim Judson, Executive Director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service. “Renewables will be generating more power than nuclear by 2020, and nuclear is poised for the same precipitous decline as coal in the coming years.”

It’s worth noting that “capacity” is not the same as “generation” — because, as Ken Bossong explains, “nuclear and coal typically have higher capacity factors than most renewable sources” — but one need only look at the figures to see that renewable energy is catching quickly here as well. Specifically, renewable energy generation over the first five months of 2018 accounted for 20.17% of the United States’ electrical generation, while nuclear only provided 20.14%. Further, while coal still maintains a healthy lead over both renewables and nuclear with 26.6% over the first five months of 2018, this is down from 39% five years ago when renewables only accounted for 14.3%.

The only substantial negative takeaway from this bundle of official US Governmental reports is that the EIA has downgraded its forecast utility-scale solar capacity additions for 2019 from 11.4 GW to 6.3 GW “As a result of incoming data reported in the Annual Electric Generator survey.” This will be combined with an estimated 3.94 GW worth of residential, commercial, and industrial solar, bringing the total 2019 expected solar capacity additions up to 10.3 GW — a 7% growth on the 9.58 GW expected to come online this year.

August 15, 2018 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Low power prices add to nuclear industry’s woes: more reactors headed for shut-down

US nuclear units shut as low power prices threaten more retirements https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/electric-power/081018-us-nuclear-units-shut-as-low-power-prices-threaten-more-retirements
William Freebairn  EditorStaff  Washington — When Exelon’s Oyster Creek nuclear unit disconnects from the grid at the end of September and permanently shuts, it will mark the start of a busy period of US nuclear power plant closures driven by low power prices that are placing dozens more units at risk.

As utilities threaten to shut nuclear units, a patchwork of state subsidies has emerged, and DOE and the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission are mulling separate actions to prevent reactors from closing. The result is a confusing amalgam of measures that could benefit nuclear units in some locations but not others.

“We’re seeing these plants close, and the next question seems to be ‘Is anyone going to step in and stop it,'” said Tim Fox, a vice president at ClearView Energy Partners, in an interview Friday.

In 2012, the US had 104 nuclear units with total gross capacity of 107.6 GW. A series of retirements for technical and economic reasons shuttered 6 units with 4.7 GW of capacity by 2016.

But in recent years, continued low power prices and the competition from subsidized renewable energy and lower-cost natural gas-fired generation has accelerated the pace of nuclear plant retirement announcements. Thirteen additional units with combined capacity of 12.1 GW will shut permanently between September and 2025. The bulk of the announced retirements will be coming in 2019 (2 units), 2020 (3 units) and 2021 (4 units).

An estimated 12.4 GW in nuclear capacity is at high risk of retiring before its operating authorization ends, said Manan Ahuja, senior director of North American power analytics for S&P Global Platts Analytics. As many as half of all US nuclear units are at some risk of premature retirement, Platts Analytics said in an annual report on the topic in January.

“The biggest issue is plant economics,” Ahuja said in an interview Friday. Factors such as the existence of power purchase agreements, which can provide higher revenue for plant operators, plant-specific costs and the prices in capacity markets are important in determining the risks, he noted.

State, federal actions

The figures for early retirements would be higher had states not enacted subsidy programs, known as zero-emission credits, aimed at keeping nuclear units from shutting.

DOE and FERC are separately considering whether and how to compensate nuclear and coal plants for the benefits they provide to the grid.

The program in New York provides payments to three Exelon-owned upstate nuclear plants for 12 years. ZECs paid to generators increase from $17.48/MWh in the first of six two-year periods to $29.15/MWh in the final period through March 2029.

In Illinois, Exelon’s Quad Cities and Clinton nuclear plants, totaling nearly 3,000 MW, are receiving ZECs. The program could provide $235 million annually to the plant owners.

Power producers separately challenged the Illinois and New Jersey ZEC programs in federal court, saying they violate federal authority to regulate wholesale power markets. After courts ruled in favor of the states, power producers appealed those decisions.

A ZEC-like program was approved by New Jersey lawmakers this year. Plants that are approved for payments could receive 0.4 cent/kWh from retail customers.

In Connecticut, the two-unit 2,113-MW Millstone nuclear plant has been declared eligible to participate in a competitive solicitation for power payments to zero-carbon generating units for the first time. Ohio and Pennsylvania have debated supporting nuclear units, but no action has been taken by lawmakers.

DOE’s effort to consider using its authority to enact emergency measures relating to the power grid to support coal and nuclear plants remains underway and is expected to result in action, although the scope is unknown, said Christine Tezak, managing director at ClearView Energy. “It doesn’t seem imminent today, but it certainly hasn’t fallen off the radar screen,” she said Friday.

Helping save several dozen nuclear units could cost billions of dollars, according to a study by the Brattle Group last month. If all coal and nuclear plants were to receive an out-of-market annual payment of $50 per kilowatt of capacity, roughly the average operating shortfall for plants with a deficit, the cost would be $16.7 billion a year, or about $34 billion over two years. The amount would be somewhat lower if only plants in financial trouble received the support, Brattle said.

Market exposure

While all nuclear plants face competitive pressure, the units that are shutting for economic reasons are almost exclusively in deregulated electricity markets. Those in regulated states face fewer challenges because state rate-setting commissions have generally allowed them to recover their costs.

The Nuclear Energy Institute, a trade association of nuclear vendors and operators, has directed an effort to cut industry costs, and says those costs peaked in 2012 and have fallen 19% to $33.61/MWh. NEI says nuclear plants are not being compensated for the benefits they provide in terms of availability of fuel, high capacity factors and zero carbon emissions.

Market participants and the owners of natural gas-fired generating units have said markets are doing a good job of providing a steady flow of electricity at the lowest cost to consumers, and subsidies will distort those markets and raise customer costs.

In fact, the trend to provide support to nuclear, and potentially, coal units will keep generators online that would otherwise retire, and does nothing to curb the market’s biggest issue, that of overcapacity, Tezak said. It is hard to see wholesale power prices rising if more generators are encouraged by out-of-market subsidies to remain online, she said.

–William Freebairn, william.freebairn@spglobal.com

August 15, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Protecting counterprotesters; nuclear repentance -National Catholic Reporter

Justice Action Bulletin: Protecting counterprotesters; nuclear repentance, National Catholic  Reporter,Aug 14, 2018by Maria Benevento

August 15, 2018 Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA | Leave a comment

John Kotson: President Trump is in denial about nuclear threat

John Kotson: President Trump is in denial about nuclear threat http://www.timescall.com/columnists/opinion-local/ci_32068313/john-kotson-president-trump-is-denial-about-nuclear, By John Kotson   08/14/2018

In October 1962, as a young IBM engineer, I and another co-worker were sent to Walker AFB, Roswell, N.M., to work on problems with the IBM-built electronics on the brand new B-52 strategic bombers. The morning we finished our work and were planning on flying back home, we encountered a full “alert” at the airbase. The “Cuban Missile” crisis was underway and no one could enter or leave the base except mission critical personnel. The commercial airline used the AFB base runway for operations, so they were out of business and we were stuck in Roswell.

All three wings of B-52 bombers (approximately 45 airplanes) sat on alert pads completely fueled and fully armed with nuclear weapons. The flight crews were living in underground bunkers next to their airplanes awaiting orders to attack. They all knew this was a one-way mission; there would be no airbase, homes or families to return to. Another increase in the “DEFCON” (Defense of the Continent) alert level would have launched an attack against the Soviet Union such as the world has never known. Both the United States and Soviets would have suffered massive destruction and millions of deaths.

THAT NIGHT, WE WENT TO BED WONDERING IF WE WOULD LIVE TO SEE ANOTHER DAY ON EARTH. EVERYONE IN ROSWELL KNEW THAT WALKER AFB WAS A PRIME TARGET FOR THE SOVIETS AND THE CHANCES FOR SURVIVAL WERE MINIMAL. THE TOWN BARS WERE JAMMED FULL AS EVERYONE WAS TRYING TO SOOTH THEIR NERVES. THIS SITUATION CONTINUED FOR SEVERAL DAYS UNTIL COOLER HEADS PREVAILED AND BOTH COUNTRIES MOVED BACK FROM THE NUCLEAR PRECIPICE. TO THIS DAY, THAT IS THE CLOSEST AMERICA HAS EVER COME TO A NUCLEAR WAR.

NOW WE HAVE A PRESIDENT THAT THREATENS COUNTRIES WITH NUCLEAR WAR AT THE DROP OF A HAT. THE “COMMANDER-IN-TWEETS” HAS VERBALLY THREATENED BOTH NORTH KOREA AND IRAN WITH A NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST FOR MAKING WAR-LIKE THREATS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES. AT THE SAME TIME, HE HAS ANGERED OUR NATO FRIENDS TO THE POINT THAT IT IS NO LONGER ASSURED THAT THEY WILL EVER COME TO OUR AID IN THE EVENT OF A CONFLICT.

PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS SHOWN A LOVE FOR RUSSIA AND THEIR MURDEROUS, AUTOCRATIC, LEADER, VLADIMIR PUTIN THAT DEFIES ALL LOGIC. HE PROMISED THAT HIS SECRET ONE-ON-ONE MEETING WITH PRESIDENT PUTIN YIELDED ASSURANCES THAT RUSSIA IS NO LONGER A THREAT TO ATTACK THE U.S. RUSSIA WILL ALWAYS BE A THREAT TO THE U.S. AS LONG AS THEY CONTINUE ON A PATH OF SEIZING TERRITORY BY MILITARY MEANS AND THREATENING OUR NATO ALLIES. WE MUST REMEMBER, THE UNITED STATES IS COMMITTED UNDER THE NATO TREATY TO COME TO ANY MEMBER’S AID THAT IS ATTACKED BY ANOTHER COUNTRY.

THERE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN RUSSIAN NUCLEAR MISSILE SUBMARINES STATIONED JUST OFF U.S. COASTAL WATERS. PRESIDENT PUTIN BRAGS THAT HIS MISSILES CAN EACH CARRY UP TO 15 INDEPENDENTLY TARGETED NUCLEAR WARHEADS. IN A FIRST STRIKE SCENARIO, A LAUNCH OF THESE SUBMARINE MISSILES COULD DESTROY COUNTLESS U.S. MILITARY TARGETS, CITIES AND PEOPLES. THE MISSILE FLIGHT TIMES WOULD BE SO SHORT, IT WOULD BE NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO MOUNT AN EFFECTIVE DEFENSE AGAINST THEM. ONLY THE EXISTENCE OF MANY U.S. NAVY NUCLEAR MISSILE SUBMARINES PROVIDES A DETERRENT AGAINST RUSSIA STARTING SUCH A WAR.

I HAVE LIVED FOR 70 YEARS UNDER THE THREAT OF A NUCLEAR WAR, FIRST WITH THE SOVIET UNION AND MORE RECENTLY NORTH KOREA. DURING THAT TIME, MANY OTHER NATIONS HAVE ACQUIRED NUCLEAR WEAPONS, COMPOUNDING THE THREAT OF A MISTAKE CAUSING A NUCLEAR CONFRONTATION. PRESIDENT TRUMP TOTALLY IGNORES THE CATASTROPHIC CONSEQUENCES OF USING NUCLEAR THREATS TO ACHIEVE HIS OBJECTIVES. UNFORTUNATELY, THIS MAN HAS HIS FINGER ON A NUCLEAR TRIGGER THAT COULD START A WAR INSTANTLY.

I WORRY ABOUT MY CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN HAVING TO LIVE UNDER A NUCLEAR THREAT, AS NATION AFTER NATION STRIVES TO OBTAIN THESE WEAPONS. LIKE MOST AMERICANS, THEY PROBABLY WILL NEVER REALIZE THE THREAT THEY LIVE UNDER UNTIL THE DAY OF NUCLEAR ARMAGEDDON ARRIVES. UNLESS ALL COUNTRIES SOON AGREE TO DESTROY THEIR NUCLEAR WEAPON STOCKPILES, OUR WORLD WILL SOMEDAY ENTER A WAR THAT WILL DESTROY ALL HUMANITY. LIKE THE DINOSAURS, WE WILL JUST CEASE TO EXIST.

JOHN KOTSON IS A LONGMONT RESIDENT. HE IS AN IBM RETIREE, FEDERAL SYSTEM DIVISION PREVIOUSLY; IBM SYSTEM ENGINEERING MANAGER FOR MISSILE WARNING AND TRACKING GROUND SYSTEMS; AND SPENT MANY YEARS WORKING ON PENETRATION AIDS AND WEAPON GUIDANCE SYSTEMS FOR THE U.S. AIR FORCE AND U.S. NAVY.

August 15, 2018 Posted by | PERSONAL STORIES, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment