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Stop the nuclear bailout

https://www.dailyitem.com/opinion/stop-the-nuclear-bailout/article_d3ffd0f4-5818-5336-b02d-153c8cc21c70.html,Tom McCarey,Mar 19, 2019

    The push is on in the Pennsylvania Legislature to bail out the nuclear reactors, Exelon in particular. Apparently, this is the state legislature paying back Exelon for all the campaign money it has given the politicians.

I urge readers to contact their representative, senator, the governor and the state’s Public Utility Commission and demand no nuclear bailout!

Under no circumstances should the nuclear industry in Pennsylvania be bailed out in any amount for any reason.

We are being extorted by Exelon with scare tactics and bullying. Exelon considers Pennsylvania a cash cow, and now they want to milk us even more. Ratepayers have had their electric bills go up wherever state governments have knuckled under to the nuclear lobby and bailed them out. There is no reason the free market can’t sort out the problems Exelon is having.

It is not the ratepayers’ fault that Exelon is losing money on some reactors, it is Exelon’s own fault for bad management. And it’s not the ratepayers’ responsibility to open their wallets to give Exelon the profit they seek.

Pennsylvania already has some of the highest electric rates in the country, courtesy of the PA PUC and the inability or unwillingness of the Legislature to protect the ratepayer. If they allow a bailout of Exelon or any other nuclear company, they will be betraying every ratepayer in the commonwealth.

Sign the petition. Stop the nuclear bailout!

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March 21, 2019 Posted by | general | 1 Comment

Mary Robinson, international climate badass, on why green solutions require a feminist lens, grist

 Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson is a bonafide international environmental badass. Not only was she the first female president of her country, but she has also made climate justice the focus of her foundation.

March 21, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Is it REALLY a good idea for American tax-payers to prop up the failing nuclear power industry?

  Does the United States Need a Civilian Nuclear Industry? The National Interest, March 13, 2019
Instead of a greater financial cushion, what the nuclear industry needs is more transparent exposure to market signals.
  The U.S. nuclear industry is on life support. Two nuclear reactors currently under construction have been canceled. Westinghouse, once at the vanguard of American technology, filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and is now owned by a Canadian firm. These troubles have affected the human capital—technicians, engineers, and other specialists—crucial for innovation in the industry. The United States once held the majority of nuclear-qualified manufacturing certifications—the prestigious N-stamp issued by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to certify a level of quality for nuclear applications. That ended in 2010 as other countries expanded their nuclear workforces.

Advocates and industry lobbyists are proposing a new structure of subsidies to prop up the industry. Instead of a greater financial cushion, however, what the nuclear industry needs is more transparent exposure to market signals. …..

improved battery storage and transmission technology could make the entire idea of baseload energy obsolete. Government subsidies, whether to renewables, natural gas, or nuclear, only cloud the issue. It should be up to investors, with access to diverse and comprehensive market information, to bet for (or against) nuclear energy.

Another argument for subsidizing the civil nuclear industry relies on its importance for national defense. Here, the United States walks a fine line: on one hand, the United States has a commitment to uphold the nonproliferation regime. On the other hand, the United States seeks to maintain and even modernize its nuclear arsenal to provide deterrence. In August 2017, former energy secretary Ernest Moniz coauthored the Energy Futures Initiative, a report arguing for greater government support for “robust nuclear energy enterprise” that serves both nonproliferation and nuclear deterrence goals. A particular concern was ensuring the supply of tritium , a hydrogen isotope important for powering nuclear weapons. Government reactors produced tritium until 1988, when they were closed because of cost.

On closer inspection, however, these concerns about the health of the nuclear elements of national security are overblown. The Government Accountability Office finds that tritium reserves are sufficient through the 2030s, and there are other ways to acquire tritium by enriching uranium.

The civilian industry makes the case for electric rate subsidies and exemption of onerous licensing and export controls because of their importance for nuclear weapons and nuclear powered submarines. However, it seems just as likely that the civil nuclear industry is as dependent on the defense industry for talent and investment. The training for civil and military nuclear technology requires the same basic physics, but beyond that, the education diverges. Naval reactors are not the same as civilian ones, and the navy operates approximately 160 nuclear reactors compared to ninety-eight in the civilian sector.

Civilian universities foster research on nuclear science and technology, but the defense establishment may be more interested in state-of-the-art work on artificial intelligence or autonomous technology than nuclear energy. Many of the advances in defense nuclear operations come not from basic nuclear science, but from improved safety and storage technology or warhead design.

March 18, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Anniversary of Three Mile Island nuclear disaster soon – nuclear is not a solution to climate change

Is nuclear part of a solution to climate change? Houston Chronicle , March 13, 2019 

Now, as presidential candidates discuss a Green New Deal, it is easy to envision renewed interest in nuclear to reduce our nation’s impact on global climate….

Nevertheless, we should be cautious about nuclear.

We’ve seen two big examples of the dangers of nuclear power beyond the partial meltdown of a reactor at Three Mile Island, located near Harrisburg in Dauphin County. The 1986 disaster at Chernobyl left about 1,000 square miles of land uninhabitable by humans for the foreseeable future, including dangerous levels of Plutonium-239 in the soil. Plutonium-239 has a half-life of 24,000 years.

Imagine the same for a nuclear power plant near you. For central North Carolina, where I live, this would involve the exposure of 2 million people and the instantaneous and permanent abandonment of the campuses of Duke, N.C. State and the University of North Carolina.

The half-life of some of the other radioactive elements released at Chernobyl, such as Cesium-137 and Strontium-90, is about 30 years. Unfortunately, the contamination of the environment by these isotopes was more widespread, in part because they are lighter and more easily carried by winds and water. In this case, Cesium-137 was transported in the atmosphere and deposited in the United Kingdom, where dangerous levels may persist in the soil for more than 100 years. Levels of cesium in some sheep, which fed on grasses in contaminated soils, are above the standards for human consumption.

Nuclear advocates are quick to point out that some wildlife populations in the exclusion zone have increased dramatically — perhaps as a result of the relaxation of hunting and other human pressures after 1986. But the higher incidence of albinism in local barn swallows should be a reminder that radiation-induced genetic mutations afflict wildlife populations and potentially humans as well. Higher incidence of thyroid cancer and genetic irregularities are reported from human populations around Chernobyl.

Severe contamination of the local environment also resulted from the disaster at Fukushima. It is unclear whether some areas will ever be inhabited again. The worst effects of a nuclear disaster are normally found in the region around the event itself, but fallouts spread worldwide. Within a month of the catastrophe in Japan, elevated levels of Iodine-131 and Cesium-137 were recorded in rainfall collected by the National Atmospheric Deposition Stations (NADP) across the United States.

With nuclear power comes the associated problems of waste disposal, which have yet to be addressed effectively in the United States. And a proliferation of nuclear power also enhances the likelihood that nuclear materials will be diverted to nefarious purposes, such as the production of a “dirty bomb” by terrorists.

Stripped of subsidies, the cost of nuclear power is higher than that for solar and wind power to generate electricity. When the hidden costs are included, there is no contest.

Nuclear power may appear to be clean. We see no equivalent to black-lung disease among coal miners, no mercury accumulations in fishes downwind and no carbon dioxide emissions that change our climate globally. But when there is a problem with nuclear power, it is sure to be large, persistent and biocidal for the persistence of life on Earth.

Accidents always happen; we cannot afford an accident with nuclear power.

William Schlesinger H. is the James B. Duke professor emeritus of biogeochemistry and former dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/Is-nuclear-part-of-a-solution-to-climate-change-13686358.php

March 16, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Most evacuees under 50 from three Fukushima towns near nuclear disaster have no plan to return

9 Mar 19, KYODO A majority of people under age 50 who had lived in three towns close to the site of the 2011 Fukushima No. 1 nuclear disaster have no plans to return, an official survey showed Saturday……..https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/03/09/national/evacuees-50-three-fukushima-towns-near-nuclear-disaster-no-plan-return/#.XIbWXckzbGg

March 12, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

It’s time to disrupt nuclear weapons; The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has created an opening

https://techcrunch.com/2019/03/09/its-time-to-disrupt-nuclear-weapons/

Beatrice Fihn Beatrice Fihn is the executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and the winner of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. “Atomic bombs are primarily a means for the ruthless annihilation of cities.”

Those are the words of Leo Szilard, one of the scientists who pushed for the development of nuclear weapons. He wrote them as part of a petition signed by dozens of other scientists who had worked on the Manhattan Project pleading with President Harry Truman not to use the nuclear bomb on Japan.

Mere months after its introduction in 1945, the architects of today’s nuclear world feared the implications of the technology they had created.

Nearly 75 years later it’s time again to ask technologists, innovators, entrepreneurs and academics: will you be party to the ‘ruthless annihilation of cities’? Will you expend your talents in the service of nuclear weapons? Will you use technology to create or to destroy?

Our moment of choice

Humanity is at another turning point.

A new nuclear arms race has begun in earnest with the US and Russia leading the way; tearing up the promise of lasting peace in favor of a new Cold War. Russia’s latest weapon is built to destroy entire coast lines with a radioactive tsunami. The US is building new nuclear weapons that are ‘more likely to be used’.

Meanwhile, North Korea appears to again be building its nascent nuclear weapons program. And India and Pakistan stand on the verge of open nuclear conflict, which climate modeling shows could lead to a global famine killing upwards of 2 billion people.

How do we stop this march toward oblivion?

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has created an opening — a chance to radically change course with the power of international law and shifting norms. The nuclear ban treaty will become international law once 50 nations have ratified it. We are already at 22.

The financial world is also recognizing the risk, with some of the world’s biggest pension funds divesting from nuclear weapons. But there is something even more powerful than the almighty dollar; human capital.

The nuclear weapons industrial complex relies on the most talented scientists, engineers, physicists and technologists to build this deadly arsenal. As more of that talent moves into the tech sector, defense contractors and the Pentagon  is seeking to work with major technology companies and disruptive startups, as well as continue their work with universities.

Without those talented technologists, there would be no new nuclear arms race. It’s time to divest human capital from nuclear weapons.

A mistake to end humanity?

Just over one year ago Hawaiians took cover and frantically Googled, “What to do during a nuclear attack”. Days later many Japanese mobile phone users also received a false alert for an inbound nuclear missile.

The combination of human error and technological flaws these incidents exposed makes accidental nuclear attacks an inevitability if we don’t move to end nuclear weapons before they end us.

The development of new machine learning technologies, autonomous weapons systems, cyber threats and social media manipulation are already destabilizing the global political order and potentially increasing the risk of a nuclear cataclysm. That is why it’s vital that the technology community collectively commits to using their skills and knowledge to protect us from nuclear eradication by joining the effort for global nuclear abolition.

We need to stop this foolish nuclear escalation in its tracks. Our commitment must be to a nuclear weapons-free world, by disrupting the trajectory we are currently heading on. Business as usual will likely end in nuclear war.

It took innovation, technological disruption, and ingenuity to create the nuclear dawn. We will need those same forces in greater measure to bring about a nuclear dusk — the complete disarmament of nuclear-armed states and safeguards against future proliferation.

The belief that we can keep doing what we have done for seven decades for another seven decades is naive. It relies on a fanciful, misplaced faith in the illogical idea of deterrence. We are told simultaneously that nuclear weapons keep the world safe, by never being used. They bestow power, but only make certain states powerful.

This fallacy has been exposed by this moment in time. Thirty years after the end of the Cold War, nuclear weapons have proliferated. Key treaties have been torn up or are under threat. And even more states are threatening to develop nuclear weapons.

So I am putting out a call to you: join us with this necessary disruption; declare that you will not have a hand in our demise; declare that you will use technology for good.

March 12, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

A former US missile-launch officer says Trump’s nuclear policy could get us all killed

Quartz

By Justin Rohrlich 6 Mar 19, Drastically reducing America’s nuclear arsenal will strengthen US national security, nonproliferation expert Bruce Blair, a former US Air Force nuclear launch officer, told Congress today (March 6).

The MacArthur “genius grant” recipient said Donald Trump’s plan to expand US nuclear capabilities (pdf) will make the world a more dangerous place—and leave America more vulnerable to attack. …. (subscribers only)  https://qz.com/1566325/bruce-blair-says-trumps-nuclear-policy-could-get-us-all-killed/

March 7, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Utah State is threatened with import of nuclear wastes

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900058129/letter-we-cannot-let-nuclear-waste-come-to-utah.html, By Leslie and Gail Ellison,  Deseret News March 1, 2019  HB220 recently passed by our Legislature opens the door to allow Class B and Class C nuclear wastes to be stored at the EnergySolutions Clive Skull Valley repository. These wastes increase in toxicity over time. No matter one’s political persuasion, Independent, Republican, Libertarian or Democrat, this bill must be halted in its tracks.

March 2, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Most Germans say it is right to close nuclear plants before coal plants.

Benjamin Wehrmann,Clean Energy Wire, 01 Mar 2019, 

Nearly half of the people in Germany say the plan to close nuclear plants before coal is right, a survey commissioned by price comparison website Verivox has found. In the survey of over 5,000 people, 49.5 percent said the planned decommissioning of the last nuclear plant by 2022 and the last coal plant by 2038 is the right order, possibly because they consider the danger of nuclear power to be greater than the effect of carbon emissions from coal-fired power production on climate change, Verivox says…… https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/most-germans-say-it-right-close-nuclear-plants-coal-plants

March 2, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

US.-North Korea Summit Likely Focus On Nuclear Weapons Center

NPR,February 20, 20195 Heard on All Things Considered   GEOFF BRUMFIEL

This month’s summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is likely to focus on North Korea’s main nuclear weapons center at Yongbyon.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

When President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un discuss denuclearization in Hanoi, they are likely to focus on one North Korean nuclear facility in particular. NPR’s Geoff Brumfiel introduces us to it.

GEOFF BRUMFIEL, BYLINE: It’s called the Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center……. https://www.npr.org/2019/02/20/696413639/second-u-s-north-korea-summit-likely-focus-on-nuclear-weapons-center

February 23, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

In Germany, a Cold War Deal to Host U.S. Nuclear Weapons Is Now in Question 

 Debate about U.S. nuclear weapons in Germany flares up for the first time since the 1980s…. (subscribers only)  https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-germany-anger-at-trump-throws-cold-war-nuclear-pact-into-question-11549976449

February 14, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

NUCLEAR IS NOT “the only proven climate solution”

Is nuclear power “the only proven climate solution”?  Tree Hugger,  February 6, 2019, Instead of building giant concrete buildings filled with uranium, why not build smaller efficient buildings filled with people.

……Now Marc Gunther, who has been writing about environmental issues for years, puts his oar into these dangerous waters with a new article Nuclear power: A dilemma for climate change philanthropy. He’s worried about the organizations that are anti-nuke, like the Sierra Club and Greenpeace and the philanthropists who support them. He quotes a book by Joshua S. Goldstein and Staffan A. Qvist, who argue that “the only way to rapidly decarbonize the world’s energy systems is with a rapid rollout of nuclear power and renewable energy.”

……..    Nuclear is slow.

And then there is the question of scaling it up quickly. Reactors take a long time to build; the record is one in Argentina that took 33 years……

Nuclear is complicated.

But it is more like a bridge than a plane. It is the same argument I use when people liken building prefab housing to building cars; planes can be the same everywhere in the world. A nuclear plant is going to need different foundations, different water supplies, has different neighbours and different earthquake zones. It is hard to make them all the same. Fundamentally, they are not, and the reactor is only a portion of the cost; the rest is just a big dumb building, with few economies of scale.

Nuclear power may be carbon free but building nuclear plants is carbon intensive.  Then there is the embodied carbon of concrete and steel; a typical reactor might have 40,000 tons of steel and 200,000 tons of concrete. Production of that much concrete puts out about 180,000 tons of CO2, and making that much steel puts out 79,000 tons of CO2 which is a pretty big carbon burp for each power plant that these guys want to build……..

Nuclear is NOT the only proven climate solution.

No, nuclear power is not the only proven climate solution. If you look at where the electricity is going, fully 75 percent is into buildings, with 25 percent into industry. If you look at where our biggest problems are, it is not with electricity generation; coal is down to 14 percent. Focus on where the power is going, not where it is coming from. The real and proven climate solution is to reduce demand, to fix those buildings, which would cost a whole lot less than replacing half the US electricity supply with nuclear power, and a whole lot less time.

We don’t have time.

We continue to remind readers that the IPCC’s line in the sand is that we have to cut carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2030 to limit temperature rise by 1.5°C. If we all agreed to build a fleet of new reactors starting tomorrow we wouldn’t see the first of them online by 2030.

So instead of investing in giant concrete buildings filled with uranium that increase supply of electricity, why not instead invest in smaller, efficient wood buildings filled with people that reduce demand. And while we are busy building and fixing buildings, roll out more wind turbines and solar panels and especially, lots more batteries……. https://www.treehugger.com/energy-policy/nuclear-power-only-proven-climate-solution.html

February 7, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Propaganda for 2020 Olympics, and for the nuclear industry is behind lifting evacuation order for irradiated town of Namie

‘We were driven out’: Fukushima’s radioactive legacy, SMH, By Simon Denyer, 4 February 2019 Namie:  Noboru Honda lost 12 members of his extended family when a tsunami struck the Fukushima prefecture in northern Japan nearly eight years ago. Last year, he was diagnosed with cancer and initially given a few months to live.

Today, he is facing a third sorrow: watching what may be the last gasps of his home town.

For six years, Namie was deemed unsafe after a multiple reactor meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

In March 2017, the government lifted its evacuation order for the centre of Namie. But so far, hardly anyone has ventured back.

Its people are scattered and divided. Families are split. The sense of community is coming apart.

“It has been eight years; we were hoping things would be settled now,” the 66-year-old Honda said. “This is the worst time, the most painful period.”

For the people of Namie and other towns near the Fukushima plant, the pain is sharpened by the way the Japanese government is trying to move beyond the tragedy, to use the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a symbol of hope and recovery, a sign that life can return to normal after a disaster of this magnitude.

Its charm offensive is also tied up with efforts to restart the country’s nuclear-power industry, one of the world’s most extensive networks of atomic power generation.

Six Olympic softball games and a baseball game will be staged in Fukushima, the prefecture’s bustling and radiation-free capital city, and the Olympic torch relay will start from here.

But in Namie, much closer to the ill-fated nuclear plant, the celebration rings hollow……….

Just 873 people, or under 5 per cent, of an original population of 17,613 have returned. Many are scared – with some obvious justification – that their homes and surroundings are still unsafe. Most of the returnees are elderly. Only six children are enrolled at the gleaming new primary school. This is not a place for young families.

Four-fifths of Namie’s geographical area is mountain and forest, impossible to decontaminate, still deemed unsafe to return. When it rains, the radioactive cesium in the mountains flows into rivers and underground water sources close to the town.

Greenpeace has been taking thousands of radiation readings for years in the towns around the Fukushima nuclear plant. It says radiation levels in parts of Namie where evacuation orders have been lifted will remain well above international maximum safety recommendations for many decades, raising the risks of leukaemia and other cancers to “unjustifiable levels”, especially for children.

In the rural areas around the town, radiation levels are much higher and could remain unsafe for people to live beyond the end of this century, Greenpeace concluded in a 2018 report.

“The scale of the problem is clearly not something the government wants to communicate to the Japanese people, and that’s driving the whole issue of the return of evacuees,” said Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace.

“The idea that an industrial accident closes off an area of Japan, with its limited habitable land, for generations and longer – that would just remind the public why they are right to be opposed to nuclear power.”

………..many residents say the central government is being heavy handed in its attempts to convince people to return, failing to support residents’ efforts to build new communities in places like Nihonmatsu, and then ending compensation payments within a year of evacuation orders being lifted…….. https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/we-were-driven-out-fukushima-s-radioactive-legacy-20190204-p50vgd.html

February 4, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

As the Climate Collapses, We Ask: “How Then Shall We Live?” 

BY Dahr Jamail & Barbara Cecil, Truthout, February 4, 2019  

PART OF THE TRUTHOUT SERIES   How Then Shall We Live?

This is the first installment of a monthly series by Dahr Jamail and Barbara Cecil, entitled, “How, Then, Shall We Live? Finding Our Way and Peace of Heart Amidst Global Collapse.

”Although the wind
blows terribly here,
the moonlight also leaks
between the roof planks
of this ruined house.
—Izumi Shikibu

………..Our intent with this series is not to rehash data, but to share the ways we are digesting the global decline and finding solid ground in ourselves and within our day-to-day lives. We hope that our thinking and choices will inspire readers to ponder what is uniquely theirs to do. The depth of our global crisis requires a new understanding of what hope means. At the end of each piece, we will include annotated reference material that informs our own perception in reliable and expansive ways.  ……..https://truthout.org/articles/as-the-climate-collapses-we-ask-how-then-shall-we-live/

February 4, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Grim outlook for uranium industry -financial analyst Jayant Bhandari

Investing News 29th Jan 2019, Speaking with the Investing News Network at this year’s Vancouver Resource Investment Conference, financial analyst Jayant Bhandari made a case for avoiding uranium projects, saying that low demand and the rise of renewable energy mean the commodity’s future is grim. “Most uranium-mining projects do not make sense unless uranium prices go up by100 or 200 percent,” said Bhandari.   https://investingnews.com/daily/resource-investing/energy-investing/uranium-investing/jayant-bhandari-uranium-green-credentials-camouflage/?mqsc=E4025852

February 2, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment