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Despite propaganda from nuclear/coal front group, NOW IS the time to talk about climate change

This is exactly the time to be talking about climate change, Joel Makower, Chairman & Executive Editor, Green Biz Group, Green Biz,  March 31, 2020 –  I rarely get exasperated from reading environmental business media, but a quote last week in a Bloomberg article about sustainability and the U.S. economic crisis got me headed in that direction.

The quote came from Ted Nordhaus, co-founder of the Breakthrough Institute, a research group whose founders, self-described environmentalists, have made a career out of being gadflies — for example, arguing in favor of nuclear power and natural gas, arguing against putting a price on carbon emissions and claiming that there’s no real limit to the earth’s carrying capacity, or that energy efficiency doesn’t work because of something called the “rebound effect.”

I’ll leave it to you to proceed down the wormhole of websites critiquing the group’s analyses. Suffice to say that the Breakthrough Institute has become a darling of the anti-science, pro-pollution conservative right, which frequently cites its work in order to attack environmentalists and climate scientists and their fact-based policy recommendations.

Here’s last week’s quote, in reference to the notion of integrating climate measures into congressional appropriations as we rebuild the economy reeling from the coronavirus pandemic:

…  he says. “It would be tone-deaf to talk about climate change now.”

It’s a specious ploy often used by conservatives. Following a mass shooting, it’s not the right time to talk about gun control. Following a hurricane, it’s not the right time to talk about climate-exacerbated weather events. Following the police shooting of an unarmed black man, it’s not the right time to talk about race relations and inequality.

Of course, later on, when it’s presumably “the right time,” the public’s fickle attention likely has moved on to other front-burner topics.

Just because a problem isn’t in the news doesn’t mean it somehow has been solved. All of the above challenges remain, pandemic or not. And, to varying degrees, they all need to be kept alive, even amid other pressing priorities.

So, Nordhaus is dead wrong: This is exactly the right time to be talking about climate change.

In fact, we need to be talking unapologetically about climate, the clean economy, renewable energy, resilient food systems, sustainable mobility, the circular economy and the Sustainable Development Goals with more vigor than ever…….https://www.greenbiz.com/article/exactly-time-be-talking-about-climate-change

April 6, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Indian Point communities oppose Holtec’s bid to take over nuclear station

Indian Point communities challenging sale of nuclear plant to Holtec International, Lohud, Thomas C. Zambito, Rockland/Westchester Journal News April 3, 2020  An in-depth look at the end of the nuclear power industry as we know it, and what lies ahead for the communities where plants are powering down. Rockland/Westchester Journal NewsThe communities around Indian Point are challenging Entergy’s plan to sell its nuclear power plant by raising questions about the financial health of the New Jersey decommissioning firm that wants to buy and knock it down.

The village of Buchanan, the town of Cortlandt and the Hendrick Hudson School District have asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to heed their concerns before deciding whether to approve Indian Point’s sale to Holtec International of Camden, N.J.

Until recently, each had remained neutral, expressing hope that Holtec’s interest would lead to a swift demolition and cleanup and allow portions of the plant’s 240 acres along the Hudson River to be opened to development sooner rather than later…….

The prospect of a funding shortfall poses radiological, environmental, and financial risks to Petitioners,” lawyers Daniel Riesel and Dane Warren write. “If, for example, the DTF (decommissioning trust fund) is insufficient to cover all of Holtec’s costs, there is no guarantee that Holtec will not simply declare bankruptcy and walk away, leaving Petitioners and their residents to pick up the tab. Moreover, the brunt of any environmental harm caused by this shortfall will be felt most acutely by Petitioners and their citizens.”  

Similar concerns have been voiced by New York Attorney General Letitia James, Westchester County Executive George Latimer and Hudson River environmental groups.

Riverkeeper and Clearwater have in recent weeks been urging supporters to oppose Holtec’s bid, leading to hundreds of form letters to the NRC from residents of Rockland and Westchester counties.

The NRC closed the public comment period on March 25 and will rule on Entergy’s license transfer bid later this year.

Entergy will shut down Unit 2 – one of two working reactors at Indian Point – at the end of the month. Unit 3 powers down next year.

……… Central to the communities’ concerns is Holtec’s request for an NRC exemption that would allow the company to use some $632 million in trust fund money to manage the dozens of cement-and-steel canisters of spent fuel that will be left behind once Indian Point shuts down.

Holtec estimates it will cost roughly $12.5 million per year to manage the fuel, money that other nuclear power plants have recouped by suing the federal Department of Energy (DOE) for failing to fulfill a promise to create an underground repository for the nation’s nuclear waste.

The lawyers question whether Holtec will use any money they recover from the federal government to offset what they take out of the trust fund for spent fuel management.

And they raise questions about what will happen if Holtec is stuck managing the spent fuel for decades longer than expected.

The NRC is considering Holtec’s bid to build a temporary underground repository in the New Mexico desert to store nuclear waste from power plants across the U.S. But the proposal faces a number of political and environmental hurdles.

The fundamental problem is that Holtec has refused to offer any alternative calculation for how it will meet its spent nuclear fuel obligations in the very likely event that the DOE does not begin accepting spent fuel by 2030,” the lawyers write. “It is Holtec’s burden to demonstrate its financial qualifications, and all credible evidence in the record suggests that this projection is not ‘based on plausible assumptions and forecasts.’ “

The decommissioning work would be done by a Holtec subsidiary, Comprehensive Decommissioning International, a joint venture with SNC-Lavalin.

On Tuesday, Holtec sued New Jersey’s Economic Development Authority in its dispute over $260 million in tax incentives it was promised to build a warehouse and headquarters on the Camden waterfront. https://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/westchester/2020/04/03/communities-challenging-sale-indian-point-holtec-international-buchanan-cortlandt-hendrick-hudson/2942902001/

April 6, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Trump blasts the fired navy captain, Brett Crozier

‘He shouldn’t be talking that way’: Trump rips ousted Navy captain, Politico, 5 Apr 20

The president criticized Capt. Brett Crozier in harsh terms for a letter he wrote to Navy leaders notifying them of a spike in coronavirus cases among sailors on his carrier.  Trump said he fully supported Crozier’s removal….

“I thought it was terrible, what he did, to write a letter. I mean, this isn’t a class on literature. This is a captain of a massive ship that’s nuclear powered. And he shouldn’t be talking that way in a letter,” Trump said……

More than 150 Roosevelt crew members have so far tested positive for Covid-19, the Navy said on Saturday. Forty-four percent of the crew has been tested, while more than 1,500 sailors have moved ashore as a smaller crew remains on board to sanitize the ship and keep its essential systems running.

Democrats in the House and Senate are now asking the Pentagon’s top watchdog to investigate whether Modly acted improperly [in firing Captain Crozier]. In a letter to acting Pentagon Inspector General Glenn Fine, 17 Senate Democrats, led by Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, requested a probe of both Crozier’s firing and the carrier’s outbreak……. ……https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/04/trump-brett-crozier-letter-165020

April 6, 2020 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

President Trump supports Navy decision to fire Captain Crozier

Trump Backs Dismissal of USS Roosevelt Captain President criticized Capt. Brett Crozier for writing memo pleading for help dealing with coronavirus outbreak at sea, By Andrew Restuccia,  April 5, 2020,

WASHINGTON—President Trump said he agreed with the Navy’s decision to fire Capt. Brett Crozier, the commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, after a memo in which the captain pleaded for help with a coronavirus outbreak at sea leaked to the media.

The president said Saturday that it was inappropriate for Capt. Crozier to write the four-page memo in which he demanded that superiors allow him to take the carrier to the port in Guam to offload sailors stricken with Covid-19, the pneumonialike disease caused by the virus….(subscribers only) https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-backs-dismissal-of-uss-roosevelt-captain-11586042319

April 6, 2020 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Noam Chomsky on the urgent need to eradicate nuclear weapons

April 6, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Workers at Limerick nuclear station in fear of getting coronavirus

Workers ‘terrified’ at Limerick nuclear plant amid coronavirus, The Mercury, By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@21st-centurymedia.com @MontcoCourtNews on Twitter nnLIMERICK — Contractors working during a refueling project at the Limerick Generating Station are “terrified” they’re working in a “breeding ground” for COVID-19 and expressed concerns about the company’s safety practices during the pandemic.

“I’m in a constant state of paranoia. In my opinion, it’s just a complete breeding ground, a cesspool for this,” said one man, who spoke on condition of anonymity to MediaNews Group out of fear of losing his job.

The contractor said supplemental workers began showing up at the plant days before a Unit 1 refueling outage began on March 27. Montgomery County officials have said they were informed that up to 1,400 contractors may have been summoned to work on the project as a coronavirus outbreak was taking shape in the county.

The first cases of coronavirus were reported in the county on March 7.

The workers interviewed claimed that social distancing measures of standing at least six feet apart, which have repeatedly been recommended by health officials during the outbreak, were not in place at the plant as they initially reported for their jobs.

From the first day I got there, there were no less than 100 people in the training room being processed. I have pictures from that day of people literally sitting on top of each other, no one enforcing social distancing,” the man said on Friday. “There were computer labs for people to take the tests they need to get into the plant, people sitting at every computer elbow to elbow. So, I’ve been concerned since the minute I walked in there.”

During shift changes, he said, people from both shifts congregated in the break room “standing room only, just packed in there.”

“They did not enforce any social distancing whatsoever until this past Wednesday (April 1) when the news got to the media. That’s when they started enforcing some social distancing,” the man claimed. “Being put at risk like this makes us mad.”…… https://www.pottsmerc.com/news/workers-terrified-at-limerick-nuclear-plant-amid-coronavirus/article_934efb34-76a4-11ea-afbe-17495d88f209.html

April 6, 2020 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

Trump’s stringent sanctions on Iran could result in a dangerous backlash

WW3 warning: Donald Trump’s grave error may accelerate Iran’s push for nuclear weaponsDONALD TRUMP’S military errors may spark the next world war conflict as his stringent sanctions on Iran could result in a dangerous backlash.  Express UK By GERRARD KAONGA Apr 5, 2020  Tensions between the US and Iran have remained high for years and the killing of general Qassem Soleimani raised fears of World War 3 in early 2020. Iranian expert of Iran International TV Dr Pupak Mohebali warned Iran’s stockpiling of nuclear-rich Uranium and ignoring the rules of the 2015 nuclear agreement may be a response to Donald Trump’s recent military and political actions. During an interview with Express.co.uk, Dr Mohebali claimed Iran stockpiling Uranium could be linked to the US leaving the nuclear agreement in 2018 and the killing of Qassem Soleimani.

Despite the nuclear war fears, she noted it was unlikely Iran was currently stockpiling in a race to create nuclear weapons, at the moment. ,,,,,,,

Earlier in the interview, Dr Mohebali warned one wrong move from either the US or Iran could result in a major conflict.

She claimed if Iran continued to disobey or withdraw from nuclear treaties it could result in stronger sanctions from the US and potentially military intervention.

She said: “I would not say there is one worst-case scenario but more like a domino effect.

“One problematic decision leads to another and another.

“If Iran was to withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) it could bring further diplomatic isolation.

“It might even lead to more international sanctions on the country or cause the US military to start on Iran.” https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1265072/WW3-warning-world-war-3-Donald-Trump-Iran-news-latest-Pupak-Mohebali

April 6, 2020 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Limerick nuclear station worker tests positive for coronavirus

Limerick nuclear plant worker tests positive, raising coronavirus fears during refueling outage https://www.inquirer.com/business/energy/coronavirus-limerick-nuclear-power-plant-refueling-worker-tested-positive-20200403.html, by Andrew Maykuth,  April 3, 2020  One of about 1,400 contract workers involved with the refueling outage at the Limerick nuclear power plant in Montgomery County has tested positive for COVID-19, which is likely to further raise concerns of local officials who have protested Exelon Generation’s decision to proceed with the annual maintenance event.

Exelon notified county health officials that a contract worker at the Limerick Generating Station tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday night. The worker, who is from central Pennsylvania, was last on site on Monday. The areas that the worker used have been decontaminated and plant employees were notified, the company said in a statement.

Two other full-time Limerick workers were diagnosed recently with COVID-19 at the plant, but they have not been on site since March 20, Lacy Dean, director of communications for Exelon Generation, said in a statement.

April 6, 2020 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

Pennsylvania Senators concerned about coronavirus response plan at Limerick nuclear plant

Sen. Muth seeks answers about coronavirus response plan at Limerick nuclear plant, The Mercury By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@21st-centurymedia.com @MontcoCourtNews on Twitter, Apr 2, 2020  

LIMERICK — A state senator who represents parts of Montgomery, Berks and Chester counties called upon Exelon to improve its commitment to worker and community safety during a refueling at the Limerick Generating Station amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Thus far, Exelon has provided an inadequate pandemic response plan, withheld information from county and state officials, and failed to prioritize the safety of its employees, contract workers, community first responders, as well as all residents of the 44th senatorial district and entire region,” Senator Katie Muth (D-44th) wrote in an April 1 letter addressed to Exelon executives. “This is grossly irresponsible as Exelon has brought at least 1,400 workers to the epicenter of Pennsylvania’s Covid-19 pandemic.”…….

Arkoosh said she was “deeply concerned” to learn that a number of the estimated 1,400 contract workers were staying at AirBnBs, private homes, campsites, hotels and other rental units in the Tri-county region, which saw its first cases of coronavirus on March 7.

Muth said she too is concerned and asked Exelon officials to provide a complete list of worker accommodations…….https://www.pottsmerc.com/news/coronavirus/sen-muth-seeks-answers-about-coronavirus-response-plan-at-limerick-nuclear-plant/article_7706e28e-7505-11ea-a590-6307cba4e976.html

April 6, 2020 Posted by | politics, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Covid 19 and government responses are affecting nuclear construction world-wide

April 6, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, politics | Leave a comment

The pandemic is being used by Trump administration to help polluting industries

Trump Administration is using a pandemic to hand out gifts to its favorite polluters

The Trump Administration is using COVID-19 to further its dismantling of environmental protection. Environmental Health News, Peter Dykstra 5 Apr 20, “……… far away from the justifiably wall-to-wall coverage of COVID-19, the Trump Administration is unrepentantly using the pandemic to hand out gifts to its favorite polluters.COVID-19 news deeply saddens me. This other stuff infuriates me.

Last week, the American Petroleum Institute (API) sent a 10-page letter to the White House requesting a loosening of regulations, citing the COVID-19-related crash in oil and gas prices and the threat it posed to the fossil fuel industry. The White House, via Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler, granted their wish list and then some.

Past talk warning against the feds “picking winners and losers” in energy went by the boards.

Five days later, Wheeler issued an order that gave API even more than it asked for, calling for a suspension of any enforcement of EPA regulations if any company, fossil fuel-based or not, or local government can prove that COVID-19 was the cause of its failure to comply.

Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, now the President and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council, called the move “an open license to pollute.”

The EPA required companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions. No more. Because coronavirus.

Wheeler also took the heat off entities forced by court-sanctioned consent decrees to fix pollution problems. Because coronavirus.

EPA cut frackers a break on wastewater discharges. Because coronavirus………. https://www.ehn.org/trump-epa-pollution-coronavirus-2645628019.html

April 6, 2020 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear Plant Transfer to go on Despite Coronavirus Concerns

Nuclear Plant Transfer to go on Despite Coronavirus Concerns  https://www.capecod.com/newscenter/nuclear-plant-transfer-to-go-on-despite-coronavirus-concerns/April 5, 2020 PLYMOUTH, Mass. (AP) — Plans to transfer radioactive spent fuel at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth to steel-lined dry casks will go on as scheduled despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Pilgrim permanently shut down last May and was subsequently sold by Entergy Corp. to Holtec International for decommissioning.

There have been concerns about moving the fuel during the pandemic because some of the workers brought in to do the job were from out of state.

A Holtec spokesman says the company understands the concerns and in response, some workers were sent home and requested to self-quarantine for two weeks prior to beginning the work.

April 6, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

 214 airmen tested positive for COVID-19: but USA still ready to wage nuclear war

Coronavirus Won’t Stop Donald Trump from Waging a Nuclear War

The U.S. military is ready to deter any threat–by any meansNational Interest, by Peter Suciu– 5 Apr 20, Earlier this week the United States Air Force implemented a service-wide “reset” that was meant to insulate the most essential missions from the COVID -19 pandemic. Air Force Chief of Staff General Dave Goldfein issued orders to the leaders of each Air Force major command on April 1 to focus on the essential task that could require additional manpower.

Among those is the Global Strike Command, which has reaffirmed that the nation’s nukes are still ready to fly if needed. Air Force officials told Popular Mechanics that ICBM crews are now rotating as a way to ensure that a “clean team” will be able to take over if others report sick. ……..
The Air Force Global Strike Command was activated on August 7, 2009, as the successor to Strategic Air Command, which had maintained the around-the-clock nuclear alerts during the Cold War. It is a major command with headquarters at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, in the Shreveport-Bossier City region. It remains responsible for the nation’s three intercontinental ballistic missile wings, the Air Force’s entire bomber force including the B-52, B-1 and B-2 wings; as well as the Long Range Strike Bomber program, the Air Force Nuclear Command, Control and Communications (NC3) systems, and operational and maintenance support to organizations within the service’s nuclear enterprise.

Ensuring the readiness of the command remains a priority as the coronavirus has impacted the service.

April 6, 2020 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Wildfires in Ukraine: authorities say that those near Chernobyl are now extinguished

Ukraine Says Fire Extinguished Near Contaminated Site Of Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster, Emergency authorities in Ukraine say there are no signs of any fire still burning in the uninhabited exclusion zone around the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear plant after firefighters mobilized to put out a blaze.

Radio Free Europe, 5 Apr 20, The country’s State Emergency Service said early on April 5 that background radiation levels were “within normal limits.”

More than 130 firefighters, three aircraft, and 21 vehicles were deployed on April 4 to battle the fire, which was said to have burned around 20 hectares (50 acres) in the long-vacated area near where an explosion at a Soviet nuclear plant in 1986 sent a plume of radioactive fallout high into the air and across swaths of Europe.

Fire and safety crews were said to be inspecting the area overnight on April 4-5 to eliminate any threat from sites where there was still smoldering.

The blaze required seven airdrops of water, officials said.

The Ukrainian State Emergency Service said that “as of April 5, 7:00 a.m., there was no open fire, only some isolated cells smoldering.”   It said firefighters hadn’t seen any flames since around 8:00 p.m. on April 4.
Officials had earlier shared images taken from an aircraft of white smoke blanketing the area, where it said firefighting was complicated by “an increased radiation background in individual areas of combustion.”

There was no threat to settlements, the State Emergency Service said.

A number of regions of Ukraine this week have reported brushfires amid unseasonably dry conditions.,,,,,,, https://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-says-fire-extinguished-near-contaminated-site-of-chernobyl-nuclear-disaster/30532240.html

April 6, 2020 Posted by | climate change, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Firefighters battle forest blazes near Chernobyl nuclear site

April 6, 2020 Posted by | climate change, incidents, Ukraine | Leave a comment