By Paul Brown for Climate News Network – The knock-on effects of the financial disasters the two companies face will be felt across the nuclear world, but nowhere more than in the UK, which was hoping Westinghouse was about to start building three of its largest nuclear reactors, the AP 1000, at Moorside in Cumbria, northwest England. The UK’s Conservative government will be particularly embarrassed because, in late February, it won a critical parliamentary by-election in the seat that would be home to the Moorside plant, on the guarantee that the three reactors would be built − a pledge that now seems impossible to keep. Martin Forwood, campaign co-ordinator for Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment, says: “I think the day of the large-scale nuclear power station is over. There is no one left to invest anymore because renewables are just cheaper, and these prices are still going down while nuclear is always up.” Toshiba and Westinghouse are in deep trouble because the reactors they are currently building − the same design as the ones planned for Cumbria − are years late and billions of dollars over budget. Even if the companies can be re-financed, it seems extremely unlikely they would risk taking on new reactor projects.
By Staff of Green Peace – Toshiba/Westinghouse is responsible for building more nuclear reactors worldwide than any other entity. With the financial meltdown of Westinghouse, Toshiba also recently announced its plans to withdraw from foreign construction projects – a move that has far-reaching implications outside Japan and the US, such as the construction of three reactors in the UK at Moorside. “If we look at how nuclear stacks up against renewables, it’s clearly in freefall. An estimated 147 gigawatts of renewable power was added in 2015, compared to just 11 gigawatts for nuclear power in the same year,” said Ai Kashiwagi, Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace Japan (1).
By Jon Campbell for Democrat and Chronicle – ALBANY – A state-approved bailout of three upstate nuclear power plants was the focus of a legislative hearing Monday, but New York’s top energy officials declined to attend. The state Assembly held a hearing Monday on the state’s “zero-emissions credit” plan, which kicks in on April 1 and will require ratepayers across the state to pay several billion dollars over 12 years to keep open the three aging plants, including the R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant near Rochester. The hearing, however, was absent the key decision-makers in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration who were behind the initiative.
By Staff for Beyond Nuclear. Beyond Nuclear called on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to make public the full list of U.S nuclear power plants that are known to be operating with potentially defective parts imported from France. The flawed components could seriously compromise safety at the nuclear sites, the group warns. Affected reactors should be immediately shut down. The NRC has refused to reveal the names of all affected U.S. nuclear power plants. So far only one nuclear plant — Connecticut’s Millstone — has been named in a Reuters news article. However, a Greenpeace France report suggests there are at least 19 reactors at 11 sites in the U.S. operating with potentially defective parts that, if not replaced, could lead to a meltdown. Beyond Nuclear is filing an emergency enforcement 2.206 petition and a Freedom of Information Act Request to demand that the NRC release the full list of reactors with flawed parts; inform the affected reactor communities of the risks; and require the shutdown of reactors with potentially defective reactor components.
By Phil McKenna for Inside Climate News – Diablo Canyon, California’s last remaining nuclear facility, will be retired within a decade if state regulators agree to a proposal by Pacific Gas and Electric Corporation and several environmental and labor organizations to replace its power production with clean energy. The San Francisco-based utility said on Tuesday that it will ask state regulators to let operating licenses for two nuclear reactors at its Diablo Canyon power plant expire in 2024 and 2025. The utility said it would make up for the loss of power with a mix of energy efficiency, renewables and energy storage that would cost less than nuclear power.
By Kate Colwell for Friends of the Earth – BERKELEY, CALIF. – An historic agreement has been reached between Pacific Gas and Electric, Friends of the Earth, and other environmental and labor organizations to replace the Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors with greenhouse-gas-free renewable energy, efficiency and energy storage resources. Friends of the Earth says the agreement provides a clear blueprint for fighting climate change by replacing nuclear and fossil fuel energy with safe, clean, cost-competitive renewable energy.
By Harvey Wasserman for EcoWatch. A rising tsunami of U.S. nuke shut-downs may soon include California’s infamous Diablo Canyon double reactors. But it depends on citizen action, including a statewide petition. Five U.S. reactor closures have been announced within the past month. A green regulatory decision on California’s environmental standards could push the number to seven. The focus is now on a critical June 28 California State Lands Commission meeting. Set for Sacramento, the hearing could help make the Golden State totally nuke free, ending the catastrophic radioactive and global warming impacts caused by these failing plants. A public simulcast of the Sacramento meeting is expected to gather a large crowd at the Morro Bay Community Center near the reactor site.
By Art Swift for Gallup – WASHINGTON, D.C. — Opposition to the practice of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” has increased significantly in the past year as environmental concerns, such as earthquakes, have grown, even though the procedure has helped keep oil prices low. In the past year, the price of oil has fluctuated between roughly $25 and $60 per barrel, a staggering drop from its peak of around $120 in mid-2014.
By Klee Benally for Clean Up The Mines. Washington, DC — From January 25-28, 2016 Indigenous representatives from the Northern Great Plains & Southwest will be in the District of Columbia (DC) to raise awareness about radioactive pollution, an invisible national crisis. Millions of people in the United States are being exposed as Nuclear Radiation Victims on a daily basis. Exposure to radioactive pollution has been linked to cancer, genetic defects, Navajo Neuropathy, and increases in mortality. The delegation will speak about the impacts they are experiencing in their communities, which are also affecting other communities throughout the US.
By Mark Jacobson for Eco Watch – Nuclear is an opportunity cost relative to clean, renewable wind, water and solar energy because of a. the significant lag time between planning and operation of a nuclear plant relative to a wind, solar, or geothermal plant; b. higher carbon emissions of nuclear per unit energy; and c. nuclear weapons proliferation risks, meltdown risks, waste disposal risks, and uranium mining risks. As such, the only basis for nuclear growth is if 100% wind, water and solar is not possible.
By Klee Benally for Clean Up The Mines. In 2015 the Gold King Mine spill was a wake up call for the nation to address dangers of abandoned mines, but there are currently more than 15,000 toxic uranium mines that remain abandoned throughout the US. For more than 50 years many of these hazardous sites have already been contaminating our land, air, water, and national monuments such as Mt. Rushmore. Indigenous communities have been disproportionately impacted as approximately 75% of these abandoned uranium mines (AUMs) are located on public and Tribal lands. Each one of these 15,000 AUMs is a potential Gold King mine disaster with the greater added threat of radioactive pollution.
By Nuclear Information and Resource Service. The Stop Fukushima Freeways Campaign shows the perils of the massive and unnecessary radioactive waste transportation that would occur across the U.S. if the moribund and scientifically-indefensible Yucca Mountain, Nevada waste dump were to be revived. Such large-scale transport would also occur if, as some in Congress advocate, a “centralized interim storage” site for high-level radioactive waste were created. In that case, the waste would either have to move twice (once to the interim site, and then to a permanent site), thus doubling the risks, or the “interim” site would become a de facto permanent waste dump–without going through the necessary scientific characterization. The solution to the radioactive waste problem begins with ending its generation as quickly as possible.
By Harvey Wasserman for EcoWatch – The chain reactor operator Entergy has announced it will close the Pilgrim nuke south of Boston. The shut-down will bring U.S. reactor fleet to 98, though numerous other reactors are likely to face abandonment in the coming months. But Entergy says it may not take Pilgrim down until June 1, 2019—nearly four years away. Entergy is also poised to shut the FitzPatrick reactor in New York. It promises an announcement by the end of this month. Entergy also owns Indian Point 2 and Indian Point 3 some 40 miles north of Manhattan. Unit 2’s operating license has long since lapsed. Unit 3’s will expire in December.
By Arlyssa Becenti for the Gallup Independent. SANDERS, AZ — The Sanders Unified School District is trying to figure out how to ensure the safety and cleanliness of water that serves nearly 16,000 people who teach, study or work inside the Sanders middle and elementary schools and administration office. In July, a test determined that the community of Sanders had water contaminated with a high rate of uranium. Although the Arizona Windsong Company gives water to the community of Sanders, it does not provide any to parts of the Sanders Unified School District. However, the district still found that it also has dangerous levels of uranium contamination within its water system.