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USEC Response on Caldicott's CFC Distortions

If Helen Caldicott keeps distorting data about USEC's operations, we're going to keep responding. The latest example comes from nuclear energy veteran Wally Taylor, who recently wrote a letter to NEI Vice President Scott Peterson:
Mr. Peterson,

A recent letter to the editor at the Bloomington Pantagraph in Bloomington IL alleged that the Fuel Enrichment facilities produced 93% of the CFC emissions for the USA. I thought that number was a little high, given that, to my uncertain knowledge, the only operating enrichment facility in the USA, the USEC plant at Paducah, doesn't use CFCs as a process consumable. I believe that they only use CFC as a coolant medium and that any emissions they have come from leakage, not planned emissions.

I did some web based research and the earliest reference I can find comes from a debate that you had with Dr. Helen Caldecott, moderated by Juan Gonzalez. Dr. Caldecott stated that she got this number from the DOE.

So, I don't believe it. But I haven't been able to trace it's provenance. Did you or NEI follow up on that claim and can you share your information with me?

Thank you,

Wally Taylor
35 years in the Nuclear Industry and proud of it!
Elizabeth Stuckle of USEC wrote us a note in response:
Caldicott Assertion A: Uranium enrichment uses 93 percent of the CFC gas released annually in the United States.

USEC Response A

That calculation is based on 2001 data, when USEC was operating two enrichment facilities. That year, USEC consolidated production at its Paducah plant.

The shutdown of the Portsmouth, OH plant and improvements made in control of CFCs at Paducah have enabled USEC to reduce CFC emissions by about two-thirds.

The Paducah gaseous diffusion plant was built in the 1950s. USEC plans to replace it with highly efficient gas centrifuge technology, which will use no CFCs. The American Centrifuge Plant is expected to begin operations later this decade.

Caldicott Assertion B: Uranium enrichment uses electricity generated by coal-fired plants.

USEC Response B

USEC purchases the majority of its electricity from the Tennessee Valley Authority, which produces electricity using a supply mix of 61% coal, 29% nuclear and 9% hydropower.

The remainder of USEC's purchased power comes primarily from natural gas and nuclear plants.
Remember, if she keeps it up, so will we. For another blogger's take on Caldicott from her native Australia, click here.

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Comments

david lewis said…
I listened to Caldicott on an "Earthbeat" podcast dated 11/3/2008. It was stated that Earthbeat had taped her "earlier this week" at a Washington DC restaurant and bookstore "Busboys and Poets".

I was a bit astonished to hear her imply that nuclear power causes the emission of CFCs, as if future nuclear installations must emit CFC. Here are some quotes from her presentation:

"scientific analysis shows those in the nuclear industry "lie at every single step". They are "unethical". They are"immoral". And: "it should be illegal for scientists to lie". "The nuclear industry has no right to lie"

Moving right along: "CFC gas is used at Paducah Kentucky to cool the hundreds of miles of pipes that take the UF6 which is very hot into the U enrichment plant. Many of those pipes are leaking, and the nuclear industry has been grandfathered out of the Montreal Protocol, so 93% of the CFC-114 gas which is ten to twenty thousand times more potent as a global warmer than CO2 is emitted from that facility in Paducah Kentucky which enriches uranium"...

So this is what she's saying as of November 3 2008.

Nuclear power is so bad, if we were to use it for a few more generations it would cause this:

"you can imagine, generations hence, people waking up in the morning, their babies have already been irradiated in utero, maybe been born deformed, or with genetic disease, the breast milk already radioactive, children getting cancer at the age of six instead of sixty, because they were exposed to radiation very early in life. And children are ten to twenty times more sensitive to radiation than adults"

"its evil because you don't kill people to turn on your lights".

"You need to always remember that nuclear power is the prodigal son of the weapons industry. It's splitting the atom, it's producing energy, available inside the Sun"

and obviously, no one wants that. But there is a new danger:

She even comments on the extra danger for us all now that someone mumbled "peak oil" at her somewhere: "how will our descendants transport huge vats of radioactive waste and radioactive fuel rods and the like WITHOUT ANY OIL to transport it? Imagine that."

Since global warming is assured to cause sea level rise, and I might add this seems certain if we listen to Caldicott, she warns us how global warming will aggravate nuclear problems:

"many reactors are built at sea level, the seas are rising, the control rooms will be drowned. We'll have meltdowns".

"the people who want to build more reactors are insane. They need mental health therapy"

I presume Caldicott doesn't call herself a scientist, as she did say that it should be illegal for scientists to lie.

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