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Showing posts from July, 2007

Patrick Moore on Dennis Miller

Patrick Moore of the CASEnergy Coalition was a guest on Dennis Miller Radio Show on July 30. In the interview, Moore talks about the evolution of his position on nuclear energy. Click here for the audio file. Once the file loads, advance the player to the 1:31:46 mark for the segment in which he appears.

Yucca Mountain, Nuclear Energy and Irrational Fear

Does the public around the world have an irrational fear of nuclear energy? I have my own thoughts on the matter, but right now I'm going to yield the floor to Anders Rasmussen : It is no secret that we are facing an energy crisis. I am personally not convinced that CO2 emissions is an important contributing factor when it comes to Global warming, however, the fact of the matter is that our fossil fuels will eventually be used up and when there is none left we will need a different source of energy. Fission of uranium and plutonium is not an endless source of energy, however, it would provide us with energy for quite a while. Yet many countries do not want to build these Nuclear power plants, largely because of what I think is irrational fear… Anders is also thinks the Yucca Mountain project is still a good idea. Read the rest right now .

The Dallas Morning News Edit Board and Nuclear Energy

Over at the Dallas Morning News ' Editorial Board Blog , James Mitchell posed the question of the day about nuclear energy . The Senate's energy bill strongly advocates nuclear energy as a way to make the United States more energy diversifiied. Past efforts to promote nuclear energy in the 1970s ran into environmental opposition, not-in-my-backyard sentiment, and herky-jerky federal policy that left utlilities and rate payers holding a huge financial bag of costs. Today's question is really five: Pick any portion How comfortable are you in making nuclear energy a major component of national energy policy and do you have concerns that government policy will not again pull the rug out from under the industry in the future? Should the government subsidize its development, which means picking winners and losers in the marketplace and possibly putting wind and solar on the backburner? Should we aspire to be France, where virtually every KW of electricity comes from nuclear

Ausubel on Renewables Gets Traction Online

A few days ago we pointed to some of the coverage that Rockefeller University fellow Jesse Ausubel was getting for his take on how renewable sources of energy actually have the potential to harm the environment . Since then, we've seen plenty of other folks pick up on Ausubel's conclusions. Here's Steven Miloy at Fox News : In a time when those who question the Green agenda are scurrilously defamed and routinely intimidated — just for the sin of expressing contrary opinions — the Green Ausubel should be applauded for having the courage to stand up and speak the truth: that renewable energy wasn’t, isn’t and ought not ever be. For more, see Investor's Business Daily .

Senator Obama on Energy and the Environment

Grist is running an interview with Senator Barack Obama on energy and the environment . Here's what he had to say about nuclear energy: I think that with nuclear power, we have got to see if there are ways for us to store the radioactive material in a safe, environmentally sound way, and if we can do that and deal with the some of the safely and security issues, [nuclear power] is something that we should look at. Senator Obama has been remarkably consistent on this issue, something we began noting back in 2005 . Thanks to the Obama Blog for the pointer.

Oswego May Get the New Nuclear Reactor it Wants

All the way back in March 2005, we told you about how the Mayor of Oswego, New York made a pitch to bring a new nuclear reactor to his town . Now it looks like the town is one step closer to making that happen. From the Syracuse Post-Standard : Work has begun on getting government approval for a fourth nuclear power plant in Oswego County. UniStar Nuclear, a company led by Constellation Energy - the owner of Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station - started a feasibility study this spring looking at the site's "overall suitability to host a new nuclear plant," said UniStar President George Vanderheyden. The study is the first step in a process that could lead to a nuclear plant being built there in the middle of the next decade. The process is further along at Calvert Cliffs in Lusby, Md., where UniStar has completed and submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission the environmental portion of a license application. "Calvert Cliffs is our reference application,"

U.S. and India to Announce Details of Bilateral Nuclear Agreement

From Bloomberg : The U.S. will today announce details of a civilian nuclear accord with India, an agreement allowing power plants in the energy-starved nation access to fissile material and technology. Nicholas Burns, the U.S. undersecretary for political affairs, will brief reporters from Washington on the just- concluded, so-called ``1-2-3 agreement'' at 8 p.m. India time, the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi said in an e-mailed media advisory. Indian officials, including Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon, will brief the local media at 6 p.m. local time. We'll be keeping an eye on this story today.

TVA on Verge of Approving Completion of Watts Bar Unit 2

Back in January, my former NEI colleague Lisa Stiles pointed to a piece in the Huntsville Times that referred to TVA's ongoing plans to rehabilitate its shuttered nuclear capacity, including the never completed Watts Bar Unit 2 . Since then, TVA restarted Browns Ferry Unit 1 in May . Now a blog over at Knox News is reporting that TVA will most likely approve the completion of construction of that unit in a public meeting on August 1. Again, here's Bill Hobbs from Eco Totality : Most TVA-generated power currently comes from coal-fired power plants. As a user of TVA electricity, I’m happy they’re moving in a more environmentally-friendly direction. There's more support out there than you might think.

The Environmental Integrity Project and Nuclear Energy

Yesterday, the Environmental Integrity Project issued a report entitled, Dirty Kilowatts (PDF), a listing of what they termed were the top 50 most polluting power plants in the U.S. And while nobody likes pollution, some folks weren't happy with their tone. Here's Don Surber : The tax-exempt Environmental Integrity Project in Washington, D.C., issued its annual list of the 50 dirtiest power plants in America. This is illustrated by a photo showing steam — water vapor — escaping from a cooling tower. Sigh. I chuckled a little bit when I read that one. After all, anti-nukes have been using pictures of parabolic cooling towers for years to symbolize the "danger" of nuclear power plants, even though many non-nuclear plants also have cooling towers. In any case, on to the report. Here's Bill Hobbs at Eco Totality : While the EIP press release urges the retirement of the oldest, least-efficient, most-polluting coal-fired power plants, I searched in vain on the EIP

Unistar Files First Part of COL Application for EPR at Calvert Cliffs

From World Nuclear News : Unistar submitted the first part of a licence application to build a new nuclear power plant on 13 July. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has said it is now looking over documents detailing the environmental impact Calvert Cliffs 3 would make. Calvert Cliffs, owned by Unistar partner Constellation, is about 64 km south of Annapolis, Maryland. It already hosts two pressurized water reactors, which have produced 865 MWe each since the mid 1970s. The US Evolutionary Power Reactor (USEPR) proposed for build would add some 1600 MWe to the plant's output around the middle of the next decade. The NRC has said it is now examining the environmental report documentation, which runs to around 5900 pages and can be found in the New Reactor Licensing section of its website. Scott Burnell of the NRC told World Nuclear News that the commission was conducting a sufficiency check. If the report seems in order, the NRC will 'docket' it and begin formal r

Fortune on the Nuclear Revival

Editor-at-Large David Whitford tours the U.S. to get a closer look at the industry : Probably the earliest a new reactor could come online in the U.S. is 2015, and even that seems optimistic. There is plenty of opposition, despite what Earley says. And anything could happen over the next decade or so to knock the train off its track. A terrorist attack on a nuclear facility anywhere in the world would halt all progress overnight. So would another Chernobyl. But right now the momentum is swinging nuclear's way. Among the many green-light factors: rising natural-gas prices; soaring electricity demand; the looming prospect of a carbon tax; a new, streamlined regulatory process; and growing acceptance by environmentalists that nuclear energy, which emits no greenhouse gases, could have a vital role in saving the planet. This developing story has continental sweep, a huge cast of characters, multiple moving parts. So much of what we think we know we haven't reexamined in years. If

Is Renewable Energy Wrecking the Environment?

Jesse Ausubel of Rockefeller University seems to think so : Writ­ing in a schol­arly jour­nal, Jes­se Au­subel, di­rec­tor of the un­ivers­ity’s Pro­gram for the Hu­man En­vi­ron­ment, has now is­sued a scath­ing re­as­sess­ment of the “re­new­able” en­er­gy sources that are sup­posed to save hu­man­ity from pol­lu­tion and glob­al warm­ing. The cli­mate change is be­lieved to be caused by emis­sions of heat-trapping gas­es from use of tra­di­tional en­er­gy sources. Meet­ing glob­al en­er­gy de­mands through so-called re­new­able sources—build­ing enough wind farms, dam­ming enough riv­ers, and grow­ing enough bi­o­mass—will wreck the en­vi­ron­ment, Au­su­bel ar­gues. Bi­o­mass con­sists of plants and an­i­mal wastes used as fu­el. The so­lu­tion? “If we want to min­i­mize new struc­tures and the rape of na­ture, nu­clear en­er­gy is the best op­tion,” Au­su­bel said. I can hear the howls already. This story has been impacting all over the Web in a big way all day long. There

The Florida Crocodile Comeback, Courtesy of Nuclear Energy

As part of being a good neighbor, American nuclear power plants do their level best to preserve the local environment in and around their operations. In Florida, that's provided an incredible comeback for a once endangered species -- the American Crocodile. Back in 1975 there were only between 10-20 breeding females in the entire state, but now there are as many as 2,000. And one of the reasons why is the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant : "The high ground is so ideal for laying crocodile eggs that Turkey Point has become an enormous crocodile nursery. It's now home to about 500 full-grown crocodiles -- a quarter of the country's entire adult crocodile population." What a great story. Thanks to Plenty for the pointer. Best of all, it isn't news to us here at NEI, as JoAnn Sperber covered this in the May 2005 edition of Nuclear Energy Insight. Here's the full text of that story: Crocodile Cheers Florida Nuclear Plant Helps Bring Reptile Back From the

EPRI/NRDC Study on Plug-in Hybrids and GHG Emissions

From Green Car Congress : Two studies released by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) show that widespread use of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) in the United States could significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and has the potential to provide small but significant improvements in ambient air quality in most areas of the US. Widespread adoption of PHEVs could reduce GHG emissions from vehicles by more than 450 million metric tons annually in 2050—equivalent to removing 82.5 million passenger cars from the road. Cumulative GHG emissions reductions from 2010 to 2050 could reach 10.3 billion metric tons under the most aggressive scenarios for the development of a lower-carbon electrical infrastructure and PHEV penetration. The analysis is the first to combine models of the US electric system and transportation sector with atmospheric air quality models to account for the future evolution of both sectors in

Giuliani on Nuclear Energy

From the San Jose Mercury News : He noted that America "invented the peaceful use of nuclear power" and has never lost a life to nuclear energy production, yet hasn't licensed a new nuclear power plant in about 30 years while nations such as France derive most of their electricity this way. For NEI's Giuliani file, click here .

Edwards, Obama and Clinton on Nuclear Energy

In last night's CNN/YouTube Democratic debate , one questioner asked the candidates what they thought about increasing the use of nuclear energy as a way to provide affordable electricity while constraining greenhouse gas emissions and promoting energy independence. Here's how Senators John Edwards, Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton answered the question: This isn't the first time we've seen these candidates address the issue. For our file on Senator Edwards, click here . For Senator Obama, click here . For Senator Clinton, click here . UPDATE : There's some discussion of this particular question over at MyDD . ANOTHER UPDATE : More from The Daily Green . FINAL UPDATE : Some thoughts from NJ Business Matters . EVENING UPDATE : Some interesting thoughts from the Las Vegas Gleaner , while Common Dreams isn't happy with the proceedings at all.

Are Americans Warming to Nuclear Power?

MIT asked that question: Americans' icy attitudes toward nuclear power are beginning to thaw, according to a new survey from MIT. The report also found a U.S. public increasingly unhappy with oil and more willing to develop alternative energy sources like wind and solar. [...] The report, "Public Attitudes Toward America's Energy Options: Insights for Nuclear Energy," was recently published by MIT's Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems. Ansolabehere conducted a similar survey in 2002 as part of the MIT study, "The Future of Nuclear Power." In the five years since the last survey, public preferences have remained fairly stable, but the percentage of people who want to increase nuclear power use has grown from 28 percent to 35 percent. That increase in popularity is likely due to concern over global warming caused by carbon emissions from fossil fuels, Ansolabehere said. For more information about the public's view of nuclear energy, click he

Introducing the New

A couple of weeks back, we gave our readers a sneak preview of the home page to our new Web site, saying only that it would debut sometime in July. Well, sometime is finally here. To get to the new site, just navigate to the place you've always gone before: . But once you get there, things are going to look a little different. Besides a brand new design, we've also completely revamped our content and the way we organize it. To start, we've organized our content by the Key Issues that are most important to our members: Protecting The Environment Reliable and Affordable Energy New Nuclear Plants Safety and Security Nuclear Waste Disposal Here's a screen shot from our New Nuclear Plants section: Across the top nav bar, you'll find the following sections listed: Public Policy News and Events Financial Center Resources and Stats Careers and Education How it Works About NEI Here's our new Resources and Stats section, complete with brand new sea

NRC Chairman Dale Klein at U.S. WIN 2007

Earlier this week, I was in Anaheim to give a presentation on electronic advocacy at U.S. Women in Nuclear 2007 . I was lucky enough to hang around an extra day and shoot some video. In this clip, Melanie Lyons, a colleague of mine from NEI, interviews NRC Chairman Dale Klein about what his agency is doing to recruit more women: Thanks to Chairman Klein for taking the time to speak with us.

Putting The Radiation Release at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa in the Proper Perspective

Let me make something clear at the outset: All over the world, the nuclear industry takes the events in Japan very seriously. With that in mind, here's some proper perspective from We Support Lee on just how much radioactive material was released from the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant this week: According to news sources , the leak of radiation at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Japan was 90,000 Becquerels , which is one billionth of the legal limit for radioactivity release. 90,000 Bq (Becquerels) means 90,000 disintegrations per second. [...] How much is 90,000 Bq in the medical world? Medical patients regularly receive 240 million Becquerels during treatments for hyperthyroidism. That's 2667 times what was released into the Sea of Japan. These patients, some of whom are probably at a clinic in your town right now, watch tv, walk around, sit, talk, read, and disintegrate 131I at 2667 times the rate that the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant

Transistor, Transformer: What's The Difference?

We all make mistakes, but this one from The Daily Green about the fire at the nuclear power plant in Japan just about takes the cake: The earthquake caused a fire in a transistor, led to the leak of water with low radioactivity, and prompted the automatic shutdown of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. reactors. No rest for the weary.

The Japan Quake, Nuclear Energy and the Daily Kos

As you might imagine, I've been monitoring a lot of stories from around the Web about the situation in Japan. And as you might surmise, while an incident like this is always a cause for concern, it's not a cause for hysteria -- unless of course we're talking about the usual suspects. One of the more egregious examples out there right now has to be this diary over at Daily Kos that mixes just enough truth with anti-nuke talking points to drum up all the fear and hysteria you might need. But then again, even in the wake of the over the top analysis, there are a number of readers who are digging in and fighting back. Here are a few samples: First, allow me to qualify my post by saying that I find the parent diary to be a fairly obnoxious throwback to the type of thinking from the 1970s that bought us another 30 years worth of CO2-spewing coal power, and the fact that it rocketed to the top of the recommended list speaks to Kossack's relative lack of detached analysis

Getting The Facts Right on The Events in Japan

As you might imagine, I've spent a lot of time over the past few days monitoring news coming out of Japan about the earthquake and its effects on the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Plant. Like a lot of folks, I use the Drudge Report to point me to breaking news sources -- which is why I sat up straight when I saw the following headline: 'REACTOR ISN'T IN GOOD SHAPE': Company Says Radioactive Leak Was Bigger... But, as Headless Blogger has pointed out, when you follow the link in question, the quote that Drudge highlighted isn't anywhere to be seen in the story . Never mind the fact that there are seven reactors at the plant, not just one. I think this might be a good time to point out that in the immediate aftermath of an incident like this one, facts often get trampled by hysteria. While I've been a fan of Drudge for a very long time -- going back to the days when he was syndicated over at Wired -- it's important to remember that he wants as many clic

More on the Japan Quake and the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Plant

The following report comes from our friends at NucNet : There was no environmental impact as a result of yesterday’s automatic shut-down of three units at Japan’s Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power plant following an earthquake. The Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF) today confirmed for NucNet that units 3, 4 and 7 of the plant, in Niigata prefecture in the west of the country, shut down safely. The plant’s other units – Kashiwazaki Kariwa-1, -2, -5 and -6 – were already shut down at the time of the earthquake for periodic inspections. At unit 6, about 1.2 cubic metres of water leaked from a system draining water to the sea, but the level of radioactivity was within the permissible limit. Inside the reactor building, a total of 1.5 litres of radioactive aqueous liquids were spilled. At unit 3, a fire broke out in a main transformer in the non-nuclear part of the plant and was extinguished within two hours. A JAIF spokesman said: “The cloud of black smoke that was filmed by televisi

The Japan Quake and the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Plant

By now, most of you have already heard about the earthquake that struck parts of Japan overnight , an event that killed 8 and injured 900. As the result of the quake, the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Plant experienced two separate incidents: Four of the seven nuclear reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power station, the world's largest nuclear power plant in terms of power output capacity, were operating or set to commence operation at the time of the earthquake and automatically shut down after sensing the strong quake. But an electric transformer outside one of the reactors caught fire shortly after the quake. The fire was extinguished about two hours later. No radioactive leak has been detected. It was the first fire at a nuclear plant to be caused by a quake and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is checking the cause, METI officials said. TEPCO announced later in the day that water containing radioactive material leaked from one of

Tracking AREVA in the USA

This week's edition of America's Business , NAM's radio program , is featuring an interview with Michael McMurphy, President and CEO of AREVA NC, Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of AREVA. For a nice digest of recent news on the company, click here .

New York Attorney General Joins Fight Against Indian Point

From yesterday's New York Daily News : State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo will join the fight to shut the Indian Point nuclear power plant, just 25 miles north of New York City in Westchester. Cuomo will announce today his support of Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano in his legal battle with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the federal agency that oversees Indian Point, the Daily News has learned. Cuomo's office will provide the support through research, advice and lawyers for court appearances. As I'm sure many recall, Cuomo's father, former Governor Mario Cuomo, helped lead the fight that eventually led to the closure of the Shoreham nuclear power plant on Long Island .

Vermont State Senate Ignores Al Gore, Sustains Veto on Vermont Yankee Tax

Back in May, we started to follow the story about how the Vermont State Senate was planning on starting a "clean energy" fund with $25 million in additional tax money from Vermont Yankee . After Governor Jim Douglas vetoed the legislation , proponents of the tax mounted an effort to override the veto -- an effort that I was unaware was supported by former Vice President Al Gore. He explained his support on June 14th in the following video address -- one which clearly experienced some technical difficulties: A "terrific" law, eh? Can someone please explain to me why placing additional taxes on one form of clean electrical generation in order to subsidize another can possibly be "terrific"? Lucky for the ratepayers of Vermont, the override attempt fell 12 votes short .

On the Fence on Nuclear Energy

Concerned about climate change and sustainable development, blogger Geren Semaine is thinking about nuclear energy : I don’t know if it’s the answer, but it’s certainly one worth considering. I find it to be far more palatable than strip-mining for coal, or drilling in the Alaskan ranges, especially since both of these energy sources deplete non-renewable resources, and the resulting pollution is a major source of the ”greenhouse” gasses that are at least partially to blame for climatic changes and environmental destruction on the planet. Yeah. I’m a tree hugger. You're not the only one , Geren. You're not the only one .

The French Nuclear Industry Up Close

Last week, a group of NEI staffers took a group of representatives from think tanks, business and organized labor on a fact finding trip to France concerning that country's domestic nuclear energy program. One of the individuals on the trip was Matt Bennett, Vice President of Public Affairs for Third Way . He shared the following note with us: I had the opportunity to travel to France to visit French nuclear facilities and meet with leading officials of the French nuclear industry with NEI. I found the trip and meetings enormously helpful – it significantly broadened my understanding of nuclear power, issues, particularly those relating to nuclear waste materials. Our visit to tour the Areva reprocessing plant was especially instructive. Actually seeing the transport, handling, cooling, reprocessing and storage of nuclear waste had a huge impact on all of us who were first-timers to La Hague. The level of skill that the French have developed, exemplified by the astonishingly lo

Senate Action on Carbon Emissions Expected Today

We've just been alerted that Senators Bingaman and Specter will be introducing the Low Carbon Economy Act of 2007 today. Senator Bingman will be making a floor speech at 9:30 a.m. U.S. EDT which can be viewed on C-Span 2 . Expect the text of the bill, along with supporting documents, to be posted at the Senate Energy Committee Web site by this afternoon. More later. UPDATE: From the New York Times : The Bingaman-Specter proposal, dubbed the “Low Carbon Economy Act,” would set a target emissions cap for 2020 at 2006 levels and for 2030 at 1990 levels. Other bills set more stringent targets, but none so far have won majority support. The new proposal would grant permits to all emitting industries, including oil refineries, natural gas processing plants, manufacturing facilities and coal-burning power plants. Cars, trucks and airplanes are not covered, but owners would face significantly higher fuel prices passed on by oil and gas companies. Additional emissions permits could b

E Magazine and Nuclear Energy

Everyday, we see more indications that the global environmental movement is ready to give a hearing to nuclear energy and the role that it can play in helping to constrain greenhouse gas emissions while supplying reliable and affordable electricity. I just found another good sign this morning, as E/The Environmental Magazine , is featuring a number of articles on nuclear energy in their current issue. While I think the editors at E should be applauded for tackling the issue, and I believe that in many ways they've clearly worked to be even-handed, there are a number of areas where they fall short. I'll detail some of those areas now, as well as point to some additional resources of information on NEI's Web site: A Nuclear Phoenix? The uranium supply is also an issue. On the spot market, uranium prices have soared as existing reactors have worked through supplies from mothballed plants. Demand is projected to exceed supply and push prices higher. The shortfall in uranium m

On Nuclear Energy and Nonproliferation

Over at DKos , diarist N Nadir is taking on the issue of nuclear energy and nonproliferation : I have been opposed to nuclear weapons for as long as I can remember, probably because one of my first memories is waking up one morning as a child thinking I was going to be subject to nuclear annihilation in the afternoon. I will not explore the subject too much further here, but I will say that the best strategy for minimizing the probability of nuclear war - and this probability can never again be zero - is to use nuclear power. Dare I say when I read that paragraph I heard echoes of Dwight Eisenhower ?

Another Democrat for Nuclear Energy

Iowa state representative Phil Wise thinks it's time for Democrats to embrace nuclear energy : Core Democratic constituencies have stepped forward to champion nuclear energy as a cornerstone of economic growth. A number of major labor organizations, such as the Building Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, the Teamsters, the Operating Engineers, the IBEW, Sheetmetal Workers and hundreds of local labor chapters, have adopted policy positions supporting the expansion of nuclear energy. That includes some in our state, such as the Hawkeye Labor Council, the Southeast Iowa Building and Construction Trades and the Quad City Federation of Labor. Even the environmental community is no longer monolithic in its opposition to nuclear energy. Key leaders within the environmental movement - such as Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore - publicly support the expansion of nuclear power. [...] For Democrats and nuclear energy, the landscape has changed rather significantly. This brings with it th

Blog Post of the Day

You gotta love this line of thinking : [L]ast night I curled up with James Lovelock's The Revenge Of Gaia instead of watching Live Earth. I'm pretty sure it was a much better use of my time. Read the rest right now .

More on Merkel and the German Nuclear Phaseout

Last week, we wrote about how German Prime Minister Angela Merkel was hedging her bets on overturning her nation's planned nuclear phaseout for fear of shattering her coalition government. Today, the European Tribune picks up on the same theme . Meanwhile, Earth News is in denial . UPDATE : More from We Support Lee . Even more, here .

New York on Notice in Summer Heat Wave

From WCBS-TV : A brutal heat wave that has temperatures nearing the century mark in the tri-state area has New York City utility officials ready to take action should a massive power outage occur for the second time this summer. Nearly two weeks ago, hundreds of thousands of Consolidated Edison customers lost power in Manhattan and the Bronx apparently due to a bolt of lightning, though the outage did occur on one of the hottest days of the year. Ever since a power outage in New York City brought thousands of residents and workers onto the streets in August of 2003, along with a series of power outages left thousands of Queens residents without power during some of the hottest days of last July, residents and Con Ed officials alike have been on edge as summer temperatures climb to dangerous levels. At times like this, it's important to remember that a cadre of folks in the New York metropolitan area are committed to closing Indian Point Energy Center. I wonder what the situation

Is Nuclear Too Hot to Handle?

Over in the U.K. earlier this week, the Oxford Research Group published another anti-nuclear report, this one titled Too Hot To Handle? The Future Of Civil Nuclear Power . The report primarily focuses on nuclear weapons proliferation and nuclear terrorism, including a two page blip on how nuclear power cannot contribute to reducing climate change. If the name "Oxford Research Group" sounds familiar to our readers, the reason is that we dissected another of their reports earlier this year , dismissing it as just more recycled nonsense. Well, surprise, surprise, this report offers even more of the same. What's disappointing is that a number of folks in the press couldn't be bothered to look at this report with a critical eye -- and I'm talking about the Guardian over in the U.K. So while part of me is tired of this game, we'll do it all over again for the benefit of those who haven't been paying attention. Nuclear industry critics have claimed multiple ti

German PM Biding Her Time on Nuclear Energy Phaseout Question

From Bloomberg : Germany's big four power companies including E.ON AG and RWE AG will be forced to improve the efficiency of their power plants under government plans to slash greenhouse gas emissions. Chancellor Angela Merkel, after talks in Berlin today with utility chief executives, said that she expects power plant productivity to be raised 3 percent each year from 2010, adding that progress would be monitored. With new energy-saving projects, the steps are vital to reducing national emissions by up to 40 percent by 2020, she said. ``It's clear that we have no choice but to act'' to combat global warming, Merkel told reporters in Berlin after the government's third energy summit. ``There is some doubt about whether our goals can be reached,'' she said, though the proposals are ``a reasonable path'' to achieving German targets. Merkel's decision to spearhead carbon dioxide reduction in the European Union adds pressure on the government to f

U.K. Gives Preliminary Approval to 4 Reactor Designs

From Dow Jones : The U.K. government Thursday gave the preliminary go- ahead to the design of four nuclear reactors, even though it has yet to decide whether to formally support nuclear power. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., Areva (CEI.FR), GE Energy, a unit of General Electric Co. (GE), and Westinghouse Electric Co., a unit of Japan's Toshiba Corp (6502.TO) have all submitted individual designs for the four reactors. "This means the designs have gone through the first phase of the process - the preliminary safety case for each reactor design has been assessed," a spokeswoman for the government told Dow Jones Newswires. Before the generic designs of the nuclear power plants are completely approved or pre-licensed, the government's new Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, established just last week by new Prime Minister Gordon Brown, must consider the designs more carefully. "It is likely that the number of designs to be considered during p

Australian Catholic Archbishop a Nuclear Energy Convert

From : CONTROVERSIAL Catholic Archbishop Barry Hickey says he is now a nuclear convert, prompting an immediate attack by the green lobby. A former opponent of nuclear power, he now believes its technology is safe. A lot had changed since the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster of 1986, but he believes people's view of nuclear energy was tarnished by the incident. "I was totally opposed to it (nuclear power) 10 years ago, but since then advances in technology have made me less opposed because I can see it can be safe,'' Archbishop Hickey told The Sunday Times. Of course, some folks aren't happy about this: Long-time anti-nuclear crusader and former WA Greens senator Jo Vallentine said Archbishop Hickey was out of touch with the realities of nuclear power. "Goodness me. Is that what he said?'' Ms Vallentine said. This reminds me a lot of what happened to the late Bishop Hugh Montefiore. Before he died, Montefiore was drummed out of Fri

U.S. and Russia Issue Joint Declaration on Nuclear Energy and Nonproliferation

From the White House : We are determined to play an active role in making the advantages of the peaceful use of nuclear energy available to a wide range of interested States, in particular developing countries, provided the common goal of prevention of proliferation of nuclear weapons is achieved. To this end, we intend, together with others, to initiate a new format for enhanced cooperation. Bearing this in mind, we acknowledge with satisfaction the initialing of the bilateral Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the United States of America for cooperation in the field of peaceful use of nuclear energy. We share the view that this Agreement will provide an essential basis for the expansion of Russian-U.S. cooperation in the field of peaceful use of nuclear energy and expect this document to be signed and brought into force in accordance with existing legal requirements. Click here to read the rest.

Calling Greenpeace and NIRS to Account

A story that ran yesterday on the AP wire regarding the resurgence of interest in nuclear energy in the U.S. certainly attracted a lot of attention, especially on a Summer afternoon. If you take a look at Digg, you'll see that almost 600 of its users "dugg" the story -- which may be the reason why it came to the attention of the folks at the Knight Science Journalism Tracker : It is disappointing that (AP's Jay) Lindsay went to Greenpeace and an anti-nuclear outfit called the Nuclear Information and Resource Service for technical remarks. On the political side, such groups are serious, important actors. But to let stand without comment or counter a quote that labels nuclear plants “predeployed nuclear weapons” is a disservice. No kidding.

Looking at NRG and New Nuclear in Texas

Another diarist at DailyKos (not our friend N Nadir) drove 80 miles to attend a public hearing on NRG's potential plans for new nuclear build in Texas . He sounds bullish on nuclear energy: Expanding electricity capacity in Texas from nuclear, wind, and potentially in the future, solar, while pushing hard for conservation is our only hope for a fossil fuel phase-out. Not only are these measures necessary on their own, they provide the necessary foundation for transitioning our transportation network to fully-electric or transitional-synthetic fuels (e.g. DME using CO2 from atmospheric/process sequestration). Unlike other long-term movements towards a sustainable, fossil-fuel free, more socioeconomically just Texas, changing electricity production sources is relatively "behind-the-scenes," and is a path that can be pursued vigorously and immediately because it requires no large, structural rearrangements in society or our built environment. As such, it has a high probabi