Skip to main content

Jumping Fences

jumping_fenceDon’t try this at home:

An emergency was declared at the McGuire nuclear plant in Huntersville early Sunday morning after a security breach, according to a report from Duke Energy.

The report states that security saw someone climb over a fence into an unauthorized area around 3:30 a.m. on January 1.

Uh-oh.

According to police, 18-year-old David Hamilton Drake Jr. was arrested for first degree Trespassing.

Oh. Well, I can remember annoying some trainmen while crossing the switchyard as a shortcut to school and getting chased now and then. The most that would have happened to me was likely a severe beating – those were pretty tough guys.

The bottom line is: this is something not to do. Security forces don’t treat this kind of thing more lightly than those trainmen did.

---

Interesting article from the Yorkshire (U.K.) Post:

One third of all households in the UK will be in fuel poverty by 2030 unless the coalition Government rapidly moves to encourage and enable building of new nuclear plants, says a report released today.

The new report published by the Centre for Policy Studies, claims the number of homes in fuel poverty – defined as the need to spend more than 10 per cent of household income on fuel to maintain adequate warmth – could rise to nearly 8.5 million over the next 18 years, if nuclear energy generating capacity continues to fall as the Government delays approving new nuclear plants.

Fuel poverty. I don’t think I’ve heard that term before – if I had heard it, I’m not sure I’d have applied it to the British. The reason this would happen already implies how it will not happen – and unfortunately, that has nothing to do with nuclear energy:

Last winter, coal plants shouldered nearly 50 per cent of electricity demand and the report claims the coalition does not currently have the suitable plans in place to replace old coal and oil power supplies which will close by 2016 due to European Union rules.

Rules that don’t work don’t get implemented, so if the U.K. is threatened with “fuel poverty,” those coal plants will stay open.

Here’s the report, called The Atomic Clock. It’s very inside British energy. What I read sounds a bit like an industry wish list, or more generally a free trade screed like those produced by the Heritage Foundation here. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it leads to a somewhat blinkered view.

---

Politico posted its 2012 Top 10 Energy Questions. Here’s the one about nuclear energy:

8) Is there a future for Yucca Mountain? A federal court in D.C. will hear arguments in a lawsuit led by Yucca supporters against the NRC over whether the agency can be compelled to complete its now-boxed review of the nuclear waste project without funding from Congress and with a president looking to nix it. If the court sides with Yucca supporters, the NRC might be forced — given the information already produced — into approving the project. But should the court side with the NRC, Yucca Mountain may actually stay dead.

“The NRC might be forced into approving the project.” The NRC would not be forced to do anything other than to finish reviewing the license application. It could choose then to approve or not approve it based on the application’s merits.

Though it’s not exactly unfair to call the lawsuit’s backers “Yucca supporters,” (they include the states of Washington and South Carolina, Aiken County, S.C., and several individuals), it’s not a fan club. The idea here is simply to enforce the law, specifically the Waste Policy Act of 1985, which names Yucca Mountain as the country’s used fuel repository. To change that legitimately, you need to change the law.

So you know, NEI filed a friend-of-the-court brief on this issue in December.

Comments

Steve said…
Does anyone know the date of the federal court hearing on the untimely cancellation by the NRC of Yucca Mountain? I feel like this hearing has been in the news forever but can't find any specifics.

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…