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Wake Up: These Unneeded Instruments Can Wreak Mass Destruction


#1

Wake Up: These Unneeded Instruments Can Wreak Mass Destruction

Ralph Nader

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has recently advanced a clean energy plan which mandates that New York transition half of its energy needs to renewables by 2030. By regressive contrast, New York’s Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved enormous subsidies for three aging nuclear power plants―Ginna, Nine Mile Point and FitzPatrick―located in Upstate New York. Estimates of the costs of these subsidies range from $59 million to $658 million by 2023, with specialists such as Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group predicting that costs could grow to $8 billion.


#2

The DINO Andy Cuomo puts New Yorkers and others at risk, robbing them of millions/billions to support nuke plant operators for years - putting profits into the pockets of the nuclear industry. Cuomo's bail-out of nukes sells-out NY taxpayers!

This tax-payer funded bailout will reduce and delay development of sustainable/green energy and delay de-commissioning and full clean-up - restoration of nuke plants to pre-industrial condition! The "SAFSTOR" method will delay clean-up for 60 years even without this sop to the industry - I predict the public will be stuck with the enormous costs of clean-up after this give-away - this is a set-up for transferring future costs from the industry to the public!

This bailout will also delay the de-commissioning and clean-up of Indian Point - "the most dangerous nuke plant in America" - as well, including IP's great threats to public health and safety! 20 million people live within 50 mile radius of IP. How many live within a similar radius of the bailed-out upstate plants? Are threats to those residents health and safety less important to Andy Cuomo? Their children? Cuomo will gain future campaign contributions and huge "speaking fees" no doubt.

The DINO Cuomo serves corporate big-money and big-money, the wealthy, while increasing taxes and "fees" on everyone else - in this case everyone else will pay for Cuomo's sellout to the nuke industry!!

Andy Cuomo, the best DINO politician money can buy......


#4

Sorry Ralph, "informed debate" in my lifetime has been limited to high school and college debate classes and inter-school competition, both of which continue to be the victims of budget cuts. The contrived "debates" aired during elections are anything but "informed" and candidates attempting to add an informed dimension to the "debate" are prevented from entering..


#5

It used to be both parties did protect some aspects of the environment, wilderness, animal protections and more - think Teddy Roosevelt.
That said the current swine are entirely controlled tools of big-money and profits above all else including the environment. I use the term DINO when a politician claims such allegiance and betrays even that shallow politics and whatever historic protections were passed with bi-partisan support.
I usually use the term corporate whore and worse - you ought to know from almost all of my previous comments where I stand - so ease-up on the "delusional" crap......don't "poison" allies with aggressive arrogant rubbish attacks and criticism..........just sayin


#6

I live a few miles from the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Massachusetts. The good news is that this 40+-year-old plant is going offline in 2019. The bad news is that the "spent" but still highly dangerous nuclear fuel rods will be stored there for years after.

The plant was designed for 880 stored fuel rod assemblies, but there are now around 3300. What's worse is that the panels that are designed to keep the rods from overheating and emitting radiation are starting to deteriorate. One has already deteriorated, and another 589 have been found to be susceptible to the same kind of deterioration.

Nuclear power is like Dirty Harry holding a gun to our heads: You gotta ask yourselves...you feeling lucky?


#8

When my project ended at the global engineering firm I was working for two decades ago, by boss offered me options for where my next assignment would be. He said if I wanted 500 years of job security I should sign on to the remediation project at the Hanford WA nuclear plant.


#9

"Estimates of the costs of these subsidies range from $59 million to $658 million by 2023, with specialists such as Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group predicting that costs could grow to $8 billion."

Even at their maximum, they would still be cheaper than the locked-in subsidies for wind and solar.

"Approval of this plan gives New York State the not-so-honorable distinction of being one of the first states to bailout the aging nuclear industry in our increasingly green energy age."

Almost all of the recent reduction in U.S. carbon emissions has been due to phasing out coal in favor of cheap natural gas. The closures of Vermont Yankee and San Onofre were also replaced by natural gas. Virtually all of the generation from the New York nuclear power plants would also have been supplied by natural gas if they had closed.

"Unfortunately, subsidizing the nuclear industry in the United States is nothing new."

Neither is subsidizing wind and solar. There is nothing inherently evil about subsidies.

"One of the most telling warning signs about the real cost of investing in nuclear power is that fact that Wall Street will not finance the construction of a nuclear plant without a full loan guarantee from the U.S. government."

Because loan guarantees reduce the financing costs by hundreds of millions of dollars--which also lowers the cost of electricity to consumers. The federal government portfolio of infrastructure investment loan guarantees amounts to some $1.2 trillion. About $18 billion of that is available for nuclear power, and roughly $75 billion for renewable energy. Defaults taxpayers have had to cover so far amount to around 800 million for renewable energy projects (the largest being Solyndra).

"Atomic energy is also uninsurable in the private insurance market."

Private insurance constitutes the first tier of nuclear insurance. The second tier is an an industry mutual--which is also private.

"Under the Price-Anderson Act of 1957, taxpayers must cover almost all of the costs if a catastrophic nuclear accident should occur."

Price Anderson has mandates for insurance coverage levels. If the two main tiers of coverage should be exhausted, it would be up to Congress to decide how to allocate any liability overruns. Nader's claim here assumes a catastrophic accident will cost many times the aggregate value of required coverage, and that Congress will cover all of the overrun from the general fund. That's a very speculative claim.

"Think of the devastation caused by Chernobyl, Fukushima and Three Mile Island. Three Mile Island, which experienced only a partial meltdown in 1979, cost approximately $1 billion to clean up."

Or an average of $70 million per year over a span of 14 years. This was not funded by taxes. This was covered under operational costs.

"There are, however, much better, more affordable and safer low carbon options that would replace the need for nuclear energy in New York."

Subsidies for renewables in this plan will be more expensive per unit of energy generated than the nuclear subsidies. And the renewables won't provide steady power.

"Consider the absurdity of the complex and expensive nuclear fuel cycle itself. It begins with uranium mining which produces radioactive tailings and dust,"

  1. Current mining for resources used by renewables also produces radioactive tailings. 2. The most productive uranium mine on Earth puts its tailings underwater in an old quarry. Not much dust there. 3. The second most productive uranium mine is a byproduct mine, extracting uranium from the tailings of a copper mine. Without the uranium extraction, the tailings would be even more radioactive. 4. The dominant form of uranium mining now is in situ leach mining, which produces no tailings piles or dust and is generally cheaper. 5. The cost of extracting uranium from seawater has dropped dramatically over the past 15 years, and could drop below the cost of excavation mining by the end of this decade. 6. A major source of uranium for U.S. reactors in recent years was nuclear bomb fuel--enough to make over 17,000 ICBM class warheads. Would Nader have preferred that fuel still be around today? 7. Although the cost per unit-weight for mining and refining uranium may seem expensive, the amount of energy it generates is so huge that fuel costs turn out to be a very small fraction of the overall production cost of nuclear energy.

"...the risky transport of these rods to the plant where they are installed,"

Presumably, if Nader could have found a single death, injury, or accidental radiologic release in any of the many thousands of such fuel rod transfers, he would have cited it here.

"The end goal? To boil water to generate steam to turn turbines to produce electricity!"

  1. Does Nader have a problem with steam? Steam is where most of our electricity comes from. That's also how concentrated solar and geothermal work.
  2. When we develop hotter reactors that can use Brayton cycle generation instead of steam, will that make Nader happy?

"What other method of boiling water has to have specific population evacuation plans?"

Nader focuses on the boiling aspect because he knows that many hydropower facilities also have to have evacuation plans.

"There is also the significant problem of spent fuel rods which are stored in pools at nuclear plants. No permanent storage sites exist"

We won't need permanent sites.

"for these deadly radioactive wastes,"

If Nader could have found a single instance of somebody being killed by these wastes, presumably he would have cited it here. And if we appended the adjective "deadly" to everything in our lives which has the potential to kill, we'd find ourselves surrounded by deadly appliances, deadly bathroom fixtures, deadly furniture and window treatments, deadly tools, using deadly fire and electricity, eating deadly food, driving deadly cars, going to deadly hospitals and consuming deadly medicine.

"which pose national security risks"

Because...terrorists. Same reason we should eliminate tall buildings, air travel, trains, chemical factories, municipal water supplies, grid transformers, bridges, tunnels, schools, theaters, stadiums, public gatherings, and several dozen other categories of more likely targets.

"and which must be kept for thousands of years."

Or consumed in fast reactors to produce many times more energy than they did on their first pass through.

"One explanation could be right out of the classic nuclear industry handbook―hold the state hostage by threatening that the lights will go out if they don’t pony up."

Nobody is threatening that the lights will go out. There will be ample power no matter what. It's just a question of whether nuclear is preserved, or whether there will be a large increase in CO2 emissions and a surge in the cost of electricity.

"Rather than prop up deteriorating nuclear plants with a huge hand out, New York officials should be focused on phasing out nuclear energy entirely."

Because Ralph says so.

"Nuclear power has been proven many times over to be unnecessary,"

Unless you're serious about curtailing carbon emissions.

"uneconomic,"

Cheaper to keep it going than to replace it.

"uninsurable,"

Except that it is insured.

"unevacuable,"

The irony in Fukushima is that the evacuation proved far more deadly than any radiation.

"unsafe"

We have no risk-free options.

"and unfit for use in the unstable modern world."

I would agree that antiquated reactors are not the best fit for a modern world. Fortunately, many people are working on better reactors to replace them.

"Can you, readers, demand that the Nuclear Energy Institute open themselves up to informed debate?"

If this article is any indication, it'll be about as informed as the Creationism debates.


#10

This is big money at work. I sincerely hope Cuomo and his recipients of all that money live in the fall out zone, you know, just in case. Idiots!!!


#11

Nuke anything is insane.


#12

Certainly, Nader is right. The NRC assumptions used on the calculation of worst-case are all based on the false claim that Three Mile Island containment worked and that there were no casualties. In reality, containment was breached and ten percent of 100 million curries of radiation in the reactor (by the gov's own testimony) escaped, nuking two-million people with fallout and untold others with later contamination. Hershy Chocolate factory over 100 miles away had to destroy their milk cattle since their candy bars were red hot, and the grazing cattle were munching on radioactive grass from the TMI explosions and cover-up.

Dr. Wing and Dr. Manago thouroughly documented the cancer fate of the down-winders.


#13

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#14

Great Grandpa gathers up his grandchildren on his deathbed and informs them that one of them is going to have to devote his entire life to maintaining this pile of spent nuclear fuel rods, and that all of them are going to have to chip in to pay for it. Furthermore when they reach the end of their lives they will have to pass the responsibility on to their children's children for generations to come. "But Grandpa we'd rather be doing something else." "Sorry kids, you don't have a choice!"


#15

Card-carrying INDUSTRY SHILL.

No casual poster or everyday commenter would have this much pro-nuclear power data at the ready, and the PR cover story to go with each Talking Point.


#16

Yes, that a nuclear ANYTHING was produced before provisions were made to permanently and completely deactivate nuclear waste (a problem that still has no solution after 60+ years of nuclear production) shows a high degree of irresponsibility, if not insanity.

The guiding principle of our nuclear decision-makers was/is: industry and the military must be served, damn the dangers to humanity.


#17

Do you prefer comment from uninformed people?
Can you find a problem with any of the facts?
Who gives a toss where the poster works if he's telling the truth?


#18

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#19

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#20

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that didn't happen. Here's a news account from back then:
https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1755&dat=19790413&id=DrUyAAAAIBAJ&sjid=mWcEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6927,7117988

Dr. Wing and Dr. Manago thouroughly documented the cancer fate of the down-winders.

I'm guessing that's the same notorious, discredited Mangano which produced the spectacularly bogus post Fukushima studies.


#21

Ah yes, the shill card. You do realize that's not an actual rebuttal of anything, don't you?

No casual poster or everyday commenter would have this much pro-nuclear power data at the ready, and the PR cover story to go with each Talking Point.

So let me get this straight. You have no trouble believing in Astrology, Edgar Cayce's clairvoyance, Atlantis, and the idea that there's a monumental conspiracy to suppress that we've been visited by space aliens so as to horde their technology, but the idea that someone who has an interest in nuclear power might have ready answers to yet another recitation of tired old anti-nuke tropes is just beyond credibility.

Really?


#22

JOSHUA FRANK
Whistleblower Retaliation Alive and Well at Hanford
Interesting article in Counterpunch re the cleanup at the hanford plant