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Why This Nuclear Engineer Says Every Nuke Plant in the US Should Be Shut Down Yesterday

Why This Nuclear Engineer Says Every Nuke Plant in the US Should Be Shut Down Yesterday

Karl Grossman

The good—the very good—energy news is that the Indian Point nuclear power plants 26 miles north of New York City will be closed in the next few years under an agreement reached between New York State and the plants’ owner, Entergy.


Like all of its systems and its violence, the right wing is 100% suicidal in its

Notice – there isn’t even a mention of the WASTE coming from the 100 nuclear
power plants the US has had –

and there are another 500+ internationally.

And still four to five years yet to close down these two nuclear power plants so close to NYC.

We now know exactly how the Germans came under the control of Hitler and Nazis -
we’re reliving it.


Hi ignignokt4u.

As an energy engineer, I understand the high standards of safety involved with nuclear plant operation. High levels of safety are not, as a practice, implemented with respect to Uranium mining and processing. I am certain that you are aware that most of the Uranium that the US uses in nuclear plants comes from abroad (Source: http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=2150 ). The World Information Service on Energy has numerous links documenting health hazards of Uranium mining and processing abroad (Source: http://www.wise-uranium.org/uhm.html ) but even Uranium mined in the US has been linked to serious health issues (Sources: 1. http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/04/10/473547227/for-the-navajo-nation-uranium-minings-deadly-legacy-lingers
2. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/pgms/worknotify/uranium.html ).

Leaving aside concerns regarding health hazards associated with nuclear energy, the fact is that Nuclear power plants are huge expensive power producers owned by for profit energy corporations (Source: https://www.nei.org/Knowledge-Center/Nuclear-Statistics/US-Nuclear-Power-Plants/US-Nuclear-Operators,-Owners-and-Holding-Companies ). Can you identify any of these corporations that promote the goal of ensuring that electrical demand in the US, does not go beyond a level that has a sustainable impact upon the environment?


70 years since Nagasaki and Hiroshima! Scores of thermo-nuclear explosions (plutonium 239 triggered) testing since, above and below ground level. 6 years since three 100% meltdowns at Fukushima-Daiichi, this March 11, that go un-investigated, thoroughly, by independent sources. How can anyone live with themselves, and say that the continuing nuclear proliferation of any kind is safe? Making more waste and its associated acres of powerplant contaminated infrastructure as sane? I leave it up to the reader, here. Finally, a whistle-blower comes in from the dark - but after 70 years? Thanks anyway, Mr. Anonymous criminal nuke engineer. Maybe, just maybe, you have made a difference and saved your spiritual self from eternal damnation from the rest of us. And maybe the apologists that continue to back-up the lies of nuclear power thug-owners will save themselves, too.


No matter what the undisclosed full truth of the nuclear plants’ ticking operational time bombs is, the well-known nature of their waste–both WHILE they operate as well as once their fuel and the plants themselves are spent–is this: humans currently have NO SAFE SOLUTION to this waste, yet the industry and its supporters continue to spew the waste.

So it’s okay to keep making poison that current and future life forms will suffer and die from, with no long-term safe containment? Waste that can kill life very quickly even thousands and thousands of years from now, long after–quite possibly–there is no USA any more, but humans and other animals still exist but won’t have any idea of where this waste is to avoid it, even if they could somehow avoid it?

Nuclear power was a morally bankrupt proposition from the get-go, and the industry has not morally advanced since then. I along with many hundreds of other activists–Native Americans in the ultimate lead–stopped the last big “low-level” nuclear waste dump proposal by the U.S. nuclear power industry: the proposed site being unlined dirt trenches above underground aquifers and on a flash-flood plain 18 miles from the Colorado River in southeastern California, in critical habitat for the desert tortoise and sacred land to five Native Tribes in the region. Talk about environmental racism and insane ticking time-bomb of polluting a major drinking water and agricultural water source. But we defeated the industry and its governmental servants through people power, led by Native Americans who set up a nonviolent occupation of ground zero for the dump site, refused to be intimidated by military helicopter overflights… and ultimately forced the government and industry to back down. Ward Valley, the desert tortoise’s critical habitat, sacred lands, and drinking water for millions were saved.

No nukes!


Like most nights I tuned into PBS last night to watch Democracy! Now
Instead I found a NOVA show playing. It was about Fukushima. I watched until the program shifted from the catastrophe to how none of it would have happened if the plant had been built from the new design. The new safe, reliable, efficient, wonderful design. I did miss the opening where they name the sponsors but I’m thinking GE and Westinghouse?

Wonder what will replace Democracy! Now tonight. The global warming IS a hoax show brought to us by ExxonMobile?.


Thanks for the excellent rebuttal. The anti-intellectualism and discrediting and even slandering of expertise in US popular culture is a major problem.

Of course, the biggest piece of made up nonsense in this piece is that nuclear power is not “carbon free” because of the construction materials construction activity, and the mining/processing of the fuel. - as if a wind turbine does not use substantial amounts of steel, concrete, exotic carbon-fiber composites, copper. trucks, cranes etc. in its construction. The reality is that nothing is “carbon free” because there is no known technology for cement making and steel making, among other things, that does not emit CO2 and CO. Does. Mr. Grossman think we are that stupid, or is he that stupid?

So, back in the reality-based world, nuclear power about on par with wind and solar with regard to carbon emissions per unit of energy produced on a lifecycle basis. Only Hydroelectric is lower.

And yes, as an engineer, I find the popular distrust of expertise and a strange belief that the greater the degree of ignorance of the opinion writer, the more valid the opinion, to be one of the greatest threats we are facing. It is why we now have Trump. Poor John F Kennedy who public programs to promote what is now called “STEM” are why I’m a engineer today, must be rolling in his early grave.


Nuclear power plants never should have been built in the first place, if only because there never was and still isn’t a solution to the waste generated.

The entire nuclear energy industry is a racket. No insurer will touch it, for obvious reasons, so the criminals who run the industry bought enough politicians that the federal government became the insurer, bilking the taxpayer. Cost overruns were epidemic, after all the industry didn’t have to pay them, the taxpayers did. And this government-corporate racket has bequeathed to hundreds of future generations the dangerous task of storing the waste for thousands of years.

Never should have happened.


Every electrical utility I have been a ratepayer for seem to have a substantial conservation program with inserts in almost every bill. My last bill (Duquesne Light Company - operator of the Beaver Nuclear plant before they had to sell it to First Energy under deregulation) encouraged users to switch to LED lighting and announced a program to pay $50 for every old refrigerator to encourage consumers to buy newer more energy-efficient ones. They also are trying to install smart meters in every home so they can start variable-rate (time of day) electric service - and important conservation measure - but a mind-bogglingly ignorant superstitious US public (“smart meters cause cancer”, “smart meters will be used to spy on me”), is holding the program up.

Of course, that are not doing this out of so much out voluntary concern for the environment, but because as a regulated utility with a tightly regulated rates, conservation is good for their bottom line.


That is correct. A newer design like the AP1000 would have prevented the accident. But the existing design would have survived fine had the planned new emergency generators on higher ground been installed in time. Surely you did noticed that every other nuclear plant in Japan survived the Mw=9.0 earthquake just fine.

And you are “thinking” it was GE or Westinghouse". Is that supposed to be a logical argument? Why don’t you find out who sponsored the program before asserting it. But even if, for arguing, it was sponsored by GE or Westinghouse, that does invalidate the information presented. At most, it means that it needs to corroborated with other sources. But you should be doing that with all information you receive anyway. In this case, the opinion is unanimous that very plant-specific flaws in plant siting and design (inadequate measures against tsunamis) were the cause of the accident

I am getting so fed up with the ignorance of the US public. Please buy a book on logic or rhetoric and study it.


One correction to your article. Here at MSHA, under the Mine Act of 1977, we DO have all the sort of powers that you describe for NRC inspectors. In fact, a mine inspector can shut down any or all parts of the mine, and place it under government supervision, on the spot, using under sections 103(j) and 103(k) of the act.

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Nova recently presented a program promoting nuclear power as a source for the world. The program tried to say that it would be cheaper for the world to use nuclear, when that is a lie that should be called out loudly. The renewable energy field is notable for the rapidly lowering prices per kilowatt, research and experience in that field will continue to lower those prices, so that if it is not now already cheaper for a kilowatt of energy it will soon be, and there is little for nuclear to change those trajectories. Further, renewable power distributes the sources, and it depends on human resources. Nuclear is human independent, requiring few to build and run plants. Make no mistake, those who promote nuclear are interested in only one thing, the development of large projects with huge rates of return, which are not possible when product is widely distributed. It is no surprise that David Koch is involved in the presentation of that Nova program, it is disappointing that Nova didn’t present dissenting opinions that shed light on the propaganda being presented.


The important item is cost per kilowatt of generated power, which has to be inclusive of all costs, including all government subsidies. In no case will fully costed nuclear power ever be cheaper than renewable energy, and the gap is increasing every day as research and experience and scope make renewable power ever cheaper. And of course that doesn’t include the thousands of jobs production of renewables produces, and the decentralization of power sources that is now a central security concern. The industry will not have to have a small army around every plant to ensure terrorists won’t blow it up. To be sure we are and will be smothered in propaganda because big money can’t make big returns on renewables, we’re already seeing that (Nova), but that’s the way things work now, don’t give in to it.


What do you do about the intermittency problem? I have yet to hear a feasible solution to it. Base load generation is needed and that can be either fossil or nuclear. There really are no other alternatives.

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You really don’t know? Or you don’t want to know? Here’s a discussion for almost two years ago, a lot has changed since then: ‘blogs.scientificamerican.com/plugged-in/renewable-energy-intermittency-explained-challenges-solutions-and-opportunities/’. How about this, the factory is built and producing, the technology is simple, and competition will lower prices quickly:’//www.tesla.com/presskit/teslaenergy.’ Nuclear can’t exist without vast government subsidies, use the subsidies instead to promote renewable implementation, like our nation did to go to the moon, we can be self reliant and forever clean quickly and efficiently. Of course big money nuclear doesn’t want you to know that, but that’s how big money works, screw you and pass the big bucks.


Please pass along my appreciation to the geniuses of your lovely industry who decided it was a good idea to proceed sans a plan to take care of the nuclear waste.


Make up your own mind:

John Gofman wrote “Irrevy”. Still available for a pittance.

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Yes. That would be the waste that sticks around for thousands of years, can’t be safely contained for very long and will poison all the land, water and air it touches. What a great plan! Oops, sorry, there is no plan…


“Accidents” waiting impatiently to happen

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This article contains numerous error that could be characterized as lies. The idea that plants have to grant permission to NRC inspectors prior to inspectors going into any area is a load of bull. NRC inspectors get to go anywhere they want, any time they want. They don’t require permission from upper management, security, operators, or anyone including NRC management. They go where they want - period. To suggest otherwise is to promote a lie.

The INPO color-coding paragraph is (at-best) misleading. Yes, there are different levels of reports and yes they come with color-codings. No one in the industry refers to them by these colors - NO ONE. As far as the supposed “Code Red” reports, the reader should be aware that these reports are not intended to convey the idea “We almost had a meltdown.” In fact the breakdown provided is pure fiction. I’ll have to wait until the next time I’m logged into the INPO website to get the exact description, but the “article” is completely off-base.

License extensions as presented here is also grossly inaccurate. The plants were originally LICENSED for 40 years. They were not “designed for” 40 years. They were designed with the best available technology of the time and operating experience has demonstrated that they can safely operate well beyond their original license.

In addition to being grossly misleading, this article contains multiple falsehoods. I encourage it be pulled immediately as it could be considered libel.