Anti nuclear movement strategy circa April 1991
A friend of mine is cleaning out his basement in preparation for a move. He’s been in the nuclear industry for many years and actively participated in some of the public battles that activists have initiated to slow or halt new development and seek closure or cancellation of existing projects.
He found a legible, but slightly skewed and blurry copy of a document detailing the plans and strategic talking points that came out of a meeting titled Conference for a Nuclear Free 1990s – No More Chernobyls. The meeting was held on April 26 and 27, 1991 at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Washington DC. The occasion was the 5th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident.
I decided that it would be worthwhile to reproduce the document in its entirety for the benefit of people who enjoy understanding the history of US nuclear energy development and who might not have been involved in the War Against The Atom for very long. Please remember that this is a quoted document and does not represent the views and opinions of Atomic Insights — not by a long shot.
Summary and Observations of the Conference for a Nuclear Free 1990s, April 26-27, 1991
On April 26 and 27, 1991, the Nuclear Information Resource Service (NIRS), the Safe Energy Communication Council (SECC), and Greenpeace convened the “Conference for a Nuclear Free 1990s – No More Chernobyls” at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Washington, D. C. The conference was attended by over five hundred people, including many representatives of local, regional, and national organizations opposed to nuclear power. Speakers at the conference included: Ralph Nader; Dr. Alice Stewart, Birmingham University, England; Olga Korbut, Chernobyl relief activist and Olympic Gold Medalist; Dr. David Marples, University of Alberta; Dr. Gennady Grushevoy, Deputy to the Parliament of Byelorussia; Citizens Clearinghouse for Hazardous Waste; Dean Tousley, Cousel for the House Interior Committee on Energy and the Environment; and Amory Lovins. The plenary sessions were chaired by Michael Mariotte, Executive Director of NIRS; Scott Denman, Executive Director of SECC; and Peter Bahouth, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA.
The conference commemorated the fifth anniversary of the accident at Chernobyl and focused on developing strategies for legal and political action against existing and future development of nuclear power. Ralph Nader delivered the most poignant challenge to the conference attendees to phase out nuclear power and deal with the “professional insanity” that has allowed the nuclear industry to flourish. The enclosure to this report provides the conference schedule. This note summarizes the main points and strategies discussed during the conference in terms of issues affecting NRC.
Antinuclear Strategies for the 1990s
- Label the Johnston-Wallop Energy Strategy bill as a tax increase; claim that higher taxes will be needed to help subsidize the nuclear industry
- Don’t let the American people forget about Chernobyl
- Develop a strategy now to take advantage of the next severe nuclear accident to kill nuclear power
- Develop a Rougue’s gallery of “who’s who in nuclear power,” including members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, CEOs of the vendor corporations, CEOs of the utilities, and members of Congress, with the object of making them personally accountable for their decisions and increasing visibility of the process
- Work for procurement legislation that requires governmental agencies to purchase items that counter the need for nuclear power (e. g., enhanced efficiency appliances and lightbulbs, solar power)
- Target specific controversial issues that appeal to the American public: evacuation planning and the size of the EPZ (5 vs. 40 miles), seismic protection, declining nuclear expertise, and release of INPO reports
- Reject any attempts to reach compromises on nuclear issues; any conciliations signal weaknesses of the environmental community in terms of their bottom line position that nuclear power must be eliminated
- Eliminate nuclear culture and the secrecy that has fostered this culture, which is “fundamentally anti-democratic”
- Close nuclear power down by halting development of new LLW disposal facilities
- Band together national environmental organizations with local opposition groups to fight development of new LLW disposal facilities
- Stop the new disposal facility near Needles, California, which is critical to decreasing or reversing the momentum of new site development and in demonstrating the effectiveness of citizen action against the disposal facilities
- Recognize the need to tailor strategies on a local or regional basis
- Improve connections with the media and the educational system — retake the schools
- Reject the National Energy Strategy and develop a policy that embraces conservation, efficiency, and renewable energy supplies as principle elements
Below Regulatory Concern
- Push legislation now to void NRC’s 1986 and 1990 BRC policies
- Cooperate with the States in supporting legislation that clarifies that NRC has no authority under the Atomic Energy Act to preempt more restrictive State requirements
- Reject the NRC’s consensus building effort, which is a transparent scam to derail legislative efforts
- Use an economic basis to block deregulation attempts
- Support Senator Wellstone’s amendments to the Johnston-Wallop Energy Strategy bill that oppose one-step licensing and clarify that NRC may not preempt more restrictive State regulations
- Consider adding provisions in the reauthorization of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act to void BRC decisions and clarify State authority
- Ensure that Agreement States (e.g., California) and DOE do not implement BRC while the debate focuses on NRC’s program
- Turn the issue around from “how clean is clean” to “How dirty is clean enough” and distinguish between cleanup levels and other limits (e.g,, on waste disposal) allowing contamination up to these levels
- Raise issues about the inappropriateness of comparing dose criteria to background levels (which already causes the majority of cancers, per Dr. Stewart), reject dose modeling as the basis for compliance (reject millirems and Effective Dose Equivalent, which is someone’s subjective judgment about the level of risk posed by radiation), and raise the prospect that inclusion of BRC wastes in municipal waste landfills could preclude their mining and recovery in years to come
- Continue to stall until Congress gives up on the repository program and the progress grinds to a halt
- Recognize that DOE itself is responsible for delays in characterizing the Yucca Mountain site
- Acknowledge that Yucca Mountain is not suitable, will not be found suitable, and cannot be licensed in accordance with 10 CFR Part 60 (“the only science in the system is political science”)
- Store spent fuel onsite using dry cask storage containers, while society rethinks its approach for HLW disposal; this approach is supported by NRC’s recent waste confidence decision which concludes that onsite storage is safe for 100 years
- Reject efforts by the Nuclear Waste Negotiator to negotiate an agreement for siting the repository, which was characterized by Peter Bahouth as an attempt to find Indian lands where the nuclear culture can dump its trash on the oldest culture in the nation
License Renewal and Aging
- Focus on three critical aging issues: pressure vessel embrittlement, pipe cracking and thinning, and steam generator replacement
- Concentrate on Yankee Rowe because it will be the first plant to submit for license renewal (in Fall 1991) and because the embrittlement issue is most severe for Yankee Rowe’s reactor vessel (NRC and the utility have no idea how brittle the vessel is; activation of the ECCS could cause thermal shock to the vessel sufficient to cause it to fail catastrophically and lead to a severe accident worse than Chernobyl); a representative from Yankee Atomic Power Corporation, Bill McGee, commented that Yankee is considering a range of options for replacing or fixing the Yankee Rowe vessel
- Recognize that there is no scientific basis behind NRC decisions regarding aging issues (“NRC doesn’t know what is going on”), including vessel embrittlement, leak before break policy, pipe wall thinning and cracking, multitude SG tube rupture, and significance of tube plugging; take these issues to the public to show “the Stalinization of American nuclear regulation” and the absurdity of NRC’s regulatory approach
- Include consideration of the current licensing basis and a plant’s compliance with this basis as part of the rule on license renewal (expressed by Dean Tousley as his personal views: NRC has no idea about what the licensing basis is for individual plants, NRC said it could not afford the resources to compile the current licensing basis in response to the Bingham Amendment in 1978(?), NRC has no idea whether currently operating plants comply with the licensing basis, the proposed rule shuts to public out by omitting the licensing basis from the scope of the renewal process and allowing utilities to keep files onsite, the rule allows the utilities to request relaxation of the current licensing basis even though the current licensing basis is not a part of the proceeding, the rule delegates the NRC’s responsibility to the utilities by allowing them to define what technical criteria should be imposed on the reactors to ensure safety, NRC has pulled the most important issue out of the license renewal by treating reactor vessel embrittlement separately)
- Recognize that NRC’s license renewal rule indirectly codifies the meaning of adequate protection as either (1) whatever level of protection a plant currently provides or (2) the level of safety of the least safe plant at its least safe moment (per Dean Tousley)
- Focus on the issues of aging, counterfeit parts, concrete and support structure degradation, and waste storage in license renewal
- Involve the public before docketing the license application, when NRC has its greatest impact on the licensee, similar to the approach that has worked well in the prelicensing process for the HLW repository
- File 2.206 petitions now to address the reactor vessel embrittlement issue through implementation of the Pressurized Thermal Shock rule, rather than waiting to address this issue as part of license renewal
- Work with State governments and public utility commissions to preclude relicensing of existing plants based on economic grounds and “certificates of need” — forget the feds
- Recognize that litigating against NRC is an uphill, drawn out process
- Link litigation to networking with other organizations on important issues, proactive media campaigns, and political action in Congress
- Look for opportunities to intervene in license amendments and enforcement actions, particularly when the reactors are shut down
- Take independent action under the Clean Water Act to compel enforcement against violations; easy to get involved with repeat violations and make the utilities pay
- Push legislative approaches to tax nuclear power, such as New Hampshire’s legislation that would impose a tax on nuclear power-generated electricity (imposed as a 0.64% property tax) because nuclear power imposes unique responsibilities and safety burdens on society and long-lasting impacts on the environment (the legislation was introduced by Governor Gregg, passed by the House, and scheduled for a hearing in the State Senate on Thursday, May 2, 1991)
- Request information from the librarians at the NRC’s Public Document Room, who are doing a great job in providing information
- Oppose what appears to be a concerted effort by the NRC to shut the public out of the process (e.g., raising thresholds for contentions, deficient Sunshine Act notifications, license renewal rule, refusal to release INPO reports)
- Be wary of efforts ty the NRC to negotiate agreements or seek consensus; in the LSS negotiated rule, NRC abandoned the consensus position in followup actions on the LSS rule (why should the public participate in a process when the NRC is not obligated to accept the end result?)
- Demand that NRC provide followup reports in response to events and improve information transfer to people who live in the vicinity of the plants
- Demand explanations when NRC fails to followup on earlier reports of problems (e.g., why didn’t NRC followup on INPO’s identification of problems with check valves on the “A” safety train at Seabrook in 1988, yet the plant was recently shut down to address this issue (8 out of 9 bolts missing on one of the valves))
- Recognize that background radiation is the most important carcinogen and may be responsible for all the ambient fatal cancers (~20% of all deaths in developed countries)
- Recognize that in uteri exposure to background radiation is the most important cause of childhood cancers, based on the results of comprehensive epidemiological studies performed by the NRPB
- Reject attempts by industry and government officials to justify selection of exposure levels based on comparisons with background exposure; given the health effects attributed to background exposures, set radiation protection standards to prevent exposure above background levels
- Demand that radiation protection standards be based on the risks of genetic, teratogenic, and latent effects on the immunological system, in addition to lethal and non-lethal cancer
- Insist that “real” radiation standards be established rather than standards that employ millirems based on unverified computer models and effective dose equivalents based on subjective estimates of the risks imposed by radiation exposure
- Recognize that radiation exposures to Chernobyl victims have caused “Chernobyl AIDS” — an immunological deficiency syndrome especially prevalent in children
- Push for resettlement of up to 2,000,000 additional people living in areas contaminated by fallout from the Chernobyl accident
- Send vitamins and support exchange programs to allow children in Byelorussia and the Ukraine to purge their bodies of cesium and other isotopes
- Acknowledge that the frequency of serious blood disorders has increased in adults exposed to Chernobyl fallout from 2.3/10,000 in 1983 to 64.8/10,000 in 1990
- Demand release of the medical and dosimetric analyses on the exposed population at Chernobyl that have thus far been kept secret
- Demand an independent study be conducted by the Greens about the health consequences of the Chernobyl accident
- Declare April 26 as an international day for the prevention of nuclear and other industrial accidents
- Recognize that the amount of 137Cs released from Chernobyl was 6,000,000 times that released from the Accident at TMI
- Acknowledge that the Chernobyl accident was caused by a design failure (e.g., control rods were too short), rather than operator error, and that the accident occurred after a routine shutdown of the plant; emphasize that the USSR representatives lied to the IAEA in August 1986 and that these lies have been knowingly propagated by government agencies that promote nuclear power
- Demand assessment and cleanup of over 800 nuclear waste dumps that were hastily constructed around the Chernobyl reactor after the accident
- Acknowledge that over 7000 people have already died from radiation exposures associated with the Chernobyl accident in the Ukraine alone, and that over 4,000,000 people are currently suffering from direct radiation effects
April 30, 1991
(Emphasis in original used underlines, but this web version uses bold instead.)
Several of the strategic points have been overcome by events. In some cases, the antinuclear movement won its battle. For example, the NRC’s below regulatory concern process was abandoned and Yankee Rowe owners decided to shut down the plant rather than continue fighting about vessel embrittlement. Yucca Mountain stonewalling continues to be a successful strategy, even 23 years later.
In other cases, the antinuclear movement did not succeed, but it certainly imposed high costs on the industry and the government during the lengthy process of being defeated. About 2/3 of currently operating reactors have been successfully relicensed, several low level waste repositories finally opened, and leak before break rules have been firmly established after extensive testing programs.
One of the reasons for posting this strategy document is to enable nuclear advocates to have a better understanding of the strength and organizational endurance of the antinuclear movement.
It was also enlightening to note the bullets that specifically discourage people in the movement from engaging constructively with people who favor the use of nuclear energy. Those strong warnings might help explain the responses that James Hansen and his climate scientist colleagues have been getting in their effort to persuade environmental organizations to take a fresh look at nuclear energy in light of the need to address CO2 emissions.
This explains a LOT. We need a similar strategy document.
Point 1 – Return to the Below Regulatory Concern. Target the EPA new regulations on radiation.
Ok, who else can add some?
“Target the EPA new regulations on radiation”
To what purpose? To convince John Q that you are trying to “get away with something”? Ol’ John appreciates Uncle Sam protecting him and his family from that bad nasty radiation boogie man.
If your “strategy” convinces John Q that you’re trying to duck under Uncle’s safety net, your “strategy” is dead in the water.
Better that you convince John Q that you’re aware of the risks, and are working with Uncle Sam to make sure plants are safe, that John Q and his family will not be exposed, that you and Uncle Sam are arm in arm in creating, and planning for, an acceptable level of risk that stands very little chance, thanks to safety measures, of exposing John Q to harmful levels of radiation. The Catch 22 is that you gotta let the Uncle set those levels, because John Q long ago ceased trusting you.
If you and Uncle get into public spats, it is guaranteed that John Q is gonna side with his Uncle. Thats just a fact.
“Thats just a fact.”
If we don’t convince people that they are being deceived about the effects of radiation then there is no future for Nuclear Energy. If we follow what you are saying there is no way out. Running around in circles of ever decreasing levels of radiation exposure feeds directly into
“Recognize that background radiation is the most important carcinogen and may be responsible for all the ambient fatal cancers (~20% of all deaths in developed countries)”
That is to say, you are recommending that we follow the suggestions of those trying to close down nuclear power.
According to the “Tipping Point” book, the best target audience are those who are favorable toward us already. Moving more from the supportive group to the passionate group is the best method of moving the whole.
When I am saying target EPA regulations. I mean to ask EPA to regulate all radiation exposures from ALL sources at the same level. Currently Naturally Occurring Radiative Materials NORM are exempt from regulation. This means that often Nuclear Power plants are held to a standard below background radiation. Coal plants release uranium and other radioactive materials at levels far beyond what any Nuclear Power plant could release them. So the debate would be to say to EPA. “Don’t regulate industry to radiation levels below what naturally occurs. You don’t even have to mention nuclear. Most will find this a reasonable standard.
“If we don’t convince people that they are being deceived about the effects of radiation then there is no future for Nuclear Energy”
The only way you can publically argue dose limits is by citing technical science that John Q public niether understands, nor wants to hear. The public has already, even if wrongly, passed judgement about the “danger” that radiation poses at ANY level. With the public you’ve already lost that debate.
That is not to say that you should not argue the hard core science behind closed doors. You might, if your science is sound, win that battle.
But you need to understand that John Q Public is not thinking on your level. For instance, regarding Fukushima, the average man on the street has a very simple way of assessing the risk…..”Well, if it was safe, the government wouldn’t have evacuated all those people”.
And you can get technical, throw math, terminology, science, studies, and informed opinion at them till hell freezes over. And you know what they’re going to say when you have finished cramming the science down their throats? …..”Well, if it was safe, the government wouldn’t have evacuated all those people.”
I don’t understand why some of you need to be dragged kicking and screaming to the realization that you can’t make nuclear scientists out of housewifes, salesmen, carpenters, bankers and gardeners.
The cats out of the bag. They’re already terrified of the radiation boogie man. You ain’t going to change that by telling them that Uncle Sam is simply bullshitting them, and heres the science, (that they can’t understand), to prove it.
You start a publically aired brawl with Uncle Sam about the science, and you’ll lose, hands down. Such an action will only serve to defeat what it is you hope to achieve. Fight the science brawl behind closed doors, while convincing John Q Public that you have a commodity that it is safe, because you’re working hand in hand with the good Uncle to make sure its safe.
Course, instead, you’ll probably come out whining about how that senile old Uncle Sam is just out to getcha, and the EPA is just an extension of the fossil fuel industry, hell bent on burning up the planet with bogus science and un-needed regulation. Thats a helluva strategy, David. Whats that ‘ol saying about “Bend over and kiss your..???…goodbye?”
This depends on whether the man on the street understands that nuclear power deprives government of money that it might make on fossil fuels.
Recent election results in Japan suggest the men and women on their streets do in fact understand this.
I agree with David. Although we can’t make nuclear scientists out of house wives, the videos of the gal on Guarapari Beach in Brazil with her detector speaks volumes. Using simple analogies helps. Her statement that she received more dose from Guarapari Beach than she did at Chernobyl is powerful. Relating dose to traveling by air, or living at altitude, or having granite counter tops, or living in high dose regions like Guarapari Beach, all convey truth that the average John Q can understand. Does it convince everybody, no, but one doesn’t need to be a nuclear scientist to use common sense.
Just because it is an uphill battle and the media are against us, doesn’t mean we should give up.
Lastly, we need to stop being on the defensive, trying to defend the imperfections of performance, equipment reliability, etc. Take the battle to the enemy, call them out for being liars, give examples, refute non-sense with facts, give examples, expose the charlatans like Caldicott, Busby, Mangano, Gundersen, etc. These knaves provide plenty of fodder to embarrass the tin-foil hat crowd. They ARE kooks, cranks, and crackpots, and yes, some are highly educated; but their foolish statements can be exploited. Ok, I’m headed to the garage to beat on the heavy bag!
Oh my David, that is just amazing.
Lets pretend that background is high, and a little more won’t hurt you so much…..
Anti Nuke is NOT pro coal, wake up. Red Pill please
According to Wade Allison @ Radiation and Reason, background levels anywhere on Earth are far below what is needed to harm people, even pregnant women.
Anti Nuke is pro coal because these are the only two technologies that are able to deliver electricity at a reasonable cost 24/7. The radiation released by Coal burning facilities comes from the small amounts of uranium and and thorium in the coal. These amounts are much less than the lead in the coal but enough to raise the radiation releases far above that allowed for Nuclear power. All I am saying is that it is a reasonable approach to regulation to allow for a floor. That is to say, that the EPA and NRC would not regulate an amount of radiation released or contamination released below levels we are normally exposed to.
Do you see problems with this approach? If yes, could you detail them?
Anti Nuke IS pro coal, if only by default. It is the energy source of choice when nuclear is shut down. It is thus in Japan and true in Germany. If anti’s are against coal, then let them attack coal the way they do nuclear instead of taking Coal company money to attack nuclear.
I believe you’ve had one pill too many.
“If you and Uncle [Sam] get into public spats, it is guaranteed that John Q is gonna side with his Uncle. That’s just a fact.”
Sad but true. The average American would rather trust politicians and their political appointees who are men and women over nuclear engineers who likewise are men and women. At least in the case of the latter they do not suckle at the teat of the public treasury as the former do.
Why people think that those in Government are trustworthy and honest whereas those in business – say the nuclear one – are not is a mystery. They each have the same concupiscence, but I would wager that the nuclear professional is less given to surrendering to such concupiscence than the average politician or his political appointee. Several recent political corruption spectacles – all involving the President’s party – come to mind. Can we say, Gregory Jackzo?
Paul, I think its important for you to realize the global warming deniers are a huge roadblock to the advancement of nuclear energy. Surely you must be cognizant of that fact.
Thats what I don’t understand about your absurdly zealous partisanship.
I don’t think that people with concerns over the approach taken to “combat” global warming are a huge road block to the expansion of Nuclear power. They are generally favorable to Nuclear or have a neutral opinion. The real block is the successful demonization of radiation. As long as many feel / believe that there is NO safe level of radiation then Nuclear power has a huge uphill battle.
It is interesting that in the SiFi coming out of the 1950’s there was a strong assumption that we would be using Nuclear power in the future. In fact, many authors correctly understood radiation at that time. Society was teaching these things in school science classes. Today, little about radiation is taught in Science classes. That would be the second suggestion I would make to Nuclear Power Advocates. Get a Geiger Counter into every Middle school and high school and train the science teacher how to use it. Develop a curriculum to teach the generally agreed science of radiation to High Schools. Even using the LNT assumption the amount of potential damage at back ground levels is unmeasurable. (It can be projected or extrapolated but not directly measured).
By the way, I am in no way connected or ever have been connected with the Nuclear Power industry. Though some of my uncles served on Nuclear submarines.
Too bad the pro-nuclear movement doesn’t have a strategy.
Oh wait! Too bad there’s not a pro-nuclear movement that could/would get together to develop a strategy.
Yes Cheryl, the anti-nukes are well organized and like zealots for any cause no matter how dubious, are well motivated. They also benefit from the fact that workers in the nuclear industry have rock solid integrity if only because they’re compelled to by fear of penalties–honesty is a given. These qualities are bereft in the anti-nuke community where duplicity, exaggeration, and falsehood reign supreme.
So, motivation, the media, and deceitfulness are the strengths of the anti-nukes, but ALL the science rests comfortably in the pro-nuclear camp.
“Too bad the pro-nuclear movement doesn’t have a strategy”
Seems to me there’s a light coming on in this respect, at least on this blog. People such as Rod, and some of the industry insiders here, seem to be cognizant of the fact that thier narrative is sorely in need of overhaul. I don’t know enough about the “nuclear community” to judge the wieght that Rod and others here carry within the community, but I suspect thier contacts are fairly extensive. They would be smart to lower the intellectual content of thier message, and reach out to the human side of John Q Public. Of course, there are proffessionals that specialize in PR strategies, and the industry is badly in need of thier services. If nuclear is the utopian energy option they claim it is, I hope they avail themselves of these proffessional services, because, as it is, they are the black sheep of the energy sector.
Rod has been highly successful in sparking interest and many many spin off blogs. I totally agree that many here have a difficult time speaking in ways the general public understands. They are Engineers or Scientists for the most part. They discipline each other over minor math errors. But the levels or differences between dangerous and normal are so high that there is plenty of room for approximation.
In most safety factors you determine what is dangerous and then you add a factor of 5 or so. So if a rope will break at 1000 lbs you rate it for 200 lbs. This gives you a safety factor of 5. A very healthy safety factor. In the case of radiation the safety factor is on the order of 100 to 1000 times. This means that your 1000 lbs rope is only rated for 10 or even just 1 lbs. What is terrible is that under the current regulation (As Low as Reasonably Achievable) we are being measured by how little weight can be applied to that 1000 lbs line. In other words, if a person can get by with 1/2 pound that become the standard until someone else can make it a 1/4 pound. This is insane. The rope is not the problem the standard is the problem Ropes are for using! NOT for making sure you don’t stress them at all.
This is a worthwhile discussion to have with many people. Challenge the people who post every photo of deformed babies and say it comes from radiation with the real and measurable actual effects.
I was teaching accounting to Filipinos in a Child Development project. I asked them how many people had died because of Nuclear Power. They told me millions! This was very scary! I told them that the actual number for Three Mile Island was ZERO. That the number for Chernobyl was 56 immediate with no more than a few thousand estimated cancers. (This was before Fukushima). They were amazed and their fear level greatly decreased. There were NPA in the area trying to stop the installation of Cell Towers in rural areas by scaring the people that they would die from the radiation coming from the towers.
TIME TO DECOMMISSION AMERICA’S AGING FLEET OF NUCLEAR OPPONENTS?
Pro-nuclear activists have been quite successful I think, it is a long process.
If you just look at the anti-nuclear/pro coal propagandists you will see they are getting up there in years. Among people in the under 30 age group I rarely if ever come across anyone who is anti-nuclear. All the anti-nuclear people I know are over 40 and as Greenpeace likes to say they are “rapidly aging.”
By the way, I have nothing against people of any age, I am merely pointing out that anti-nuclear activists are getting up there in years and refuse to look at new evidence!
Being younger, we are more social and are working to change the opinions of those around us.
The nuclear community/industry doesn’t need eons to contemplate any stragedy. They just need to call the Natural Gas Lady’s PR firm.
Meanwhile the IER has just published a piece “Is the U.S. Falling Behind in the Nuclear Energy Race?” to which the answer is a definitive yes, there’s basically nothing to correct in all of what they say :
The strategy of anti-nuclear is failing. There will be a massive increase in nuclear in the next decade. However the part of their strategy that’s completely successful is that the US and Europe will be falling on the wayside of it. China and Russia are taking a decisive lead on world nuclear, China more on it’s domestic market, Russia more on exports, with most of the rest in India.
Did anyone have the same impression that I did when I came across the following “pearl” in this sea of delusional and mindless rants?
— Store spent fuel onsite using dry cask storage containers, while society rethinks its approach for HLW disposal; this approach is supported by NRC’s recent waste confidence decision which concludes that onsite storage is safe for 100 years.
Well yeah, we should do that! Oh wait, we ARE doing that! It’s not waste after all and we don’t want to put it in a irretrievable situation since it IS a valuable resource.
How did that get in there?
Always amusing to see nukers trying to stoke up their sense of persecution and victimhood by whining about the big, bad, nasty “anti-nukers”.
Of course, nukes are in terminal decline due to failed economics – nothing to do with a few hippies who had a meeting in 1991.
“Always amusing to see nukers trying to stoke up their sense of persecution and victimhood by whining about the big, bad, nasty “anti-nukers”.”
It ain’t pretty, but sometimes thats the way it comes across.
Yes, as now one fifth of the USs electricity is generated by its around 9 percent nuclear capacity. There are also about 435 reactors in the world with 173 new ones planned (around 60 under construction) and around 310 proposed plus (some truly colossal) and the possibility of mass production of SMRs and smaller reactor based power plants not to mention the proposed space reactor applications.
Yes, yes, yes such a stunning “terminal” decline.
LOL face reality, the ecomonics are done. Nuke dies at 14 cents per kWH (Kewaunee) and solar thrives at 9 cents with no subsidies (but there are huge fed and state and utilities subsidies)
@NP – What are you talking about? Kewaunee was selling into a grid where the wholesale electricity price — the one that they were paid for their output product — averaged about 3-4 cents per kilowatt hour and often dipped below 0 cents.
Rod, try to grasp the difference between nukes that were built long ago and amortized their capital, compared to new nukes and what they would have to sell their electricity for.
For someone who claims to be an expert you should know these basic things.
You mentioned Kewaunee. That was an existing nuke with amortized capital. My comment said nothing about new-build reactors.
Well done for posting current stats. But what does that have to do with the clear long-term decline of nukes?
“Nuclear Power Is Being Abandoned Worldwide. As a proportion of all electricity generated, nuclear peaked in 1993 at 17% and has now fallen to 10%. The number of reactors peaked in 2002 at 444, compared with 427 today. The share of electricity they produce is down 12% from its 2006 peak.”
Your “SMR” fantasy won’t change reality – nukes are a failed technology. Renewables have won.
“Renewables have won.”
Natural Gas 30%
Other Renewable 5%
Other Gases < 1%
To have winners, you must have a contest. This is simply solving the practical problem of the best way to keep from freezing in the dark.
And what percent of US energy is produced by solar power?
This, from the LA Times, Jan 12, 2014:
Of the 365 federal solar applications since 2009, just 20 plants are on track to be built. Only three large-scale solar facilities have gone online, two in California and one in Nevada. The first auction of public land for solar developers, an event once highly anticipated by federal planners, failed to draw a single bid last fall.
And this too, from the same article:
Some power from the three new operating plants has hit the grid, but as of 2012, solar’s contribution to the total national power supply was less than one-half of 1%.
Remember, the Sierra Club sued Calico Solar preventing them from building; claimed it had too large a footprint.
I’m all for solar, but if you place all your eggs in this basket, you won’t have electricity enough to print smug comments.
Rising global solar capacity is being led by China, Japan, and UK (not the US).
This doesn’t mean the US will be sitting on the sidelines indefinitely.
Residential solar projects in US increased 60% in 2013.
Cost of capital is dropping in an already very competitive market.
Cost of capital is dropping in an already very competitive market.
Solar gets cheap interest rates. Big deal; interest costs are low for most low risk investments. There is little risk in investing in subsidized power systems when utility customers are forced to purchase the output at higher than wholesale rates on the convoluted theory that a little bit of generation from customers reduces the cost of the distribution grid.
These additional costs will be negligible on an unsubsidized basis in many regions of the US by 2025.
Unsubsidized cost of solar in California from Nevada and Arizona (including future transmission and integration) is only .01 – .03 cents higher than projected costs for CCGT in 2025. Wind (unsubsidized and including future transmission and integration costs) is looking even more attractive.
Yes … many investors are starting to realize (as you suggest) “low risk” means stable and predictable returns. Good for the industry, and good for the consumer (who is also looking to avoid risk on large capital projects that utilities sometimes wish to make on their behalf).
These additional costs will be negligible on an unsubsidized basis in many regions of the US by 2025.
Sure. That’s true if you believe the unreliables promotional arm of the US government.
However, I believe it has about as much chance of being true as the projections of the Atomic Energy Commission 1962 Report to the President for the future cost of electricity from nuclear power plants. http://energyfromthorium.com/pdf/CivilianNuclearPower.pdf (See pages 33-34)
Government bureaucrats with vested interests are not the best sources of information about the future of the technology that they are paid to promote. The NREL is not much different in that respect than the AEC was.
This from the solarlove web site you list: http://solarlove.org/how-toxic-are-solar-panels-silicon-valley-toxics-coalition-solar-scorecard-2013/
Here is a quote from that article which is about transparency regarding manufacturing practices of solar panels:
“Additionally, Sheila noted that leading solar manufacturers JA Solar, Jinko Solar, and Hanwha SolarOne didn’t reveal any information regarding their environmental or social practices. Furthermore, these companies scored in single digits (from a possible 100 points). That means that SVTC’s researchers couldn’t find the answers on the companies’ websites to almost any of the environmental questions from its Scorecard questionnaire. Pretty lame….”
What is the capacity factor of solar? 25-28%? So for every MW listed, averaged over the year, you simply cut it by 75% to arrive at the true output.
What will we do with all the e-waste when the panels are replaced? Or, if we talk about solar power plants, how much land are you willing to devote to provide power for less than half the day? Ivanpah tallies at 4000 acres for 377 MW and the now shutdown, San Onofre, was 2250 MW that operated 24/7 and it was what, 30 acres?
“Residential solar projects in US increased 60% in 2013.” BFD, an increase of 60% of zip is still close to zip.
Again, from the LA Times article:
“An April 24, 2013 article in National Journal declared that California’s Dream to Be the Saudi Arabia of Solar Is Dead. It’s noteworthy that the California Energy Commission listing of “Large Solar Energy Projects” hasn’t been updated since September 14, 2012.”
Reading this document made me feel physically ill.
POA-I have appreciated your recent change in the tone of your posts that seem to me to be more open minded and less snide than some of your comments that came before, I for one much more appreciate the insights and views that you bring the table much more lately… However…
I am not too sure how many regular posters here are actually part of “the industry” or “industry insiders” I for one am a small business owner in the passenger transportation business who has never stepped foot in a nuclear plant I just have a strong interest and enjoy learning about such things. I also feel that our current reliance on fossil fuels is bad for the planet and us as a species. I also feel that access to abundant reliable power is life saving, encourages education, and allows a greater standard of living at this point in time I do not see renewables providing abundant, reliable power. That is why I read and post here not because I am part of “the industry” I would be surprised if more than a small number of participants here actually were employed in nuclear power related businesses.
“Chernobyl AIDS” – hmmm I have this legitimate global health concern, sitting here heaped and made worse with fear and misinformation so lets combine it with this other heap of fear and misinformation to give it more importance – yes – surely that will help matters.
With radiation, still even it seems some people will attribute medical consequences from spontaneous decapitation to a hangnail and everything in between while leaving no other trace whatsoever.
Much of this is a bit extreme and unbelievable but I guess to be fair this was, late cold war, pre Internet and what we know to be misinformation, to them possibly could have seemed like gospel truth that had been suppressed and it was a great public service to be spreading far and wide.
“Demand an independent study be conducted by the Greens about the health consequences of the Chernobyl accident”
I cant imagine what it would be like to argue with one of them.
Thankfully everyone didn’t listen to them then and most everyone today is probably a lot more sophisticated in matters of health, climate, pollution and energy.
Please don’t disparage all of the hard work done by the Nuclear Energy Institute and others by saying that we don’t have a game plan to promote nuclear, get the playing field leveled up, ease regulatory burden, risk inform NRC oversight and licensing requirements and so on. I could swear I have just such a plan somewhere in my files that I picked up at an NRC Reg.Info. Conference back in 2001 or thereabouts. It was about straegies and priorities for improving the regulatory environment and it was, I seem to recall, generated by Morgan, Lewis, et al. If I can dig it out, I’ll send it along and, of course, I’d appreciate you posting anything similar.
Just curious. When you used the word “we” in “we don’t have a game plan,” who are you referring to? I suspect that you and I are not trying to pull in the same direction.
So after evacuating citizens for no valid reasons, the evacuation orders are finally lifted.
For 3 years, I was a free man. I ate a bag of Lays chips everyday. That exposed me to more radiation than those poor japanese would have had to endure had they stayed home.
Is this the true price of freedom ? Basic knowledge ? Fear ?
This document is interesting on so many levels. The first thing that stands out is that it’s the same familiar faces from today’s anti nuclear movement who were active over 20 years ago. For all of the complaints about the nuclear workforce retiring without being replaced it seems that the problem will be even worse for the anti nuclear movement.
The other stand out from this document is just how successful the political goals have been while all of their science had proven to be completely wrong. Yucca Mountain was stopped and they successfully strangled the industry with over regulation, but history has shown that the Chernobyl accident was nowhere near as bad as it appeared at the time. The statements about the dangers of radiation were known to be wrong in the early 1990’s and now they just look silly. It is sad that so many people still believe them though.
I really hope that as the tired tactics in this document are addressed by the nuclear industry (and I think that great process has been made) that the world can move forward with a safe, clean and cheap power source. Fingers crossed that there is more progress in the next 20 years than there was in the last.
Dude, the problems is the humans, not the tech.
If you can eliminate humans from the nuke issue, I will support it. Greed, politics, corporate profits…….
How do greed, politics and corporate politics impact on nuclear issues more than any other? Do you oppose all things that can be subject to greed, politics or corporate profits?
This is what I find so interesting about 4th generation reactors. I really like the pebble bed reactors that are walk away safe. The NuScale designs are walk away safe. This can be done. I am interested in Nuclear power designs that will work in countries that are corrupt, low infrastructure, subject to coup, war and other human calamities. This can be done. Light water reactors are safe as demonstrated by TMI and Fukushima. They melt down and the protection systems work to prevent disaster (people dying from radiation, no design can prevent a political disaster). But I would like a design that even if walked away from for a year, you could come back to it and start it back up.
Rod’s Atomic Engines are in this category. http://www.atomicengines.com/
Are you speaking of the greed displayed by people like Christopher Busby who is exploiting the tragedy in Japan for personal profit by selling snake oil to a people frightened further by the false claims of anti-nuke charlatans? see http://www.monbiot.com/2011/11/22/how-the-greens-were-misled/
By the way, George Monbiot, just another former anti-nuke who discovered common sense on the issue.
Or, are you referring to those who would, for a fee, use their education, training, “expertise” to lie, make false statements, perform bogus studies, all in an effort to frighten the public and raise the cost of doing business, i.e., generating electricity from nuclear, a cost that the rest of us have to bear?
In regard to that anti-nuclear manifesto from the past, I note the authors’ determination to prevent safe storage of nuclear waste. People in the anti-nuclear movement have told me that they believed keeping the waste from being interred would stop the whole fuel cycle. But if their campaign is based on fear of any radiation source, including natural background exposure, then why would they insist on preventing safe storage? Maddeningly daffy. It’s understandable that the fossil fuel industry would generously fund anti-nuclear environmental groups like the Sierra Club.
As a reactor operator, I appreciated your book and your role in Pandora’s Promise.
The new UN report was a bit too slanted towards LNT for my tastes, which is not objectionable in itself but it also didn’t seem to bother to give justification for claims made centered on such bias, which is a rather major oversight IMHO. Still despite the vague possibilities presented the “little if any” medical outcomes predicted for Fuku radiation holds true. It pretty much blasts the Fuku fear mongers out of the water. In many respects, especially and finally the ocean environmental stuff:
Report of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation to the General Assembly
Levels and effects of radiation exposure due to the nuclear accident after the 2011 great east-Japan earthquake and tsunami:
38. No radiation-related deaths or acute diseases have been observed
among the workers and general public exposed to radiation from the
39. The doses to the general public, both those incurred during the first
year and estimated for their lifetimes, are generally low or very low. No
discernible increased incidence of radiation-related health effects are
expected among exposed members of the public or their descendants. The
most important health effect is on mental and social well-being, related to
the enormous impact of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident, and
the fear and stigma related to the perceived risk of exposure to ionizing
radiation. Effects such as depression and post-traumatic stress symptoms
have already been reported. Estimation of the occurrence and severity of
such health effects are outside the Committee’s remit.
4. Radiation exposures and effects on non-human biota
Exposures of selected non-human biota in the natural environment
were also estimated. The doses and associated effects of radiation on non-
human biota following the accident were evaluated against the Committee’s
previous evaluations of such effects.
5 Exposures of both marine and terrestrial non-human biota following the accident were, in general, too low for acute effects to be observed, though there may have been some exceptions because of local variability:
(a) Effects on non-human biota in the marine environment would be
confined to areas close to where highly radioactive water was released into
(b) Continued changes in biomarkers for certain terrestrial organisms,
in particular mammals, cannot be ruled out, but their significance for
population integrity of those organisms is unclear.
Any radiation effects would be restricted to a limited area where the deposition of radioactive material was greatest; beyond that area, the potential for effects on biota is
( http://www.unscear.org/docs/reports/2013/13-85418_Report_2013_Annex_A.pdf )
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