In the News: Oct/Nov 1996
Cost of Nuclear Power Phase Out
(September 13, 1996 Source- NucNet) – The authors of a recent study titled, “The Importance of Not Phasing Out Nuclear Power in Sweden” estimate that the direct cost of prematurely shutting down all 12 nuclear power units would be about 250 billion crowns (more than $35 billion). The figure is based on the assumption that all lost nuclear capacity would have to be replaced, and that the economical lifetime of a nuclear unit is at least 40 years. In indirect cost terms, a political decision to close down all 12 units by 2010 would result in electricity prices for industry doubling sooner or later.
Even if that increase did not take place immediately, its effect on industry would be immediate, because of the need for long-term investment planning. For many industries, especially in the pulp and paper sector, annual profit is currently less than the annual cost of electricity. The study assumes that the increase in electricity prices would thus lead to large scale closing or relocating of important industries with an associated loss in jobs, gross national product and tax revenue.
Job Losses at British Energy
(October 9, 1996) – The privatized nuclear power company British Energy PLC said Wednesday it will eliminate nearly a quarter of its jobs over three years, and a union leader expressed concerns about safety. British Energy said that by axing 1,460 jobs — leaving the total work force at about 4,800 — it can save $78 million a year.
Although chief executive Robert Hawley said the drive to cut costs will come “against a background of never compromising on our total commitment to safety,” a top union leader voiced his doubts. “The company will have to convince us that our members working inside the power stations and those living in communities around them will in no way be placed at risk because of the lower staffing levels,” said Danny Carrigan, national officer for the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union.
Carrigan called the planned job cuts a “kick in the teeth” to workers who had helped turn the company around economically.
$1000 Billion Worth of Coal Put Off Limits
(September 20, 1996) – President Clinton has created a controversial National Monument, which locks in an estimated 7 billion tonnes of low-sulphur coal, said to be worth up to US$ 1000 billion. The 700,000 hectare Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in the Utah desert includes coal leases which were to become a 6000 hectare underground mine exporting to East Asia. The leases, on Federal Government land, are not revoked but the new designation means that Washington will impose restrictions which prevent mining. The action does not require Congressional approval.