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      1. @Dan Yurman

        Though she might already be warming up and standing by for her cue, I don’t believe that the fat lady has started singing yet.

        The batter may have 2 strikes and no balls with 2 out in the 9th; but there is a chance that he can foul off enough pitches before launching into a nice fat curveball that doesn’t get any bite in the air.

        In other words, the final decision on Ft. Calhoun has not been made. The plant owners, a grouping that includes many of the plant workers and their neighbors, may be able to influence the board.

        1. Rod,

          I like the metaphors!

          However, my view is that the CEO would not go public, in a big way, unless he is confident of board support. If the board over rules him, the action could result in his being shown the door.

          The chair and vice chair, and treasurer, of OPPD all have political backgrounds. They are not business executives who have years of profit and loss experience. http://www.oppd.com/about/leadership/board-of-directors/

          CEO Tim Burke’s bio shows the same type of background.

          You don’t encounter anyone in the senior leadership team with nuclear expertise until you get to the Exelon representative who represents the firm that is actually running the plant for OPPD. http://www.oppd.com/about/leadership/senior-management-team/shane-m-marik/

          My view is that the CEO and the board leadership most likely already agree on the closure decision, and that the run up to the June meeting is just part of a spin cycle.

          If the CEO had any doubts about which way the wind was blowing with the board, he never would have made such a big press splash with his “recommendation.”

          1. @Dan Yurman

            Fair enough.

            However, there are plenty of examples of supposedly bright people in leadership positions being misled by continuous occupation of groupthink bubbles surrounded by “yes men,” that simply reinforce bad plans with bad information and analysis designed to produce the answers that will make the boss happy.

            Having lots of people in the decision chain who are political and not technical points the way to a potentially successful strategy. If Ft. Calhoun’s numerous supporters recognize the threat, organize quickly and raise Cain, political animals will flex with the resulting blowback as readily as prairie grass.

            If the decision was being proposed and supported by people with deep nuclear knowledge, I might suspect the decision was being driven by a possible technical issue where it’s possible and safe to defer repairs long enough to use up the current fuel load and then shut down without taking the risk of making another expensive repair.

    1. Hearing about Cahoun made me very sad and angry. Loved that plant. I worked the outage where they replaced their generators, Rx Head…….AND their pressurizer.

  1. Corporate big-wigs have no loyalty, save for the bottom line. It’s all about the “do-re-me” of the decommissioning denaro.

  2. Unfortunately the global warming scenario presents no hard-evidence alert that say, an incoming asteroid or comet has with mathematical certainty. If it can be definitely proven that catastrophic climate change is impending or even irreversible it’d be a major incentive to demand that abandoned NPPs are at worst only mothballed instead of scrapping them. We have an enormous National Oil Reserve stockpile in the south for a rainy embargo day. The same national emergency excuse can done to preserve nuclear plants for when weather starts going to hell.

    Those who live in the New York will be familiar of the states’s massive promotion ads and commercials, especially the part where the speaker is mentioning “New York’s diverse power” and you get flash images of solar and wind farms and Niagara Falls but zit any nukes. Nice diversity. I wholeheartedly concur with Rod’s statement that it seems “Entergy has lost all interest in continuing to operate its merchant nuclear plants.” They sure are giving backhand support to Indian Point straight from Long Island Lighting’s pagebook with Shoreham. Can you spell nada defensive or promo Ads? The nuclear community/industry should ask itself why the man/woman on the street think solar and wind are so “friendly” and take a clue from there if it’s not already too late to patch-up the Titanic.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  3. Not a reflection on their being good people, but VY locals and supporters just didn’t fight hard and dirty enough like their adversaries. I’ve seen groups fight harder to keep public parks and old trees every which way they could. I also blame other nuclear communities for watching VY suffer on the sidelines without a wilt of moral support. There’s that old Jewish ghetto proverb; “One day they came to my neighbor’s door but we said and did nothing when they took him away, then one day they knocked my door but no one came to help me…”

    1. Mitch,
      When VY was a state-regulated power plant, there was no public relations incentive. Also, as time went on, most of the newer population to the state was of the anti-nuclear variety and strongly so. When ENTERGY purchased the facility, they were primarily interested in making money (not altogther a bad thing). They greatly underestimated the negative political climate and its ability to affect their bottom line by its levying of new taxes on some aspect of the plant’s operation, at any opportunity. ENTERGY certainly didn’t bring any positive advertising money into the game. Many folks on the fence were uneducated about nuclear power and its impact on the their economic and climatic (?) environment. As a former operator and trainer (35 years) I’m very bitter about the way that the state treated us. I agree with your position about non-support from the other nuclear communities. If the nuclear industry had any brains,it would get together and at least fund some national pro-nuclear advertising.

      1. If the nuclear industry had any brains,it would get together and at least fund some national pro-nuclear advertising.

        Isn’t this where NEI & ANS are supposed to step up to the plate major league?

  4. See, I’m more aggressive when it comes to taking my livelihood. If the Union Of Concerned Scientists are successful in shutting us down……..I’m waiting out in their parking lot and beating the sh*t out of as many as possible.

    I’m very Pro-Nuke, but I’m also A NUKE……this kind of BS affects my family and I will not go down without a fight. I would love nothing more than to confront these pathetic, anti-reality morons verbally, but I just can’t see myself holding back from punching them in the head.

    Patty was wonderful, but I just can’t see myself being Patty in this situation.

    1. Hi Bonds 25 may I ask what is the exact difference between proclaiming yourself as being both Pro-Nuke, but also a NUKE.

      1. @bemagee

        I’m not Bonds 25, but “nuke” is the affectionate nickname for someone who is trained in nuclear energy technology and works in the business. A more formal version of the name would be “nuclear professional.”

        There are hundreds of millions of people who are pro-nuke without being able to claim the title of “nuke,” just as there are hundreds of millions that are pro-flying without being able to call themselves aviators.

  5. “Plant owners and government decision makers often do not recognize the people that work in the nuclear business as special people with unique, virtually irreplaceable intellectual capital that is their very own because it has been earned and stored over a lengthy career in which it would be impossible to document everything they see, touch, smell and hear.”

    Rod, thank you for this powerful statement. As of this moment we have one of Ft. Calhoun’s RCP motors in our shop, approximately 1 week away from it’s final no-load test run. We are all wondering if they (OPPD) will pull the plug on this motor’s refurbishment. Quite disconcerting. Although we have been awfully busy, there is a sense among us of not if, but when it will all end.

    I’ve got 14 years in the Nuclear Services Division, and other than LEMUG, PWROG and other conferences, there is almost zero promotion of clean nuclear power production in the mainstream media. This amazing technology appears to believe that it does not lend itself to shameless promotion like the large petroleum companies, who have set aside massive campaign funds in order to “teach” the public about how good they have it with their products. I’ve seen the price of oil drop due to a huge global surplus, and yet the price of a gallon of gas go up at my local station. There was a huge gas line explosion in my region 3 weeks ago, but the petroleum companies continue to advertise.

    So, if there is no serious promotion, then the general public has no basis to complete a pro/con. All they see and hear is the news. We both know what the news pundits have to say. I was travelling back into the United States from a nuke job in Spain when I saw the news about Fukushima. That gave me the chills. The general public runs scared and the nuke industry remains mum.

    The way I see it, the world must have electricity first in order to have petroleum products second. If the nuclear electricity providers advertised as much as the petroleum industry, the world would most likely be accustomed to this fact, and therefore not be as scared of something as natural as radiation.

    Personally, I’m more concerned about what fracking has done to our water supply and how that in turn is affecting my family, than I am going to work and picking up a little dose. My family picks up a little dose just going outside………

  6. I remain perplexed, however, as to why the company has not made any effort to find a buyer for the fleet instead of destroying their productive capacity.
    So you think some company can continue their operation with a good P&L picture.

    How can someone show that Entergy is stupid?
    E.g. by turning the fleet into a profitable business?

  7. Entergy is not giving up on IPEC, it’s a cash cow, and we’ve stated as much. It will be a very big fight until the end on those units. Palisades has a power purchase agreement for the next several years, so there is time there. Other than that, yeah, I’d say we’re on a very quick timeline to close out the rest of the northern merchant plants. In the same breath, anyone thinking that even the regulated southern plants are safe is not thinking clearly. There is tremendous pressure to become more efficient and streamlined, and to prove we can execute on time, on budget and maintain high reliability. Interestingly enough, the resources have been starved for a prolonged period, resulting in our age management plant not keeping the units well preserved for extended runs. It’s going to be interesting, I know that much.

    1. Not any more than any other propaganda material.

      It’s a “report” that tells its audience what they want to hear. That audience, of course, consists of so-called “environmentalists” who are not interested in thinking too deeply about these issues. Just a brief scan of the Executive Summary reveals that the authors started from predetermined conclusions and then assembled whatever biased information they could find to construct a case for it.

      Even then, it’s not particularly well written. It tends to focus on the pedantic and irrelevant rather than providing any useful information. The authors obviously assume that their audience is completely ignorant of this topic.

      1. “That audience, of course, consists of so-called “environmentalists” who are not interested in thinking too deeply about these issues.”

        So, Brian, in your infinite wisdom, are you of the mind that all “environmentalists” are able to be shoehorned into this category you’ve assigned to them? Or is this just one more example of your small minded and self ingratiating egotistical braying??

        1. Care to offer your own critique, A? Or is your only purpose on this site to personally attack others and carry out lame personal vendettas?

          1. Well, looked at the link, and its BS. Which gave you an excuse to “attack” the environmentalists. Instead of attacking the purveyors, you attack an entire movement. Its typical of you, to stereotype groups into a neat little package, so you can attack the group as a whole. You are completely unable to engage in introspection, aren’t you Brian? Never willing to look at your own statements and opinions as an invitation for insult? Bray on, Brian.

          2. The report is BS.

            And your using it to excuse drop another one of your ignorant stereotyping comments is your own kinda BS.

      1. Rod…you only need to read the first few paragraphs, as Brian asserts, to realize this “report” was written with a preordained agenda.

        Personally, I consider people smitten by propaganda to be victims. Certainly, those with good intentions, tainted by bad information, should not be derided and insulted for their misplaced trust. Not many people are willing to expend the time to dig beneath the media line. And even if hungry for facts, many do not have the time to spend in searching out and analyzing information counter to what their media source of choice has planted in their minds. A true “environmentalist”, in spirit, has altruistic motives. Being misinformed does not erase the altruism. I consider myself an “environmentalist”. When I came here I was uninformed, and misinformed. So, does that make me someone “who is not interested in thinking too deeply about these issues”? I consider you an “environmentalist” as well. Do you fit in the box Brian has taped together for you?

        The irony here is the reference Brian makes to shallow thinking. I doubt I’m the only participant here that reads the irony. Or, perhaps I am. And, if so, thats ok too

        1. @poa

          I can understand your point of view. Perhaps Brian’s presentation is more harsh than it should be, but I can also see his point of view.

          It’s fine with me if people have plenty of other concerns and don’t want to spend their limited time on earth thinking deeply about energy supply systems or other issues that may be targets of propaganda.

          However, if they decide they should become activists and engage in the decision making processes that affect millions of other people, I think they should take some time to think deeply and read widely about the subjects they want to influence. It may sound terribly elitist of me to say this, but people who only care enough about a subject area to be lightly informed and pushed around by propagandists should keep their opinions and leave the decision processes to those who actually understand the topic.

          I don’t actually believe that my position is an elitist point of view; in our modern world it does not take too much time to learn enough about almost any topic to be able to recognize propaganda and sift interest group messaging from more accurate information. You don’t need fancy degrees or position titles. You don’t even more than very moderate resources. All you need is honest curiosity and the ability to pay attention to the world around you.

          1. “However, if they decide they should become activists and engage in the decision making processes that affect millions of other people, I think they should take some time to think deeply and read widely about the subjects they want to influence”

            Ok.  When did we determine the “audience” (Brian’s word) for this report were environmentalists, much less environmentalist “activists”?

  8. Talking about Ft. Calhoun read this:

    “OPPD Announces Wind Energy Purchase
    The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors voted unanimously to purchase 400 megawatts of wind power capacity by the end of 2013 from the Grande Prairie wind farm near O’Neill, Neb.

    OPPD only considered wind farms located in Nebraska in its purchase. This historic investment in wind is the largest single investment in wind energy by a Nebraska utility, and will save OPPD customers money while spurring economic development across the state. This purchase puts OPPD on the path to generating 30 percent of its energy from renewable sources by the end of 2015.”

    OPPD estimated that construction costs for the Grande Prairie wind farm will total $700 million, which will provide significant economic development for the local community near O’Neill and the entire state of Nebraska. The Grande Prairie wind farm will be constructed by Geronimo Energy, a Minnesota-based developer of utility-scale wind and solar energy projects throughout the United States. OPPD noted that operation of the wind farm would create 15 to 20 permanent jobs.” More detailed info at –
    OPPD facts including Wind power holdings. – http://www.oppd.com/media/216550/quick-facts.pdf [Some are supply contracts and some are OPPD owned /operated.]

    Yet the board complains that Ft. Calhoun costs to much and should be shut down. Note that the numbers in this article refer to Name Plate ratings, the board brags about providing 1/3 of the districts power from this “Name Plate” number ignoring or at least not telling the public that that Name Plate rating amount will only provide 1/3 of 1/3 of the districts needs and not the 1/3 they claim. The total amount they are constructing is very close to that “Name P{late wise as that of Ft. Calhoun. – Strange indeed. Or is it a case that the boards just do not understand name plate numbers. OPPD does have quite a few OTGT units, thus they can make a killing providing peaking power to the surrounding states and make up for the $0.25 Wind power after losing the 0.03 Nuclear power.

    Meanwhile –

    “NPPD Votes Against More Wattage Through Wind Turbines [NPPD services the rest of Nebraska] ” More at –


  9. Fort Calhoun is as good as gone. I hate to say it but once these things get announced it almost seems like the owner almost works against any effort to save the plant.

    Exelon seems somewhat different but a big test is in progress in Illinois. It seems like a reasonable plan is being proposed to credit nuclears’ zero CO2 attribute but will they actually pass it.

    I think if they don’t pass it this session I think Clinton is toast.

    Nuclear needs to focus whatever media they can muster on the near term environmental effect of closing operating plants. The plants are being replaced by natural gas not windmills and solar panels.

    Also, Entergy’s won’t take “yes” a for an answer approach lends some credence to market manipulation. But its hard to make that argument because the market is already manipulated by windmill/solar subsidies.

    1. @Jim Doyle

      owner almost works against any effort to save the plant

      Perhaps this has been true of plants owned by IOUs (investor owned utilities), but Ft. Calhoun is owned by a cooperative called Omaha Public Power District. The owners are not shareholders focused on short term returns, but all of the utility’s customers. Historically, at least, public power districts have been able to place value on measures of effectiveness in addition to the price of electricity.

      Reliability, service to remote areas, environmental measures, contributions to overall economy, etc. can all be used as factors in decision process.

  10. I am disheartened to hear of another NPP threatened with shutdown. I am also angry.

    How can it be in the interest of the utility customers to shut down 1/3 of their entire capacity and then have to pay to decommission the plant decades before the plant’s end of life? Wouldn’t it make more sense to keep the plant operating and adding to the decommission fund for another 25 years? What kind of perverse incentives

    Also, my contempt for the NRC grows in leaps and bounds minute by minute. (My apologies to commenters who are/were NRC employees. I am not being facetious when I say that I am sure you are good people just trying to do your jobs. However, the NRC is broken.) I can fully visualize a country without a single NPP but with a NRC twice as big as it is now, even without a single NPP to regulate.

    Surely, there must be a way to punish the NRC for their part in causing/facilitating the closure of NPPs. I find it incomprehensible that the NRC kept Fort Calhoun from producing power for 2 and a half years and then, lo and behold the plant is suddenly not economic.

    The loss of 700 jobs, good high paying ones, also boggles my mind. The incompetence of the board of directors of OPPD is also astounding.

    The whole situation reminds me of a quote by Any Rand, “You can ignore reality but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”

    If someone could please explain the economics to me, with real numbers, and including any perverse incentives, I would be more than grateful!

    1. Perverse incentives for the utility?
      Not really its just profit. It ALWAYS is. Unfortunately the profit is based on subsidies, i.e. rent seeking.

      Install more wind, just the federal tax incentives are enough to make it profitable. And if there are feed in tariff’s double bonus.
      Decommission means immediate access to the funds which means short term profit. If and when they run out the CEO and board will be long gone.

      If nuclear received credits same as windmills no operating plant would close.

      1. OPPD is a Municipal Utility District. As such, they have no “Profit” and have state limits on salary. The “Board” is the equivalent of the PUC [should be, that is] and is elected to represent politically established areas and is therefore very Politically inclined. The board has prevented greatly needed rate increases to get reelected to the point that typical thunderstorms have caused weeks long outages. The OPPD Board feels it is their “Mission” to keep their rates at least 20% below the national average.
        They are now of the mind that Renewables are the PC answer to re-election.

        1. I believe the incentives are the same. Non-profits still have to pay the bills, including the board’s salaries, so getting wind credits and getting access to the decommissioning fund are still motives. The perversion of the marketplace are the renewable subsidies.
          Also, immediate access to the decommissioning funds may be another perverse incentive.
          Mixing in some politics probably makes it worse since they have a captive customer base.
          If either there were no wind credits or nuclear also received credits it would be more profitable to run the plant than close it.
          Especially the latter.

  11. I know I have made this statement before. It is not just the big wigs of the companies that are to blame. I work at Indian Point. I go to NRC meetings. Once in a while my fellow workers will show up, if they have nothing better to do. Like you say these are good paying jobs. Not just that they buy stuff like Ben & Jerry’s ice cream even they know that they signed a petition to close VY. They don’t write to the commercial sponsors of 30 rock saying that they will NOT buy their product as long as Alec Baldwin is on the show. They still buy products that Christie Brinkley endorses. Yes she is a big anti-nuke and so is her ex husband Billy Joel. When people are running for office and you know they are anti-nukes show up at their town hall meetings and challenge them on their stance. This is what a lot of nuclear workers do not do and it cost them their jobs.

  12. It baffles me why nuclear can’t lobby better really. This thing is political and its not going to change anytime soon. So windmill, solar panel and natural gas providers have a virtual or possibly actual cabal going on with our law makers? Seems like it.

    Law makers should really just stick to the CO2 issue and not try and dabble in what form of CO2 free generation is used. Pretty easy slogan actually.

    Its really not that complicated. Assuming OPPD does build 500 MW nameplate of wind to replace Calhoun they will only actually get 30% of that on average. The remaining 70% will be natural gas. Figure that into the cost of the windmill and figure in the 70% CO2 emissions that you now have. Looks pretty bad and it is not that hard for the lay person to understand. No one is talking though.

    So why do wind, solar and gas trump nuclear? Especially since it costs (i.e. true cost) more and emits more.

    Find out who the wind/solar/gas lobbyists are and do what they do. Need more noise. Actually just need some noise. There is very little now.

  13. The fact that this upcoming election gives me a choice between a twice-bankrupt “financier” who allies himself with the filthy fossil fuel folk, and one of two people who imagine that a return to solar based “renewable” energy that isn’t being renewed, makes me wonder if capitalism-infested “democracy” has any chance of survival.
    There can be no doubt that the proprietors of coal and especially gas and other hydrocarbons know that the only threat to their business is nuclear.

    The world’s biggest and most ruthless capitalist conglomerate is called the “people’s Republic” of China. I strongly suspect that it is run, not by militarists, not by people who worship Money, but by mandarins.

    To some extent, the latter have interested themselves in knowledge (rather than, for example, humanity), and if I were immortal, I’d be inclined at this moment to bet upon them. They have launched a program to commercialise SMR-MSR technology. That’s small, modular, molten salt reactors.
    If this turns out to happen, it will prove after all that democracy is a failure, in spite of what I would prefer to believe. But I don’t expect to live that long.

      1. @Jim

        Agreed. Donald Trump has been the opposite of a financier throughout his career. He’s been a debt-enabled developer, not a debt-supplying banker.

  14. The critical issue of aggressively promoting nuclear energy just isn’t sexy enough to people who work in the field. It’s a topic always shoved under the table by every nuclear blog I’ve visited. Ignoring it has cost the industry in the U.S. big time but still they persist and cry like wounded virgins when they claim they’re treated unfairly in the media. Go figure.

    1. @Mitch

      Do you think Atomic Insights has ignored the critical importance of aggressive and unabashed promotion of nuclear energy and other atomic technologies?

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