1. Patrick Makes a great distinction between leanings and extremism. The final point, that people are basically tribal (my phrase) and adopt the viewpoints of their “tribe” is one that I see constantly in many ways. It takes a great deal of energy to independently examine views and sort them out. Most of us are too buried in life, work, family, entertainment to do that hard work. So, we adopt what those around us agree is the right way to think about something.

  2. Did you catch Patrick say Greenpeace was bringing in $100M/y? And that was in the ’80s.

    The Shoreham debacle probably isn’t the only reason that nuclear plant construction stalled and eventually stopped, but the fear that a government agency can change the rules of the games during the construction phase certainly represents a big uncertainty for utilities. It would explain why utilities would like to have government backed loans to finance these projects. Schedule slip and changing requirements are huge cost drivers and governments at all levels can have a huge influence on both.

  3. Rod,

    Don’t you suppose that TMI played an indirect role? It seems to me that TMI was an event that got spun wildly out of control by an eager media, and siezed on by the radical left, which together created a (false) narrative which was largely believed by an entire generation of people.

    Do you think that TMI played no role in creating the political climate in which Gov. Cuomo could kill of Shoreham?

    I agree with your assessment that Shoreham is what scared off utilities and investors from trying to put money into nuclear build-out, but I personally see a rather direct path from TMI to Shoreham. TMI the cause, Shoreham the effect. Shoreham, the effect, then became in turn, a cause of the investor fear of nuclear.

  4. Shoreham should of been allowed to run, obviously.

    The final legal challenge was over the ‘evacuation plans’ that couldn’t be implemented in their China Syndrome’ scenerio if the plant melted down completely and the whole Island had to be evacuated. They couldn’t make this happen with any planning.

    The real problem was the political culture of the fiasco that was Shoreham had to do with the building of the plant. The main union, the union that controlled all the work there, was a mobbed up Laborer’s Local where they went on an organized (but not public) campaign to sabotage equipment so that it would have to be rebuilt the next day, with the intention of drawing out the work as long as possible to make employment there last as long as possible.

    It put a black eye on both nuclear energy and labor unions that lasts until this day.

    Had the standardized form of reactor design, and the newer regulations set up as they’ve evolved for reactor construction been implemented then, Shoreham would of been cheaper and been providing carbon-free energy to Long Island and NYC instead of the carbon spewing plants they have today.

    The site when originally drawn up could of had up to 4 nuclear plants providing half the electricity for the area. They ended up building, then mothballing, only 1.

    David Walters
    IBEW 1245, ret.

    1. David was correct in several ways concerning Shoram.
      The evacuation plan NEVER mentioned Millstone which is only 7 miles away across the LI Sound and is an operating nuclear facility.
      Amazingly, New Yorkers have another governor Cuomo who is trying to shut down the power of 25% for New York City.
      Mobs and Unions – Yes, they worked there at Shoram, but there was never any documented cases of sabotage at the plant.
      The planning, scheduling, and project management isn’t what we have in nuclear today. We plan, schedule, and execute so much better today.
      And YES, the final nail was TMI.
      But let’s remember other plants, like Diablo Canyon. They initially thought they were off the fault line, and in 1981 found out they were within the 4 1/2 mile zone of the fault line. What did PG&E do? They re-inforced everything to a 7.2 standard rather than the 5.9 standard for earthquakes. They finished the units, and remember in 1989, during the World Series, we all saw pictures of an 7.9 earthquake hitting San Fran. It did knock the plant off, because of vibration, but by 8 AM the next morning the plant was generating at power, and crews were resetting power lines.
      NONE of the coal or gas generators, was able to start up for weeks because of the damage.
      The real sadness is that a state government had the ability to override a government regulated facility. This is a fear that many utilities face these days. Let’s build a $7 billion plant. OK. We now have state and federal approvals and the money. Good! Let’s start building. State changes political parties, and 3/4 through the build, the state says, “We don’t want that plant!” And the build is doomed. For many US power operators, that decision bankrupts the power operator. It’s already happening in Germany.

      1. “It did knock the (Diablo Canyon) plant off, because of vibration, but by 8 AM the next morning the plant was generating at power, and crews were resetting power lines.
        NONE of the coal or gas generators, was able to start up for weeks because of the damage.”

        This is a HUGE media secret. Till you mentioned it I was in dark about that and I consider myself a damn-well self-informed individual! Pray tell why does the media keep this kind of thing underwarps while heavy implying all nukes are overinflated balloons just a whisper from exploding (as nuclear stories on “Modern Marvels” and “Build Bigger” and other cable “science” shows love to present? If any of you are from Diablo Canyon please chime in! I’m surprised we don’t get more nuclear workers on the blogs! I mean, not trying to sound pious about it, but we ARE trying to save and expand your jobs!!

        Secondly — not being facetious, but are evacuation plans even “legal” and biased and discriminary? There are no evcaution plants for the communities around Elizabeth NY and others of all those oil and chemical facilities there (which you can often smell clear to NYC — forget noses, how about our lungs?). And how about medical and bio labs storing hyper-lethal viruses? Ever hear the word plague?

        James Greenidge
        Queens NY

        1. There are no evcaution plants for the communities around Elizabeth NY and others of all those oil and chemical facilities there (which you can often smell clear to NYC

          This is because Americans have been lead to believe that a slight increase your lifetime cancer risk is a fate much worse than the painful chocking burning death due to an exposure to poisonous gasses. TMI, Chernobyl, and now Fukushima strike fear in the hearts of people, but Bhopal India is just another minor footnote in industrial accident history.

  5. @David Walters,

    Interesting insights. You know, all my life I’ve heard rumors and seen depictions in TV and the movies about mob control over some of the unions, particularly in NYC/NJ. Stories like Jimmy Hoffa and the teamsters, etc.

    I’ve always wondered if there was any truth to that or if it was ‘ginned up’ by anti-labor folks in management, and adopted by tv/movies to make their stories more interesting.

    I think you’re the first union person I’ve read/talked to who has come out and said as much as that (at least some of the unions) were corrupted by the mob.

    Does the mob still have a ‘controlling interest’ in a lot of unions, or have the unions managed to mostly get rid of that influence?

  6. In the mean time in Japan the real nuclear tragedy unfolds:

    An NHK survey shows that at least 35 people died of heatstroke in 12 prefectures during the week through Sunday, marking the largest weekly death toll this year.

    People aged 65 and older accounted for 77 percent of the deaths. More than 30 percent died between 5 PM and 5 AM.

    But you know what, let’s keep the perfectly good nuclear reactors off line.

    1. @Daniel

      Isn’t there ANYONE in Japan with the guts to point this out???

      James Greenidge

      1. James,

        I send one email per week to NHK WORLD NEWS to point out some of their weak reporting.

        I do my share.

        They are very polite and thank me every time.

      2. The Japanese culture does not encourge individuals speaking out. That’s the way they are, period. It’s hard to change thousands of years of culture.

  7. Yes and no on mob influence. The actual “mob influence” as it happens generally has little to do with job performance or the problems associated with the union at Shoreham. It was more a part of the culture of the building trades in and around NYC. The idea of stinging out work, overstaffing (‘featherbedding’) was always a problem of arrogance by the very power unions.

    I’m in a union and militant in defense of our rights. I’m not a “co-operative, no-strike” kind of guy, but in the case of a nuclear power plant, that culture worked very much against building a plant as sophisticated and technologically as challenging as this was.

    Keep in mind that Indian Point nuclear power plant, as far from NYC as Shoreham was also built with 100% union labor and did not experience the same sort of cost-increases and scheduled delays that Shoreham did. Different locals, more serious craftsman.

    The Laborer’s Local there (at Shoreham) also was not co-operative with other union locals like the IBEW, Operating Engineers, Pile Drivers, Teamsters etc. They hoarded all the work for their members, even if they were not qualified.

    I shudder sometimes to think, however, that a number of nuclear plants in the South were built with underpaid, non-union, non-certified (by union apprenticeship programs) craftsmen. But there you have it, they were.

    I think there ought to be a mandatory NRC-Union run program to develop crafts man specifically for a growing (if it does grow) atomic craft training program and certification progression for *every* craft from IT to welding to concrete and re-bar building to control techs and electricians.

    Also a national contract for nuclear builds to level the labor costs (currently site contracts are generally negotiated on a per site basis between contracters and unions).

    But that’s wishful thinking on my part.

    1. As a member of the IBEW, I disagree with your assertion that plants in the South are “unsafe” due to not being built by union craftsmen. Just because you’re not a union member doesn’t mean you don’t have the skills, knowledge, and pride to do a good job. Conversely, just because you’re in a union doesn’t mean you’re competent for the job you’re supposedly doing.

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