Category Archives: alternative energy

What more than Fukushima do you need to wake up?

I kept saying, “What’s it gonna take folks, a meltdown?”

I didn’t want a meltdown. I just wanted to make the point that it would be STUPID to wait until something catastrophic happened before you thought, “Wow. She’s right. It’s really NOT worth it.”

I AM RIGHT. And we have had the meltdown. So what the hell is the problem?

There is NO justification any of you can make that is worth the potential risk of nuclear power. There is NO financial justification. Remove government subsidies and include the inevitable cost of security and storage of spent nuclear fuel and your argument is already moot. Add to that the cost of clean-up or recovery from the inevitable leaks and failures of plants operating well beyond the lifespan they were built for, and then tell show me the bottom line.

The only argument I’ve heard for years from the nuclear industry itself is that the environmental impact of carbon emissions from our return to coal would be cataclysmic. But who the hell says we will revert back to dirty coal to replace nuclear power? Seriously, what is the basis of that assumption?

What the hell happened to Yankee ingenuity? There are BRILLIANT MINDS working on alternative energy solutions now. There is no single solution to replace the power lost from the inevitable end of nuclear. But there are many options that with the appropriate resources allocated could – together – provide a suitable replacement. This is not a fast and easy solution. But it is a viable option that can be developed and improved to eventually surpass the capacity and eliminate the risk of nuclear.

This, too, is the option that can and will eventually eliminate dependency on foreign oil.

Do you doubt that America has the ability to evolve these technologies? Have you visited M.I.T. lately? CalTech? If we re-allocated subsidies for nuclear power into investment funds for research and development, we’d get there soon enough.

Stop limiting our options. Stop doubting our capabilities. Remember what it felt like to have pride in our country… not just for bravery, but for innovation. Think about the Internet and how rapidly technology evolved in so short a time.

Fukushima was the last screaming alarm after far too many taps on the snooze button. Do not go back to sleep. Wake the hell up… BELIEVE it is possible… and support the innovation that will put an end to nuclear power before it is too late.

wakethehellup.wordpress.com

wakethehellup.wordpress.com

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We don’t need dirty money for our playgrounds

Vermont Yankee needs a “Certificate of Public Good” in order to get the 20-year extention to operate beyond the nuclear power plant’s scheduled closing. In a county of just over 40,000 people, there were approximately 75 who bothered to show up for the latest meeting of Vermont’s public service board to weigh in on whether Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee deserve the required certification.

According to the Brattleboro Reformer’s news story of May 1 (http://www.reformer.com/ci_12270340), the audience appeared evenly split on whether to grant this certificate or not. Reporter Bob Audette notes that those opposed focused on the environmental impact, the potential costs involved, and the negative impact the over-extended plant will have on the Vermont brand.

Those in favor of granting the certificate seemed to focus only on the tens of thousands of dollars that Entergy has “donated” to local non-profits, as if the local towns would suffer harshly without such charity. It seems to me that a rudimentary review of profits reaped by Entergy Nuclear versus their supposedly charitable investment in local towns would render this argument laughable in the face of the financial burden their spent fuel rods will cost to contain and secure once they have divested themselves of the no-longer-viable plant… twenty years beyond when it was scheduled to close… twenty years beyond when it was built to last.

Let us remember that we were promised a national storage facility for spent nuclear fuel rods… the Yucca Mountain fantasy that will never be. Have we considered the financial burden to the state and to the country based on the reality that the facility will never be built? Has any Vermonter looked over to Maine to review the state costs related to the decomissioning of Maine Yankee in light of the lack of federal safe-keeping of their spent fuel rods?

Fuck Entergy’s playgrounds. Who the hell wants a new playground built from the supposed charitable contributions from a corporation who maintains facilities like this?

Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee on August 21, 2007

Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee on August 21, 2007

June 18, 2004 - Fire at Vermont Yankee

June 18, 2004 - Fire at Vermont Yankee

Are your tire swings worth it? Why don’t you show the children these photos and ask them if they think it’s worth it to accept their money for playgrounds or little league? I trust that the children will know better. In fact, I already know that they do know better.

A “Certificate of Public Good”? You must be JOKING. Where is the public good in this equation? It DOES NOT EXIST.

Wake up, Vermont. These Louisiana folks are not your friends… and no amount of playground building changes the fact that they want to squeeze as much profit out of a dangerously aging nuclear power plant as they are able to, without regard for the potential short- and long-term financial burdens placed on the state and its residents.

Do not sit idle while your playgrounds are glowing. WAKE UP. Please.

Wasserman asks, “Who Pays for America’s Chernobyl Roulette?”

April 28, 2009

The Pricetag of Price-Anderson

Who Pays for America’s Chernobyl Roulette?

By HARVEY WASSERMAN

As the US attempts to dig out from economic collapse, a little-known nuclear industry liability could seriously derail Obama’s attempt to revive our finances.

It is the federal disaster insurance on 104 rickety atomic reactors. Because the industry cannot get its own insurance, we taxpayers are on the hook.

There is no “rainy day” fund to finance the clean-up after a reactor disaster. No one in government or industry can reasonably explain how we would pay for such a catastrophe.

Chernobyl’s lethal cloud began pouring into the atmosphere 23 years ago this week. Dr. Alexey Yablokov, former environmental advisor to the late President Boris Yeltsin, and president of the Center for Russian Environmental Policy, estimates the death toll at 300,000.

It also gutted the regional economy, and accelerated the Soviet collapse. By conservative accounts Chernobyl’s explosion has so far cost a half-trillion dollars, with its financial toll continuing to accrue.

A disaster at a US reactor could dwarf that number.

Chernobyl exploded in a remote rural region in an impoverished country. Eighty kilometers away, Kiev was heavily dusted with radiation.

Most American reactors are in what were once considered remote regions. But Indian Point is about half as far from Manhattan as is Chernobyl from Kiev. Likewise San Onofre from Los Angeles, Turkey Point from Miami, Byron from Chicago, Grand Gulf from Baton Rouge, Seabrook and Pilgrim from Boston, Limerick and Peach Bottom from Philadelphia, Calvert Cliffs from Baltimore, Perry from Cleveland, Prairie Island and Monticello from Minneapolis.

All these reactors were designed and built decades ago. Not one has private insurance beyond a tiny percentage of the potential damage.

When the nuke power industry first got going, utility executives refused to invest, citing the insupportable costs of a potential disaster.

Back then, the Sandia Laboratory’s WASH-740 Report warned that a melt-down at an American reactor could permanently irradiate a land mass the size of Pennsylvania. The fiscal costs, like the potential death toll, were essentially inestimable.

So reactor backers got Congress to pass the 1957 Price-Anderson Act, which protected utilities from all but a tiny portion of the potential damage. The industry assured the public that “within a few years” atomic technology would have advanced so far that private insurers would clamor for the business.

That was 52 years ago. No private insurer has stepped up to cover that first generation of reactors (check your home-owners policy for the standard exclusion clause). Neither will they do so for future reactors. The entire “new generation” of atomic plants now being so mightily hyped is also to be insured by the federal government, ie you and me.

The potential financial impact is beyond comprehension. The cost of abandoning several thousand square miles of the Hudson Valley down to Manhattan, or the Atlantic shore north of and into Boston, or the coastal regions along and into Los Angeles and the California central Valley, simply cannot be calculated. Mere trillions—2? 5? 20?—become meaningless. The collapse of the currency, the utter chaos of the economic system, the burial of health care, the devastating impact on millions of lives…all defy description.

All will be the responsibility of the federal government. By limiting responsibility of the reactor owners it has forced us to assume liability for the claims of those who survive long enough to sue.

There is no contingency plan for this in the federal budget. No secret reserve. No magic monetary bullet. Should one of these plants melt or explode, American economic life as we have known it could be essentially over.

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE: http://www.counterpunch.org/wasserman04282009.html

Nuclear power’s implications go far beyond energy

Nuclear power is the orange amongst apples when evaluating America’s energy future. There exist factors that must not be ignored that do not apply to alternative sources.

In addition to the relatively unknown impact of long-term exposure to low level radiation for those living near a nuclear power plant, or the cataclysmic effects of a major accident such as the one that occurred at Chernobyl, there exist far-reaching consequences that come at an unfathomable price; one which no nation can afford.

nuclear power is always toxic

This, today, from the New York Times via the Boston Globe:

N. Korea reprocessing spent nuclear rods

Says material will be used to make nuclear weapons

http://www.boston.com/news/world/asia/articles/2009/04/26/n_korea_reprocessing_spent_nuclear_rods/

By Choe Sang-Hun

New York Times / April 26, 2009

SEOUL – North Korea announced yesterday that it had begun reprocessing thousands of spent nuclear fuel rods, adding that it would use plutonium extracted from the rods to make nuclear weapons.

Reprocessing the rods, which were unloaded from the nuclear reactor in Yongbyon, 60 miles north of Pyongyang, the capital, “will contribute to bolstering the nuclear deterrence for self-defense in every way to cope with the increasing military threats from the hostile forces,” an unidentified North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman told the nation’s official news agency.

Reassembling the partly disabled Yongbyon complex to its operational state could take at least several months. But specialists and officials in Seoul have said North Korea could have quickly reopened the reprocessing plant to produce plutonium from thousands of spent fuel rods. Specialists say the rods can yield enough plutonium for one or two bombs.

Read the entire article: http://www.boston.com/news/world/asia/articles/2009/04/26/n_korea_reprocessing_spent_nuclear_rods/

Psst… America, it’s me again. Wake the hell up!

A rational, well-researched and progressive report was issued on April 20, 2009 by the Center for American Progress:

We Must Seize the Energy Opportunity or Slip Further Behind

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2009/04/global_competition.html

Subtitled

A Primer on Global Competition in Green Technology Investments

, it is a clear and concise explanation of why we need to wake up and shake off the apathy with regard to our energy sources. NOW is the time; NOT LATER.

image from MoveOn's recent email

image from MoveOn's recent email

Can MIT’s Solar Revolution create nuclear power’s replacement?

MIT, Chesonis Foundation announce solar revolution

Goal: Bring the sun’s power to the people

April 22, 2008

Promising to transform solar power from a “boutique” option to an affordable, dependable, mainstream energy solution, MIT and the Chesonis Family Foundation today launched a “solar revolution” with the ultimate aim of making solar energy America’s primary carbon-free fuel.

The Solar Revolution Project (SRP), funded by a $10 million gift from the Foundation, will explore new materials and systems that could dramatically accelerate the availability of solar energy. The SRP will complement and interact closely with other large solar projects at MIT, creating one of the largest solar energy clusters at any research university.

The Chesonis gift will allow MIT to explore bold approaches that are essential for transforming the solar industry. Specifically, it will focus on three elements –capture, conversion and storage — that will ultimately make solar power a viable, near-term energy source.

Read the entire article >