Florida Green Party Files Petition Opposing New Nuclear Power Plant

Green Party files Petition to Intervene in NRC licensing of Levy County Nuclear Plant,joins Nuclear Information and Resource Service to challenge deficiencies in Progress Energy Combined Operating License Application (COLA)

Gainesville, FL — On February 6, 2009 the Green Party of Florida (GPF, http://www.floridagreens.org) joined with the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS, http://www.nirs.org) and the Ecology Party to file a legal challenge to a new nuclear power plant proposed by Progress Energy Florida (PEF) for a site in Levy County, near Inglis, Florida.

The filing is a formal Petition to Intervene in the NRC’s licensing process for nuclear power plants, the latest in a series of such actions taken by NIRS and other groups nationwide to protect the health and safety of the public and the natural resources that are placed at risk by this industry. The interventions by parties with standing, which must follow rules established by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), are intended to stop these nuclear boondoggles before construction work starts and millions of dollars are wasted.

PEF is seeking a license from the NRC to build the proposed Levy County Units 1 and 2 atomic reactors, on a site near the Gulf Coast that is the only “greenfield” site (no existing nuclear power facility) currently proposed east of the Mississippi River.

Among the contentions asserted in this Petition to Intervene:

* Real options of energy efficiency and distributed generation with renewable energy options have not been adequately considered.
* Progress Energy Florida does not meet financial qualification requirements.
* Aquatic and radioactive waste impacts have not been adequately considered.
* The Levy County project licensing is premature since the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor design remains incomplete.

In all, 26 contentions challenging the Progress Energy Application were included, supported by four experts.

The Green Party joins hundreds or organizations and thousands of individuals in endorsing the NIRS Statement on Climate and Nuclear Power, which states:

“We do not support construction of new nuclear reactors as a means of addressing the climate crisis. Available renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies are faster, cheaper, safer and cleaner strategies for reducing greenhouse emissions than nuclear power.”

The Green Party has always opposed nuclear fission technology as a means of generating electricity, and the abundance of clean, safe renewable alternatives in today’s energy marketplace makes nuclear power obsolete, from both an economic and ecological perspective. Investor Owned Utilities such as Progress Energy could not generate profits from nuclear power generation without federal loan guarantees, tax breaks, and massive subsidies that shift the costs of the nuclear industry to taxpayers.

Greens call upon municipal utilities in Florida to explore all the available options for implementing aggressive conservation measures and investment in decentralized, renewable energy technologies. Merely by installing low-tech solar thermal water heaters on residential homes, electricity consumption could be reduced by 8-10%. The public should not be forced to subsidize nuclear power plants when proven solutions are available at far less risk and less cost as well. Gainesville Regional Utilities has rejected nuclear power as an alternative to coal, and instead of buying into the Levy Nuclear Plant, which will be located less than 50 miles from downtown Gainesville, GRU and the Gainesville City Commission opted to enact the nation’s first Solar Power Feed-In Tariff ordinance.

PEF can’t count on private investors to finance the nuclear plant, so the company obtained permission from the Florida Public Service Commission to raise utility rates by 23%, about half of which will be used to cover the costs of development and construction of the Levy County Nuclear Plant. “The ‘Early Cost Recovery’ scam is little more than legalized theft from utility customers, and it should be immediately repealed by the Florida legislature,” said MIchael Canney, Alachua County Green Party co-chair and member of the GPF Green Energy Committee. “Progress Energy can’t get private investors to finance this $20 billion boondoggle, so they are forcing their customers to become investors.”

In 2007, the GPF worked with the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition to draft a comprehensive “green paper” on energy policy, which has this to say about the radioactive waste produced by nuclear power plants:

“There is no safe method to dispose of or store the radioactive waste produced. All six of the ‘low-level’ nuclear waste dumps in the United States have leaked. There are no technological quick fixes that can effectively isolate nuclear waste from the biosphere for the duration of its hazardous life. Therefore, there is no such thing as nuclear waste ‘disposal.’ Current methods of underground storage are a danger to present and future generations. Any nuclear waste management strategies must be above ground, continuously monitored, and they must minimize transportation of wastes.”

— Green Paper on Climate Change and Energy Options for the State of Florida (http://pbcec.blogspot.com/search?q=Green+Paper+on+Climate+Change) by Green Party of Florida & Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition

The design of the Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactors PRF plans to install in the Levy Nuclear Plant continues to undergo revisions, even as PEF and the NRC proceed with the licensing of this plant. The NRC can’t prove the proposed reactor designs are safe, but is allowing PEF to proceed with licensing anyway, which places the burden of proof on the public to demonstrate the potential problems with this technology.

The proposed nuclear plant will need more than 20 million gallons of water daily to cool the reactors, and PEF is drilling a private well field on site to draw millions of gallons of fresh water from the aquifer, yet PEF claims this project will have no detrimental effect on the local aquatic system.

In addition to participating in this Petition to Intervene in the NRC licensing process, Greens are joining with others concerned about climate change and energy policy to build a broad, community-based alliance to stop the Levy County Nuclear Plant and oppose subsidies for fossil fuels and the nuclear industry, while promoting investment in clean, safe, renewable and sustainable energy technologies.

“We don’t see a push for solar energy here in the ‘sunshine state’ even in the form of off-setting our energy needs, said Jennifer Sullivan, co-chair of the Hernando County Green Party. “Solar technology is working in less sunny climates and as far north as Scandinavia. Think how many jobs could be created by investing in solar equipment manufacturing firms and by putting solar panels on every roof in the state!”

For more information:
Green Party of Florida http://www.floridagreens.org
Alachua County Green Party http://gainesvillegreens.webs.com
Nuclear Information and Resource Service http://www.nirs.org

  1. Thinker says:

    These people need to do some research. Solar energy is about 5 times more expensive than nuclear, and can vary up to 30 times more! Nuclear power is proven and reliable. PV solar is very expensive, and is not completely reliable. I work in the solar thermal industry, and I find it disgusting they are trying to shut this plant down!

  2. Green Ferret says:

    No, what’s disgusting is what would happen to Florida in case of a radioactive waste spill – whether accidental or terrorism-induced.

    Nuclear power is not only dangerous, but more expensive than wind power:
    http://www.greenchange.org/article.php?id=3352

    Nuclear power is not economically feasible. No private insurance company will insure a new nuclear power plant, so new nuclear plants rely on massive federal subsidies.

    With a smart energy plan, we would never have to even consider building a new nuclear plant. This would involve greater investment in renewable energy, reduction of energy use, and smarter handling of the energy we do use.

  3. The Engineer says:

    It takes 13 square miles of solar panels in a prime southwestern location at unimaginable cost to match a standard nuclear or coal plant. With wind it takes almost 2,700 wind turbines over 200 square miles plus NEITHER is base load so can they never be more that a minor contributor to electrical demand. Wind and solar are an incredible waste of resources and do not provide useful power.

    Basic Wind and Energy Calculations:

    *NUCLEAR*
    Output of generation III+ AP1000 nuclear plant: 1117 MW
    Nuclear Availability Factor: 90%

    *SOLAR*
    Solar Irradiance Average (Southwestern U.S.): 225 W/m^2
    Solar Conversion Efficiency (ave): 15%

    Land Use for Solar Power to equal one AP1000 nuclear plant (1,117 MW * 1,000,000 Watt/MW) / (0.15 * 225 Watt/m^2 * 4,046 m^2/acre) = 8,180 Acres = 12.8 square miles of land eradicated.

    *WIND*
    Standard Size Windmill Output: 1.5 MW
    Wind Availability Factor: 25% (In prime wind location- – not the Midwest as in Picken’s plan)
    Land per 1.5 MW Windmill: 50 Acres
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:US_wind_power_map.png

    Land Use for Wind Power to equal one AP1000 nuclear plant(1117/1.5)*(.90/.25) = 2,680 units * 50 acres/unit= 134,000 Acres / 640 Acres/mile^2 = 209 Square Miles

  4. Thinker says:

    Radioactive spill? LOL That’s the best you can come up wtih? Learn more about the industry before you start spouting something that hilarious. Terrorist events, like a bombing, would very likely contain the worst of it. There wouldn’t be a large amount of fission products released in a large area. The reactors are inherently stable and don’t explode.

    Wind power is a joke. It can only be used as an auxiliary power source, much like solar power. Nuclear power reliability far surpasses either. Even the minds in the forefront of the solar industry are considering hybrid plants to address the issue of off peak power needs. Solar isn’t reliable early monring or towards sunset. There are good ideas out there, but they need more research before they are implemented.

  5. Y-man says:

    What happens when a hurricane rolls through Florida and a large solar/wind farm? It will destroy the turbines and trash the solar panels! The whole facility would have to be rebuilt. Nuke plants can take direct hits from hurricanes with minimal impact.

  6. Ronald Hardy says:

    Wow! The Nuclear Industry has some real watchdogs out there making sure to shout down any opposition! I am impressed.

    This conversation has taken place already on this website. There is no dangers associated with solar or wind power, while nuclear and coal have devastating impacts on the environment and global climate. Very few people have died due to wind turbines (falling off them in both cases) yet thousands have become ill or died due to nuclear, and coal contributes to horrible air quality conditions causing public health issues and nuclear waste just sits corroding in barrels until it will eventually seep out and contaminate ground water and soil. Not to mention the (it can’t possibly happen!) potential “accident” that (it can’t possibly happen!) would result in the type of disaster that would make 9/11 pale in comparison.

    We should:
    1. reduce energy consumption so that less energy is required;
    2. localize energy production to meet local energy needs;
    3. increase energy efficiency, particularly in home heating and utilities, to reduce energy demand;

    13 square miles of solar panels to match one nuclear plant? No problem. Plenty of unused desert and even more unused roof tops.

    My question is why are some people so obsessed with nuclear power?

  7. No one has ever died from radiation in a Western nuclear power plant. And no one died at Three Mile Island because in the US we house our reactors in containment structures as the ultimate back up in case of human error.

    The worst commercial nuclear accident, Chernobyl, killed less than 60 people. The worst renewable energy accident happened nn August 8th, 1975, when the breach of the Banqiao Dam in China released 700 million cubic meters of flood water in just 6 hours, wiping the Daowencheng Commune completely off the map, killing all 9,600 of its citizens. Approximately 26,000 people died from the flooding and an additional 145,000 died from the resulting famine and epidemics in the Henan Province area. 5,960,000 buildings collapsed affecting 11 million residents.

    Now folks want to carpet thousands of square miles of the prestine deserts of California with solar panels. Wind and solar are more expensive than nuclear and requires greenhouse gas polluting natural gas power plants as back up power when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shinning.

    http://www.newpapyrusmagazine.blogspot.com/

  8. Green Ferret says:

    Dude, a nuclear “accident”? That’s hilarious! “Health effects”? Don’t make me laugh. “reduce energy consumption”? LOL! What a joke!
    I’ve had radioactive waste sitting in my fridge for 200,000 years, and it’s given me sweet super powers! Hell, I’m still healthy enough to google “nuclear power” every night and leave insulting comments for anyone who questions MIGHTY NUCLEAR POWER! LOL!

  9. Thinker says:

    There you go ferret. That’s some better terminology! “Radioactive spills” are just a joke honestly. People in the industry are very uptight about them. The liquid as a very low long term radiiactivity. Short term radiactivity might be semi high, but often the fission products daughters decay away rapidly.

    What kind of waste gave you super powers? I find that “unpossible”. I don’t google nuclear power, but I found this link. Way to go wacko liberal on me. I bet you believe in “man made global warming”!

  10. Thinker says:

    ^radioactivity

    Mispelled twice. Damn I suck at typing sometimes.

  11. Rod Adams says:

    @Ronald Hardy – I guess I am guilty as charged. I have been increasingly “obsessed” with nuclear power since I first learned about it from my father in the mid 1960s. He was one of the most giving people I know and he was immensely proud of his service as an electrical utility engineer. His employer, FPL, made the decision to replace its oil fired power production with nuclear plants at Turkey Point and St. Lucie and he helped me get excited about the cleaner air we would have from that decision.

    Later in life, after graduation from the US Naval Academy, I served in the nuclear navy for about 12 years, including 40 months as the Engineer Officer of a submarine. Our power plant provided all of the propulsion plus heat, lighting, fresh water from salt and fresh air from water (we split H2O using electricity and put the O2 back into the boat). That power plant ran for 14 years on a quantity of fuel that could fit under my office desk – so could the waste products. When your life depends on reliable power – like when you are several hundred feet underwater – you get to know your power source pretty intimately. I liked having scads of controllable, emission free power at our beck and call.

    Unlike you, I do not think of open deserts as “unused”. I think of them as beautiful places with unique ecosystems that should not be covered with reflective mirrors so that humans can operate computers and blow dryers. I also know enough about power transmission and building transmission systems (that was actually Dad’s specialty, so I have traversed quite a few power lines and visited more transmission substations than I care to remember) to think that putting large solar arrays in the desert southwest is going to do a thing to solve power supply problems in eastern Texas, much less in points east of the Mississippi.

    I hope that your comment that the “conversation has taken place already on this website” does not mean that you believe that the conversation is over. There is plenty of information to share and plenty of room for give and take. Just think, you might actually learn something from someone who is obsessed enough to have spent close to thirty years learning about atomic fission through intensive study and practical experience.

    Then again, maybe you know it all already, but there might be others who are interested. Who knows?

    Rod Adams
    Publisher, Atomic Insights
    Host and producer, The Atomic Show Podcast
    (Note to site owner: I tried to submit a similar comment earlier, but it never showed up. Not trying to dominate the conversation, just trying to share some thoughts and answer what I hope was an honest question.)

  12. St. Fu says:

    Greens oppose nuclear power. That ain’t gonna change.

  13. Rod Adams says:

    @St. Fu – why not? Are you implying that greens cannot think and learn?

    A fair number of well known and influential “greens” including Patrick Moore, James Lovelock, Bishop Hugh Montefiore and Stewart Brand have all declared that nuclear power is a useful weapon in the fight against climate change. Some of the above have gone as far as to say it is humanity’s best chance for prospering in a carbon constrained world.

  14. Lou Novak says:

    Nuclear material has been handled well in the “Western nuclear power plants” and no one has died. To make sure that doesn’t happen in the next 10’s of thousands of years, our government wants to store the spent material in the desert many of us want to protect and enjoy. That some are willing to embrace nuclear power in the face of global warming does not make it safe. And it never will be.

  15. The Engineer says:

    I am obsessed with nuclear power because it is the only proven, available, clean power source we have. Thankfully it is also cost effective, addresses our trade imbalance and will reduce reliance on imported oil- – and the associated security concerns.

    Your “green” solutions sound nice, but the numbers REALLY matter. Can you afford to pay 5, 10, 50 times more for your electricity. Is it really OK to pave over the desert? How about forests, meadows, hillsides?

    I do not work for the nuclear industry, but I do have great concern for the future of our country and of the planet. I appreciate your desire to protect our planet from harm. I agree with items 1 & 3 which are the same thing- – increased efficiency. Regarding item 2, wind and “desert” solar are far from the point of use, requiring a vast web of roads, transmission lines, and raw materials to build.

    No-one has been harmed by nuclear power except at Chernobyl in which the reactor (producing power and bomb material) was made of combustible carbon and had no containment structure. When the graphite caught on fire it caused dispersal of radioactive material. While a serious accident, less than sixty people were killed- – mostly rescue workers and 10 from thyroid cancer. Our nuclear plants are far safer with containment vessels and many other safety measures. Newer generation plants are over 100 times safer with simpler design and passive failsafe systems. 41 People have been killed by wind turbines http://www.caithnesswindfarms.co.uk/accidents.pdf Neither number is significant when compared to the tens of thousands per year in the U.S. and hundreds of thousand of people who die prematurely each year due to the pollution from burning fossil fuel, the worst of which is coal. Many of these coal plants are required because 76 nuclear reactors were successfully blocked. I am sure you are aware of the billion gallon release of coal ash sludge recently in Tennessee. That plant burns 140 rail car loads(14,000 tons) of coal(carbon) a day. Coal plants in the U.S. produces 92,000,000 tons of ash each year in which contains chromium, lead, mercury, and arsenic as well as uranium, thorium, etc. which has been concentrated during the burning process.

    I probably won’t convince you, but please think about what methods can actually provide base load power, meet growing energy demand (mostly due to population increase) and make real progress by avoiding any new coal and natural gas power plants and eventually phasing some out.

  16. Thinker says:

    I will disagree that greens don’t support nuclear power. As Ron said Dr Patrick Moore, the founder of Greenpeace, believes it is necessary as you can read in this link:

    http://www.cfif.org/htdocs/legislative_issues/federal_issues/hot_issues_in_congress/energy/Greenpeace-Founder-We-Must-Go-Nuclear.html

  17. Correction: Greens do not support nuclear power. Patrick Moore is not a Green, he is a sold-out industry lobbyist and Greenpeace and the Green Party want nothing to do with him.

    The pro-nuke hype being posted on this site either by industry hacks or the misinformed ignores the fact that the nuclear industry is a corporate welfare parasite that could not exist in a free market of ideas or a true free market economy.

    If we use honest accounting and all the costs of the nuclear fuel cycle are factored in, no profit could be made from nuclear power generation.

    Never mind the risk of nuclear accidents or radioactive leaks from these plants. Let’s assume these wise-guy engineers can build a nuclear power plant and operate it for 50 years with no accidents and no problems with radioactive spills. Just get out your calculator and figure out how much it will cost to safely package and transport the high level radioactive waste to a permanent storage facility (which as yet doesn’t exist). Then calculate how much it will cost to safeguard that radioactive waste for a million years.

    Who do you think is going to pay the cost of handling and storing all the waste being produced by all these reactors? The companies making the profits from the electricity? Yeah, right!

    If they want to build these nukes, let them find private investors who are willing to fork over the capital not only to build the plants, but to insure them while they are operating, and to post a bond and create an escrow account that will guarantee payment for the waste to be safely stored and guarded in perpetuity.

    I recommend these websites for information about this industry:

    What’s News http://www.state.nv.us/nucwaste/whatsnew.htm

    Carbon-Free, Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy by Arjun Makhijani http://www.ieer.org/carbonfree/index.html

    Institute for Energy and Environmental Research http://www.ieer.org

    Rocky Mountain Institute http://www.rmi.org

    Union of Concerned Scientists – Nuclear Power http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_power

  18. JHV says:

    The thinker and the engineer are correct as far as cost, safety and the land needed to make a difference between solar / wind and nuclear. I read about nuclear waste sitting in corroded barrels? The waste does not sit in barrels that are left to corrode and escape into the water, this is a scare tactic used by the anti’s. There are very strict waste requirements, just as there are strict rules governing construction and operation of a nuke. The worst mistake we could ever make as a country would be to generate all our power with solar or wind. First of all nuclear is a green power. Secondly, our energy portfolio should include a array of sources, we need to cut dependance down on foreign needs and expand to have about 70% nuclear, 15% Coal and the remaining solar and wind. Unfortunately, renewables are not at the developement stage to use them to meet our demand.

  19. Green Ferret says:

    Nuclear power is more expensive than wind power, even with massive government subsidies for insurance taken out of the cost:
    http://www.greenchange.org/article.php?id=3352

    Nuclear power from new facilities would cost 10 to 17 cents/kwh. Compare that to wind power, which currently costs 8 to 12 cents/kwh and dropping. Renewable energy technology is improving all the time, and if renewables got the same subsidies that nuclear has benefited from, they would become even more efficient and economical. As new nuclear would take a minimum of 10 years to commission (past the window for meaningful action to reduce emissions) it’s likely that nuclear power would be made economically obsolete by renewables before the first plant gets up and running.

    Oh wait… Nuclear power is already an economic non-starter. Start all the nuclear power plants you want, as long as you can find a private-sector investor willing to insure them.

    How about that radioactive waste that will be hazardous to all life for hundreds of thousands of years? Are we just assuming that it’ll stay out of our water for the next 200,000 years if we bury it real deep?

    So, it’s impossible to make nuclear power economically feasible, and it’s impossible to make it safe. Time to invest in locally-generated, publicly-owned renewable power. For those concerned about pristine wilderness, I hear you – let’s start by outfitting existing roofspace in the American Southwest with solar panels, and go from there.

    For a good (UK-centric) exposition of why nuclear power should not be part of our energy future, check out Richard Lawson’s “Is nuclear power the answer to global warming?”
    http://www.greenhealth.org.uk/Nuclear.htm

  20. Green Ferret says:

    Take half a minute to tell President Obama and your members of Congress that you support a moratorium on new coal and nuclear power plants:

    http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/1488/t/689/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=2524

  21. Rod Adams says:

    @Michael – there is no need for name calling as you did with the following comment:

    “The pro-nuke hype being posted on this site either by industry hacks or the misinformed ignores the fact that the nuclear industry is a corporate welfare parasite that could not exist in a free market of ideas or a true free market economy.”

    I am a career naval officer who has never been employed by the nuclear industry. I spent twelve years in graduate level study and in jobs directly responsible for the operation and maintenance of nuclear power plants, including 40 months as the Engineer Officer of a nuclear submarine.

    Therefore, I neither qualify as an industry hack or as misinformed.

    Fission is an amazingly compact source of emission free power. You can make all of the statements that you want, but you will never dissuade a guy who has spent months at a time sealed up within a couple hundred feet of a reactor that it is especially dangerous or that it produces any harmful emissions that cannot be overcome with some simple barriers of steel, lead, poly, and water.

    With regard to the cost of storage, all US nuclear plants are already covering the costs of storing their waste in a safe manner. They are also contributing more than $800 million per year to the government for a mandated contract for permanent storage that the government has no intention of honoring. Doing so would reduce the power and influence of the fossil fuel industry, the richest and most generous political contributor of them all.

  22. Bill Young says:

    Michael said:
    “If they want to build these nukes, let them find private investors who are willing to…insure them while they are operating, and to post a bond and create an escrow account that will guarantee payment for the waste to be safely stored…”

    Michael,

    This is exactly what utilities do.

    It is a requirement of their liscenses to operate their reactors that they have private insurance. They all have the required insurance.

    Like all liability insurance, the policies have caps. The Price-Anderson Act provides a backup system in the event of an accident that exceeds the insurance cap. That backup system provides for a common pool financed by all nuclear utilities. In the cleanup of the TMI accident, the utility’s insurance policy was exceeded and it was necessary for the common pool to pick up the rest of the costs. (This common pool would normally be considered a violation of anti-trust rules therefore Price-Anderson was necessary to permit it.) Price-Anderson has provision for government support also but this has never been used.

    Used nuclear fuel belongs to the federal government. The utilities pay a fee for the government to take it. The utilities do not have a choice in this. It is prescribed by law. The federal government has accumulated a significant pile of money to handle the disposition of that used fuel ($18 billion the last time I checked). This is, in essence, a mandatory escrow account.

    FYI, I do work in the nuclear industry but the opinions expressed here are my own and my employer is unaware (as far as I know) of my posting activities. I do hope my personal and professional efforts qualify at a higher level than ‘hack’ (I was hoping at least for flunky).

    Bill

  23. Arcs_n_Sparks says:

    If you go to the California Energy Commission’s website for wind: http://www.energy.ca.gov/wind/documents/index.html

    You will see that the last Wind Performance Reporting System report is 2000-2001. Any speculation on why that is, especially given the emphasis (and treasure) being devoted by California ratepayers on this source?

  24. Lou Novak says:

    Flunky it is then.

    That it is the law doesn’t negate the fact that without the single-payer liability insurance the government provides there would be no nuclear power industry.

    That it is the law does not remove the enormous cost of disposing of the waste of the nuclear power industry in a safe manner for 10’s of thousands of years. That cost is what makes nuclear power unviable and why the Green Party opposes nuclear power.

  25. Bill Young says:

    Lou,

    Price -Anderson is a mechanism that was devised back when peoples’ image of anything ‘atomic’ was the very fresh image of the bombing of Japan. People envisioned a nuclear power plant exploding in a similar manner. There are some that still do.

    Light water cooled and moderated reactors have proven to be extrodinarily safe. All of the power reactors in the US, and most of the reactors in the rest of the world are of this type. (Chernobyl was not.) The 100 or so US navy reactors are also light water moderated and cooled.

    You state that without Price-Anderson there would not be any nuclear power. For the reactor fleet that was started 30 to 40 years ago without the operational experience we now have, I would probably agree with you.

    There are about 25 new nuclear power plants in the planning and liscensing pipeline in the US. I don’t believe all of them would be cancelled if the federal backup funding in Price-Anserson were repealed. It would certainly dampen the industrial enthusiasm but I don’t think it would kill all of them.

    The water cooled reactors we have in this country do have an issue with the used fuel. Light water reactors accumulate plutonium and other transuranic elements in the used fuel. If the transuranic elements are recycled with fresh (or used) uranium and placed in a reactor they will fission very nicely but additional transuranic material will accumulate. This is inherent to light water reactors fueled with moderately enriched uranium. (The transuranic elements from a water cooled reactor include plutonium but it is not suitable for weapons use.)

    The US policy since the era of Jimmy Carter has been what is called “once through and disposal” of used fuel. It is not recycled as mentioned above. It was to go to Yucca mountain or some other such repository. IMHO, this was a misguided policy for many reasons. The US is moving to abandon this policy.

    The really bad actors in nuclear fuel from a long term disposal basis are the transuranic elements mentioned above. These can be destroyed and, if done, make the waste storage problem a 500 year problem rather than a million year problem.

    Destruction of the transuranic elements requires a nuclear reactor with a high population of ‘fast’ neutrons. Such reactors can be built and operated safely but they are more expensive than regular water cooled reactors.

    The utilities have no interest in fast neutron reactors unless they are less expensive than the water cooled ones and, in most nuclear engineers’ opinion, they are not. (There is a strong minority opinion that some types of fast neutron reactors will actually be lower cost but their opinion has not carried the day.)

    The failure to more aggressively address the inventory of transuranic material is not a technical problem but rather a political one.

    Regards,

    Bill the flunky

  26. These can be destroyed and, if done, make the waste storage problem a 500 year problem rather than a million year problem.

    Since all the nuclear waste in the world, if accumulated indefinitely, and shallowly buried in Florida, could never make that state as radioactive as Colorado is naturally, there is really no way to make the stuff into a 500-year problem.

    Uttering the natgas interests’ talking points is not going to persuade them to abandon any of those points. There’s no mutual exclusivity.

  27. Lou Novak says:

    How long ago was Chernobyl?

    ‘A study published in the Royal Society Biology Letters shows that the nuclear reactor explosion on April 26, 1986, at Chernobyl is still making victims. “Scientists Anders Moller and Timothy Mousseau determined that insect, bird and other animal populations have dramatically diminished there in the two decades following the disaster.”‘

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/03/chernobyl-radiation-nuclear-explosion-harming-animals.php

  28. Carl says:

    Another reason nuclear energy can not be trusted is the inherit greed of man…..
    Tons upon tons of nuclear waste has been deposited off the somalian coast line, causing birth defects and a decline in the ecosystem (that they aren’t even legally allowed to fish in anyway) off of that shoreline….
    You can not trust man with nuclear power and it must be destroyed… if you don’t believe me… wait until the taliban take over pakistan….

  29. joe says:

    nuclear radiation following an atomic war lasts about 700 years, individuals who are sheltered in a bunquer not survive much from lack of food and water

  30. JC says:

    What no one has mentioned in all of the above is that Japan, a nation a little larger in square miles than Florida with a population three times as large, is moving full speed ahead to bring solar power to the forefront as an energy source for Japan’s residents and industries. They have pledged to bring solar power (PV technologies) costs to equal those of conventional power by 2030. Bet they do! Oh, and for the math guy who stated it takes 12 square miles of surface area to support the solar panels that would equate to one nuke plant, well you are not up to speed on current solar technology that uses magnification devices. How many roof tops is equal to 12 sq miles. Bet we can find them!
    And for all those that keep repeating that nuke energy is clean, do you all have any idea what havoc on the environment
    is caused by uranium mining? Check out the dope on USA mining process known as “leaching” in which acid or alkali solutions are pumped INTO THE GROUND in order to dissolve ore containing uranium which is than pumped to the surface for processing. This process releases toxic heavy metals into the ground water. Storage ponds and waste heaps of gyp piles continue to release toxic and radioactive elements into groundwater . Just one little earthquake and a billion gallons of underground water becomes toxic. Oh yea, one more problem. The guys whom run nuke plants, are only drug tested when SUSPECTED of being under the influence.
    There was a major scandal at the Aiken , SC plant about 14yrs. ago when several of the plant engineers tested positive for cocaine while on duty! My niece was married to one of those jerks. He lost his govt credentials and was demoted to bait shop assistant manager. Remember 3 MILE Island? Do the math! idiots @ nuke plants = melt down & u better pack real fast.

  31. Anonymous says:

    You greenies are like sheep as in obaaaaama

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