Sunday, December 21, 2014

Nuclear Energy Blog Carnival 240: Here At Yes Vermont Yankee


Once again, we are proud to host the Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers, right here at Yes Vermont Yankee.  The Carnival is a compendium of nuclear blogs that rotates from blog site to blog site, and it is always a pleasure and an honor to host it.  Here we go!

Looking Ahead for Nuclear Energy: Mixed But Basically Positive

A look ahead to 2015 for nuclear energy
At Neutron Bytes--Dan Yurman
This report is an annual review of trends and developments around the globe. The science fiction writer Bruce Sterling once wrote that “the future is history that hasn’t happened yet.” While I don’t posses a crystal ball, there are some plausible scenarios as well as economic and technical factors in motion that deserve being mentioned here. There are lots of possible changes in the nuclear energy industry landscape.

Is Nuclear Restart in Japan on a Fast Track?
At The Hiroshima Syndrome's Fukushima Commentary-- Leslie Corrice
Despite a few Japanese news reports to the contrary, there is no reason to think the timetable for restarts will speed up or the number of nukes allowed to come on line will swell because of a Lower House election that did nothing more than maintain the status quo on nuke restarts.

Chinese Fast Reactor at Full Capacity
At Next Big Future--Brian Wang
China's experimental fast neutron reactor has been successfully operated at full capacity for the first time, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) announced.The sodium-cooled, pool-type fast reactor was constructed with Russian assistance at the China Institute of Atomic Energy (CIEA), near Beijing, which undertakes fundamental research on nuclear science and technology. The reactor has a thermal capacity of 65 MW and can produce 20 MW in electrical power.

The EPA Clean Power Plan and the Nuclear Industry Response
At ANS Nuclear Cafe--Jim Hopf
Jim Hopf covers the overall response from nuclear industry (NEI)  institutions and professionals (including ANS members) to the EPA Clean Power Rule. The EPA now says that the rule will in all probability be revised regarding nuclear energy.  Hopf provides his own insightful perspective on how the rule should be altered to treat both existing and oncoming nuclear plants.

Meanwhile, Here in New England...

Utility Bills Soaring in New England
At Forbes--James Conca
Consumers in New England got a shock in their utility bills this month. A 40% increase over the previous month. It was their choice to throw all-in for natural gas and renewables in a land of harsh winters. But they’ve refused to build new gas pipelines. And they’re shutting a nuclear plant that has 20 years of cheap reliable cold-resistant energy left on it.

Vermont Yankee Employees will not get development fund money
At Yes Vermont Yankee--Meredith Angwin
The two million Entergy gave Vermont this year for Windham County Economic Development will not help Vermont Yankee employees.  As a matter of fact, overall....the whole exercise is a fizzle.  Governor Shumlin makes the final decision, and he has decided to award only $800K of the money this year.  None of the awards will be likely to help displaced employees.

Okay. Enough of that.
Let's Get Upbeat Again.  
A Noble History of Clean Safe Power

Nuclear Anniversaries
At Nuke Power Talk--Gail Marcus
Nuclear Anniversaries: Some Events to Remember
Gail Marcus notes that the month of December boasts an unusually large number of nuclear "firsts" and other nuclear anniversaries.  On her blog at Nuke Power Talk, she lists 10 important events drawn from her book, Nuclear Firsts:  Milestones on the Road to Nuclear Power Development.  Several of the events she lists, including the first sustained chain reaction at CP-1 on December 2, 1942, are among the key events in the history of nuclear power.
Columbia Generating Station

Three Decades of Clean Power at Columbia Generating Station
At ANS Nuclear Cafe--Laura Scheele
On its 30th anniversary, Columbia Generating Station can look back on decades of successful operation, and can be proud of major improvements in capacity factor.   It has currently been on-line for 528 days and counting.

History and Value at Columbia Generating Station
At Northwest Clean Energy Blog--Will Davis
Some history of the Columbia Generating Station, including the many ways the nuclear plant provides value to its neighbors. (After all, it makes enough power for the entire city of Seattle!)

Thirty-Four Years of Caring at Energy Northwest
At Northwest Clean Energy Blog--John Dobken
Starting four years before Columbia Generating Station went on-line, and continuing ever since: each and every child enrolled in Head Start programs in two counties has received new toys and clothing from Energy Northwest employees. That's 34 years and more than 11,000 children.

What We Say About Nuclear Energy
And How We Say It.

Nuclear energy is more than one story
at Nuclear Layperson--Millysievert
Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie describes The Danger of a Single Story: "The single story creates stereotypes,” says Adichie. Milly Sievert describes how the story that nuclear is "dirty and dangerous" is deeply entrenched. This story cannot easily be addressed head-on.  We need a balance of stories: Millysievert gives examples.

Branson Plus Lovins: An Interesting Combination
At Atomic Insights--Rod Adams
While Amory Lovins has been one of the most quoted and effective proponents of the anything-but-nuclear school of energy policy since the early 1970s, Sir Richard Branson is supportive enough of a new look at nuclear energy that he was an executive producer of Robert Stone's Pandora's Promise. Real progress might be possible if the combined persuasive powers of Rocky Mountain Institute and Carbon War Room are focused on an honest "best of the above" approach to solving both fossil fuel dominance and growing CO2 emissions. That approach would put nuclear energy back onto the table as one of the most powerful tools in their solution set.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Economic Development Fund Won't Help Vermont Yankee People

Two Million Dollars in Development Funds Won't Help People from Vermont Yankee

In November, Nuclear Energy Institute asked me to write a guest post about the effects of the closing of Vermont Yankee. I wrote:

In Entergy's...."late-2013 agreement with the state...Entergy will send $2 million a year for five years (for a total of $10 million) to the state for economic development of the Windham County region.....Some workers at Vermont Yankee....are fairly cynical about this development funding. They don’t believe it will help laid-off employees. I agree with them. ...."

I was right.  The workers were right. This money will not help Vermont Yankee workers. In retrospect, this outcome was predictable.  And yes, part of the outcome is Governor Shumlin's fault. I hate to point fingers, but sometimes facts are facts.

A Timeline: We Start With the Money
In December of 2013, Entergy and the state of Vermont signed an agreement about the final months of the plant operation. Basically, Entergy agreed to pay millions of dollars to the state (and move fuel to dry casks quickly). In return, the Entergy would get a Certificate of Public Good to operate the plant until the end  of 2014.

In March 2014, the Public Service Board approved the agreement and granted the Certificate. Various money was on the table, but for the purposes of this post, we will only discuss some of it, specifically the economic development money. Entergy's agreement included $2 million a year, for five years, for economic development of Windham County.

In late March or early April 2014, the state received $2 million dollars from Entergy.  By May, the state was developing guidelines for proposals to disburse the funds. Here's a May article in the Brattleboro Reformer about guideline development.

The economic guidelines needed to resolve many controversies. Should for-profit businesses be allowed to compete for this money? Would there be a revolving loan fund for businesses? Finally, in late July, the state had its guidelines and it requested applications.   As Vermont Digger reported,  non profits could apply for grants, and businesses could apply for loans. Loan "repayments will remain in a revolving fund for Windham County in perpetuity."  All applications were due on September 23.

The proposals and the panel
The panel received about $6 million dollars worth of proposals for the $2 million dollars available. The town of Vernon worked hard on its proposal: it was especially hard-hit by the plant's closing.  In this video clip about Vermont Yankee closing, you can hear Patty O'Donnell, chairman of the Vernon Selectboard, speaking hopefully of Vernon's application for a grant to start a business incubator.

The Vermont Economic Progress Council, an eleven-member panel, served as the decision-maker about the economic grants.  This panel has nine members appointed by the governor, and two members appointed by the legislature. Only two panel members come from Windham County, a fact noted by the Brattleboro Reformer in an editorial. The Reformer thought that more local representation might have been a good thing.

The panel recommends
Around Thanksgiving, the panel made its recommendations.  These were recommendations to Governor Peter Shumlin.  Shumlin would make the final decision.

Governor Shumlin
Note: Weirdly, in this state, "Governor Shumlin will make the final decision" doesn't surprise anybody. I have lived in many states, and in general, agency panels make decisions on funding. They put out a request for proposals, then they choose the proposals they want to fund.  Sometimes the governor must approve, but rarely is the situation described as the Governor making the final decision.

Vermont Digger wrote a report on the panel's recommendations.  The panel only planned to award $1.7 million in funding, and none of that was to the town of Vernon. That town's proposal didn't even make the first cut.

Governor Shumlin Decides
Governor Shumlin did not find all $1.7 million dollars worth of projects worthy of
funding.  As a matter of fact, he only plans to fund $800,000 dollars worth of projects.  Vermont Digger described the projects in its article: The State Slows Windham County Economic Development Program.  

The funded projects included $79,000 for the "Strolling of the Heifers" business plan competition.  Now, far be it from me to disrespect the "Strolling of the Heifers," a fine parade in Brattleboro. The Heifers organization is also involved in many locavore, farm-to-table projects.  Still, I don't understand why the Vernon business incubator made no headway with the committee, but the Heifers will be awarded funding for their business competition.  It's almost like saying: we are not interested in what happens to the people in Vernon.  (I am a blogger.  I have opinions.)

Well, that's my opinion of the outcome.  Governor Shumlin's opinion is that Vermont has to revamp the application process to get better proposals next year.

One businessman commented in Vermont Digger, claiming that the process was insulting. He doesn't think the business community is going to try again for next year's funds. A commentator on a Vermont Public Radio article said that the process puts Shumlin in an overly regal  role. 

Opinions certainly vary.

So It Goes
After an entire summer of workshops and excitement about grant applications for the Entergy money, the result can be most honestly described as a fizzle. Most of the money wasn't even awarded. Governor Shumlin was disappointed that the received proposals  were not "transformational" enough. Was he really disappointed, or did he just want to emphasize that the final decision is in his hands alone?  Who knows? Probably a little of both ideas.

Skeptics at Vermont Yankee thought the Entergy economic development money, once it was given to the state, was unlikely to be used to help Vermont Yankee workers.

The bottom line is that the Vermont Yankee skeptics were correct.

Alas.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Governor Salmon Praises 42 Years of Vermont Yankee. (Guest Post)

Governor Salmon speaking in favor of  Vermont Yankee
At PSB hearing,  November 2012

Former governor tells Vermont Yankee operators: ‘you done good’

By Thomas P. Salmon

In 1958, when I moved from Boston to Bellows Falls, Vermont was something of an economic and political backwater. The economy was stagnant and political loyalties were virtually unchanged since the Civil War. More people moved out than moved in. Not until 1963 did the human population exceed the bovine.

Construction on the Interstate Highway began in 1957. Many visitors followed the freeway north to the ski resorts, lakes and woodlands of “Vermont: The Beckoning Country,” so styled by Gov. Phil Hoff and his tourism expert, Al Moulton. Of course many loved what they saw and stayed. With them came fresh energy, ideas, and human and financial capital.

As our population and industrial base grew, so did our need for reliable, low-cost, smog-free electricity. In the mid-1960’s the Legislature faced a hard choice: buy hydro power from Labrador, or build an instate nuclear power plant. I favored the former. The struggle was intense, the vote close. Vermont Yankee won. Did the “losers,” myself included, take our bats and balls and go home? No, we closed ranks behind Vermont Yankee. Politics, then, took second place to presenting a unified front for creating plentiful, low-cost, clean electricity.

As I write these words, the operators of Vermont Yankee have spent 42 years before the mast. If an informed Vermonter were to sum up in a sentence the performance of Vermont Yankee, he would say, ‘you done good:’ 42 years of baseload power; environmentally benign; never hurt a soul. Vermont Yankee provided, at a critical time in Vermont’s history, stable, steady and very cost-effective power. It’s been a good corporate citizen, with wages and benefits far beyond the norm, and always there to help the community whenever there was a genuine need.

Eight years ago, after serving as president of the University of Vermont and chair of Green Mountain Power, I began to notice the heat being turned up on Vermont Yankee. A rather fierce ideological battle from the hard left ensued. Some were Vermonters, but the vast majority lived in other states. The Vermont press was responding to their siren song. However in Windham County, a hardy band of citizens said, ‘we want to be heard on these issues.’ And so the non-profit Vermont Energy Partnership was founded to advocate on behalf of public policies that facilitate the affordable, safe, reliable, clean power, including support for a well-operated Vermont Yankee plant. It was a great honor and privilege to participate in this effort.

At the end of this month, Vermont Yankee will cease to operate, but it will remain an important member of our community for many years still to come. I salute the plant’s many dedicated professionals and outstanding neighbors who will now retire or seek work elsewhere. In the meantime, there is still important work to be done for the future of Windham County and to solve energy issues in our state. Vermont Yankee has agreed to provide assistance for rebuilding the post-shutdown economy and renewable energy, contingent upon certain regulatory approvals from the state. I look forward to working with Vermont Yankee and the community to continue solving these issues together.

(Thomas P. Salmon of Rockingham served as governor for the State of Vermont from 1973-1977.)

-----

This post has appeared as an op-ed in several newspapers in Vermont.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Update! Send Your Comment to the EPA! Here's Mine.

UPDATE:  Today, December 1, you can still comment on the  EPA rule which gives nuclear power credit for only 6% of the carbon that a nuclear plant mitigates.  

Here's my blog post on the rule: Support Nuclear This Weekend

But more important, here's the link to the American Nuclear Society page about the rule. This page includes explanations and a link to the EPA comment page.
http://www.ans.org/epa/
Here's a direct link to the EPA instead, if you prefer
http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards/how-comment-clean-power-plan-proposed-rule


Below is the comment I sent in.  It's not a perfect comment, but I will say that it meets some of the criteria for a good comment: it includes my name and address, and it is unique to my situation.  Looking at it today, however, it seems a bit wordy.

Write your own comment!  Make it briefer than mine!
----------

My name is Meredith Joan Angwin. I live in Wilder Vermont. I blog at Yes Vermont Yankee and I am a member the American Nuclear Society.

I want to say that the way the carbon pollution regulations are written now, when Vermont Yankee closes, IF it were to be replaced with gas from Canada supplying a natural-gas fired unit....the rules would say that the carbon dioxide emissions from Vermont would go DOWN, when the actual emissions would go UP.

Now, I am well aware the Vermont doesn't fall under these rules, because we basically only have Vermont Yankee, some hydro and some biomass in-state. So we didn't have to come up with a mitigation plan. However, these rules are backwards. You give nuclear (either existing or being built) credit for about 6% of its emissions reductions. However, any plant (coal or nuclear) that is replaced with a natural gas plant is part of the state's mitigation strategy.

Replacing coal with gas lowers the state's greenhouse gas emissions, replacing nuclear with gas raises the emissions, but it's all the same to the rules as they are formulated now.

I know that people love natural gas plants. "Clean natural gas, lower carbon than coal." But I am on the Coordinating Committee for the ISO-NE (grid operator) Consumer Liaison group, supposed to be the "voice of the consumer" advising the grid operator. I want you to know that consumers suffer when the grid does not have a diversity of supply. In the Northeast, massive price rises of electricity (25%, 40%) are happening this winter, because there's a winter supply crunch on natural gas.

The grid needs diversity so that the lights will stay on even if one type of fuel is unavailable. Yet your current rules would force the grid into renewables-with-natural-gas-backup. Even with different types of renewables, that is NOT diversity. Are you aware that the capacity value for wind in the Northeast is only about 13%? (I've heard lower values at seminars, but I'm going with a EIA report here. http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=1370.) The capacity factor for wind in the Northeast is about 25%--that is, the wind blows enough to turn the turbines about 25% of the time. But the grid operators must look at whether the wind will be available when it is needed. That's the capacity value.

Basically, if you don't give nuclear more credit, the grid will inevitably go to renewables for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (but they will have with low capacity values). Then natural gas, with greenhouse gas emissions, will make the inevitable difference. In other words, there will be a nationwide grid that, like the Northeast, is overly dependent on natural gas, with all the price and supply problems that entails.

Originally, I worked in renewables. I was a project manager at the Electric Power Research Institute and I wanted renewables to do it all. Then, painfully, I realized they couldn't. Since I had already worked on the extremely difficult problem of lowering NOx emissions from fossil fuels, I gradually came to realize the virtues of nuclear power. Now I am devoted to it as a substitute for coal. Nuclear power PLUS renewables PLUS some natural gas will help with climate change. But if you don't give nuclear more credit in your calculations, the entire U S grid will be in the same shape as the Northeast grid. Overdependent on natural gas.

And that's not good. Give nuclear plants 100% of the credit for the greenhouse emissions they avoid. It's only fair, after all. I don't know how you got this 6% solution for nuclear, but its wrong. Luckily, there is still time to fix the problem!

Sincerely,
Meredith Angwin


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Support Nuclear This Weekend. Email the EPA by Sunday!

Analysis of Ohio Carbon Dioxide Emissions
From American Nuclear Society (ANS) Webinar
November 26, 2013


The EPA and the Carbon Rules: It Situation Is Worse Than I Thought
But You Can Do Something About It

The Situation Is Worse Than I Thought

Several months ago, the Environmental Protection Agency issued its rules for cutting down carbon emissions from the utility sector.  The rules were complex and differed wildly, state by state.  States that used a lot of coal were required to cut back their carbon emissions by relatively small amounts.  I blogged about this backwards rule-making in my post: Exporting Our Carbon Problems: The EPA Takes a Flawed, State-by-State Approach to Greenhouse Gas Policy.

But.

The situation is much worse than I thought.  Through some convoluted process, the EPA gives states with nuclear power plants credit for only 5.8% of the carbon dioxide avoided by the presence of the nuclear plants. This is true for existing nuclear plants, nuclear plants under construction, etc.  If you substitute gas-fired for coal, you get 100% credit for the avoided carbon.  If you substitute nuclear for coal, you get credit for 5.8% of the avoided carbon!  As a matter of fact, if  you substitute a gas-powered plant for a nuclear plant, your state emissions look better according to the EPA.

Ohio: The Example of the EPA Calculation

Let's look at the example above, from today's American Nuclear Society Webinar.  If we actually calculate the Ohio electricity sector carbon intensity, it is  1201 lbs CO2 per MWh. (That's the column called "100% nuclear"....that is, 100% credit for nuclear.)  If we use the EPA rule of 5.8% credit for nuclear, the carbon intensity is 1338 lbs CO2 per MWh.

Okay, now look at the last column. If Ohio's nuclear plants were closed and new gas-turbine plants erected instead, then (by EPA rules) Ohio's carbon intensity would be 1306 lbs CO2 per MWh. The new gas turbines would yield an improvement compared to the EPA's earlier calculation of 1338 lbs.  

Of course, the actual carbon intensity, without the weird EPA calculations, would go up from 1201 lbs/MWh to 1306 lbs/MWh if the nuclear plants went away.

But we're talking about a regulatory agency here, folks. The question is: Is the EPA going to keep this crazy anti-nuclear rule?

You can do something about this!  Do it!

 The comment period on this rule closes on Monday.  It is open this weekend, and many anti-nuclear groups are really hitting hard at the comments.  However, you can comment also.  You SHOULD comment also.

The American Nuclear Society has an excellent page about this rule.  Here's the link to the page, and the page includes a link to the comment page.
http://www.ans.org/epa/

Here's a direct link to the EPA instead, if you prefer

As the ANS page explains, comments can be very simple. The two points are just what you would expect. Encourage the EPA to:

1) Treat existing plants equally by including 100% of nuclear current output in the baseline CO2 calculation.
2) Allow states with new plants under construction to count the new clean energy generation toward their EPA emissions target.

A Note About Your Note 

The EPA will read the emails, but they pay far less attention to cookie cutter or anonymous comments.
Put your name on your comment, and make it as personal as you can.  Say why YOU think nuclear generation has to be given more credit.  Do you think it is because we need a level playing field, because your grandfather was a coal miner, because nuclear is the future, because nuclear is a very important clean air option?  Just a sentence or two, so it is not cookie-cutter.

Do it this weekend.

EPA is about to bust the best source of clean air electricity in this country.  This is more important than the doorbusters at your local mall.

Write the EPA this weekend!

Have a great happy Thanksgiving...and write the EPA!

---------

For those who want more information. Some blog posts:

Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, by Nicholas Thompson at Nuclear Undone blog.  Includes quotes from NRDC (an organization opposed to nuclear energy) on how this organization shaped the new rule, working with the EPA. According to the NRDC, there was a danger (oh the horror!) that if nuclear were included, states with nuclear plants wouldn't be able to meet their targets if the nuclear plants were closed. Giving nuclear plants only 5.8% credit for their emissions reductions helped the NRDC achieve its goals.

The Details of the Clean Power Plan: So You Want to See the Numbers by Nicholas Thompson at ANS Nuclear Cafe blog.  The numbers.  A far more complete story than my explanation of Ohio emissions, but basically, the same story.

(Yes, I have already submitted a comment.  Maybe I will put it up here as a blog post later this weekend.)

Monday, November 24, 2014

UPDATED: Nuclear Energy Blog Carnival 236: Here at Yes Vermont Yankee



Once again, we are proud to host the Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers, right here at Yes Vermont Yankee.  The Carnival is a compendium of nuclear blogs that rotates from blog site to blog site, and it is always a pleasure and an honor to host it.  Here we go!

At Fukushima, Radiation Decreases in Turbine Building Basements
From the Hiroshima Syndrome's Fukushima Commentary - Leslie Corrice
The Japanese Press routinely reports on sudden increases in wastewater radioactivity at F. Daiichi. However, they fail to report on what is going right. For at least a year, the activity levels in the turbine basements of units #1-4 have been steadily dropping. This is definitely a success story, but it does not seem newsworthy enough for the Japanese Press.

Yucca Post-Closure Safety Report Finally Released
From ANS Nuclear Cafe - Jim Hopf 
 Jim Hopf details the recent release of the Safety Evaluation Report on Yucca, what it means, and more importantly what's likely to be done and not likely to be done as a result of it.  Nuclear waste is an entity we're prepared to deal with, Hopf argues, and for that reason Yucca should be opened and utilized to satisfy the Federal Government's legal obligation to take spent fuel from nuclear plant sites. 

Time for a Battle and an Update on Radiation Risk
Atomic Insights - Rod Adams
An epic struggle with important health, safety, cost and energy abundance implications is shaping up with regard to the way that the officially sanctioned science and regulatory bodies treat the risks and benefits associated with using ionizing radiation at low doses and dose rates for medical uses, industrial uses and power production.
We must make sure that this battle for science, hearts and minds is not as asymmetrical as the one fought in the period between 1954-1964. During that battle, a very interested Rockefeller Foundation provided the funding and numerous key influencers during a successful campaign to firmly establish the myth that radiation is dangerous even at the lowest possible doses.

More Battles: The Supposed "Clean Power Plan"
Carbon Dioxide
From ANS Nuclear Cafe - Nicholas Thompson
Nick Thompson gives the details you need to know about the EPA Clean Power proposal, and why it's not the boon for nuclear energy some have lauded it as.  Includes background links for more information.  Includes links for submitting YOUR comments on the plan this weekend. Comments due by December 1!

Vermont Yankee: Consequences of a Battle We Lost
From NEI Nuclear Notes - Meredith Angwin
Meredith Angwin documents the spreading pain of Vermont Yankee's closing--starting with the plant employees who will be laid off, and pain propagating through the local towns, on to the grid, and up to the state level. Her post, at NEI Nuclear Notes, is part of an NEI report on closing the plant, a report that includes the effect of the plant closing on New England's energy crisis and on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.  The full report: Closing Vermont Yankee: Carbon, Market Impacts of Closing the Vermont Yankee Plant.

Existing power plants
at Hinkley Point
Wikipedia
Finances and Risk in Europe
Neutron Bytes - Dan Yurman
The financial future of the French state-owned nuclear giant has become less certain and some worry it may threaten the viability of the UK’s Hinkley Point 3200 MW new nuclear build.

A Nuclear Opponent and His Lack of Credibility
Northwest Clean Energy - Meredith Angwin
Why Do They Listen to Alvarez?
At the Northwest Clean Energy blog, Meredith Angwin notes that Robert Alvarez has now written a report about Columbia Generating Station. This report rehashes the testimony he gave in Vermont about Vermont Yankee in 2013.  She reviews his qualifications and his report and asks: Why Do They Listen to Alvarez?

Safety Culture Everywhere
Graphic from Wikipedia
Nuke Power Talk - Gail Marcus
Trains and Boats and Planes...and Nuclear Power Plants
Gail Marcus writes at Nuke Power Talk about her presentation on safety culture at a meeting in Chicago, and her subsequent experience with a failure of safety culture. Yes, on her way home from the meeting, she had a first-hand experience with a safety culture failure.  (Gail...did you ever find out how the plane's wing hit a barbed wire fence?)  All's well that ends well, but her trip home pointed out how important safety culture is, whether on trains, boats, planes or in nuclear power plants.


Monazite (thorium mineral)

Nuclear Power and Noah's Ark
Energy Reality Project - Rick Maltese
Noah Nuke Advocate
Rick Maltese's parable begs the question: Will we wake up to the reality in time? Obviously the warnings were there for Noah but when will we know? We know what we've been doing wrong but do not know how to change. Time to act. Alone or collectively.

Fundraiser: Crowd Funding for a Pro-Nuclear Presence at AGU
ThoriumMSR - Rick Maltese
Renewed efforts to spread the word about MSRs bigger than ever
Rick Maltese plans to go to the annual AGU (American Geophysical Union) Conference.  Approximately 24,000 scientists and policymakers come to this conference in San Francisco, which runs from Monday December 15 to Friday December 19. Rick will be representing the Thorium Energy Alliance of Silicon Valley (TESV), and his own Energy Reality Project.   Join him at TESV booth 2617: this booth sits directly across of the booth of the Union of Concerned Scientists.  Contribute to crowdfunding Maltese's important effort.

Nuclear Good News on New Builds
Next Big Future - Brian Wang
Brian Wang reports on new builds, commissioning tests and more in South Korea, Vietnam, China and Russia.

China's 2020 Energy Plans
Next Big Future - Brian Wang
Brian Wang reviews China's plan for its energy mix by 2020.  This includes deepwater oil drilling, reducing coal use to 62% of electricity generation, and considerable new nuclear coming on-line.  According to Chinese planning documents, fast reactors will be an important part of the energy mix in the future.






Thursday, November 20, 2014

Meeting about Decomm and Important Posts about Closing Vermont Yankee

Marlboro College
Graduate School Building
graphic from Wikipedia
The Meeting and the Comments

Yesterday, I posted about ways to comment about Vermont Yankee's decommissioning plans. The comment period is only open until Tuesday.

Tonight, there is a meeting in Brattleboro of the Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizen Advisory Panel (NDCAP).  The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at Marlboro College on Vernon Street.  Here's a link to the agenda. Regrettably, I still have a rather bad cold, and I will not be attending.

Did I say "regrettably"? Hmm....I try to be more honest than that!  These meetings can be very hard to attend because the nuclear opponents tend to dominate the conversation.  However, I have heard that this NDCAP meetings have been far more civilized than the earlier VSNAP meetings.  I encourage people to attend and support Vermont Yankee's continued operation and careful closing.

The 165 Layoffs and the Pain

As Vermont Digger posted yesterday, Entergy has announced that 165 Vermont Yankee workers will be laid off on January 19. According to an Entergy press release, 69 of these workers live in Vermont, 48 live in New Hampshire and 39 live in Massachusetts.  (I linked to the Digger article rather than the press release because you can comment on the Digger article.)

Evan Twarog at the left
Speaking at Rotary Day  at the U N
Today, I have a guest blog post at NEI Nuclear Notes about the spreading pain of Vermont Yankee closing. I attempt to cover layoffs, taxes, the grid, and my opinion that the Entergy payments for Windham County development won't help Vermont Yankee employees that much. I hope you read it and comment on it.  Pain from Vermont Yankee Closing Spreads Far and Wide.

Evan Twarog about the pain on the grid

Evan Twarog, the son of a Vermont Yankee employee, is now a blogger at Atomic Insights.  Today he has a very well-researched and thoughtful post about the price rises on the grid.  Power in New England: Why are Prices Increasing So Rapidly?  As usual, at Atomic Insights, the comment stream is also worth reading.

Those of you who follow this blog may remember that Twarog has been a frequent guest blogger, and was a summer intern at the Ethan Allen Institute Energy Education Project, two summers ago.

NEI Report on Vermont Yankee

This week, the Nuclear Energy Institute has written an excellent multi-faceted report on Vermont Yankee.  My blog post (linked above) was the final step in this report.  I encourage you to read the entire report, bookmark it, and use it!

Blog posts:

Closing Vermont Yankee, and All That It Means (overview and market problems)
Vermont Yankee and the Looming Energy Crisis (the energy market shortfalls)
Vermont Yankee and All That It Does Not Produce (effect of closing on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative)
Pain From Vermont Yankee Closing Spreads Far and Wide  (my post, referenced above)

The report itself (Permanent at the NEI site, not blog posts):

Closing Vermont Yankee (overview and links to other pages, including great links about the energy markets, nationwide)
Nuclear Plant Shutdowns Reveal Market Problems
New England's Looming Energy Crisis
Vermont Yankee Closing Will Challenge Region's Emission Goals