Thursday, May 4, 2017

Bonus Book: Inspiration and Brownies!

Bonus Book:

In May, when you buy Campaigning for Clean Air, you will get a bonus: a short book of inspirational essays– “An Advocate’s Inspiration: Shared Brownies for the Nuclear Soul.” This bonus will only be available in May.

To get the bonus book, buy Campaigning at Amazon, and forward the receipt to me at mjangwin at gmail.

Please share this offer with your friends and with other groups. I would love to send out lots of the short, sweet, inspiration book!

About the bonus book:

I am putting this offer together so people will click: Buy. It's a marketing thing. Yes,  it is.

But "An Advocate's Inspiration" is a book from the heart.  You will enjoy it.

Also, if you bought Campaigning earlier, please send me the receipt and I will send you "An Advocate's Inspiration."  The end-date of the offer is to encourage new buyers, not to discourage my friends who bought the book earlier.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Ecomodernist Podcast on "Campaigning for Clean Air"

I was recently invited to talk about my book, Campaigning for Clean Air, on the Ecomodernist Podcast.  The podcast was released, and here's the link.  I hope you will listen to it: I think you will enjoy the conversation.

The Ecomodernist Podcast:

Part of the podcast was talking about my book, There are many books about the virtues of nuclear power, but this is the first book (as far as I know) on how to support nuclear power in the public sphere.  It's the "then what" book:

"Now that I know about the importance of nuclear power, then what can I do to support it?"

My book is a major answer to that question.   I encourage you to read its excellent reviews on Amazon.

However, a good podcast goes beyond just discussing the book.  Gabriel Ignetti and Rick Maltese were great interviewers.

We discussed combustion versus nuclear energy for electricity. Specifically,  we discussed the nasty effects on air quality that are caused by nitrogen oxides from gas and coal-fired plants. Nowadays, carbon dioxide gets all the press, but nitrogen oxides are still out there, making smog and acid rain. We discussed  being members of environmental groups that are fighting climate change, and the importance of sticking up for nuclear within these groups.  Ignetti, especially, had good stories about his involvement in the environmental movement in Florida.  We discussed hecklers and people who really get "in your face" against nuclear, and possibly-effective versus certainly-ineffective ways to deal with them.

At the end of the podcast, Ignetti and Maltese have a short, separate section, sharing some research they did about how nitrogen oxides affect people's health, forest health, and even our sculpture and our buildings.

Ecomodernism

Painted trillium in Pisgah National Forest
A not-power-plant near a waterfall.
I was on the  "Ecomodernist Podcast," and now you may be wondering: what is "ecomodernism"?  Ecomodernism is a movement that started in 2015, with the publication of the Ecomodernist Manifesto. The ecomodernist goal is human prosperity and an ecologically vibrant planet.

This goal will be achieved by humans choosing technologies that can lift people from poverty and supply abundant energy, while using less of the of the world's area for human endeavors.  This means, for example, using compact energy sources like nuclear power, and leaving the ridges, the tides, the woodlands,  the pastures, and the streams to benefit the ecologies that need ridges, tides, woodlands,  pastures and streams.  In other words, giving nature room to breathe, while giving humans enough abundance to live healthy lives.

Ecomodernism hadn't been invented yet, in 2013, when I had an article in ANS Nuclear Cafe: Farmers, City Folk and Renewable Energy. But the idea in my article substantially the same: don't look at every woods and every waterfall as a source of energy, ready for "biomass" burning, or building a nice big concrete dam.

Let much of nature be nature.  Use compact sources of energy, rather than bulldozing the woods.

That is also a goal of ecomodernism.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Nuclear and the Trump Administration: Post at Nuclear Engineering International

NRC Chairman Kristine L. Svinicki and Commissioner Jeff Baran.
NRC photo from 2017 Regulatory Information Conference
Trump and Nuclear

Early this year, Nuclear Engineering International Magazine suggested that I write an article about the future of nuclear energy under the Trump administration.  (The magazine is based in Britain.)

This level of prognostication felt a little above my pay grade!

However,  I managed it, because I worked with an excellent co-author, Dr. Gilbert  Brown.  Brown is  emeritus professor/ director of the nuclear engineering program at University of Massachusetts, Lowell.  He is active in nuclear policy and was a Foster Fellow in the U.S. State Department.  Together, Brown and I wrote the article: Nuclear Power in the U.S.A.  It appeared in the March issue of the magazine.

I call the article "prognostication" because it was published in the March issue of Nuclear Engineering International, and written in February.  A  lot of things were in flux at that point. To quote the description of the article in the magazine itself:

President Donald Trump’s first few weeks in office have been a whirlwind of activity. When it comes to nuclear power, there has been some positive momentum with key industry appointments and initiatives for advanced reactors. What might the future hold? By Meredith Angwin and Dr. Gilbert Brown.

Why this article is different

Doctor Gilbert Brown
Though some parts of our article are now out-of date, most of the article is still relevant. In particular, we pushed some boundaries a little in this article. Many people who read nuclear industry periodicals expect to hear about DOE, NRC and EPA (we covered these agencies).

But many nuclear people are somewhat ignorant of FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is the commission that oversees the grid as a whole.

Dr. Brown and I covered the effects of the vacancies at FERC.  We felt we needed to expand our article past the "usual suspects."  FERC has so many vacancies on its board right now that it can't hold important meetings or make certain types of rulings.

I think you will enjoy reading our article about nuclear under Trump.  When I linked to it on Facebook, a very knowledgable man commented that it was a GREAT high-level summary article, and more such articles will be required in the future.
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Endnotes about FERC:

In late March, long after we had finished the article, the Washington Examiner looked at possible FERC appointments in an article titled  The Politics of Fixing FERC.

Much of that article has an inside-baseball feel to it. Read it if you choose, but at any event, I think the title of the article ("Fixing FERC")  is an important  statement.  In my opinion, FERC has been  fast-and-free with its mandate, encountering little oversight and almost no press coverage. Most of FERC's actions have been either neutral or not-good for nuclear.

For example,  I keep meaning to write about FERC 1000, but I am every time I get ready to dive into that deep deep sinkhole, I remember that I wrote a book and I should spend  my time publicizing it.  If you want to know more about recent FERC actions, I suggest reading NESCOE's brief in its lawsuit against FERC: the suit is about FERC 1000.   Start reading the brief on page 4.

NESCOE is an association of New England states: New England States Committee on Electricity.  This association is made up of representatives appointed by the New England governors.  I consider NESCOE to be New England's attempt to defend itself against FERC.

NESCOE is rightly concerned that FERC's policy changes will cause states to be forced to pay for other states requirements for transmission lines--lines built for only for state policy purposes.  It is taxation without representation: one state votes in for a state policy, and other states pay for that policy. Before FERC 1000, states only shared the costs for transmission lines that were needed for grid reliability, not for state policy.

Oh heavens.  See what I mean?  I'm heading down the explaining-FERC sinkhole!  Okay! Done with that!  I'm climbing out now! I'll be okay!  Really...I will!

Endnotes about Nuclear Engineering International Magazine 

My most recent blog post based on a Nuclear Engineering International article is Pay for Performance on the U.S. Grid: No help to nuclear

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Pro-Nuclear Advocacy Post at ANS Nuclear Cafe

Great Days, right now.

These are great days for pro-nuclear advocacy. Many states are moving in the right direction to save their nuclear plants. Nuclear opponents are fighting desperately to get the states to stomp on nuclear. ("All you need is a few wind turbines to meet your carbon goals.  That's all you need. Pay no attention to the gas plant behind the curtain.")

In other words, pro-nuclear forces are winning, right now, at the state level! But we have well-armed opponents, and we have to keep fighting!

These are great days for pro-nuclear advocacy.

I have a blog post at ANS Nuclear Cafe about the importance of pro-nuclear advocacy, especially local pro-nuclear advocacy.  I encourage you to read it, and comment either here or at the ANS post.

ANS Nuclear Cafe logo

Pro-Nuclear Advocacy
by Meredith Angwin

Right now, in the United States, citizens have become active advocates on many subjects. Ever since the last election, congressional phone lines have been swamped. .....

However, the backlog on the D.C. phone lines is of little importance to pro-nuclear advocates. For pro-nuclear advocates, right now most of the action is not in Congress, but in the states.

Read the entire post here:
- See more at: http://ansnuclearcafe.org/2017/03/16/pro-nuclear-advocacy/#sthash.C7zs7nuz.dpuf

Monday, March 20, 2017

Nuclear Energy Weekly News Digest 351

Toronto Globe and Mail staff await news of D-Day
Nuclear Energy Weekly News Digest

This is an occasional summary of the best posts from the pro-nuclear blogging community in North America. This week’s collection comes from items submitted for the week ending March 19, 2016. The previous digest was posted on March 12, at Neutron Bytes.

Fukushima Commentary--Les Corrice

Fukushima 6-years-on: Part 1  Japan’s Press subverts Fukushima repopulation
Japan’s popular Press has effectively disrupted the efforts of Tokyo Electric Power Company and the Tokyo government to return the Fukushima evacuation zone to some semblance of normalcy. But one outlet – Fukushima Minpo – has been an objective ray of sunshine, posting more positive articles than the rest of Japan’s popular Press combined.

Fukushima 6-years-on: Part 2  Positive and negative Fukushima 6th anniversary articles
Fukushima accident anniversary articles literally flood the Japanese and international Press. In the past, nearly all focused on the dire and gloomy. This year, most of the reports were once again dedicated to the negative. However, some enterprising news outlets bucked the tide and took the positive approach.

Fukushima 6-years-on: Part 3  Fomenting Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD)
Fukushima FUD has plagued the internet since March, 2011. The frequency of antinuclear scare-mongering posts increases every year to “celebrate” the March 11 anniversary of the nuclear accident. We are identifying only a few of the disreputable postings concerning this year’s anniversary, rather than give all of them free publicity.

Nuke Power Talk-- Gail Marcus

Energy and Jobs: A delicate balance
At Nuke Power Talk, Gail Marcus discusses the issue of jobs lost when any major facility, be it a mine or a factory or a power plant, shuts down.  These job losses can be devastating for the individuals involved and for the communities that host these facilities.  She cites an article by someone who grew up in coal country who argues that plans to reduce the emissions from burning coal need to take a multi-pronged approach that includes planning for assistance to workers affected by these policy decisions.

Forbes--James Conca

NuScale’s Small Modular Nuclear Reactor Keeps Moving Forward
NuScale Power is on track to build the first small modular nuclear reactor in America, having been notified that their first-ever SMR Design Certification Application was accepted for full review by the NRC after only two months - light speed for our nuclear bureaucracy.

The Beguiling Promise Of John Goodenough's New Battery Technology
A new fast-charging battery technology from Jack Goodenough, the inventor of the Li battery, will again revolutionize electric vehicles and smart phones, using a glass electrode instead of a liquid one, sodium instead of lithium, having three times as much energy density as Li-ion batteries and doesn’t get hot.

ANS Nuclear Cafe--Meredith Angwin

Pro-Nuclear Advocacy
Historically, nuclear advocates have been effective when they take action in their own communities.  As Tip O'Neill said: all politics is local.  (Post includes links to several organizations that take local action.)

Neutron Bytes - Dan Yurman

Banner Week for Progress on U.S. Advanced Reactors
Four major announcements were made this week by developers of advanced nuclear reactors in the U.S. All of them indicate progress towards completing designs and engagement with nuclear safety agencies.

There are significant distinctions between them in terms of technical details of the designs and there are also a range of commitments in terms of the key success factor – paying customers.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Atomic Insights features Campaigning for Clean Air



Yesterday, my book Campaigning for Clean Air was featured on Rod Adams's Atomic Insights blog: How to Campaign for Clean Air While Eating Plenty of Brownies.

Here is a taste of what Rod had to say:

Like the best how-to books, Meredith’s little instruction book for budding nuclear advocates is punchy, filled with practical exercises, gives step by step instruction with options and provides pointers to additional sources of help and information. It’s well organized and motivating; there are times when you want to simply put down the book and take one of her recommended actions to see how it works and feels. 

Read the entire post

Monday, February 27, 2017

Sooner Rather Than Later, the NorthStar Decomm Plans: Guy Page Guest Post

NorthStar Decomm of Triga Reactor, Omaha
The advantage to Vermonters of the sale of Vermont Yankee to NorthStar can be summed up this way: sooner rather than later.

As early as 2021, NorthStar, would begin a decade’s worth of decommissioning. By comparison, the original decommissioning plan as prescribed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission would begin no sooner than about 20 years from now, and more likely around 2072.

Economic Impact

This advanced schedule means that sooner rather than later, NorthStar’s plan can stimulate broad-based employment and prosperity for retail, food and lodging, housing, and healthcare sectors, as well as government spending on schools, roads, public safety and other vital services in Windham County and throughout the state. Total estimated economic impact: $781 million [Brattle Group study, 12/15/2016].

During regular operations, Vermont Yankee employed over 600 professionals in good-paying jobs. For a five-year period, NorthStar decommissioning will add approximately 1,000 jobs (onsite jobs and secondary spending combined) per year to the local and state economies.

Notably, the funding for decommissioning won’t come from local or state taxpayers, but from the Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Trust Fund, with more than $550 million in asset value. Properly managed with the oversight of the NRC as it has been to date, it will fund the entire decommissioning project, and the funds will begin to be unlocked much sooner with NorthStar.

Northstar Competency

Decommissioning is NorthStar’s core competency as an ongoing business. It has helped decommission more than 300 related projects, including four nuclear power plants in New England. NorthStar has also conducted NRC-approved decommissionings from start to finish for several nuclear reactors at universities and other institutions.

Before it can begin the work, NorthStar must pass the scrutiny of both the Vermont Public Service Board and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The PSB has already opened a docket on the case, and has invited public input through the submission of comments online or through public testimony at two anticipated public meetings this year.

The NorthStar sale also would mean that sooner rather than later, low-level radioactive waste will be safely shipped out-of-state. NorthStar‘s plan to move this material out of state pre-processing – known in the industry as “rip and ship” – will get low-level waste out of Vermont promptly. This removal by no later than 2030 compared to up to 60 years is most welcome. Also, NorthStar proposes to build an eight MW solar farm onsite as soon as 2026, according to the Brattle Group study.

Using the Site Again

The NorthStar sale would also mean that Vernon, the rest of Windham County, and the State of Vermont can benefit from the presence of a new employer on the Vermont Yankee site. This employer – possibly an energy producer or computer data center,  for example– will mean, high-quality employment, with the resulting private and public sector economic benefits.

Perhaps even more important for Windham County and Vermont, a strong, good-paying employer can help create an attractive atmosphere to attract more jobs. Economic development experts say the big problem with Vermont is that not enough high-demand managers, engineers, and IT professionals want to live here - at least, not outside of Chittenden County.

Our cultural, educational, medical and other “quality of life” resources pale in comparison to many other states. This reality may hurt our Green Mountain pride, but many people prefer the lifestyle in places such as Chapel Hill or Austin.

A large, blue-chip employer is a quality-of-life cornucopia: from it will come better schools, more arts, and more attractive neighborhoods. If we want Windham County and Vermont to draw highly-skilled young Vermonters or transplants, we must cultivate employers who will provide economic opportunity for us, our children, and our grandchildren.

Speedy Decomm is a Win for Vermont

Here is a winning scenario for Vermont—the sale of VY to Northstar and a speedy transition to start decommissioning the site.   Let’s embrace the opportunity to advance the timeline for the plant’s decommissioning. It will provide much greater benefits much sooner, and that’s a good thing for Vermont.

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Guy Page is the Communications Director of the Vermont Energy Partnership, a coalition of businesses, trade and industry groups, not-for-profit organizations, labor unions and individuals committed to clean, safe, affordable and reliable power policy in Vermont. Entergy-Vermont Yankee is a VTEP member.  He has frequent guest posts at this blog: his latest post was Wind Power in Vermont, After the Election.

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Some notes by Meredith Angwin

I was reluctant to publish much about the decomm  sale on this website because of my concerns with the current workers at VY.  My concern was that their employer would be gone with the sale, and their pension benefits might well be affected.  Happily,  IBEW local 300 has filed to be an intervenor in the Public Service Board case about the sale to Northstar, so my concerns are at least partially alleviated.

I have always thought that a specialized company should do the decomm, as I noted in my blog post Facts and Opinion on Entergy Sale of Vermont Yankee.

To write your own comment to the PSB about the sale, use this link: http://epsb.vermont.gov/?q=node/32