This was the week of the shocker. On Tuesday morning Entergy announced that Vermont Yankee would not refuel in October 2014. Instead, it will shut down at that time.
I know many people at Vermont Yankee, and they were all as surprised as I was. Entergy had just won a major federal court decision. We all thought we had every reason to believe Vermont Yankee would remain open for many more years.
Entergy management said it was shutting down because it was no longer economically viable.
There is more news and better news in other parts of the nuclear world, but this is the Yes Vermont Yankee blog, and I will start with reactions to Vermont Yankee closing.
My first blog post, Vermont Yankee to Close in 2014, was merely a posting of the FAQs from Entergy about the closing. However, it has an interesting comment stream so I have linked to it. My second blog post was my own FAQs: Questions I Frequently Ask Myself About Vermont Yankee Closing.
Entergy listed three main reasons that they needed to close Vermont Yankee:
- The low price on the grid, due to natural gas
- The unfavorable economics of a small nuclear plant
- Design flaws in the local wholesale electricity market
|Fervent anti-nuclear bike riders|
refuel themselves on bananas
Meanwhile, Jim Conca posted at Forbes. His post is clear and direct: Who Told Vermont to Be Stupid?
The Great State of Vermont threw away cheap clean energy this week out of ignorance and fear. By closing the Vermont Yankee nuclear power station, Vermont chose to be stupid, and will hurt the environment as a sidebar.
That is probably the question I should have asked myself: Who Told Vermont to Be Stupid?
The Wider View
Looking outside of Vermont (and I am very glad to do so, right now) we have news about nuclear builds and the importance of nuclear energy in energy diversity.
Brian Wang of Next Big Future:
(So true. Every now and again I think of leaving Vermont. Perhaps my thoughts don't take me far enough.)
Commercial antimatter production could enable antimatter catalyzed fission and fusion
A new state of high pressure matter can efficiently generate soft xrays and could make explosives 100 times more powerful than chemical. This is a table-top experiment (really) with carbon bucky-balls. Amazing. They call the little explosions "nanostars."
Gail Marcus of Nuke Power Talk
In the Yosemite Fires and Energy Supply, Another Vulnerability, Gail Marcus considers the situation on the West Coast, where the Rim Fire is still blazing near Yosemite. She notes a Wall Street Journal editorial that points out the the vulnerability of our energy supply in areas prone to wildfire. Some types of facilities (particularly large-scale solar and wind) are sited in wildfire-prone areas, and they have long transmission lines, also vulnerable to fire.. She suggests that the solution is more diversity. We think of diversity in terms of types of fuel, but we should also consider diversity in terms of terms of size and location of power plants.
Dr. Robert Hayes at NewsOK Science and Technology Blog
Dr. Robert Hayes at NewsOK describes how irradiation of food is a safe method of preservation. We heat food (cook it) and that often makes it safer. Similarly, irradiation to kill pathogens makes food safer.
The FUD Fighters! Starting with Snopes
In the nuclear industry, there's always some FUD (fear uncertainty and doubt) being spread. Our two FUD Fighters for this blog post are Rod Adams and Les Corrice. They are both fighting the FUD of "radiation from water leaks at Fukushima is a terrible problem and it is going to kill us all (after it kills all the fish in the Pacific)".
Before I go to their blog posts, however, I want to give a hat tip to Snopes. Snopes has pointed out that the "radiation is spreading through the Pacific" graphic that has gone viral on the Internet...is really a graphic of wave height from the Tohoku earthquake. Snopes Fukushima Emergency. The graphic has nothing to do with radiation.
The FUD Fighters! Our own bloggers
Our own FUD fighters on those same leaks: Adams and Corrice.
Rod Adams at Atomic Insights
Rod Adams describes the Fear Mongering over the Water Leaks at Fukushima Dai Ichi. Bottom line, despite all word to the contrary, there is no reason for anyone to be concerned that “contaminated” water from the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station is going to cause them any physical harm, now or in the future. The only way my bottom line statement could possibly be wrong is if some really nutty activists decide to occupy the site and drink directly from the water tanks that have been assumed to be leaking. Those nutty activists would have to be very patient people, because they would have to drink that water for many years before any negative effects might show up.
And a companion piece:
Update on Fukushima water leaks – unrepresentative sample used to support fear mongering
Les Corrice at Hiroshima Syndrome
From The Hiroshima Syndrome/Fukushima Commentary
1) Is Fukushima Daiichi’s Wastewater Really Toxic?
First, just how toxic is strontium? Second, is the level of contaminated water that may have reached the sea worthy of being labeled “toxic”? Strontium itself is not worthy of being called “toxic”. The label can only be applied because of Sr-90's radiation. Is that enough?
2) New INES Rating at Fukushima Demands Clear Public Communication
It is imperative that Tepco and the IAEA make clear and decisive public communication about today's upgrade to INES level-3. The upgrade is entirely due to the leak from a wastewater storage tank, and has nothing to do with the other groundwater contamination issues at F. Daiichi. This must be stressed and any Press outlet that connects the upgrade to the groundwater issues must be publically admonished.
Over and Out for Now
This has been a tough week for people who care about Vermont Yankee. But there's good news other places in the nuclear world.
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, takes place next week.
May it be a good and sweet year for everyone.