Monday, March 21, 2011

Does Nuclear Power Have A Future In America?


I'm supposed to go have dinner with friends in La Jolla in a few months. Roland is already complaining that the only way to get there is to pass by Southern California Edison's San Onofre nuclear plant (actually it is jointly owned-- San Diego Gas & Electric owns 20%). It's south of where I live. North of where I leave is the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant at Avila Beach in San Luis Obispo Co., owned by Pacific Gas & Electric. It was designed to withstand a 6.75 megnitide earthquake-- although it has since been upgraded to be able to withstand a 7.5 magnitude quake. San Onofre was built to withstand a 7.0 magnitude quake and a 25 foot tsunami wave. People are nervous because Japan's recent quake was 9.0 and the tsunami wave was 30 feet. Both Diabo Canyon and San Onofre have applied for licensing to extend the lives of the plants by 20 years. In light of the catastrophes, Germany and China have ceased all such re-licensing of their nuclear plants. Vermont's independent Senator Bernie Sanders wants our country to do the same thing. He sent President Obama a letter asking for a moratorium on license renewals by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He serves on the committee that regulates the Commission.

One day before the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, the NRC authorized a 20-year extension for the Vermont Yankee reactor in Vernon, Vt., after its 40-year operating license runs out next year. Days later, at a committee briefing on the Japan crisis, Sanders urged NRC Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko to reconsider that decision. Sanders points out that 23 reactors in the United States, including Vermont Yankee, are virtually identical in design to the crippled reactors at the Fukushima. Federal safety officials have criticized the General Electric design and warned as long ago as 1972 that if the cooling systems ever failed and fuel rods overheated then the containment vessel surrounding the reactor probably would burst, spewing dangerous radiation into the environment. Sanders’ letter to Obama called for:
·         An independent review by a special presidential commission with broad authority and a mandate to independently review the safety of every existing nuclear reactor and waste site in the United States, in light of the lessons that may be learned from the situation in Japan.

·         A moratorium on all licensing and re-licensing decisions by the NRC.  China already is conducting a full review of safety at its nuclear plants and halted new construction. Germany closed seven reactors to review safety.  In this country, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to shut down the Indian Point nuclear plant, which is operated by Entergy, the same company that runs Vermont Yankee. 
·         Repealing a federal law that indemnifies the nuclear industry. “In the event of a nuclear tragedy in the United States, should the taxpayers of this country be asked to provide billions of dollars in compensation to the victims of such a tragedy or, in a free-enterprise society such as ours, should the nuclear industry itself take full responsibility to secure insurance in the private market for all consequences of such an unthinkable tragedy?” he asked.
·         Withdrawal of an Obama administration request for $36 billion in new lending authority to build more nuclear power plants. Instead, Sanders said existing nuclear loan guarantee funds should be redirected to enhance energy efficiency and to develop safer, more cost-effective energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal.
·         Giving states a say on the safety of nuclear plants. “It will be people who live in the vicinity of nuclear power plants who will have to bear the burden of any tragedy that might occur, and for this reason alone they should play a meaningful role in deciding whether or not the safety risk is acceptable,” Sanders wrote.

Bernie Sanders is a national treasure. Whether you'd like to make sure he remains the one independent voice in the Senate-- working day after day for working families-- or if you'd like to send him a message that you'd support a run by him for president, you can help his campaign here.

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At 5:23 PM, Anonymous robert dagg murphy said...

There is only one safe nuclear power plant and it is our star Sun. It is exactly the right distance from the earth to be safe.

To put 100's of little suns on the earth is not safe. It is only done to make money. Humans will do anything to make money including burning up the house to keep warm in the winter.

Hullabaloo recently quoted a scientific source who pointed out we are using 16 units of energy to run everything when we have 86,000 units coming in daily for our use from the Sun. In other words we have more energy than we can ever spend. Limitless energy combined with ever increasing intellect (we only learn more not less) means what ever needs to be done can be done. An economy based on abundance and not scarcity is a reality.

We are caught up in a boring game of monopoly when for a long time the winners are predetermined and we know the result. This is at a time when science has turned on the cosmic reservoir and abundance for all is at hand.

Nuclear power should have no future on the earth. We are already buried in nuclear waste which is lethal for thousands of years We must find a way to live on our daily energy income which as previously stated is without practical limit.

Nothing is so invisible as the obvious.

At 5:51 PM, Anonymous robert dagg murphy said...

We must also phase out oil and coal. This is our savings account, which took nature 2 million years to create, and which we are running through in about 150 years toing and froing to our non wealth producing jobs, shopping malls and sporting events fooling ourselves and others while destroying our Eco system making water and air less usable by the day while heating up the planet burning up the oil and coal which if not stopped will probably guarantee humanities extinction.

Making money and making sense are mutually exclusive. It is time to start making sense before it is too late. This requires reeducation in spontaneous productive social behaviors
and the telling of the truth immediately if not sooner.

At 9:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget that when you say the owner/operators of these nuke plants are applying for 20yr license extensions, that these 20 years don't kick in until 2024, at least for Diablo. Talk about pro active. By the time anyone figures these things's a done deal. Diablo reactors are licensed until 2024 and 2025 at this point. I don't know about San Onofore.

At 6:04 AM, Anonymous Barry Brenesal said...

So no nuclear energy, and no fossil fuel energy. Fine, but in that case, what do we replace our energy needs with? It's all well and good to suggest we should conserve more, and that manufacturers should produce applications that consume less energy. But where will get the energy we need? I'm an advocate of green energy, but the technology simply isn't there, at this point.

At 9:10 AM, Anonymous robert dagg murphy said...

Barry, look up in the sky. We are getting all our energy from the sun. The stored energy in the form of coal and oil also came from the Sun. We also have wind and water motion energy.

Our trouble is that some are making huge amounts of money polluting up the earth drilling and mining and burning. When the clean air and water are gone and the earth is 125 degrees in Kansas in the spring what good will the money be.

Humanity must set a new course and start living off of our daily available energy which is renewable and exists in such abundance we will eventually wonder why we ever bothered to use up our savings accounts.

This will eliminate gulf oil spills, strip mining, mountain top removal and the further destruction of our originally pristine environment.

At 1:11 PM, Anonymous robert dagg murphy said...

Put a log in the fire place and light it, you will see the Sun coming out of the log.


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