The good—the very good—energy news is that the Indian Point nuclear power plants 26 miles north of New York City will be closed in the next few years under an agreement reached between New York State and the plants’ owner, Entergy.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has long been calling for the plants to be shut down because, as the New York Times related in its story on the pact, they pose “too great a risk to New York City.” Environmental and safe-energy organizations have been highly active for decades in working for the shutdown of the plants. Under the agreement, one Indian Point plant will shut down by April 2020, the second by April 2021.

They would be among the many nuclear power plants in the U.S. which their owners have in recent years decided to close or have announced will be shut down in a few years.

This comes in the face of nuclear power plant accidents—the most recent the ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan—and competitive power being less expensive including renewable and safe solar and wind energy.

Last year the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant in Nebraska closed following the shutdowns of Kewanee in Wisconsin, Vermont Yankee in Vermont, Crystal River 3 in Florida and both San Onofre 2 and 3 in California. Nuclear plant operators say they will close Palisades in Michigan next year and then Oyster Creek in New Jersey and Pilgrim in Massachusetts in 2019 and California’s Diablo Canyon 1 in 2024 and Diablo Canyon 3 in 2025.

This brings the number of nuclear plants down to a few more than 90—a far cry from President Richard Nixon’s scheme to have 1,000 nuclear plants in the U.S. by the year 2000.

But the bad—the very bad—energy news is that there are still many promoters of nuclear power in industry and government still pushing and, most importantly, the transition team of incoming President Donald Trump has been “asking for ways to keep nuclear power alive,” as Bloomberg news reported last month.

As I was reading last week the first reports on the Indian Point agreement, I received a phone call from an engineer who has been in the nuclear industry for more than 30 years—with his view of the situation.

The engineer, employed at nuclear plants and for a major nuclear plant manufacturer, wanted to relate that even with the Indian Point news—“and I’d keep my fingers crossed that there is no disaster involving those aged Indian Point plants in those next three or four years”—nuclear power remains a “ticking time bomb.” Concerned about retaliation, he asked his name not be published.

Here is some of the information he passed on—a story of experiences of an engineer in the nuclear power industry for more than three decades and his warnings and expectations.

THE SECRETIVE INPO REPORT SYSTEM

Several months after the accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania in March 1979, the nuclear industry set up the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) based in Atlanta, Georgia. The idea was to …read moreRead More


Letter to the Editors The “nuclear hostage crisis” is finally over. Governor Rauner and the Illinois Legislature has ordered all Illinois ratepayers to pay the $2.35 billion ransom to Exelon Corporation over the next ten years, ostensibly to save the ~1,500 jobs at the Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear reactors. That amounts … Continue reading OP-ED: END THE “NUCLEAR HOSTAGE CRISES” NOW! …read moreRead More


PRESS RELEASE CHICAGO– Governor Bruce Rauner signed the Exelon nuclear bailout bill into law today, insuring over the next 10 years a legislatively mandated $2.35 billion rate hike, and the production of nearly 900 tons of additional high-level radioactive wastes and the other risks that nuclear power poses for Illinois. “What a terrific Christmas … Continue reading GOVERNOR SIGNS EXELON NUCLEAR BAILOUT BILL – INSURES CONTINUED NUCLEAR RISKS, RADIOACTIVE WASTE GENERATION …read moreRead More


December, 27 2016 by Oliver Moody, The Times

Watchdog accused over safety incidents every day.

The nuclear safety regulator has been accused of turning a blind eye to dozens of serious mistakes at power plants and military bases.

A torpedo inadvertently fired by a Navy warship at the nuclear submarine dock in Plymouth and three road accidents involving vehicles carrying radioactive material were among the events dismissed as posing no danger.

Analysis by The Times shows that while the number of safety incidents formally declared by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has been stable for a decade, the rate of faults recorded by the watchdog has doubled since 2010 to more than one a day.

Between 2012 and 2015 the ONR gave 973 “anomalies” an International Nuclear Event Scale (INES) score of zero or left them unrated, meaning they were judged to have been of “no nuclear safety significance”. Among them were:

● Four cases where tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen, was found at elevated levels in groundwater around the Dungeness B reactor in Kent.

● At least 70 safety incidents on the UK’s main nuclear warhead base at Aldermaston, Berkshire, including the contamination of several workers and a power cut across the site.

● An accident where a vehicle carrying nuclear material on the M1 hit a lorry, and another where a transport lorry flipped over, damaging two containers holding radioactive chemicals.

● Uranium “sludge” and an unstable form of caesium left in bin bags at Springfields, a former power plant, and Amersham nuclear materials factory.

● At least a dozen leaks of radioactive substances and more than 30 fires at power stations, including an event where a control panel at the Sellafield site was burnt out.

Experts on the nuclear industry said it was extraordinary that these events had been dismissed so lightly. Some said they were concerned that the ONR’s close ties to the industry had compromised its willingness to expose mistakes. One experienced engineer, speaking anonymously, said: “I do believe that the ONR downplays the incidents’ severity and the incompetence that has led to these events.”

A former member of the government’s nuclear safety advisory committee said the events looked like “strange anomalies” that should have been taken much more seriously.

Brief accounts of the incidents that were recorded in the three years up to March 2015 but logged as being of no significance were quietly published earlier this year in …read moreRead More