Former Exelon CEO says Exelon should shut those reactors"> Thumbnail for 402088

Current Exelon executives put their fingers in their ears when former Exelon CEO John Rowe (above) speaks.

Exelon executives must feel like former Exelon CEO John Rowe is kind of like the crazy uncle who has to be invited to the party even though whenever he opens his mouth to speak the entire room will cringe.

The problem for Exelon is that Rowe isn’t crazy, and he has been speaking out a lot, especially in the past week.

Last Friday, we linked to one interview he gave recently where he said he would have been quicker to close Exelon’s uneconomic reactors than the current Exelon regime–which still hasn’t closed them and is still floundering around trying to get someone, anyone, to order ratepayers to bail them out. So far, unsuccessfully.

Yesterday, E&E Publishing ran another interview with Rowe, which expands on his thoughts and surely caused unpleasant abdominal pains and teeth-gnashing in Exelon’s executive suite and boardroom. You see, Rowe is one of those retired execs whose stature has only grown since he left the company and his thoughts carry weight, especially in Illinois. And he’s still got some clout, perhaps more than Exelon itself these days: for example, he’s actually friends with Chicago Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, unlike the current Exelon suits.

So here’s what Rowe said about Exelon’s uneconomic reactors:

I’m living in a fairy world because I don’t have the numbers and I’m not responsible for them anymore. But in my opinion, you shut those three plants down. You say they have become uneconomic just like some old coal plants are uneconomic. And in a world that’s driven by unfriendly market prices and unfriendly public policy, you shut them down.

He went on to say that his former colleagues at Exelon “have to figure this out for themselves,” adding:

Rowe would have closed Exelon’s uneconomic Oyster Creek reactor first, then the uneconomic Illinois reactors. Exelon refuses to close any of them, and thus it’s losing money on all of them.

I love nuclear power plants. For [current Exelon CEO] Chris Crane, it’s his life. He would probably go further to keep a plant running than I would go. I don’t believe there’s anything divine about markets, but I believe they’re pretty important….

In some ways, I believe the only way a utility has credibility in saying that something isn’t making any money is if it’s actually willing to shut it down. If I were there, I think I’d have shut the New Jersey plant [Oyster Creek] down first. It’s the oldest, it’s the smallest, and it would have given credibility to what Exelon is saying about the other four. Nuclear power plants have been shut down before around the country.

As for the idea that EPA’s Clean Power Plan should encourage nuclear power:

…I don’t think it’s EPA’s job to encourage a new nuclear world. I think that would be one of the most expensive solutions it could pursue.

Now, before you get the idea …read moreRead More

Pilgrim nuclear reactor operator violates fitness for duty policy"> Thumbnail for 401709

Around 12:30 on Monday a licensed reactor operator at the Pilgrim nuclear power plant near Boston violated the Fitness-for-Duty policy. The operator was denied access to the plant and the resident NRC inspector was informed.

Source: NRC Event Notifications

The post Pilgrim nuclear reactor operator violates fitness for duty policy appeared first on Enformable.

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80 years? Not very likely."> Thumbnail for 397681

The bathtub curve for aging reactors, developed by David Lochbaum of Union of Concerned Scientists. Most U.S. reactors are already in the right side of the tub, with both costs and safety risks increasing.

Last week, CNBC ran a story sure to elevate the blood pressure of clean energy activists everywhere: No more nukes? How about another 80 years of them. The article discussed the hopes of some in the nuclear industry that reactors will be able to be re- re-licensed and operate for 80 years instead of the original 40-year license period as well as beyond the 60 year license most U.S. reactors (75 of the 99 operating) already have received.

CNBC named names too: it said that Exelon, Duke Power and Dominion Resources are all considering applying for an additional 20-year extension to be able to operate for 80 years. Exelon is thinking about it for its Fukushima-clone Peach Bottom reactors in Pennsylvania, Dominion for its Surry reactors in Virginia and Duke Power for its Three Mile Island-clone three-unit Oconee plant in South Carolina.

The Nuclear Energy Institute quickly jumped on the bandwagon, posting on its website yesterday a piece titled Research Finds Few Obstacles to Long-Term Operations for Nuclear Plants. In NEI’s worldview, dedicated researchers from the Department of Energy and the nuclear industry are working hard to identify any obstacles to running reactors as long and hard as possible. Their conclusion isn’t surprising: “Much work remains to be done, but early results indicate that there are no generic technical reasons to prevent well-maintained nuclear power plants from operating beyond 60 years…”

Before anyone gets too excited however, it should be noted that the NRC does not–at least not yet–even offer license extensions beyond 60 years. Last year, as CNBC points out, the NRC staff recommended issuing a new proposed rule that would set up a pathway for allowing for such extensions, but the Commissioners nixed the idea. That doesn’t mean the Commissioners will always veto the concept, but does indicate that they don’t think either the industry or the agency is ready to move down that road.

So don’t expect any 80-year licenses soon. The lead time for issuing a final rule, especially one guaranteed to be controversial, is long. First a proposed rule has to be developed, defended and published for public comment–and there will be a lot of public comment. Then the staff has to answer the comments, formulate the final rule and present it to the Commissioners, who can either accept it as is or send it back for more work. In either case, the process can take anywhere from a year–if everyone works really fast and there is little controversy–to two years or more, and that’s all before a single application can be submitted, much less considered and accepted.

So what is really going on here? Why is the concept suddenly making news now?

It all goes back to what we’ve been emphasizing since GreenWorld began publication, and even before: to 2013 when the …read moreRead More

Russia’s Ecodefense ignores Russian foreign agent law, refuses to pay fines"> Thumbnail for 396429

Ecodefense was instrumental in stopping construction of the Baltic Nuclear Plant near Kaliningrad, Russia. Now, the Russian government wants to shut down Ecodefense.

For more than a year, we have been following the saga of Russia’s crackdown on civil society and in particular the state’s efforts to disempower or shut down the country’s most active and effective anti-nuclear organization, Ecodefense. As we reported last June, Russia labeled Ecodefense a “foreign agent”–essentially accusing it of spying and being controlled by outside nations. It, and a handful of human rights organizations, were the first in the nation to be targeted under Russia’s “foreign agent” law adopted in 2012 but only begun to be enforced last year. The law is ostensibly aimed at reducing Western influence in Russia; in reality it’s attempting to weaken all organizations that seek to challenge any aspect of Vladimir Putin’s regime. Ecodefense is being targeted for its success in organizing and mobilizing the public and stopping construction of new nuclear reactors in the nation, not for posing a threat to the government.

Ecodefense and its leader Vladimir Slivyak have consistently refused to accept the “foreign agent” label and have refused to pay fines associated with its unwillingness to accept that label. In this GreenWorld post from last July, Slivyak explained why it is so important that Ecodefense resist the government on this issue.

The post below, written by Charles Digges and published by the international environmental organization Bellona last week, will bring you up-to-date on the issue, and Ecodefense’s consistent and principled “civil disobedience” in refusing to accept Russia’s mandated designation–even though it could mean the end of the organization.

Full disclosure: Vladimir Slivyak is a longtime personal friend and ex officio board member of NIRS. Reprinted from Bellona with permission.

–Michael Mariotte

Bold Russian anti-nuke group waves off foreign agent law, refuses to pay mounting fines

Russia’s Ecodefense anti-nuclear group has again been fined for refusing to register as a “foreign agent” with the country’s Justice Ministry in a court hearing to which the group’s co-chair, Vladimir Slivyak, said the organization had not even been invited to attend.

Russia’s Ecodefense anti-nuclear group has again been fined for refusing to register as a “foreign agent” with the country’s Justice Ministry in a court hearing to which the group’s co-chair, Vladimir Slivyak, said the organization had not even been invited to attend.

Slivyak told Bellona in an interview that Ecodefense was informed only Monday, July 20 that a judge in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad had on July 3 levied another 100,000 ruble ($1,700) fine against his organization for failing to register as a foreign agent.

He said his group never received any summons for the July 3 hearing, and as such, would refuse to pay the fine.


Vladimir Slivyak

The foreign agent self-appellation is required under Russia’s controversial 2012 NGO law stipulating that non-profits receiving foreign funding and engaging in vaguely defined political activity must register as foreign agents and submit to onerous reporting and …read moreRead More

Australia’s uranium mining: racist and dangerous history"> Thumbnail for 395854

Last month’s announcement that Energy Resources Australia will pull the plug on the Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory signals the end of one of the most controversial chapters in Australian mining history. Keri Phillips of ABC traces the history of uranium mining in Australia and Ranger’s role in it.

The post Australia’s uranium mining: racist and dangerous history appeared first on

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via DW / July 21st, 2015 / In a bid seen by critics as aiming to speed up reconstruction, the Japanese government is preparing to declare sections of the evacuation zone around the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant a safe place to live. The ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe intends to revoke many evacuation orders by March 2017, if decontamination progresses as hoped, meaning that up to 55,000 … Continue reading …read moreRead More

By SATOSHI OTANI / Asahi Shimbun / July 21st, 2015 / The father of pro-nuclear Kariwa Mayor Hiroo Shinada is a director of a company that received contracts worth millions of yen for work at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. In addition, a gasoline stand run by Shinada’s wife is frequented by TEPCO employees as well as workers at nuclear plant-related companies. Shinada, 58, said … Continue reading …read moreRead More

via Japan Times / July 21st, 2015 / Around 3,100 residents in the city of Fukushima are demanding ¥18.3 billion in damages related to the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, lawyers said. A total of 3,107 residents of the Watari district want an out-of-court settlement for their psychological distress, including health concerns due to radiation exposure. The demand was filed Tuesday with a public … Continue reading …read moreRead More