Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

Major Energy and Environmental News and Commentary affecting the Nuclear Industry.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thorium: The Next Nuclear Fuel

Thorium: The Next Nuclear Fuel Energy and Capital
The issue of thorium becoming a viable uranium alternative is great news for an industry already dealing with blowback from the Fukushima disaster.http://www.energyandcapital.com/articles/thorium-the-next-nuclear-fuel/4145

Charity Is the Best We Have to Offer In the Face of Our Energy Challenge?

Charity Is the Best We Have to Offer In the Face of Our Energy Challenge?


When it Comes to Our Need for Electricity, Reliability is Essential


The Need for Nuclear A Challenged Future

The Need for Nuclear

A Challenged Future


From the Indo-US nuclear deal to Kudankulam: A synopsis on nuclear energy


2014 could be the year of the fast neutron nuclear reactor with the Russia 800 MWe Beloyarsk 4 and the Indian 470 MWe Kalpakkam set to start


How Another Emerging Nation is Going Nuclear

How Another Emerging Nation Is Going Nuclear Motley Fool
Rosatom, Russia's state-owned nuclear power company, just signed a memorandum of understanding with South Africa to provide end-to-end nuclear ...http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/12/30/how-one-of-the-brics-goes-nuclear.aspx#.UsMwqBmENDQ

MarketResearchReports.com: China Eyeing High-Temperature Reactors to Increase Domestic Nuclear Power Capacity and Boost Reactor Exports

MarketResearchReports.com: China Eyeing High-Temperature ... MENAFN.COM

AREVA and EDF sign two series of agreements with companies and universities for the Saudi nuclear program

AREVA and EDF sign two series of agreements with companies and universities for the Saudi nuclear program


Nuclear energy fights wind, natural gas to reach market


Editorial: A nuclear megabargain


Appeal Filed Over Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Refusal To Consider Mitigation For Severe Nuclear Accidents

Appeal Filed Over Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Refusal To Consider Mitigation For Severe Nuclear Accidents

On behalf of NRDC, last week we filed a Petition for Review in the D.C. Circuit challenging the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) recent decision concerning Severe Accident Mitigation Alternatives (SAMAs) at the Limerick nuclear power plant outside Philadelphia.  Although NRC is preparing a NEPA Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) as part of the relicensing process for the power plant, and recognizes that SAMAs – which can reduce the severity of serious nuclear accidents – must be considered as part of that NEPA process, the agency recently ruled that NRDC may not challenge the adequacy of the SAMA analysis because the agency’s regulations foreclose such a challenge. The Petition seeks to overturn that ruling in order to force NRC to conduct a legally sufficient SAMA analysis during relicensing.http://we-blog-meyerglitz.blogspot.com/2013/12/appeal-filed-over-nuclear-regulatory.html

Guest post: Your Power or Money Article Sunday, December 29, 2013

Dear Mr. Pearlstein:

Thanks for your 12/19/13, "Power or Money Article" in the Washington Post.  While the anecdotes were interesting, they do not begin to justify your conclusions or explain why you neglected to mention key forces and developments that have led to the situations you decry.

The fact that "Washington" became a money pit to be exploited by the powerful certainly did not start during the Reagan Administration.  It can much more clearly be traced to the late 1960's when adoption of the federal "Unified Budget" concept at the insistence of LBJ made it possible for almost every administration (except Reagan) and Congress since then to pretend that the federal treasury was unlimited.

By combining the Social Security surplus at the time with the rest of the federal budget permitted massive expansion of the role of government and of spending, entitlements, special interest tax breaks, and credit programs while pretending that the US had something close to a "balanced budget."  (As I'm sure you recognize, that fiction has played out now that Social Security is no longer producing a mythical surplus.)

The alleged surpluses permitted members and staff of appropriations and tax writing committees to have a "field day" in giving away tax dollars through subsidies, tax breaks, and ineffective programs while ignoring the fiscal cliff that has finally overtaken us. 

Another factor that contributed mightily to the "contracting out" practice that you claim led to "Washington wealth" was not necessarily the merits of the practice itself (which has both advantages and disadvantages) but instead to the practice encouraged by successive administrations and congress to limit the number of people on the direct federal payroll.  Contracting out permitted hiding the real size of the "federal" workforce.  Another factor leading to contracting out was the perceived need to pay more for certain kinds of talent (usually labeled "scientists and engineers," but in fact much broader) than was possible at the time under the federal Civil Service pay scales (a problem that has been over-corrected).  This occurred under the Manhattan Project and continued under the Atomic Energy Commission and the Department of Defense and then NASA, CIA, etc.

The "contracting out" practice has expanded to all agencies and proceeded to the point where federal agencies do not have the competence to oversee contracting practices in as way that protects the interests of taxpayers and/or prevents massive fraud, waste and abuse.

All of this happened while key players NOT mentioned in your article -- that is, powerful members of Congress and their staffs -- were enjoying their roles in passing out tax breaks and subsidies and collecting power, prestige, perquisites, and, perhaps most important, campaign contributions that kept them in office and enhanced their power -- at the expense of ordinary citizens and taxpayers.

While you mention the great things done by the leader of the Carlyle Group, you failed to mention that partners in hedge funds and private equity firms such as Carlyle, Blackstone and others enjoy a huge tax break in the form of the "carried interest" provision of the tax code that permits them to pay income taxes to the federal government at a 15% rate while "normal" corporations pay 35% and many taxpayers pay more than 15%, some up to 39.6%.  The great charitable contributions they make are made possible in part by shifting their tax burden to ordinary taxpayers. (You might also note the article about GRATs appearing in the same section of the Post as your article.)

I hope that in future articles you will focus more accurately on the people, positions, and policies that lead to the conditions that you don't like, especially members of Congress who are unwilling and/or unable to resist entreaties from lobbyists and using their positions to stay in power.

It is indeed sad that Washington has become such a source of easy wealth for so many individuals and some corporations.  Some very large corporations apparently have concluded that there is more profit with much less risk in "mining" the federal government for tax breaks and subsidies than in pursuing entrepreneurial, innovative, and commercially productive activity in the private sector.  Some observers have claimed that one large, formerly innovative corporation employs more lobbyists in Washington than scientists and engineers in its laboratories!

Meanwhile, associations operating in Washington -- such as the US Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, Business Roundtable, and others -- once ardent defenders of private enterprise now devote much of their activities to the protection and enhancement of tax breaks and subsidies for their members who exploit Washington’s weaknesses.

Happy New Year!

Glenn R. Schleede
Ashburn, VA 

Fukushima Update: Pacific Beaches not at-Risk from Fukushima

Fukushima Commentary today -

Pacific Beaches not at-Risk from Fukushima

The Internet is virtually awash with scare stories concerning Fukushima radiation along the Pacific coastline. The posts are rife with misconception, exaggeration and (sometimes) outright fabrication. There is one solid reason why none of them are worth the fonts in their postings. To put it simply, the evidence being used is grossly deceiving.

Jaitapur clears bureaucratic hurdles

Jaitapur clears bureaucratic hurdles
The project to build the 9900 MWe Jaitapur nuclear power plant in India has cleared some significant procedural hurdles by securing coastal permits and purchasing land.http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Jaitapur-clears-beaurocratic-hurdles-3112131.html

China celebrates construction milestones

Construction has started on the sixth unit at the Yangjiang nuclear power plant in China's Guangdong province - the largest nuclear construction site in the world. The first two reactors there, together with several other units elsewhere in the country, are nearing start-up.

Historians, environmentalists oppose Calif. solar power plant

Historians, environmentalists oppose Calif. solar power plant
Los Angeles (UPI) Dec 26, 2013 - A proposed solar power plant in California has come under fire over concerns it will mar historic elements of a World War II internment camp and harm wildlife. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power says that despite the objections is it going ahead with plans to put 1 million photovoltaic panels on 1,200 acres it owns in the Owens Valley north of the city. The $680-millio ... morehttp://www.solardaily.com/reports/Historians_environmentalists_oppose_Calif_solar_power_plant_999.html

Israel's Gas Ambitions Put National Security at Risk


Radiation? Seals, Sea Lions, Polar Bears, Bald Eagles, Sea Stars, Turtles, King and Sockeye Salmon, Herring, Anchovies and Sardines In The Western Part of North America All Suffering Mysterious Diseases At the Same Time

Radiation? Seals, Sea Lions, Polar Bears, Bald Eagles, Sea Stars, Turtles, King and Sockeye Salmon, Herring, Anchovies and Sardines In The Western Part of North America All Suffering Mysterious Diseases At the Same Time


2013: A Year of Hope and Change for the Environment

2013: A Year of Hope and Change for the Environment

How the Green Ideological Nucleus Split


5.4-magnitude earthquake hits eastern Japan, rocks buildings in Tokyo

5.4-magnitude earthquake hits eastern Japan, rocks buildings in Tokyo


Earthquake Information

Earthquakes within the last week

[Information on seismic intensity at each site]
The map and text below show a) the observed Seismic Intensity (1 and above) and its location, b) the date and time of the earthquake, and c) its epicenter and magnitude.

Click the map to zoom in http://www.jma.go.jp/en/quake/3/20131231100657395-311003.html

Rescue Robots: The Future of Nuclear Cleanup


Debunking myths on nuclear power (it’s not for making bombs)


South Korea looks to invest $1.04B to revamp existing nuclear plants


ANS Update 12/31 Carnival of Nuclear Energy 189

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 189

By Will Davis on Dec 30, 2013 09:16 am

The 189th Carnival of Nuclear Energy has been posted at Atomic Power Review.  You can click here to access this latest edition of a long-running tradition among the top pro-nuclear authors and bloggers writing in the English language. Each week, … Continue reading
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Natural Gas Lauded As Water Saver In Texas


Top Stories from Power Engineering 12/31

Top Stories
Wind energy tax credit set to expire
Federal tax credits for renewable energy production is set to expire Dec. 31, leaving some wind project developers concerned.
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Georgia Power publishes draft RFP for solar projects
Georgia Power has announced it is soliciting proposals through a requests for proposals process to add nearly 500 MW of utility-scale solar generation to its portfolio, including 70 MW to complete the Georgia Power Advanced Solar Initiative portfolio and 425 MW approved as part of the company’s 2013 Integrated Resource Plan.
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Texas school district attracts wind project, offers tax break
The Cameron Wind project will bring 80 wind turbines to Los Fresnos, Texas.
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Dominion begins commercial operations at Conn. renewable energy plants
Dominion (NYSE: D) has started commercial operations at two renewable energy facilities in Connecticut.
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Industry News
Invenergy completes project financing for Texas wind power project
Invenergy Wind LLC has arranged project debt and tax equity financing for a 288.6-MW wind farm in northern Texas.
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ReneSola provides PV modules to Mexico glass manufacturing facility
ReneSola Ltd (ReneSola) (NYSE: SOL), a provider of solar photovoltaic (PV) products and technology, will work with Solar Power Systems of Mexico, a solar integrator providing PV system solutions to implement a 192-kW project for glass manufacturer Vidrio Formas in Lerma, Edo, Mexico.
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TEPCO needs nuclear plant to restart
Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s (TEPCO) restart of a nuclear power plant may be stalled because they have failed to gain consent from local authorities, according to a report from Jiji Press.
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Farley nuclear plant receives World-Class ALARA Performance Award
Southern Nuclear’s Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant has been selected to receive the 2013 Information Systems on Occupational Exposure (ISOE) World-Class ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) Performance Award, the company has announced.
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Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers 189 / Nuclear Economics

Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers 189 / Nuclear Economics


There are now over 430 commercial nuclear power reactors operating in 31 countries

There are now over 430 commercial nuclear power reactors operating in 31 countries

Nuclear power and nuclear energy information. Nuclear power's share of generation today, number of nuclear reactors globally.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Farley Nuclear Plant to Receive 2013 ISOE World-Class ALARA Performance Award


Southern Company - Banking on Nuclear, Coal Technologies 2


French Nuclear Power Lowers Electricity Prices


Top Climate Scientists Urge Support of Nuclear Power

Top Climate Scientists Urge Support of Nuclear Power

Letter Calls for ‘Fresh Approach’ to Nuclear in the 21st Century


Guest Column: Positive polls signal bright future for nuclear energy


Fukushima Updates for today - 12/30

Fukushima Updates for today -

Tepco has requested $10 billion to cover the new compensation pay-outs... PM Shinzo Abe pledged to increase financial support to quake/tsunami victims... Rural decontamination teams can work overnight in some evacuation zone locations... About one-fourth of Fukushima’s citizens have answered the prefecture’s radiation survey... The number of Japanese nukes asking for restart is now sixteen... Tepco’s special rehabilitation plan was submitted Friday.

Tohoku seeks Onagawa 2 restart

Tohoku seeks Onagawa 2 restart
Tohoku Electric Power Company has requested a safety review by Japan's nuclear regulator of unit 2 at its Onagawa plant, prior to its restart. The Onagawa plant sustained far less damage from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami than expected.http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/RS-Tohoku--seeks-Onagawa-2-restart-3012134.html

Beloyarsk 4 criticality soon

Beloyarsk 4 criticality soon
Commissioning is about to start at Russia's forthcoming fast reactor, Beloyarsk 4. After a lengthy construction period, engineers are preparing for criticality in April 2014.http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Beloyarsk-4-criticality-soon-3012131.html

How the US power generators are planning in 2014


FEIS issued for proposed nuclear reactors in South Carolina


When it comes to our need for electricity, reliability is essential.


NRC Blog Update: Lights, Camera, Action — NRC Raised the YouTube Bar in 2013

Lights, Camera, Action — NRC Raised the YouTube Bar in 2013

Ivonne L. Couret
Public Affairs Officer
We had a very productive year on our YouTube Channel in 2013. We posted more than 30 videos, including 15 produced in-CoverPHoto Video copyhouse with original content. The latest is a recap of some of the highlights and accomplishments of 2014.
Other “original content” videos included four that spotlighted high-interest topics; six that included agency staff answering questions about NRC activities; two that reflected on historical events and two kid-friendly videos including our first cartoon.
youtube2That cartoon, A Day in the Life of an NRC Resident Inspector, made it to our No. 3 spot for all-time video views – quite a feat considering it was just posted in October. Another popular video was our historian’s recount of the Three Mile Island Accident.
Other videos include small segments of important Commission meetings, with links to the full video archive.
We saw a 38 percent increase in our YouTube subscribers and growing interest in the platform. Almost half of our total YouTube views occurred in 2013 even though we debuted the platform back in 2011. Our numbers keep growing and the public continues to watch us.
What’s next? Being mindful of the reduction of resources and budget, there will be a bit fewer videos produced in 2014. But we will be focusing our efforts on the higher interest topics.
Currently in pre-production are two videos we think you’ll find worth watching. One is a conversation about the decommissioning process since five nuclear power plants have announced they are shutting down. And we will be taking a historical look on how the NRC began.
Also, next year we will be featuring more motion graphic videos that will provide quick, lively presentations of NRC information, activities and programs.
What video topics would you like to see? Let us know through your blog comments or email us at opa.resource@nrc.gov .