Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Another U.S Nuke Bites the Dust

Energy
Another U.S Nuke Bites the Dust

The chain reactor operator Entergy has announced it will close the Pilgrim nuke south of Boston. The shut-down will bring U.S. reactor fleet to 98, though numerous other reactors are likely to face abandonment in the coming months.

But Entergy says it may not take Pilgrim down until June 1, 2019—nearly four years away.

Entergy is also poised to shut the FitzPatrick reactor in New York. It promises an announcement by the end of this month.

CapeDownwinders rally at the Sagamore Bridge, May 13, 2012.

Entergy also owns Indian Point 2 and Indian Point 3 some 40 miles north of Manhattan. Unit 2’s operating license has long since lapsed. Unit 3’s will expire in December.

Meanwhile California’s two reactors at Diablo Canyon are surrounded with earthquake faults. They are in violation of state and federal water quality laws and are being propped up by a corrupt Public Utilities Commission under fierce grassroots attack. With a huge renewable boom sweeping the state, Diablo’s days are numbered—and hopefully will shut before the next quake shakes them to rubble.

Meanwhile, like nearly all old American nukes, both Pilgrim and FitzPatrick are losing tons of money. Entergy admits to loss projections of $40 million/year or more at Pilgrim, with parallel numbers expected at FitzPatrick. The company blames falling gas and oil prices for the shortfalls.

Owners of King CONG (Coal, Oil, Nukes and Gas) facilities hate renewables. But in fact the boom in wind, solar, increased efficiency and other Solartopian advances are at the real core of nuke power’s escalating economic melt-down.

The plummeting prices of green power are fast undercutting the economics of America’s aging reactor fleet. They are also chopping into the use of coal and gas, whose costs are rising. Renewables are essentially free at the margin. So green power voids the “baseline” function of both nuke and fossil fuel generators.

The situation at Pilgrim has long been critical. Nearly a quarter-century ago the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was forced to advise Pilgrim’s owners (back then it was Boston Edison) that the plant did not meet basic safety standards. The nuke opened in 1972. The commission recently renewed its license for 20 more years.

But its fire protection apparatus has long been illegal. Entergy recently announced it would hire two new employees whose job it would be to watch for fires!

Various estimates confirm Entergy would have to spend tens of millions merely to bring Pilgrim up to basic code. The NRC has labelled it one of the nation’s most dangerous nuke.

So the announcement that it will shut down has been widely welcomed throughout the region, especially by activists who’ve fought 40 years and more to get it down.

But the idea that this ancient, substandard reactor would operate nearly four more years has people shaking. “They want to gamble with the health and safety of the public for these coming years,” says Paul Gunter of Beyond Nuclear. “It’s not right.”

There is unfortunate precedent. At Vermont Yankee, Entergy trashed a decade’s worth of agreements with the state and went to court to stay open despite a host of safety and fiscal violations.

Oyster Creek’s owners cut a deal with the state of New Jersey to operate seven additional years despite being in violation of water quality standards.

Indian Point 2’s lack of a license has been ignored by the NRC. The NRC is expected to do the same when Unit 3’s license expires in December.

It’s presumed that Entergy will want special dispensations for FitzPatrick if it decides to announce a shut-down there.

FirstEnergy wants Ohio to hand it a massive bailout to keep Davis-Besse open despite extremely dangerous safety violations and millions in operating losses. Exelon wants millions in public bailouts from the state of Illinois for five money-losing reactors that are also falling apart.

So Entergy’s decision to shut Pilgrim is welcomed by safe energy activists everywhere as part of the rapid collapse of the atomic power mis-adventure.

But across the U.S. some two dozen Fukushima clones still operate. The entire industry is a decayed, money-losing tombstone for the failed lies about “too cheap to meter.”

So it’s great another shut-down has been announced. But four more years of yet another decayed, increasingly dangerous and hugely unprofitable reactor being kept open is not acceptable.

The no nukes movement will not take it lying down. Stay tuned.

Harvey Wasserman wrote SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH and edits nukefree.org.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

13 Photos Reveal Fukushima as Post-Apocalyptic Wasteland

Why Bernie and Hillary Must Address America’s Dying Nuke Reactors

850 Tons of Treated Fukushima Water Dumped Into the Pacific

Why the UK Government Is Building 11 New Nuclear Plants Despite Mounting Criticism

With restaurants and supermarkets becoming less viable options during the pandemic, there has been a growth in demand and supply of local food. Baker County Tourism Travel Baker County / Flickr

By Robin Scher

Beyond the questions surrounding the availability, effectiveness and safety of a vaccine, the COVID-19 pandemic has led us to question where our food is coming from and whether we will have enough.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Tearing through the crowded streets of Philadelphia, an electric car and a gas-powered car sought to win a heated race. One that mimicked how cars are actually used. The cars had to stop at stoplights, wait for pedestrians to cross the street, and swerve in and out of the hundreds of horse-drawn buggies. That's right, horse-drawn buggies. Because this race took place in 1908. It wanted to settle once and for all which car was the superior urban vehicle. Although the gas-powered car was more powerful, the electric car was more versatile. As the cars passed over the finish line, the defeat was stunning. The 1908 Studebaker electric car won by 10 minutes. If in 1908, the electric car was clearly the better form of transportation, why don't we drive them now? Today, I'm going to answer that question by diving into the history of electric cars and what I discovered may surprise you.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A technician inspects a bitcoin mining operation at Bitfarms in Saint Hyacinthe, Quebec on March 19, 2018. LARS HAGBERG / AFP via Getty Images

As bitcoin's fortunes and prominence rise, so do concerns about its environmental impact.

Read More Show Less
OR-93 traveled hundreds of miles from Oregon to California. Austin Smith Jr. / Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs / California Department of Fish and Wildlife

An Oregon-born wolf named OR-93 has sparked conservation hopes with a historic journey into California.

Read More Show Less
A plume of exhaust extends from the Mitchell Power Station, a coal-fired power plant built along the Monongahela River, 20 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, on Sept. 24, 2013 in New Eagle, Pennsylvania. The plant, owned by FirstEnergy, was retired the following month. Jeff Swensen / Getty Images

By David Drake and Jeffrey York

The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.

The Big Idea

People often point to plunging natural gas prices as the reason U.S. coal-fired power plants have been shutting down at a faster pace in recent years. However, new research shows two other forces had a much larger effect: federal regulation and a well-funded activist campaign that launched in 2011 with the goal of ending coal power.

Read More Show Less