DEBATE OF THE WEEK: SHOULD ATLAS SHRUG?

By William Tucker
The Vermont State Legislature has voted not to re-license Vermont Yankee. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is insisting that Oyster Creek close down if it does not build cooling towers. New York State is doing the same at Indian Point, which provides New York City with one-quarter of its electricity, as is California with San Onofre and Diablo Canyon.

When told that all these plants play a critical role in providing these state with electricity, the bureaucrats and environmentalists wave these concerns aside and insist the reactors can be replaced by wind and solar.

People who understand energy are assigned a simple role in these controversies. They must defend these aging reactors at all costs. Yes, Vermont Yankee has leaked small quantities of tritium but it poses no danger to the public. Yes, Oyster Creek warms Barnegat Bay slightly but there is no serious threat to fish life. Yes, Indian Point warms the Hudson, but putting up cooling towers would require a yearlong shutdown and make the two reactors unprofitable. (And why hasn't the Department of Environmental Conservation required cooling towers at an almost identical coal-and-gas plant across the Hudson at Bowline Point?)

In the coming years, countless hours and millions of dollars will be spent in court and before regulatory agencies trying to defend these reactors.

So the question is:  How damaging would it be to the U.S. nuclear energy revival if one or more of these plants were to close? Sure, Vermont would lose one-third of its electricity and have to go to Canada begging for hydro. Sure, New York City would lose 2,000 megawatts and suffer brownouts and blackouts during summer peaks. Sure New Jersey would seriously have to investigate covering its entire 125-mile coastline with 45-story windmills. (What a nice background that would make for the Jersey Shore!)

But that's the whole point. American society has become dangerously divided into two groups — people who understand how electricity works and people who hardly know anything about it. Increasingly, it's the people who don't know that much who are running the show. The authors of the Waxman-Markey Bill seriously think passing a renewable standard of 17 percent will set us on the road to energy utopia. Speaking on Meet the Press two years ago, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described natural gas as a "cheap, clean alternative to fossil fuels."  A few weeks ago I had the chance to quiz one of the chief litigators in the New York Attorney General's office who is diligently trying to close Indian Point because ­as he put it "it's in the wrong place."  When I asked where he thought New York City was going to find a replacement 2,000 megawatts, he gave a weak smile and said, "That's not our problem."

The whole premise of energy generation has become that a small cadre who understand technology are assigned the task of providing for the public while everyone else hounds them for allegedly disturbing the environment. Orchestrating this opera bouffant is a caste of environmentalists who insist that their form of energy generation will have no impact on nature and that covering the Tehachapi Mountains with 40-story windmills will only enhance the scenery.

How important is the battle with nuclear opponents over a small percentage of the U.S. nuclear operating fleet?  Will one or more closures cause a ripple effect in the current fleet with opponents moving onto other targets?  Or is the priority to just concentrate on building new ones as soon as possible or maybe multi-tasking? 

How about adding your opinion to the debate?

William Tucker is editor-at-large of Nuclear Townhall and author of Terrestrial Energy: How Nuclear Power Will Lead the Green Revolution and End America's Energy Odyssey.

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  • Bill,

    Interesting debate question. I can appreciate it. I’ve had some of the same thoughts on a variety of issues (including this one) ever since “Atlas Shrugged” effectively changed my life for the better.

    I don’t think that the regionally focused litigation of these plants will spread like a wave over the rest of the US fleet. A majority of Americans like nuclear power. Only a very few anti-nuclear activists are organized against US nuclear plants. Most of them don’t live anywhere near the plant they are organizing against, and their powers are waning.

    If these plants are forced to complete the mods and NY state loses power, the state will probably use the issue as an excuse to build more wind and solar power. But everyone will forget that NY doesn’t have much wind or sunlight until their lights won’t come on.

    People will eventually recognize that 2+2=4 and that nuclear power is the cheapest, cleanest, most reliable and safest form of energy available today.

    Thanks for your efforts,
    Carrington Dillon

  • Bill,

    Interesting debate question. I can appreciate it. I’ve had some of the same thoughts on a variety of issues (including this one) ever since “Atlas Shrugged” effectively changed my life for the better.

    I don’t think that the regionally focused litigation of these plants will spread like a wave over the rest of the US fleet. A majority of Americans like nuclear power. Only a very few anti-nuclear activists are organized against US nuclear plants. Most of them don’t live anywhere near the plant they are organizing against, and their powers are waning.

    If these plants are forced to complete the mods and NY state loses power, the state will probably use the issue as an excuse to build more wind and solar power. But everyone will forget that NY doesn’t have much wind or sunlight until their lights won’t come on.

    People will eventually recognize that 2+2=4 and that nuclear power is the cheapest, cleanest, most reliable and safest form of energy available today.

    Thanks for your efforts,
    Carrington Dillon

  • Bill,

    Interesting debate question. I can appreciate it. I’ve had some of the same thoughts on a variety of issues (including this one) ever since “Atlas Shrugged” effectively changed my life for the better.

    I don’t think that the regionally focused litigation of these plants will spread like a wave over the rest of the US fleet. A majority of Americans like nuclear power. Only a very few anti-nuclear activists are organized against US nuclear plants. Most of them don’t live anywhere near the plant they are organizing against, and their powers are waning.

    If these plants are forced to complete the mods and NY state loses power, the state will probably use the issue as an excuse to build more wind and solar power. But everyone will forget that NY doesn’t have much wind or sunlight until their lights won’t come on.

    People will eventually recognize that 2+2=4 and that nuclear power is the cheapest, cleanest, most reliable and safest form of energy available today.

    Thanks for your efforts,
    Carrington Dillon

  • White Flinter

    Thank you for this feature and for surfacing this edgy food for thought not found elsewhere. Perhaps this is old school, but it seems we should live by the proven adage — if you give them an inch, they will take a mile. Or maybe we should adopt the antis strategy in this case — think globally, act locally. So in Churchillian terms — “never, never, never, never give up!”

  • White Flinter

    Thank you for this feature and for surfacing this edgy food for thought not found elsewhere. Perhaps this is old school, but it seems we should live by the proven adage — if you give them an inch, they will take a mile. Or maybe we should adopt the antis strategy in this case — think globally, act locally. So in Churchillian terms — “never, never, never, never give up!”

  • White Flinter

    Thank you for this feature and for surfacing this edgy food for thought not found elsewhere. Perhaps this is old school, but it seems we should live by the proven adage — if you give them an inch, they will take a mile. Or maybe we should adopt the antis strategy in this case — think globally, act locally. So in Churchillian terms — “never, never, never, never give up!”

  • Green & Clean

    Whilst my free market instincts tell me that these decisions are best left up to the plant operators — who are are fighting tooth and nail to maintain their franchises — my demonic side would love to call their bluff and see how Vermont, NY and NJ would cope with $15 /cent KW electricity akin to the Shoreham debacle that rendered Long Island a ghost town with respect to business enterprises. Surely a Spain-like experience in these states would drive the rest of the saner country headlong into Renaissance fever. I am inclined to share some degree of Mr Dillon’s optimism that people “will eventually recognize that 2+2=4 and that nuclear power is the cheapest, cleanest, most reliable and safest form of energy available today.”

  • Green & Clean

    Whilst my free market instincts tell me that these decisions are best left up to the plant operators — who are are fighting tooth and nail to maintain their franchises — my demonic side would love to call their bluff and see how Vermont, NY and NJ would cope with $15 /cent KW electricity akin to the Shoreham debacle that rendered Long Island a ghost town with respect to business enterprises. Surely a Spain-like experience in these states would drive the rest of the saner country headlong into Renaissance fever. I am inclined to share some degree of Mr Dillon’s optimism that people “will eventually recognize that 2+2=4 and that nuclear power is the cheapest, cleanest, most reliable and safest form of energy available today.”

  • Green & Clean

    Whilst my free market instincts tell me that these decisions are best left up to the plant operators — who are are fighting tooth and nail to maintain their franchises — my demonic side would love to call their bluff and see how Vermont, NY and NJ would cope with $15 /cent KW electricity akin to the Shoreham debacle that rendered Long Island a ghost town with respect to business enterprises. Surely a Spain-like experience in these states would drive the rest of the saner country headlong into Renaissance fever. I am inclined to share some degree of Mr Dillon’s optimism that people “will eventually recognize that 2+2=4 and that nuclear power is the cheapest, cleanest, most reliable and safest form of energy available today.”

  • An interesting idea, but very risky.

    The problem will be in linking cause and effect.

    People are not good at linking cause and effect over a long period of time. So if shutting down these plants today doesn’t cause immediate rate hikes or power losses, the fact that the nuke plants have shut down will not be identified as the cause of the issue when it DOES happen months later. After all, nuclear plants have shutdown for refueling outages and other extended repairs in the past and the power stays on and the rates don’t climb.

    Because the IPO’s main goal is to make sure everyone has electricity, it is unlikely that the shutdown of any of these plants will have that immediate impact. The cause would not be traced to lack of nuclear power, but rather lack of sufficient peaking units (or failure to manage demand). Likely ending up in construction of more natural gas units.

    I do like the idea of trying to make the point of the critical need for the power, I’m just not sure this is the way.

  • An interesting idea, but very risky.

    The problem will be in linking cause and effect.

    People are not good at linking cause and effect over a long period of time. So if shutting down these plants today doesn’t cause immediate rate hikes or power losses, the fact that the nuke plants have shut down will not be identified as the cause of the issue when it DOES happen months later. After all, nuclear plants have shutdown for refueling outages and other extended repairs in the past and the power stays on and the rates don’t climb.

    Because the IPO’s main goal is to make sure everyone has electricity, it is unlikely that the shutdown of any of these plants will have that immediate impact. The cause would not be traced to lack of nuclear power, but rather lack of sufficient peaking units (or failure to manage demand). Likely ending up in construction of more natural gas units.

    I do like the idea of trying to make the point of the critical need for the power, I’m just not sure this is the way.

  • An interesting idea, but very risky.

    The problem will be in linking cause and effect.

    People are not good at linking cause and effect over a long period of time. So if shutting down these plants today doesn’t cause immediate rate hikes or power losses, the fact that the nuke plants have shut down will not be identified as the cause of the issue when it DOES happen months later. After all, nuclear plants have shutdown for refueling outages and other extended repairs in the past and the power stays on and the rates don’t climb.

    Because the IPO’s main goal is to make sure everyone has electricity, it is unlikely that the shutdown of any of these plants will have that immediate impact. The cause would not be traced to lack of nuclear power, but rather lack of sufficient peaking units (or failure to manage demand). Likely ending up in construction of more natural gas units.

    I do like the idea of trying to make the point of the critical need for the power, I’m just not sure this is the way.

  • Edmundton Euler

    You can be a jackhole and “shrug” or you can educate the representatives. It might make one feel better to pin our industry’s problems on one party, although it is kind of ironic that nuclear gets suppport from the party that doesn’t believe in evolution or science in general. It is almost as if they are doing it to be contrarian. Cuomo has political aspirations which means he is going to have to take questions, get that litigator on the record, get cuomo on the record on how he plans to replace the 200 gwe

  • Edmundton Euler

    You can be a jackhole and “shrug” or you can educate the representatives. It might make one feel better to pin our industry’s problems on one party, although it is kind of ironic that nuclear gets suppport from the party that doesn’t believe in evolution or science in general. It is almost as if they are doing it to be contrarian. Cuomo has political aspirations which means he is going to have to take questions, get that litigator on the record, get cuomo on the record on how he plans to replace the 200 gwe

  • Edmundton Euler

    You can be a jackhole and “shrug” or you can educate the representatives. It might make one feel better to pin our industry’s problems on one party, although it is kind of ironic that nuclear gets suppport from the party that doesn’t believe in evolution or science in general. It is almost as if they are doing it to be contrarian. Cuomo has political aspirations which means he is going to have to take questions, get that litigator on the record, get cuomo on the record on how he plans to replace the 200 gwe

  • William,

    An interesting question. But I agree with White Flinter. If you give them an inch, they will take a mile. If you shut down an aging plant because it is leaking tritium, the next thing you know, you will be shutting down a mid-life plant for the same reason.

    Believe me, blogging at “Yes Vermont Yankee,” I am sometimes tempted to say: “Yeah, HAVE your wind turbines and 80% renewables! You want expensive, unreliable electricity….well, you got it!” But I also agree with Margaret Harding. People won’t link cause and effect. Things will just get worse, and people will be puzzled. They won’t go out and fight for the nuclear renaissance. They’ll just stand around scratching their heads.

    And somebody will be sure to tell them this all happened because THEY were guilty of using too much power. Nothing to do with that old nuclear plant shutting down. It’s because THEY were ugly selfish consumers. And they will feel vaguely guilty and believe it.

    Also, as the anti-nukes constantly say: “I have children and grandchildren.”

    And I don’t want the grandkids to grow up in a world of coal dust.

    Best,
    Meredith

  • William,

    An interesting question. But I agree with White Flinter. If you give them an inch, they will take a mile. If you shut down an aging plant because it is leaking tritium, the next thing you know, you will be shutting down a mid-life plant for the same reason.

    Believe me, blogging at “Yes Vermont Yankee,” I am sometimes tempted to say: “Yeah, HAVE your wind turbines and 80% renewables! You want expensive, unreliable electricity….well, you got it!” But I also agree with Margaret Harding. People won’t link cause and effect. Things will just get worse, and people will be puzzled. They won’t go out and fight for the nuclear renaissance. They’ll just stand around scratching their heads.

    And somebody will be sure to tell them this all happened because THEY were guilty of using too much power. Nothing to do with that old nuclear plant shutting down. It’s because THEY were ugly selfish consumers. And they will feel vaguely guilty and believe it.

    Also, as the anti-nukes constantly say: “I have children and grandchildren.”

    And I don’t want the grandkids to grow up in a world of coal dust.

    Best,
    Meredith

  • William,

    An interesting question. But I agree with White Flinter. If you give them an inch, they will take a mile. If you shut down an aging plant because it is leaking tritium, the next thing you know, you will be shutting down a mid-life plant for the same reason.

    Believe me, blogging at “Yes Vermont Yankee,” I am sometimes tempted to say: “Yeah, HAVE your wind turbines and 80% renewables! You want expensive, unreliable electricity….well, you got it!” But I also agree with Margaret Harding. People won’t link cause and effect. Things will just get worse, and people will be puzzled. They won’t go out and fight for the nuclear renaissance. They’ll just stand around scratching their heads.

    And somebody will be sure to tell them this all happened because THEY were guilty of using too much power. Nothing to do with that old nuclear plant shutting down. It’s because THEY were ugly selfish consumers. And they will feel vaguely guilty and believe it.

    Also, as the anti-nukes constantly say: “I have children and grandchildren.”

    And I don’t want the grandkids to grow up in a world of coal dust.

    Best,
    Meredith

  • NuclearPundit

    The debate over keeping these aging nukes operating is rapidly becoming an anachronism in that it represents the last stand of the reflective hard core anti-nukes desperately trying to stop the inevitable movement of clean energy advocates embracing nuclear energy. Increasingly, the latest polling data show growing support for nuclear energy amongst independents and even Democrats.
    It’s an inconvenient truth that in order to realize significant reductions in carbon emissions greater reliance in the future will have to be placed on nuclear generation of electricity.

  • NuclearPundit

    The debate over keeping these aging nukes operating is rapidly becoming an anachronism in that it represents the last stand of the reflective hard core anti-nukes desperately trying to stop the inevitable movement of clean energy advocates embracing nuclear energy. Increasingly, the latest polling data show growing support for nuclear energy amongst independents and even Democrats.
    It’s an inconvenient truth that in order to realize significant reductions in carbon emissions greater reliance in the future will have to be placed on nuclear generation of electricity.

  • NuclearPundit

    The debate over keeping these aging nukes operating is rapidly becoming an anachronism in that it represents the last stand of the reflective hard core anti-nukes desperately trying to stop the inevitable movement of clean energy advocates embracing nuclear energy. Increasingly, the latest polling data show growing support for nuclear energy amongst independents and even Democrats.
    It’s an inconvenient truth that in order to realize significant reductions in carbon emissions greater reliance in the future will have to be placed on nuclear generation of electricity.

  • Neutron Nerd

    Bill

    Thanks for facilitating this erudite dialog. I agree with most of what’s been said in fact. 2+2 will hopefully equal 4 one day. Cause and effect don’t always link (see Yucca Mountain). Give them a centimeter and they’ll take a kilometer And this is indeed the anti”s Alamo (hopefully minus Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett and the remember theme). So, to answer your question — Atlas should NOT shrug. As with every challenge, there is an opportunity to inform and educate as noted by Edmundton #5. As Abraham Lincoln observed –“right makes might.”. And assuming these plants operate reliably, these local challenges can be test cases for our message, raison d’etre and the strength of our business case. Shame on us if we fail, particularly given the dynamics of these states and their dependence on nuclear energy.

  • Neutron Nerd

    Bill

    Thanks for facilitating this erudite dialog. I agree with most of what’s been said in fact. 2+2 will hopefully equal 4 one day. Cause and effect don’t always link (see Yucca Mountain). Give them a centimeter and they’ll take a kilometer And this is indeed the anti”s Alamo (hopefully minus Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett and the remember theme). So, to answer your question — Atlas should NOT shrug. As with every challenge, there is an opportunity to inform and educate as noted by Edmundton #5. As Abraham Lincoln observed –“right makes might.”. And assuming these plants operate reliably, these local challenges can be test cases for our message, raison d’etre and the strength of our business case. Shame on us if we fail, particularly given the dynamics of these states and their dependence on nuclear energy.

  • Neutron Nerd

    Bill

    Thanks for facilitating this erudite dialog. I agree with most of what’s been said in fact. 2+2 will hopefully equal 4 one day. Cause and effect don’t always link (see Yucca Mountain). Give them a centimeter and they’ll take a kilometer And this is indeed the anti”s Alamo (hopefully minus Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett and the remember theme). So, to answer your question — Atlas should NOT shrug. As with every challenge, there is an opportunity to inform and educate as noted by Edmundton #5. As Abraham Lincoln observed –“right makes might.”. And assuming these plants operate reliably, these local challenges can be test cases for our message, raison d’etre and the strength of our business case. Shame on us if we fail, particularly given the dynamics of these states and their dependence on nuclear energy.

  • Light Saber

    Bill

    Congratulations. I haven’t seen this kind of intellect, talent and wisdom in any one spot since the last time Admiral Rickover dined alone. I am already looking forward with anticipation to the next big debate given the high bar you’ve set today. A good first inning and a needed forum. Good luck. I’ll be back.

    P.S. No, Atlas shouldn’t shrug.

  • Light Saber

    Bill

    Congratulations. I haven’t seen this kind of intellect, talent and wisdom in any one spot since the last time Admiral Rickover dined alone. I am already looking forward with anticipation to the next big debate given the high bar you’ve set today. A good first inning and a needed forum. Good luck. I’ll be back.

    P.S. No, Atlas shouldn’t shrug.

  • Light Saber

    Bill

    Congratulations. I haven’t seen this kind of intellect, talent and wisdom in any one spot since the last time Admiral Rickover dined alone. I am already looking forward with anticipation to the next big debate given the high bar you’ve set today. A good first inning and a needed forum. Good luck. I’ll be back.

    P.S. No, Atlas shouldn’t shrug.

  • Bill,

    What we DO need is to drown out the anti-nuclear voices! It is frustrating to see Ladies Home Journal do an article on Christie Brinkley and have them talk about how smart she is and how she leads an anti nuclear group and she’s SO engaged. Quote below:

    As an activist concerned about the dangers of nuclear power plants, she can knowledgeably cite facts and figures about the issue. “Christie cares, but it’s more than that, says Joseph Mangano, the executive director of the Radiation and Public Health Project, of which Brinkley is a board member. “The issues we deal with are very sophisticated. Christie is very fluent in discussing Strontium 90 and children’s cancer rates.” Even with the stresses of recent years, she has remained committed to that cause and pragmatic about using her celebrity to gain media attention. “I know when I go someplace that they’re going to want to find out about what I’m wearing instead of what I’m saying,” Brinkley says. “But to be able to get something about a nuclear power plant on Extra or Access Hollywood is incredible.”

    Where’s the pro-nuclear celebrity?

  • Bill,

    What we DO need is to drown out the anti-nuclear voices! It is frustrating to see Ladies Home Journal do an article on Christie Brinkley and have them talk about how smart she is and how she leads an anti nuclear group and she’s SO engaged. Quote below:

    As an activist concerned about the dangers of nuclear power plants, she can knowledgeably cite facts and figures about the issue. “Christie cares, but it’s more than that, says Joseph Mangano, the executive director of the Radiation and Public Health Project, of which Brinkley is a board member. “The issues we deal with are very sophisticated. Christie is very fluent in discussing Strontium 90 and children’s cancer rates.” Even with the stresses of recent years, she has remained committed to that cause and pragmatic about using her celebrity to gain media attention. “I know when I go someplace that they’re going to want to find out about what I’m wearing instead of what I’m saying,” Brinkley says. “But to be able to get something about a nuclear power plant on Extra or Access Hollywood is incredible.”

    Where’s the pro-nuclear celebrity?

  • Bill,

    What we DO need is to drown out the anti-nuclear voices! It is frustrating to see Ladies Home Journal do an article on Christie Brinkley and have them talk about how smart she is and how she leads an anti nuclear group and she’s SO engaged. Quote below:

    As an activist concerned about the dangers of nuclear power plants, she can knowledgeably cite facts and figures about the issue. “Christie cares, but it’s more than that, says Joseph Mangano, the executive director of the Radiation and Public Health Project, of which Brinkley is a board member. “The issues we deal with are very sophisticated. Christie is very fluent in discussing Strontium 90 and children’s cancer rates.” Even with the stresses of recent years, she has remained committed to that cause and pragmatic about using her celebrity to gain media attention. “I know when I go someplace that they’re going to want to find out about what I’m wearing instead of what I’m saying,” Brinkley says. “But to be able to get something about a nuclear power plant on Extra or Access Hollywood is incredible.”

    Where’s the pro-nuclear celebrity?

  • I disagree that the older plants should be sacrificed to appease critics of nuclear energy. The loss of one plant will set off a dominio effect that could cascade through the industry. The reason is once you start closing plants because of age, where do you draw the line. How old is not old enough?

    Worse, poltical judgement would be put in place instead of an engineering and safety evaluation which is the whole basis for how we regulate the industry in this country. If you want to see what happens when you let politicans make licensing decisions, take a look at Spain. There an “older reactor” had its license renewed for just four years instead of the usual ten tanking the utility’s share price.

  • I disagree that the older plants should be sacrificed to appease critics of nuclear energy. The loss of one plant will set off a dominio effect that could cascade through the industry. The reason is once you start closing plants because of age, where do you draw the line. How old is not old enough?

    Worse, poltical judgement would be put in place instead of an engineering and safety evaluation which is the whole basis for how we regulate the industry in this country. If you want to see what happens when you let politicans make licensing decisions, take a look at Spain. There an “older reactor” had its license renewed for just four years instead of the usual ten tanking the utility’s share price.

  • I disagree that the older plants should be sacrificed to appease critics of nuclear energy. The loss of one plant will set off a dominio effect that could cascade through the industry. The reason is once you start closing plants because of age, where do you draw the line. How old is not old enough?

    Worse, poltical judgement would be put in place instead of an engineering and safety evaluation which is the whole basis for how we regulate the industry in this country. If you want to see what happens when you let politicans make licensing decisions, take a look at Spain. There an “older reactor” had its license renewed for just four years instead of the usual ten tanking the utility’s share price.

  • What is disappointing about these controversies is the extent to which the anti-nuclear side ignores the danger of Anthropogenic Global Warming. There are the same people who tell us how devoted they are to the environment. Yet when push comes to shove these people are on the side of carbon emitting natural gas and in opposition to carbon free nuclear power. Any way the parce it, the path the prefer leads to more rather than less carbon emissions. It also leads to more expensive electricity.

  • What is disappointing about these controversies is the extent to which the anti-nuclear side ignores the danger of Anthropogenic Global Warming. There are the same people who tell us how devoted they are to the environment. Yet when push comes to shove these people are on the side of carbon emitting natural gas and in opposition to carbon free nuclear power. Any way the parce it, the path the prefer leads to more rather than less carbon emissions. It also leads to more expensive electricity.

  • What is disappointing about these controversies is the extent to which the anti-nuclear side ignores the danger of Anthropogenic Global Warming. There are the same people who tell us how devoted they are to the environment. Yet when push comes to shove these people are on the side of carbon emitting natural gas and in opposition to carbon free nuclear power. Any way the parce it, the path the prefer leads to more rather than less carbon emissions. It also leads to more expensive electricity.

  • What we are not seeing is the media doing the job it was fanchised to do under our Constitution: Informing the public about the real long-term consequences of real short-term decisions.

  • What we are not seeing is the media doing the job it was fanchised to do under our Constitution: Informing the public about the real long-term consequences of real short-term decisions.

  • What we are not seeing is the media doing the job it was fanchised to do under our Constitution: Informing the public about the real long-term consequences of real short-term decisions.

  • Uli Decher

    Electricity is taken for granted. Few know that there are people who generate it and that the power sources must be adjusted every few seconds to keep it pure and within the specifications.

    A thunderstorm passed by my house a few days ago. It produced a little blip in the voltage and now my washing machine needs to be fixed. Imagine the consequence of the blips we would get all over the country from windmills.

    We cannot let any nuclear plant be shutdown and adopt an “I told you so” attitude when the consequences become apparent. We must all speak out now.

  • Uli Decher

    Electricity is taken for granted. Few know that there are people who generate it and that the power sources must be adjusted every few seconds to keep it pure and within the specifications.

    A thunderstorm passed by my house a few days ago. It produced a little blip in the voltage and now my washing machine needs to be fixed. Imagine the consequence of the blips we would get all over the country from windmills.

    We cannot let any nuclear plant be shutdown and adopt an “I told you so” attitude when the consequences become apparent. We must all speak out now.

  • Uli Decher

    Electricity is taken for granted. Few know that there are people who generate it and that the power sources must be adjusted every few seconds to keep it pure and within the specifications.

    A thunderstorm passed by my house a few days ago. It produced a little blip in the voltage and now my washing machine needs to be fixed. Imagine the consequence of the blips we would get all over the country from windmills.

    We cannot let any nuclear plant be shutdown and adopt an “I told you so” attitude when the consequences become apparent. We must all speak out now.

  • Though it is hard work without a whole lot of immediate rewards, fighting for the continued use of well-built and well-maintained nuclear plants is a worthwhile endeavor. Not only does the United States need the emission free power, but we also need to understand the interrelated nature of the struggle.

    Most of the people engaged in this particular discussion forum clearly understand that if Vermont Yankee, Indian Point, Oyster Creek, Diablo Canyon, and San Onofre are forced to shut down, their output will not be replaced by windmills and solar panels. There is simply no way for those unreliable sources of diffuse energy to perform the 24 x 7 x 330-365 day production available from the current nukes. Instead, the electrical power needed to keep the lights on and the the air conditioners humming would come from increasing our consumption of coal and natural gas.

    Since coal is not widely used in the specific areas that are being targeted, the real answer will be to increase the rate of natural gas consumption. Producing 24,000 MW-hours of electricity (a day’s output for a 1000 MWe nuclear plant) requires burning an additional 300 million cubic feet of natural gas. On a temporary basis, that is not a big deal, but if we start integrating that rate over months and then years we will find that natural gas prices will seek a new, higher level to encourage the needed production or LNG importation.

    Those natural gas price increases will not be limited to the areas that shut down their nuclear plants. They also will not be limited to electrical power production; the price increases will be felt by manufacturers, farmers (a lot of natural gas goes into fertilizer production) and shivering homeowners who use natural gas to heat their homes.

    Of course, the scenario I just painted would not harm the stock prices of Chesapeake Energy, Anadarko, Chevron, ExxonMobil, or Shell. The additional revenues from higher prices and increased sales volume will fall directly to the bottom line and significantly increase corporate management bonus payments. Heck, it might even help BP pay for all of the damage that its “clean natural gas” explosion has caused.

    As Meredith said – I have children and now a grandchild. I cannot simply disappear into an enclave somewhere and let the country stew in the results of the choices forced upon it by people with a completely different agenda from mine.

    I am no Atlas. I care far too much to shrug and let things fall apart if I have any say in the matter. I think we all have a say and should keep the pressure on.

    One thing we need to do is figure out a way to help people like Meredith fight for continuing operations against organizations who – so far – appear to have unlimited resources in their fight to shut down the plants. The really amazing thing in Vermont is that the state laws actually put the burden on Entergy to fund the efforts of people like Arnie Gundersen and Peter Bradford.

    We need to figure out ways to obtain resources from those industries and small businesses that would be negatively impacted most quickly by increases in energy costs. We need to help the public understand that some of the folks working to shut down the plants have impure financial motivations.

    Note: energy price increases just MIGHT also be in the interest of the operating utility companies. That is a complicating thought to consider.

  • Though it is hard work without a whole lot of immediate rewards, fighting for the continued use of well-built and well-maintained nuclear plants is a worthwhile endeavor. Not only does the United States need the emission free power, but we also need to understand the interrelated nature of the struggle.

    Most of the people engaged in this particular discussion forum clearly understand that if Vermont Yankee, Indian Point, Oyster Creek, Diablo Canyon, and San Onofre are forced to shut down, their output will not be replaced by windmills and solar panels. There is simply no way for those unreliable sources of diffuse energy to perform the 24 x 7 x 330-365 day production available from the current nukes. Instead, the electrical power needed to keep the lights on and the the air conditioners humming would come from increasing our consumption of coal and natural gas.

    Since coal is not widely used in the specific areas that are being targeted, the real answer will be to increase the rate of natural gas consumption. Producing 24,000 MW-hours of electricity (a day’s output for a 1000 MWe nuclear plant) requires burning an additional 300 million cubic feet of natural gas. On a temporary basis, that is not a big deal, but if we start integrating that rate over months and then years we will find that natural gas prices will seek a new, higher level to encourage the needed production or LNG importation.

    Those natural gas price increases will not be limited to the areas that shut down their nuclear plants. They also will not be limited to electrical power production; the price increases will be felt by manufacturers, farmers (a lot of natural gas goes into fertilizer production) and shivering homeowners who use natural gas to heat their homes.

    Of course, the scenario I just painted would not harm the stock prices of Chesapeake Energy, Anadarko, Chevron, ExxonMobil, or Shell. The additional revenues from higher prices and increased sales volume will fall directly to the bottom line and significantly increase corporate management bonus payments. Heck, it might even help BP pay for all of the damage that its “clean natural gas” explosion has caused.

    As Meredith said – I have children and now a grandchild. I cannot simply disappear into an enclave somewhere and let the country stew in the results of the choices forced upon it by people with a completely different agenda from mine.

    I am no Atlas. I care far too much to shrug and let things fall apart if I have any say in the matter. I think we all have a say and should keep the pressure on.

    One thing we need to do is figure out a way to help people like Meredith fight for continuing operations against organizations who – so far – appear to have unlimited resources in their fight to shut down the plants. The really amazing thing in Vermont is that the state laws actually put the burden on Entergy to fund the efforts of people like Arnie Gundersen and Peter Bradford.

    We need to figure out ways to obtain resources from those industries and small businesses that would be negatively impacted most quickly by increases in energy costs. We need to help the public understand that some of the folks working to shut down the plants have impure financial motivations.

    Note: energy price increases just MIGHT also be in the interest of the operating utility companies. That is a complicating thought to consider.

  • Though it is hard work without a whole lot of immediate rewards, fighting for the continued use of well-built and well-maintained nuclear plants is a worthwhile endeavor. Not only does the United States need the emission free power, but we also need to understand the interrelated nature of the struggle.

    Most of the people engaged in this particular discussion forum clearly understand that if Vermont Yankee, Indian Point, Oyster Creek, Diablo Canyon, and San Onofre are forced to shut down, their output will not be replaced by windmills and solar panels. There is simply no way for those unreliable sources of diffuse energy to perform the 24 x 7 x 330-365 day production available from the current nukes. Instead, the electrical power needed to keep the lights on and the the air conditioners humming would come from increasing our consumption of coal and natural gas.

    Since coal is not widely used in the specific areas that are being targeted, the real answer will be to increase the rate of natural gas consumption. Producing 24,000 MW-hours of electricity (a day’s output for a 1000 MWe nuclear plant) requires burning an additional 300 million cubic feet of natural gas. On a temporary basis, that is not a big deal, but if we start integrating that rate over months and then years we will find that natural gas prices will seek a new, higher level to encourage the needed production or LNG importation.

    Those natural gas price increases will not be limited to the areas that shut down their nuclear plants. They also will not be limited to electrical power production; the price increases will be felt by manufacturers, farmers (a lot of natural gas goes into fertilizer production) and shivering homeowners who use natural gas to heat their homes.

    Of course, the scenario I just painted would not harm the stock prices of Chesapeake Energy, Anadarko, Chevron, ExxonMobil, or Shell. The additional revenues from higher prices and increased sales volume will fall directly to the bottom line and significantly increase corporate management bonus payments. Heck, it might even help BP pay for all of the damage that its “clean natural gas” explosion has caused.

    As Meredith said – I have children and now a grandchild. I cannot simply disappear into an enclave somewhere and let the country stew in the results of the choices forced upon it by people with a completely different agenda from mine.

    I am no Atlas. I care far too much to shrug and let things fall apart if I have any say in the matter. I think we all have a say and should keep the pressure on.

    One thing we need to do is figure out a way to help people like Meredith fight for continuing operations against organizations who – so far – appear to have unlimited resources in their fight to shut down the plants. The really amazing thing in Vermont is that the state laws actually put the burden on Entergy to fund the efforts of people like Arnie Gundersen and Peter Bradford.

    We need to figure out ways to obtain resources from those industries and small businesses that would be negatively impacted most quickly by increases in energy costs. We need to help the public understand that some of the folks working to shut down the plants have impure financial motivations.

    Note: energy price increases just MIGHT also be in the interest of the operating utility companies. That is a complicating thought to consider.

  • It’s tempting to let the anti-nukes close some plants and sit back and say “let the Yankees freeze in the dark” until they learn about the value of nuclear power. But this won’t work, because people won’t associate a 2020 energy crisis with a 2012 event. Learning requires immediate feedback; that’s why teachers assign kids homework.

  • It’s tempting to let the anti-nukes close some plants and sit back and say “let the Yankees freeze in the dark” until they learn about the value of nuclear power. But this won’t work, because people won’t associate a 2020 energy crisis with a 2012 event. Learning requires immediate feedback; that’s why teachers assign kids homework.

  • It’s tempting to let the anti-nukes close some plants and sit back and say “let the Yankees freeze in the dark” until they learn about the value of nuclear power. But this won’t work, because people won’t associate a 2020 energy crisis with a 2012 event. Learning requires immediate feedback; that’s why teachers assign kids homework.

  • A few thoughts:

    FWIW: When California suffered an electricity crisis in 2000-2001, polls indicated a 20% or so surge of approval for nuclear power.

    In reality older nuclear plants have been uprated so much that very little of the original components remain in place. And that’s how capacity factor has risen in a big way even though no new plants have come online in decades.

    Indian Point has a dedicated line to the NYC subway system and to government-held buildings. Only fossil fuel combustion could replace that nuclear plant. The so-called environmentalists worried about pollution and global warming think that “clean” natural gas plants will meet demand. And in theory they could, but the carbon footprint and health risks would increase. When I say to people who belong to Riverkeeper, which has been actively trying to shut down Indian Point for years, that they’re campaigning for increased fossil fuel combustion, they come up with tortured arguments to the contrary and speak in vague terms about more renewables, like water turbines in the East River. They do not understand what base-load is.

    About Christie Brinkley, health physicist: she believes Indian Point and Millstone should be replaced by solar power. When asked whether she relies on solar power at her Hamptons home, she replied that her property was forested so the panels would be impractical.

    Great website, Bill!

  • A few thoughts:

    FWIW: When California suffered an electricity crisis in 2000-2001, polls indicated a 20% or so surge of approval for nuclear power.

    In reality older nuclear plants have been uprated so much that very little of the original components remain in place. And that’s how capacity factor has risen in a big way even though no new plants have come online in decades.

    Indian Point has a dedicated line to the NYC subway system and to government-held buildings. Only fossil fuel combustion could replace that nuclear plant. The so-called environmentalists worried about pollution and global warming think that “clean” natural gas plants will meet demand. And in theory they could, but the carbon footprint and health risks would increase. When I say to people who belong to Riverkeeper, which has been actively trying to shut down Indian Point for years, that they’re campaigning for increased fossil fuel combustion, they come up with tortured arguments to the contrary and speak in vague terms about more renewables, like water turbines in the East River. They do not understand what base-load is.

    About Christie Brinkley, health physicist: she believes Indian Point and Millstone should be replaced by solar power. When asked whether she relies on solar power at her Hamptons home, she replied that her property was forested so the panels would be impractical.

    Great website, Bill!

  • A few thoughts:

    FWIW: When California suffered an electricity crisis in 2000-2001, polls indicated a 20% or so surge of approval for nuclear power.

    In reality older nuclear plants have been uprated so much that very little of the original components remain in place. And that’s how capacity factor has risen in a big way even though no new plants have come online in decades.

    Indian Point has a dedicated line to the NYC subway system and to government-held buildings. Only fossil fuel combustion could replace that nuclear plant. The so-called environmentalists worried about pollution and global warming think that “clean” natural gas plants will meet demand. And in theory they could, but the carbon footprint and health risks would increase. When I say to people who belong to Riverkeeper, which has been actively trying to shut down Indian Point for years, that they’re campaigning for increased fossil fuel combustion, they come up with tortured arguments to the contrary and speak in vague terms about more renewables, like water turbines in the East River. They do not understand what base-load is.

    About Christie Brinkley, health physicist: she believes Indian Point and Millstone should be replaced by solar power. When asked whether she relies on solar power at her Hamptons home, she replied that her property was forested so the panels would be impractical.

    Great website, Bill!

  • Gwyneth,

    I’m aware that Christie Brinkley’s science is less than stellar. What I’m frustrated with is the LHJ published this article. 1000’s of women will read it with no counter argument about her position. Where is the pro-nuclear point of view?

  • Gwyneth,

    I’m aware that Christie Brinkley’s science is less than stellar. What I’m frustrated with is the LHJ published this article. 1000’s of women will read it with no counter argument about her position. Where is the pro-nuclear point of view?

  • Gwyneth,

    I’m aware that Christie Brinkley’s science is less than stellar. What I’m frustrated with is the LHJ published this article. 1000’s of women will read it with no counter argument about her position. Where is the pro-nuclear point of view?

  • Alex555

    I am not scared at all by the propest of nuclear plants closing down: when they’ll be blackouts or new coal power plants, trust me people will realise.

    In fact, it could be a really good way to sell nuclear power, let people choose. When they’ll have blackout, maybe they will reconsider.

  • Alex555

    I am not scared at all by the propest of nuclear plants closing down: when they’ll be blackouts or new coal power plants, trust me people will realise.

    In fact, it could be a really good way to sell nuclear power, let people choose. When they’ll have blackout, maybe they will reconsider.

  • Alex555

    I am not scared at all by the propest of nuclear plants closing down: when they’ll be blackouts or new coal power plants, trust me people will realise.

    In fact, it could be a really good way to sell nuclear power, let people choose. When they’ll have blackout, maybe they will reconsider.

  • Peter Bradford

    Maybe Rod Adams could demonsrate how well he knows what he’s talking about by pointing to one – just one – thing I’ve ever said that urges the closing of Vermont Yankee. Then we could all see that facts mattered to him when he wrote “The really amazing thing in Vermont is that the state laws actually put the burden on Entergy to fund the efforts of people like Arnie Gundersen and Peter Bradford”.

    Clock’s ticking, Rod.

  • Peter Bradford

    Maybe Rod Adams could demonsrate how well he knows what he’s talking about by pointing to one – just one – thing I’ve ever said that urges the closing of Vermont Yankee. Then we could all see that facts mattered to him when he wrote “The really amazing thing in Vermont is that the state laws actually put the burden on Entergy to fund the efforts of people like Arnie Gundersen and Peter Bradford”.

    Clock’s ticking, Rod.

  • Peter Bradford

    Maybe Rod Adams could demonsrate how well he knows what he’s talking about by pointing to one – just one – thing I’ve ever said that urges the closing of Vermont Yankee. Then we could all see that facts mattered to him when he wrote “The really amazing thing in Vermont is that the state laws actually put the burden on Entergy to fund the efforts of people like Arnie Gundersen and Peter Bradford”.

    Clock’s ticking, Rod.

  • ShouldKnowBetter

    Congratulations, Mr. Tucker — You’ve attracted a spambot! (Energy Star Dehumidifiers) 🙂

    I wonder where White Flinter works?

    On-topic, you cannot seriously think that moving the plant license renewal discussion out of its current legal-technical arena would do any good, can you? You’d be opening the door to making it a ballot issue on a state-by-state basis, and the voters who know best (having lived near the plants for decades) are vastly outnumbered by LHJ readers and other folks easily scaremongered into the wrong decision. No, I do not trust the U.S. electorate’s ability to make a rational choice in this case.

    Mr. Bradford, where did Mr. Adams say you’ve specifically called for Vermont Yankee’s shutdown? He merely puts you in the anti-nuclear camp, a status fully justified by your ongoing media quotes and op-eds which are clearly anti-Nuclear Regulatory Commission and anti-new nuclear plants.

  • ShouldKnowBetter

    Congratulations, Mr. Tucker — You’ve attracted a spambot! (Energy Star Dehumidifiers) 🙂

    I wonder where White Flinter works?

    On-topic, you cannot seriously think that moving the plant license renewal discussion out of its current legal-technical arena would do any good, can you? You’d be opening the door to making it a ballot issue on a state-by-state basis, and the voters who know best (having lived near the plants for decades) are vastly outnumbered by LHJ readers and other folks easily scaremongered into the wrong decision. No, I do not trust the U.S. electorate’s ability to make a rational choice in this case.

    Mr. Bradford, where did Mr. Adams say you’ve specifically called for Vermont Yankee’s shutdown? He merely puts you in the anti-nuclear camp, a status fully justified by your ongoing media quotes and op-eds which are clearly anti-Nuclear Regulatory Commission and anti-new nuclear plants.

  • ShouldKnowBetter

    Congratulations, Mr. Tucker — You’ve attracted a spambot! (Energy Star Dehumidifiers) 🙂

    I wonder where White Flinter works?

    On-topic, you cannot seriously think that moving the plant license renewal discussion out of its current legal-technical arena would do any good, can you? You’d be opening the door to making it a ballot issue on a state-by-state basis, and the voters who know best (having lived near the plants for decades) are vastly outnumbered by LHJ readers and other folks easily scaremongered into the wrong decision. No, I do not trust the U.S. electorate’s ability to make a rational choice in this case.

    Mr. Bradford, where did Mr. Adams say you’ve specifically called for Vermont Yankee’s shutdown? He merely puts you in the anti-nuclear camp, a status fully justified by your ongoing media quotes and op-eds which are clearly anti-Nuclear Regulatory Commission and anti-new nuclear plants.

  • Peter Bradford

    But then what is Mr. Adams’ point or yours? That Entergy is somehow being abused because it is being surcharged for the costs of a diverse panel whose one report to date stated that Vermont Yankee could operate reliably for 20 more years as long as certain basic precautions were taken?

    Almost all regulation and oversight is paid for by surcharges on the regulated entities. This doesn’t mean that they get to screen the membership or write the reports.

    As for “the antinuclear camp”, I doubt that they’d have me. There’s the matter my signature – figuratively at least – on the 20 or so CPs and OLs issued during my term on the NRC. Or the hundreds of millions in rate increases that I helped to grant to pay for Seabrook and Nine Mile II, among others.

    Did you perhaps attend the same fact checking seminars as Mr. Adams?

  • Peter Bradford

    But then what is Mr. Adams’ point or yours? That Entergy is somehow being abused because it is being surcharged for the costs of a diverse panel whose one report to date stated that Vermont Yankee could operate reliably for 20 more years as long as certain basic precautions were taken?

    Almost all regulation and oversight is paid for by surcharges on the regulated entities. This doesn’t mean that they get to screen the membership or write the reports.

    As for “the antinuclear camp”, I doubt that they’d have me. There’s the matter my signature – figuratively at least – on the 20 or so CPs and OLs issued during my term on the NRC. Or the hundreds of millions in rate increases that I helped to grant to pay for Seabrook and Nine Mile II, among others.

    Did you perhaps attend the same fact checking seminars as Mr. Adams?

  • Peter Bradford

    But then what is Mr. Adams’ point or yours? That Entergy is somehow being abused because it is being surcharged for the costs of a diverse panel whose one report to date stated that Vermont Yankee could operate reliably for 20 more years as long as certain basic precautions were taken?

    Almost all regulation and oversight is paid for by surcharges on the regulated entities. This doesn’t mean that they get to screen the membership or write the reports.

    As for “the antinuclear camp”, I doubt that they’d have me. There’s the matter my signature – figuratively at least – on the 20 or so CPs and OLs issued during my term on the NRC. Or the hundreds of millions in rate increases that I helped to grant to pay for Seabrook and Nine Mile II, among others.

    Did you perhaps attend the same fact checking seminars as Mr. Adams?

  • SteveK9

    I”ve thought for a long time that Entergy should just give up and close Vermont Yankee. Their fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders probably prevents that, but it would be useful to just let Vermont do without it and see how that goes. Also, the plan is very old and it might be wiser to stop trying to save it and put the energy into new plants where people want them.

  • SteveK9

    I”ve thought for a long time that Entergy should just give up and close Vermont Yankee. Their fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders probably prevents that, but it would be useful to just let Vermont do without it and see how that goes. Also, the plan is very old and it might be wiser to stop trying to save it and put the energy into new plants where people want them.

  • SteveK9

    I”ve thought for a long time that Entergy should just give up and close Vermont Yankee. Their fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders probably prevents that, but it would be useful to just let Vermont do without it and see how that goes. Also, the plan is very old and it might be wiser to stop trying to save it and put the energy into new plants where people want them.

  • Peter Bradford

    From a relaibility standpoint, VY doesn’t make much difference one way or the other to Vermont. It’s a small part of the New England market, which is the relevant measure. Vermont utilities own less than half of the plant now. Their percentage in a post-2012 contract is undetermined, as is the price. It could all be sold to others in any case.

    There may be some economic advantage to the plant’s continued operation, depending on contract terms. The clearer economic plus side is jobs and taxes.

  • Peter Bradford

    From a relaibility standpoint, VY doesn’t make much difference one way or the other to Vermont. It’s a small part of the New England market, which is the relevant measure. Vermont utilities own less than half of the plant now. Their percentage in a post-2012 contract is undetermined, as is the price. It could all be sold to others in any case.

    There may be some economic advantage to the plant’s continued operation, depending on contract terms. The clearer economic plus side is jobs and taxes.

  • Peter Bradford

    From a relaibility standpoint, VY doesn’t make much difference one way or the other to Vermont. It’s a small part of the New England market, which is the relevant measure. Vermont utilities own less than half of the plant now. Their percentage in a post-2012 contract is undetermined, as is the price. It could all be sold to others in any case.

    There may be some economic advantage to the plant’s continued operation, depending on contract terms. The clearer economic plus side is jobs and taxes.

  • Nuclear power is not a faith or religion. Therefore, I think the premise that “people who understand energy” support these plants is invalid. The Coalition that formed around Oyster Creek was extremely diverse ranging from nuclear engineers to long-time nuclear activists. The main fear of the nuclear engineers was that failures at old corroded plants could give the nuclear industry a bad name once more. The controversy around tritium leaks at these reactors has shown that those engineers were right. Moreover, through litigation it has become increasingly apparent that the NRC does not know what the Current Licensing Basis is and the operators have a poor handle on the “as-is” condition of these plants in at least some areas. By failing to differentiate between nuclear done well and nuclear done badly, the advocates of nuclear power have done the technology a disservice. While the public may be willing to tolerate well run and well regulated plants, they are not ready to accept any nuclear plant, no matter what its condition or the abilities of its management and its regulator.

    In a nutshell, by supporting all plants, the advocates of nuclear energy undermine the case for supporting well-run plants,

  • Nuclear power is not a faith or religion. Therefore, I think the premise that “people who understand energy” support these plants is invalid. The Coalition that formed around Oyster Creek was extremely diverse ranging from nuclear engineers to long-time nuclear activists. The main fear of the nuclear engineers was that failures at old corroded plants could give the nuclear industry a bad name once more. The controversy around tritium leaks at these reactors has shown that those engineers were right. Moreover, through litigation it has become increasingly apparent that the NRC does not know what the Current Licensing Basis is and the operators have a poor handle on the “as-is” condition of these plants in at least some areas. By failing to differentiate between nuclear done well and nuclear done badly, the advocates of nuclear power have done the technology a disservice. While the public may be willing to tolerate well run and well regulated plants, they are not ready to accept any nuclear plant, no matter what its condition or the abilities of its management and its regulator.

    In a nutshell, by supporting all plants, the advocates of nuclear energy undermine the case for supporting well-run plants,

  • Nuclear power is not a faith or religion. Therefore, I think the premise that “people who understand energy” support these plants is invalid. The Coalition that formed around Oyster Creek was extremely diverse ranging from nuclear engineers to long-time nuclear activists. The main fear of the nuclear engineers was that failures at old corroded plants could give the nuclear industry a bad name once more. The controversy around tritium leaks at these reactors has shown that those engineers were right. Moreover, through litigation it has become increasingly apparent that the NRC does not know what the Current Licensing Basis is and the operators have a poor handle on the “as-is” condition of these plants in at least some areas. By failing to differentiate between nuclear done well and nuclear done badly, the advocates of nuclear power have done the technology a disservice. While the public may be willing to tolerate well run and well regulated plants, they are not ready to accept any nuclear plant, no matter what its condition or the abilities of its management and its regulator.

    In a nutshell, by supporting all plants, the advocates of nuclear energy undermine the case for supporting well-run plants,

  • @Peter Bradford – As “ShouldKnowBetter” pointed out, my comment that included your name did not specifically accuse you of saying anything about closing Vermont Yankee. It did point out the fact that you and Gundersen have been paid by the state which then billed Entergy for your services. Entergy had no choice in the matter and no control over the number of hours billed to it. As a long time regulator, you might have a deep understanding of why the laws have developed to force companies to pay for their critics, but not everyone who is involved in this discussion knows or understands how that works.

    Very clearly, your colleague Arnie Gundersen has been paid – at a rate of approximately $300 per hour, not bad for a former private school teacher who was successfully sued by his employer for defamation – by the state using money supplied by Entergy. Based on what I have read of his work, it appears that his task has been to produce as much testimony as he can to support the desires of a few politicians – and perhaps some fossil fuel pushers – to shut down Vermont Yankee.

    Some of us think it is rather unfair for Entergy customers to be responsible for these bills. (Companies, even large companies, have little money that did not come from its customers.) In an adversarial legal proceeding, it borders on the absurd when one entity has to pay for both sides of the conflict and then gets accused of raising its prices partially in order to recover those costs.

    You claim that the anti-nuclear camp would not have you, but it certainly appears from the following quote that they are proud to claim you as a supporter of their efforts.

    “Former Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Commissioner Peter Bradford resides in Peru, VT. A strong critic of the nuclear industry, Commissioner Bradford is one of the few former NRC commissioners who has not sought lucrative employment within the nuclear industry.”

    http://www.evacuationplans.org/Stage-2-Decommissioning-Fund-Analysis-Fairewinds-Associates-Inc.pdf

    It is difficult for any of the people who work in favor of nuclear energy production to believe that a long time director of the Union of Concerned Scientists could legitimately claim that he is NOT a member of the anti-nuclear camp.

    You also point to your figurative signature on 20 nuclear plant licenses, yet you served on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 1977-1982. At the rate that plants were started in 1968-1973, there should have been 40-50 plants licensed in the period that you were serving on the Commission. I certainly will not blame you personally for the difficulties and delays that occurred during your tenure, but actually completing the process for 20 plants during a 5 year tenure on the Commission is not exactly a resounding accomplishment that proves you support nuclear energy development.

    If I had the time and lived in Vermont, I would sign up to take your course at Vermont Law School that is taught with the syllabus linked below.

    http://www.vermontlaw.edu/Documents/2009SummerSyllabi/20100218_SyllabusNuclearPower_Bradford(0).pdf

    I am pretty sure that I would be able to capture plenty of notes with anti-nuclear flavor based on the topics that you have selected. Do you ever mention successes like Duke Energy, Southern Company, FP&L, Dominion or Excelon’s low cost nuclear power, the 90% capacity factor achieved for the fleet as a whole for the past 10 years, the success of the Navy Nuclear Power Program, or the success of the technology in countries like Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, South Korea, or Lithuania? Do you mention all of the ways that nuclear technologists have applied lessons learned during the first nuclear age to improve their plans for future new construction projects?

    Perhaps you could add some balance to your course with some additions to your reading list. I recommend Power to Save the World, Terrestrial Energy, Fossil Fools, Rickover: How One Man Made a Difference, Nuclear Power from Undersea to Outer Space, and Ted Rockwell’s Nuclear Facts Report. (http://www.members.authorsguild.net/tedrockwell/files/Facts_Report-2010Mar.doc)

    Sorry that the clock had to tick so many times before I responded. I have been a busy for the last few days.

  • @Peter Bradford – As “ShouldKnowBetter” pointed out, my comment that included your name did not specifically accuse you of saying anything about closing Vermont Yankee. It did point out the fact that you and Gundersen have been paid by the state which then billed Entergy for your services. Entergy had no choice in the matter and no control over the number of hours billed to it. As a long time regulator, you might have a deep understanding of why the laws have developed to force companies to pay for their critics, but not everyone who is involved in this discussion knows or understands how that works.

    Very clearly, your colleague Arnie Gundersen has been paid – at a rate of approximately $300 per hour, not bad for a former private school teacher who was successfully sued by his employer for defamation – by the state using money supplied by Entergy. Based on what I have read of his work, it appears that his task has been to produce as much testimony as he can to support the desires of a few politicians – and perhaps some fossil fuel pushers – to shut down Vermont Yankee.

    Some of us think it is rather unfair for Entergy customers to be responsible for these bills. (Companies, even large companies, have little money that did not come from its customers.) In an adversarial legal proceeding, it borders on the absurd when one entity has to pay for both sides of the conflict and then gets accused of raising its prices partially in order to recover those costs.

    You claim that the anti-nuclear camp would not have you, but it certainly appears from the following quote that they are proud to claim you as a supporter of their efforts.

    “Former Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Commissioner Peter Bradford resides in Peru, VT. A strong critic of the nuclear industry, Commissioner Bradford is one of the few former NRC commissioners who has not sought lucrative employment within the nuclear industry.”

    http://www.evacuationplans.org/Stage-2-Decommissioning-Fund-Analysis-Fairewinds-Associates-Inc.pdf

    It is difficult for any of the people who work in favor of nuclear energy production to believe that a long time director of the Union of Concerned Scientists could legitimately claim that he is NOT a member of the anti-nuclear camp.

    You also point to your figurative signature on 20 nuclear plant licenses, yet you served on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 1977-1982. At the rate that plants were started in 1968-1973, there should have been 40-50 plants licensed in the period that you were serving on the Commission. I certainly will not blame you personally for the difficulties and delays that occurred during your tenure, but actually completing the process for 20 plants during a 5 year tenure on the Commission is not exactly a resounding accomplishment that proves you support nuclear energy development.

    If I had the time and lived in Vermont, I would sign up to take your course at Vermont Law School that is taught with the syllabus linked below.

    http://www.vermontlaw.edu/Documents/2009SummerSyllabi/20100218_SyllabusNuclearPower_Bradford(0).pdf

    I am pretty sure that I would be able to capture plenty of notes with anti-nuclear flavor based on the topics that you have selected. Do you ever mention successes like Duke Energy, Southern Company, FP&L, Dominion or Excelon’s low cost nuclear power, the 90% capacity factor achieved for the fleet as a whole for the past 10 years, the success of the Navy Nuclear Power Program, or the success of the technology in countries like Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, South Korea, or Lithuania? Do you mention all of the ways that nuclear technologists have applied lessons learned during the first nuclear age to improve their plans for future new construction projects?

    Perhaps you could add some balance to your course with some additions to your reading list. I recommend Power to Save the World, Terrestrial Energy, Fossil Fools, Rickover: How One Man Made a Difference, Nuclear Power from Undersea to Outer Space, and Ted Rockwell’s Nuclear Facts Report. (http://www.members.authorsguild.net/tedrockwell/files/Facts_Report-2010Mar.doc)

    Sorry that the clock had to tick so many times before I responded. I have been a busy for the last few days.

  • @Peter Bradford – As “ShouldKnowBetter” pointed out, my comment that included your name did not specifically accuse you of saying anything about closing Vermont Yankee. It did point out the fact that you and Gundersen have been paid by the state which then billed Entergy for your services. Entergy had no choice in the matter and no control over the number of hours billed to it. As a long time regulator, you might have a deep understanding of why the laws have developed to force companies to pay for their critics, but not everyone who is involved in this discussion knows or understands how that works.

    Very clearly, your colleague Arnie Gundersen has been paid – at a rate of approximately $300 per hour, not bad for a former private school teacher who was successfully sued by his employer for defamation – by the state using money supplied by Entergy. Based on what I have read of his work, it appears that his task has been to produce as much testimony as he can to support the desires of a few politicians – and perhaps some fossil fuel pushers – to shut down Vermont Yankee.

    Some of us think it is rather unfair for Entergy customers to be responsible for these bills. (Companies, even large companies, have little money that did not come from its customers.) In an adversarial legal proceeding, it borders on the absurd when one entity has to pay for both sides of the conflict and then gets accused of raising its prices partially in order to recover those costs.

    You claim that the anti-nuclear camp would not have you, but it certainly appears from the following quote that they are proud to claim you as a supporter of their efforts.

    “Former Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Commissioner Peter Bradford resides in Peru, VT. A strong critic of the nuclear industry, Commissioner Bradford is one of the few former NRC commissioners who has not sought lucrative employment within the nuclear industry.”

    http://www.evacuationplans.org/Stage-2-Decommissioning-Fund-Analysis-Fairewinds-Associates-Inc.pdf

    It is difficult for any of the people who work in favor of nuclear energy production to believe that a long time director of the Union of Concerned Scientists could legitimately claim that he is NOT a member of the anti-nuclear camp.

    You also point to your figurative signature on 20 nuclear plant licenses, yet you served on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 1977-1982. At the rate that plants were started in 1968-1973, there should have been 40-50 plants licensed in the period that you were serving on the Commission. I certainly will not blame you personally for the difficulties and delays that occurred during your tenure, but actually completing the process for 20 plants during a 5 year tenure on the Commission is not exactly a resounding accomplishment that proves you support nuclear energy development.

    If I had the time and lived in Vermont, I would sign up to take your course at Vermont Law School that is taught with the syllabus linked below.

    http://www.vermontlaw.edu/Documents/2009SummerSyllabi/20100218_SyllabusNuclearPower_Bradford(0).pdf

    I am pretty sure that I would be able to capture plenty of notes with anti-nuclear flavor based on the topics that you have selected. Do you ever mention successes like Duke Energy, Southern Company, FP&L, Dominion or Excelon’s low cost nuclear power, the 90% capacity factor achieved for the fleet as a whole for the past 10 years, the success of the Navy Nuclear Power Program, or the success of the technology in countries like Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, South Korea, or Lithuania? Do you mention all of the ways that nuclear technologists have applied lessons learned during the first nuclear age to improve their plans for future new construction projects?

    Perhaps you could add some balance to your course with some additions to your reading list. I recommend Power to Save the World, Terrestrial Energy, Fossil Fools, Rickover: How One Man Made a Difference, Nuclear Power from Undersea to Outer Space, and Ted Rockwell’s Nuclear Facts Report. (http://www.members.authorsguild.net/tedrockwell/files/Facts_Report-2010Mar.doc)

    Sorry that the clock had to tick so many times before I responded. I have been a busy for the last few days.

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