Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the US nuclear industry, and spotlights those who are working for a nuke free future.
By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press
In this issue of Nuclear Shutdown News we continue our summer travels in pursuit of no nukes stories… Of course we’d love to be in Greece, checking out the unfolding “Brother can you spare a few billion drachmas” melodrama. But Greece doesn’t have any nuclear reactors to shut down, or nuclear weapons to dismantle.
Not so in Germany, one of Greece’s major predators, uh, creditors, that is.
The Associated Press reported on June 28, “Germany’s oldest remaining nuclear reactor to shut down.”
The AP stated that the Grafenrheinfel nuclear plant in Bavaria “would be taken offline as scheduled authorities and operator E.ON said.”
Grafenrheinfel started up in 1981 and will be the first reactor to close since Germany switched off 8 of its 17 nuclear reactors in 2011,” after the Fukushima disaster, the AP reported. Two more reactors will be closed in 2017, and the rest by the end of 2022.
Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks called the pending shutdown –
”a visible signal that the nuclear exit is going forward. Every nuclear power closure that goes forward reduces the so called residual risk that is linked to the use of nuclear power plants and moves us a step forward in the reorganization of our energy supply.”
Germany aims to generate 80% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2050,” the AP reported.
Meanwhile, across the border in France, another of Greece’s major pred/creditors, the nuke news was comparatively lukewarm.
Reuters reported on July 22 that –
“French lawmakers passed a long delayed energy bill ushering in President Hollande’s pledge to cut nuclear power to half of France’s energy mix in 2025 from 75% today, highest share in the world.”
The country’s share of renewable energy production is to rise to 40%.
But Greenpeace criticized the legislation: “This law sets new goals, but doesn’t explain how to reach them,” a spokesperson asserted.
Hollande’s campaign pledge to shut down, Fessenheim, France’s “oldest nuclear plant. on the German border, has met stiff resistance from EDF (France’s national nuclear utility), unions and local governments over job cuts,” Reuters reported
The French government also is supporting construction of a new nuke plant in Normandy.
How many austerity drachmas will France withdraw from Athens to build that one? Source: reuters.com
3. Indian Point
Lately it seems that no issue of Nuclear Shutdown news would be complete without reporting on the shutdown of a reactor at the Indian Point nuke plant. Located 35 miles north of north of Manhattan on the Hudson River, the Indian Point Unit 3 reactor “automatically shut down on July 9,” according to the upstate New York Journal News.
“When our plant goes down unexpectedly, that’s a loss of 1000 Megawatts of electricity that has to be made up somehow.” a spokesperson for the New Orleans based owner and operator of the plant, Entergy, told the Journal News,
Last month Indian Point 3 shut down ‘after a Mylar balloon got tangled in electrical wires south of the plant,” the Journal New reported. And in May “about 3000 gallons of oil seeped into the Hudson after a transformer fire at Unit 3, and brought Governor Cuomo to the scene,” according to the Journal News. Cuomo favors a permanent shutdown of Indian Point.
The plant started up in 1974, the year Richard “I’m not a crook” Nixon helicoptered away from the White House after the Watergate scandal. Source: journalnews.com
4. Enraged Uranium
According to Wikipaedia –
“Enriched uranium is a critical component for both nuclear power generation and military nuclear weapons.”
News reports about recent negotiations between Iran and the US have laid bare this connection.
Iran contends it only wants to use nuclear power to provide electricity for its people.
Here at home, Pacific Gas & Electric swears it just wants to do the same for its customers at its Diablo Canyon nuclear plant on its earthquake riddled site along central California’s shoreline.
But the same nuclear fuel that is used qt Diablo Canyon can also be converted into nuclear weapons material, especially after it becomes high level radioactive “spent fuel, some of which will remain “hot stuff” for thousands of years.
Yet the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission is not concerned about Diablo Canyon’s continuing operation.
In fact, as the San Francisco Chronicle reported on July 8:
“Federal regulators have restarted the process of deciding whether California’s last nuclear plant…will remain open for decades (more).”
If the NRC allows PG&E 20 year license extensions on its two Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors, they theoretically could crank on until2044 and 2045, piling up all the more uranium—and plutonium.
Every nuclear plant in the US—even almost all of those permanently shut down—has vast amounts of this high level radioactive waste sitting around, with no place else to go, that could be used to make weapons that could fast make all life on planet Earth extinct.
How to solve these deadly problems? First, shut down all the nuclear reactors in the world-now!
And then, the Greeks have a word for it—democracy!