By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press
Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those who are working to create a nuclear-free future. Here is our August 2016 edition:
US nuclear industry reaches a new low with resale of decrepit nuke plant already scheduled to permanently shut down next year.
On July 12, Syracuse.com in upstate New York announced, “Entergy to sell FitzPatrick to Exelon in mid-August.”
The FitzPatrick nuclear plant is located in Lake Ontario near the Canadian border. It started up in late 1974, not long after Richard Nixon’s reign over the White House permanently shut down. This means the nuke plant’s one reactor has been cranking away for almost 42 years, releasing radiation into the air and water in the Great Lakes region all the while.
US nuclear reactors were designed to operate only 40 years.
FitzPatrick’s reactor is exactly like the four ruined Japanese reactors at Fukushima, designed and built by US corporate behemoth General Electric.
Originally owned and operated by Niagara Mohawk, it is one of the most inappropriately named nukes in the nation, along with Indian Point, Millstone, Pilgrim and Turkey Point, ownership was later handed off to the likewise unfortunately monikered New York Power Authority.
Around the turn of the century, as FitzPatrick was approaching age 30, New Orleans-based Entergy began buying up a number of aging and troubled nuclear plants at (for nukes) bargain basement prices, including FitzPatrick, planning to milk them as long as they could get away with it.
Now that it can no longer make money off risky relics, Entergy has begun to shut them down, like Vermont Yankee in 2014. Pilgrim on Cape Cod in Massachusetts is on Entergy’s closure list as well.
Earlier this year, Entergy announced it would be closing FitPatrick next year as well.
Enter New York Gov. Cuomo
New York Governor Mario Cuomo has actively supported the shutdown of Indian Point’s two messed up reactors. Located in the Hudson River this nuke is less than 40 miles north of New York City.
But when FitzPatrick’s’s proposed closure went public, Cuomo turned tail, citing supposed concerns about a threat to the state’s electrical supply.
Subsequently, he led the charge in an effort in the state legislature that resulted in a multibillion-dollar bailout for FitzPatrick and several other dangerously degenerated unprofitable upstate nuke plants, to keep them going solely because of this taxpayer pocket emptying subsidy.
By the way, Entergy is the 2nd largest owner and operator of US nuke plants. Number one on that despicable list is Chicago-based Exelon. Exelon had been pressuring the Illinois legislature to give it big time bucks to bail out a number of its nukes in the region that have become chronic money losers.
But the Illinois legislature refused to defraud Illinois citizens, so last month Exelon announced it would be closing down two of its loser nukes next year, with more such closures looming in the future.
So now Entergy and Exelon will get their way in the Empire State with FitzPatrick, whose sale price of $110 million it will easily recoup thanks to Cuomo’s shameful move. His Clean Energy Standard act will provide $482 million per year to “financially strapped nuclear plants” in New York, excluding Indian Point. Syracuse.com reported that Entergy’s Bill Moke said, while thanking “Cuomo for his leadership.”
For his part, Cuomo said he was “pleased by the significant progress being made.”
Exelon also owns two other aged General Electric built nuclear plants on Lake Ontario in New York, comprising three reactors, Ginna and Nine Mile Point, which will likewise share in the taxpayer ripoff subsidy buck while increasing the threat of a meltdown on Lake Ontario.
Vermont Yankee nuke plant to ship massive amounts of radioactive water to Tennessee.
On July 16 the Associated Press reported, “Plans to ship hundreds of thousands of gallons to Tennessee processing facility raising concerns.”
As reported before, the Entergy-owned Vermont Yankee nuke plant shut down in 2014. As we are learning, since more and more US nukes are closing, a whole new set of problems are arising, because shut down nuclear reactors leave behind vast amounts of radioactive waste posing a threat to the health of humans and other living beings.
In the case of Vermont Yankee, “a huge donut-shaped space in its reactor” called a taurus, “with a capacity to hold 1.1 million gallons of emergency cooling water, has become “a giant holding tank for (radioactive) water waiting to be sent away” since Vermont Yankee’s closure, the AP reported.
“Radiation in the taurus has grown substantially,” Neil Sheehan of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission told the AP.
Arnie Gunderson, a nuclear engineer turned whistleblower, added, “”The taurus now contains a witches blend of radioactive chemicals.”
Another complicating factor is “intrusion water”, water seeping into the plant from outside. The NRC considers this water “only slightly radioactive” and plans to release it into the Connecticut River, which flows by Vermont Yankee south though into Massachusetts and Connecticut before emptying into Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.
Paul Gunter, a longtime no nukes activist, told the AP, “I’d like to see public notification of shipments and routes, and first responders along the route notified ahead of time and placards noting contents on the outside of trucks.”
Tennessee, where Entergy wants to send the Vermont Yankee radioactive waste to, is site of the Oak Ridge nuclear facility, which was built during World War II to develop the atomic bomb. It already has vast amounts of nuclear waste.
Source: Associated Press, ap.com.