Nuclear Shutdown News December 2016
By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press / OB Rag
Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free world.
Here is our December 2016 report:
1. Summary of 2016 nuclear shutdowns.
This year continued the acceleration of the permanent shutdowns of US nuclear plants.
On December 8 nbcchicago.com reported that the Palisades nuke plant on Lake Michigan would be shut down in 2018, according to its owner, Entergy of New Orleans. NBC said Palisades was “too old and dangerous,” and a chronic money loser.
Entergy is the second largest owner of nuke plants in the country, and is now the leading player in phasing out antiquated nukes. The news network added that Lake Michigan is the primary source for drinking water for Chicago.
Palisades started up in 1971, a few years before President Nixon was forced to leave the White House in disgrace. US nuclear reactors were designed to last only 40 years.
On October 23 the owner of the Fort Calhoun nuke plant in Nebraska reported it would be closing before the end of the year.
Earlier in 2016 the Tennessee Valley Authority reported that it was auctioning off its Bellafonte nuke plant in Alabama. TVA started building this plant decades ago, and spent millions on it. But in recent years it gave up on the project and now is walking-actually running away from it.
In early June Chicago-based Exelon, the nation’s largest owner and operator od nuclear plants, said it would be closing its Quad Cities and Clinton nukes in Illinois before the year was out. Exelon had been trying to shake down Illinois for millions to keep their decrepit money losing nukes going, but when that effort failed, it cut its loses and pulled the plugs.
However, a similar effort in New York state did defraud ratepayers out of big bucks to keep three unsafe antiquated nuclear plants on the Great Lakes limping. But for how much longer?
The Big Story of the year for Nuclear Shutdown News was the announcement in June that the appropriately named Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in California, the state’s last operating nuke, would be permanently shutting down. The scandal plagued owner, San Francisco’s Pacific Gas % Electric, said it would close the two reactors by 2025, and turn its efforts to generating renewable sources of electricity instead.
However, whether this nuke plant can or should last that long is no sure bet. Located on the Pacific Ocean in a tsunami none riddled with earthquake faults, its vulnerability was illustrated in November when Japan’s already decimated Fukushima nuclear plant was hit by another major earthquake that caused thousands to flee and quickly brought airborne radiation to the US West Coast.
2. No Nukes Groups call for shutdown of multiple nuke plants in US and Abroad
On December 22 The Day newspaper in New London, Connecticut ran this story, ” Anti-nuke groups:Defective Parts Warrant Shutdown of Millstone, Other Plants.”
New London in Southeastern CT, where this writer hails from, is the location of the Millstone nuclear power plant, and is also known as the “Submarine Capital of the World, where most of the US Navy’s nuclear subs are built, and many are stationed.
The Day story reported that Beyond Nuclear, a no nukes group in Takoma Park, MD, outside Washington DC, had filed an emergency petition with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) calling for the immediate shutdown of 18 nuclear reactors at 11 locations across the US because they may have defective key components that could lead to catastrophic situations, including meltdowns.
Because of this situation, many of the nuclear plants in France are currently shut down. The defective parts were made by the French company AREVA at its Creusot Farge facility.
Beyond Nuclear’s Paul Gunter said,
“Half of the reactors in France are shut down because of these defective parts and this is happening in the US too and that’s why we are taking these actions. The operating licenses of these plants should be suspended until safe operations can be affirmed.”
The Millstone 2 reactor in my hometown of Niantic is on Long Island Sound in sight of our town beach. It started up in 1975.
A June 2016 by Greenpeace listed US nuke plants that may have these defective parts, as well as such nukes in Britain, Sweden, Belgium Spain and other countries.
Sources: theday.com; beyondnuclear.org; greenpeace.org
Michael Steinberg is the author of Millstone and Me: Sex, Lies and Radiation in Southeastern Connecticut.