Couple days ago I listened to the most recent Fairewinds Energy Education podcasts (all the podcasts are listed here). I learned about a nuke plant called Oyster Creek (in New Jersey) that has a damaged pipe (post-Hurricane Sandy) that could lead to serious problems if it breaks altogether. A special investigation team from the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) has been dispatched to Oyster Creek in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The plant is the only one in the U.S. without “a modern High Pressure Safety Injection System.” As also explained by Arnie Gundersen, the plant is the oldest operating nuke plant in the U.S. (lots more on the podcast!!) (A 2nd NRC team has gone to Turkey Point in Florida due to a similar problem which was not, I understand, due to Hurricane Sandy.)
This is all very disconcerting.
Then too, there are 3 plants on long-term shutdown in the U.S. – Fort Calhoun (Nebraska), San Onofre (California) & Crystal River (Florida) – that are still paying employees to keep them … hmmm. Keep them safe, I suppose.
But the thing is, ratepayers (in Canada we usually call them taxpayers) are paying hundreds of millions of dollars per year to keep these plants going while they are … not going.
Did I already say that taxpayers are paying for this??
Did I also mention that the nuclear industry makes GOBS of money every year (wish I knew how much; it would stagger us all, no doubt; we’d probably faint dead away in droves) & they do this by making energy in a preposterously dirty & dangerous way & not only do we all wind up being exposed to the toxic by-products of the entire nuclear fuel chain in a variety of ways, we get stiffed with the costs for the long-term waste that will still be dangerous to all living creatures long after there are any living creatures left, even (maybe at least partly because of all the nuke waste mess on the planet).
If that doesn’t make you annoyed or disgusted, consider that “ratepayers” are paying out $750 million per year to keep the staff at the Crystal River plant in Florida paid while the plant is on shutdown & “containment problems” are being sorted out.
San Onofre in California is also paying out close to $200 million per year in its “highly paid employment program to pay engineers to not produce power” … or words to that effect.
If this was my tax dollars at work so engineers can not work, I’d be pissed. (Of course I am pissed about the nuke scene in Canada … but that’s another story…)
What do I recommend?
- Listen to Arnie’s podcast. This one & others. (They are less than half an hour long, btw.) Become informed. Get a little mad. Take action. Raise your voice! You’ll be in fine company if you do!! (This blog posting provides a list of active groups you can check into.)
- Donate some money to Fairewinds so Arnie et. al can continue to provide us with the essential information he is so generously providing us with. Every donation counts!
- Donate some money to the Red Cross!! Hurricane Sandy did an awful lot of damage. Those of us who were not directly affected (or even those less so) need to pitch in. Donating will make you feel good, I absolutely promise you .
As a well-known saying goes, Action is the best possible antidote to despair. I say it again & again, because it happens to be true!!
p.s. a day or so later: this posting is a bit lame, for which I apologize. I had only sporadic Internet access when I posted it & my life is kinda crazy lately (slight understatement). I really want you all to listen to the podcast, OK?? Arnie says important stuff. One seriously important thing he says is this: the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (called the Nuclear Rubberstamp Commission by many, kind of like the way I call the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission first of all an oxymoron - there is no such thing as "nuclear safety," folks!! - so I call it the Canadian Nuclear DANGER Commission. Anyway, what Arnie sez is this: the NRC has no intention of increasing safety post-Fukushima. It would cost the nuclear industry too much $$$. The NRC (& the CNSC in Canada) are far too concerned with making $$$ for the nuke industry to tighten up safety standards. What they really care about is profit for the nuke boyz. They don't really care about you & me. Arnie is an ex-nuke industry boy (as it were) himself. So he really knows what he's talking about....... We all need to get fussed up about this......OK???
p.p.s. also of some relevance to us here in Canada as our own so-called "nuclear regulator" prepares to license Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to build 4 new reactors & refurbish the existing ones is the lack of sufficient emergency planning down at Oyster Creek in New Jersey. Ontarians, take note! (see CELA report on this.)
‘Quote of the day’ with this post: “So, organize. Teach the young. Teach the not so young. Recognize that this is a political problem & that problem lies in the law of the United States. It’s time to end the nuclear age, not to continue and expand it. I’m counting on all of you. ” – Dr. Judith Johnsrud, radiation & nuclear power specialist & long-time American activist, from a speech [many, many other great nuke-related quotes here]