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Tagged : nuclear-power


Germany goes full speed ahead with alternative energy

June 14th, 2013

Germany is taking a big leap toward clean energy and away from the pollution created by fossil fuels. More than the U.S., or any nation, the country has committed to wind and solar power.


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Fukushima: Lessons learned for the U.S.

March 30th, 2011

From Green Right Now Reports

Testifying before the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, Union of Concerned Scientists nuclear safety expert David Lochbaum, dissected how rippling power outages forced the Fukushima nuclear power plant into a situation where workers couldn’t contain overheating radioactive fuel and spent fuel.

Lochbaum, director of the the Nuclear Safety Project for the UCS, outlined how the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission could require better backup and fuel storage procedures at U.S. nuclear facilities to help prevent a breakdown similar to that still unfolding at Fukushima.


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Does nuclear energy make sense?

March 21st, 2011

Andrew Winston

(This post by Andrew Winston first appeared at Harvard Business Online.)

It’s too soon to say anything definitive about what’s going on in Japan. Who really knows what the outcome might be from the frightening breakdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant (the radioactive releases could go on for months)? But the speculation about what this means for a much-touted nuclear “renaissance” in the U.S. began in earnest last week. As the New York Times reported, “U.S. Nuclear Industry Faces New Uncertainty.”


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Sunday update: Union of Concerned Scientists on nuclear crisis in Japan

March 14th, 2011

(The following is an excerpt of a report by Ed Lyman posted Sunday evening EDT.)

The nuclear crisis in Japan took a turn for the worse as serious problems developed at a second reactor at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear facility. Earlier concerns were focused on reactor Unit 1, but now the situation at Unit 3 is becoming serious.

Officials from Tokyo Electric reported that after multiple cooling system failures, the water level in the Unit 3 reactor vessel dropped 3 meters (nearly 10 feet), uncovering approximately 90 percent of each of the fuel rods in the core. Authorities were able to inject cooling water with a fire pump after reducing the containment pressure by a controlled venting of radioactive gas. As with Unit 1, they began pumping seawater into Unit 3. Seawater is highly corrosive and probably precludes any future use of the reactor, even if a crisis is averted.


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A planet fueled entirely by renewable energy by 2050? Report says it’s possible

February 4th, 2011

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and sustainable energy consultancy Ecofys released a report Thursday that should gladden green hearts across the globe. It shows that the world could be fueled by clean renewable power by 2050. It’s possible, according to the analysis by The Netherlands-based Ecofys, and while this goal confronts huge technological challenges, it also presents economic opportunities.

One striking thing about the Ecofys analysis, which was two years in the making, is that it puts the lie to the claim of fossil fuel companies that the world must, by necessity, depend upon oil and coal for the rest of this century because energy demand is growing. Even as fossil fuels are depleted they will still be much in demand to round out our ever-growing power needs, this argument goes.


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Obama’s green State of the Union address

January 26th, 2011

Climate action is so far off the agenda in Washington it may as well be floating on an island of melting sea ice. With dozens of lawmakers expressing doubts about whether climate change is real or is some zany idea cooked up by 10,000 scientists, issues like cap-and-trade have been iced. Even environmentalists now speak about amorphous “pollution” instead of those off-putting greenhouse gases.

Thankfully, though, clean energy, electric cars and high-speed rail – the nuts-and-bolts improvements that could help America build muscle in manufacturing and technology sectors, salvage its remaining natural spaces and reduce “pollution” (wink, wink) — remain firmly on the table.

At least that’s where the president has placed them.

In what may have been his most pointedly green national speech, President Barak Obama called out ambitious, explicit green energy goals in last night’s State of the Union Address. Obama wants a transformed America to be:

  • The first nation to put 1 million electric cars on the ground


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New analysis triples plutonium waste figures

July 13th, 2010

Dealing with nuclear waste may be even more of a challenge than previously believed. According to a former Energy Department official, the amount of plutonium buried at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State is nearly three times what the federal government previously acknowledged.

Robert Alvarez reanalyzed studies conducted by the Energy Department over the last 15 years for Hanford, the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, and the Savannah River Site near Aiken, S.C., among others. Plutonium waste is much more prevalent around nuclear weapons sites nationwide than the Energy Department’s official accounting indicates, he concludes, but the problem is most severe at Hanford, a 560-square-mile tract in south-central Washington that was taken over by the federal government as part of the Manhattan Project.


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Public Citizen says American Power Act ‘empowers corporate polluters’

May 13th, 2010

From Green Right Now Reports

Public Citizen has had a few choice words to describe the Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act unveiled Wednesday.

Energy program coordinator Tyson Slocum called the draft legislation a “nuclear energy-promoting, oil drilling-championing, coal mining-boosting gift to polluters bill.”

Slocum’s blog, posted yesterday is based on a broad outline released just in advance of the final draft of American Power Act. He itemizes what Public Citizen, a champion of citizen’s rights and an advocate for sustainable energy, sees as the APA’s numerous flaws:

Excessive nuclear power incentives that burden taxpayers


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RFK Jr. explains why nuclear power isn’t green and coal isn’t cheap

February 25th, 2010

By Harriet Blake
Green Right Now

As passionate as his father was about civil rights, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is equally so about the environment.

In a lecture in Fort Worth on Wednesday, the 56-year-old son of the late Senator, advocated for moving the nation to green energy, which he doesn’t see as encompassing nuclear power.

Coal is not the only power-producing industry that needs scrubbing, said the longtime environmentalist, nuclear energy is simply not safe. “Nuclear energy is the most catastrophic form of energy. No bank will finance it…[and] no insurance company will insure it,” he said.

“It’s not just a bunch of hippies saying it’s unsafe. There are spills all the time into the Hudson,” says Kennedy, who serves as chief prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper, whose mission is the restoration of that waterway. Three Mile Island was not the last accident despite what nuclear advocates say.

He made it clear that lobbyists for fossil fuel and polluting energy industries are powerful and dangerous. The nuclear industry, for example, managed to find a way to get a Congressional exemption that leaves them free from damage. “All homeowners’ policies in the U.S. exclude radiation from the nuclear industry,” he said.

Kennedy believes greed has taken over the utility companies as well. “Utility companies make money by selling more energy – even if the energy is green. We need to change the rules,” he says. “Don’t reward bad behavior.”


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Potential Quake Near New York Nuclear Plant Poses Risks

August 30th, 2008

By Harriet Blake

Nuclear power may be a viable solution to our energy needs, but many questions surround its safety.
In New York, especially after the 1979 Three Mile Island accident in nearby Pennsylvania, future plans for the nuclear power plant in Indian Point have come under fire. Until recently the debate has been a financial one between the plant’s owner and the state of New York. But last week, a new report in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America brought up the danger of potential earthquakes beneath the plant, that could have grave consequences.


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