Tag Archives: Massachusetts

Radioactive tritium leak at Indian Point nuke stopped, but still in groundwater

Papers forged, fire and oil leak into the Hudson River, fracked methane pipeline planned next door, oh, yet built on a fault line, and people are surprised there’s radioactive tritium leaking from Entergy’s Indian Point nuclear plant? Just like at Plant Farley on the Chattahoochee River, Plant Hatch on the Altamaha River and Plant Vogtle on the Savannah River? How about surprised if there are any nukes that don’t leak tritium?

AP, 6 February 2016, Radioactive Material Found in Groundwater Below Nuke Plant, Continue reading

Ashby, Mass. grilled pipeline company

A tiny town of about 3,000 people grilled pipeline reps for two hours. Why didn’t the pipeline companies fix the leaky pipelines they had before building new ones, their Board of Selectment wanted to know among many other good questions. Representatives from Kinder Morgan and its subsidiary Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company (TGP) said stuff happens and those were bigger issues and basically don’t worry your pretty little heads. The locals weren’t buying it. Continue reading

Solar panels in Stow, Massachusetts

In snowy Massachusetts you can finance a solar system with little money down and complete payoff in 11 years. Get the Georgia legislature to pass HB 874 and we’ll be able to do this in sunny Georgia, too.

Used with permission from howeowner Carl Howe. -jsq

People seem interested so I’ll share details of our solar installation in Stow, MA.

Full disclosure: I know the president of our solar installation firm socially (he’s a friend of a friend of ours), and like many solar installers, they do pay referral fees if others sign up based on a recommendation from an existing customer. Should anyone decide to do business with our installer, New England Clean Energy, please mention my name.

We used New England Clean Energy from Hudson MA. I believe that they are one of, if not the, highest quality installer in our area. They have more than 300+ installations in MA and NH. Of course, SolarCity and others are also in the region, Continue reading

Pilgrim and Salem nukes scrammed down

Two nukes down Friday: “lowering reactor water level was due to the trip of all three Feedwater Pumps” (Pilgrim 1 in Massachusetts) and “unidentified leakage” (Salem 1 in New Jersey). That’s the fifth downtime for Entergy’s Pilgrim 1 this year: cold, heat, leak, and now feedwater pumps. Remind me about the reliability and safety of big baseload nuclear?

Pilgrim 1 and Salem 1 down 23 August 2013

Event Number: 49296 Facility: PILGRIM,


“On Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 0755 hours [EDT], with the reactor critical at approximately 98% core thermal power, and the mode switch in RUN, a manual reactor scram was inserted due to lowering reactor water level. The cause of the lowering reactor water level was due to the trip of all three Feedwater Pumps. The cause of the Feedwater Pump trip event is currently under investigation.

“Following the reactor scram, Continue reading

Privatize TVA? Southern Company would like that

The hydropower assets of the Tennessee Valley Authority would give Southern Company a way to avoid doing distributed solar for a while. Will SO CEO Tom Fanning and Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers bit the bullet and go straight for distributed solar instead of helping Duke privatize TVA for a short-term stopgap that would set both of them farther behind the disruptive solar curve?

SolarCity and Southern Company stock
Blue line: SCTY; red line: SO, chart by Google Finance.
May 16th: Goldman Sachs invested $500 million in SCTY.
May 22nd: SO stockholder meeting.
May 24th: S&P downgrades SO.

Wes Patoka wrote for Motley Fool 24 May 2013, Who Benefits the Most if the TVA Is Privatized,

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SolarCity disrupting utilities in Massachusetts; how about Georgia?

Why is great big Southern Company afraid of tiny SolarCity? Look at these 2.6KW of solar panels on a house in Bedford, Massachusetts. Think about much more sun in Georgia, financed by Google and Goldman Sachs, turning into votes for solar power. Big coal and nuclear boondoggles already don’t look so attractive anymore to investors.

By Giles Parkinson wrote for Reneweconomy on 9 October 2012, SolarCity’s big challenge: Prove that energy bills can fall,

A 2.6kW SolarCity installation in Bedford, Massachusetts SolarCity sees the traditional utilities as their biggest competition. “We compete with them on price, predictability of price and the ease by which customers can switch to electricity generated by solar systems,” it says.

“We have disrupted the industry status quo by providing renewable energy directly to customers for less than they are currently paying for utility-generated energy. Unlike utilities, we sell energy with a predictable cost structure that does not rely on limited fossil fuels and is insulated from rising retail electricity prices. As retail prices for electricity increase and distributed solar energy costs decline, our market opportunity will grow exponentially.”

Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Anthony Kim said the SolarCity filing could be a “game-changing moment for the solar industry” because it shows “how plummeting component costs benefit a company operating on the downstream side of the solar business.”

That article was posted before SolarCity’s stock went public, and before Goldman Sachs invested half a billion dollars in SolarCity. Six months later, we know Southern Company and Georgia Power are paying attention, because both SO CEO Tom Fanning and Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers said so at the Southern Company stockholder meeting.


Georgia behind Maryland and Massachusetts in solar power

California and Texas ahead of Georgia in solar power, sure, but Maryland and Massachusetts, small and far to the north with less sun? Does that seem right to you?

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Georgia should be number 5. Georgia should be moving up the rankings as fast as any state except maybe Arizona or Colorado, according to an Arizona State University study of two years ago that said Georgia was third among state that would benefit from solar deployment through generating and exporting energy to other states. The U.S. as a whole keeps installing far more solar power each year, but Georgia Power and Southern Company keep holding Georgia back.

It’s great that Valdosta will soon get 2 more megawatts of local solar power. But while we’re waiting for Georgia Power to slowly get around to doling out 277 megawatts over several years, New Jersey has 1,000 megawatts already installed. Georgia is #22, behind #21 Connecticut. Why do we let that continue?


Vermont Yankee may be next nuke to close

UBS predicts Entergy will close its Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant soon: that’s the same Entergythat couldn’t keep the power on during the SuperBowl and that can’t keep Pilgrim 1 nuclear reactor up in Massachusetts during a winter storm (down 3 days now, for the third downtime in a month). A few days later, UBS set Entergy up on a quarterly earnings call to mention that Vermont Yankee had already been taken off the New England energy capacity auction, which would make it easy to replace. San Onofre still down in California, Dominion Power closing Kewaunee in Wisconsin, NRC terminated Calvert Cliffs in Maryland, Duke closing Crystal River in Florida, and maybe Vermont Yankee next? How about we pass HB 267 to stop Georgia Power charging for cost overruns for Vogtle 3 and 4 and see how long before Southern Company stops that project?

Andrew Stein wrote for vtdigger 6 February 2013 (updated 7 Feb), In report, financial firm forecasts that Entergy may close Vermont Yankee,

In an investment research letter, the Swiss financial services company UBS Securities anticipates Entergy Corp. will retire one of its nuclear power plants in 2013, and it cites “Vermont Yankee as the most tenuously positioned plant.”

UBS representatives met with Entergy’s new leadership team on Feb. 1, the same day Leo Denault became CEO and chair of the board for the Louisiana-based company that operates the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

And that’s how a clean-broom new CEO often signals his intentions: by bringing in outside experts to provide him cover for what he already intends to do anyway. And this new-broom CEO is Entergy’s former Chief Financial Officer who as CFO has repeated fiddled with Vermont Yankee to try to make it less unprofitable. What did those experts say?

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Citizens can video on duty police —Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has declined to review a Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision that struck down an Illinois law prohibiting audio recordings without permission, echoing last year’s First Court decision that you can record police on the job. Let’s remember it’s not just police:

“Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting

‘the free discussion of governmental affairs.’

That means all elected or appointed or employed government officials, from County Commissioners and City Councils down through sheriff and police departments to the Animal Shelter. Police are employees, not elected or appointed, so these rulings would appear to apply to other governmental employees.

Radley Balko wrote for Huffpo 27 November 2012, Supreme Court Inaction Boosts Right To Record Police Officers,

The Illinois and Massachusetts laws have been used to arrest people who attempt to record on-duty police officers and other public officials. In one of the more notorious cases, Chicago resident Tiawanda Moore was arrested in 2010 when she attempted to use her cell phone to record officers in a Chicago police station.

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What other states have had charter school referendums?

Thanks to Jim Galloway, we learned that charter school proponents say “No other state has had a positive outcome for a charter-positive ballot initiative.” OK, what other states have had any sort of charter school referendums? Such ballot initiatives have at least been tried in Massachusetts, Michigan, and Washington.

BallotPedia records some state charter school referendums.


In Massachusetts, charter school proponents couldn’t even get enough signatures to put a pro-charter school referendum on the ballot this year.

The measure would have removed limits on number of charter schools, their funding, and enrollment. Other changes would have been made in laws that governed charter schools, including requiring approval of qualified applications for charter schools to be in districts where there was low student performance.


In Michigan, a referendum to ban for-profit charter schools may be on the ballot in November:

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