Tag Archives: Vermont Yankee

Nuclear power like burning $20 bills to generate electricity –Bill McKibben

Nukes cost too much and are too centralized; sun and wind are the power we need and can afford.

Andrew Sullivan on the Dish 8 December 2012, Ask McKibben Anything: What About Nuclear Energy?

In October, Bill spoke to Marlene Spoerri of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs about his views on nuclear power:

I don’t foresee, especially post-Fukushima, a kind of political system in most of the world that would let it happen. Even before Fukushima, it wasn’t happening. The reason basically had to do with cost. Environmentalists helped shut down nuclear power, but really it was Wall Street that pulled the plug on it. It’s too expensive. It’s like burning $20 bills to generate electricity. It requires, if you’re going to do it, massive government subsidy. If you’re going to apply that subsidy, you’re better off doing it with other things that will generate more kilowatt hours per buck.

Now, that said, we should keep trying to figure out if there are some ways to do it that are more acceptable than the ones we’ve got now. You read about developments on the fringes, Thorium reactors and so on and so forth. But my guess is that in the timeframe we’ve got this is not going to be the place we go.

Kevin J. Kelley wrote for Seven Days 10 August 2011, Author-Activist Bill McKibben Gets “Disobedient” About Climate Change, Continue reading

Entergy shutting down Vermont Yankee nuke: tenth down or never to be built in past year

As Entergy has been preparing to do for some time, it’s down forever for Vermont Yankee. That’s at least ten (10) down forever (Vermont Yankee, Kewaunee, Crystal River 3, San Onofre 2 and 3) or never to be built (Calvert Cliffs 3, South Texas Nuclear Project 3 and 4, Bellefonte, and Levy County) in the past year. How many will it take before Southern Company (or more likely GA PSC or even the Georgia legislature) realizes new nukes make no financial sense and terminates the Plant Vogtle 3 and 4 boondoggle on the Savannah River?

Entergy blamed Vermont Yankee on shale gas, but you ain’t seen nothing yet, as Moore’s Law for solar really kicks in. Next one to go: I say Entergy’s often-down Pilgrim 1 in Massachusetts; everything Entergy said about Vermont Yankee applies in spades to Pilgrim 1. Or maybe ten-times-down-this-year Palisades. Or bouncy man-killer Arkansas Nuclear One. So many to choose from!

Entergy PR on Market Watch today, Entergy to Close, Decommission Vermont Yankee –Decision driven by sustained low power prices, high cost structure and wholesale electricity market design flaws for Vermont Yankee plant –Focus to remain on safety during remaining operation and after shutdown,

NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Entergy Corporation ETR -0.21% today said it plans to close and decommission its Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station in Vernon, Vt. The station is expected to cease power production after its current fuel cycle and move to safe shutdown in the fourth quarter of 2014. The station will remain under the oversight of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission throughout the decommissioning process.

“This was an agonizing decision and Continue reading

Down and Low NRC Reactor Status 6 March 2013

104 100% total
4 3% newdown
17 16% newlow
6 5% newtop
16 15% down
32 30% low
72 69% top
Since the last time I reported on NRC nuclear reactor statuses, 23 February 2013, six are back up, four are newly down (total of sixteen down), seventeen are newly running low (thirty two low). That’s 30% below 100% power, and only 69% (72 out of 104) running at full power. And that’s not counting Vogtle 3 and 4, which Georgia Power customers are paying for while never getting any power from them. This still doesn’t look like the 24/7 nuclear power we were promised, and it’s not too cheap to meter, either. Meanwhile, solar is already at grid parity without subsidies in India and Italy and will be soon in the rest of the world.

Newly down since 23 Feb 2013 on 6 March 2013

Newly down since 23 Feb 2013 on 6 March 2013
Newly down since 23 Feb 2013 on 6 March 2013: FitzPatrick, Indian Point 3, Brunswick 2, Monticello.

Newly low since 23 Feb 2013 on 6 March 2013

Continue reading

Low and Down Recent NRC Reactor Status

Twenty seven of 104 NRC status reactors are below 100%, and 15 are at zero power. What happened to supposedly 24/7 nuclear power?

Low Recent NRC Reactor Status

Fifteen are at zero power: Calvert Cliffs 2, Crystal River 3, Diablo Canyon 2, Fort Calhoun, Hatch 1, Hatch 2, La Salle 2, McGuire 1, River Bend 1, San Onofre 2, San Onofre 3, South Texas 2, Turkey Point 3, Turkey Point 4, and Wolf Creek 1. (Seventeen if you count never-started Vogtle 3 and Vogtle 4.)

Sure some of these are down for good (Crystal River 3) and others have been down for a year or more (San Onofre 2 and 3). But

Continue reading

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?

Continue reading

Vermont protests against wind vs. nuclear

Compare 6 arrested of about 25 demonstrators against Green Mountain Power’s wind energy project on Lowell Mountain vs. 130 arrested of a thousand protesting in March against the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

Also notice what they were protesting. The location on Lowell Mountain, as damaging the mountain top and being unsightly, plus:

“I feel like they [GMP] only went through the public process to a point, and the process is flawed,” said Young, a self-employed logger and farmer from Westfield. “Community members don’t have the resources to have a strong voice. It’s complex, expensive, and lawyers don’t want to do it.”

At Vermont Yankee, the protests were against radioactive leaks, nuclear waste, and this:

Yankee’s initial 40-year license expired Wednesday. The plant is still running, under a 20-year extension from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission—despite a vote by the state senate not to allow the plant to continue operating in Vermont.

A common theme is lack of democratic oversight, although even that seems greater in degree for Vermont Yankee. We are familiar with that issue in Georgia, where there’s an election going on for Public Service Commissioners and legislators.

Another common theme is that it’s complex and expensive, which is indeed an issue for big wind projects. Power companies like them as big as they can build them because that fits their corporate bureaucracy. They can instead be smaller and distributed. Nuclear power plants, on the other hand, are always big, bureaucratic, and expensive.

While I thoroughly sympathize with the Lowell Mountain protesters about the mountain top issues, I don’t see anything about them protesting the risk of a wind spill. Risks of nuclear radioactive contamination are very real, and are among the Vermont Yankee protesters’ main issues. Wind off the coast of Georgia would not have that problem.