Nuclear Power...(Cost accounting/End VT Yankee/GE3 Flaws)

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mainebob's picture
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Nuclear Power...(Cost accounting/End VT Yankee/GE3 Flaws)

Three great clips about Nuclear Power that will help with
understanding on this week's "Living on Earth" radio

True Cost Accounting for Nuclear Power
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Though many say that nuclear power is necessary to help limit global warming, Amory Lovins, president of Rocky Mountain Institute, says that nuclear power is more expensive than alternative energy resources. Host Bruce Gellerman talks with Lovins about the true costs of nuclear power. (6:10)

An End to Nuclear Power in Vermont? / Jeff Young
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Japan’s nuclear crisis has renewed concerns about the aging fleet of reactors here in the U.S. A showdown is brewing in Vermont, where a 39-year old nuclear plant received federal approval to run for 20 more years, but state lawmakers voted to shut it down. Living on Earth’s Jeff Young reports Vermont could become a model for other states that want a voice on the fate of aging nuclear reactors. (8:00)

Experts Warned of Reactor Flaws Decades Ago
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Dale Bridenbaugh was known as one of the “GE Three,” a group of top engineers at General Electric that pointed out safety flaws in the Mark I reactor- the same model being used at the Fukushima site. He tells host Bruce Gellerman that more could have been done to prevent the crisis in Japan. (2:25)


Transcripts also on site...

Bob O


mainebob's picture
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Japan: "Nuclear Boy" PR for Nuclear Energy...

Here's one more clip on nuclear  from the same LOE program:

(Snubbed) Nuclear Boy

Monsters, Manipulation, and the Message from Nuclear Films
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Since the 1950s, films and videos have been produced to inform the public about nuclear energy. John Carroll is a professor of Mass Communication at Boston University. He tells host Bruce Gellerman that the latest video from Japan, Nuclear Boy, is another example of promoting the benefits of nuclear energy and downplaying the negatives. (8:15)

"GELLERMAN: Nuclear Boy stars in an animated video that’s gone viral. He’s a little boy with a stomachache, he represents a sick nuclear power plant.


GELLERMAN: When nuclear boy passes gas, he’s emitting radiation. And doctors worry that he might poop, which would be a melt down.


Woodman's picture
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Not trying to pick on you

Not trying to pick on you Mainebob, but I have become very skeptical of programs like that recent one by LOE after spending a couple years at and learning to question everything I hear.  LOE did not present any independent investigations to get the real story, which at least one side seem to twisting around.  It seems mostly just fluff for entertainment.  For example:   

This is what the anti-Vermont Yankee former employee said:

GUNDERSEN: Over last six years or so, Vermont Yankee had a major fire, and then, two years later, they had the cooling tower collapse. And then, two years after that, they had the tritium leak. So we had three really significant mechanical problems.

This is what the Vermont-Yankee spokesman said, at least with more detail:

YOUNG: Maybe this is a matter of semantics, but there was a collapse of a cooling tower, correct?

SMITH: That’s right and that’s industrial safety, and that happened in 2007. Put it into perspective. You’re talking about a 20- ft section of a 460-foot tower, that’s what collapsed.

YOUNG: There was a transformer fire?

SMITH: In 2004. The transformer was not on fire, it was the bus duct on top of it, but that can happen at any power plant.

YOUNG: Also the manner in which information has come to light has led some people to express to me a lack of confidence that they’re getting open communication. For example, how did the tritium leak, how did that come to light?


SMITH: It came to light because industry, in 2007, undertook a voluntary groundwater protection program and put in monitoring wells. We identified tritium and the same day we told NRC and we told the state of Vermont. So I don’t know what you mean about not being transparent or not being straightforward

So how can a listener make any conclusions from this?

mainebob's picture
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Posts: 97
Why is Vermont Yankee still running?

Hi Woodman...
you make good points about LOE material
not being well researched regarding Vermont Yankee...

This was the first detailed report I heard about Vermont yankee...
And it is of concern that the NRC relicenced the plant
and yet a majority of the Vermont state Senate
"voted overwhelmingly to deny...continued operation"....
There must be more to the story...

I'm concerned not only because I'm 191 miles north east of the plant, because a disaster like
Fukushima could destroy a big part of New England...   BTW, Chris is 18 miles South and
the downstream of the same river that the plant is on.

The "Maine Yankee" nuclear power plant (33 mile south of me) was shut down...."

A lengthy Nuclear Regulatory Commission investigation started in 1995,
following allegations of safety problems at the plant. The NRC staff identified
so many problems that the expense of repairing them became untenable.
In the end Maine Yankee Atomic Power Co. decided "it would be too costly to
correct these deficiences to the extent required by the NRC and decided to shut the plant down".[1]


The Maine Yankee plant used the GE  reactor design... Same as the Vermont reactor...
same as Fukushima Unit 1...[]
...and the Vermont reactor was just re-licensed???   More story please!

-Bob O


mainebob's picture
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Posts: 97
How Credible is Amory Lovins of RMI

The first story that grabbed me on LOE was the interview with Amory Lovins

GELLERMAN: But can renewables, like wind for  
example, produce enough energy, enough density to  
replace nuclear power plants, which are huge and  
hugely powerful. And, plus, the wind doesn’t blow  
on calm days.  

LOVINS: Yeah, well, that’s two  separate points.
The first one - I’m afraid the  industry got it
backwards. Actually, if you  properly do the math
- and count if you count the  whole nuclear fuel
cycle, not just the power  plant, not just the
core of the reactor, but the  occlusion zone, the
uranium mining and so on, it  turns out that wind
power uses hundreds or  thousands of times less
land per kilowatt hour,  then nuclear does. Even
solar photovoltaics are  equal to or might be
better than nuclear in that  respect. As for the
wind not blowing and the sun  not shining all the
time, that’s true. Every kind  of power plant can
fail. They differ, however, how  much fails at
once, how often, how long and for  what reasons
and how predictably. You can predict  pretty well
when wind or solar will not work, but  you cannot
predict when a nuclear plant will fail.  

They break without warning about three to five  
percent of the time - big coal nuclear plants are  
down about ten or twelve percent of the time - and
 for that reason, we’ve designed grids for over a  
century to cope with that intermittence that every
 power plant suffers from. So you don’t depend on  
any single plant, you depend on the whole grid. So
 it turns out, if you diversify renewables by type
 so they’re not all affected by weather the same  
way, you diversify them by location, so they don’t
 all see the same weather at the same time, and
you  integrate them with the resources on the
grid,  both power plants and ways to save or shift
 electric use, then you can have a largely, or  
wholly renewable electric supply system at very  
reasonable cost, with greater reliability and  
resilience than we have right now.  [2]

This is very incouraging and counters what appears to be the popular thought
that we need nuclear and that wind and solar won't be enough.

Do other independent scientists and researchers back Lovin's claims?

Jbarney's picture
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Joined: Nov 25 2010
Posts: 233
Vermont Yankee


I live in Vermont and while I do not claim to be an expert on the topic, I can communicate somethings about the current situation with VT Yankee.

The current situation is that the Governor has been pushing to get the plant to shut is at the end of its shelf life and over recent years there have been a number of minor/explainable problems at the plant.

The perception that the press has given Vermonters, and I would guess this is fairly accurate, is that the owners of Vermont Yankee had been fairly slow or even secretive about any issues there. There is a sense that the company basically hung itself.

As for the political issues involved, I understand it will ultimately end up in the courts. Vermont government has claimed for sometime they have the authority to shut the plant down, I think this was spelled out in the original agreement to build the plant. The plant is challenging this in court.

After what has happened in Japan, I have had a number of conservatives say to me that they "used" to favor keeping VT Yankee open. The state gets about 1/3 of its power from Yankee....but as the situation in Japan continues to worsen I think the arguments for keeping Yankee open continue to weaken.

Hope this helps, and it is only my perspective....


saleena's picture
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Joined: Feb 2 2012
Posts: 1
There is a sentiency that

There is a sentiency that the affiliate fundamentally hung itself. Testking VCP-510 As for the semipolitical issues attached, I understand it testament finally end up in the courts. Vermont regime has claimed for sometime they bang the sanction to unopen the lay drink, I opine this was spelled out in the underivative concord to form the set.Testking 350-001 The lay is provocative this in retinue. After what has happened in Japan,

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