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The Economist Ignores Reality, Highlights Flawed Renewable Energy Study

A recent article in The Economist covers a study comparing the costs of solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, and natural gas. Alas, the study starts with a fundamental misunderstanding of how our electricity system works, and goes  downhill from there. And The Economist’s attention unfortunately helps to perpetuate those errors. Here are five examples of what went wrong. Read More

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Nuclear Power Regulator Sticks Its Head Further into the Ground

An ostrich is a clichéd symbol of people making bird-brained decisions that ignore reality. But it’s hard to think of something more apt for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) sometimes. Read More

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When Should Nuclear Power Pay for Risk? Is Never Good For You?

In a secret negotiation result reported by Hannah Northey, E&E News, the nuclear industry passed along another risk to the U.S. public. An expected $300 million loan fee for building the new Vogtle nuclear plant, was negotiated down to zero by the plant owners. This was one of two nuclear power issues that came out of the shadows of secrecy and unaccounted costs this week. Read More

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Power Outages, Extreme Weather, and Climate Change: How Smart Energy Choices Will Help Keep the Lights On

Our nation’s aging electricity system is increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather events — including flooding, extreme heat, drought, and wildfires — which often cause power outages. Today UCS released a new report called Power Failure, which describes how extreme weather events are likely to increase in the future as global temperatures continue to rise, with major consequences for the electricity sector. Read More

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New Book “Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster” Released

This week we officially released our book Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster, published by New Press and co-authored by UCS nuclear experts Dave Lochbaum and Ed Lyman, and journalist Susan Q. Stranahan. Susan for many years was a journalist with the Philadelphia Inquirer, and was the lead reporter of the Inquirer’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident. Read More

Categories: Nuclear Power  

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Climate Change and Nuclear Power

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) recently received by email an open letter by four nuclear scientists and engineers—Andrew C. Kadak, Richard A. Meserve, Neil E. Todreas, and Richard Wilson—titled “Nuclear Power’s Role in Responding to Climate Change.” Below we look at some of their arguments. Read More

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Part-Time Activism for the Busy Expert: A Molecular Biologist’s Tale

Guest Bogger

Christopher Boniface, Molecular Biologist
Department of Biomedical Engineering, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute

Portland, Oregon

I remember the first really large protest I ever attended. I was 21 and it was on the eve of the invasion of Iraq.  The atmosphere was electric—all over the U.S. and around the world, people were out in the streets in massive numbers telling their leaders, “No War!” The eventual invasion and occupation of Iraq was a wake-up call to me about the decision-making abilities of our leaders. It moved me to action on other issues that I care about—especially the environment.  Read More

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Wind in the Great Plains – and the Flood that Shut Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant

This week the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the restarting the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station, which has not run since the Missouri River flooded in June 2011. That flood reminded the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of the unmet safety needs of that plant, and helped the plant owner see the advantages of wind power. Read More

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Senate Nuclear Waste Bill: No Near-Term Benefit for Public Safety

Third of 3 posts on spent fuel safety

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee is set to consider a waste management bill for nuclear power reactors—the Nuclear Waste Administration Act—in mid-December. The authors argue that their bill is urgently needed to protect the public since nuclear waste currently stored at reactor sites poses a safety risk that must be reduced now.

However, in its current form the legislation does not address the near-term risks of nuclear waste storage at reactor sites. It would therefore do nothing to increase public safety for the foreseeable future. Read More

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Nuclear Fuel and the Titanic Principle

This is the second of 3 posts on spent fuel safety

In my previous post I talked about how spent fuel is piling up in cooling pools at reactors across the country. Since 100 million Americans—a third of the U.S. population—live within 50 miles of a spent fuel pool, reducing the risks to those people should be a high priority. Read More

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