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President Bush Reinforces His Support for Nuclear Energy

Earlier this week, President Bush sat down with two reporters from the Times (U.K.) ahead of the G8 Summit. At one point, the conversation turned to energy policy, global warming and climate change:
I believe that greenhouse gases are creating a problem, a long-term problem that we got to deal with. And step one of dealing with it is to fully understand the nature of the problem so that the solutions that follow make sense.

There's an interesting confluence now between dependency upon fossil fuels from a national economic security perspective, as well as the consequences of burning fossil fuels for greenhouse gases. And that's why it's important for our country to do two things.

One is to diversify away from fossil fuels, which we're trying to do. I think we're spending more money than any collection of nations when it comes to not only research and development of new technologies, but of the science of global warming. You know, laid out an initiative for hydrogen f…

Grassroots Environmentalists Begin to Rebel on Nuclear Opposition

Last week, a coalition of 232 environmental groups released a statement reiterating their opposition to the expansion of the use of nuclear energy. One of the organizations that signed on to the document was the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG), that state's chapter of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, U.S. PIRG.

Reading through their statement, you'd get the impression that just about everybody inside these these organizations was dead set against nuclear energy.

And that impression would be wrong.

Recently, blogger and WISPIRG supporter Phil Nelson received an email from Jennifer Giegerich, WISPIRG's State Director, urging him to join the fight against the incentives for new nuclear build contained in the comprehensive energy bill that just passed the Senate yesterday.

Phil had other ideas. He expressed them in an email he recently set to WISPIRG and published on his blog:
I am a paying member and long time supporter of your organization, however I r…

One of These Things is Not Like the Other...

Can you tell the difference?

This photo is from the pro-nuclear rally in Jackson today:



This one is from the anti-nuclear protest a short time later:



Hint: Count the heads!

Pro-Nukes rally in Jackson, MS

I would like to add a few details to Eric’s post about the events in Mississippi.

First, I would like to congratulate the folks of the local Mississippi section of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) for taking the lead in organizing such a successful event. I would also like to thank the NA-YGN members that have supported the efforts. Members of the chapter in Charlotte, NC even created and sent posters to demonstrate their support!

Today began with a media blitz. Michael Stuart, North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NA-YGN) Public Information chair, and Scott Peterson, Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) Vice-President of Communications, were interviewed on the morning talk show of WAPT, the local ABC affiliate.

At the same time, Norris McDonald, president of the African American Environmentalist Association, and Jim Reinsch, president of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) and president of Bechtel Power Corporation, appeared on a similar talk show on WAPT, the local NBC affiliat…

The ESP Hearing in Grand Gulf, Mississippi

Tonight at City Hall in Port Gibson, Mississippi, the NRC will conduct a public hearing on the draft environmental impact statement concerning Entergy's application for an early site permit (ESP) at the Grand Gulf ESP site.

Starting early this morning, NEI Nuclear Notes contributors Kelly Taylor and Michael Stuart have been on the scene in the state capital of Jackson, talking to the media about the benefits of nuclear energy, and what a new plant could do for the local and regional economy.

And, as Charles Seabrook of the Cox News Service recently reported, the locals are excited at the prospect of the construction of a new plant:The local enthusiasm for a new plant was a major reason for Port Gibson's inclusion last week on NuStart's list of finalists. Later this year, the consortium will choose two sites to apply for licenses from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission at which to build and operate nuclear power plants. Obtaining a license could take years.
In December, the Cla…

The Regulatory Environment in Nuclear Energy

In an analysis of an editorial in Sunday's New York Times, Half Sigma makes a case for nuclear energy:But the NY Times editorial fails the mention the most important thing our government should be doing, which is to allow the use of nuclear power again. I say 'allow'” because our policies make it clear that nuclear power is not favored. After the Shoreham Nuclear Power Station fiasco in which billions of dollars were spent to build a power plant that was then closed and never used, no private company is going to build a nuclear power plant again unless the regulatory environment is changed, and that requires government action.Actually, a lot about the regulatory environment has improved in recent years -- so much so, that the NuStart Energy consortium is committed to testing the new combined construction and operating license (COL) process that could lead to the construction of a new nuclear power plant.

There have been other changes as well, in particular, the rise of safe…

France to Host ITER

From Reuters:
Science's quest to find a cheap and inexhaustible way to meet global energy needs took a major step forward on Tuesday when a 30-nation consortium chose France to host the world's first nuclear fusion reactor.

After months of wrangling, France defeated a bid from Japan and signed a deal to site the 10-billion-euroexperimental reactor in Cadarache, near Marseille.

The project will seek to turn seawater into fuel by mimicking the way the sun produces energy. It would be cleaner than current nuclear reactors, would not rely on enriched uranium fuel or produce plutonium.

But critics argue it could be at least 50 years before a commercially viable reactor is built, if at all.For more details on the project, click here.

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Senate Passes Energy Bill 85-12; Conference With House is Next

That's the news from the Senate floor. We'll post the roll call when it becomes available. Up next is the conference with the House, where the differences between the House and Senate version of the bill will be reconciled. If all goes according to plan, the bill should reach the President's desk before the start of the August recess.

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Blogger Takes on Caldicott

Helen Caldicott is at it again, fortunately this time, we're not the only ones who are noticing. Here's The View from Benambra:
[T]he biggest problem with Caldicott's argument is that she doesn't examine the alternatives. And, even if we accept nuclear power is bad, the alternatives are far worse.

Sure, we have to store nuclear waste for an indefinite period. That's not unique. There is also considerable amounts of other toxic industrial waste that humanity is currently storing indefinitely - in countries with nuclear power programs nuclear waste represents only 1% of the stuff they have to store. And, as for spreading pollutants over its neighbours, I go back to it again; coal kills almost as many Yanks annually as car accidents do. Given the choice between nuclear and coal - and, whether Dr. Caldicott likes it or not, that's what the choice will likely be - I'll take nuclear any day.Technorati tags: , , , ,

The Choice for American Environmentalists

In a post about climate change legislation, John Atkinson lays out the choice environmentalists have to make about nuclear energy:
At the end of the day, this means that many American environmentalists still want to prioritize the proven-but- extremely-small environmental risks associated with nuclear power plants above the theoretical-but- seemingly-likely environmental risks from climate change - orrrr, they are still in denial of the fact that they have to make this choice. I'm guessing that the latter is more the case.Here's one example of what John is talking about.

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Why Oswego is "Anti-Anti-Nuclear"

Over the past few months, we've been following news coming out of Oswego, New York that local residents there are lobbying hard for a new nuclear reactor. Over the weekend, reporter Michael Risint of the Journal News, one of the newspapers that most closely follows news coming out of the Indian Point Energy Center, took a trip to Oswego to see why that was the case:
"You tend to hear 'Indian Point, Indian Point,' " said Jill Lyons, a Constellation spokeswoman, referring to industry chatter about nuclear plant opposition. "But the community (here) tends to be anti-anti-nuclear."Further . . .
But for many in and around Oswego, nuclear energy means a paycheck. Colleen Caramella has worked at FitzPatrick for 18 years and said the plant gives her, her husband, Joe, (a five-year employee) and their three sons a stable life. Amy Skinner's husband is an operator at Constellation.

"I don't think there's any downside (to a fourth reactor)," Sk…

India Nuclear Energy Update

It looks like cooperation in the civilian nuclear energy sector will be on the table when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits Washington next month:
Assessing the weekend talks with the visiting US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns, officials here described the talks on nuclear cooperation as “work in progress”.

“The declaratory phase on the intent to cooperate on nuclear energy is over,” the officials said. But they added that negotiations on the specifics might go right down to the wire.

Singh and Bush are due to meet in Washington on July 18.

Both sides are aware that concrete cooperation in the nuclear energy area is necessary to demonstrate the seriousness of the plans to transform Indo-US relations.Technorati tags: , , , , ,

Roundup on President Bush's Visit to Calvert Cliffs

Good morning to all of the readers of NEI's Nuclear Energy Overview, our member-only newsletter. The following summary is especially for those of you who have come here looking for a summary of President Bush's historic visit to Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, as well as a roundup of reactions from around the Web to the President's speech on expanding the use of nuclear energy. To read our coverage from the June 22 visit, click here. For our followup post on reaction to what the President had to say, click here.

On Environmentalists and Nuclear Energy

Yesterday on NPR's program, Day by Day, correspondent Mike Pesca filed a report that the broadcaster slugged, "Environmentalists Reconsider Nuclear Energy." But after listening to the report, I'd have to say that it left the impression that serious environmentalists weren't really reconsidering their position at all.

Instead of talking to, or mentioning figures like Patrick Moore, James Lovelock and Stewart Brand, Pesca only did interviews with Navin Nyack of U.S. PIRG and Fred Krupp of Environmental Defense. Nyack, as you would have to expect, was hostile, while Krupp's support seemed lukewarm at best. l

At one point in the piece, Nyack began to mention all of the environmental groups that have taken a public stance against nuclear energy. But as we saw last week with the press announcement concerning a coalition of groups repeating their opposition to nuclear energy, those numbers seem to have been padded. And I'll reiterate a point I've made be…

Futurepundit on Wind Energy

Over at Futurepundit earlier this week, Randall Parker engaged in a detailed discussion of wind energy and its drawbacks:I like scenic vistas. I don't understand why environmental groups are willing to support wind power. Would they rather ruin scenic vistas than build nuclear power plants? I guess so. They even want to use taxpayers money and higher electric prices to subsidize the ruin of scenery. How about you? do you mind seeing wind towers 20 miles off on mountain tops or coast lines? I can see putting them 30 miles offshore beyond view of most people.As we mentioned on Wednesday, nuclear has a much smaller footprint than wind, due in part to its tremendous advantage in operational efficiency.

Now does that mean we should stop investing in wind power? No, not at all. Wind is a promising technology that someday may provide more electrical energy than the small fraction that it does today. But when it comes to meeting near-term demand for electricity in the next 25 years, nuc…

More Bloggers For Nuclear Energy

Some talk has been generated around the Blogosphere about President Bush's visit to the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, and the renewal of his call for America to make expanded use of nuclear energy.

Reality Hammer: "It's about time . . . You cannot wait until the price of oil reaches $100 a barrel!"

Jon Whitelaw: "Welcome to our future, it looks bright indeed, and Bush has made a step in the right direction with this news."

Rich Tehrani: " Nuclear is an option that if deployed securely, can work well to help supply part of the world's energy needs."

More later.

UPDATE: Rhyme of the Day has some interesting thoughts: This message is brought to you by nuclear power. Well, 70% of it, anyway.

That's the percentage of Chicago electricity that comes from nukes, and they're talking about building a new one! I'm rather relieved see that nuclear energy is somehow becoming politically acceptable again.
ANOTHER UPDATE: There's plenty of …

President Bush at Calvert Cliffs

The following is an excerpt from the speech President Bush delivered today at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Lusby, MD:
The energy bill will also help us expand our use of the one energy source that is completely domestic, plentiful in quantity, environmentally friendly, and able to generate massive amounts of electricity, and that's nuclear power. (Applause.)

Today, there are 103 nuclear plants in America. They produce about 20 percent of the nation's electricity without producing a single pound of air pollution or greenhouse gases. I think you told me that 20 percent of all Maryland's electricity is produced here at this plant. Without these nuclear plants, America would released nearly 700 million metric tons more carbon dioxide into the air each year. That's about the same amount of carbon dioxide that now comes from all our cars and trucks.

Across this state, Maryland has looked to Calvert Cliffs to keep their lights on and to keep their land, air and wat…

Liveblogging: NEI's John Kane on C-Span's Washington Journal

John Kane, NEI's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, is appearing on C-Span's Washington Journal this morning at 9:10 a.m. U.S. EDT. He'll be talking about the Energy Bill. Joining him on the program will be Navin Nayak of U.S. PIRG. I'll be following the interview here in the office, live, and be offering running commentary and supporting documents.

To watch, click here. To listen via C-Span Radio, click here. Be sure to hit refresh in your browser periodically, so you get to see all the latest information that I'll be posting.

UPDATE: Moderator mentions the role of U.S. Senator Pete Domenici in the energy bill. For more information on his book on nuclear energy, click here.

Nayak is brining up the issue of waste -- and for the industry the answer is Yucca Mountain. As to cost, we handled the issue of the cost of new nuclear build a few weeks ago, here. And besides, if nobody wants to invest in nuclear energy, then why is Warren Buffet thinking ab…

Buffet Keeping "Open Mind" About Investing in Nuclear Energy

Warren Buffet is taking a hard look at the electricity business, including nuclear energy. From a report in this morning's Wall Street Journal (subscription required):
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is willing to invest more money in the U.S. energy sector than the $10 billion to $15 billion he previously discussed and said he sees more opportunities in the utilities industry, including nuclear power.

Mr. Buffett -- whose Berkshire vehicle already plans to buy U.S. utility PacifiCorp from Britain's Scottish Power PLC for $5.1 billion -- also said he would invest in power-transmission lines, broaden energy markets and undertake other efforts to improve electricity reliability after the deal closes. Pledging such moves, which would boost the potential value of his power holdings, also could help him win support from Western state officials who must approve the deal.Further . . .In the interview, Mr. Buffett said he is keeping an "open mi…

NEI Executive to Appear on C-Span's Washington Journal

John Kane, NEI's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, will be appearing on C-Span's Washington Journal program tomorrow morning at 9:10 a.m. U.S. EDT. He'll be talking about the Energy Bill. Joining him on the program will be Navin Nayak of U.S. PIRG.

UPDATE: Be sure to stop by on Wednesday morning, as we'll be liveblogging the show, providing running commentary and supporting documentation.

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Stat Pack: Global Nuclear Build and Electrical Generation

Currently, there are 440 operating nuclear power plants in 30 countries, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The United States makes up almost a quarter of the number of plants existing in the world today (103).

24 reactors are under construction with 8 being built in India, 4 in Russia, 3 in Japan, 2 in China, 2 in Ukraine, 2 in Taiwan and one each in Argentina, Iran and Romania. The World Nuclear Association reports that 45 reactors are currently in the planning stages, with the majority of these in Japan, South Korea and China.

In 2004, nuclear supplied France with 78% of their electricity generation. Lithuania came in 2nd with 72%, Slovakia and Belgium with 55%, Sweden with 52% and Ukraine with 51%. The US came in 18th place with 20% of its electricity coming from nuclear. Despite these figures, nuclear generation worldwide accounted for only 17% of total electricity production in 2002.

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Dutch Party Drops Opposition to Borssele Nuclear Plant

Back in February, we wrote about how anti-nuclear activists in Holland were pushing to get the Borssele nuclear power plant to close by 2013. Today, the news out of Holland is that the smallest of the three parties in that nation's coalition government, D66, has dropped its opposition to Borssele in exchange for an agreement with the other coalition partners to increase government investment in renewable sources of energy.

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Australia Nuclear Update

Global mining concern BHP Billiton announced on Friday that it had completed purchase of more than 90 percent of the outstanding shares of WMC Resources -- an event that triggers an option for BHP to purchase all of the remaining shares and take control of the company. As we've noted before, WMC is the owner of Australia's Olympic Dam mine, home of one of the largest reserves of uranium in the world.

Last week, The Age (Melbourne) opined on the resurgence of the nuclear energy issue in Australia. Meanwhile, in Newcastle City, local residents pledged to turn off their electricity for one hour in a protest against coal-fired power:
Environmentalists say coal-fired power plants, a major source of greenhouse gases in Australia, are one of the biggest contributors towards climate change.

If 300 consumers switch off power for just an hour, green groups calculate they will reduce the output of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by around 600 cubic kilograms.

Today's protest follo…

Conspicuous By Their Absence

A coalition of "nearly 300" activist groups have signed a document reiterating their opposition to the expansion of nuclear energy. But when you take a closer look, there's really less, and more, than meets the eye.

"Nearly 300" really means 274 once you see the list. Do a little more digging, and you'll find that many of the organizations that are local chapters of national organizations that also signed the document -- and I call double counting. Subtract those from the list, and the total is really 232.

And among those 232, you'll find many of the usual suspects: Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Nuclear Information Research Center, Nuclear Policy Research Institute, Public Citizen and U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

But instead of thinking of those organizations, I'd rather focus on the environmental groups who aren't on the list. The absence of those names ought to tell you all you need to know about this effort, and the way public debat…

Will Nuclear Energy Help Fill the Gap in Michigan?

In today's Detroit News, the paper reviews the outlook for the electricity market in Michigan -- and the future is looking pretty murky due to regulatory uncertainty. The newspaper talked to DTE Energy's Tony Earley, who also serves as Chairman of NEI:"Unless there is a stable regulatory environment, nobody -- no marketer, no independent power producer, no regulated utility -- will build another base load plant in Michigan," said DTE Energy Chief Anthony Earley Jr. "Right now there is enough generation to supply us, but two or three years down the road you're going to start having some real reliability problems."

Meanwhile, demand for electricity is growing 1.5-3 percent a year.Last November, NEI's former President and CEO, Joe Colvin, addressed just this subject in a speech at NARUC 2004.

Meanwhile, back in Michigan, DTE is considering something that would have sounded impossible a few years ago -- building a new nuclear power plant to meet rising el…

New Poll Finds Strong Support for Nuclear Energy

From the NEI press office:
A majority of Americans believe nuclear energy will play an important role in meeting the country's electricity needs, and they support policies being considered as part of national energy policy legislation for building new nuclear plants, according to a nationwide survey.

Of the 1,000 adults surveyed by Bisconti Research Inc./NOP World(1):

1. 83 percent said nuclear energy will be "important" in meeting America's electricity needs in the years ahead. Half of those surveyed characterized it as "very important."

2. 80 percent of the respondents said the U.S. Department of Energy and electric utilities should work together to develop new state-of-the-art nuclear power plants to meet growing electricity demand. "Strong" agreement has increased by 18 percentage points over the past year, to 55 percent.

3. 64 percent support providing financial incentives for these advanced design nuclear power plants. This assistance could inclu…

President Bush to Give Speech at Calvert Cliffs

Late on Friday, Constellation Energy announced that President Bush will be delivering a speech on energy policy at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant this Wednesday.

Just another photo op, you say? Well, not really, as this visit marks the first time an American president has visited a nuclear power plant since President Carter's visit to Three Mile Island in 1979.

Times sure have changed, haven't they?

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Time Nuclear Security Roundup

Good morning to all of the readers of NEI's Nuclear Energy Overview, our member-only newsletter. The following summary is especially for those of you who have come here looking for an update on last week's actions in and around the Time feature story on security at nuclear power plants that ran in last Monday's issue of the magazine (subscription required).

Staffers at NEI were first alerted to the coming story a few days before it was published, and we pre-empted its publication with a summary of our own that ran on Saturday, June 11 supplemented by a backgrounder on the issue over at NEI.org:When it comes to plant safety and security, there is no way to guarantee that there will never be a terrorist attack. But you can prepare for them by making contingencies for an emergency before it happens, thereby lowering risks for the plant, plant personnel and the public.The following day, just after Midnight, Timeposted the story, and NEI responded on Tuesday with a detailed rebu…

U.K. Nuclear Update

Patience Wheatcroft of the Times of London wants to know why MP and potential future U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown is so silent on the subject of nuclear energy:
WHY is Gordon Brown so silent on the subject of nuclear power? Recently he gave a speech on economics and the environment to a pre-G8 gathering. However, he studiously avoided any mention of the reliable energy source that also has the advantage of not producing carbon dioxide emissions. His silence on the big “N” was in stark contrast to the speaker who followed him, a Chinese minister . . .

The Chinese are talking to Westinghouse, the British Nuclear Fuels-owned builder of nuclear power plants, about their country’s future needs. Mr Brown, meanwhile, is about to give the nod on selling Westinghouse.

The Government wants to take advantage of the growing interest around the world in nuclear energy as a way of reducing carbon emissions. That makes sense, but Mr Brown should not overlook the fact that Britain also needs to star…

Science Friday Debate

NEI Executive Vice President Angie Howard will be debating Arjun Makhijani of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research on this week's edition of the NPR program, Science Friday. Click here for the live stream beginning at 2:00 p.m. U.S. EDT.

UPDATE: Most of the debate so far has centered around the planned used fuel repository at Yucca Mountain. Also joining in the discussion on the front end was Congresswoman Judy Biggert (R-IL). She serves as serves as Chairman of the House Science Subcommittee on Energy.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The bulk of the last segment dealt with the relative costs of wind and nuclear energy in electrical generation. One point Angie made repeatedly was that nuclear was both less expensive and more reliable than wind power. Click here for our fact sheet on nuclear energy cost and reliability.

One important point: when one of our representatives gets involved in a discussion like this one, it can often sound as if the choice is between either nuclear ener…

More on Security at Nuclear Power Plants

Here's a copy of a letter that NEI Chief Nuclear Officer Marv Fertel sent to Time magazine in response to their story this week on security at nuclear power plants:
The nation's 103 commercial reactors have had federally regulated security programs for more than two decades, and have made $1.2 billion in upgrades to physical barriers and detection and access technology, and added thousands of paramilitary security officers since 2001 ("Are These Towers Safe?" June 12, 2005).

Independent analyses by experts with entities as diverse as the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Progressive Policy Institute, the National Center for Public Policy Research, and Federal Bureau of Investigation confirm that security at commercial nuclear facilities is among the best in the industrial sector.

The nuclear energy industry takes seriously its obligation to protect our facilities and our employees, and to maintain safe, efficient electricity production that is vital to…

Sticking Up for Patrick Moore

Over at Gristmill, Dave Roberts is trying to beat up on Patrick Moore's reputation -- in particular by pointing out that the current head of Greenpeace International, a group that Moore helped found, is an opponent of the expansion of nuclear energy.

It's also important to note that Moore served as the organization's first chief scientist. It was this devotion to sound science, not hysteria, that was one of the founding principles of the organization.

Apparently it isn't that way anymore.

That reminded me of a story I heard Moore tell a couple of months ago when he was in Washington. That day, he recounted a conversation he had with a younger member of Greenpeace who was upset about Moore's stance on nuclear energy.

"You're taking advantage of our reputation," said the young activist.

"No sir," Moore replied. "Actually, you're the ones who are taking advantage of mine."

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Looking at the Uranium Supply

Some have expressed concern over a perceived shortage of uranium fuel to supply the world's existing and expanding fleet of nuclear power reactors. This fear is unjustified and simply perpetuates the now fully discredited Club of Rome's "Limits to Growth" argument that was popular in the early 1970s.

Of course, known resources of economically and technologically recoverable uranium have expanded significantly since the 1970s and will continue to do so into the future. The world'’s uranium resources will increase due to improved knowledge of geology, enhanced extraction and reactor technology and the higher uranium prices spurred by demand growth.

Uranium is a ubiquitous element in the earth'’s crust and oceans, as is thorium, another important, naturally-occurring metal that can support nuclear fission. The world's 440 reactors use approximately 180 million pounds of U3O8 annually, of which 56 million pounds are consumed by America'’s 103 operating reac…

Dollars and the Nuclear Waste Fund

The Nuclear Waste Fund was established in 1982 when Congress passed legislation that those who use electricity supplied by nuclear energy would pay for the used nuclear fuel disposal program. For every kilowatt-hour used, consumers of nuclear generated electricity contribute one-tenth of a cent into the waste fund -- about $750 million per year. For Fiscal Year 2005 Congress appropriated far less than that, allocating $572 million to the program. In previous years the program has received an average of $194 million annually.

As of March 31, 2005, the total revenue paid into the Nuclear Waste Fund amounted to $24.9 billion. Of that amount, only $8.9 billion has been spent on program costs, leaving a balance of $16.02 billion that has been collected, but not applied to the used nuclear fuel disposal program.

So what should Congress be doing with all that other money? Last month at the 2005 Nuclear Energy Assembly, NEI President and CEO Skip Bowman said:
We must ensure a dedicated, availab…

NPR Commentary: Time Now for an Old Idea

If you have compatible software, you might want to listen to the NPR commentary that aired yesterday evening, June 14, on Marketplace: Time Now for an Old Idea. Environmentalist Stuart Brand says it's time to think again about nuclear power. He first aired these thoughts in MIT's Technology Review. Thanks to Sama Bilbao y Leon for the heads-up!

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NRC Chairman Responds to Time Article on Nuclear Plant Security

The NRC has just published a letter (PDF) from its Chairman, Nils Diaz, commenting on Time's report from earlier this week on nuclear plant security:
The article unfortunately relies on opinion without an accurate picture of current plant defenses and strategies. The NRC has ordered these plants to take strong defensive measures that make them well prepared to protect the facilities. Moreover, the NRC has worked closely with law enforcement and security agencies at all levels of government in developing protective measures and an integrated response. The story also cites an out-of-date study conducted for other purposes that does not reflect present knowledge of nuclear plant capabilities and accident scenarios. Such scenarios indicate that the potential consequences are orders of magnitude less than described.

The American people should know that these plants are well protected with multiple layers of defenses to ensure safety and security. This agency vigorously monitors plant sec…

NEI Executive Comments on Time's Nuclear Security Report

NEI has released a statement from our Chief Nuclear Officer, Marv Fertel, commenting on Time's feature on nuclear plant security (subscription required) that ran in its latest issue:"The TIME magazine article on nuclear power plant security has a fatal journalistic flaw in that it fails to provide any context with regard to the overall state of security in our nation’s industrial infrastructure. Numerous independent assessments of nuclear power plant security -- not a single one of which TIME could find the space in its lengthy article to mention -- have identified nuclear power plants as among the best, if not the best, defended facilities in the U.S. industrial infrastructure.

"These assessments have come from experts with entities as diverse as the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Progressive Policy Institute, the National Center for Public Policy Research and many of the nation's governors and members of Congress, not to mention the Federal Bure…

All Systems Go with MOX Fuel at Catawba

From the Herald (Rock Hill, S.C.):
Reactor 1 at the Catawba Nuclear Station has been fired up and running with fuel containing weapons-grade plutonium for more than a week, and everything is going according to plan, a company official said.

The reactor was loaded with mixed-oxide, or MOX, fuel on June 5 and is now running at 100 percent, said Steve Nesbitt, an engineer with Duke Power, at a meeting last week with the Rock Hill Sierra Club chapter.

"So far, we have seen that the fuel is behaving exactly as expected," Nesbitt said.In May, one of my colleagues, Kevin McCoy, wrote about the MOX Project, calling it another non-proliferation success story.

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