Yule Fuel

By: Tuesday December 25, 2012 9:18 am

Yes, it’s time for that metaphor again. If you grew up near a TV during the 1960s or ’70s, you probably remember the ever-burning Yule Log that took the place of programming for a large portion of Christmas Day. The fire burned, it seemed, perpetually, never appearing to consume the log, never dimming, and never, as best the kid who stared at the television could tell, ever repeating.

 

Hurricane Sandy Brings Wind, Rain and Irony to US Nuclear Plants

By: Monday October 29, 2012 10:30 am

The Calvert Cliffs nuclear reactor is again in the line of fire, as are numerous other plants. Hurricane Sandy will likely bring high winds, heavy rain and the threat of flooding to nuclear facilities in Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.

End-of-Summer News Puts Nuclear Renaissance on Permanent Vacation

By: Sunday September 2, 2012 11:50 am

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission cannot issue a license for the construction and operation of a new nuclear reactor in Maryland–that is the ruling of the NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) handed down Thursday.

Michael Mariotte, Executive director of NIRS, called Thursday’s decision “a blow to the so-called ‘nuclear renaissance,’” noting that back in 2007, when permit requests were submitted for Calvert Cliffs 3, the project was considered the “flagship” of a coming fleet of new reactors. “Now,” said Mariotte, “it is a symbol or the deservedly failed revival of nuclear power in the US.”

A symbol, yes, but far from the only symbol.

San Onofre: One Leaks, the Other Doesn’t… Yet

By: Friday February 3, 2012 2:29 pm

For those who thought that, with the new year, nuclear power had turned a page and put its “annus horribilis” behind it–as if the calendar were somehow the friend America’s aging reactors–let’s take a quick look at January 2012.

Gregory Jaczko Has a Cold

By: Saturday December 10, 2011 11:11 am

Gregory Jaczko, the chairman of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, made some comments to the press earlier this week. Jaczko, it seems, is worried. He believes, as noted in an Associated Press story, that “U.S. nuclear plant operators have become complacent, just nine months after the nuclear disaster in Japan.” The NRC head thinks that a slew of events at over a dozen domestic nuclear facilities reveal the safety of America’s reactors to be something less than optimal.

To be clear, safety concerns at any kind of plant, be it a soda bottler or a microchip manufacturer, are probably not trivial, but when the safe and secure operation of a nuclear facility comes into question–as the aftermath of Chernobyl or the ongoing crisis in Japan will tell you–it ratchets up concern to a whole different level. So, when the man who more or less serves as the chief safety officer for the entirety of the nation’s nuclear infrastructure says he’s worried, many, many other people should be worried, too.

The Party Line: Earthquakes, Hurricane Highlight Serious Flaws with Nuclear Power and Its Regulation

By: Friday September 2, 2011 3:22 pm

Spent fuel storage casks move in an earthquake. Hurricane Irene scrams a Maryland reactor and floods a backup generator. Radioactive sludge is rapidly accumulating at Japanese sewage plants. And yet, US nuclear regulators still see no need for quick action to improve safety regimes.

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