Nuclear “Renaissance” Meets Economic Reality, But Who Gets the Bill?

By: Friday February 24, 2012 3:15 pm

The real profits in the nuclear racket come from the ability to collect on services not rendered and a product not delivered, or at least not delivered regularly. Because the system backstops the financing of nuclear facilities while also allowing plant operators to pass both real and anticipated costs onto ratepayers, many American taxpayers are poised to pay twice for nuclear power plants that don’t produce power.

The Party Line – September 30, 2011: No Will, No Way: Nuclear Problems Persist, But US Fails to Seize Fukushima Moment

By: Friday September 30, 2011 4:55 pm

As September drew to a close, residents of southwest Michigan found themselves taking in a little extra tritium, thanks to their daily habit of breathing. The tritium was courtesy of the 40-year-old Palisades Nuclear Generating Station in Covert Township, which suffered its third “event” (as they are politely called) in less than two months, and was forced to vent an indeterminate amount of radioactive steam.

The reactor at Palisades was forced to scram after an accident caused an electrical arc in a transformer in the DC system that powers “indications and controls“–also known as monitoring devices, meters and safety valves.

While it is nice to see rectors shut themselves down when a vital system goes offline, remember that “turning off” a fission reactor is not like flicking a light switch. Shutting down a reactor is a process, and the faster it is done, the more strain it puts on the reactor and its safety and cooling systems. And even after fission is mitigated, a reactor core generates heat that requires a fully functional cooling system.

GOP Keeps Letting Their Masks Slip

By: Saturday September 24, 2011 6:45 am

The same Republicans who are making the most noise over the Bush-backed Solyndra loan guarantee (yeah, Diaper David Vitter, I’m looking at you) are being oddly quiet over Bush’s role in making it happen, just as they’re being oddly quiet over their own support of loan guarantees and outright grants (aka free taxpayer money, folks) for energy-related projects in their own Republican districts. And you won’t hear Darrell Issa talk much about the burgeoning San Bernardino Airport scandal that’s unfolding, complete with an FBI raid, in the home district of Issa’s fellow California Republican congressman, Jerry Lewis, the former head of the House Appropriations Committee and a big fan of the Berdoo Boondoggle

Solyndra Execs to Plead the Fifth at House Energy and Commerce Witch Hunt

By: Wednesday September 21, 2011 2:00 pm

Solyndra executives are being hauled before a GOP House Committee today, the latest props in the conservative right’s war on clean energy. The House Energy and Commerce Committee wants to bat them around a bit and also use them as a way to point out alleged White House corruption. But the executives will plead the fifth instead.

Congressional Republicans Constantly Sought Clean Energy Subsidies Before Solyndra

By: Tuesday September 20, 2011 12:30 pm

Darrell Issa is a happy man. After flailing around for a while, he finally thinks he has a product to push, an example of Obama corruption, with the Solyndra story. There’s even another piece of it that has popped up in the form of LightSquared, a wireless startup which, according to allegations, was the subject of unfavorable testimony to Congress by Air Force Gen. William Shelton until the White House intimidated him into changing his view. Issa is ready to widen his investigation. Loan guarantee programs for clean energy have actually migrated to the subject of a potential government shutdown, with Republicans trying to cancel a program for hybrid vehicles to pay for disaster relief.

Republicans definitely think they have a winning hand by criticizing corruption in the clean energy realm. It’s a tailor-made Glenn Beck conspiracist rant where the corruption lines up with a philosophical view against climate change and a lucrative view in support of wealthy oil and gas company contributors over the clean energy industry. The government, you see, cannot “pick winners and losers” in the energy space. Can’t do it.

Unless those winners happen to be in Republican districts and states.

The Party Line – September 16, 2011: Though Nuclear Crisis Continues, IAEA Can’t Force Safety Overhaul

By: Friday September 16, 2011 3:26 pm

On Monday, September 12, an incinerator explosion at a French nuclear waste processing center killed one, injured four, and created just enough nuclear news to edge this week’s other nuclear story right out of the headlines.

The explosion, which is reported not to have caused any leak of radiation, was at a facility that reprocesses used nuclear reactor fuel in order to create a more toxic, less stable form of fuel commonly known as “mixed oxide” or MOX. MOX, which is a tasty blend of uranium and plutonium, was in at least some of the rods in some of the reactors at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi facility when it suffered catastrophic failures after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami–and the presence of MOX fuel made the fallout from explosions at the Japanese plant more dangerous as a result. (More dangerous than already extremely dangerous might seem like a trivial addendum, but it is of note if for no other reason than the manufacture and use of MOX fuel is what nuclear power proponents think of when they call it a “renewable resource.”)

Solar Industry Booming, Regardless of Solyndra Bankruptcy

By: Thursday September 15, 2011 12:30 pm

This stupid Solyndra circus is starting to remind me of the late 1990s, when any whiff of scandal was like catnip to the media. This is 1/80th of the total price of loans made from the Energy Department’s program, none of the other companies involved have failed, and yet this is supposed to be an object lesson in how green jobs cannot compete. Never mind the $40 billion in subsidies given to oil and gas companies or the hundreds of millions in loan guarantees propping up the nuclear industry. This notion of a free market in energy is ridiculous.

In point of fact, the domestic solar industry, a net exporter last year, happens to be booming.

Solyndra Controversy a Transparent Attempt to Kill Green Energy

By: Wednesday September 14, 2011 11:30 am

This would not be the first time that the political and policy shops bicker inside a White House. But what’s the claim here? That there was a rash move to make a solar energy investment for political reasons without assessing the risk? Then you have to blame the Bush Administration, which started the loan process with Solyndra as far back as 2006 as part of a previous energy bill.

Republicans Pounce on Solyndra Bankruptcy; Company Got Recovery Act Loans

By: Thursday September 1, 2011 8:10 am

Lots of attention is being paid to the shuttering of Solyndra, a solar company that received federal loans from the Energy Department in the Recovery Act, and took part in a visit by the President last year.

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