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.

 

Too Cheap to Meter, Too Expensive to Compete

By: Friday January 13, 2012 2:48 pm

“Clean, safe, and too cheap to meter.” This sunny tagline from the early days of atomic energy has more recently become a quickest way to sum up how dark and dismal its prospects are today–as in, nuclear power has proven itself to be unclean, unsafe, and prohibitively expensive. “Clean, safe and too cheap to meter” now sounds less like boastful marketing, and more like a schoolyard taunt.

The numbers of ways nuclear power plants have betrayed their Madison Avenue mantra has pretty much been the backbeat of this column for nearly ten months now, and 2012 keeps up the cadence.

The Party Line – December 30, 2011: The Party Line, Nuclear Style

By: Friday December 30, 2011 2:07 pm

The story is as troubling as it is tired. A government agency manipulated by the industry it is supposed to regulate. An industry, protected by bought politicians, avoids accountability while profiting from government largess. Some of that profit is then turned around to lobby and buy another administration’s worth of officials.

You Could Even Say It Glows: NRC Votes to Fast-Track a More Dangerous Nuclear Future

By: Friday December 23, 2011 8:59 am

To paraphrase the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Merry Effin’ Christmas.

In a news dump that came a day early (because who really wants to dump on Christmas-Eve Eve?), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission made a pair of moves Thursday that could have significant consequences for America’s nuclear industry–and all the people who have to live with it.

The Party Line – December 2, 2011: Nuclear’s “Annus Horribilis” Confirms Its Future Is in the Past

By: Friday December 2, 2011 3:45 pm

In the immediate aftermath of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami that triggered the horrific and ongoing disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power generating station, President Barack Obama went out on a bit of a limb, striking a tone markedly different from his fellow leaders in the industrialized world. Speaking about Japan and its effect on America’s energy future–once within days of the quake, and again later in March–the president made a point of reassuring Americans that his commitment to nuclear power would stay strong. While countries like Germany and Japan–both more dependent on nuclear power than the US–took Fukushima as a sign that it was time to move away from nuclear, Obama wanted to win the future with the same entrenched industry that so generously donated to his winning the 2008 election.

But a funny thing happened on the way to winning our energy future–namely, our energy present.

The Party Line – November 18 (uh, 19), 2011: Show a Gun, Gotta Use It

By: Saturday November 19, 2011 4:00 pm

When I heard Jean Quan offhandedly drop that she was on a multi-mayor conference call during a BBC interview, I knew I had heard something of note. The rapid succession of similar crackdowns on Occupy encampments in several US cities seemed like more than a coincidence, and so it was kind of a smoking gun.

The Party Line – November 4, 2011: Self-Styled Clean Energy President Embraces Future That’s Dirty, Dangerous, and Expensive

By: Friday November 4, 2011 3:25 pm

So begins a November 3rd story from Reuters assessing the potential political fallout from an administration decision to green-light the Keystone XL pipeline, TransCanada Corp’s plan to move crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta to refineries in Texas. Reading the whole piece, one can’t help but feel that Obama is still of a mind to go ahead and OK this dangerous and much-derided plan, it is just the Obama 2012 campaign that’s agonizing over how to spin it.

The Party Line – October 28, 2011: NRC Moves to Adopt Fukushima Recommendations “Without Delay”

By: Friday October 28, 2011 2:50 pm

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission voted last week to implement recommendations from the Near-Term Task Force Review of Insights from the Fukushima Daiichi Accident (PDF), and to do so “without delay.” Coming over seven months after the earthquake and tsunami that started the crisis in Japan, and over four months after the Near-Term Task Force (NTTF) issued its report, the move highlights what might be accomplished when attention is paid, but also illustrates systemic flaws in the US nuclear regulatory regime.

The Party Line: Will Occupy Wall Street Affect New York Politics?

By: Saturday October 15, 2011 1:00 pm

As I walked down to Zuccotti Park/Liberty Square in the predawn hours of October 14, I could hear “the people’s mic” and the people’s resounding cheers over three blocks away. . . but the biggest cheer came soon after I wedged my way into the park. . . .

The Party Line – October 7, 2011: Yes We C.A.N.?

By: Friday October 7, 2011 4:10 pm

No long post today–I explain in the video–just some pix (for context, again, watch the video above).

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