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1. Australia will change nuclear laws to allow plants
2. Queensland law bans nuclear plants
3. Iran’s former nuclear negotiator arrested
4. Engineer Accused of Taking Codes to Iran
5. US and Japan sign nuclear power pact
6. India/US Deal to be approved soon
7. Governor Spitzer Flip-Flops on Indian Point
8. Vermont Wants to Renege on Tax Deal with Vermont Yankee
9. Areva & Constellation Announce New Nuclear Plant Location
10. NJ Sues over Oyster Creek Decision
11. US Supreme Court Closes Coal Emissions Loophole
Nuclear Debate Continues in
The nuclear energy debate continues to churn in
The anti-nuclear Queensland laws went into affect this week, and Queensland Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson celebrated the occasion, and was quoted as saying "The Act bans nuclear facilities in Queensland in order to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of each and every one of us," He also said "There is no need for Queensland to go down the path of nuclear power plants when we don't need to." "Here in
So the stage is set for a showdown between the Australian states and the federal government over the future of their energy supply. On one side you have a national policy of reducing reliance on coal, on improving air quality, and on limiting CO2 gas emissions, and on the other you have interests in protecting the coal industry. This will be interesting to watch it play out!
I haven’t talked about
A couple of months ago there was an interesting development when Russia refused to deliver fuel to Iran for the first core load at the Bushehr nuclear plant because Iran had failed to make payments owed Russia. That little squabble poured some cold water on an otherwise very cozy relationship between the two nations. It was interesting to watch
Ahmadinejad has Political Opponent’s Nuclear Expert Arrested
In a sign of the continued internal political dissatisfaction over Ahmadinejad’s policies, last week police arrested Hossein Mousavian, the country’s former nuclear negotiator. He was hauled him off to prison for interrogation, and Iranian newspapers report that Mousavian could face an espionage charge. Mousavian is an ally of former Iranian president Rafsanjani who remains a political adversary Ahmadinejad’s. Rafsanjani has maintained a more moderate stance toward the international community over
Mousavian was a member of the Iranian nuclear negotiating team until 2005. When Ahmadinejad defeated Rafsanjani, he replaced the entire nuclear negotiating team, including Mousavian. There’s some speculation that Ahmadinejad is attempting to eliminate anyone within
Engineer Arrested in US for
In another but seemingly unrelated story, an Iranian born Engineer who worked at Palo Verde Nuclear Plant in
The FBI said there's no indication the training software had any terrorist connections, and there is no evidence to suggest the software access was linked to the Iranian government. According to court records, the software is used only for training plant employees, but allowed users access to details on the Palo Verde control rooms and the plant layout. Officials of Arizona Public Service Co., the Phoenix-based utility company that operates the Palo Verde Nuclear Generation Station, said the software does not pose a security risk because it doesn't control any of the nuclear plant's operating systems.
That makes perfect since to me because designs for nuclear plants like Palo Verde are not secret. The security systems and procedures would be safeguarded, and would not be available using that sort of software. None the less, the utility said it has changed software procedures.
India/USA Cooperation Bill Close to Approval
The India/USA Nuclear Cooperation Deal is close to being approved. The two sides have been negotiating for the last several months, and reports indicate most issues have been resolved. Later this month Nicholas Burns, the
NY Governor Spitzer Flip-flops on Indian Point
The new governor of NY State Elliot Spitzer is flip-flopping his position on Indian Point Nuclear plant. When he campaigned for Governor Spitzer promised to shut down Indian Point. I guess reality has set in; he knows that without Indian Point NY State can’t avoid skyrocketing electricity prices, can’t meet greenhouse gas reduction goals, and can’t prevent summer blackouts. So now he says Indian Point will have to stay on line until replacement power is built. That doesn’t mean he’s going to completely forget his promise to the anti-nuclear radicals who supported his election; this past week he joined Senator Hillary Clinton in calling for an independent safety assessment of Indian Point. He stated there were two reasons that the Independent Safety Assessment is needed; because IP was late installing emergency sirens with battery backup power, and because of ground water leaks from the spent fuel storage pool at the site. Let me explain why Spitzer’s logic is flawed: first of all, neither of the issues he cited has any safety significance at all. I’ve talked about the fuel storage pool leak before, and it has zero safety significance. Radiation can be measured at extremely low levels. Let me give you an example – the average person in the
On the issue of the battery backup for Indian Point’s emergency sirens – you might remember some discussion I had about this on a prior show. No other plant in the
Since I’m talking about politicians making “special” rules for nuclear plants, I need to mention what’s going on in
UniStar Picks Calvert Cliffs Site for New Nuclear Plant
On a brighter note, this week Unistar, the joint venture between Constellation and Areva, announced they’ve selected the Calvert Cliffs site in
There’s a legal battle being waged between the State of
This is yet another example of how anti-nuclear groups use the legal system in an attempt to block nuclear plants from operating, or at a minimum it can raise costs by imposing more requirements, more evaluations, and more legal fees.
This is a similar approach to the case earlier this year in
If NJ wins the appeal, then the same case could be made in more than 30 other license renewals that are either already underway or expected in the next few years. That does not mean that the license extensions would be blocked, though. It means that the license extensions would have to consider the potential impact of terrorist attacks which might make the reviews lengthier, and more costly. As you would expect, the Sierra Club celebrated
US Supreme Court Closes Loophole on Coal Pollution
And finally, last Monday the US Supreme Court acted to uphold Environmental Protection Agency rules that require aging coal powered electricity plants in the
There’s also a provision from 2003 called the New Source Rule that allowed some older plants to be upgraded without installing pollution controls. Going back more than 10 years there are cases being argued between utilities and the EPA over whether or not plant upgrades or modifications should have included pollution controls.
In a nutshell, the ruling this week stated the New Source Rule was so lenient that it violated the Clean Air Act. Because of the new ruling, it will be much more difficult in the future for old coal plants to continue running indefinitely without installing pollution controls. That’s was the whole intent of the Clean Air Act, so it seems that the Supreme Court got us back on track. By closing this loophole in the EPA rules, the Supreme Court has made it more difficult for older coal plants to keep running. That means new power plants will have to be built to replace them. It also provides more incentive for emissions free electricity sources such as nuclear energy.
New Nuclear Energy Video
I’ve talked a lot about the demand for new talent in the nuclear industry, and how nuclear technology and engineering offers fantastic careers and high paying jobs. The Department of Energy is working to generate interest in nuclear careers and they released an informational video that targets young people. If you go to my web site at this week in nuclear.com you can view a copy of the video, or see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWF8HxuWIBI . I’ll cover it in more detail in the next show.
Go Green! Go Nuclear!