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How The Dream Of America’s ‘Nuclear Renaissance’ Fizzled

"A decade ago, utility executives and policymakers dreamed of a clean energy future powered by a new generation of cheap, safe nuclear reactors. Projects to expand existing nuclear plants in South Carolina and Georgia were supposed to be the start of the “nuclear renaissance.”

"But following the decision last week by two utilities to scrap the expansion at the Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station in South Carolina, that vision is in tatters. There’s now just one nuclear expansion project left in the country, its future is also uncertain."

Indian Point, Units 2 & 3 Monthly Output

Entergy Nuclear Indian Point 2 & 3 are two nuclear plants in Buchanan, Westchester County which are planned to be retired by April 2021. Consisting of two reactors, they have a nameplate capacity of 1,028 MW and 1,041 MW, respectively.

Numbers on the chart are total megawatt hours net output per month, for each plant.

Their peak output is typically during the winter months of December and January, reaching 1.54 terrawatt hours of electricity during January 2008 and 2009. Their output varies a bit due to equipment failure and re-fueling, the lowest output of these plants was during November 2002, when they only output a combined 563 gigawatt hours of electricity. Indian Point 2 was completely offline due an oil leak into river during April and May 2016, which mean that Indian Point contributed only 735 and 775 gigawatt hours during those months.

Data Sources:

Indian Point 2:
Indian Point 3:

Rocky Flats Made Nukes. Then It Made A Mess. Now It’s About To Become A Public Park.

"Plutonium, named for the Roman god of the underworld and the dwarf planet at the edge of the solar system, is one of the world’s most dangerous elements. Inhaling just one particle will bombard internal organs, particularly the lungs and liver, with harmful alpha radiation for decades. For the most part, it isn’t naturally occurring. But until just over a decade ago, it was plentiful in this 5,000-acre patch of rolling hills and grasslands."

"From 1952 to 1989, this picturesque sanctuary was home to a factory that produced plutonium triggers for nuclear weapons ― a lot of them. Nearly all of the approximately 70,000 nuclear weapons produced in the United States include a part made at Rocky Flats."

"It was designated as a Superfund site in the early 1990s, and the radioactive materials have been removed. It’s scheduled to open to the public for the first time next summer."

Hard Lessons from Zion

"The Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, which is scheduled to close in 2022, is one of six nuclear plants across the U.S. expected to shut down over the next decade. Each plant and the community around it will need to address the same crucial problem that plagues the 30 reactors decommissioned since 1957: where do you send millions of pounds of fuel rods that will remain radioactive for tens of thousands of years? The answer, for now, is nowhere."

C Stuart Hardwick’s answer to What happened to the radiation that was supposed to last thousands of years in Hiroshima (1945)?

"If you were expecting Hiroshima to be uninhabitable for thousands of years, you are (understandably, given the deplorable state of science education) making a whole bunch of errors in your understanding of radiation.

First of all, radiation isn’t magic death cooties. You and I are radioactive (traces of unstable potassium in our bones). My kitchen is radioactive (traces of unstable uranium in my granite countertop). If you have smoke detectors in your home (and you should) there’s a good chance they are radioactive (americium—quite, quite radioactive, but harmless unless you eat it or inhale it)."

Buoyed by State Aid, U.S. Nuclear Plant Still Fails at Auction

Apparently in states where they don't hand out subsidies to nuclear plant operators like their Halloween candy, they aren't doing so hot.

"Exelon’s Three Mile Island station, scene of the worst accident in the history of U.S. commercial nuclear energy, may not be so lucky. After failing to clear at the past three PJM auctions, the plant is at risk of early retirement. It hasn’t made a profit in five years and remains “economically challenged” given the lack of federal or Pennsylvania energy policies that value zero-emissions nuclear power, the company said."

How Can The Colorado River Continue To Support 36 Million People In 7 States?

"One of the most remarkable chapters of your book has to do with something called Project Rulison in 1969, just, like, three weeks after Woodstock, when a nuclear weapon with more than twice the power of the Hiroshima bomb was used in a test to see if nuclear devices could be used basically for fracking, to break up rock and - you know, and release natural gas. How did you find out about this?"