Overview of US Territories Energy Infrastructures

With the infrastructure of Puerto Rico recently devastated (October 2017), this might be a good time to review the other four US territories. After all, they could be hit next year! In a nutshell, lots of imported oil and hopes about RE. The good news is that none of them use LNG or coal! They currently rely primarily on diesel gas/oil imports though, just as they have since vacuum tubes were considered modern technology.

This tends to leave the whole energy infrastructure (electricity, transportation, & local industries) of each territory exposed to the price fluctuations inherent in sometimes volatile oil prices.

Propane tanks on St. Croix Island, Virgin Islands. These eight tanks hold about 19 days worth of power.

The following US Energy Information Agency (EIA) data was updated in September 2017 – weeks before the US Territory of Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria.
Be sure to browse the three tabs on each EIA link; Overview, Data, & Analysis.

American Samoa Quick Facts

  • American Samoa uses imported fossil fuels for almost all of the territory’s energy needs, including transportation, water treatment, and most of its electric power generation.
  • A significant amount of American Samoa’s electricity is used to pump and treat drinking water and to collect, pump, and treat wastewater.
  • Electricity prices in American Samoa vary with world petroleum prices; in mid-2017, they were 2.3 times the U.S. average, and comparable to Hawaii’s rates.
  • In 2016, the largest island in American Samoa’s Manu’a group, Ta’u, converted to 100% solar PV electricity generation, replacing the use of about 100,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year.
  • American Samoa Renewable Energy Committee has adopted a goal of getting 50% of American Samoa’s energy from renewable energy resources by 2025 and 100% by 2040.

Guam Quick Facts

  • Largest island in Micronesia, is located about three-fourths of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines. Guam has no fossil energy resources and meets nearly all of its energy needs, including electricity, with petroleum products shipped in by tanker.
  • To meet its energy needs, Guam imports petroleum products and uses its wind and solar resources to generate electricity.
  • Guam’s population is estimated to be about 162,000, plus more than 12,000 military personnel and their families. The U.S. military plans to move some personnel from Okinawa (Japan) to Guam, bringing a substantial influx of people to the island.
  • Guam has set a goal of cutting petroleum consumption by 20% from the 2010 level by 2020.
  • In 2016, the number of Guam Power Authority’s customers exceeded 50,000 for the first time.
  • Two of the four generating units at Guam’s main power plant were destroyed by an explosion and fire in 2015.
  • Wind turbines requires special engineering to cope with Guam’s earthquake and typhoons.
  • Two ocean-based technologies being investigated are Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion and Sea Water Air Conditioning These applications may be limited by pipe impacts on the fragile coral reef surrounding Guam.

Northern Mariana Islands Quick Facts

  • The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) meets nearly all of its energy demand by importing petroleum products, including 22 million to 24 million gallons of diesel fuel annually to run the islands’ electricity generating plants.
  • The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. is looking at long-term alternatives to petroleum-fired electricity generators, which are aging and cannot run at full capacity.
  • Active volcanoes make the CNMI–particularly the islands of Pagan and Saipan–unique in Micronesia in having significant geothermal energy potential.
  • The CNMI’s renewable portfolio standard requires the islands to get 20% of their net electricity sales from renewable energy if cost-effective resources are available, but, so far, only small-scale wind and solar resources have been built, mostly at government and school facilities.

US Virgin Islands Quick Facts

  • The U.S. Virgin Islands is about 600 miles southeast of Miami, Florida. Like most Caribbean islands, the USVI has no fossil energy resources but does have some renewable resources.
  • The USVI imports petroleum products to meet most of its energy needs, including electricity and desalination of ocean water for its public water supply.
  • The U.S. Virgin Islands is shifting from fuel oil to propane to generate electricity and produce public drinking water.
  • The USVI has two separate island grids that must each maintain generation backup and reserves.
  • Distributed solar generation on consumer rooftops can provide up to 15 megawatts of capacity. The island has nearly 230 MW of electricity capacity currently.

Puerto Rico Quick Facts (before Hurricane Maria)

  • Petroleum products fuel transportation, electricity generation, and industry in Puerto Rico, supplying three-fourths of the energy consumed in the commonwealth.
  • In 2016, 47% of Puerto Rico’s electricity came from petroleum, 34% from natural gas, 17% from coal, and 2% from renewable energy.
  • Two wind farms supplied nearly half of Puerto Rico’s renewable generation in 2016; one of them, the 95-megawatt Santa Isabel facility, is the largest wind farm in the Caribbean.
  • As of June 2017, Puerto Rico had 127 megawatts of utility-scale solar photovoltaic generating capacity and 88 megawatts of distributed (customer-sited, small-scale) capacity. In the first six months of 2017, more renewable electricity came from solar energy than any other source.
  • Electricity fuel surcharges have decreased with world crude oil prices, but, in mid-2017, Puerto Rico’s retail consumers still paid more for their power than consumers in any state except Hawaii.



Additional Resources:
In the US territories, the average residential rate for electricity has been about $0.37/kWh—about three times higher than the U.S. national average cost of electricity.  www.powermag.com/marooned-how-island-power-systems-keep-the-lights-on/

Though running power lines hundreds (or thousands) of miles under the ocean might be a poor idea, utilizing these recently confirmed mid-ocean winds for islands seems like a possibility worth studying further.  https://carnegiescience.edu/news/huge-energy-potential-open-ocean-wind-farms-north-atlantic

Start-up companies which are working on SMRs using spent uranium fuel include the Bill Gates backed TerraPower, Transatomic, and Terrestrial Energy. Another start-up, Oklo, seeks to create 2-megawatt reactors that fit inside shipping containers to provide electricity for remote off-grid locations. Toshiba has worked on a micro nuclear reactor that is designed to power individual apartment buildings or city blocks. www.off-grid.net/micro-nuclear-power-plants-gaining-acceptance/

Ta’ū Island is all of 44.3 sq km (17.1 sq miles), and the population has grown to about 800 in recent years. In the 1920’s well-known anthropologist Margaret Mead conducted her dissertation research here. A solar + battery system was recently installed, designed to power the entire island for three days without sunlight and fully recharge in seven hours. www.collective-evolution.com/2017/03/04/how-this-pacific-island-switched-from-diesel-to-100-renewable-energy/

The well known wind-driven hydro system of El Hierro Island (Canary Islands/Spain) has shown improvements, but can still vary wildly from month to month. As of the end of September 2017, GdV [Gorona del Viento] had supplied 42.3% of El Hierro’s electricity demand since project startup in June 2015, up from 41.5% at the end of August; and 9.7% of its energy demand, up from 9.6% at the end of August. http://euanmearns.com/tag/gorona-del-viento/

For a rather nutty look at renewable energy on an island, try coconuts! https://web.archive.org/web/20130607060110/http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iwlwgv6YIwatWfk9HEp0bSjAiV-Q

8th Thorium Energy Alliance Conference Sends Message of Hope.

I think members crave the feeling of community when attending the Thorium Energy Alliance Conference (TEAC) each year. This event was no exception. Was there any take away for this conference? I would say it’s that we have a special group and we should not underestimate it. All of the members need to be even more engaged in activism for the revolutionary promise of nuclear energy. The power for change lies within our collective effort.

There have been excursions at previous TEACs but this one had a full Solar Eclipse

The Total Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017 – fly along with the shadow! from Eclipse2017.org on Vimeo.

There were ten authors present at the conference.

The two day conference (Aug. 21st & 22nd) can boast a significant turnout with talks that introduced a new reactor concept by Ed Pheil’s company Elisium (see interview) that is a Molten Chloride Salt Fast Reactor.

There were appearances from other leading contenders Terrestrial Energy had founder David LeBlanc (President/Chief Technology Officer/Director) give a talk with a new projection date of completion for late 2020s. We are witnessing the reality effect. Its not easy starting a nuclear reactor company with a new design.

Robert Hargraves spoke twice at the conference. One about Thorcon and the other on Radiation.

There were two presentations that made rebuttals to Mark Jacobson’s Solutions Project. Mathijs Beckers went first on day one expanding on ideas in his book The Non-Solutions Project and Mike Conley partnered up with Timothy Maloney to present a Roadmap to Nowhere. I witnessed an enthusiastic conversation afterward on the break between organizer Jim Kennedy, Mathijs Beckers, Mike Conley, Timothy Maloney and later Ripudaman Malhotra joined in with some expertise. I hope this group collaborates somehow. That’s why these conferences are so great.

The new reactors category had talks by Ed Pheil and a NEW!!! “No Moving Parts” concept by Jonathan Shattke called a ThorMer. Thorium and Mercury play significant roles. The design uses accelerator driven neutrons, Magneto Hydodynamic Generation that enables no turbine or pumps. See his at home presentation as a preview before Gord McDowell has a chance to finish the edits. I still have a few edits to do myself of a few more interviews with Heather Matteson, Alan Medsker and Gary Kahanak and the Lunch time presentation by Alex Cannara.


The 8th Thorium Energy Alliance Conference Aug 21-22, 2017

The Thorium Energy Alliance conferences are not just about Thorium. The topics range widely but mostly about nuclear energy and how it will benefit society and rescue the environment. There is a lot of representation by North America’s most recent nuclear reactor companies and entrepreneurs. There is at least one presentation pointing out the flaws in the 100% renewable schemes, another about ocean acidification. I can attest to the great bunch of people, many of whom have become friends.

My attending the Thorium Energy Alliance Conference Aug 21-22, 2017 in St. Louis, MO will require funding. If I get enough funds I can attend and assist in video production and time promoting my book as well. Film maker Keith Rodan has some specific interview assignments to video while I am there.

Doing some interviews with the aim to reach the uninitiated is consistent with my recent efforts too.
I have seen half a dozen books come out in the last three years from various people in our circle and I feel mine still has something new to offer.

But if these interviews are designed to reach out to the average person they stand a better chance of being accepted on different cable and internet video channels. How anybody becomes an advocate depends on how effective the message is communicated and how dramatic and persuasive the content is to keep them engaged long enough to win them over.

Having attended 5 TEAC events since 2012 I think I have some valuable insights to offer.
I recently sent off my book to a publisher and am hoping we can make a deal this year.
My Energy Reality website and my own crowdfunding
http://patreon.com/energyrealist are both due for a story about TEAC 8 and a report on my book progress.

Time is running out but I think this is a worth while goal. Besides helping Gordon McDowell in his usual video shooting I expect to do much more. Whatever support I can get to keep Keith’s and my own costs down will be greatly appreciated.

Please consider donating on this page.

Rick Maltese – Founder of Energy Reality

Science March April 22nd and Climate March April 29th

This is going to be an interesting month. We have two marches less than a year after the first pronuclear march in June 2016 to keep nuclear plants open. March for Science Saturday April 22, 2017 and the Climate march April 29th

Ontario serves as an example of how coal can be eliminated with the right energy mix. Our three nuclear plants with 8 unit at Bruce Power, 6 of 8 units in Pickering and 4 units at Darlington enabled Ontario to fully replace the coal Ontario had been producing up until December 2013. I have my work cut out for me because a large number of those attending these marches are unaware of the role nuclear energy must play.

As you may already know I am writing a book named after this Energy Reality website about nuclear energy and the need for a grassroots movement. I have my crowdfunding effort to promote the book and share the ideas from the book. I also have begun co-hosting a podcast called the Ecomodernist Podcast You will find six podcasts so far. All of them providing a positive outlook on solutions to environmental problems we are all facing and ultimately responsible for fixing.

Making Nuclear Power an Environmental Topic

Written by Christopher Bergan

I have recently had my suspicions reinforced that all people can be like sheep (sheeple?) – and to be perfectly frank, I have sometimes been in that category also. I am not talking specifically about work or politics here, but just being a member of society. None of us really has time to become an expert in all things so we take mental shortcuts, which psychologists and philosophers call heuristics. No this isn’t an academic paper – more of a lament that many important issues like the environment, energy infrastructure, and climate change are only superficially understood by otherwise well informed people. Most will nearly always trust simplistic ideas or even gut reactions rather than explore any topic deeply for themselves.

What I’m trying to describe are issues in which a person is willing to donate time, money, or become otherwise proactive. Yet few ever take the initiative to actually learn about these issues on their own and confirm the information being presented to them. Generally people will make a conscious decision to trust what a knowledgeable person says, with little regard as to whether there might be any bias or hidden agenda. The hard questions almost never get asked.

There’s a local group in Iowa which is very passionate about the environment, called 100 Grannies. Several members are well educated and many are semi-retired. They are willing to travel several hours to a protest, just to show solidarity with oppressed groups and occasionally get arrested. I do admire them for that tenacity. I found a post on their website about another environmental arrestee: Dr. James Hansen. The Grannies entry concerned Hansen’s trip to the COP21 meeting in Paris and his promoting of the Carbon Fee & Dividend as proposed by the Citizen’s Climate Lobby. The Grannies don’t mention Hansen’s views on nuclear energy – neither does the CCL site, even though they also quote him from COP21 – which is where he & three scientist friends specifically stated that nuclear power must be part of the solution.

I’ll add that the 100 Grannies usually meet only a few blocks from the Van Allen building on the University of Iowa campus, named after the university professor that mentored Hansen back when he was a student at U of Iowa. Ironic.

What did Hansen & friends actually say about nuclear at COP21? That video can be found with Energy for Humanity, a group co-founded by award winning documentary film-maker Robert Stone. EFH Director Kirsty Gogan introduced these Four Climateers (if I may be allowed to co-opt Victor Hugo’s term), and here are some of their statements:
There’s really only one technology that I know of that can provide carbon free power when the sun’s not shining or the wind’s not blowing at the scale that modern civilization requires – and that’s nuclear power.” Dr. Ken Caldeira

There are a lot of people who see this as an opportunity to advance one agenda or another….; but why are four climate scientists, who don’t have strong backgrounds in nuclear physics, here today talking to you about nuclear energy? It’s because we are scientists and we can do the math. If we truly are sincere about solving this problem – unless a miracle occurs – we are going to have to ramp up nuclear energy very fast! That’s the reality.” Dr. Kerry Emanuel

But the decisions we make in the next 5, 10, 15 years will determine what’s possible after 2030. So this initial period – ratifying the INDC, making sure we don’t just look for a Renewable Energy targets but we look for a clean energy target future – that’s the primary concern of this particular meeting.”
Dr. Tom Wigley

We have to use all of the things that we have at our disposal, and clearly nuclear power – next generation nuclear power especially – has tremendous potential to be part of the solution.” Dr. James Hansen

We can scale up solar and wind pretty quickly up to a certain limit, and then we run headlong into the barriers dictated by intermittency.” Dr. Kerry Emanuel

We shouldn’t be building new fossil fuel power plants. It doesn’t make sense.”
Dr. James Hansen

Sweden, for example, they have carbon free electricity. That’s the solution to the climate problem. If we had carbon free electricity in all countries, you solve the problem! Because we can make liquid fuels for transportation from energy if you have abundant, carbon free electricity.”  Dr. James Hansen

CO² / KWh

There’s also a blogger named Paul Beckwith who attended COP21 and filmed a different talk Dr. Hansen gave there. Mr. Beckwith is a physicist/engineer from Canada. I can almost understand Beckwith not mentioning any energy source as, in the three part video (which Beckwith recorded himself), Hansen doesn’t really talk about any energy source except to say that fossil fuels are bad for the climate. What is discussed in these videos is the magnitude of climate change, CCL’s Fee & Dividend proposal, and socio/political implications. So actually Hansen might be partly to blame for confusing his message by not mentioning nuclear energy as one of the climate solutions at every opportunity. But it has been a part of his climate change message for awhile now – just as carbon fee & dividend is. In my opinion it is only those that turn a deaf ear that can’t hear the nuclear aspect which many of the best informed & honest environmentalists advocate.

A Dutch acquaintance of mine named Joris van Dorp recently found a similar problem in his country. He wrote:

I had a discussion recently with some members of the Dutch Green Party. Here are my findings. The party has just unveiled its party program for the 2017 elections. It has made the immediate shutdown of Dutch nuclear power a central part of its political program, as well as a ban on new nuclear power plants.

As such, the Dutch greens have clearly torn-up the IPCC AR5 assessment of climate science, which states that a quadrupling of nuclear power is consistent with most assessed pathways to the timely and sufficient reduction of co2 emissions. They do this while continuing to claim that climate change is a priority issue for them. Obviously, it is not.

Interestingly, the party members I discussed this with eventually admit that they don’t personally agree with their party’s insistence on shutting down nuclear power.

In the past, I’ve grudgingly accepted the Green party’s open assault on nuclear power, because I knew that quite a few party members didn’t support the party line. In fact, the majority of the party’s scientific committee was in favour of new nuclear, even after Fukushima. I calculated that the 2017 elections might well include the greens on a pro-nuclear platform, especially since the IPCC made the importance of nuclear for climate clearer than ever before in its history.

Now that my hopes have been proven naive, and given the fact that there is no more time to wait for action on nuclear for climate, I feel I must now drop my traditional tolerance of the Dutch green party’s antinuclearism. In the coming months, during the political discussions I’m going to have, I’m going to be recommending that people do NOT vote for the greens, if they value the environment.

Any other party is better than the greens, where climate is concerned. Even the nationalist brown party is a better choice, mostly because they (alone) are actively pushing for an ambitious nuclear power program. They deny that AGW is a problem, but they do believe in the value of environmental protection and they fully accept the superior environmental performance of nuclear power.

This avoidance of clean & powerful nuclear energy by environmental groups has become de rigueur. No doubt most find it easier to delete “uncomfortable subjects” rather than twist the truth. This is likely why the well known anti-nuclear advocate Helen Caldicott has said, “We don’t need to talk about nuclear as we all know it’s dangers”. I am not claiming any of these groups are actually evil or have nefarious agendas, but a few who are considered environmental leaders are also being disingenuous by ignoring nuclear as part of the solution. They should acknowledge and discuss all aspects of climate change instead of burying some topics under cheap and often unsupported assumptions. There are several environmentalists who have been through this process already.

A June of 2015 article in The New Yorker had a great phrase; “Conservation requires conversation; protecting nature while still using it to meet human needs is a paradoxical mission, …”. People tend to trust what organizations say, and when messages are severely edited proper solutions can become hidden for decades. It’s time to tell the whole message, whether gently or blatantly. Let’s move past the hand wringing and empty gestures to begin implementing solutions. If the human race can assess any progress along the way with honest and critical evaluations, poor solutions can be weeded out and the better ideas will remain. In the meantime the Energy Reality Project will try to share this whole message as best we understand it. It’s “the rest of the story”, as news commentator Paul Harvey used to say; and there are often a few more bits of vetted information that can be added to the tale. So please, leave any insightful comments below and be part of the solution.

It’s time to create an abundance of objective discussions. As Dr. Hansen recently wrote on his CSAS blog, “There is a dearth of objective discussion of the role of advanced nuclear power in the future of clean power and the phase-out of fossil fuels.”

Let’s include nuclear power as an environmental topic.

Additional Information:

https://youtu.be/Yy5f5RMR8Xc James Hansen Lecture at Univ. of Iowa Oct. 2014


Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers #322 – Special Edition – Nuclear Energy to the Rescue

Welcome to the 322nd Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers who are a necessary group of pro-nuclear advocates who recognize the importance of a transition to a more dominant role for nuclear power in our energy mix.

There have been a lot of firsts lately that point in a positive direction for the future of the nuclear industry and therefore the planet. I have made it no secret that Energy Reality supports nuclear energy mainly because it provides the best and perhaps only solution to irreversible tipping points that are forever events.

EnergyRealityProject.com : 1 Post by Rick Maltese

Thanks to the Power of Pickering Nuclear Plant We Replaced Coal

    There are still a number of people who beloeve false things about Pickerng Power Plant. It has to do with reports of minor mishaps being blown out of proportion.


Yes Vermont Yankee: 1 post by Meredith Angwin

The New York Clean Energy Standard

    A quick description of attending the New York Public Service Commission meeting in which they voted for the historic Clean Energy Standard which supports both nuclear and renewable power. Links to other posts and to a video.


Forbes.com: 2 posts by James Conca

Climate Guru Tells California Governor Not To Close Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant

    On Thursday, Dr. James Hansen and the leading climate scientists in the world sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown of California, about how nuclear energy was essential to fight global warming. The letter was prompted by a recent announcement by Pacific Gas & Electric Company to close its well-running, low-carbon, low-cost nuclear reactors at Diablo Canyon because of political pressure from the state of California and especially its Lt. Governor. New York addressed this issue just last week when it passed a true Clean Energy Standard that supports both renewables and nuclear. But, strangely, California doesn’t seem impressed by the threat of global warming.


Exelon Buys Fitzpatrick Nuclear Plant, Setting The Standard for US Carbon Goals

    With New York’s passing of a true Clean Energy Standard this week that supports both renewables and nuclear, Exelon Generation has agreed to assume ownership and operations of Entergy Corporation’s James A. FitzPatrick nuclear power plant in Scriba, New York. This will save 7 billion kWhs of carbon-free electricity a year, $500 million for the local economy, 600 high-paying direct jobs and over 1,500 indirect jobs. It should serve as a guide to other states, especially Illinois, that are facing similar conundrums of warped markets closing carbon-free nuclear plants and threatening each state’s carbon goals and local economies.


AtomicInsights.com: 1 entry by Rod Adams

New York’s environment progressed one step forward

    Rod Adam’s reports on the apparently successful rally by a coalition of pro-nuclear environmental groups with a special thanks to Environmental Progress rin by President Michael Shellenberger


EnvironmentalProgress.org: 1 entry by Michael Shellenberger

Climate Scientists urge Governor Jerry Brown to let Legislature, not PUC, decide Diablo Canyon’s Fate

    The situation has recently shown more promise for the future of the nuclear industry in the U.S. Michael Shellenberger reports about the steps that would prevent a seriously grave decision from taking place.


NeutronBytes.com: 1 entry by Dan Yurman

Utah Utility selects Idaho site for Nuscale SMR

    There is a positive news story that a new kind of nuclear plant has been given a green light for a location to a modern Small Modular Reactor. Now it’s a matter of waiting for approval from the NRC that takes 3 or 4 years.


Thanks to the Power of Pickering Nuclear Plant We Replaced Coal

Pickering Nuclear plant went from a non-event to pre-event condition back in 2014. The not so “Clean Air Alliance” is trying to close down a perfectly good zero carbon energy source. The Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA) would like to take credit for shutting down coal and now they think they can shut down Nuclear plants. Coal dominated a very large portion of Ontario’s energy mix for many years. The abundance of power was daunting. Nanticoke Coal plant at one time Generated 4000 MW of power. It was the largest coal plant in North America. In 1981 it consumed 35,000 tonnes of coal per day. In 2007 it emitted 17,887,649 tonnes of CO2. Thankfully Ontario’s abundant Nuclear Power and Hydro allowed it to replace all the coal plants (bigger than average) by 2014. Pickering and Ontario’s other nuclear plants are in the habit of reporting such non-events, in effect, practicing for reports of actual incidents with updates – should there ever be a serious incident.

The OCAA thinks the Pickering Plant poses a threat letting irrational fear win over. They support a foolish and potentially disruptive solution to go all renewable. New York State just made an important decision to keep it’s Nuclear Plants alive. How else can the States reach their emission content goals? Why should Ontario be any different. Try replacing 14% if Ontario’s power with renewable energy. It would be terribly expensive and wasteful.

These OCAA people resemble over 200 other green lobby and special interest groups who can’t even look at their shadow without fear.

The worse thing is that their ignorance of science is revealed by the fact that adapting their policies in a time of climate crisis can actually bring on the tipping point even faster.

They also claim they will close down natural gas which is laughable… no coal, no nuclear and now no natural gas. The renewables certainly cannot match that abundant supply of nuclear which runs at about 60% of Ontario’s energy.

What does OCAA claim as the saviour?

Apparently Quebec who has never offered to give Ontario any of their so-called abundant hydro power is supposed to have enough to share with Ontario when in fact they have shortages in winter as it is. The 1998 ice storm cause the worst blackout in Quebec’s history. That was due to lengthy power lines collapse from the weight of the ice caused by the ice storm. The same kind of expensive powerlines would be needed for transmission to Ontario. This hypothetical situation is not sustainable. See Steve Aplin article from 2011.

The hydropower-from-Quebec fantasy resurfaces in Ontario gas-industry propaganda

Steve Aplin:

“Unlike hydropower though, nuclear involves land use that is, by comparison, barely noticeable. For example, Ontario’s 18 nuclear reactors occupy a total of 23.4 square kilometers (Darlington occupies 480 hectares, or 4.8 square km; Bruce occupies 9.3 square km; and Pickering, also 9.3.) Their total installed capacity is 12,530 megawatts. So the Ontario nuclear land-use footprint works out to 0.186 hectares—about a fifth of an average size city block—per installed megawatt…”

“Quebec’s hydropower land use footprint is 177.8 hectares per megawatt (30,230 km2 is 3,023,000 hectares; divide that by 17,000 megawatts).”

“For every patch of land Ontario nuclear power requires, Quebec hydropower needs 952 times that. This, among other reasons, is why Parizeau favoured nuclear power.”

“I mention this because, every now and again, somebody floats the cockamamie idea that Ontario should start importing clean hydropower from Quebec. Some advocates of this fantasy are self-styled environmentalists who haven’t done their homework and crunched the easy numbers like I have done above. Because of an unexamined and comically off-base anti-nukery, they think that the Darlington nucelar station should be shut down and that its 25 billion annual kilowatt-hours of electrical energy output should come instead from the Belgium-sized man-made lake in northern Quebec.”

“Nor do they appear to have considered what it would take, engineering-wise, for the Quebec electric utility, Hydro Quebec, to wheel 25 billion annual kWh of energy into Ontario from that lake. Quebec already wheels huge amounts of that energy out-of-province: to the U.S. northeast. American customers are served with Quebec hydropower on long term contracts; that was why Quebec built the transmission lines to the U.S. in the first place. What about those customers?”

“None of the Ontario advocates of Quebec hydropower appears to have ever taken the matter up with… Hydro Quebec. I’m sure the utility might have interesting things to say.”

“No serious person believes Ontario will ever import such massive amounts of electric power from Quebec. So why the sudden spate of media articles taking it up?”

“Well, it’s all about money. Specifically, the money that can be made by the fossil fuel industry if Darlington, which is slated for refurbishment beginning in less than a year, is not refurbished.”

“The main cheerleader for Quebec-hydropower-to-Ontario is the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, a gas-industry lobby group. The OCAA’s aim is to replace Ontario zero-carbon nuclear plants with carbon-heavy gas-fired plants. Given that the current concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the global atmosphere is just about 400 parts per million (see Item A1, above), you’d wonder why an organization allegedly advocating for clean air would want to add to those 400 ppm.”

“The OCAA knows full well that the Quebec-hydropower-to-Ontario fantasy is just that—a fantasy. The OCAA is not actually advocating for Quebec hydropower to Ontario. What it really wants is business for its gas-industry clients. And those clients will get plenty of business if Darlington does not get refurbished. So it is striving mightily, with the cooperation of a mainstream media that today finds ad revenue increasingly scarce and gas-industry ad revenue increasingly valuable, to get us Ontarians to actually believe this Quebec-hydropower-to-Ontario nonsense. That way, they hope, we will be more amenable to letting Darlington, an enormously valuable clean-energy centre—and revenue generator for the people of this province—go idle. Yesterday the OCAA wanted us to believe that windmills and solar panels could do it. Today it’s Quebec hydropower. Tomorrow, who knows. Maybe a perpetual motion machine.”

“Jacques Parizeau got to see an example of nuclear’s vastly superior land-use footprint, right in his own province, and under his watch as PQ finance minister. During that tenure, Hydro Quebec built and commissioned Gentilly 2, a 635-MW CANDU 6 reactor. It was, until its premature shut-down in late 2012 (by another PQ government, sans Parizeau), Hydro Quebec’s biggest single generator.”

“The premature shutdown of G2 was undertaken by, as I said, a Parizeau-less PQ government. Parizeau disagreed with much of that government’s policies. I wonder if he disagreed with the G2 decision also.”

In a response letter to an article published in the Toronto Star by one of many antinuclear groups in Canada the President and CEO of Ontario Power Generation said this

“Re Too much trust in old nuclear plants, May 30”

“I read with interest the Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA) opinion piece about Pickering Nuclear. The only ‘fact’ in the article that I was able to verify is that ‘Stairway to Heaven’ was released by Led Zeppelin in 1971.”

“The six nuclear units at Pickering were built to very robust standards and are operating safely, to the highest performance standards. The electricity from the six operating units provides about 13 per cent of Ontario’s annual demand, is free of greenhouse gas emissions and comes at a cost lower than almost all other sources of energy. Continued operations will save Ontario customers $600 million and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by eight million tonnes over the 2020-to-2024 period.”

“Both Pickering and Darlington nuclear stations enjoy strong community support, and a recent survey indicated 85 per cent of those polled supported the continued operations of the Pickering station.”

“Ontario relies on nuclear power to provide 60 per cent of its electricity generation. The plants at Darlington, Pickering and Bruce have excellent performance and safety records. Nuclear is Ontario’s best option for cost-effective, GHG emissions-free, reliable, base-load generation and have been a critical resource in ensuring clean air for Ontarians. We look forward to our nuclear fleet continuing to be part of the solution in the battle against climate change.”

Jeffrey Lyash, president and CEO Ontario Power Generation, Toronto”

On the same page is a comment by Don MacKinnon:

“Monday’s anti-Pickering Nuclear Station Extension editorial diatribe by the Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA) is typical of their ‘dreamweaver’-like campaigns — heavy with the spectre of environmental disaster and fast and loose with the facts.”

“The Pickering Nuclear Station is licensed and its operations, including emergency preparedness, are overseen by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), an independent regulator. The CNSC has 70 years of experience and is highly regarded internationally.”

“Additionally, the Pickering Nuclear Station, owned by Ontario Power Generation (OPG), a provincial Crown corporation, routinely provides information and consults with local communities about the plant’s operations.”

“When the province approved OPG’s plan to pursue the continued operation of Pickering beyond 2020 to 2024, it noted that final approval would be required from the CNSC. Pickering would continue to employ over 4,500 people in Durham region and 8 million tonnes of greenhouse gases would be avoided. Yes, extending the operation of the Pickering Station is about clean air.”

“The OCAA claims that cheap, low-carbon electricity imports from Quebec offer a superior option, but those claims have been disproven by a number of highly credible analyses, including Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator. Billions of dollars would need to be invested to build and improve the transmission interties and transmission lines in Ontario and Quebec. Ontario currently exports low-carbon nuclear power to help Quebec meet its winter peak and refill its reservoirs. Even if Quebec could supply, large-scale electricity imports would mean tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars flowing out of Ontario.”

“The only real alternative to base-load 24/7 nuclear in Ontario is fossil fuel generation, and we believe the OCAA knows that. Less nuclear generation in Ontario would mean dramatic increases in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution at a time when the entire world is transitioning to a lower carbon environment.”

Don MacKinnon, President of the Power Workers’ Union, Toronto”

I believe the OCAA has ulterior motives as both Steve Aplin and Don MacKinnon suggested. When you look at other Clean-Air NGOs such as the Clean Air Task Force they have a logical rational point of view when it comes to nuclear energy. Look at New York’s recent decision to go with keeping the Nuclear Plants in their state alive. All that emission-free energy is just too valuable to pass up.

Additional Reading on the subject:

Carnival #315 with reports from March for Environmental Hope

Forbes.com: 2 posts by James Conca

Pro-Nuclear March In San Francisco To Protest Closing Of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant

    On June 24th, a coalition of environmental groups will march from San Francisco to Sacramento to protest the potential closing of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant which will wipe out most of the progress in clean energy made by the state with wind and solar power. In 2015, all wind energy in California only produced 12 billion kWhs. The two Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors produce 17 billion kWhs every year, and will for the next 20 years if not prematurely closed for political reasons. Unfortunately, PG&E announced today they will close the plant in 2025, devastating the local economy and putting 1,500 people out of work.


World-Wide Risk From Radiation Very Small

    The Health Physics Society, the scientific society that includes radiation protection scientists, recently put out a revised position statement on Radiation Risk In Perspective. In it, they advise against estimating health risks to people from exposures to ionizing radiation that are anywhere near natural background levels because statistical uncertainties at these low levels are great. In other words, any health effects resulting from radiation levels below 10,000 mrem/yr (100 mSv/yr) are in the noise. It’s why the thousands of cancers and deaths predicted for Chernobyl and Fukushima never appeared, although the fear certainly did.


ANS Nuclear Cafe: Nick Thompson

Nuclear Energy Today: A Tale of Two Cities

    An overview of the current state of the industry from my perspective, and at the end has a “call to arms” for ANS members, and Young Members in particular, to start actively advocating for solutions.


Yes Vermont Yankee: Meredith Angwin

Diablo Canyon and What To Do About It

    PG&E announced a plan to close Diablo Canyon by 2025, and will not ask the NRC for a license renewal. Well, much can be done before 2025. In this post, Meredith Angwin provides a link for signing a pro-nuclear petition, and another link for donating to the people who are organizing the pro-Diablo march in California. It’s time to take action! With these links, everyone can take action, whether or not they live in California.


Northwest Clean Energy Blog: Meredith Angwin

Shameless in Seattle

    In this post, John Dobken describes a Seattle City Council resolution aimed at restricting the use of nuclear energy for the city. It’s a hands-on post, mostly direct from the council meeting. It includes the Seattle council members speaking scornfully of people in Central Washington (where the plant is located), and the sound of people snickering when a nuclear supporter spoke to the council. Watch the video clips of the pro-nuclear statement and admire the speaker! We must all support clean air nuclear energy–at every opportunity to do so!


Forbes.com by Rod Adams

Breaking! NRDC Announces PG&E has agreed to kill Diablo Canyon

Atomic Insights: Rod Adams

Hopeful Days for Environmental Progress in California

    Rod is in touch with David Walters directly from the march.


Backroom Diablo Destruction Deal Will Fail/

    Rod Adams presents an account of why the proposal to shut down California’s Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant will fail.



PG&E Will Halt Diablo Canyon License Renewal

    In this opinion piece at ANS Nuclear Cafe, Will Davis points out how ratepayers will be on the hook for everything that happens relative to replacing Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, including community impact mitigation.


Nuke Power Talk: Gail Marcus

    At Nuke Power Talk, Gail Marcus reports on the appointment of Margaret Chu to NRC’s ACRS. With Margaret’s appointment, there will be 2 woman on the ACRS for the first time. Gail identifies the very limited history of women on the ACRS and the now-disbanded ACNW.


Next Big Future: Brian Wang

Third Generation Laser Enrichment

    Third Generation Laser Uranium Enrichment Technology is likely over 5 times more energy efficient and more compact than the best centrifuges

    New laser-based uranium enrichment technology may provide a hard-to-detect pathway to nuclear weapons production according to a forthcoming paper (25 pages) Ryan Snyder, a physicist with Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security.

    Research on the relevant laser systems for laser enrichment is also currently ongoing in the United States, Russia, India, China and Iran.


Salute to the American Nuclear Society (ANS)

This is a well deserved salute to the ANS

    “ANS has made, and continues to make, important contributions to the use of nuclear science and technology, and consequently to the larger society beyond ANS. It achieves this through its many products and services, including meetings, publications, standards, outreach, honors and awards, scholarships, teachers workshops, Organization Members, and representation in Washington, D.C.”

    “ANS continues to be a professional organization of scientists, engineers, and other professionals devoted to the peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology. Its 11,000 members, from over 40 countries, come from diverse technical disciplines ranging from physics and nuclear safety to operations and power, and from across the full spectrum of the national and international enterprise, including government, academia, research laboratories, and private industry. Making it all succeed are a Board of Directors, 20 standing committees, 19 professional divisions, one technical group and two working groups, 32 local sections, over 35 student sections, liaison agreements with over 30 non-U.S. nuclear societies, and a headquarters staff of about 50 people.”


Environmentalists Announce Climate March to Protest Nuclear Plant Closures


With 13 nuclear plants at risk of closing and taking the United States backwards on climate change, a coalition of environmental groups is announcing a historic pro-nuclear protest march from San Francisco to Sacramento, June 24 – 28.

“If we lose all 13 of the nuclear plants at risk of premature closure we will wipe out three times more clean power than all of our solar provided in 2015,” said the March’s Lead Organizer, Eric G. Meyer. “If you care about renewables, clean energy and climate change, you should support keeping nuclear plants open.”

In Illinois, a coalition of anti-nuclear groups including by Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC), Sierra Club, and NRDC blocked legislation that would have saved two of the state’s nuclear plants, Clinton and Quad Cities.

ELPC has said it wants to replace the nuclear plants with natural gas, and gradually wind and solar. “Everybody looks with excitement when a new natural gas plant is built,” ELPC head, Howard Learner recently told a journalist when explaining why he supports closing Clinton and Quad, an extraordinary statement coming from a self-professed environmental activist.

“Anti-nuclear groups should be forgiven for their advocacy because they believe nuclear energy is something it’s not, and can’t see it for what it is,” said Alan Medsker of Environmental Progress, Illinois, “but we cannot allow them to shut down Quad and Clinton. It’s time for Sierra Club, the Citizens Utility Board, and Environmental Defense Fund to break from ELPC. There’s still time to pass legislation that would invest not only in renewables but also protect our largest source of clean energy.”

If Clinton and Quad close, 1,500 workers will lose their jobs and carbon emissions will increase the equivalent of adding two million cars. The proposed subsidy for distressed nuclear plants is less than half the cost the wind production tax credit.

Nuclear plants around the country are closing prematurely because they areexcluded from the various federal subsidies and state mandates for solar and wind. If nuclear were included in state Renewable Portfolio Standards, or received a fraction of the subsidy for wind or solar, nuclear plants would be economical.

“The evidence is clear: nuclear is far more effective at replacing fossil fuels and reducing pollution and carbon emissions than solar and wind. To exclude it from any clean energy standard in the face of irreversible climate devastation is simply unethical,” said Meyer.

“It’s a mathematical certainty that closing nuclear plants results in more fossil fuel burning and emissions,” says Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Robert Stone, whose award-winning film “Pandora’s Promise” documents the conversion of many environmentalists from anti-nuclear to pro-nuclear. “California’s reputation as a leader in the fight against climate change is at stake if Diablo Canyon is shut down.”

“It’s vitally important for any of us that care about the environment — progressives or conservatives — to share that message with Governor Jerry Brown,” said Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb. “People fear nuclear power largely because they associate it with nuclear weapons, but the two don’t equate. Nuclear power is not only an important part of the answer to climate change. It has outstanding public health benefits as well, greatly reducing air pollution.”

The March will occur in the run-up to a Tuesday, June 28, California Lands Commission meeting, where Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and two other members could deny a critical permit to Diablo Canyon, California’s biggest source of clean energy.

March coalition members includes Mothers for Nuclear, Thorium Energy Alliance, Environmental Progress, Pandora’s Promise, and Energy for Humanity — all are organizations independent of energy companies and interests.

“We can’t let irrational fears put our children at risk,” said Mothers for Nuclear co-founder, Heather Matteson, an environmental activist who was once anti-nuclear but changed her mind and now works as a reactor operator and procedure writer at Diablo Canyon.

The 13 nuclear plants at high risk of premature closure produce three times more electrical power than the US produces from solar. Diablo Canyon produces 11 times more power than the world’s largest solar farm, Solar Star, will produce.

Rather than simply replacing fossil fuel use, as nuclear plants do, plants like Solar Star increase the demand for natural gas when the sun is not shining which is on average more than 75 percent of the time.

Eric G. Meyer, 28, quit his job as a nurses union organizer and drove to San Francisco from Minnesota last month to be the Lead Organizer of the March. “My heart breaks every time they announce a nuclear plant closure,” said Meyer. “We’re going to fight hard to save every last one of those 13 plants. This is going to be remembered as the summer that we saved our largest source of clean energy.”

For Immediate Release:

Julia Pacetti, JMP Verdant Communications, (718) 399-0400
Eric Meyer, March for Environmental Hope!, (218) 384-1645
With Nuclear Plant Closures Increasing Emissions, Environmental Coalition Announces Historic Protest, June 24 – 28, SF – Sacramento