Author Archives: RickD Maltese

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 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 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.

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. : 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. 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. 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 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. 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 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! 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

Join the First Ever Climate-Environment-ProNuclear March – June 24-28


12:00 Assemble Kaiser Lot. 22nd st. and Kaiser Plaza, Oakland
12:45 Rally at Sierra Club, 2101 Webster St. Oakland
1:36 Board Yellow BART 19th and Oakland to Greenpeace
2:10 Arrive at 16th St. and Mission. March. 4 miles North
2:30 Rally at Greenpeace, 1661 Mission St.
3:10 March to NRDC
3:45 Rally at NRDC 111 Sutter Street, San Francisco
4:15 March to PG&E, Embarcadero BART Station
4:31 Take Yellow BART Line to 19th St. and Oakland
5:00 Dinner
6:00 Leave for Lake Solano
8:00 Arrive at Solano, Set Up Tents
8:30 Campfire, Singalongs, S’Mores, and Stories


7:30     Good Morning Yoga and Calisthenics with Matt Meyer
8:00      Breakfast in Camp (Day-Use Area)
9:45      Shuttle to 500 Solano College Rd. Fairfield, CA
10:30    Arrive and Prepare to March
10:45    March! 3.8 Miles Along I-80
12:00    Lunch at Allan Witt Park
12:30    Community Discussion — Theme: “Water is Life” 
2:00      Swim at Allan Witt Park!
4:30      Shuttle back to cars and Solano
5:15      Arrive at Camp Solano–  R&R
6:00      Dinner (Day-Use Area)
7:00      Capoeira Lesson with Rauli Partanen
8:00      Campfire, Singalongs, S’Mores, and Stories


7:00      Potential march time for our Long-Hikers (12.2 Miles)
7:30      Good Morning Yoga and Calisthenics with Matt
8:00      Breakfast
9:45      Shuttle marchers to 201 E Monte Vista Ave, Vacaville
10:15    Assemble
10:30    March! 2.8 miles (54 minutes)
11:30    Community Grill Out in Andrews Park
1:00     Speakers and Performances. Theme: “Creation Care”
2:30      Shuttle marchers to base camp
3:00      Arrive at Solano: R&R
4:00      Activities.  (Filming/Music/Climbing Trees)
6:00     Dinner at base camp
7:00     Show and Tell Activities
8:00     Campfire, Singalongs, S’mores, Stories.
9:00     Outdoor Movie Screening.


7:30     Good Morning Yoga and Calisthenics with Matt
8:00     Breakfast
10:15   Shuttle marchers to 1525 Tulip Lane, Davis, CA 95618
10:45    Assemble March
11:00   March! (2.0 miles)
11:20  Rally by Solar Installation at 3817 Halcon Plaza
12:00  Lunch in the Park
1:00    Visit EXPLORIT Science Center
3:00    Shuttle Back to Camp
3:40    Arrive at Base Camp
4:00    Activities (Crafts/Music/Filming)
6:00    Dinner at base camp
8:00    Campfire, Singalongs, S’mores, Stories.


6:30     Breakfast at Camp
7:15     Drive To Sacramento
Park Near Cesar Chavez Park or Sacramento Station
8:15     Meet at Cesar Chavez Park and Prepare for March.
8:30     March! around the Capitol and Ending at the Lands Commission meeting.
9:15     Rally at Lands Commission Meeting at Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza
10:00   Pack the room at the Lands Commission Meeting
11:00   (TBA)
12:00   End of March

Collection on Germany’s Energy Problems

Germany’s Energiewende Finds the Sour Spot

Germany’s Wind Power Chaos to Leave them Freezing in the Dark

More than Das (cheating) Auto: how malware misleads millions, allows mega-pollution

Energiewende and Caliwende – the Heavy Cost of Ideology

Two cars, and a daily decision: an Ontario parable

Nuclear New Build

China, Korea & UK
Alternate title: Rising competition from China, Korea
and a new development model for British nuclear power
April 14th, 2016 Andrew Daniels

No other country in Europe is developing nuclear power with as much zeal as the UK. The goal is to abolish coal power by the mid 2020s. The ‘dash to gas’ is in the past, and future wind power development can only offer declining returns. Having explored and reached the limitations of gas and wind power, it is clear decarbonization can only be accomplished with nuclear power. Three consortia have developed plans for nuclear power plants on six different sites. Adhesion to construction schedules is the number one cause of serious cost overruns, so these projects will be considered successes or failures depending on the efficiency of the construction process.

Given the poor record of past British nuclear power development, this drive towards nuclear power is even more remarkable. The British nuclear industry had a particularly dismal record of poor performance with Magnoxes and AGRs. Using a poor development model during the 1960s until the 1980s, the UK built one uncompetitive gas-cooled plant after another. Each plant was built by a different consortium with a different design, and each used unique parts and required unique fuel elements. Construction delays were insufficient to cancel a project. The British tradition of ‘muddling through’ led to eventual completion, even if some plants were obsolete upon commencing operation. One plant took an astonishing twenty years to complete. The policy was framed as government support for British technology. Even as Whitehall pursued a ‘national champion’ policy, not enough investment was channeled into nuclear power to give this unique path, their nuclear sonderweg, a hope of success. Gas-cooled reactors were never able to build up a similar body of experience as did the water-cooled reactors. Operating loads were lower, maintenance costs higher, and construction times were consistently longer throughout their history.

At one point, France was pursuing the same gas-cooled reactor technology as the UK, but a decision was made to abandon it. The rationale was that French industry would be better served by aligning with global trends instead of bucking them. Adopting water-cooled reactors en masse facilitated the extensive nuclear roll-out pursued by France in the 1970s and 1980s. The structure for this expansion was a publicly funded development model with a single operator running every plant in the country. Rather than increase costs from a lack of competition, it facilitated skills transfer, uniformity and keeping costs down.

Eschewing the French dirigiste state-driven model, the new development model draws on private sector elements of the old model. New nuclear power plants in the UK will continue to be built via consortia, but this time they will use existing designs. Hinkley Point C will put its first reactor into operation in 2025, which will be the first in Britain since Sizewell B in 1995. This project will be a first for many things; it is the first British plant built with minority foreign participation (China General Nuclear (CGN) and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) are both minority investors.) Hinkley Point C will be the first in the world to receive a public subsidy as renewable power at the rate of £92.50 per MWh. This anticipates construction time of up to 10 years and the guaranteed price is indexed to any future rises in electricity prices. In the case that the plant is closed early, the company will receive compensation. This mitigates the risk of any forced premature closure without compensation for any reason, political or otherwise. Supporting nuclear power with this style of feed-in tariff is a first, though it may have started a trend. Now the two American states of Arizona and Utah are offering similar public support. The effect of this contract is monumental if it heralds a new era of public support for nuclear power, similar to the support for solar and wind. This project is tremendously important for Areva and the Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR), as future sales of the EPR will be heavily influenced by the construction time at Hinkley Point C. This will be a chance for Areva to wipe the slate clean and move past the numerous construction delays at Flamanville and Olkiluoto. A success at Hinkley Point C 1 & 2 will pave the way for another pair of EPRs at Sizewell C.

The second project will develop two sites with ABWRs: Wylfa Newydd on the Isle of Anglesey and Oldbury-on-Severn. Hitachi claims these are more likely to be completed on time than EPRs, due to the ABWR construction record in Japan. The company prefers to reference the successful construction of ABWRs in Japan, rather than the Lungmen project in Taiwan. The Taiwanese plant has been delayed repeatedly due to political interference, greatly inflating costs.

Finally, the third group seeks to develop the AP1000. Manchester-based NuGeneration Limited is formed from a partnership between Toshiba (Westinghouse) and GDF Suez. Nugen plans three AP1000 at Moorside, and secured 200 hectares for the project in 2009. If construction goes ahead, it will employ 6,000 people. By that point, these will be the 17th, 18th and 19th AP1000s in operation. Westinghouse will provide the reactors but GDF Suez will run the plant. The commitment to invest will be made in 2018 and the first unit will begin operation in 2024.

All of these projects are being driven by reactor vendors keen to promote their designs. These are being pursued in the UK in the hope of winning future contracts in other countries. After seeking more uniformity and serialization, the UK is still embarking on multiple directions with numerous designs, partners, and operators. Perhaps this will not increase costs as much as in the past, as all of these designs will be supported by identical copies outside of the UK.

China also prioritized uniformity and domestic development, yet they currently use the reactor designs of France, Canada, Russia, and the USA as well as their own. The development of Chinese nuclear power was delayed in the past by canceling the water-cooled reactor program twice. First, Mao canceled it to focus funding on the development of nuclear weapons, then it was canceled a second time by the Gang of Four during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) to focus on developing a molten salt reactor. After an all-out effort to develop a molten salt reactor failed, China finally devoted time and resources to develop their first water-cooled reactor at Qinshan-1.

A clear policy choice remained on whether to prioritize indigenous development or assimilate foreign technology in order to develop indigenous technology later. Though it was decided to pursue indigenous technology and use as few reactor designs as possible, other considerations would subvert this policy. It was diplomatically advantageous to buy CANDU reactors to reduce isolation after Tiananmen Square sanctions. AP1000s were selected as China’s official Gen III reactor. Yet a decision to build two EPRs was also taken. After the deal with Areva, the president of CNNC, deputy president of CGN and the president of China Triumph Industrial Engineering Co were accused of taking bribes. These three groups selected the EPR in a closed process with no international tender competition. Russian VVER-1000s were also built, possibly due to the availability of soft loans.

Ostensibly, China has exported one plant to Pakistan, but this order did not establish them as a reactor exporter. Their lone export order to Pakistan failed to establish them as a competitor, Chashma was badly built by the time it was completed in 2000. Rather than showcase Chinese capabilies, it illustrated a lack of capacity. It was difficult for it to be a copy of Qinshan-1 as intended, when most of Qinshan-I was unable to be supported by Chinese suppliers. The pressure vessel came from Mitsubishi, coolant pumps from West Germany, turbines from Sweden and the control system from Areva. Chashma was built using Chinese parts suppliers who had never supplied a nuclear power plant before. The project was delayed, and there were errors in construction. When internal sensors were damaged, they rattled around inside the core, unknown to the plant operators. Westinghouse assessed the plant and said the designers did not understand the effect of coolant flow on the core and components.

That was twenty years ago, and since then CGN and CNNC have completed many reactors that perform very well. The Chinese adaptation of Westinghouse designs in the CPR-1000 are completed on time, and have excellent operating load. Their domestic performance is an effective advertisement for export orders. This is the strongest bull market for nuclear power in Chinese history, as the latest FiveYear Plan (2016-2020) includes many new reactors. There are 42 planned reactors and 170 proposed reactors, in addition to the 22 under construction. Current policy is to not build any new wind turbines or coal mines, yet existing coal mines have the capacity to produce an additional 2 billion tonnes over the current annual production of 4 billion tonnes. This means falling coal prices will increase competition for nuclear power even in the absence of any new coal mines. On the other hand, construction costs will be assisted by falling steel prices. Massive overcapacity in steel, aluminum, glass, paper, and other heavy industries will push down prices as companies compete to avoid being driven out of business. Chinese workers used to strike for higher wages, now they strike over unpaid wages. Current plans to curtail production will cause 500,000 job losses in the steel sector and 1.3 million job losses in coal. The eventual job losses and company closures in the steel industry will likely be followed by similar contraction among other heavy industries. The collapse of the steel industry could start an avalanche, magnified in impact as numerous loans go bad. Since private debt has soared from 120% of GDP in 2008 to 240% of GDP in 2015, any companies that collapse or default on debt payments will have a domino effect throughout the economy. CGN and CNNC will perform well in these turbulent times, and will continue to find easy access to financing. They will be a calm port in the storm as they grow in a contracting economy.

In many ways, China is simply hoping to follow the path of South Korea. China’s entry into the international export market truly begins with an order from Argentina for the Hualong One reactor. Hwever, no Hualong One is in operation and only one is currently under construction which began in 2015. China sweetened the deal by offering financing for 85% of the $15b project. It seems reasonable to anticipate CGN and CNNC to continue to easily find financing for foreign construction projects.

The strongest competition for future export orders will come from Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP), owned by the Seoul government via the holding company Korean Electric Power Co. Known as KEPCO, it should not be confused with Kansai Power Co. (also KEPCO), who also operate nuclear power plants. The first APR-1400 at Barakah is 90% complete and on track to be completed in May 2017. Barakah-2 is 60% complete. In addition, one APR-1400 is already operational at Shin-Kori-1, although its construction took seven years. It was delayed due to poor quality cabling associated with a falsification scandal. The on-time completion of Barakah-1 will be a persuasive advertisement for future new sales. KHNP is not only selling reactors, but also South Korean management capable of keeping projects on schedule. The value of this is appreciated by the UAE, who has contracted 50 KHNP employees to work at Barakah and asked for Korean assistance in setting up their training program at the Institute of Applied Technology in Abu Dhabi. Korean reactors continue to become cheaper. They are bucking the trend toward ever higher costs, as each reactor achieves a lower cost per MWh than its predecessor. Falling costs and a long history of completing plants on-time makes KHNP a strong competitor for future export orders, selling not only a reliable design but a reliable schedule.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. We are seeing new development models, yet they draw on many elements of the old. New British development will use international designs, but still will not establish real uniformity throughout the British nuclear industry. China and Korea are driving state-owned businesses to try to conquer new export markets. That being said, their reputation in sticking to the schedule in domestic construction by Chinese and Korean companies addresses the most important factor in cost control for nuclear power. This makes them powerful competitors, at a time when nuclear power is expanding to new markets.

Andrew Daniels is the author of After Fukushima: What We Now Know, a history of the fear reactions towards nuclear power and radiation. This book will be available in the summer of 2016 on A historian with three degrees, a Hon. B.A. in History and Japanese Studies, B. Ed, and a M.Is, he is polyglot, fluent in English, French and Japanese plus a smattering of German, Italian and Swedish.