Nuclear Issues
Unclear Issues

image of atom from http://www.nrc.gov/

   
Use the links on this page to learn about issues related to:
Vermont Yankeeenergy alternatives, laws and regulations,
nuclear power and weapons information, news excerpts, and citizen action groups.

 

Vermont Yankee

Vermont Yankee Lawsuit Commentary from the VT Law School

The future of nuclear power nationally could be determined by the outcome of a federal lawsuit over the troubled Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in Vermont, which is why the case is being watched so closely nationwide. Vermont Law School faculty experts will provide ongoing analysis of the environmental, constitutional and political implications of Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee, LLC et. al. v. Shumlin et. al. as the case unfolds.

Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee (ENVY)

The men and women at Vermont Yankee are proud of the contribution they make to the region's energy needs. Not only does Vermont Yankee meet the electricity needs of the region, but its low-cost power significantly increases consumer savings on electricity. Furthermore, Vermont Yankee and its employees are proud of the facility's safety record and its ability to produce pollution-free energy, which goes a long way to keeping the Green Mountain State green. The power station is operated by Entergy.

Briefing Materials for the VT Legislature

Significant, historical, and relevant information compiled by the VT Joint Fiscal Office.

SAGE Alliance

The SAGE Alliance is organizing a people's campaign to shut down the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Reactor on March 21st, 2012, through grassroots organizing, education and nonviolent direct actions.

ANS Nuclear Cafe

ANS is a professional membership organization of engineers and scientists devoted to the applications of nuclear science and technology. Its 11,500 members come from diverse technical backgrounds covering the full range of engineering disciplines as well as the physical and biological sciences. They are advancing the application of these technologies to improve the lives of the world community through national and international enterprise within government, academia, research laboratories and private industry.

ENVY Reactor License Renewal Public Involvement

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission encourages the public to participate in the reactor license renewal process through public meetings, and public comment periods on rules, renewal guidance, and other documents. This site provides general information to help the public participate.

Comprehensive Vertical Assessment Report of ENVY

Read all 415 pages of the Comprehensive Vertical Audit (CVA) Report! The Oversight Panel will be presenting their evaluation of the CVA by the end of Feb 2009 for the Vermont Legislature. In July 2008, Gundersen, Hochreiter, and Bradford were picked for the VT Yankee oversight committee.

Rob Stannard interviews Arnie Gundersen and Peter Bradford

Watch and learn about Vermont Yankee's technical and financial issues.

Windham Regional Commission's Energy Resources page

The intent of this page is to serve as a source for information and resources on energy issues that affect Southeastern Vermont.

Decommissioning Fund Shortfall

A memo from the NRC to ENVY

Gamma Radiation at Vermont Yankee

An evaluation of direct gamma dose at the site boundary of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station.

Fission Accomplished

When the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant finally closes, will there be enough money to clean up its radioactive legacy? The Gundersens contend that Vermont Yankee’s current owner, Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee, has not met its legal obligation of setting aside money to decommission the plant when the time comes to shut it down, clean it up, dispose of its radioactive material, and return the site to its natural state.

 Cobalt-60 releases

At the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules hearing on Wednesday we heard testimony on Radioactive Cobalt in the CT River, and over 55 curies of tritium released to the air. VT Dept. of Health admitted their new way of interpreting VT's radiation regulations means Vernon School children get a higher dose of radiation every day. More radiation means a higher cancer risk.

 

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Energy Alternatives

Design of Green Engineering

The Twelve Principles of Green Engineering provide a framework for scientists and engineers to engage in when designing new materials, products, processes, and systems that are benign to human health and the environment.

Green Chemistry: Science and Politics of Change

The chemical industry plays a key role in sustaining the world economy and underpinning future technologies, yet is under unprecedented pressure from the effects of globalization and change in many of its traditional markets. Against this background, what will be needed for the industry to embrace efforts to make it “greener”? We explore some of the issues raised by the development of “green chemistry” techniques and identify potential barriers to their implementation by industry.

Nuclear Power in a Warming World: Assessing the Risks, Addressing the Challenges

Global warming demands a profound transformation in the ways we generate and consume energy. Because nuclear power results in few global warming emissions, an increase in nuclear power could help reduce global warming—but it could also increase the threats to human safety and security. The risks include a massive release of radiation due to a power plant meltdown or terrorist attack, and the death of hundreds of thousands due to the detonation of a nuclear weapon made with materials obtained from a civilian nuclear power system.

 

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Laws and Regulations

Act No. 160 (S. 124) of the Vermont General Assembly

It remains the policy of the state that a nuclear energy generating plant may be operated in Vermont only with the explicit approval of the General Assembly expressed in law after full, open, and informed public deliberation and discussion with respect to pertinent factors, including the state’s need for power, the economics and environmental impacts of long-term storage of nuclear waste, and choice of power sources among various alternatives.

Nuclear Waste Policy Act 1982

In 1982, the U.S. Congress enacted a law called the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. The Act established a comprehensive national program for the safe, permanent disposal of highly radioactive wastes. This law is based on the principle that our society is responsible for safely disposing of the nuclear wastes we create. The State of Nevada maintains an Agency for Nuclear Projects.

National Energy Policy Act of 1985

President Bush states: "America must have an energy policy that plans for the future, but meets the needs of today. I believe we can develop our natural resources and protect our environment."

Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act

Governs liability-related issues for all non-military nuclear facilities constructed in the United States before 2026.

Complex 2030 and the Reliable Replacement Warhead Program

The Act will establish a smaller, more efficient Nuclear Weapons Complex that is able to respond to changing national and global security challenges. By 2030, NNSA will employ a smaller, safer and more secure nuclear weapons stockpile that has assured reliability over the long term, and is backed by the industrial and design capabilities needed to respond to changing technical, geopolitical or military needs.

Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons

The treaty is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament. The Treaty represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States.

Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935

The Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 is one of the most important federal consumer protection laws ever passed. It regulates the parent or holding companies (that hold the stock of) electric and natural gas utilities, so that such owners can’t raise rates by charging high fees to utilities for services from their affiliates, and can’t speculate in riskier businesses with the ratepayer’s money, since such speculation harms utilities’ credit and raises their cost of borrowing money, thereby raising customers’ utility bills.

Loan Guarantees for Projects That Employ Innovative Technologies

TDOE's nuclear loan guarantee program was set up by Congress in 2005 and funded in 2007 at $18.5 billion for new reactors and $2 billion for new uranium enrichment plants (additional funds are available for renewable and coal technologies). DOE has narrowed the first round of applicants for this money to four utilities seeking to build a total of seven reactors: UniStar Nuclear (Calvert Cliffs), Southern Company (Vogtle), NRG Energy (South Texas) and SCANA (Summer). But apparently DOE is having trouble actually giving out these guarantees because of the corporate structures of some of the projects and because foreign export-import banks (and perhaps some other potential investors) that would provide additional funds for them are concerned about the level of risk involved. Both the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Government Accountability Office already have warned that the loan guarantee program carries substantial risk to the taxpayer. For example, the CBO says the risk of default by nuclear utilities is about 50%. Yet, rather than trying to reduce this already significant risk, DOE is proposing to expose taxpayers to even greater risk. A key part of their proposed rule, for example, removes DOE's right to a "first lien" on these projects--in other words, an assurance that taxpayers would be the first to be repaid. Instead, DOE would have to stand in line with other lenders to be repaid--particularly significant in the event of default, when full repayment would not be expected. The proposal also makes other changes to the program, with no justification other than to do the nuclear industry's bidding. Truth be told, no taxpayer money should be used for new reactor construction and this program shouldn't even exist. But at long as it does, it is unconscionable for DOE to be considering making this program even riskier for taxpayers. Meanwhile, DOE continues to provide virtually no public information about the loan guarantee program. You'd think after the financial crises of the last couple of years DOE would have learned that risky, secretive investments lead to enormous financial losses and taxpayer bailouts.

 

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Nuclear Power and Weapons Information

The NRC Glossary of Terms

A glossary of terms commonly used in the nuclear industry.

The Future of Nuclear Power: An MIT Interdisciplinary Study

An interdisciplinary MIT faculty group decided to study the future of nuclear power because of a belief that this technology is an important option for the United States and the world to meet future energy needs without emitting carbon dioxide and other atmospheric pollutants. Other options include increased efficiency, renewables, and carbon sequestration, and all may be needed for a successful greenhouse gas management strategy. This study, addressed to government, industry, and academic leaders, discusses the interrelated technical, economic, environmental, and political challenges facing a significant increase in global nuclear power utilization over the next half century and what might be done to overcome those challenges.

The Economic Cost of Nuclear Power

Free Market v. Subsidized Nuclear Power Economics: In a market economy, private investors are the ultimate arbiter of what energy technologies can compete and yield reliable profits, so to understand nuclear power’s prospects, just follow the money. Private investors have flatly rejected nuclear power but enthusiastically bought its main supply-side competitors - decentralized cogeneration and renewables. Worldwide, at the end of 2004, these supposedly inadequate alternatives had more installed capacity than nuclear, produced 92 percent as much electricity, and were growing 5.9 times faster and accelerating, while nuclear was fading.

Scientific American on Nuclear Power

Search Scientific American for numerous articles on nuclear power, and see the artilce on the costs of a nuclear power plant.

Nuclear power: The Energy Balance, Energy Insecurity and Greenhouse Gases

Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen discusses energy insecurity and greenhouse gases. These are the main issues in the global nuclear debate at this moment: energy security and global warming. This study is a physical analysis of the nuclear system: the full technical and industrial complex, needed to generate electricity from uranium. The main issues are the potential contribution of nuclear power to the world energy supply in the future and to the mitigation of the anthropogenic climate change in the future. Safety issues and proliferation risks are not directly addressed.

Energy From Uranium

In the perspective of rising prices of fossil fuels and climatological concerns, nuclear power gained renewed interest as a solution to the energy problems. This paper discusses some unique aspects of nuclear power, which may be important in the considerations of the options for the future energy supply mix.

US Energy Information Center

Official energy statistics from the US Government.

Nuclear Energy Institute

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) is the policy organization of the nuclear energy and technologies industry and participates in both the national and global policy-making process. NEI’s objective is to ensure the formation of policies that promote the beneficial uses of nuclear energy and technologies in the United States and around the world.

US Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was created as an independent agency by Congress in 1974 to enable the nation to safely use radioactive materials for beneficial civilian purposes while ensuring that people and the environment are protected. The NRC regulates commercial nuclear power plants and other uses of nuclear materials, such as in nuclear medicine, through licensing, inspection and enforcement of its requirements.

The NRC License Renewal Program

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulations limit the term of an initial nuclear reactor operating license to 40 years. However, the regulations also allow a license to be renewed for an additional 20 years given that the initial term was based on economic and anti-trust considerations, not technical limitations. Through technical research, NRC concluded that many aging phenomena are readily managed and therefore should not preclude renewal of a reactor license.

The International Atomic Energy Agency

The Agency is the world´s center of cooperation in the nuclear field. It was set up as the world´s "Atoms for Peace" organization in 1957 within the United Nations family. The Agency works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies.

Nuclear Suppliers Group

The Nuclear Suppliers Group is a group of nuclear supplier countries which seeks to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear related exports.

World Nuclear Association

The World Nuclear Association is the global private-sector organization that seeks to promote the peaceful worldwide use of nuclear power as a sustainable energy resource for the coming centuries. Specifically, the WNA is concerned with nuclear power generation and all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle, including mining, conversion, enrichment, fuel fabrication, plant manufacture, transport, and the safe disposition of spent fuel.

Dr. Helen Caldicott

The single most articulate and passionate advocate of citizen action to remedy the nuclear and environmental crises, Dr. Helen Caldicott, has devoted the last 35 years to an international campaign to educate the public about the medical hazards of the nuclear age and the necessary changes in human behavior to stop environmental destruction.

The Institute for Energy and Environmental Research

The Institute provides activists, policy-makers, journalists, and the public with understandable and accurate scientific and technical information on energy and environmental issues. Our aim is to bring scientific excellence to public policy issues in order to promote the democratization of science and a safer, healthier environment.

Nuclear Information and Resource Service

The Nuclear Information and Resource Service and the World Information Service on Energy is the information and networking center for citizens and environmental organizations concerned about nuclear power, radioactive waste, radiation, and sustainable energy issues.

The Public Citizen Energy Program

Public Citizen's energy program safeguards consumers from the impacts of electricity deregulation, educates the public on the dangers of nuclear power while encouraging responsible nuclear waste management, and fights against environmental degradation by promoting clean energy alternatives.

The Union of Concerned Scientists

Since well before the 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear power plant, Union of Concerned Scientists has been the leading watchdog on nuclear safety. That accident, along with many subsequent close calls, exposed the failings of the nuclear industry and its government regulators to ensure safe nuclear power. While no new nuclear plants have been built since the TMI accident, more than 100 nuclear plants continue to operate in the United States.

The Future of Nuclear Power: Economic and Regulatory Challenges

This paper examines the economic and regulatory challenges that must be faced by potential investors in new nuclear power plants in the United States. The historical development of the existing fleet of over 100 nuclear plants and their recent performance history are discussed. The pattern of re-licensing of existing plants and the implications for the role of the extended operation of the existing fleet in the overall electricity supply portfolio over the next 50 years is examined. The economic competitiveness of investments in new nuclear power plants compared to investments in alternative base load technologies is discussed under a variety of assumptions about construction costs, fuel costs, competitive and economic regulatory environments and various levels of carbon emissions prices affected competing fossil-fueled technologies. Also see this link.

The Connections Between Nuclear Power and Nuclear Weapons

For as long as there has been federal control of nuclear research and materials, there has been an interest in using commercial nuclear reactors as a source of materials to make weapons.

Uranium Watch

Uranium Watch works to educate and advocate for protection of public health and the environment from past, current, and future impacts of uranium mining, uranium milling, nuclear waste disposal at uranium mill sites, and other impacts of the nuclear fuel cycle.

NukeWorker.com

Your site for job opportunities related to nuclear power, plus news and notes about nuclear power plants. Get a job at Vermont Yankee.
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News

Fairewinds Associates

This site provides information related to analysis and solutions to complex engineering, environmental,energy, and legal issues. They also have some very informative videos.

NucNews

News issues primarily related to the State of Nevada and the Yucca Mountain Repository.

Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Ohio

How We Almost Blew Up Ohio. Nuclear regulators blame plant employees for a near miss at Davis-Besse power station. Maybe it's the regulators we should be worried about.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Global security news and analsyis.

Senator Clinton on nuclear energy

March 2007: From a campaign rally in South Carolina.

Senator Obama, radioactive leaks in Illinois, and his ties to the nuclear industry

February 2008: When residents in Illinois voiced outrage two years ago upon learning that the Exelon Corporation had not disclosed radioactive leaks at one of its nuclear plants, the state’s freshman senator, Barack Obama, took up their cause, sort of...

Sarkozy to sign UAE nuclear deal

January 2008: French President Nicolas Sarkozy has begun a Gulf tour, during which he is due to sign a nuclear co-operation deal with the United Arab Emirates. He has arrived in Saudi Arabia and will go on to Qatar and the UAE over the next three days. All three are seeking to develop civilian nuclear programmes.

A new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK has been given formal backing by the government

January 2008: Business Secretary John Hutton told MPs they would give a "safe and affordable" way of securing the UK's future energy supplies while fighting climate change. He said any plants would be built at or near existing reactors by private firms and said he hoped the first one would be completed "well before 2020".

Iran Reaches Key Nuclear Goal

September 2007: Iran has met a key target for its nuclear programme and now has 3,000 centrifuges enriching uranium, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said.

Yucca Mountain Repository plan in danger

September 2007: The most expensive public works project in the US was today in disarray after it emerged that a planned giant nuclear dump would be located on a faultline.

Bellona Foundation

The Bellona Foundation is an international environmental NGO based in Norway. Founded in 1986 as a direct action protest group, Bellona has become a recognised technology and solution-oriented organization with offices in Oslo, Brussels, Washington D.C., St. Petersburg and Murmansk. Altogether, some 75 engineers, ecologists, nuclear physicists, economists, lawyers, political scientists and journalists work at Bellona.
 

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Citizen Action Groups

Citizen's Awareness Network

CAN began as a group of concerned citizens organizing to protect their community from a nuclear meltdown. CAN now has seven chapters in five states. Join us in creating a clean energy future for everyone.

Evacuation Plans and More

A wealth of information about Vermont Yankee.

Beyond Nuclear

Beyond Nuclear aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abandon both to safeguard our future. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an energy future that is sustainable, benign and democratic.

Nukewatch

Nukewatch functions as an independent action group working for peace and justice, with a primary focus on the nuclear industry. The organization's various projects bring critical attention to the locations, movements, dangers, and the politics of nuclear weapons, nuclear power and radioactive wastes.

Activists' Guide to Fighting Nuclear Power

This new series of educational fact sheets about nuclear power is aimed at refuting some of the central arguments that nuclear power advocates use when advancing their message. Specifically, there are five key reasons why nuclear power is not a solution to the United States’ energy needs: cost, security, safety, waste, and proliferation.

Nuclear & Renewable Energy Facts

Earmarked in the Congressional Appropriations Bill passed at the end of 2007 were some $18.5 billion in loan guarantees for backers of new nuclear reactors. We also face the possibility that still more guarantees and subsidies will be proposed in additional Congressional legislation. Besides the fact that reactors are vulnerable to terrorist attacks, human error in operation, and earthquakes, there is also no solution to the problem of safely storing or transporting nuclear waste. Why would we want more nuclear power facilities built if the safety of those already in operation is in question?

Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance

The Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance organizes vents to educate the Central Vermont public about the risks that having a nuclear power plant in Vermont poses to our state, about the connection of nuclear power to climate change and about the truly green alternatives we have for efficient power. Actions to better publicize that nuclear power is not safe, not cheap, not efficient and, certainly not green.

Safe Power Vermont

Safe Power Vermont is a coalition of experienced citizen, environmental, legal and nuclear replacement organizations working to close Vermont Yankee, replace it with clean, safe and renewable energy solutions, and put the energy future of Vermont in the hands of its citizens.

Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPRIG)

As one of the oldest nuclear power plants in the country, Vermont Yankee's continued operation poses a constant threat to the people of Vermont... As Entergy seeks a 20-year extension of VY's license to operate, it is clear that shutting down this facility is critical in safeguarding Vermont from an accidental leak or targeted attack.

 

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