$12.6B into the Death Spiral

The nuclear power industry got a huge boost today from YOU via the US Dept. of Energy. DOE is proposing $12.6 Billion (yes, B) in new nuclear “guaranteed loans” for existing and new nuclear reactors. Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Projects is pegged for one-third that amount at $4 billion. There’s $8 billion for “Advanced Fossil Energy Projects.”  Only transportation got more: $16 B for “Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing.”

There is a lot of data on nuclear subsidies, from the Price-Anderson insurance boondoggle to states’ milking ratepayers for over-budget construction work in progress.  Back in 2011 the Union of Concerned Scientists released this report: Nuclear Power: Still Not Viable Without Subsidies. Ironically, the report was released on March 11, the morning Japan was hit by earthquakes and tsunami, just as the Fukushima nuclear disasters began.

In the three years since, it has become clear that the nuclear industry is in a “death spiral” due to competition from natural gas, solar and wind, plus the resulting push for decentralized power; 5 US reactors closing; media stories about the financial and human impacts of Fukushima; the release of more fact-based reports (see July 2014: Three of Four Nukes under construction globally are over budget & behind schedule ); and increased citizen activism at reactors  around the world.

Jeremy Rifkin, a world-renowned economist, summed up the “5 Reasons nuclear power is a dead end business model” succinctly to a meeting of asset managers recently.The conservative Forbes magazine, in an article entitled “Another Way to Look at the Utility Death Spiral,” concluded “Adding 19 trillion kilowatt hours to the world’s energy diet would take about 1,610 new nuclear power plants… There are 430 nuclear plants now and individual plants cost $7 billion or more.  … The alternative is to try alternatives.”

Yet financial reality bounces off the teflon armor of the US government. Obama is beholden to the nuclear industry which financed much of his political career. Former Exelon staff landed seats on the White House staff as soon as Obama was elected.  Exelon is now struggling to keep some of its 11 nuclear reactors in Illinois financially viable, and is holding that state’s energy policy hostage. Keep our nukes running with $580 of taxpayer money, or we’ll shut down & leave the state holding the bag for carbon emissions under the new EPA rules. A Chicago consumer advocate said, “If that’s going to be their ask, they’ll be getting all the profits without any of the risk. That would be an awfully hard hit to consumers.”

And lets not forget the massive media campaign by the industry, led by the Nuclear Energy Institute. NEI is a donor to ALEC, Koch brothers lobbying group. Last year, ALEC peddled 70 bills blocking alternative energy development in 37 states, and was successful in 16. Nuclear is promoting itself as the answer to climate change and pushing against renewables on a state by state basis, as outlined in this 2010 investigative report.

Money beats facts in Washington, DC. If nuclear power is clean power in Obama’s “all of the above” strategy, we need an “all of the above” strategy to fight back.

We might take as a starting point today post by Harvey Wasserman: Four Things We Need to Do to Win the Climate Fight

#1: In this movement, “what can I do?” always has a ready answer: fight the polluter next door. Pick one and shut it down!

YES! Let’s mark a big CHECK next to #1 ! We have strength and power and skills. Let’s take them to his next 3:

#2: Corporate dominance: Only way to take it on that has worked in the past: mass civil disobedience.

#3: For a green world, we need to include these issues: social justice, corporate personhood, net neutrality, election protection, and peace.

#4: Being an activist is a leap of faith which comes with rewards and costs, and so we can “listen to our gut instincts, accept what we’re good at doing, heed our natural passions, respect our comfort zones, heal in concert with our fellow citizen who are struggling to do the same.”

One activist reaching out to another, and another, and another, in peace,

Leslie Sullivan Sachs


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DCAP Meeting 9.25.2014

The next 2014 NDCAP meeting dates are October 30, November 11, December 18. Below is coverage of the first CAP meeting on Sept. 25:

The Commons’ Olga Peters covered the story 10.2: Entergy: Meeting was “watershed moment” for VY

Brattleboro Reformer: “Entergy details staff cuts, spent fuel plans at Vermont Yankee”

VtDigger: “Entergy Outlines Post-Shutdown Plans for VT Yankee”

Rutland Herald: “VY to Reveal Full Closing Cost in October”

9.25 details: The Nuclear Decommissioning Citizen Advisory Panel meeting is open to the public. It will be held at Brattleboro Union High School in the Multi-Purpose Room from 6-9pm. More info is here: http://publicservice.vermont.gov/announcements

“The agenda for the September 25 meeting includes a discussion of the mission of NDCAP; an overview of the Settlement Agreement reached between the State of Vermont and Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee (ENVY) in December 2013; and Vermont Yankee decommissioning and stakeholder assessment findings. In addition, ENVY will present a summary of current decommissioning activities at Vermont Yankee.  The meeting will be recorded by Brattleboro Cable Access Television (BCTV) who will upload the recording to the Vermont Media Exchange for distribution to all other Vermont public access stations.”

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NEW Countdown to Closure!

Remember our daily “Countdown to Closure” vigils at the gates of Vermont Yankee back in 2011 & 2012? We were marking the days until March 21, 2012, the day Vermont’s stamp of approval for nuclear operations expired.  Now watch our NEW 2014 Countdown to Closure clock on this page, counting the number of days until December 29, 2014, the date Entergy has set to pull the plug on the reactor.

Today, with 98 days til shut down, Yankee is producing at 98%. Today marks 98 days until Yankee stops producing electricity and nuclear waste and stops heating up the Connecticut River.  Coincidentally, last week Yankee starting powering down a bit at a time as it rations its fuel, coasting down to December 29.


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Update – People’s Climate March: Nuclear-Free, Carbon-Free

Climate March 9.21.2014Sept. 20 / 21 People’s Climate March & the Nuclear Free Contingent

In case you haven’t heard, 310,000 to 400,00 marchers were in New York City on Sept. 21 —  more than double the size expected by 350.org and its 1,200 c0-sponsors. It is the largest march on climate change in history and the largest demo in the US in decades. You can read all about it here: http://peoplesclimate.org/

Safe & Green was a co-sponsor of the Nuclear Free, Carbon Free contingent. You can read more about that here: http://peoplesclimate.org/nonuclearpower/

On Nuclear Power & Climate Change: Read & Print “Nuclear Power & Climate: Why Nukes Can’t Save the Planet” a 2 page fact sheet by NIRS or watch “Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer to Climate Change” on YouTube (with Arnie Gundersen and other panelists).

SATURDAY: “Don’t Nuke the Climate Teach In” 9am-10:30am, St. John’s University Manhattan Campus NYC

SATURDAY: National meeting of nuclear activists in NYC. For details go to our Calendar here Saturday 2pm: National No Nukes Gathering of Activists in NYC

SUNDAY:  The Nuclear-Free, Carbon-Free Contingent of the People’s Climate March Sunday: No Nukes Contingent & Rally to People’s Climate March

Speakers & performers for the rally: Dr. Arjun Makhijani (IEER and author of Carbon-Free, Nuclear-Free); Hunter Lovins, President and Founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions, one of the nation’s leading experts in sustainable energy practices; Jessica Azulay, Program Director, Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE); Julia Walsh (Campaign Director, Frack Action & New Yorkers Against Fracking); Tim Judson (NIRS); Leona Morgan, Dine No Nukes in New Mexico; Japanese activist Yuko Tonohira; Sandra Steingraber, Concerned Health Professionals of New York, Distinguished Scholar at Ithaca College; new poems by Marge Piercy; Michael Mariotte, MC (NIRS). Performers: Raging Grannies; Joel Landy, Chiho Kaneko, Mel & Vinnie



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Yankee CAP Citizen Reps Announced

The 6 “citizen representatives” have been chosen for the Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Community Advisory Panel (CAP). Per the AP:

Gov. Peter Shumlin has appointed Kate O’Connor, of Brattleboro, and Martin Langeveld, of Vernon.

Sen. President Pro-Tempore John Campbell has appointed James P. Matteau of Westminster and James M. Tonkovich of Wilder.

And House Speaker Shap Smith has appointed David L. Deen and Derrik Jordan, both of Putney. …

The first meeting will be held on September 25 in Brattleboro.

Haven’t heard who has been appointed to represent the Emergency Planning Zone towns in NH and Mass. – one rep from each state will be named. In addition, the Town of Vernon will send a rep, as will Windham Regional Commission, IBEW, 4 state agency reps, one each from VT Senate & House, 2 from VT Yankee.

Read (very little) more about it here: www.burlingtonfreepress.com/ and here: http://vtdigger.org/  A description of the Panel’s purpose can be found on the VT Dept. of Public Service website here: http://publicservice.vermont.gov/topics/electric/nuclear

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Aug. 20: Public Hearing on Water Permit

Please attend the hearing about VT Yankee’s thermal discharge permit on 8.20.14 (details below). Despite the fact that VT’s Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) acknowledges that Entergy used outdated computer analysis rather than real water sampling to determine the impacts of its hot water discharge into the river, ANR is granting that thermal discharge be allowed to continue because Yankee will only run for a limited time, until it stops producing power on December 29th.

This is an about-face for ANR. One year ago, ANR recommended a closed-cycle cooling with no intake or discharge of river water. But Entergy said closed cycle cooling was a deal breaker when it was putting together a deal with the State on Yankee’s closure.

The Connecticut River Watershed Council has written a good critique of the permit here.

Here is a link to our prior posts on the draft permit

 VT Agency of Natural Resources Public Hearing

When: August 20, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Where: Vernon Elementary School, 381 Governor Hunt Road, Vernon, VT 05354

Here is the link to the update. http://www.watershedmanagement.vt.gov/ww/drafts/3-1199.Entergy.PublicHearing.20140702.pdf

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Out of the Fission Frying Pan

Safe and Green is working with others fighting extreme energy and global warming to create a truly safe and green energy future.  Member Ann Darling has written an excellent essay on the next chapter in Vermont Yankee, published in Energy Justice.net: Out of the Fission and Into the Fire?

For four decades we’ve been living with the insanity of boiling water with radioactivity to generate electricity. We don’t think replacing that by burning biomass and emitting particulates and greenhouse gases, pressuring our beautiful forests, and burning more fracked gas makes any more sense than nuclear.”


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Mass. Solar: Just Raise the Cap!

Just Raise the CAP                 July 21, 2014

Thank you all for making calls and sending out emails! We are making progress!

There is still more work to do. H.4185 is still in House Ways and Means. It could still get voted out. And the other side is gunning up with big hitters. We are going need more voices from everyone.

We know that it feels like the messjust raise the red sox capage has changed but in truth the message is still the same. Amend H.4185 to take out everything that is wrong with it, or Just Raise the CAP!  (A amendment to raise the cap can be added to any other bill that will pass in the statehouse.)

It has come to our attention that H.4185 includes “model legislative policies” from ALEC. (American Legislative Exchange Council funded by the Koch brothers) The utilities’ proposals to diminish the value of solar net metering are lifted directly from the ALEC play book on Net Metering. The Chair of the ALEC Committee on Energy, Environment and Agriculture is also the Director of Public Policy at American Electric Power (one of the largest utilities in the USA) that owns one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the USA (located in Ohio) that sends pollution and acid rain our way.  In Ohio, the utilities, with ALEC guidance, pushed back green energy so hard they persuaded the state legislature to suspend Ohio’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).

In Massachusetts, ALEC’s initial target is solar net metering. What’s next? Eliminating the RPS? Repealing the Global Warming Solutions Act? Arguing no compensation for environmental and social benefits for renewable energy at all? These are the ALEC tenets regarding renewable energy.

We must make the legislators aware of the actions by ALEC behind the scenes to put a stop to solar PV and renewable energy in the Commonwealth. We will not tolerate these shenanigans to keep coal, oil and nuclear power viable. Just Raise the Cap!

  Click here for a model letter you can send to your legislator and any of the members of the House Ways and Means Committee.

House Ways and Means Chair: Brian.Dempsey@mahouse.gov    617 722 2990
Vice Chair:  Stephen.Kulik@mahouse.gov   617-722-2380

House Ways and Means committee members  https://malegislature.gov/Committees/House/H34

House Representatives        https://malegislature.gov/People/House

Senate        https://malegislature.gov/People/Senate

Revealed: ALEC’s 2014 Attacks on the Environment

For more info

Thank you for your calls and emails.

Claire Chang and John Ward

Claire Chang

Solar Store of Greenfield

2 Fiske Ave

Greenfield, MA 01301




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Finally! Water Permit

VT’s Agency of Natural Resources is taking PUBLIC COMMENT on Entergy’s  Clean Water Act permit. Here is ANR’s press release with links to the draft permit & fact sheet. The public comment period on the permit has begun and has been extended through August 27th. There will be a public hearing, AUGUST 20th at 6:00PM at Vernon Elementary School, Vermont VT. Email comments to:  ANR.WSMDWastewaterComments@state.vt.us

Seven years ago, Yankee’s permit to discharge water it uses to cool the reactor into the Connecticut River expired. There was little to no action until Entergy announced the closure of Yankee. Then, in April, ANR pushed for closed cycle cooling onlyBut Entergy and the state were in negotiations on closing and decommissioning. Thinly veiled threats by Entergy that cooling towers were a deal breaker were obviously effective. In the draft permit, ANR agrees with the Connecticut River Watershed Council that Entergy used bad modeling in its permit application, but ANR is letting the modeling stand with one change: it sets temperature caps determined by actual water sampling.  Any impact of the cap is likely to be pointless by the time the permit is in place in the fall, and the permit term will be brief, with Yankee closing in December.

Bob Audette of the Brattleboro Reformer covered the permit news, cross-posted on VtDigger. Richie Davis covers it in The Recorder here. You can read comments on the permit here in a piece by Sue Prent of Green Mtn. Daily.

Safe & Green, with the SAGE Alliance, organized two Flotillas on the Connecticut River to draw attention to Yankee heating up the river, killing fish and other life in it. Go here for background info from 2012 and a summary of our actions.

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Mass. Voters: Save Our Solar

 Please take action today, and share with Massachusetts friends and family:

SAVE OUR SOLAR — Action Alert to stop H.4185

Why we must act now – Call today!

Why we must act now – Call today!

July 15, 2014

H.4185, a complicated bill developed by and favoring electric utility and industry interests, would severely limit solar photovoltaic development in Massachusetts. The legislation is currently before the House Ways and Means Committee. To prevent passage before the end of July, we must urge legislators to reject this bill. We favor an amendment to raise the Net Metering Cap which allows continued small solar development and calling for an open process to plan our energy future in more detail. Not behind closed doors!

[Want more background? Go to our Save Our Solar Fact Sheet page, or download the SOS Fact Sheet (PDF).]

Why oppose H.4185? It would among other problems:

  • reduce benefits to residential installations while favoring large industrial solar installations and the utilities;
  • limit the size of solar PV systems that residential owners can install;
  • deny residential owners the ability to allocate any excess production;
  • make community shared solar projects uneconomical;
  • exclude residents served by Municipal Light and Power from solar incentives.


To stop the bill — what we need to do:

(1)  Forward this message to friends and any lists you may have, to let people know what’s happening. Attached is a SOS Fact Sheet with more information on H.4185.


(2)  Copy the short Action Alert below into a new message, with a personal statement from you and send it to the House Ways and Means Committee chair and vice-chair and your state Representative and Senator. The House and Senate links will give you the phone numbers for your representative and senator.

House Ways and Means Chair: Brian.Dempsey@mahouse.gov    617 722 2990
Vice Chair:  Stephen.Kulik@mahouse.gov    617-722-2380

House Ways and Means committee members https://malegislature.gov/Committees/House/H34

House Representatives




Additionally, we need calls to these reps and senators, especially from their constituents. If you live in their districts, Please make a call early this week. Phone #’s are in the above links.

Rep Robert DeLeo, Robert.DeLeo@mahouse.gov
Rep John Keenan, John.Keenan@mahouse.gov

Rep Lori Erlich, Lori.Ehrlich@mahouse.gov

Rep Anne Gobi, Anne.Gobi@mahouse.gov

Rep Carolyn Dykema, Carolyn.Dykema@mahouse.gov

Rep Frank Smizek, Frank.Smizik@mahouse.gov

Rep Denise Provost, Denise.Provost@mahouse.gov

Rep Steve Kulik, Stephen.Kulik@mahouse.gov

Rep Joe Wagner, Joseph.Wagner@mahouse.gov

Rep Brian Dempsey, Brian.Dempsey@mahouse.gov

Rep Paul Mark, Paul.Mark@mahouse.gov

Rep Tricia Farley Bouveay, Tricia.Farley-Bouvier@mahouse.gov

Rep Jay Kaufman, Jay.Kaufman@mahouse.gov

Rep Peter Kocot, Peter.Kocot@ma house.gov

Senator Eldridge, James.Eldridge@masenate.gov
Senator Wolf, Daniel.Wolf@masenate.gov
Senator Rosenberg, Stan.Rosenberg@masenate.gov
Senator Brewer, Stephen.Brewer@masenate.gov
Senator Chang-Diaz, Sonia.Chang-Diaz@masenate.gov
Senator Downing, Benjamin.Downing@masenate.gov

Only timely action NOW can “Save Our Solar”.

************************ ‘cut and paste’ this basic alert into new message *******************

Because H.4185 would set back the positive development of small and community solar development in a number of discriminatory ways, I urge you to reject the bill in this session. Instead, please support a net metering amendment allowing solar to continue, with public policy input and participation:

•    Raise the net metering cap by this stepped schedule:

2015 12%
2017 20%
2019 28%

•     Establish a open, public process for a detailed analysis of Commonwealth Solar policy.

Thank you for your timely attention in this matter!

************************ ‘cut and paste’ this basic alert into new message *******************
For more information contact: Claire Chang clairech@crocker.com




 ***      Daily Hampshire Gazette, July 13/14, 2014

William and Norma Coli: Bill before House would reduce affordability of PV systems in Massachusetts

*** Greenfield Recorder, July 10, 2014
New solar law casts shadow on small businesses
by Richie Davis

***      Commonwealth Magaziine, July 09, 2014 New solar legislation goes the wrong way
Bill would bar many from the sun’s benefits

          ***      The Guardian.com, comment by Giles Parkinson, July 6, 2014
Solar has won. Even if coal were free to burn, power stations couldn’t compete


***      Boston Globe Opinion, July 8, 2014
Equal and equitable access to solar
by David Enos and Worth Robbins

And from our neighbors in Vermont:

How One State’s Net Metering Expansion Offers A Model To The Nation

April 10, 2014 By Andrew Savage, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, AllEarth Renewables

“While battles rage with utilities taking on both solar customers and businesses around the country,Vermont has quietly expanded its net metering program by nearly four-times without so much as a skirmish.”…

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