Committed to shutting down Diablo Canyon reactors – sunset for nuclear power in California.

Monthly Archives: March 2017

  The Nuclear Industry’s Karma Runs Over Its Dogma…Again “You Can Be Sure…If It’s Westinghouse.” That was the slogan back in its heyday when Westinghouse was a household word.  That motto has now turned ironic with the announcement yesterday that the once-giant transnational –  now reduced to a mere division of Toshiba – is filing for bankruptcey.  Pro-nuclear worriers and no-nukes celebrants alike are asking, “If Westinghouse, once the most prolific spawner of nuclear power reactors world wide, is going belly up, can we be sure that the nuclear industry itself will not be far behind?” The news triggered a burst of commentary on both sides of the nuclear question. Greenpeace’s Shaun Burnie calls it “a defining moment in the history of nuclear power,” and goes on to examine its implications for current reactor construction projects around the world. Westinghouse as Warning Beyond Nuclear’s Paul Gunter made these trenchant observations in his response to a request for comments from activist Cynthia Papermaster:
In my opinion, the collapse of the nuclear industry brings more warning than celebration but I dance with every closure of a nuclear waste generator. Ultimately capping the curie count on this manufactured catastrophe is the first and most responsible action that can be taken. So the bankruptcy of a manufacturer like Westinghouse Electric has a particular sweet spot in my heart given I have participated in this campaign since 1975 beginning as an organizer, non-violence trainer and affinity group member of the Clamshell Alliance for the occupations and blockades at the construction site of Westinghouse reactors at Seabrook, NH.  This morning’s Washington Post has the industry still trying to put the best face on the announcement with a rumor that a industry consortium is being put together to buy WEC off of Toshiba.  We will see how much bluster or fact there is to that. I witnessed Westinghouse bankrupt four New England utilities who were initially sold two 1150 MWe pressurized water reactors for $450 million per unit that turned into a sunk cost of $900 million to cancel Unit 2 and the final cost to turn on Unit 1 at over $6 billion.  New Hampshire still has some of the most expensive electricity in the country. My biggest concern is that as the profit motive plummets on this industry, operationally it is becoming that much more dangerous.   The US nuclear industry is now cutting its operational costs by 30% for an aging fleet. The NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Capture) is similarly downsizing its oversight and papering over operational safety vulnerabilities. The four Westinghouse units now under construction in GA and SC are going through the same identical failure to meet cost and time to completion but the juggernaut is still stumbling forward.  The so-called  “renaissance”  of these gigantic reactors is a demonstrated relapse to the same inherent financial failures. But the industry plans to remake itself with small modular reactors that can be incrementally added onto a common control room. The collapse of the industry is moving faster than responsible and fully funded decommissioning. No surprise that cleaning up is not as much fun  or profitable as making a mess. This is where they plan to grossly short change the future. There is a staggering and still unaccounted for cost of nuclear waste management that these nuclear waste generators now seek to be unaccountable for.  Westinghouse is responsible for the design, manufacture and supply of half of the world’s nuclear waste generators. There are now hundreds of thousands of tons of orphaned highly-radioactive “spent” fuel worldwide requiring biological shielding  over the next geological span of time and sequestering the ingredients of atomic bombs into the distant future. We still have our work cut out for us. No Nukes, No Dumps, No Bombs, Paul