Saturday, April 29, 2017

Slow Saturday Special: Under the Boardwalk....

.... down by the Seabrook:

"Legacy of Seabrook nuclear protest debated" by David Abel Globe Staff  April 28, 2017

The standoff at Seabrook helped spark a national backlash against nuclear power that has reverberated for decades.

What happened on that warm day on April 30, 1977, and the movement it galvanized, may have led to unforeseen consequences. Some environmental advocates now question whether their opposition to nuclear power paved the way for more coal, oil, and natural gas power plants, prime sources of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

First of all, it doesn't have to be an either/or, secondly, all the flogging of that disputed idea at the exclusion of all other environmental problems makes one go pfffft, and thirdly look at the corporate $hills heaping the guilt trip on protesters.

If you step back a minute and put everything into context you can see that energy equals control, wars are waged over it and by the means which it will be delivered. It's also about getting the money into the right hands; otherwise, we would all have solar panels on our homes.

As demonstration projects in the 1950s and 1960s showed the viability of nuclear power to generate vast amounts of electricity, political leaders vowed to build as many as 1,000 nuclear reactors by the end of the century.

That never materialized, in no small measure because of the anti-nuclear movement, crystallized by the occupation of Seabrook, said Tom Wellock, a historian at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which was created in 1975 to oversee the growing number of reactors across the country.

Oh, an occupation says the Zioni$twar pre$$.

“What happened with the Clamshell Alliance at Seabrook is that it really nationalized consciousness about nuclear power and inspired similar groups around the country,” he said. “Their influence on policy-makers certainly mattered.”

The number of reactors peaked in the 1990s at 112, and today, there are just 99. Seven more are slated to shut down in the coming decade, including the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth.

They have had their problems but they are being allowed to stay open.

Economic pressures played a major role in dampening the ambition for more nuclear plants as well.

Yeah, I didn't think it was the protests that really turned authority around on anything anymore. It's always about co$t to them. Maybe in an ancillary way the civil actions contributed, but that's not why power gives in. 

Many plants, like Pilgrim, which began producing power in 1972, have struggled with financial challenges. It takes billions of dollars to build a nuclear plant, and tens of millions of dollars every year to keep them fueled, operating safely, and secure.

I'm not interested in their damn $ob $ong!!!!

Those pressures were particularly acute in the 1970s and 1980s, when energy efficiency efforts during the oil embargo reduced demand for electricity, rising interest rates increased construction costs, and regulations were tightened in response to the 1979 meltdown at Three Mile Island, which stoked public fears about nuclear power.

At least they mentioned it as they stoke fear of AGW.

In recent years, the economics have become harder still. A rush of cheap natural gas from hydraulic fracking has made many nuclear plants uncompetitive, especially in states like Massachusetts where energy prices aren’t subsidized.

Fracking comes with its own problems, like water that burns, methane emissions 25x worse than that carbon on which they want to tax you, and it apparently -- as an idiot could see -- affects the very soil under your feet (hello, Oklahoma, you have an earthquake today?).

Today, like other nuclear plants, Seabrook is contending with costly maintenance challenges. The plant is licensed to operate until 2030, but federal regulators have denied its bid to extend its license for another 20 years until they approve a plan to correct the degradation of the concrete walls and foundation of its containment building.

As part of their effort to sustain public support for the plant, which employs 550 people full-time and provides power to roughly 1.2 million homes and businesses, company officials now argue that Seabrook remains vital to the region’s ability to curb carbon emissions and address global warming.

I'll take my chances with that.... and what about solar and wind? Had all the war based on lies money been put into that.... sigh.

Indeed, carbon emissions in 2015 rose in New England for the first time in five years, a spike that energy officials attributed to the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant’s closing the year before, because the closure forced the power grid to rely on plants run by dirtier fuels such as oil and natural gas. Without power from Seabrook, Massachusetts would struggle to comply with the state’s legal requirement of cutting its carbon emissions 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

I have no regrets, sorry. It's nice to know there is no chance of that place blowing up when you live out here -- and there has not been one effect on energy transmission either. More fear for you before the fact, and I'm tired of it.

The challenges of reducing carbon emissions, especially under a Trump administration, have led some environmental groups to rethink their position on nuclear power. This month, the Environmental Defense Fund issued a paper entitled, “Why We Still Need America’s Nuclear Power Plants – At Least for Now.”

Then *uck them, they are nothing but a corporate front.

But few members of the Clamshell Alliance, which inspired a number of similar protest groups, have come around to supporting nuclear power.

The protesters 40 years ago occupied the property, about 40 miles north of Boston, for nearly a day before state troopers from five New England states intervened, holding more than 1,400 activists in National Guard armories for up to two weeks.

Robin Thompson spent 11 days in the National Guard armory in Manchester, N.H., eating canned peas and singing “We Shall Overcome.” Now 62, she doesn’t “have a moment of regret” about the protests, describing nuclear power as “outrageously dangerous.”

Like many of her fellow activists, she’s also deeply worried about the impact of emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants.

“It does give me pause that carbon emissions are going up,” said Thompson, a 62-year-old who lives in Amherst, Mass. “But I still believe nuclear power is an absolute disaster waiting to happen.”

No one is known to have died from a radiation leak at a nuclear plant in the United States since an explosion at a test reactor in Idaho Falls killed three people in 1961. But radioactive waste from those plants will remain a threat to public safety for thousands of years, critics say. Much of that waste remains scattered at nuclear plants around the country, with no clear plan on how to dispose of it.

Well, I was going to mention that earlier but I didn't want to spoil the mood surrounding the rethink (sigh).

Maybe they could bury all the waste under the Somali boardwalk (or perhaps they already are).

Building hundreds of additional nuclear plants would have substantially cut the US contribution to climate change, reducing the need for some 1,300 coal plants in the United States. But protesters contend that the country should have devoted the vast sums of money that went to nuclear power to developing renewable energy.

“This is my regret: that our larger society did not hear or heed our concerns fully and deeply enough,” said Thea Paneth, now 58 and from Arlington. She was 18 years old when she spent 12 days confined to an armory in Dover after being arrested at Seabrook.

“I have done all I could, for love of people and planet Earth,” she said. “I am thankful and grateful for the folks who showed me how to engage in struggle.”

That's all anyone can ask or give.


Strangely, there was no mention of Chernobyl or Fukushima in that piece.