New Video: Why Does Duke Energy Hate Solar Power in North Carolina?

NC WARN has launched a statewide campaign to expose Duke Energy’s efforts to destroy North Carolina’s growing solar power industry at the rooftop and large-scale levels. To learn more about their campaign, got to Why Does Duke Energy Hate Solar?

Get everyone you know to send a short email to NC Utilities Commission Chair Ed Finley (statements@ncuc.net) about the upcoming solar hearing in Raleigh. This particular hearing is about large-scale solar but has implications for rooftop systems as well. Tell Commissioner Chair Ed Finley why large-scale solar is valuable for North Carolina. Please reference docket E-100 Sub 140 in the subject line.

A Somber Reminder – 35th Anniversary of Three Mile Island Nuclear Disaster

The same folks that brought you the Dan River Coal Ash Disaster and are part of a federal criminal investigation are talking about about building 2 nuclear reactors just southwest of Charlotte in Gaffney, SC.  We need to keep the pressure on to tell Duke Energy and our elected officials that we Don’t Want Dirty Energy. We want them to clean up their act and give us Clean Nuclear Free and Carbon Free Renewable Energy!

Check out the actual NBC report from the day of the disaster and the story below.

Three Mile Island Mar 28 1979

And here’s a report from This Day in History

Mar 28, 1979: Nuclear accident at Three Mile Island

At 4 a.m. on March 28, 1979, the worst accident in the history of the U.S. nuclear power industry begins when a pressure valve in the Unit-2 reactor at Three Mile Island fails to close. Cooling water, contaminated with radiation, drained from the open valve into adjoining buildings, and the core began to dangerously overheat.

The Three Mile Island nuclear power plant was built in 1974 on a sandbar on Pennsylvania‘s Susquehanna River, just 10 miles downstream from the state capitol in Harrisburg. In 1978, a second state-of-the-art reactor began operating on Three Mile Island, which was lauded for generating affordable and reliable energy in a time of energy crises.

After the cooling water began to drain out of the broken pressure valve on the morning of March 28, 1979, emergency cooling pumps automatically went into operation. Left alone, these safety devices would have prevented the development of a larger crisis. However, human operators in the control room misread confusing and contradictory readings and shut off the emergency water system. The reactor was also shut down, but residual heat from the fission process was still being released. By early morning, the core had heated to over 4,000 degrees, just 1,000 degrees short of meltdown. In the meltdown scenario, the core melts, and deadly radiation drifts across the countryside, fatally sickening a potentially great number of people.

As the plant operators struggled to understand what had happened, the contaminated water was releasing radioactive gases throughout the plant. The radiation levels, though not immediately life-threatening, were dangerous, and the core cooked further as the contaminated water was contained and precautions were taken to protect the operators. Shortly after 8 a.m., word of the accident leaked to the outside world. The plant’s parent company, Metropolitan Edison, downplayed the crisis and claimed that no radiation had been detected off plant grounds, but the same day inspectors detected slightly increased levels of radiation nearby as a result of the contaminated water leak. Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh considered calling an evacuation.

Finally, at about 8 p.m., plant operators realized they needed to get water moving through the core again and restarted the pumps. The temperature began to drop, and pressure in the reactor was reduced. The reactor had come within less than an hour of a complete meltdown. More than half the core was destroyed or molten, but it had not broken its protective shell, and no radiation was escaping. The crisis was apparently over.

Two days later, however, on March 30, a bubble of highly flammable hydrogen gas was discovered within the reactor building. The bubble of gas was created two days before when exposed core materials reacted with super-heated steam. On March 28, some of this gas had exploded, releasing a small amount of radiation into the atmosphere. At that time, plant operators had not registered the explosion, which sounded like a ventilation door closing. After the radiation leak was discovered on March 30, residents were advised to stay indoors. Experts were uncertain if the hydrogen bubble would create further meltdown or possibly a giant explosion, and as a precaution Governor Thornburgh advised “pregnant women and pre-school age children to leave the area within a five-mile radius of the Three Mile Island facility until further notice.” This led to the panic the governor had hoped to avoid; within days, more than 100,000 people had fled surrounding towns.

On April 1, President Jimmy Carter arrived at Three Mile Island to inspect the plant. Carter, a trained nuclear engineer, had helped dismantle a damaged Canadian nuclear reactor while serving in the U.S. Navy. His visit achieved its aim of calming local residents and the nation. That afternoon, experts agreed that the hydrogen bubble was not in danger of exploding. Slowly, the hydrogen was bled from the system as the reactor cooled.

At the height of the crisis, plant workers were exposed to unhealthy levels of radiation, but no one outside Three Mile Island had their health adversely affected by the accident. Nonetheless, the incident greatly eroded the public’s faith in nuclear power. The unharmed Unit-1 reactor at Three Mile Island, which was shut down during the crisis, did not resume operation until 1985. Cleanup continued on Unit-2 until 1990, but it was too damaged to be rendered usable again. In the more than two decades since the accident at Three Mile Island, not a single new nuclear power plant has been ordered in the United States.

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/nuclear-accident-at-three-mile-island

March 11: The 3rd Anniversary of the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Disaster

Please take a moment to remember the thousands of individuals impacted by the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster and how their lives and lands will be impacted for decades to come.

Aging nuclear reactors and the lack of a long term nuclear waste solution make for a risky situation here in North Carolina. Duke Energy, the same folks that brought you the Dan River Disaster, are still saying they want to build two muti billion dollar nuclear reactors in the Carolinas. It’s time to say NO to nuclear power when offshore wind, solar, other forms of renewable energy, and energy efficiency are clearly better options for North Carolina.

Sierra Club Nuclear Free logo

Why The Economics Don’t Favor Nuclear Power In America  Given the expense of nuclear power, a commitment to nuclear crowds out the alternatives. The biggest mistake policy makers could make is to allow the search for yet another nuclear holy grail to delay the transition to a 21st century electricity grid.

U.S. Nuclear Agency Hid Concerns, Hailed Safety Record as Fukushima Melted In the tense days after a powerful earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan on March 11, 2011, staff at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission made a concerted effort to play down the risk of earthquakes and tsunamis to America’s aging nuclear plants, according to thousands of internal emails reviewed by NBC News.

☼ Global Shift to Clean Energy No Longer ‘Theoretical’ Recent price declines for solar energy have been “massive,” and “substantial” for wind, meaning that a global shift away from fossil fuels is no longer “theoretical.” It’s happening, and fast.

 

* A Compromise We Can’t Afford

X
Coming Clean: The blog of Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune
January 17, 2014

A Compromise We Can’t Afford

Michael Brune Follow me on Twitter and Facebook. View my blog.

Yesterday, the Sierra Club and 17 other environmental, environmental justice, and public health advocacy groups sent a letter to President Obama in which we asked him to stop basing national energy policy on an “all of the above” strategy. If we want to reach the goal of 100 percent clean energy before our climate is catastrophically disrupted, then common sense demands that we prioritize clean energy — and make it official — right now. Here’s what we told the president, followed by a link to the letter itself:

Dear Mr. President,We applaud the actions you have taken to reduce economy-wide carbon pollution and your commitment last June “to take bold action to reduce carbon pollution” and “lead the world in a coordinated assault on climate change.” We look forward to continuing to work with you to achieve these goals.

In that speech, you referenced that in the past you had put forward an “all of the above” energy strategy, yet noted that we cannot just drill our way out of our energy and climate challenge. We believe that continued reliance on an “all of the above” energy strategy would be fundamentally at odds with your goal of cutting carbon pollution and would undermine our nation’s capacity to respond to the threat of climate disruption. With record-high atmospheric carbon concentrations and the rising threat of extreme heat, drought, wildfires and super storms, America’s energy policies must reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, not simply reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

We understand that the U.S. cannot immediately end its use of fossil fuels and we also appreciate the advantages of being more energy independent. But an “all of the above” approach that places virtually no limits on whether, when, where or how fossil fuels are extracted ignores the impacts of carbon-intense fuels and is wrong for America’s future. America requires an ambitious energy vision that reduces consumption of these fuels in order to meet the scale of the climate crisis.

An “all of the above” strategy is a compromise that future generations can’t afford. It fails to prioritize clean energy and solutions that have already begun to replace fossil fuels, revitalize American industry, and save Americans money. It increases environmental injustice while it locks in the extraction of fossil fuels that will inevitably lead to a catastrophic climate future. It threatens our health, our homes, our most sensitive public lands, our oceans and our most precious wild places. Such a policy accelerates development of fuel sources that can negate the important progress you’ve already made on lowering U.S. carbon pollution, and it undermines U.S. credibility in the international community.

Mr. President, we were very heartened by your commitment that the climate impacts of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would be “absolutely critical” to the decision and that it would be contrary to the “national interest” to approve a project that would “significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” We believe that a climate impact lens should be applied to all decisions regarding new fossil fuel development, and urge that a “carbon-reducing clean energy” strategy rather than an “all of the above” strategy become the operative paradigm for your administration’s energy decisions.

In the coming months your administration will be making key decisions regarding fossil fuel development — including the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking on public lands, and drilling in the Arctic ocean — that will either set us on a path to achieve the clean energy future we all envision or will significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution. We urge you to make climate impacts and emission increases critical considerations in each of these decisions.

Mr. President, we applaud you for your commitment to tackle the climate crisis and to build an economy powered by energy that is clean, safe, secure, and sustainable.

Letter to President Barack Obama, January 16, 2014

Send your own message to the president encouraging him to take action on climate disruption. 

* Sierra Club 2013 Year in Review

Thanks to everyone for the great food and fellowship last night at our monthly meeting! It was a great time to get together and reflect about our challenges and accomplishments in 2013. Again,  thanks to the many members, supporters and partner organizations that helped to make all this happen. Click below to see the presentation.

I hope that you’ll review it and think about the great work that we accomplished and how you’ll help to make a difference in 2014.

Enjoy!

2013 Year in ReviewCPG 2013 Year in Review

 

* Protect our communities from radioactive waste – Comments due Dec 20!

The final comment period on nuclear waste storage is coming up at midnight this Friday, December 20th. We need everyone to sen a message to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to protect our communities from radioactive waste! Please click below and send a message today! Your grandchildren will thank you!

Sierra Club NRC LogoFor decades, nuclear power reactors all over the country have been able to operate without consideration to what would happen to the highly radioactive waste they produced. This put communities and the environment at risk across the nation.

Now, federal courts are requiring the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to study the environmental and health impacts of storage if the plant cannot find a permanent repository.  Even more importantly, the NRC will have to consider whether better energy alternatives to nuclear power are available.

We need to make sure the NRC adopts rules that will look at each nuclear plant closely – no nuclear plant should get an easy rubber stamp!

Tell the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to protect our communities and environment from radioactive waste

 

 

* “Why nuclear power is a false solution to the climate crisis” with Ralph Nader, Dec 12

climatetop

Dear Friends,

Join us Thursday, December 12 at 3 pm Eastern / 2pm Central / 1pm Mountain / noon Pacific for the final Climate Reality Check Coalition conference call of 2013. We are pleased to have Ralph Nader and Kevin Kamps join our call to discuss why nuclear power is a false solution to the climate crisis.

The climate crisis is upon us. The world’s leading climate scientists agree that time is rapidly running out and that urgent steps are needed to dramatically reduce our carbon emissions. In recent months, a small number of prominent climate activists have been urging the movement to accept nuclear power as a necessary part of the mix needed to get us off fossil fuels. Ralph Nader is a prominent spokesperson for the view that uranium fuel, as an alternative to fossil fuels, is a false choice and to address climate change and the consequences of dirty energy we must move toward a safe, efficient, sustainable and democratic energy economy, rather than promote dangerous solutions like nuclear power and fracking.

We’ll be joined by Ralph Nader and Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear to discuss why nuclear is not the answer.  Our discussion will include:

  • The exorbitant price and long completion time for bringing new reactors online
  • The opportunity cost of investing in nuclear power
  • The feasibility of a nuclear-free, carbon-free electricity sector
  • Unique issues such as lethal waste, proliferation and safety

Please RSVP here:

https://spreadsheets2.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFNyS3N0aEMzSnktR0c0UEkwY0NfQ0E6MQ

The call-in number is 209-647-1600 Code 615986.

More about our presenters:

Ralph Nader is one of America’s most effective social critics – named by The Atlantic as one of the 100 most influential figures in American history, and by Time and Life magazines as one of the hundred most influential Americans of the twentieth century, his documented criticism of government and industry has had widespread effect on public awareness and bureaucratic power. He is a long time watch dog of the nuclear industry and critic of nuclear power.

Kevin Kamps is the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at Beyond Nuclear. He specializes in high-level waste management and transportation; new and existing reactors; decommissioning; Congress watch; climate change; federal subsidies.

* Charlotte Nuclear Update – Nov 19

nukes-sad

There has been a flurry of pro nuclear activity in Charlotte recently to try to get the dying nuclear industry off of life support. Why? Follow the money.

Why is it dying? Here are three reports that describe the state of the industry:

Nuclear renaissance was just a fairy tale
The promise of cheap, low-carbon power – with 31 new reactors in the US – was based on rhetoric and obedience. Anyone who doubts that should read the new status report on the industry

Nuclear’s swan SONGS
Stick a fork in U.S. nuclear power. With four plants closing this year and more to come, the dream of electricity “too cheap to meter” is dead.

Nuclear Power’s Renaissance in Reverse
The IAEA’s optimistic rhetoric cannot obscure fundamental arithmetic: skyrocketing maintenance expenses and, in many cases, post-Fukushima upgrade costs, together with the impossibility of building competitive new capacity without massive government subsidies, are devastating the nuclear industry. As the economist Mark Cooper has put it, nuclear power is actually undergoing a “renaissance in reverse.

Here are some recent articles about nuclear energy beginning with a great Op-Ed from Louis Zeller, executive director of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League.

Whitman is wrong; nuclear power is not best energy solution

Nov. 16, 2013

From Louis Zeller, executive director of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, in response to Christine Todd Whitman’s piece, “Emissions will not reduce themselves. We need a plan” (Nov. 13 For the Record):

Nuclear power is not a solution to the energy questions facing the Carolinas. Indeed, the expansion of nuclear power would make the problems worse. Nuclear power fails on many counts.

The promise of jobs and prosperity makes nuclear sound appealing. But at $7 billion per reactor, the taxpayer foots a large share of the nuclear bill: a recent nuclear power plant license required a promise of $8.3 billion in federal loan guarantees to sooth the fears of private investors. Also, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 has the government cover nuclear cost overruns caused by regulatory delays up to $2 billion. Similarly, the Act established a production tax credit of 1.8 cents per kilowatt-hour for new nuclear power plants, another billion-dollar allocation. Economic uncertainty picks the pockets of residential customers too. In 2007 the N.C. General Assembly allowed utilities to have customers pay for new power plants up front, before the first watt is generated. This is not prosperity, it is corporate welfare.

Dirty and unsafe

Nuclear plants require enormous amounts of water. A single plant may consume more than the largest cities in a given state combined. And fully two-thirds of the heat produced to make steam to run the turbines is flushed down the drain as hot water, unusable. Meanwhile, high river water temperatures and falling reservoir levels are creating unsafe conditions for nuclear power plants because they have no off switch; they must have water to avoid overheating. During the 2007 drought, low water levels at Lake Norman caused the utility to struggle to keep McGuire’s cooling water intakes filled.

Nuclear is unsafe. Reactors at the Catawba nuclear power plant do not comply with NRC fire protection regulations adopted in 1980, a persistent failure which poses an increased risk of accident in 2013. And 35 nuclear plants are at risk from dam failure, including McGuire.

Nuclear pollutes. Accidental releases of radioactive contaminants are common to virtually all nuclear power reactors. Over 400 leaks have occurred, some releasing millions of gallons of polluted water. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission does little to prevent these violations; during the last four years no fines have been issued despite the two dozen leaks which occurred. Routine releases of radioactive gases from pressurized water reactors, such as those at Catawba and McGuire, are the result of nuclear operations’ standard cleaning process. The negative human health impacts are measurable, legal and permitted by the NRC.

Federal emergency planning for nuclear power plants is inadequate. The radioactive contaminants from the nuclear accident at Fukushima affected air, water, soil and agricultural products over a wide area. Radiation spreads in unpredictable ways, yet emergency planning in the U.S. extends only 10 miles. If a severe accident occurred at the McGuire or Catawba nuclear plant, where would 200,000 Charlotteans within that radius go? What if the accident occurred during rush hour?

Nuclear is not the solution to air pollution or global warming, simply because it is so expensive and carries insupportable risks. We can do better.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/11/16/4469376/whitman-is-wrong-nuclear-power.html

Christine Todd Whitman Visits Charlotte Chamber of Commerce (Video)
Nuke propaganda
also
Gov. Whitman on Pandora’s Promise
CASEnergy Coalition Co-Chair Governor Whitman gave her thoughts on “Pandora’s Promise,” the recently released documentary which takes a thoughtful look at the role of nuclear energy and its ability to take on some of the climate change and environmental challenges that Americans face today. The movie tells the story of five environmental experts who made the conversion from anti-nuclear attitudes to strong support. They explain their new understanding of nuclear power and its ability to safely provide clean, reliable power to meet growing global demand. Click on the image to watch the interview.

E4 Carolinas
Nuclear lobbying group started by Duke
http://e4carolinas.org/membership/members/

Mitsubishi cutting Charlotte nuclear engineering staff in half
Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems will lay off 48 people from its Charlotte Engineering Center by the end of the year, cutting the staff by roughly half.
The layoffs come as Mitsubishi has decided to slow its efforts to get Nuclear Regulatory Commission certification of its US-APWR reactor. That led the power company Luminant to announce plans last week to suspend its effort to license two 1,700 megawatt Mitsubishi reactors at the Commanche nuclear plant in Texas.
In April, Dominion announced it was abandoning plans to build a Mitsubishi unit at its North Anna Nuclear Station.

What’s the impact on Charlotte as Babcock & Wilcox seeks mPower investor?

In a major strategy shift, The Babcock & Wilcox Co. wants a majority buyer for its Generation mPower small nuclear reactor venture and plans to close a deal within a year.
It is a change the company describes as months in the making. And it offers enormous opportunity — and risk — to Charlotte’s energy hub.
Chief Executive Jim Ferland acknowledged the surprising course change in a conference call with analysts Wednesday.
The mPower project involves a small 180-megawatt nuclear reactor that can be built in a factory and shipped to a site. It can be installed more quickly and at a lower cost than current reactors that range more than 1,000 megawatts in size. The first units are supposed to be installed at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Clinch River Nuclear Plant.
B&W owns 90% of the joint venture, with partner Bechtel Corp holding the 10% balance. Ferland said B&W wants to shrink to a 15% to 20% stake.

Heath Shuler calling signals for Duke Energy’s D.C. lobbyists
Heath Shuler, Duke Energy Corp.’s top legislative affairs executive, sees little hope for significant action from Congress this year, but he says a tax-reform deal is possible in 2014 that could affect Duke and its customers.
Would Duke want to see an extension of legislation that has offered subsidies for new nuclear construction as it considers the Lee plant in South Carolina?
I just haven’t seen the legislatures looking at subsidizing nuclear at the present time.
I think it is very difficult to say we are looking for this type of subsidy. And I just don’t think that when you look at the big picture, with the deficit and debt, I don’t think that’s something that Congress can pull off.

* Why Coal, Gas and Nuke Utilities are Fighting Solar

Renewable is Doable

Climate Reality Check Conference Call

The Climate Reality Check Coalition exists to help strengthen community organizing on climate. This week, the group’s conference call will focus on a topic near and dear to our hearts: the corporate death spiral facing utilities who fail to respond to the “disruptive challenge” of the solar revolution. We would like to invite you to join the call.

When: Thursday, November 21

Time: 3 pm Eastern

Please RSVP here:
https://spreadsheets2.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFNyS3N0aEMzSnktR0c0UEkwY0NfQ0E6MQ
Then call this number at the time of the call: 209-647-1600,
and enter Code 615986 when prompted.

Why Coal, Gas and Nuke Utilities are Fighting Solar

A critical new front in the fight to slow climate change is the one shaping up between the present coal-, nuclear- and gas-based monopoly utilities and solar energy. Early this year the utilities’ think tank, the Edison Electric Institute, issued a major report on the “disruptive challenges” posed by the onslaught of low-priced solar. Others have described the threat as a potential “death spiral” for those utilities that fail to adapt. The utilities are fighting back in Arizona, Colorado and elsewhere.

In this call Nancy LaPlaca will describe how those fights are playing out and the economic, legislative and regulatory realities behind them. We will also discuss the larger implications of these fights for the climate movement.

If you have any questions please contact Rose Braz, Center for Biological Diversity, rbraz@biologicaldiverisity.org. Thank you.

More on our presenter:

Nancy LaPlaca, J.D., is an energy consultant and activist with considerable expertise in electric and gas utility issues including rate design, renewable energy standards, energy efficiency and externalities. Nancy spent 2 years fighting “clean” coal and carbon capture and sequestration, and helped to stop “clean” coal plants in Arizona and Colorado, and 3 years at the Colorado Public Utilities Commission arguing for more clean energy. She served as Policy Advisor to elected Commissioner Paul Newman in Arizona for 3 years, and delighted in asking the utilities many questions.

Climate Reality Check Coalition has a Facebook group! Click here to join the group.

* Charlotte Solar Panel this Saturday, Nov 16

FL Duke Solar Rally

Close to one hundred concerned citizens are registered to learn about solar energy issues and to call for greater access to clean and affordable solar energy. A diversity of interests including conservatives, advocates for low income communities, and environmentalists will come together under the title “Cleaner is Cheaper” to advocate for solar energy in Charlotte. A rally and press conference at 1:00 will follow a panel discussion and information session about the solar panels that the Myers Park Baptist Church installed. The rally will take place at the corner of Queens Road and Selwyn Avenue, in front of Myers Park Baptist Church.

PANEL:

  • Shawn Lemmond, the Renewable Energy Association
  • Katie Bray, Blue Ridge Sustainability Institute, Solarize Asheville
  • Jeff Deal, Appalachian Institute for Renewable Energy, Community Solar
  • Rev. Michael McClain, National Council of the Churches of Christ

WHAT:            Solar Panel of experts, press conference and community rally for solar energy

WHEN:            Saturday, November 16th, 2013 from 10:30 until 1:00 pm

WHERE:          Myers Park Baptist Church, Shalom Hall, 1900 Queens Road, Charlotte, North Carolina 28207

Parking is free and the event is open to the public. Lunch will be provided.

Co-sponsors of the event include: A Phillip Randolph Institute, Appalachian Institute for Renewable Energy, Center for Community Change, Charlotte Environmental Action, Clean Air Carolina, Myers Park Baptist Church Earth Keepers, Environment North Carolina, Greenpeace USA, League of Conservation Voters – Charlotte, League of Women Voters – Charlotte, NAACP Charlotte, NC Conservation Network, NC Interfaith Power and Light, Shift the Climate, Sierra Club Central Piedmont Group, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Sustain Charlotte, US Green Building Council North Carolina

Cleaner_8.5x11_v6JPG