* 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.


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


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:


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


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.


Christine Todd Whitman Visits Charlotte Chamber of Commerce (Video)
Nuke propaganda
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

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:
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.


  • 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



* Charlotte NRC Nuclear Waste Video

Thanks to Central Piedmont member and advocate Brian Kasher for this great video and his comments!

Here is one slice of the action at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission public comment session held in Charlotte. 100% of those in favor of expanded nuclear waste and waste confidence were affiliated with the nuclear industry. 100% of those opposed to nuclear waste confidence were members of the public unaffiliated with the nuclear industry.

Please share this video and write the NRC or attend a hearing to let your voice be heard!

Make your comments by December 20 to the NRC referring to  docket ID# NRC-210-0246

Email:  rulemaking.comments@nrc.gov

Fax: Secretary, NRC 301-415-1101

Mail:  Secretary, US NRC, Washington, DC  205555-0001   Attention Rulemaking & Adjudication Staff