Act Now

TODAY IS NATIONAL DON'T NUKE THE CLIMATE CALL-IN DAY

QUICK REMINDER!

CAPITOL SWITCHBOARD: 202-224-3121
October 15, 2009,
Dear Friends,
This is just a quick reminder that today is National Don't Nuke the Climate Call-In Day.
Please call both of your Senators' offices with the message: No nuclear power in the Senate climate bill!
Please send us a quick e-mail and let us know you called, especially if you learn anything from your Senators offices on their position on the issue. Send to nirsnet@nirs.org.
You can reach every Senator through the Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121. Whether you've never called your Senators' offices before or have called them 100 times already this year, please call today. With your help, our collective voice will be heard.
And if you haven't faxed/e-mailed your Senate office yet this week, please do so now here. And please pass this link on to your friends and co-workers, parents and children; post it on Facebook and Tweet it across the world, so everyone can get their message in: http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5502/t/5846/campaign.jsp?campaign_KE...
For those who can engage in longer conversations with your Senate offices, here again are the talking points we sent yesterday:
*Nuclear power already receives a competitive advantage when a price is placed on carbon. If the nuclear industry cannot compete with such an advantage, that's its own problem, taxpayers should not be expected to provide more help to the industry.

*Projected costs for new reactors are stratospheric. In early 2006, the Nuclear Energy Institute predicted costs for the first few new reactors would run $2,000/kw, going down to $1,500/kw over time. Instead, recent estimates include Turkey Point (Florida) at $8,200/kw and Calvert Cliffs-3 (Maryland) and Bell Bend (Pennsylvania) at about $9,000/kw, or $13-15 billion. For example, see: http://www.bellbend.com/faqs.htm

*Cost overruns have been a constant with the nuclear industry. A 1986 Department of Energy study found the average cost overrun for the first 75 U.S. reactors was 207%. Reactors coming online after 1986 typically experienced even larger overruns. The only two reactors now under construction in the West-Areva reactors in Finland and France-are currently 75% and 20% over-budget, with years to go before construction completion.

*Electricity from new reactors, as expected with such enormous costs, would make the 1980s concept of "rate shock" seem quaint. An August 2009 report from the California Energy Commission, for example, predicts kilowatt/hour costs for nuclear electricity as high as 27-34 cents/kwh-nearly a tripling from today's prevailing rate of less than 12 cents/kwh. This report is available at: http://www.energy.ca.gov/2009publications/CEC-200-2009-017/CEC-200-2009-...

*Nuclear power is not carbon-free. The nuclear fuel chain is responsible for fairly significant carbon emissions--at least three times those of wind power, for example. A recent study by Virginia Tech professor Benjamin Sovacool on this subject is available here: http://www.nirs.org/climate/background/sovacool_nuclear_ghg.pdf

*Nuclear reactors use enormous amounts of water, and water will become an increasingly precious resource in years to come, especially as we grapple with a warming climate. Allocating water to nuclear reactors now means less water for people and agriculture down the road. An August 2009 Virginia Tech study notes 36 states are projected to experience water shortages during the next decade. http://www.nirs.org/reactorwatch/water/sr46waterdependency.pdf

*Nuclear power is not even the only baseload alternative, as some in the industry claim. As cited in the August 6, 2009 Wall Street Journal for example, Spain is building large baseload solar thermal power plants for about $5,200/kw. While expensive, this is still $2,000/kw cheaper than the current low estimates for new reactor construction.

*Congress must not pre-judge the administration's re-evaluation of radioactive waste policy, which has not yet even begun. Specifically, no money should be spent on expensive, dangerous technologies like reprocessing, especially when the future direction of waste policy is unknown.
Thanks for all you do,
Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
www.nirs.org
nirsnet@nirs.org


NRC ANNOUNCES OPPORTUNITY FOR HEARING ON LICENSE RENEWAL APPLICATION OF NUCLEAR FUEL SERVICES, INC.

NRC NEWS
U.S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
Office of Public Affairs Telephone: 301/415-8200
Washington, DC 20555-0001 E-mail: OPA.Resource@nrc.gov

www.nrc.gov

 

No. 09-169 October 9, 2009

 

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a notice of opportunity to request a hearing on the license renewal application for the uranium fuel fabrication facility operated by Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc., (NFS) in Erwin, Tenn.
NFS submitted its request to renew its license by letters dated June 30 and Aug. 28, 2009. Approval of the request would allow NFS to continue producing nuclear reactor fuel using high-enriched and low-enriched uranium for an additional 40 years. NFS's current license expired July 31, 2009, but remains in effect under NRC regulations because NFS submitted its renewal application before the expiration date.
A notice of opportunity to request a hearing on the NFS application was published Oct. 6 in the Federal Register (74 FR 51323). The notice includes detailed instructions for requesting a hearing through the NRC's E-filing system. The deadline for requesting a hearing is Dec. 7.
The NRC staff's technical review of the license renewal application will be documented in a Safety Evaluation Report and an Environmental Assessment.
The NFS letters and NRC's Sept. 3 acceptance of the application for technical review, are available in the NRC's online ADAMS document database at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html, by adding ML091900061, ML092450469, and ML091450265 in the search field.

 


CALL YOUR SENATORS ON NATIONAL DON'T NUKE THE CLIMATE ACT CALL-IN DAY OCTOBER 15

ACT NOW! E-MAIL/FAX YOUR SENATORS
ACT OCTOBER 15!
Your actions are more important than ever, as the push for more nuclear power subsidies in the Senate climate bill intensifies.

October 8, 2009
Dear Friends,
Now that the Kerry-Boxer climate bill has been introduced, the nuclear industry is intensifying its efforts to turn the bill into a multi-billion dollar giveaway for new reactor construction, dirty and dangerous radioactive waste schemes like reprocessing, further "streamlining" reactor licensing proceedings, and the whole industry Christmas wish-list.
Leading the charge are Senators like John McCain (R-AZ) who has already said he will "never, never, never" vote for the bill; Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who has been making speech after speech calling for 100 new reactors in the U.S. by 2020 even while admitting he won't vote for a climate bill; and now Lindsay Graham (R-SC) who says golly gee, if they'll just put a lot of money for nuclear power and offshore oil drilling in the bill, maybe they'll get some more votes...
Yeah, right... Expanding oil drilling isn't exactly the best way to reduce carbon emissions--and neither is nuclear power or "clean coal," another pet cause of these Senators who won't vote for a climate bill in any case. What they're really trying to do is lard the bill with so much taxpayer giveaways to their favorite dirty energy interests that no one should vote for it.
Unfortunately, some of the bill's backers are listening to the nuclear lobby. Read this article posted on the NY Times website yesterday.
No matter where you stand on the climate bill itself, and our constituency seems fairly evenly divided between "against it," "for it, with reservations" and "wait and see what's in the final bill," we can all agree that the bill must not become a multi-billion dollar bail-out for the nuclear power industry.
Please send a letter to your Senators today. You can send an e-mail, fax, or both.

Please plan to call both of your Senators on National Don't Nuke the Climate Call-In Day, Thursday, October 15. It doesn't matter where they may stand on the issue--they need to hear your voice. Let's keep those phones ringing from dawn til midnight on October 15! Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121.

Please forward this Alert as widely as possible. Print it out and take it to meetings, post it at neighborhood food co-ops and other progressive venues, please do everything possible to spread the word. Organize protests at your Senators' district offices. Write letters-to-the-editor: Senate offices read them!
The backroom deals are being made now. It's never been more important for us all to take every action possible.
*Again: please send a letter to your Senators today.
*Please call your Senators on October 15, and start now to organize your friends, neighbors and colleagues to join you. Plan call-in gatherings at your house, a local pub or restaurant, a park--wherever it's easy for people to join you.
*Please forward this Alert and do everything possible to reach out to people who may not be on this list.
*If you haven't donated recently, please make a small contribution now and help us expand our outreach during this critical period. Faxes are more effective than e-mails, but we do have to pay for them; your contribution will also help us pay for the thousands of faxes that we hope everyone will send!
Together, we can stop this nuclear madness and build the nuclear-free, carbon-free energy future our planet and our people need.
Thanks for all you do,
Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
www.nirs.org
nirsnet@nirs.org
________________________________________


NATIONAL CALL-IN DAY OCTOBER 15: DON'T NUKE THE CLIMATE!

SENS. BOXER & KERRY INTRODUCE SENATE CLIMATE BILL

McCAIN, ET AL, WANT MORE NUKES IN BILL


September 30, 2009

Dear Clean Energy Supporter:

Senate Environment Committee chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) today introduced their long-awaited climate bill. As yet unnumbered, it is called the ''Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act."

The response from nuclear power fanatics was swift:

"When asked by Reuters if he could support the Democrats' bill Senator John McCain said: "Of course not. Never, never, never." McCain complained that the Democratic bill merely paid lip-service to the nuclear power industry."

McCain and his pals, like Lamar Alexander (R-TN), will try to lard the bill with billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies for new nuclear power-and then they're going to vote against any bill addressing climate change anyway.

That's the kind of attitude we're all going to have to fight the rest of this year.And we're going to be seeing the same kinds of lies and deceit, exaggeration, and corporate deception that characterized the health care issue all summer. Except in this case, it will be on behalf of dirty energy like nuclear power and coal.

Your help is essential if we're going to stop them. Please contribute as generously as you can so we can out-organize and out-mobilize the dirty energy interests and prevent billions of your dollars from streaming to the nuclear power industry.

And start preparing now for the National Don't Nuke the Climate Call-In Day on Thursday, October 15. Start spreading the word, start getting e-mail lists and phone trees together, plan call-in parties at your home, a local restaurant or pub, on-campus, or anywhere it's easy to gather people together. Note: send us info on any such event you'd like us to publicize, and we'll do so!

On October 15, NIRS will be on Capitol Hill, distributing the list of more than 600 U.S. organizations that have signed the statement on nuclear power and climate. Check one more time to make sure your organization is on that list. If it isn't, please sign by October 12 to be included.

And we'll also be hand-delivering the thousands of postcards to your Senators that you have sent in. We'll need all postcards in our office by October 14--but that still leaves you time to distribute some more, so if you'd like some, call (301-270-6477) or send us a quick e-mail.

Back to the climate bill: you can read the full 821-page text here.

As Sen. Boxer announced a couple of weeks ago, the bill contains a nuclear title aimed at garnering support from some "moderate" Senators. But if the reaction from McCain is any indication, they needn't have bothered. And, of course, there shouldn't be a nuclear title in a climate bill at all. In any case, it provides support for job training programs for nuclear workers; requires DOE to start a new research program on reactor aging--dangerously suggesting that DOE should help find ways to extend reactor licenses beyond 60 years; and authorizes an unspecified amount of money for research and development of radioactive waste technologies--including reprocessing.

For those following along, the nuclear title runs from pages 111 to 119 of the bill.

Thank you to all of those of you from California and Massachusetts who called Sens. Boxer's and Kerry's offices yesterday. Your efforts succeeded in making some 11th-hour changes to the text. For example, nuclear power is no longer falsely described as a carbon-free energy source, as was the case in earlier drafts. There is no longer an assertion that renewables cannot be baseload energy sources. And, importantly, the NRC has been removed from a promotional role with DOE in the research program on reactor aging.

And thank you to everyone who has donated to NIRS recently, both online and by mail. We appreciate your support--we can't do this without you. But if you haven't contributed recently,please do so now, as generously as you can. Help us stop the upcoming efforts by nuclear fanatics to add billions of dollars of your money to this bill for new reactors.

Indeed, we are going to have to fight not only the McCains and Alexanders of the world, but apparently Energy Secretary Stephen Chu as well, who was recently quoted as saying he'd be happy with another $20 billion in taxpayer loan guarantees for new reactors! Let's make sure he doesn't get a dime of it!

Again, please start organizing for the October 15 National Don't Nuke the Climate Call-In Day. Let us know what you're doing and how we can help you. And spread the word as far and wide as you can....

Together, we will achieve a nuclear-free, carbon-free future.

Thanks for all you do,

Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
nirsnet@nirs.org
www.nirs.org
301-270-6477


Please sign our letter to President Obama!


We need to send a message loud and clear - and quickly. No funding for new nuclear reactors in Congressional climate legislation! Please consider joining the close to 600-and-counting individuals who have already signed on to our letter to President Obama in just the first week.
The Senate will be working on climate legislation that could hand over at least $100 billion - or even more - in federal loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors. President Obama has advocated for renewable energy and green jobs and we applaud him. But the president needs to know that his green energy agenda will derail if nuclear power once more grabs the lion's share of federal support.
Nuclear power is too costly for our health, our safety and our pocket books, and no amount of atomic propaganda will ever bring enough new reactors on line to address climate change in time.
Please help stop the Senate squandering our dollars on radioactive relics by writing and calling your Senator. Let's give our president a truly green climate change bill to sign. Please Sign our letter to President Obama today. You can find it on our Web site under Take Action and in the September 28, 2009 copy of The Nation. And thank you!

 


Support great reporting on nukes in San Antonio!

The San Antonio Current (see below) has just published the first in what promises to be a three-part series on nuclear power. The article - Nukes Mean Mines - has been assailed by the pro-nuclear propaganda army. Please write to the Current editor, Elaine Wolff, in support of this piece and the series. The Current needs to hear positive affirmation from the anti-nuclear community today to keep this series alive and support truly investigative journalism as represented by the article's author, Greg Harman. Thank you!

Panel on Small and Medium Nuclear Reactor Technologies

Foundation for Nuclear Studies

JOIN US FOR A DISCUSSION OF POTENTIAL APPLICATIONS FOR SMALL AND
MEDIUM NUCLEAR REACTOR TECHNOLOGIES
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2009
8:30AM-10AM
B -369 RA Y B U R N HOB
CO N T I N E N T A L BR E A K F A S T PR O V ID E D

MODERATED BY: DICK BLACK, ASSOCIATE DEPUTY
ASSISTANT SECRETARY, OFFICE OF NUCLEAR ENERGY, U.S.
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
PANEL I: MODULAR REACTORS
• CRAIG HANSEN, THE BABCOCK & WILCOX COMPANY, VICE
PRESIDENT AND PRODUCT LINE MANAGER
• GARY BARBOUR, NUSCALE SENIOR CONSULTANT, PUBLIC
AFFAIRS
PANEL II: HIGH TEMPERATURE GAS REACTORS
• PHIL HILDEBRANDT, IDAHO NATIONAL LAB, SPECIAL
ASSISTANT TO THE LAB DIRECTOR
PANEL III: DISTRIBUTED NUCLEAR GENERATION
• DEBORAH BLACKWELL, HYPERION, VICE PRESIDENT,
PUBLIC POLICY
• MICHAEL ANNESS, WESTINGHOUSE, MANAGER, ADVANCED
REACTORS
This will be a widely attended event
RSVP info@nuclearfoundation.org

Spinning flywheels said to make greener energy

TYNGSBOROUGH, Mass.
> (The Associated Press) - Sep 20 - By JAY LINDSAY Associated Press
> Writer
>
> Spinning flywheels have been used for centuries for jobs from
> making pottery to running steam engines. Now the ancient tool has been
> given a new job by a Massachusetts company: smooth out the electricity
> flow, and do it fast and clean.
>
> Beacon Power's flywheels - each weighing one ton, levitating in a
> sealed chamber and spinning up to 16,000 times per minute - will make
> the electric grid more efficient and green, the company says. It's
> being given a chance to prove it: the U.S. Department of Energy has
> granted Beacon a $43 million conditional loan guarantee to construct a
> 20-megawatt flywheel plant in upstate New York.
>
> "We are very excited about this technology and this company,"
> said
> Matt Rogers, a senior adviser to the Secretary of Energy. "It's a
> lower (carbon dioxide) impact, much faster response for a growing
> market need, and so we get pretty excited about that."
>
> Beacon's flywheel plant will act as a short-term energy storage
> system for New York's electrical distribution system, sucking excess
> energy off the grid when supply is high, storing it in the flywheels'
> spinning cores, then returning it when demand surges. The buffer
> protects against swings in electrical power frequency, which, in the
> worst cases, cause blackouts.
>
> Such frequency regulation makes up just 1 percent of the total
> U.S.
> electricity market, but that's equal to more than $1 billion annually
> in revenues. The job is done now mainly by fossil-fuel powered
> generators that Rogers said are one-tenth the speed of flywheels and
> create double the carbon emissions.
>
> Beacon said the carbon emissions saved over the 20-year life of a
> single 20-megawatt flywheel plant are equal to the carbon reduction
> achieved by planting 660,000 trees.
>
> Flywheels also figure into the emerging renewable energy market,
> where intermittent energy sources such as wind and solar provide power
> at wildly varying intensities, depending on how long the breeze blows
> and sun shines.
> That increases the need for the faster frequency buffering, Rogers
> said.
>
> Dan Rastler of the Electric Power Research Institute, an industry
> research group, added that if a carbon tax is passed by Congress,
> flywheels start looking a lot better than fossil-fuel powered
> alternatives.
>
> Beacon's flywheels, massive carbon and fiberglass cylinders, have
> already been tested on a small scale in New York, California and the
> company's Tyngsborough offices. Chief executive officer Bill Capp
> hopes the Stephentown, N.Y., plant will be up and running by the end
> of 2010.
>
> Flywheels are rotating discs or cylinders that store energy as
> motion, like the bicycle wheel that keeps rotating long after a
> pedal's been turned.
> That energy can be drawn off smoothly depending on the needs of the
> user, such as when the speed of a potter's wheel is adjusted to shape
> the clay as desired.
>
> The basics of Beacon's flywheels seem simple enough as they spin
> silently in their chambers in a small facility outside Beacon's
> Tyngsborough plant. But the technological challenges to create them
> were immense and have cost Beacon $180 million, so far.
>
> For instance, the one-ton flywheel had to be durable enough to
> spin smoothly at exceptionally high speeds. To avoid losing stored
> energy to friction, the flywheel levitates between magnets in a vacuum
> chamber.
>
> "We've pretty much demonstrated that it works, it's just a
> question of scaling," Capp said. "The more we run, the more people get
> comfortable with us."
>
> Beacon's flywheels are powered by the excess energy they take off
> the grid. When demand for electricity surges, the flywheels even
> things out and return the energy to the grid by slowing down.
>
> Flywheels have some clear benefits in energy storage, including
> the durability to store and release power hundreds of thousands of
> times over a long, 20-year life, said Yuri Makarov, chief scientist in
> power systems at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which tested
> Beacon's system for the DOE. Chemical batteries being developed for
> the same job wear out after a couple thousand charge-and-discharge
> cycles.
>
> Flywheels use less energy than fossil-fuel powered generators
> because they adjust more quickly to the ever-shifting demands of the
> electric grid by simply slowing down or spinning faster, Makarov said.
> Fossil-fuel generators are slower and less efficient as they
> constantly fire up and down.
>
> The disadvantage of flywheels, Makarov said, is that they can
> only store a limited amount of energy for a limited amount of time.
> That can shut them out of numerous other services the grid demands -
> and that other storage technologies can perform - such as long-term
> power storage.
>
> Regulations in many markets are also lagging. Beacon will bid
> against other power generators to provide frequency regulation, but in
> some markets, the bidding system doesn't even exist yet for energy
> storage.
>
> Beacon's reward for taking on the technology is that it's the
> first flywheel company in the nation ready to provide utility-scale
> frequency regulation in the electric grid. Rogers said the New York
> project will help show whether the flywheels can do the job:
>
> "If they're successful in New York, we'd expect this kind of
> technology to be picked up in many other markets around the country,"
> he said.

TELL DOE TO PUT TAXPAYERS FIRST, NOT THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY

COMMENT NOW:

September 16, 2009

Dear Friends,

The Department of Energy has issued a proposed rule that would actuallyincrease risk to taxpayers from loan guarantees for construction of new nuclear reactors.

It is embarrassing and outrageous that President Obama's Energy Department would propose to place the interests of the nuclear power industry and foreign export-import banks above the interests of the American public--yet that's exactly what DOE is suggesting.

Please take a moment to send your comments to the Department of Energy and the White House here.

Background
DOE's nuclear loan guarantee program was set up by Congress in 2005 and funded in 2007 at $18.5 billion for new reactors and $2 billion for new uranium enrichment plants (additional funds are available for renewable and coal technologies).

DOE has narrowed the first round of applicants for this money to four utilities seeking to build a total of seven reactors: UniStar Nuclear (Calvert Cliffs), Southern Company (Vogtle), NRG Energy (South Texas) and SCANA (Summer).

But apparently DOE is having trouble actually giving out these guarantees because of the corporate structures of some of the projects and because foreign export-import banks (and perhaps some other potential investors) that would provide additional funds for them are concerned about the level of risk involved.

Both the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Government Accountability Office already have warned that the loan guarantee program carries substantial risk to the taxpayer. For example, the CBO says the risk of default by nuclear utilities is about 50%.

Yet, rather than trying to reduce this already significant risk, DOE is proposing to expose taxpayers to even greater risk. A key part of their proposed rule, for example, removes DOE's right to a "first lien" on these projects--in other words, an assurance that taxpayers would be the first to be repaid. Instead, DOE would have to stand in line with other lenders to be repaid--particularly significant in the event of default, when full repayment would not be expected.

The proposal also makes other changes to the program, with no justification other than to do the nuclear industry's bidding.

For those of you who want to wade into the details of this rather technical and complicated proposal, the DOE's proposed rule is here: http://org2.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=Hwx7M5F9YqXW1rzn3C...

For those of you who just want to let your voice be heard, you can send a comment letter to DOE-and the White House-here. Use our sample, or write your own.

Truth be told, no taxpayer money should be used for new reactor construction and this program shouldn't even exist. But at long as it does, it is unconscionable for DOE to be considering making this program even riskier for taxpayers.

Meanwhile, DOE continues to provide virtually no public information about the loan guarantee program. You'd think after the financial crises of the last couple of years DOE would have learned that risky, secretive investments lead to enormous financial losses and taxpayer bailouts. Let's all tell DOE to stop playing these kinds of games with our money.

And please, pass this on now to anyone and everyone who may be interested--everyone who wants to protect taxpayer dollars. Comment deadline is midnight, September 22 so we all need to act quickly to ensure the strongest possible public comment to defeat this proposal.

Thanks for all you do,

Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
nirsnet@nirs.org
www.nirs.org
P.S. Your tax-deductible financial support for our campaign to end taxpayer subsidies for the nuclear power industry is always very gratefully appreciated. If you can make a small donation this week, please do so here. Thank you!
P.P.S. Thanks to the more than 1,000 of you who signed the statement on nuclear power and climate in the past week! And more than 100 new organizations have signed too! Keep it up! Keep passing this around to every organization and friend you can think of. The statement is on the front page of our website at www.nirs.org, and you can see the list of U.S. and international organizational signers there too.


Duke Energy adds Podesta Group to lobbying ranks

(09/18/2009)
Anne C. Mulkern, E&E reporter
Duke Energy Corp. has beefed up its lobbying ranks as it pushes for passage of a climate and energy bill, bringing on the Podesta Group to work alongside several other lobbying firms.
"We're focused on the climate legislation like a laser," Duke spokesman Tom Williams said. "This is designed to facilitate that."
The move by Charlotte, N.C.-based Duke comes as the company takes other actions to underscore its support for climate legislation. Duke this summer ended its membership in the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) and the National Association of Manufacturers. Duke said it needed to leave the trade groups because other members were opposed to passing global warming legislation.
Duke is an original member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, which unites industry and environmental groups in support of congressional action on climate and energy.
Duke CEO Jim Rogers on Wednesday told reporters that he no longer thinks a climate bill will be passed this year. He also said coal might not be used at all by 2050 and questioned whether the technology to capture carbon and sequester it would advance.
"Climate's a big focus, and we would hope they would help us pass legislation as quickly as possible," Williams said.
Jerry Taylor, a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute, said he is skeptical whether one corporation or lobbying group can have much influence on whether the climate bill moves forward. The fact that there is no bill yet indicates that there is trouble gathering support, he said. In addition to that, the health care issue is "taking all of the oxygen" a climate bill needs.
"It's an extremely difficult sell to get the Senate to vote for something like a cap-and-trade program," Taylor said. "If the health care bill goes down, I think that absolutely buries the cap-and-trade bill."
A climate bill would give Duke business certainty, said Kenneth Green, resident scholar with the conservative American Enterprise Institute.
"In Waxman-Markey, coal gets a guaranteed future," Green said, referring to the House bill crafted by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.).
Duke already employs the Alpine Group, Bracewell & Giuliani and a few smaller firms to lobby and advise on energy and environment issues.
The energy company in the first half of this year spent $2.8 million on lobbying, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. For all of last year, it paid $5 million to lobbying firms.
The Podesta Group is run by Tony Podesta, described by many news organizations as one of the town's more powerful lobbyists. He started it along with brother John Podesta, a White House chief of staff to President Clinton, co-chairman of the Obama transition team, and the founder and president of Center for American Progress, which has ties to the Obama administration.
The firm took in $11.8 million in the first half of this year, ranking fourth in that time period for total income among all firms that lobby Congress, according to Center for Responsive Politics.
Other Podesta Group energy clients include BP America Inc., Sunoco Inc. and SolarReserve, a Los Angeles-based solar thermal company.
Center for Responsive Politics records show Podesta Group this year also worked for the ACCCE, the trade group Duke left because of clashes over climate legislation. ACCCE, according to lobbying records, paid Podesta $50,000 earlier this year. It is not listed as a current client on Podesta Group's Web site, but ACCCE spokeswoman Lisa Camooso Miller said Podesta does ACCCE's federal lobbying.
"They have lots of clients that have lots of interests," Miller said. She said ACCCE does want a climate bill, but wants one that emphasizes carbon capture research and limits on what businesses would have to pay for carbon emissions permits.
Podesta Group lobbyists declined to comment.
Lobbyists at Podesta Group who will work for Duke are Elizabeth Inadomi, who worked as staff counsel to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and counsel to the House Science Committee, Ed Rothschild and Claudia James.
Duke Energy owns and operates 36,000 megawatts of power and delivers electricity to 4 million customers in Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Ohio. It primarily burns coal, oil and natural gas, though half of its generation in the Carolinas comes from nuclear power.

COMMENT NOW: TELL DOE TO PUT TAXPAYERS FIRST, NOT THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY

ENERGY DEPARTMENT WOULD INCREASE TAXPAYER RISK ON LOAN GUARANTEES FOR NEW NUCLEAR REACTORS

 

September 16, 2009

Dear Friends,

The Department of Energy has issued a proposed rule that would actually increase risk to taxpayers from loan guarantees for construction of new nuclear reactors.

It is embarrassing and outrageous that President Obama's Energy Department would propose to place the interests of the nuclear power industry and foreign export-import banks above the interests of the American public--yet that's exactly what DOE is suggesting.

Please take a moment to send your comments to the Department of Energy and the White House here.

Background
DOE's nuclear loan guarantee program was set up by Congress in 2005 and funded in 2007 at $18.5 billion for new reactors and $2 billion for new uranium enrichment plants (additional funds are available for renewable and coal technologies).

DOE has narrowed the first round of applicants for this money to four utilities seeking to build a total of seven reactors: UniStar Nuclear (Calvert Cliffs), Southern Company (Vogtle), NRG Energy (South Texas) and SCANA (Summer).

But apparently DOE is having trouble actually giving out these guarantees because of the corporate structures of some of the projects and because foreign export-import banks (and perhaps some other potential investors) that would provide additional funds for them are concerned about the level of risk involved.

Both the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Government Accountability Office already have warned that the loan guarantee program carries substantial risk to the taxpayer. For example, the CBO says the risk of default by nuclear utilities is about 50%.

Yet, rather than trying to reduce this already significant risk, DOE is proposing to expose taxpayers to even greater risk. A key part of their proposed rule, for example, removes DOE's right to a "first lien" on these projects--in other words, an assurance that taxpayers would be the first to be repaid. Instead, DOE would have to stand in line with other lenders to be repaid--particularly significant in the event of default, when full repayment would not be expected.

The proposal also makes other changes to the program, with no justification other than to do the nuclear industry's bidding.

For those of you who want to wade into the details of this rather technical and complicated proposal, the DOE's proposed rule is here: http://www.nirs.org/neconomics/doeloanguaranteeforcomment9809.pdf

For those of you who just want to let your voice be heard, you can send a comment letter to DOE-and the White House-here. Use our sample, or write your own.

Truth be told, no taxpayer money should be used for new reactor construction and this program shouldn't even exist. But at long as it does, it is unconscionable for DOE to be considering making this program even riskier for taxpayers.

Meanwhile, DOE continues to provide virtually no public information about the loan guarantee program. You'd think after the financial crises of the last couple of years DOE would have learned that risky, secretive investments lead to enormous financial losses and taxpayer bailouts. Let's all tell DOE to stop playing these kinds of games with our money.

And please, pass this on now to anyone and everyone who may be interested--everyone who wants to protect taxpayer dollars. Comment deadline is midnight, September 22 so we all need to act quickly to ensure the strongest possible public comment to defeat this proposal.

Thanks for all you do,

Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
nirsnet@nirs.org
www.nirs.org
P.S. Your tax-deductible financial support for our campaign to end taxpayer subsidies for the nuclear power industry is always very gratefully appreciated. If you can make a small donation this week, please do so here. Thank you!
P.P.S. Thanks to the more than 1,000 of you who signed the statement on nuclear power and climate in the past week! And more than 100 new organizations have signed too! Keep it up! Keep passing this around to every organization and friend you can think of. The statement is on the front page of our website at www.nirs.org, and you can see the list of U.S. and international organizational signers there too.


Please sign our letter to President Obama!


We need to send a message loud and clear - and quickly. No funding for new nuclear reactors in Congressional climate legislation!
The Senate will be working on climate legislation that could hand over at least $100 billion - or even more - in federal loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors. The Obama White House has expressed an urgent commitment to addressing climate change with a strong emphasis on renewable energy, energy efficiency and green jobs. That's the message we need to take to the Copenhagen climate summit in December.
But President Obama needs to know that his green energy agenda will derail if nuclear power once more grabs the lion's share of federal support. We cannot allow the nuclear industry to sink potentially tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars into more, and, literally toxic assets underwritten by U.S. taxpayers. Such projects are likely to default from certain cost-overruns and delays while climate change accelerates.
This needless nuclear transfusion will deprive funding from the very climate change solutions for which President Obama advocates.
We don't expect President Obama to become the latest recruit to the anti-nuclear cause. But we do think that, in a democracy, he should hear why we want nuclear power to be relegated to the radioactive dustbin of history. Nuclear power is too costly for our health, our safety and our pocket books, and no amount of atomic propaganda will ever bring enough new reactors on line to address climate change in time.
Please help us raise our collective voices to stop the Senate squandering our dollars on radioactive relics. Don't forget to write and call your Senator. Let's give our president a truly green climate change bill to sign this fall. Please Sign our letter to President Obama today. You can find it on our Web site under Take Action and in this week's copy of The Nation (cover date, September 28). Just use the return envelope right next to our Nation ad featuring the actor and activist, Ed Asner. Please sign today. And thank you!
Won't you please donate to Beyond Nuclear? Every dollar you send helps move us closer to a world free from nuclear power and nuclear weapons. Please give today. Thank you!


SIGN THE STATEMENT ON NUCLEAR POWER AND CLIMATE NOW!

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!

September 9, 2009
Dear Friends,
More than 11,000 people already have signed our simple statement on nuclear power and climate. It's endorsed by 675 organizations so far, from 48 states and Washington, DC (we're missing only Wyoming and North Dakota) and from every corner of the globe.
Many of you already have signed it, and we thank you. But many of you haven't (one way we know that: our e-mail list is several thousand people larger than 11,000!).
We're now making our final U.S. push for signers. If you haven't signed yet, please do so now. Even more importantly, please check the list of organizational signers carefully (U.S. list here; international list here). If your organization or business is not listed as an endorser, and you are authorized to sign on behalf of your organization, please be sure to sign now (and click the box that says you are signing for your organization).
Let's get an organization or two in Wyoming and North Dakota as well! But please, do not sign for an organization unless you are authorized to do so.
We're going to take this tremendous list of organizations and hand-deliver it to every Senator at the end of September, along with the thousands of postcards we've been collecting. And we want the list to be as complete as possible.
The statement itself is simple but in the context of the upcoming climate bill in the Senate, hard-hitting: "We do not support construction of new nuclear reactors as a means of addressing the climate crisis. Available renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies are faster, cheaper, safer and cleaner strategies for reducing greenhouse emissions than nuclear power."
Want more info on nuclear power and climate? Check out our recent article first published on DailyKos: Top 10 Reasons Nukes Won't Save Climate. It's full of info you can use to counter those who claim we need nuclear power to deal with the climate crisis. The truth is, we don't. In fact, it would be counterproductive!
Now that the Senate has again delayed work on its climate bill--apparently they now plan to begin around the end of September--we have more time to collect more signatures, and to collect more postcards. If you can distribute postcards over the next couple of weeks, let us know, and we'll send you as many as you'd like. Just send an e-mail to nirsnet@nirs.org and let us know how many you want and where to send them. Those of you on our snail mail list should have received two of them--one for each of your Senators--last week.
*Again, organizations, please check the list carefully to make sure your organization is listed. The list of U.S. organizational signers is here; the list of international organizational signers is here. If you're not on this list (and you're definitely not all on this list!), please sign now.
*If you haven't yet signed the statement, whether an organization or individual, please do so here. And then, please send this along to all your friends and colleagues across the world. Let's get as many signatures as we can during this final September push!
Finally, if you can make a small, tax-deductible donation to help us pay for the costs that will be involved in printing these materials for 100 Senators, and the larger costs of our campaign to counter the myth that nuclear power is an effective or acceptable means of addressing the climate crisis, we'd really appreciate it. You can do so here and win our eternal gratitude.
Thanks for all you do,
Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
www.nirs.org
nirsnet@nirs.org
P.S. If you're interested in the climate crisis, then you'll want to see The Age of Stupid! NIRS is proud to be a co-sponsor of this important film's spectacular release: On September 21, the film will have its U.S. premiere from a solar-powered stage in New York City and will be sent via satellite to movie theaters across the U.S., and indeed across the globe. Join millions of people participating in this event worldwide. For more information, and to find a theater near you showing The Age of Stupid, go here.

SUPPORT A CARBON CAP BUT NOT NUCLEAR POWER

Below is a proposed group letter to the Members of the U.S. Senate regarding pending climate legislation.

It urges that energy efficiency and renewable energy coupled with an aggressive cap on greenhouse gas emissions be made the cornerstones of any climate legislation approved by the U.S. Senate. It also states that climate legislation should not become a vehicle for supporting or expanding the use of nuclear power and fossil fuels nor should it be used as an opportunity for rolling-back existing environmental protections.

If you would like to sign on, the deadline is:

TUESDAY - SEPTEMBER 15 (6:00 p.m. - eastern time)

If you would like to sign on, please provide:

Your Name
Your Organization **
Your City & State

** If you wish to sign on only as an INDIVIDUAL, please specify that clearly (you may include an organizational affiliation as well if you wish - but it will be listed "for identification purposes only").

The letter will be faxed on Wednesday (September 16) to all Senate offices as well as e-mailed to all Senate staff contacts I have. In addition, a pro-forma news release will sent along with the letter to key members of the media.

Thank you.

P.S. Please excuse us if you receive this letter more than once - we are using several mailing lists that partially overlap.

===================================
===================================

SUSTAINABLE ENERGY NETWORK
8606 Greenwood Avenue, #2
Takoma Park, MD 20912
Sustainable-energy-network@hotmail.com


SUPPORT A CARBON CAP PLUS
ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY
BUT NOT NUCLEAR POWER AND FOSSIL FUELS
IN CLIMATE LEGISLATION


September 16, 2009

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Attn: Energy and Climate Staff

Dear Senator:

We, the undersigned xx sustainable energy and environmental organizations, and businesses (and xx individual advocates), are writing to urge that energy efficiency and renewable energy coupled with an aggressive cap on greenhouse gas emissions be made the cornerstones of any climate legislation approved by the U.S. Senate. Likewise, climate legislation should not become a vehicle for supporting or expanding the use of nuclear power and fossil fuels nor should it be used as an opportunity for rolling-back existing environmental protections.

We believe the three primary components of any climate bill should be the following:

CAP ON EMISSIONS: The United States should establish a mandatory cap on allowable greenhouse gas emissions as well as both a near-term and a longer-term schedule for reducing overall emissions to levels consistent with the best science now available (e.g., 30% or more by 2020 and 50% or more by 2030). The target of a 17% reduction from 2005 levels by 2020 included in the recently-passed House bill is almost certainly inadequate and needs to be strengthened significantly in Senate legislation if the worst consequences of climate change are to be avoided.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY: The cornerstone of near-term U.S. climate policy should be quickly reducing energy waste and fossil fuel consumption. The experience of other industrialized nations coupled with dozens of governmental, business, academic, and private analyses over the past three decades consistently document that the potential exists for sharply reducing U.S. energy use while simultaneously creating jobs, protecting the environment and low-income consumers, and sustaining a good quality of life. Rapidly curbing energy consumption by 30% or more is well within reach. Consequently, a Senate climate bill should greatly strengthen energy efficiency goals including the creation of mandatory national standards for residential and commercial buildings, greatly-expanded use of co-generation and combined heat & power in the utility sector, and much more aggressive efficiency standards for lighting, appliances, industrial equipment, and motor vehicles.

RENEWABLE ENERGY: While both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have informally embraced the goal of 25% renewable energy by 2025, this target - or an even stronger one - should be formally incorporated in Senate climate or energy legislation. However, the measure's current renewable energy provisions are far too weak. For example, in the electricity sector, the Senate bill only envisions a Renewable Electricity Standard of 3% by 2013 - even though non-hydro renewables are already producing about 4% of the nation's electricity and will likely reach 6% (or more) by 2013 under a business-as-usual scenario. The Senate's RES target for the near-term should be at least doubled if not tripled or quadrupled and made significantly more aggressive for the longer-term as well as coupled with other measures to drive renewable energy development.

By focusing on this three-pronged strategy (i.e., carbon cap + efficiency + renewables), it may prove unnecessary - for the moment at least - to tackle either of the two most controversial options for addressing climate change: creating a "trading system" for emissions credits or imposing carbon taxes.

On the other hand, climate legislation should not support any of the following:

FOSSIL FUELS: There should not be an expansion of federal support for fossil fuels. Rather, U.S. climate policy should include the aggressive phase-out of coal-fired plants (beginning with the dirtiest) and oil use in the transportation sector. Likewise, federal subsidies for the fossil fuel industries should be ramped down considerably, if not completely eliminated. If there appear to be promising and near-term technologies that can burn coal with vastly-reduced CO2 and other emissions as well as minimal environmental impacts, the investment burden should be borne primarily by the coal and utility industries, not the American taxpayer.

NUCLEAR POWER: There should be no financial or regulatory incentives for new nuclear construction or relicensing of existing plants. Fifty years of experience coupled with ever-escalating price estimates for a new generation of reactors should provide sufficient evidence that nuclear power cannot be seen as a cost-effective alternative to fossil fuels or solution to climate change. Additional nuclear reactors would pose safety, proliferation, and terrorist threats as well as generate highly-radioactive waste. Furthermore, while investments in the nuclear sector could not bring new reactors on-line within the timeframe and on a scale needed to address global warming, they would drain financial resources from far more-promising efficiency and renewable energy alternatives.

ENVIRONMENTAL ROLL-BACKS: Climate legislation should not be employed as a vehicle for rolling back existing environmental or human-health safeguards. In particular, the Senate climate bill should leave intact the authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate CO2 emissions if legislation approved by the Congress or other regulations issued by the Administration prove to be insufficient. Similarly, current provisions of the Clean Air Act requiring upgrades of coal-burning electricity plants should also be left intact - if not strengthened.

In conclusion, we believe it is imperative that Congress act now and act aggressively to address the threats posed by climate change. In addition, we believe that greenhouse gas emissions can be cut swiftly and in an economically and environmentally sound way by means of a national emissions cap that is realized through a combination of aggressive energy efficiency and renewable energy standards. However, we also believe that climate legislation that promotes continued or expanded use of fossil fuels and/or nuclear power, or which rolls back existing environmental safeguards, could result in a bill that might actually be worse than no bill at all.

We appreciate your consideration of these views.

cc. Members, U.S. Senate
Senate Committees on Environment & Public Works, Energy & Natural Resources, Finance


Sincerely,

ORGANIZATIONAL SIGNERS

===========================
===========================

INDIVIDUAL SIGN-ONS


Sign On to "Principles for Safeguarding Nuclear Waste at Reactors"

Dear Colleagues,

Three years ago, 150 safe energy groups across the U.S. signed onto "Principles for Safeguarding Nuclear Waste at Reactors." The Principles called for safety and security upgrades - "hardened on-site storage," or HOSS -- for irradiated nuclear fuel storage on-site at the reactors that generated the high-level radioactive waste in the first place. Such security upgrades are still currently needed as an urgent matter of national security, and also represent an interim alternative to such risky proposals as the Yucca Mountain, Nevada dumpsite, regional centralized interim storage, and reprocessing. Michele Boyd, now at Physicians for Social Responsibility, unveiled the Principles at a U.S. House of Representatives energy subcommittee hearing in September 2006.

We have now updated the Principles to reflect the Obama administration's clear position that Yucca Mountain, Nevada is no longer an option for radioactive waste disposal. In response to the current push by the nuclear establishment to revive commercial reprocessing in the United States, we have also revised the Principles to emphasize that plutonium extraction from irradiated nuclear fuel would be extremely expensive for taxpayers, highly polluting wherever it is carried out, and a serious nuclear weapons proliferation threat. These revised Principles will serve as a valuable tool to push for needed security upgrades at on-site radioactive waste storage facilities, while pushing back against such dangerous proposals as reprocessing. They will be especially valuable for informing the "radioactive waste blue ribbon commission" being formed by Energy Secretary Steven Chu, with input from Congress.

We invite you to sign this revised version of the Principles. They are attached. Apart from the introductory paragraphs, the Principles remain identical to the 2006 version. To sign on, please email your full contact information (personal name, title, organization name, city, state, zip code, phone number, and email address) to Morgan Pinnell at Physicians for Social Responsibility. Her email address is: mpinnell@psr.org.

(If your group already signed the Principles in 2006, thank you. But please do sign again onto this updated and revised version now.)

We look forward to working with you to steer U.S. radioactive waste management policy in safer and wiser directions than reprocessing. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

Sincerely,

Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear, kevin@beyondnuclear.org, 240-462-3216

and

Morgan Pinnell, Physicians for Social Responsibility, mpinnell@psr.org, 202-587-5232


Principles for Safeguarding Nuclear Waste at Reactors

The following principles are based on the urgent need to protect the public from the threats posed by the current vulnerable storage of commercial irradiated fuel. The United States does not currently have a national policy for the permanent storage of high-level nuclear waste. The Obama administration has determined that the Yucca Mountain site, which has been mired in bad science and mismanagement, is not an option for geologic storage of nuclear waste. Unfortunately, reprocessing proponents have used this opportunity to promote reprocessing as the solution for managing our nuclear waste. Contrary to their claims, however, reprocessing is extremely expensive, highly polluting, and a proliferation threat, and will actually complicate the management of irradiated fuel. Nor will reprocessing obviate the need for, or "save space" in, a geologic repository.

The United States has a unique opportunity to re-evaluate our nuclear waste management plan. We can make wise decisions about safeguarding radioactive waste or go down the risky, costly, and proliferation prone path towards reprocessing.

The undersigned organizations' support for improving the protection of radioactive waste stored at reactor sites is a matter of security and is in no way an indication that we support nuclear power and the generation of more nuclear waste.

 Require a low-density, open-frame layout for fuel pools: Fuel pools were originally designed for temporary storage of a limited number of irradiated fuel assemblies in a low density, open frame configuration. As the amount of waste generated has increased beyond the designed capacity, the pools have been reorganized so that the concentration of fuel in the pools is nearly the same as that in operating reactor cores. If water is lost from a densely packed pool as the result of an attack or an accident, cooling by ambient air would likely be insufficient to prevent a fire, resulting in the release of large quantities of radioactivity to the environment. A low density, open-frame arrangement within fuel pools could allow enough air circulation to keep the fuel from catching fire. In order to achieve and maintain this arrangement within the pools, irradiated fuel must be transferred from the pools to dry storage within five years of being discharged from the reactor.

 Establish hardened on-site storage (HOSS): Irradiated fuel must be stored as safely as possible as close to the site of generation as possible. Waste moved from fuel pools must be safeguarded in hardened, on-site storage (HOSS) facilities. Transporting waste to interim away-from-reactor storage should not be done unless the reactor site is unsuitable for a HOSS facility and the move increases the safety and security of the waste. HOSS facilities must not be regarded as a permanent waste solution, and thus should not be constructed deep underground. The waste must be retrievable, and real-time radiation and heat monitoring at the HOSS facility must be implemented for early detection of radiation releases and overheating. The overall objective of HOSS should be that the amount of releases projected in even severe attacks should be low enough that the storage system would be unattractive as a terrorist target. Design criteria that would correspond to the overall objective must include:
• Resistance to severe attacks, such as a direct hit by high-explosive or deeply penetrating weapons and munitions or a direct hit by a large aircraft loaded with fuel or a small aircraft loaded with fuel and/or explosives, without major releases.
• Placement of individual canisters that makes detection difficult from outside the site boundary.

 Protect fuel pools: Irradiated fuel must be kept in pools for several years before it can be stored in a dry facility. The pools must be protected to withstand an attack by air, land, or water from a force at least equal in size and coordination to the 9/11 attacks. The security improvements must be approved by a panel of experts independent of the nuclear industry and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

 Require periodic review of HOSS facilities and fuel pools: An annual report consisting of the review of each HOSS facility and fuel pool should be prepared with meaningful participation from public stakeholders, regulators, and utility managers at each site. The report must be made publicly available and may include recommendations for actions to be taken.

 Dedicate funding to local and state governments to independently monitor the sites: Funding for monitoring the HOSS facilities at each site must be provided to affected local and state governments. The affected public must have the right to fully participate.

 Prohibit reprocessing: The reprocessing of irradiated fuel has not solved the nuclear waste problem in any country, and actually exacerbates it by creating numerous additional waste streams that must be managed. In addition to being expensive and polluting, reprocessing also increases nuclear weapons proliferation threats.


--


VICTORY!! TWO WEEK EXTENSION GRANTED ON DOE LOAN GUARANTEE COMMENTS

VICTORY!! TWO WEEK EXTENSION GRANTED ON DOE LOAN GUARANTEE COMMENTS

September 3, 2009

Thanks to everyone who wrote asking for an extension of the comment period on DOE's proposed rule changes for its taxpayer loan guarantee program. Thanks also to Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who also wrote in asking for an extension on all our behalf.

We learned this afternoon that DOE is granting a two-week extension of the comment period-we believe until September 21. That's well short of the 60-day extension we believe to be justified and is a clear indication DOE wants to barrel ahead with this program, but it does at least give some people the opportunity to enjoy their Labor Day weekend instead of being chained to a computer writing comments.....

We will be sending out sample comments for you to adapt and send in next week. We'll want to show real opposition to the changes proposed by DOE, and to the program itself, so we hope you'll help us spread the word.

Thanks again for your help and action! It makes a difference.

Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service

URGENT: PLEASE CONTACT DOE TODAY.

ASK FOR EXTENSION OF COMMENT PERIOD ON LOAN GUARANTEE PROPOSED RULE

September 1, 2009

Dear Friends,

The Department of Energy has published for public comment a proposed rule on its loan guarantee program.

Their proposal is intended to overcome hurdles DOE has encountered in trying to give taxpayer loan guarantees for construction of new nuclear reactors. In doing so, it would add to the already considerable risk to taxpayers of such guarantees.

The proposal is quite technical and complicated, written in language only an investment banker could love. You can read it here:http://www.nirs.org/neconomics/doeloanguaranteeforcomment9809.pdf

Despite its complexity, DOE set only a 30-day comment period, which ends September 8. Seven DC organizations (NIRS, FoE, Greenpeace, NRDC, UCS, Taxpayers for Common Sense and Public Citizen) already have requested a comment extension of 60 days.

Please contact DOE today by e-mailing lgprogram@hq.doe.gov and ask for a 60-day comment extension. A sample letter is below.

In the meantime, we are attempting to develop some basic comments on the proposal that can provide a template for your comments. We will get those to you sometime next week if an extension is not granted. However, an extension will be necessary for us to be able to consult experts in finance and economics in order to provide the fullest and most meaningful comments possible.

Thanks for all you do,

Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
nirsnet@nirs.org
www.nirs.org


Sample letter (feel free to use your own words)

We are writing to support the August 20 request from seven national organizations for an extension of the comment period for DOE Docket ID: [DOE-2007-0002-0052] "Loan Guarantees for Projects That Employ Innovative Technologies," published in the Federal Register on August 7, 2009.

As their letter stated, this proposed rule is complex, highly technical, and offers far-reaching implications. In order to provide the fullest, most meaningful comments possible, we request a 60-day extension of the comment period. This would provide a total 90-day comment period, allowing adequate time for we and all affected parties to thoroughly review and comment on the proposal. We believe it is important that all stakeholders be provided adequate time to provide our views.

Thank you,

 


YOUR SENATORS ARE CRITICAL!


TAKE ACTION NOW FOR A STRONG CLIMATE BILL,
AND AGAINST TAXPAYER BAILOUTS OF THE
NUCLEAR POWER INDUSTRY!

August 26, 2009
Dear Clean Energy Advocate,
I'm writing because you live in a state where one or both of your Senators is considered critical.
Critical to passing a strong climate bill, and critical to making sure the climate bill does not turn into a bailout of the nuclear power industry.
Senate Environment Committee chair Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass) intend to introduce the Senate climate bill shortly after Labor Day. The Committee is expected to begin its work soon thereafter.
It is essential both that the Senate climate bill be much stronger than the House version (and NIRS was one of 300+ groups that sent a letter to Boxer today urging a stronger bill) and that the Senate bill not include a taxpayer bailout of the nuclear power industry.
*Because your Senator(s) is on our key votes list, please send a letter to them now here.
*And, for the first time, we've set it up so you can send a fax to your Senators if you'd like (just check the box that says "send fax"). This is even more effective than e-mail. But we have to pay for these faxes! So, if at all possible, please make a small donation to help us cover the cost of these faxes.
It will be very difficult to get 60 votes in the Senate to pass any sort of climate bill. And some Senators are arguing that adding billions of dollars of new taxpayer loan guarantees and other subsidies for the nuclear industry will help get the votes needed for passage.
But this is a ruse: the Senators who most want to spend billions of your money on new nuclear reactors aren't going to vote for a climate bill anyway.
And, because nuclear power is the most expensive, least effective means of reducing carbon emissions, a bill saddled with billions of dollars of nuclear subsidies would no longer be a useful or strong climate bill. Indeed, such a bill should be defeated and the Senate forced to try again.
Because the vote margin will be so close, we need to both support and keep up the pressure on those Senators who don't want nuclear subsidies. If their votes for a climate bill are in jeopardy because of nuclear bailouts, then these bailouts become less likely.
That's why it's important for all of us to take this next step, and e-mail and/or fax your Senators now.
And please help us pay for all these thousands of faxes here.
Not everyone on our list is receiving this Alert; only those of you in states where at least one of your Senators is a critical vote. And because your Senator(s) is critical, so is your action. Please act today.
Thanks for all you do,
Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
nirsnet@nirs.org
www.nirs.org
P.S. If you're on our snail mail list, you'll soon be receiving postcards for your Senators. Please fill those out and send them back to us as soon as you can. And if you'd like postcards for your friends and colleagues to fill out, or to use at information tables at concerts, conference and the like, let us know: nirsnet@nirs.org
And don't forget, it's not too late to visit your Senators district offices while they're still back home. Many are still holding town hall meetings you can attend. While many of these are oriented toward health care reform--clearly a crucial topic--how about going and asking about the health of the planet as well?
________________________________________


Deep Green: A Good Solution

Recently, we've been hearing about 'the death of environmentalism' because - allegedly - the world's corporations now understand ecology and will solve our problems with investment, innovation, and gung-ho optimism.
Of course, what the investors want to create with all that optimism and ingenuity are profits, not real sustainability.
Critics regularly accuse environmentalists of being 'doom and gloom' prognosticators who complain of endless problems, but offer 'no solutions'. However, if we check the record, we'll discover that serious ecologists have been offering solutions for centuries.
Real economic solutions
Economist John Stuart Mill realised the limits of nature 160 years ago, as he witnessed British factories multiplying across the landscape, spoiling woodlands, mowing down hedgerows and turning rivers into sewers.
Mill proposed that nations achieve a 'stationary state', at which point economic growth would stabilise for the sake of environmental preservation. "If the Earth must lose that great portion of its pleasantness," Mill wrote in 1848, "I sincerely hope, for the sake of posterity, that they will be content to be stationary long before necessity compels them to it."
Mill's solution did not imply that we cease developing qualitatively. "A stationary condition of capital and population," he insisted, "implies no stationary state of human improvement." He understood that we might improve the quality of life, even as we reduce our destruction of the Earth.
In the 1920s, as securities traders like Goldman-Sachs engineered a stock bubble that resulted in a decade of mass poverty, Nobel laureate Frederick Soddy proposed an economics rooted in physical reality. He pointed out that a perpetually growing economy pursuing infinite wealth was doomed to fail. Debt - an intangible claim on future wealth - could approach infinite size, he noted, but real wealth had limits. This systemic flaw, said Soddy, would result in financial scams, defaults, and crashes. His solution - 'Stop creating money from nothing'.
In the 1960s and 1970s, others - Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, Howard Odum, Hazel Henderson, Donnella Meadows, Herman Daly - described realistic economic models based on living systems, accounting for energy transfer and physical limits. "Biology, not mechanics, is our Mecca," said Georgescu-Roegen. Daly's 'Steady State Economics' described realistic solutions that would allow for qualitative development without economic growth.
Systemic, 'steady state', or 'biophysical' economic models recognise that all growth in ecological systems eventually stops. The economic visionaries offered realistic solutions, but their realism limited the accumulation of phony 'wealth', so they were ignored or even mocked by conventional voices.
Plans B, C, D...
Our modern ecological crisis - global warming, species loss, water shortages, soil depletion - are all symptoms of a larger problem: Human overshoot. When a species overshoots its habitat, there are only two results - (1) crash and perish, or (2). stabilise consumption and discover ecological balance with the environment. Growing bigger is not a solution; it's the problem.
Ecologists, environmentalists and planners have offered thousands of solutions. Visionaries such as Jon Todd, Janine Benyus, and Wes Jackson have shown how 'biomimicry' and ecological resource harvesting can create genuinely sustainable systems. Benyus writes in Nature's Operating Instructions: "... we are nature. ... life's adaptations spell out a pattern language for survival. ... the hummingbird manages to pollinate its energy source, ensuring that there will be nectar next year. .. These organisms have had about 400 million years of R&D." Copying natural systems provides real solutions, but it doesn't necessarily create billionaires.
Bill Rees at the University of British Columbia and Mathis Wackernagle with Earth Council in Costa Rica developed the 'Ecological Footprint' analysis to help nations, regions, and cities properly account for their consumption. Rees concludes that humanity's resource consumption is now about 30 per cent beyond the Earth's capacity to replenish. Typical cities require somewhere between 300 and 3000 times their area to supply the resources they consume.
Rees has proposed real solutions that take advantage of dense urban population: full accounting, urban and rural unification, public transport, electricity co-generation, closed circuit industry, and reduced per capita demand for materials and energy. In Linkoping, Sweden, the city powers its industry and buildings by burning its waste, rather than creating landfills.
Richard Register's EcoCities proposals offer similar solutions. In Managing without Growth, Peter Victor offers sound policies - shortened workweeks, cap on resource extraction - to improve public welfare without consuming more of the planet. Harvey Wasserman in Solartopia and Lester Brown in Plan B (now in version 3.0), Jeffrey Sachs in Common Wealth, and hundreds of other research papers, books and practical projects have outlined sensible solutions to human overshoot. Most urban and regional plans, however, want to grow their populations and consumption, the exact antithesis of genuine sustainability.
A Good Solution
In 1980, farmer and author Wendell Berry wrote a short essay, Solving for Pattern, which outlined the features of 'a good solution'. He showed that many problems we face today are the consequences of previous 'solutions' that failed to think beyond an isolated short-term gain. Toxic pollution, dying rivers and nuclear waste provide examples. Other alleged solutions, such as an arms race or a 'war on drugs', make the problems worse.
Berry demonstrated, using farming examples, how a good solution preserves the 'integrity of pattern', improves balance and symmetry, and addresses the health of the whole system rather than treats symptoms. All problems are parts of a whole, and all systems are contained in larger systems. A good solution maintains the integrity of the larger systems.
In this way, a good solution solves multiple problems and avoids 'magic bullet' solutions that fail to account for their full impact. For example, a nuclear 'solution' to an energy need creates new problems: radioactive fuel transport, public health, waste, security, decommissioning, accidents, insurance costs, evacuation plans, radiation exposure, and so forth. "In a biological pattern," Berry writes, "the exploitive means and motives of industrial economics are immediately destructive and ultimately suicidal." A genuine solution does not pollute or destroy a watershed, for example, to mine gold or generate power.
Real, integrated solutions tend to localise, accept limits and use resources at hand. However, genuine solutions exist only in actual proof and cannot to be expected from absentee owners and absentee experts. People who will benefit from success or suffer the consequences of failure should guide local solutions with real work that fits the scale of their communities, and in a specific place, with local knowledge. A solution, says Berry, "should not enrich one person by the distress or impoverishment of another." The scale of a solution proves critical. Solutions that require massive, expensive, imported infrastructure often cause more problems than they solve.
Healthy, integrated solutions distinguish biophysical order from mechanical order. A mechanistic plan often works 'on paper' by ignoring related systems. In crafting solutions, consider wisdom, not just calculation. Well-designed solutions maintain natural, organic pattern. Human communities exist only within large-scale layers of organic systems, with natural cycles and laws of material and energy exchange.
Systemic solutions satisfy multiple criteria and consider form as well as function; they are healthy and pleasant to live around. Large-scale industrial solutions have a history of addressing only one criteria - profits for shareholders - without considering toxic waste, full energy costs, habitat disruption, carbon emissions, or depressing work environments.
Rather than 'going for broke' with a single large-scale plan that serves business interests, good solutions consider many diverse, small-scale applications that may scale up and down and prove out over time. Small-scale solutions are easier to replace when something doesn't work as planned, and easier to multiply when they do work well.
A good solution does not assume 'more is better'. The growth solutions that do make this assumption destroy communities, families, cultures, and environments. Large-scale centralised solutions allow wealth to be concentrated but do not necessarily achieve optimum, systemic health. "The illusion can be maintained," Berry points out, "only so long as the consequences can be ignored." Thus, a series of village-scale power systems that can be operated by village skills is more stable and more sustainable than a massive corporate industrial power system with invasive environmental disruption and long transmission lines that cut through wilderness ecosystems.
Human solutions do not endure without human input, energy, organisation, maintenance and so forth. Wendell Barry points out that the integrity of human artifacts depends on human virtues: accurate memory, rigorous observation, insight, inventiveness, reverence, devotion, fidelity and restraint. Here Berry emphasised 'restraint above all'. We must learn to resist the temptation to 'solve' problems by accepting 'trade-offs' and bequeathing those to posterity. A good solution, Barry wrote three decades ago, is "in harmony with good character, cultural value, and moral law."
So yes - ecologists, farmers, environmentalists, workers and simple people in common communities have all proffered thousands of realistic solutions. Ecologists are not 'doom and gloom' pessimists. They are realists.
Integrated, healthy solutions may present opportunities for business, jobs, and community enterprise, but since the human community has already overshot the sustainable productive capacity of the planet, genuine ecological solutions demand less consumption, not more. And since over a billion people remain hungry and in need of water, and since our soils and forests are in decline, the wealthy nations will have to share the Earth's resources. Less consumption and sharing aren't going to make anyone fabulously wealthy, but it may provide us with a viable future.
- Rex Weyler
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