TMI Update: Jan 14, 2024


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Upcoming Ohio Supreme Court decisions could make it even harder to develop solar power in the state 

Solar companies appealed two cases in which they say the Ohio Power Siting Board relied on local opposition to decide the projects weren’t in the public interest, rather than weighing all pros and cons.

Avatar photo by Kathiann M. Kowalski 

 

The decisions are expected to guide future regulatory rulings, and clean energy industry and environmental advocates have voiced concerns about the potential impact on energy development.

For Immediate Release: July 17, 2024
Media Contact: Alex Frank, afrank@hastingsgroupmedia.com | 703-276-3264
 
GEORGIA CONSUMER GROUPS SUE STATE OVER ILLEGAL TERM EXTENSIONS FOR UTILITY REGULATORS, WHO THEN APPROVED HIGHEST-EVER ELECTRIC BILL INCREASES
 
Attorneys: Georgia Violated State Constitution with HB-1312, Which Unilaterally Blocked Public Service Commissioner Elections and Allowed Sitting Members to Rubberstamp Controversial Utility Bill Hikes, the Highest in State History.   

ATLANTA, GA – JULY 17, 2024 – Georgia consumer groups filed a major lawsuit against the State of Georgia [AF1] in federal court, alleging Georgia lawmakers violated the state’s constitution by unilaterally postponing Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) elections. According to the lawsuit, the PSC election’s unlawful postponement allowed the sitting commission members to rubberstamp the largest utility rate increases in Georgia history and grant utility companies the authority to charge Georgians for cost-overruns and mishaps. The groups argue that the charges may not have been passed onto consumers if elections were held as regularly scheduled.

House Bill 1312, which Georgia legislators passed in April, delays the election of new PSC members until at least 2025, giving multiple sitting PSC members an extra two years in office. Georgia’s constitution requires that PSC terms shall be six years, and therefore cannot be lengthened without a constitutional amendment. All PSC members have had their office terms extended to eight years, and one nine years as a result.

The lawsuit, filed by Georgia based attorneys Bryan Sells and Lester Tate on behalf of plaintiffs Georgia WAND and Georgia Conservation Voters, follows the U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of the plaintiffs’ petition for the court to review the 11th Circuit’s decision in Rose v Raffensperger.

Kimberly Scott, plaintiff and executive director of Georgia WAND, said: “The illegal postponement of PSC elections in Georgia is an attack on our constitutional right to vote and the state’s constitutional mandate to hold statewide elections within the time frame governed by the law. This lawsuit will show that Georgia lawmakers have made de facto regulatory decisions that are harmful to the state instead of adhering to our constitution. Let the people vote!”

Brionté McCorkle, plaintiff and executive director of Georgia Conservation Voters Education Fund, said: “Georgians are fighting every month to stay ahead of rising costs for food, housing, and now energy. These aren’t optional costs. They’re things we need to survive. Public Service Commissioners like Tricia Pridemore, Fitz Johnson, and Tim Echols have allowed Georgia Power to take money out of the pockets of hard-working Georgians - and it has to end.”

In May, the plaintiffs along with four other prominent Georgia consumer groups released a report, Plant Vogtle: The True Cost of Nuclear Power in the United States. The analysis detailed how the U.S. Department of Energy, Georgia Power, and the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC), conspired to force Georgians into purchasing the most expensive electricity in the world, costing ratepayers $10,784 per kilowatt, compared to $900 to $1,500 per kilowatt (KW) for wind or solar.  Recent Georgia Power electricity bills have shown the bill increase to be in the 30-40% range.  

Additional Key findings in the May Vogtle report included:

  • Plant Vogtle allowed Georgia Power to expand its rate base, the assets on which they earn a guaranteed rate of return, by over $11 billion. Yet their share of Vogtle is 1,020 megawatts, making it the most expensive electricity in the world at $10,784/KW. Normal (wind, solar, natural gas) generation prices range from $900 to $1500/KW.

  • Vogtle Units 3 & 4 took 15 years to build and cost $36.8 billion, well over twice the projected timeline and cost.

  • Vogtle independent construction monitors documented that Georgia Power provided materially false cost estimates for at least ten years, falsehoods used to justify expanding Plant Vogtle. Similar false cost estimates sent South Carolina utility executives to jail for that state’s failed nuclear plant, which started construction at the same time as Plant Vogtle.

Patty Durand, consumer advocate, founder of Cool Planet Solutions and a recent candidate for the Georgia PSC, said: “Again and again, the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) was warned about the astronomical cost of the Vogtle reactors and the financial toll it will bear on Georgians for decades to come. Commissioners repeatedly declined to protect ratepayers from cost overruns and ignored PSC staff recommendations to cancel the project. People went to prison for actions like this in South Carolina, yet we have had no accountability for the same, and worse, behavior here. Instead, the state legislature decided to shield current commissioners from facing voters by delaying PSC elections indefinitely. This is clearly unconstitutional. This is un-American.”

EDITOR’S NOTE:

The lawsuit, injunction filing and an embeddable recording of the GA Lawsuit news event are available at GAWAND.org.

###

GCV Education Fund

Georgia Conservation Voters Education Fund mobilizes Georgians to advance climate and environmental justice for a more just and sustainable future.

Georgia WAND

Georgia WAND (Women’s Actions for New Directions) Education Fund Inc. is a non-profit advocacy group focused on quality-of-life issues, health hazards resulting from nuclear energy and weapons, and social justice grounded in building racial equity.

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

https://www.ajc.com/politics/law-further-delaying-georgia-psc-elections-is-unconstitutional-new-lawsuit-claims/NGSMMLKYTVFVFMOPZFZDTQV2DM/

 

Lawsuit alleges Georgia law delaying PSC elections is unconstitutional

Plaintiffs argue new law moving utility regulator elections to 2025 and beyond violates due process rights and ask the court to order that elections be held as soon as possible

Georgia Public Service Commissioner Lauren McDonald (second from right) addresses at a commission meeting on May 16, 2023.

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Georgia Public Service Commissioner Lauren McDonald (second from right) addresses at a commission meeting on May 16, 2023.

By 

1 hour ago

It has been almost four years since voters last had a chance to choose who represents them on the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC), the five-member body that regulates Georgia Power and the state’s other investor-owned utilities.

In 2022, elections for two commission seats were postponed by a long-running voting rights case that is still winding its way through the courts. Then, this March, the Georgia General Assembly passed a bill — which was later signed into law — further delaying elections until 2025 and beyond.

Now, a voter and two environmental groups have sued in an attempt to block the new law and force Georgia to hold PSC elections as soon as possible.

PSC District 4 Commissioner Lauren "Bubba" McDonald (right) speaks during a final vote on Plant Vogtle's expansion costs on Tuesday, December 19, 2023, as PSC Chairman Jason Shaw (left) looks on.
Credit: Drew Kann

PSC District 4 Commissioner Lauren "Bubba" McDonald (right) speaks during a final vote on Plant Vogtle's expansion costs on Tuesday, December 19, 2023, as PSC Chairman Jason Shaw (left) looks on.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Atlanta against Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s top elections official. The three plaintiffs in the case are Brionté McCorkle, Georgia Conservation Voters (GCV) Education Fund, Inc. and Georgia WAND Education Fund, Inc.

Both GCV Education Fund and Georgia WAND are climate and environmental justice-focused nonprofits. McCorkle is a Georgia voter and executive director of GCV, who is also a plaintiff in a separate case challenging the state’s rules for electing PSC commissioners statewide.

 

The law challenged by the plaintiffs, previously known as House Bill 1312, passed the Georgia House along party lines, 93-66. Some Democrats supported the measure in the Senate on a 43-9 vote. Gov. Brian Kemp signed the bill into law in April.

Before elections were halted in 2022, PSC commissioners served six-year, staggered terms.

But the delays triggered by the voting rights case disrupted that cadence, leading legislators who were behind HB 1312 to reshuffle the schedule. Republican backers of the bill said the “reset” of commissioners’ terms was needed to ensure no more than two PSC seats were up for reelection in a single year.

The result is that two years or more were added to the terms several PSC commissioners are currently serving.

The Georgia Constitution states PSC commissioners are elected to six year terms. The plaintiffs argue that can only be changed through a constitutional amendment, and because the legislature did not approve an amendment, they argue HB 1312 violates the state Constitution. The complaint also says the new law deprives the plaintiffs of due process as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Bryan Sells, the lead attorney representing the plaintiffs, said their challenge to the law is “very simple.”

“The only thing you really need to understand is that the Legislature cannot, by statute, amend the Constitution,” he said in an interview.

The plaintiffs also filed a preliminary injunction Wednesday seeking to block Raffensperger from implementing the law and to force him to call elections for three of the PSC seats “as soon as practicable.”

Their request asks the judge to require elections for PSC Vice-Chairman Tim Echols’ District 2 seat, the District 3 seat belonging to Commissioner Fitz Johnson and the District 5 post held by Commissioner Tricia Pridemore. Elections for the District 2 and 3 seats are not scheduled until November 2025, and District 5 would not appear on ballots until November 2026.

If the judge agrees with the plaintiffs’ arguments, how quickly elections could be called will be up to the court to decide, but Sells said they intend to ask for one or more to be held this year. The next general election for many state and federal offices, including the presidency, is scheduled for Nov. 5.

“Certainly there’s no reason to wait until November of 2025 to hold these elections, which is what HB 1312 does,” Sells said.

Raffensperger’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The challenge to the PSC election law comes in the wake of several major regulatory decisions the commission has made concerning Georgia Power, the state’s largest electric utility.

Late last year, the PSC cleared Georgia Power to collect most of the remaining cost of the long-delayed and over-budget new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle from customers. That decision has led to a sharp rise in the price Georgia Power customers pay for electricity, with the largest chunk hitting customers’ bills in June.

For a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month, Georgia Power estimates Vogtle’s costs will lead to a cumulative increase of $14.38 in their monthly bills. Customers that use more electricity and others on different plans could see much larger jumps in their bills.

Earlier this year, the commission also signed off on a deal allowing Georgia Power to expand its reliance on oil and gas to generate electricity and add battery storage to its system.

Meanwhile, more major cases are on the horizon. Next year, the PSC is expected to vote on cases involving Georgia Power’s long-term energy plans and the rates the company charges. Oral arguments in a controversial test of Georgia’s eminent domain laws are also set for next month.

The complaint doesn’t directly challenge any of the PSC’s past decisions, but McCorkle, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said she believes the current commission has been a “rubber stamp” for Georgia Power and elections are needed to hold them accountable.

“If there is no change on the commission, I can say with confidence today, they will absolutely vote to raise rates,” McCorkle said. “This is why we have to have an election.”

The PSC’s executive director, Reese McAlister, said he disagreed with the “rubber stamp” label, adding in a statement that all commission hearings are broadcast publicly and are available on the PSC’s website “to ensure accessibility and transparency.”

PSC Chairman Jason Shaw declined to comment on the litigation, but said, “the commissioners will follow any law passed by the General Assembly or ordered by the courts.”

Commissioners Johnson and Pridemore also declined to comment, citing the lawsuit. Echols and Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

-Staff writer Mark Niesse contributed to this report.

China adds wind, solar power equal to five nuclear plants weekly

China is installing at least 10 gigawatts of wind and solar generation capacity every fortnight

News Desk July 17, 2024

people walk past wind turbines at a beach on the taiwan strait during sunset on pingtan island fujian province china april 10 2023 photo reuters

People walk past wind turbines at a beach on the Taiwan strait during sunset on Pingtan Island, Fujian province, China, April 10, 2023. PHOTO: REUTERS

It's installing at least 10 gigawatts of wind and solar generation capacity every fortnight.

By comparison, experts have said the Coalition's plan to build seven nuclear power plants would add fewer than 10GW of generation capacity to the grid sometime after 2035.

Energy experts are looking to China, the world's largest emitter, once seen as a climate villain, for lessons on how to go green, fast.

China accounts for about a third of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. A recent drop in emissions (the first since relaxing COVID-19 restrictions), combined with the decarbonisation of the power grid, may mean the country's emissions have peaked.

"With the power sector going green, emissions are set to plateau and then progressively fall towards 2030 and beyond," CEF China energy policy analyst Xuyang Dong said.

So how is China building and connecting panels so fast, and what's the role of nuclear in its transition?

China accounts for about a third of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. A recent drop in emissions (the first since relaxing COVID-19 restrictions), combined with the decarbonisation of the power grid, may mean the country's emissions have peaked.

Read: Most of wind, solar plants being built in China

"With the power sector going green, emissions are set to plateau and then progressively fall towards 2030 and beyond," CEF China energy policy analyst Xuyang Dong said.

China is building 339 gigawatts (GW) of utility-scale wind and solar, or 64% of the global total, a report from U.S.-based think tank Global Energy Monitor (GEM) found. That is more than eight times the project pipeline of the second-place US, with 40 GW.

Data from China's National Bureau of Statistics showed a 29% increase, but that excluded rooftop solar panels and therefore missed about half of the electricity from solar.

The new analysis calculated wind and solar output using power generating capacity data and utilisation figures from the China Electricity Council, an industry association.

Wind power generation rose 5% on the year to 83 TWh as a 21% increase in capacity was offset by lower utilisation because of variations in wind conditions. Hydropower generation rose 39% from last year, when hydropower was hit by a drought.

Gas-fired generation fell 16%, and power generation from coal fell 3.7%, even as total electricity demand increased 7.2% year-on-year.

https://www.cleveland.com/open/2024/07/how-state-legislation-led-the-banning-of-big-wind-and-solar-projects-in-a-fourth-of-ohios-counties.html

How state legislation led the banning of big wind and solar projects in a fourth of Ohio’s counties

  • Updated: Jul. 13, 2024, 10:05 a.m | Published: Jul. 13, 2024, 5:30 a.m. Jake Zuckerman

COLUMBUS, Ohio – In Erie County, you can’t build solar farms on unincorporated land or wind turbines off the lakeshore.

It’s the same story for the unincorporated land in Ottawa County. And in Mahoning County, after local township trustees killed Alpin Sun’s plans for a 150-megawatt solar farm, the county followed suit and banned all wind and solar a few months later. The list goes on and on.

Counties and townships in Ohio have no legal right to ban coal or natural gas projects in town – such power siting decisions are left to the state. However, under a law passed by state Republicans in 2021, local governments can now ban wind and solar farms from their jurisdictions. Since that law took effect, 24 of Ohio’s 88 counties have banned wind or solar in all or some of their lands, according to a new report from researchers at the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University.

The wind and the sun currently produce the cheapest energy in the U.S., according to Lazard, a financial advisory firm. But as the planet bakes, such renewable generation is effectively off limits in more than 1-in-4 counties in the state.

“Most [states] have made it more difficult for local governments to block wind and solar development,” said Matthew Eisenson, one of the researchers, noting Illinois and Michigan recently adopted such policies. “Ohio went in the opposite direction.”

Eisenson said the new policy distorts markets away from the cheapest energy, and favors fossil fuels like gas and coal.

Neither of the 2021 bill’s sponsors – GOP state Sens. Rob McColley of Napoleon and Bill Reineke of Tiffin – responded to inquiries about the report or effects of SB52.The state doesn’t keep any centralized list of counties that passed such wind or solar bans. But according to the researchers, the counties that banned solar are Adams, Allen, Auglaize, Brown, Butler, Clermont, Columbiana, Erie, Fairfield, Fayette, Greene, Hancock, Henry, Licking, Logan, Madison, Mahoning, Marion, Medina, Ottawa, Putnam, Seneca, Union and Wayne. Most of these 24 counties have also established restrictions on wind.

“Importantly, there are still over two-thirds of Ohio counties that have not implemented bans, and those counties are well situated to benefit from responsibly sited utility-scale solar,” Tavenor said.

“We’re also seeing municipal utilities explore their own options for renewable energy generation. Ohio can still play a key role in national decarbonization efforts even as some counties decide to ban solar and wind.”

Power companies, utility companies, grid operators and policy makers have all made clear that Ohio needs more electricity in play. Solar should continue to be a part of it, said Will Hinman, executive director of the Utility Scale Solar Energy Coalition of Ohio.

“When counties ban solar, they stand to lose out on millions of dollars in revenue for schools and other critical local services, hundreds of construction and long-term operations and maintenance jobs, and the opportunity to help meet our state’s increasing demand for more power,” he said.

Ohio regulators are still working through projects that predate 2021′s Senate Bill 52. But it’s almost certain that the policy has chilled long-term investment in Ohio from the industry, said Evan Vaughn, executive director of MAREC Action, a consortium of wind developers in the Midwest. Some of the biggest constraints the energy faces is land, willing landowners, and ability to plug into the grid. Nixing huge swaths of land will inevitably increase prices, and the new power of unpredictable local governments increases that uncertainty.

“It’s significant, there’s no getting around it,” he said. “Having a large portion of a state basically say no to the most cost effective and clean energy sources that we’re deploying on the grid now is going to have an impact.”

State Sen. Kent Smith, a Euclid Democrat who voted against the bill, said he’d have expected more local bans, given how many county commissions in Ohio are controlled by Republicans. Still, he said it’s a poor decision these counties made, because long-term investment is shifting to renewables, which don’t require inputs like raw coal or gas.  But Kent Smith has also supported nuclear & is a mixed bag.

“I think those 24 counties have made a mistake, and they’re leaving valuable revenue on the table,” he said.

The protests around wind and solar tend to focus on spoiled viewsheds, drainage issues, the temporary loss of agricultural land, or incidental bird kills from wind turbines. Some of the criticisms are more far-fetched, with citizens baselessly warning the Ohio Power Siting Board at public hearings of human health and drinking water contamination from solar projects.

Grandfathered in?

In some ways, SB52 has done more damage to renewable development than designed.

Late in the legislative process, House lawmakers negotiated in an amendment designed to “grandfather” projects already in the development queue, locking them into the old rules. However, the Ohio Power Siting Board has since cited local political opposition in claiming the projects failed to satisfy a legal requirement that a solar or wind site serve the “public interest, convenience or necessity.” Thus, local opposition has killed or threatened even the grandfathered projects.

For instance, developers behind Kingwood Solar, a 175-megawatt project in Greene County, have asked the Ohio Supreme Court to overturn the board’s denial of its permit. They say the board ignored the economic benefits and tax revenue of the project and rejected it based solely on opposition from local citizens and elected officials.

“The public interest is not synonymous with public opinion or perception,” their attorneys wrote in court filings.

In that case, the Chamber of Commerce and Senate Democrats filed briefs in support of the developers. Senate Republicans and the local governments filed in support of some of the board’s rejection.

The power siting board made the same decision on the same reasoning against Cepheus Solar, a 68-megawatt project in Defiance County, and Birch Solar, a 300-megawatt project in Allen and Auglaize counties that even drew personal opposition from Senate President Matt Huffman, who lives in the area.

Board staff recommended the rejection of Circleville Solar, a proposed 70-megawatt project in Pickaway County, given opposition from the county commission. The board hasn’t yet decided the fate of the grandfathered project.

House Majority Leader Bill Seitz helped draft and negotiate the grandfathering amendment and voted for SB52. He has since written to the power siting board asking that its members honor the grandfathering rule. However, he declined to say whether board flouted its terms.

“Local opposition is relevant, but not determinative, as to those [pre-SB52] projects,” he said.

As for Ohio’s renewable-free zones, Seitz said he can’t say it’s a bad thing that “local control” produced these results. But the solar developers, he said, need to do a better job persuading communities to support the projects.

While he said he’s encouraged by pending legislation that could expand rooftop or community solar in Ohio, the outlook is poor for the big projects.“I think the big huge projects on super valuable farmland are going to run into a buzzsaw of opposition,” he said.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SUNDAY, JULY 14, 2024

CONTACT: GENE STILP
NO NUKES PENNSYLVANIA
717-829-5600
GENESTILP@COMCAST.NET
 
CONTACT: ERIC EPSTEIN
THREE MILE ISLAND ALERT
717-979-8767
EPSTEIN@EFMR.ORG
WWW.TMIA.ORG.
 
CITIZEN PROTEST TO OPPOSE THE REOPENING
OF THREE MILE ISLAND UNIT ONE SCHEDULED FOR
JULY 15, 11 A.M. AT THE NORTH GATE OF TMI
IS POSTPONED DUE TO THE EXCESSIVE HEAT

DEMONSTRATION WILL BE RESCHEDULED FOR MID- AUGUST
 
Electricity generation from solar and wind hit a record-high of 401.4 terawatt hours (TWh) between January and June 2024, surpassing the 390.5 TWh of power generated from nuclear power plants, Ember’s data showed.
PRESS STATEMENT ON PRESIDENT BIDEN
SIGNING THE PRO-NUCLEAR “ADVANCE ACT”, S.870
David Kraft, Director
Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS)
July 11, 2024
 
In a move parallelling his decision to remain a candidate for President, on Tuesday July 10th President Joe Biden signed the “ADVANCE Act,” which stands for “Accelerating Deployment of Versatile, Advanced Nuclear for Clean Energy.”  The controversial bill aggressively promotes the narrow, short-term interests of the U.S. nuclear industry in ways that threaten the long-term national environmental, climate and national/international security interests.   
 
Further, it functionally rewrites the mandate of the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in ways that potentially cast it into the role of promoter instead of federal regulator of the controversial and moribund nuclear power industry.
 
To summarize, The ADVANCE ACT:
·         promotes development of currently experimental, commercially non-existent “small modular nuclear reactors” (SMNRs) and allegedly “advanced” reactors, using tax dollars;
·         provides less regulatory oversight by ordering the NRC to “streamline” licensing of currently experimental SMNRs, putting the NRC in a position of becoming a quasi-promoter instead of regulator, in contradiction to its 1975 founding mandate;
·         requires development of the infrastructure needed to produce more intensely enriched radioactive fuel called “HALEU” – high-assay, low-enriched uranium -- required for the SMNRs to run on. Enrichment would be just below weapons-usable; currently the only source of HALEU is Russia;
·         ignores the potential increased risk and harm from having more nuclear reactors large and small;
·         produces more high-level radioactive waste without first having a disposal method in place for either current or future reactors;
·         permits and encourages export of nuclear technology and materials internationally, and
·         for the first time, allows foreign control/ownership of nuclear facilities within the U.S.
 
Congress cannot be absolved from its role in uncritically swallowing the gaslit promises of nuclear power.  The House previously passed its version of the legislation by a margin of 393-13 before sending it to the Senate.  There, it stalled, but was procedurally resurrected by attaching the 93-page nuclear Christmas-wish list to a three-page, must pass fire safety bill – S.870, the Fire Grants and Safety Act.  It passed in the Senate 88-2, with only Senators Ed Markey (MA) and Bernie Sanders (VT) recognizing the imminent threat it posed to energy, environmental, and international security interests.
 
Critics of nuclear power and opponents of the ADVANCE Act fail to see:
·         how the Act fights climate disruption, when SMNRs are only experimental, may not work at all, and if they work will not be available in sufficient quantities for commercialization before the mid-2030s, according the nuclear industry itself.  It is the carbon we remove and keep out of the atmosphere between NOW and the mid-2030s that will determine if we can meet climate goals;
·         how SMNRs will enhance currently threatened system reliability and power availability, when they will not be available – assuming they even work – before the mid-2030s.
·         how exporting SMNR technology and ~19+% enriched (just below weapons useable) HALEU reactor fuel worldwide improves international security in a world dominated by wars in Ukraine, the Middle East, and potentially in southeast Asia; poorly controlled non-state actors; and well-known corrupt business entities.  Equally baffling is how allowing foreign ownership of nuclear facilities in the U.S. proper makes our energy systems safer, more secure, and insulated from economic instability or foreign interference.
·         how mandating the NRC to “expedite” SMNR licensing – potentially at the expense of its original and official mandate to “adequately” protect public health and safety and the environment – makes nuclear power and the nation safer.  This regulatory approach has demonstrably failed with Boeing; failed with Norfolk Southern in East Palestine; failed with PIMSA in Sartortia; and doubly-failed at Fukushima.  NRC is supposed to oversee and regulate an industry that in the past five years has repeatedly displayed corporate and legislative corruption at the highest levels resulting in FBI indictments, convictions and guilty pleas, millions of dollars in fines, and enormous cost overruns born by ratepayers.
·         why viable alternatives to nuclear expansion like renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy storage, and transmission improvements are not prioritized over nuclear expansion, since ALL are cheaper, quicker to implement, reduce carbon emissions, produce no radioactive wastes, have no meltdown potential, create no nuclear proliferation issues, and, most importantly – ALREADY EXIST.  Nothing more needs to be invented; just implemented.

 
For example, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) stated in December, 2023 that roughly 2,600 giga-watts (GW) of electric power projects await grid connection – over twice the entire current electrical output of the US, and roughly 27 times the entire output of all current US reactors combined.  The large majority of this backlog are renewable energy projects awaiting connection access to the aging transmission grid.  New EXISTING transmission technologies like reconductoring and improved grid resiliency solutions could double the capacity of the grid in much shorter time and with far greater certainty than chasing speculative nuclear promises, creating greater ease of access for renewables and storage.
 
By signing the ADVANCE Act, the President and an accomplice Congress have placed the nation’s energy future, climate goals, and even international security at grave risk.  Clearly, placing short term, ego-invested interests over the long-term best interests of the nation seem to be a problem extending beyond re-election. As Napoleon once observed, never ascribe anything to malice when there is the least suspicion of incompetence.  Perhaps, but in the end, the results are the same.
https://files.constantcontact.com/abc65024401/7ee258bf-32c2-48a3-bbd6-c0cec7c545aa.jpg?rdr=true

Beyond Nuclear Bulletin
July 11, 2024


ZOMBIE REACTOR
Environmental scoping action alert
 
On Thursday, July 11 from 6-10pm Eastern, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), accompanied by the Department of Energy, will hold a public comment session regarding environmental scoping for the Palisades atomic reactor restart scheme. (The unprecedented restart is already being emulated at other closed reactors.) The location is Grand Upton Hall at Mendel Center, 1100 Yore Ave. in Benton Harbor, Michigan. In-person attendees will be given priority to deliver verbal comments. However, virtual/telephonic participation, from anywhere, is another option for providing verbal comments for the official record. See NRC’s June 27 press release, its public meeting announcement, and the Federal Register Notice. Beyond Nuclear has prepared sample talking points you can use to compose your own comments.
 
 
 
Read More

BIDEN SIGNS ADVANCE ACT
Launches next nuclear fiasco
 
Congress and the White House have launched their fool’s errand chasing more nuclear power mirages. US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm acknowledged it in her “victory lap” around the two Westinghouse AP1000 units that finally connected to the electric grid in Georgia. “‘It’s not a given that this buildout of nuclear is going to happen,’ she said at the American Nuclear Society Society’s annual conference. ‘So here’s the hard ask. Who here is going to announce plans to build the next AP1000?’” 
 
Only 2 of 12 Westinghouse AP1000 units signing up for the “nuclear renaissance” in 2007 managed to finish. Thirty-two+ new reactor units never finished. See Power Magazine’s July 8, 2024 commentary, “Cost Makes Adding New Nuclear Power Plants Unthinkable.”


ASKING FOR MORE TROUBLE
Restarting Three Mile Island
 
Constellation Energy, subsumed by Exelon Generation and spun off in charge of its nuclear power operations, has jumped on the bandwagon for federal funds to look at “recommissioning” the decommissioning Three Mile Island Unit 1 nuclear power station in Middletown, PA. TMI, along with the radioactive wreck of Unit 2, was certified to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as permanently closed, defueled and slated for decontamination, dismantlement and radioactive site cleanup.There are 14 “permanently” closed US reactors awaiting decommissioning according to the NRC Information Digest’s Appendix C in “SAFSTOR” status ostensibly considered “restartable.” Some have been idled “cold and dark” for decades. The pro-nuclear Washington Post recently ran its slant on what is another dangerous and exorbitantly expensive boondoggle.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

SCOTUS V. NUKES?!
Silver lining in recent rulings?!
 
Chevron Deference's (courts bowing to executive agency expertise) death at the hands of the Supreme Court of the U.S. has largely been framed as a loss for environmental protection
 
But as Evergreen Collaborative has arguedin the context of climate, the opposite may well be true. Beyond Nuclear and our allies in the fight against the nuclear industry have often been ruled against, as judges have invoked Chevron to allow largely pro-nuclear agencies like NRC, DOE, EPA, etc. to aid and abet the industry. 
 
But now, we can more readily challenge agency hubris in court. Similarly, SCOTUS's ruling in West Virginia versus EPA has boomeranged into a lower court victory against two radioactive waste dumps in the Permian.


Beyond Nuclear | 301.270.2209 | www.BeyondNuclear.org

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https://www.eenews.net/articles/duke-is-again-considering-levy-county-site-for-new-nuclear-plant/

Duke is again considering Levy County site for new nuclear plant

The proposal could revive a major fight from over a decade ago, where a plan to build a different type of nuclear plant met resistance from environmentalists and consumer advocates.

Avatar of Bruce Ritchie BY:  | 07/11/2024 06:42 AM EDT

Two cooling towers are seen at a nuclear reactor facility.

Duke Energy is considering putting a nuclear power plant in Levy County, Florida.Mike Stewart/AP

ENERGYWIRE | TALLAHASSEE, Florida — Duke Energy Florida is again considering putting a nuclear power plant on 5,000 acres it owns in Levy County, regulatory documents reviewed by POLITICO reveal, as state and federal officials encourage the expansion of nuclear energy.

Duke Energy has not publicized its plans. But documents filed with state regulators in April by the utility say that it is considering building a "next generation" nuclear plant at the site between 2038 and 2048. The proposal could revive a major fight from over a decade ago, where a plan to build a different type of nuclear plant met resistance from environmentalists and consumer advocates.

The utility's pending decision was buried in testimony filed as part of a three-year, $818-million rate hike request filed with the Public Service Commission. The request includes a proposal to charge consumers a collective $94 million to hold the Levy County land for a future power plant.

Benjamin M.H. Borsch, the utility's managing director of integrated resource planning and analytics, said the company is considering placing a small modular nuclear reactor on the site. "The site remains especially valuable given its access to water, transportation, and transmission," Borsch said in written testimony.

Duke Energy in 2013 said it had eliminated the site from consideration for a different proposed nuclear project. Four years later, the utility signed a legal agreement canceling the project and absorbing $150 million in site costs.

Some project opponents said Wednesday they were surprised by the prospect of the new nuclear plant.

"I know it's a long way off," former Republican state Sen. Mike Fasano, now the Pasco County tax collector, told POLITICO. "My question would be, how much is it going to cost and who is going to pay for it?"

Duke spokesperson Audrey Stasko said via email the plant that was proposed prior to 2013 had been canceled, but nuclear energy remains an option "as utilities across the nation move toward a carbon free future." She did not respond Wednesday to questions about the cost and whether a federal license obtained in 2016 could still be used at the plant site.

Public Counsel Walt Trierweiler also declined to comment on the Levy County site, after contesting the utility's $94 million request to hold onto the site. His office announced Monday that it had reached a tentative agreement with Duke Energy to settle the overall rate request dispute.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed federal legislation intended to streamline the permitting process to encourage new nuclear plants, which his administration says can help battle climate change. And agency staff told the state Public Service Commission on Tuesday they have begun working on recommendations to encourage the development of advanced nuclear technology as required by state legislation, H.B. 1645 (24R), which Gov. Ron DeSantis signed May 15.

Duke Energy Florida and its predecessor, Progress Energy, collected more than $1 billion from customers for the two 1,100-megawatt nuclear units that had been planned at the Levy County site.

Duke announced in 2013 that it was abandoning the project because of delays in issuing the federal license and uncertainties about the future cost of the project.

Although the plant was never built, the utility said in 2013 it continued to regard the Levy site as a "viable option" for a nuclear plant. The utility continued pursuing the federal nuclear plant license.

In 2017, Duke Energy struck the deal with the Office of Public Counsel in which the utility agreed to write off the $150 million in site costs. The utility also was required to remove by 2019 the plant site from the base rates it charges customers.

As for the proposed Levy County nuclear plant, "this is putting the nails in the coffin and nailing it shut," then-Public Counsel J.R. Kelly said in 2016.

But that settlement also specifically allowed Duke to request customer charges for the plant site in the future.

Duke had not sought those charges in recent years. Borsch said in his April testimony that transmission line improvements scheduled between 2025 and 2030 would improve access to the plant site.

Helmuth W. Schultz III a regulatory consultant hired by Trierweiler to testify in the rate case, said the PSC should refuse to allow the company to collect from customers the $94 million to hold the site.

"There is no evidence that it is probable that the land will be used for a regulated project in the foreseeable near future," Schultz said in written testimony.

Borsch responded in testimony filed last week that the site's designation under federal legislation for additional clean energy credits makes it worth hundreds of millions of dollars more to customers.

Susan Glickman, a veteran environmental lobbyist, said Wednesday the possible new Duke project confirmed her concerns about the state legislation that seeks to encourage new nuclear plants, which she said are costly and take too much time to build.

"We don't want some new technology that has not been fully developed delaying the clean energy solutions that are readily available at low cost," she said. Glickman is vice president of policy and partnerships at the left-leaning CLEO Institute.

State Rep. Bobby Payne, a Republican from Palatka and who sponsored the recent legislation that DeSantis signed in May, told legislators in January that millions of dollars spent by the federal government on clean energy had led to only slight increases in its overall use.

"The NIMBY mentality has kept us from developing nuclear power in this area and all throughout the country," Payne told the state House Energy, Communications and Cybersecurity Subcommittee.

EVENT REPORTS FOR
07/10/2024 - 07/11/2024
 
EVENT NUMBERS
 
Power Reactor
Event Number: 57221
Facility: Peach Bottom
Region: 1     State: PA
Unit: [2] [] []
RX Type: [2] GE-4,[3] GE-4
NRC Notified By: Gino Lombardo
HQ OPS Officer: Eric SimpsonNotification Date: 07/10/2024
Notification Time: 11:15 [ET]
Event Date: 07/10/2024
Event Time: 07:28 [EDT]
Last Update Date: 07/11/2024Emergency Class: Non Emergency
10 CFR Section:
50.72(b)(2)(iv)(B) - RPS Actuation - Critical
50.72(b)(3)(iv)(A) - Valid Specif Sys ActuationPerson (Organization):
Henrion, Mark (R1DO)
Power Reactor Unit Info
Unit
SCRAM Code
RX Crit
Initial PWR
Initial RX Mode
Current PWR
Current RX Mode
2
A/R
Y
24
Power Operation
0
Hot Shutdown
Event Text
EN Revision Imported Date: 7/11/2024

EN Revision Text: AUTOMATIC REACTOR SCRAM DUE TO MANUAL TURBINE TRIP

The following information was provided by the licensee via phone and email:

"At 0728 EDT on July 10, 2024, with Unit 2 in Mode 1 at 24 percent power, the reactor automatically scrammed due to a manual turbine trip. The [reactor] scram was not complex with all systems responding normally. Reactor vessel level reached the low-level set-point following the scram, resulting in valid Group 2 and Group 3 containment isolation signals. Due to the reactor protection system actuation while critical, this event is being reported as a four hour, non-emergency notification per 10 CFR 50.72(b)(2)(iv)(B) and an eight hour, non-emergency notification per 10 CFR 50.72(b)(3)(iv)(A) for the Group 2 and Group 3 isolations.

"Operations responded using emergency operating procedures and stabilized the plant in Mode 3. Decay heat is being removed by discharging steam to the main condenser using the turbine bypass valves. Unit 3 was not affected.

"There was no impact on the health and safety of the public or plant personnel. The NRC Resident Inspector has been notified."
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, July 11, 2024

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