Wednesday April 16, 2014

"Danger Will Robinson!!"

The TVA as a member of NuStart Energy Development, a syndicate of nuclear utilities, is petitioning the NRC to let them build a new two unit nuclear power plant on properties originally intended for the Bellefonte 1 and 2 reactors, located at Hollywood, Alabama. In 1988 the Tennessee Valley Authority abandoned the Bellefonte project when it was close to completion due to a decrease in the demand for electricity and a massive debt load. The TVA had sunk $4.2 billion into this mismanaged nuclear site.

The consortium of nuclear protagonists (NuStart Energy Development) claimed they choose the Bellefonte site "after a rigorous evaluation process involving nuclear plant sites across the country". But the NRC "flagged" the TVA and its syndicate allies with "quality assurance violations" due to the fact that the debt ridden power conglomerate ($25 billion in debt.) used a 1998 computer model and data from a flood in1963 to base their proposal on. Their calculations excluded the up river Chickamauga Dam's lock replacement with a larger lock (by the TVA)* and excluded 4 other major floods in that time period.

*Important Note:
The damn was constructed around 1936 by the TVA and includes a lock that due to a reaction between the alkali in the cement, the rock aggregate and the lake water suffers from structural problems. Very "aggressive maintenance procedures" are required to keep the lock operating with yearly costs of maintenance rising to almost $15 million. Engineering studies suggest that the odds of an event of catastrophic proportions effecting the damn increase drastically after 2010. The new lock is estimated to cost $365 million and budgetary issues are making it difficult to achieve the necessary repairs. The failure of this lock and damn would inundate the Bellefonte Nuclear site.

The TVA has made application to build on a two unit site that was scrapped in the 1980s leaving Bellefonte Unit 1 90% complete and Unit 2 58% complete. This infrastructure was written off in 1990s. Bureaucratic mismanagement by the TVA has left the floundering Government Corporation desperate for funds so they have successfully gotten their hands further into taxpayers' pockets. They propose to study the potential of building a two unit Nuclear Power Plant on the Bellefonte site (Bellefonte Unit 3 and Unit 4). Cost of the study will be $4.25 million with taxpayers picking up $2.125 million of that. One can only imagine how much more they will suck from tax coffers but rest assured that if the plant is built rate payers will pay and pay and pay.

Apparently lessons have not been learned and the delusion of Nuclear power economy, environmental friendliness and safety will waste billions of needed tax dollars that should be directed at truly alternate forms of energy and a serious program of educated reduced usage.

Members of this Nuclear Coven include DTE Energy, Duke Power, EDF International North America, Inc., Entergy Nuclear, Exelon Corporation, FPL Group, Progress Energy, SCANA Corporation, Southern Company, Tennessee Valley Authority, GE Energy and Westinghouse Electric Company. These companies are the cornerstone of the Military Industrial Complex and contribute significantly to the maintenance and expansion (under Bush) of the US Nuclear Arsenal as well as well as lucrative excursions into the research and development of even more horrifying Weapons of Mass Destruction.

It appears that the plan of attack is to hit the US Treasury and "public opinion" with both barrels. With so many multi billion dollar organizations that depend on the US Government for a significant portion of their income teamed up, it should take little time to get their lapdogs in Congress, the administration (U.S. Department of Energy subsidy is already behind NuStart Energy Development) and the NRC to rubber stamp the new generation of "infallible" nuclear reactors.

The TVA is desperately trying to gloss over the problems at Browns Ferry Unit 1 and trying to figure out how it will spend around $2.5 billion over the next five years to complete the mismanaged Unit 2 at Watts Bar. If the TVA can juggle its books enough they should be able to come up with the $10 billion plus needed for the "state of the art" Bellefonte reactors.

The Bush administration and the Republican controlled Congress have paved the way for those who wish to proliferate nuclear waste at a profit by enacting legislation like the Energy Policy Act of 2005 with its loan guarantees and cost-overrun support of up to $2 billion, spread over as many as six plants. Or how about the production tax credit of 1.8 cents/kWh for six years, totaling as much as $125 million annually. And hopefully we will never have to reap the benefits of the legislation that absolves the nuclear industry from responsibility for any catastrophic results of its incompetent, greedy or otherwise mismanaged actions.

At this time the disaster at Fukushima continues, as the corrupt owners of the reactors continue to release radioactivity into the air and water, as this crippled facility continues to poison the people who live around it. Coverage of this major problem has already fallen out of the news cycle as issues surrounding the death of bin Laden and terrorism force this important issue out of the minds of people. President Obama unfortunately is beholden to the Nuclear industry due to their significant support of him. Even with the Fukushima plant in tatters the President vows to have the same company that lied about safety issues at Fukushima build mega reactors in Texas.