Fermi 3, Round 2

(Originally published Thursday, May 21, 2015 on http://haltfermi.blogspot.com/)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has given DTE Electric (DTE) the license it needs in order to build Fermi 3. They plan to build this new nuclear reactor on the shore of Lake Erie adjacent to Fermi 2.

The Sierra Club along with the Alliance to Halt Fermi 3, Beyond Nuclear and other anti-nuclear groups, was opposed to this license. We delayed its issuance by more than 3 years. There are still open objections which should have been resolved before the NRC issued the license, but that part of the process is finished for practical purposes. Continue reading “Fermi 3, Round 2”

Without Warning

(Originally published Saturday, May 9, 2015 on http://haltfermi.blogspot.com/)

Not a lot of people living near the corner of Michigan and Ohio see stopping Fermi 3 and shutting down Fermi 2 as a high priority. That’s understandable. Neither the current operation of Fermi 2 nor the prospect of building Fermi 3 poses an immediate threat comparable to the immediacy of numerous other issues. Continue reading “Without Warning”

DTE Doubles Down on Danger of Disaster

(Originally published Friday, May 1, 2015 on http://haltfermi.blogspot.com/)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued the final operating license that DTE Electric (DTE) needs in order to build Fermi 3, a new nuclear rector. They plan to build it on the shore of Lake Erie adjacent to Fermi 2, the world’s largest example of a Fukushima-type reactor. Fermi 2 was already built next to the site of Fermi 1, DTE’s first reactor which melted down in 1966. DTE is planning to double down on the risk of another meltdown. Continue reading “DTE Doubles Down on Danger of Disaster”

Michigan in the Solutions Project

(Originally published Friday, April 24, 2015 on http://haltfermi.blogspot.com/)
Using only existing known technology, Michigan can transition to 100% wind, water and solar energy for all purposes (electricity, transportation, heating/cooling and industry) by 2050. That’s the message from Prof. Mark Jacobson of Stanford University. The obstacles are purely political.

Continue reading “Michigan in the Solutions Project”

Michigan’s Energy Future At A Crossroads

This op-ed was originally published Thursday, March 19, 2015 in the Livonia Observer.

Just after the fourth anniversary of the ongoing catastrophe at Fukushima in Japan on March 11, here in Michigan we stand at a pivotal moment in the direction of our state’s energy future.  Although we are half a world apart from Japan, on closer examination we’re really too close for comfort. Continue reading “Michigan’s Energy Future At A Crossroads”

DTE’s Nuclear Con Game

This article was originally published at Bridge – News and Analysis from the Center for Michigan and is republished here by permission of the author.

Jeff Alson is an environmental engineer who has promoted sustainable transportation policies at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Ann Arbor since 1978. He is also a member of the Alliance to Halt Fermi 3 (www.athf3.org) The views presented are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the EPA. Continue reading “DTE’s Nuclear Con Game”

We Need the Energy

(Originally published Wednesday, March 11, 2015 on http://haltfermi.blogspot.com/)

Is nuclear power a good idea? Well, that depends.

Utility companies operating nuclear power plants make the basic argument, “We need the energy.” “We” in this context means “our society,” or “our economy,” or just “we, the people who use electricity.” We need the energy.

Picture yourself coming home from work at the end of the day. Man or woman, it doesn’t matter. Whichever gender you are, you may be tired from a full day of work, but still need energy to deal with ordinary household stuff – getting something to eat, fixing a leaky faucet, making sure the children do their homework, and so forth.

Well, here’s a solution. Take a hit of cocaine. That will give you the energy to deal with a whole list of household items. Cocaine will actually work – in the short term.

In order to think it’s a good idea, you have to ignore the long-term effects, and just focus on the short-term benefits. You need the energy; take cocaine. Don’t think about consequences for next month or next year. Don’t worry about making a habit of it, just get through the day.

That’s exactly the sense in which nuclear power is cocaine for the electrical grid. Sure, there’s the possibility of a meltdown, causing the permanent evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people – or millions, depending on which way the wind blows. Sure, there’s no known solution for what to do with “spent fuel” and other highly radioactive waste. Maybe we can put off dealing with it for a century or so longer. (That’s the actual summary of current nuclear industry recommendations for their toxic waste.)

Get energy now. Ignore long-term consequences. Pretend that someone will figure something out, so you don’t have to worry about it now. Just get the damned energy you “need.” if you actually accept all the consequences, maybe you’ll figure out you don’t really “need” energy that comes with all the risk of disaster.

The nuclear industry and their political servants will argue endlessly that “we need the energy.” Well, do we? Do you accept that idea, or not? That’s the fundamental question you have to answer for yourself.

Art Myatt