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  • Humphrey

    Onuphrius,( from Egyptian: Wnn-nfr meaning “he-who-is-continuingly-good” – Humphrey in English), venerated as Saint Onuphrius, San Onofre and Saint Nofer the Anchorite who lived as a hermit in the desert of Upper Egypt in the 4th or 5th centuries.)
    Onophrius was one of the Desert Fathers who made such an impression on Eastern spirituality in the third and fourth centuries, around the time that Christianity was emerging as the dominant faith of the Roman Empire. At this time many Christians were inspired to go out into the desert and live in prayer in the harsh environment of extreme heat and cold, with little to eat and drink, surrounded by all sorts of dangerous animals and robbers (Wikipedia)

    Humphrey is gone now, and so is his namesake in Southern California

    Southern California Edison’s announcement this week that it will close its troubled twin-reactor San Onofre nuclear power plant—along with other recent setbacks for atomic energy in the United States—marks a downward spiral for nuclear power.
    Also this week, Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy scrapped plans to build nuclear plants in Iowa. Last month, Dominion Resources announced it was shutting down its Kewaunee nuclear plant in Wisconsin. Also last month, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission ruled that a partnership between Toshiba and NRG Energy to build two nuclear plants in Texas violated a U.S. law barring foreign control of nuclear plants. Further last month, Duke Energy announced it was scuttling plans to build two nuclear plants in North Carolina. This came after Duke’s earlier announcement that it would close its troubled Crystal River nuclear plant in Florida.

    From 104, the U.S. in short order has gone to 100 operating nuclear plants—and most of these are also plagued with safety and financial problems. Many also face strong opposition and demands they be shut down.
    “This industry is on its final trajectory downward,” said Pica (Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth) Friday. He said that with these events, the NRC should be renamed the Nuclear Retirement Commission.
    At the news conference, Freeman (S. David Freeman, former head of the Tennessee Valley Authority) said that having a nuclear power-free and greenhouse gas-free world are the two most needed things to be done to “sustain life…on Earth.”

    Also a big problem has been the ignorance in much of mainstream about energy issues—especially concerning nuclear power. For example, at the news conference Friday, Matthew Wald, who covers nuclear power for The New York Times, demanded most defensively of Pica how he squared eliminating “2,400 megawatts of carbon-free energy” that would be generated by the San Onofre nuclear plant.
    Wald either doesn’t want to acknowledge or doesn’t know that the “nuclear cycle”—the mining, milling, fuel enrichment and other components of nuclear power—emit greenhouse gases and contribute substantially to global warming, and thus the energy from San Onofre was never “carbon-free.”

    A few hundred miles from the San Onofre plant, in San Francisco last month, a conference—“Pathways to 100% Renewable Energy”—was held serving as an international organizing and strategy event. It was hosted by the Renewables 100 Policy Institute of San Francisco. Experts in energy and finance, political leaders and renewable energy activists spoke on the feasibility of 100% renewable energy.
    Study after study have now determined that renewable technologies can provide all the power the world needs. The Renewables 100 Policy Institute presents many on its website including “A Plan to Power 100% of the Planet With Renewables,” a 2009 cover story of Scientific American, a conservative and most careful publication.

    That nuclear power is a threat to life is not a new issue—it’s been central to the battle against nuclear power even before the first commercial nuclear plant in the U.S., the Shippingport plant in Pennsylvania, opened in 1957.
    But new in recent decades have been the great advances in safe, clean, renewable energy technologies led by solar and wind, rendering nuclear power unnecessary. Germany has become a global model in jettisoning nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and is committed to a goal of 100% of its energy coming from clean, renewable sources.

    Further information may be found here:

    It is worth noting that “Humphrey” wasn’t closed because Liberals didn’t like it. It was broken. After numerous attempts to fix it with baling wire and duct tape, SoCal Edison finally acknowledged that a safe and permanent fix was too expensive, and they pulled the plug.

    Ted Craver, chairman of the utility’s corporate parent, Edison International, said in a statement that the company concluded that “continuing uncertainty about when or if (the plant) might return to service was not good for our customers, our investors or the need to plan for our region’s long-term electricity needs.”

    Steve Kerekes, a spokesman for the Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry group, said San Onofre’s shutdown “underscores the need for an efficient and effective regulatory process that results in timely decisions on the operation of these critical energy resources.”

    But it’s not over yet.
    From “Struggle ahead over who pays for nuke’s $4.3B costs” By Dan McSwain June 8, 2013
    For better and worse, Southern California’s only nuclear power plant is being scrapped. Now begins an epic struggle over who gets stuck with the unpaid bill for nearly $4.3 billion. It turns out that cheap nuclear energy hasn’t been cheap at all, at least in Southern California.
    In most businesses, a broken asset launches a panicked effort to fix it, so the company can resume using it to make money.
    But in the world of regulated monopolies, the chief question for an executive is whether politicians and regulators will allow the utility to collect its investments from its customers.
    From the outside, the PUC’s (California’s Public Utilities Commission is the equivalent of Vermont’s Public Service Board) decision on what happens now seems obvious. Edison screwed up, so its shareholders should eat the $4.3 billion, right?
    Historically, the opposite has happened, with consumers generally paying for utility industry mistakes. For a particularly painful example, look no further than California’s 2000-’01 power crisis, which cost consumers billions and lingers on bills to this day. Having state regulators bless your industry’s decisions provides lots of cover, it turns out.
    Still, the utilities are bracing for losses. On Friday, Edison alerted investors to potential losses ranging from $450 million to $650 million. SDG&E gave a range between $30 million and $110 million.
    All these moving parts suggest a regulatory fight about who pays the rest — upward of $3.3 billion.
    This leaves the PUC with a tough decision. If it socks the utilities too hard, they won’t be able to attract enough capital to install all the “smart grid” gadgets necessary for California’s transition to greater reliance on wind, solar and other renewable energy sources.
    If the brunt is piled onto the bills of consumers, who already pay among the nation’s highest utility rates, regulators risk further increasing the drag on the state’s lagging economy. My prediction is that consumers will indeed get the worst of this debacle, but regulators will trickle the damage onto bills in small amounts over decades.

    It’s a long article with a lot of numbers in it. For the rest, go here:
    The article concludes:
    Certainly, the cost is well worth it for many of the millions of people who’ve lived in fear that a nuclear mishap could threaten their communities. After all, that $8.4 billion tab to retire and pay for San Onofre boils down to $1,333 per meter for Edison and SDG&E’s customers.
    We should know in a year or two who pays it.

    The take-away from all this is that Entergy’s business model appears to be to run it till it breaks, and then they “Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs, And as silently steal away.”.
    So, Vermont legislation says they can’t do this? Just watch them, and listen while they sing “See ya in the Courtroom”.

  • Latest Setback for U.S. Nuclear Power

    San Onofre Seen as Latest Setback for U.S. Nuclear Power. Brian Wingfield, Mark Chediak and Julie Johnsson June 10, 2013
    Edison International’s decision to abandon its San Onofre nuclear plant in California is the latest blow for an industry already facing questions about its long-term survival.
    “The decision to shut down San Onofre is another sign that the economics of nuclear are under pressure given the low cost of alternative sources,” Travis Miller, a Chicago-based analyst for Morningstar Inc., said in a phone interview. “Just five years ago, nuclear power plants looked like a gold mine.”
    Since a near-meltdown at the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania in March 1979, 19 reactors have closed or been designated for closure and four have been approved for construction. The San Onofre plant, run by a subsidiary of Southern California Edison, was taken offline in January 2012 after a radioactive leak and unusual wear on steam generator tubes was discovered.
    Power Demand
    State electricity demand is expected to peak at 47,413 megawatts this summer, 2.3 percent higher than last year, according to the California ISO.
    To replace the generation lost by San Onofre, California will need to build gas-fueled plants that produce more pollution than nuclear power, Morningstar’s Miller said. In addition, the shutdown will hasten the region’s shift to wind and solar alternatives as California plans to get one-third of its electricity from renewables by the end of the decade, he said.
    Nationwide, nuclear power reached a peak in 2001 when it generated 20.6 percent of all U.S. electricity. Last year, its share fell to 19 percent, the lowest since 1998, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
    Economic Climate
    Two reactors being constructed by Southern Co. of Atlanta, two being built by Scana Corp. of Cayce, South Carolina, and a previously abandoned Tennessee Valley Authority project are the only units scheduled to be completed this decade.
    Dominion Resources Inc. and Duke Energy Corp. have announced in recent months that they will retire a unit each. Exelon Corp. of Chicago plans to shut its 44-year-old Oyster Creek reactor, the oldest in the U.S. fleet, at the end of 2019.
    The economic climate, coupled with an increase in renewable energy sources like solar and wind generation, may not bode well for new units, said David Lochbaum, director of the Nuclear Safety Project for the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based environmental group.
    “It’s difficult to get Wall Street to loan money against so much uncertainty,” he said in a phone interview. “The four closures this year make Wall Street more apprehensive, not less apprehensive.”
    Last Wave
    The last wave of U.S. plant closures was in the late 1990s, when falling gas prices helped tilt economics in favor of retiring rather than attempting large-scale repairs. Six reactors were closed from 1996 to 1998, according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission data, and peaked in 1996 when Haddam Neck in Meriden, Connecticut; Maine Yankee in Wicasset, Maine; and Unit 2 at the Zion plant in Illinois shut.
    About 10 percent of the generating capacity retired in the U.S. since 2010 has come from nuclear, according to data provided by the Nuclear Energy Institute. Shutdowns of coal and natural gas plants have accounted for about 74 percent of the 35,596 megawatts of power retired within the past three years, the industry group said.
    “The decision to shut down rather than retrofit the San Onofre nuclear plant shows the changing economics of the power market,” Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center, a Chicago-based advocate of cleaner energy, said in a telephone interview. “We suspect other nuclear plant owners may start reaching the same decision.”
    N. B. this isn’t limp-wristed lefties saying this,it’s Business Week!

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