Participants at an Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Nuclear Energy Agency workshop have determined that public engagement is necessary for the sustained success of nuclear power in the future. "This is important in all long-term, complex undertakings, but for decisions concerning nuclear energy that employ large tracts of land, use significant quantities of resources and sometimes generate public questions about safety, achieving a durable public consensus has become an absolute requirement," said William Magwood, director-general of the NEA.
Southern Nuclear has created a number of informational videos to help the public better understand nuclear energy. The company operates Alabama Power's Farley nuclear power plant, as well as Georgia Power's Plant Hatch and Plant Vogtle.
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said during a hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that as energy secretary, he would not rule out the possibility of turning to the Yucca Mountain used nuclear fuel repository in Nevada. Perry also said that, if confirmed, he would continue the department's cleanup activities at the Nevada National Security Site.
A group of Connecticut legislators would like to allow Dominion's Millstone nuclear plant to sell power directly to the state, which could reduce the financial strain the plant experiences in the future. "I really consider it a pre-emptive strike to deal with the realities of the energy economics," said Democratic state Rep. Lonnie Reed.
Nuclear energy will be the best option for baseload power in South Africa for the foreseeable future, according to Eskom Chief Nuclear Officer David Nicholls. "Our view is that coal is going to be increasingly challenged by environmental requirements, while nuclear power has an exceptionally good track record locally and internationally on both safety and economics," Nicholls said.
Toshiba has informed the Development Bank of Japan that asset impairment losses of up to $6.09 billion stemming from its US nuclear energy business are possible. A stronger dollar and rising nuclear reactor development costs have led to higher estimated losses, said Toshiba, which has requested financial assistance from the DBJ and its creditor banks.
When Congress takes a fresh look at how to accomplish used nuclear fuel disposal, it should move away from the top-down approach that resulted in the stalled Yucca Mountain repository in Nevada, writes Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. "Congress should look at the entire nuclear waste system and adopt an approach that emphasizes community and state buy-in and provides options for implementing a long-term program that will inevitably have technical and political surprises," Moniz writes.
Local officials are upset with the sudden decision by New York state and Entergy to close the Indian Point nuclear facility, saying the decision will hurt the local economy in terms of jobs and tax payments. "If we don't have that revenue, it will affect all the taxpayers -- regardless of which school district you're in," said Linda Puglisi, Cortlandt, N.Y., town supervisor.
An energy policy that supports existing nuclear plants and invests in advanced nuclear energy development could generate support from both major political parties, writes Robert Fares, an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the Department of Energy Building Technologies Office. Such a policy would allow "Democrats to work with Republicans to not only extend the life of the existing nuclear fleet, but also support government research and development of advanced nuclear technologies like small modular reactors (SMRs) that can overcome the limitations that are causing economic challenges for today's nuclear fleet," Fares writes.
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