nuclear power | New Hampshire Public Radio

nuclear power

Entergy / Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Natural gas use is expected to increase in New York after the closure Friday of the state's largest nuclear plant. But it probably won’t trickle out to New England, according to a regional industry leader.

Courtesy, NTI, the Nuclear Threat Initiative

We talk with former U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest  Moniz about the threat of nuclear weapons and strategies for strengthening nonproliferation policies. We'll also discuss  his work on a dramatic plan called "Clearing the Air," which describes how to remove many gigatons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Air date: Jan. 27, 2020

Credit NHPR

Last week, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission held a federal hearing to address cracks in the concrete at Seabrook Station Nuclear Power Plant. The safety and longevity concerns around this facility raise larger questions about the role of nuclear power as an alternative to fossil fuels.  We look at the role of Seabrook as part of the New England energy grid,, and the conversations around the use of nuclear energy now and in the future. 

Original air date: Monday, September 28, live at 9 a.m. and again at 7 p.m.
 

NHPR

Nuclear regulators say they plan to approve a new license for Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant next week.

It comes after an extra public hearing on concerns they were moving too quickly to approve the license extension through 2050.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Federal regulators still appear poised to re-license Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant, despite requests to delay.

A Nuclear Regulatory Commission hearing on the issue Wednesday night was packed with industry workers and residents from New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

A new report suggests New Hampshire's Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant will be essential to curbing the effects of climate change in the coming years.

Seabrook and Millstone Station in Connecticut will be the only two nuclear plants left in New England after next year.

They're also some of the most profitable nuclear plants in the country, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

A scientific panel will discuss cracks spreading in the concrete at Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant during a meeting Wednesday.

The independent committee advises the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on reactor safeguards.

They’ll hear from federal officials and from Seabrook’s owner, NextEra, on how they’re addressing the problem.

The concrete degradation is caused by a chemical reaction, known as ASR, and was found in 2010.

Jim Richmond

The safety performance of the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant will be the topic of a meeting in Hampton on Wednesday.

The annual public meeting is hosted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission which will give a presentation on the overall safety performance of the plant in 2017 as well as take questions from the public.

Jim Richmond

New Hampshire is refocusing its energy policy for the next decade, aiming to prioritize lower costs for consumers and to allow “unaided market competition” for all forms of energy.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Massachusetts opted last week for one large power line to cover a big chunk of its energy needs for the next 20-plus years.

The Northern Pass proposal beat out other big transmission projects and dozens of smaller options for the right to supply all renewable power the Commonwealth wants.

As NHPR's Annie Ropeik reports, this has analysts and developers wondering what role smaller projects will play in the future of the grid.

Debating Nuclear Energy: The Promise & Problems

Jul 11, 2017
Jim Richmond; Wikimedia Commons

Nuclear provides about a third of New England's electricity, but that's changing, as old plants in Vermont and Massachusetts shut down.  Still, there's huge debate over whether to build the next generation of nuclear.  Is it a reliable, carbon-free energy source...or is it too dangerous and expensive?


In just over a week Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant is set to close. It means the end of a long-running debate over the plant and nuclear energy in the Green Mountain State, but it could also mean the start of some economic challenges for the area surrounding the plant, including parts of New Hampshire's Monadnock Region.

Jim Richmond via Flickr Creative Commons

After thirty years of no new nuclear construction, two projects are underway in the south, as some argue this carbon-emission free energy source is vital due to climate change. But concerns over safety issues remain, as well as new challenges from a booming natural gas industry. We explore the problems and prospects of nuclear energy with a New York Times reporter who has been following the debate over nuclear. 

Guest:

The nuclear power plant on the banks of the Connecticut River has been touted as a renewable energy source and criticized for its safety record. In recent months, both supporters and opponents have been turning out in force to debate the plant’s economic, environmental, and safety impacts, as legal battles continue in both federal and state arenas.

Guests

John Dillon - Reporter for Vermont Public Radio.

The Palisades nuclear power plant in Michigan had five unplanned shutdowns last year. It's one of the area's biggest employers, and its safety record is one of the worst in the country. Now it's trying to prove to federal regulators that it can meet their standards.

On the shores of Lake Michigan, the Palisades Power Plant is tucked in between tall sand dunes in Covert Township, Mich., at the southern edge of Van Buren State Park.

Jim Richmond

Anti-Nuclear groups are angered by a decision of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to exclude them from the re-licensing process for the Seabrook Nuclear Plant. 

A number of groups filed for intervener status so that they could file objections to the plant's extension of its operation to 2050. The coalition of environmental organizations planned to argue that renewable energy resources, such as wind power, could ultimately replace nuclear power. But the NRC ruled that their argument lacked merit, because that replacement power isn't available now.

The nuclear industry is celebrating the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission's decision to give the go-ahead for a utility company to build two new nuclear reactors in Georgia, the first license to be granted for a new reactor in the U.S. since 1978. But last year's accident at reactors in Fukushima, Japan, still clouds the future of nuclear power, as does the cost of new power plants.

Southern Co. will build the reactors at its Vogtle site in Georgia, where two older reactors already operate.

Former New Jersey Governor and EPA head Christie Todd Whitman is now leading a national effort to expand nuclear power, calling it the best clean energy source to replace fossil fuels. But her efforts come at a difficult time for the nuclear industry,  given fears stoked by the Fukushima disaster in Japan last spring and criticisms from some suggesting that danger it can bring is not worth the energy it can provide. 

Guest

Jim Richmond via Flickr Creative Commons

Seabrook Nuclear Plant officials says the plant is continuing to operate safely.

The vote of confidence came during the Seabrook’s annual required press briefing.

Spokesman Alan Griffith said the failed cooling system pump that prompted the plant’s shutdown in October has been fixed. But he said engineers continue to assess possible deterioration of concrete under one plant section, an electrical tunnel.. Griffith says a core sample turned up what is called Alkalide silica reaction, or ASR .