Nuclear Power & The Environmental Movement - Local Sections ...

Nuclear Power & The Environmental Movement - Local Sections ...

Rebecca Steinman, Ph.D, P.E.

Michigan Section of the American Nuclear Society

• 1895 Wilhelm Roentgen discovers x‐rays.

• 1898 Marie Curie discovered the radioactive elements radium and


• 1905 Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity (E=mc 2 ) written.

• 1938 The process of splitting uranium atoms, called nuclear fission,

demonstrated by Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassman.

• 1942 First controlled nuclear chain reaction led by Enrico Fermi and other

scientists at the University of Chicago.

• 1945 Atomic bomb created, tested, and dropped on Japan.

• 1951 An experimental breeder reactor (Idaho) produced the first usable

electric power from the atom, lighting four light bulbs.

• 1953 The first nuclear powered submarine, U.S.S. Nautilus, was launched.

Eisenhower's "Atoms‐for‐Peace" Program.

• 1957 First power generated from a civilian nuclear plant at Santa Susana,

California. First full‐scale nuclear power plant (Shippingport, Pennsylvania)

began service.

• 1959 First U.S. plant (Dresden‐1 in Illinois) built entirely without government

funding, achieved a self‐sustaining nuclear reaction.

• 1963 First nuclear plant (Oyster Creek) ordered as an economical alternative

to a fossil‐fuel plant. Construction permit issued in 1964.

• 1970

First Earth Day celebrated.

• 1974 The first 1,000‐Megawatt nuclear plant went into service (Zion 1 ).

Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was created to regulate the nuclear


• 1979 Three Mile Island (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) accident occurs.

• 1986 Perry (Ohio) becomes the 100th U.S. nuclear power plant. Chernobyl

accident occurs in former USSR.

• 1994 Two advanced nuclear power plant designs‐General Electric's

Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) and ABB Combustion

Engineering's System 80+ receive final design certification.

• 1996 Watts Bar 1 goes online bringing the number of operating nuclear

units in the United States to 110.

• 1997 NRC issues design certification for the General Electric Advanced

Boiling Water Reactor.

• 1998 Calvert Cliffs first U.S. plant to apply for a 20‐year extension of its

40‐year license. License issued in 2000.

• 2001 National Energy Plan includes a significant role for nuclear power in

meeting energy demand and reducing air pollution levels.

• 2002 April 30, the oldest nuclear power plant in the world, Obninsk,


• 2003 August 14th, the Nation's largest‐ever power outage left much of

the Northeast and parts of Canada without electricity for several days.

• 2005 August 8th, Energy Policy Act of 2005, which included measures to

encourage the nuclear industry to build new nuclear power plants.

• 2008 3 new advanced reactor designs under review, 17 applications for

new advanced plant combine operating license requests submitted to NRC

(NOTE: No construction of a nuclear plant has begun since 1971.)

“Another advantage of nuclear energy is that it

is a clean source of power … which does not

contribute to the current burden of air


–Joe Lieberman

Atomic Energy Commissioner


• “Population Control Through Nuclear Pollution” by Arthur Tamplin & John

Gofman, published November 1970

• “Don’t Confuse Us With Facts”, Forbes, September 1975

• “Nuclear Power: Colossal Experiment on Human Beings,” by Dr. Rosalie

Bertell, Forum on Nuclear Power, March 1977

• “The War Against the Atom” by Samuel McCracken, Commentary,

September 1977

• “..If we don’t get rid of nuclear power and nuclear weapons, we won’t

survive. Neither will the animals and plants..” Helen Caldicott, New Age

Magazine, December 1977

• “Oklahoma as a Nuclear Dump” by Mike A. Males, The Oklahoma

Observer, March 10, 1978

• “Cleaning out Nuclear ‘Crud”: The Consumer Will Pay”, Arizona Daily Star,

October 29, 1977

• “Lethal Cargo –Nuclear Containers fail Safety Tests”, Detroit Free Press,

November 11, 1977

• “Small Babies Die Near Nuclear Plants”, Roger Milne, New Scientist,

September 1984

“We have no time to experiment with

visionary energy sources; civilization is in

imminent danger and has to use nuclear–

the one safe, available, energy source–

now or suffer the pain soon to be inflicted

by our outraged planet.”

–James Lovelock

Leading Environmentalist

May 2004

“I believe the majority of environmental

activists…have now become so blinded by

their extremist policies that they fail to

consider the enormous and obvious benefits

of harnessing nuclear power to meet and

secure America’s growing energy needs.”

– Patrick Moore


(Previously Director of Greenpeace International)


State of the Planet 2004 conference

recommends “some combination of

renewable and nuclear energy, energy

conservation and industrial carbon

sequestration” for the future.

• “Climate bill could turn friends into foes as some

go nuclear” by Richard Simon, Los Angeles Times, April

9, 1997

• “James Lovelock: Nuclear power is the only green

solution” , The Independent , May 24, 2004

• “Hot idea: Fight warming with nuclear power” by

Miguel Llanos, MSNBC, July 7, 2005

• “Bush Calls Nuclear Power Key to the Environmental

Plan”, NPR, December 2007

• “Is it time to think it out again on nuclear power?” by

John Gibbons, Irish Times, October 15, 2008

• “Nuclear Reactors May Supply a Fifth of Power by

2050” by Tara Patel,, October 16, 2008

33% of global CO 2 release comes from coal

38% comes from use of oil; capture difficult due to the

distributed source


• Oil 40%

• Gas 23%

• Coal 23%

• Total Fossil 86%

Nuclear 8%

• Hydro 2.8%

• Biomass 2.8%

• Geothermal 0.4%

• Wind 0.1%

• Solar 0.06%




46 39 18 17 15 14

Coal Natural Gas Biomass Solar PV Hydro Nuclear Geothermal Wind

Source: "Life-Cycle Assessment of Electricity Generation Systems and Applications for Climate Change Policy Analysis," Paul J. Meier, University

of Wisconsin-Madison, August 2002.

• Plays a vital role in reducing air pollution

• Avoids massive amounts of emissions

• Is gaining greater recognition for its environmental


• Can supply more of our world’s energy while

protecting our environment

• Smallest environmental footprint of any large supply power


• Fresh fuel equals mass and volume of spent fuel and maintains byproducts

within the fuel throughout electrical generation process

• Life extension and increased production for current plants

increase electrical output with negligible impact on environmental


• Many plants have site based ecology programs that collect

valuable data over 20+ years

• Plant‐by‐plant Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) required to

assess and adjust for

• Discharge of heated water to the local environment

• Possibility of aquatic life entrapment in cooling piping

• Potential for the creation of protected wildlife habitats

• Often described by what it is not.

• Divided into Class A, B, C or above Class C

• Dry Active Waste ‐ Routine Trash

• Water Processing Waste ‐Resins and Filters

Plastic Bags - 45.5%

Fiberglass Insulation - 6.7%

Paper Shoe Covers - 5.6%

Cardboard, Bulk Paper - 5.1%

Plastic Sheeting - 4.5%

Scrap Metal - 3.9%

Plastic Sleeving - 3.4%

Massalinn - 2.8%

Paper Coveralls - 1.7%

Plastic Rainsuits - 1.7%

Surgeon's Gloves - 1.1%

Misc., Rope, Smears, Tape, etc. - 18.5%

Percentage of

DAW Waste











This indicator monitors the volume of solid radioactive waste processed per unit for pressurized

water reactors and boiling water reactors. Minimizing radioactive waste reduces storage,

transportation and disposal needs, lessening the environmental impact of nuclear power. The 2000

values continue to be better than the 2000 goal.

cubic meters of solid radioactive waste per unit (median valu









360 358



95 87

46 36

18 21 22 20

80 82 84 86 88 90 92 94 96 97 98 99 2000 Goal



Source: WANO 2000 Performance Indicators

• Low Level Waste

• Curie Contents ‐‐

generally less than 1 up

to a few hundred

• Dose Rates ‐‐

barely detectable up to

10 to 20 R/hr

• High Level Waste

• Curie Content ‐‐

more that 100 million

• Dose Rates ‐‐

more than 10,000 R/hr

• What is high level radioactive waste?

• How is it stored?

• How is it transported?

• How will it be disposed?

=Nuclear Power Plants

=Plants with Dry Cask


• Spent fuel is transported by truck and rail

• Shipments are being made today

• Transportation is tested to ensure safety

• Deep geologic disposal

• Yucca Mountain

• Endless delays

• Interim storage

• Yucca Mountain was to open in 1998 by law.

• License Application recently submitted to


• Most probable date is 2020 or later.

Therefore –Dry Cask Storage at Plant Sites

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