Nuclear Power

The Takeaway

Nuclear Accident at Europe's Largest Plant

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

The power plant is five hours east of Donetsk, an area where Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists are still fighting, despite a truce agreed to in September.

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The Takeaway

Using Innovation to Fight Environmental Catastrophe

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Not everyone believes that we're doomed when it comes to climate change, and one of those hopeful few is Robert Bryce. He says that innovation is the key to future global prosperity, and eventually a cleaner environment for everybody.

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The Takeaway

Meeting the Standard: Safety & Nuclear Power

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

As part of our second conversation in our "Meeting the Standard" series, The Takeaway sat down with Ken Balkey, consulting engineer at Westinghouse and senior vice president of ASME Standards, where his work focuses largely on standards for nuclear power. Ken is proof of the fact that every inch, valve and screw thread at a nuclear power plant is considered and constructed carefully, with your safety in mind.

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Indian Point Owner Spends Big in Push to Relicense: Report

Thursday, May 30, 2013


The owner of Indian Point nuclear plant has thrown millions into lobbying and political donations as it tries to get its facility relicensed for another 20 years, according to a report released today.

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Indian Point Opponents Speak Out at NRC Hearing

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Environmental groups and anti-nuclear activists continue to spar with business and labor leaders over the future of the Indian Point nuclear plant, the 40-year-old plant that sits 24 miles north of New York City.


The Leonard Lopate Show

Indian Point Relicensing

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Earlier this month the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) voted unanimously to wait before approving new licenses for Indian Point or other nuclear plants until it can determine how to deal with safety and environmental threats posed by indefinite on-site storage of highly radioactive spent fuel. Attorney Richard Webster and Clearwater Environmental Director and NRC Petitioner Manna Jo Greene discuss the environmental impacts of on-site spent fuel storage at Indian Point, the vote, and how it impacts the relicensing decision for the Indian Point Nuclear Reactor.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Is Thorium the Key to Green Energy?

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Richard Martin, author of SuperFuel: Thorium, the Green Energy Source for the Future, contributing editor at Wired and editorial director for Pike Research, looks at thorium as a clean energy source.

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The Takeaway

The Future of Nuclear Energy One Year After the Fukushima Meltdown

Friday, March 09, 2012

One year ago this Sunday a massive earthquake devastated northeast Japan. The Japanese barely had time to catch their breath before waves of water 30 feet high crashed down on the coast. Twenty-thousand people died; 90,000 were evacuated. The natural disasters were soon followed by a nuclear crisis. In the year since the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, Japan has had to face difficult questions on the state of their nuclear regulations and the country’s energy future.

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The Takeaway

Iran Threatens US Aircraft Carrier

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

In the wake of revelations about its nuclear program, many Western powers have discussed sanctioning Iran's petroleum exports. On Tuesday, Iran stepped up its saber-rattling, warning that if an American aircraft carrier returned to its base via the Strait of Hormuz, it would face the "full force" of the Iranian navy. Roughly one fifth of the world's oil travels through the strait, and it is also where Iran recently tested two long-range missiles during a naval exercise. However, a spokesman for the Department of Defense stated, "the deployment of U.S. military assets in the Persian Gulf region will continue as it has for decades."


The Leonard Lopate Show

Underreported: Fukushima Update

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The crisis at the Fukushima reactor in Japan has been out of the headlines, but that doesn’t mean the crisis has been solved. We’ll speak with Dr. Edwin Lyman, a senior staff scientist in the Global Security program at the Union of Concerned Scientists

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Underreported: Ongoing Questions on Fukushima

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A number of scientists believe that the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima reactors in Japan is much worse than what governments are revealing. Al Jazeera reporter Dahr Jamail discusses what some in the scientific community are saying about the effects of the meltdown.

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It's A Free Country ®

The Future of Indian Point

Friday, June 03, 2011

We've let the licensing law lapse and we have this architecture for a 21st century circumstance where we're dependent more and more upon electricity, what with cell phones and computers. We have not invested in that. We've not had a collective buy-in about what we're going to do about energy. We're dealing with a legacy of conflict-avoiding.

— WNYC reporter Bob Hennelly on The Brian Lehrer Show

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The Brian Lehrer Show

The Point at Indian Point

Friday, June 03, 2011

Last night a hearing was held to discuss the future of Indian Point. WNYC reporter Bob Hennelly, discusses what's in store for the power plant, located 40 miles from New York City.

→ Add Your Comments, Listen, and Read a Recap at It's A Free Country

The Brian Lehrer Show

Germany Getting Off Nuclear Energy

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Michael Levi, senior fellow for Energy and the Environment at the Council on Foreign Relations, discusses the economic ripple effects of Germany announcing that it will get off nuclear power.

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The Takeaway

An Examination of the National Regulatory Commission

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission cited Alabama Brown's Ferry nuclear power plant for a failed valve, that could have hindered efforts to cool one of the reactors in an emergency. This news comes on the heals of the NRC coming under criticism for being too close to the nuclear industry to really be an effective regulator. Tom Zeller, senior reporter on energy and environment at The Huffington Post, shares what needs to change for the NRC to become an effective overseer of the nation's nuclear power industry.


Transportation Nation

News Analysis: As Political Climate Shifts, Obama Energy Policy Holds

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

((Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)   At the almost-end of the 2008 presidential primary season -- May, 2008 -- gasoline prices went through the roof , up to $5 a gallon in some areas of the country.  The price hike prompted near-panic, along with car-pooling, more mass transit rides, more careful grocery lists (just one trip to the supermarket) -- and a very big policy debate.

As it happened,  Hillary Clinton, fighting the last days of the primary, got behind a gas tax cut.  Most economists dismissed the idea -- not only would the gas tax cut simply disappear in the rising price of gasoline, they argued, but it would also bankrupt the already broke highway trust fund.

Barack Obama did not get behind the gas tax cut, even though, as I trailed the two candidates through the rolling hills of Indiana, cutting the gas tax got some of the biggest whoops of any proposals during Hillary Clinton's speeches.  Obama called it a gimmick.

He still thinks so, today.

"We’ve been down this road before," he told an enthusiastic audience of Georgetown University students at a speech (video here) on energy security today. "Remember, it was just three years ago that gas prices topped $4 a gallon. Working folks haven’t forgotten that. It hit a lot of people pretty hard. But it was also the height of political season, so you had a lot of slogans and gimmicks and outraged politicians waving three-point-plans for two-dollar gas – when none of it would really do anything to solve the problem. Imagine that in Washington.

"The truth is, of course, was that all these gimmicks didn’t make a bit of difference. When gas prices finally fell, it was mostly because the global recession led to less demand for oil. Now that the economy is recovering, demand is back up. Add the turmoil in the Middle East, and it’s not surprising oil prices are higher. And every time the price of a barrel of oil on the world market rises by $10, a gallon of gas goes up by about 25 cents."

Indeed, President Barack Obama has had a remarkably consistent position on energy through his campaign and his presidency, even as the political climate has dramatically shifted.

In September of 2008, I was watching Rudy Giuliani give his address to the Republican National Convention with Congressman Peter King.  "Drill, Baby Drill," Giuliani said, as King cringed "we're not supposed to use the 'D-word,' we're supposed to say 'explore.'"  Still - the genie was out of the bottle. The crowd roared when Giuliani said that, and when Sarah Palin picked up the refrain during her acceptance of the Vice Presidential nomination later during the Minneapolis convention.

But despite the popularity of that slogan, talking about developing solutions to climate change and oil dependency was, in those days, a much more bi-partisan issue than it has since become.   Just two years later, In the elections of 2010, several Republicans won by practically spitting when mentioning Democratic support for what they called "cap and trade" legislation.

But Barack Obama?  In 2008, he supported a combination of nuclear power, alternative energy, and mass transit use.  Today?  He supports a combination of nuclear power, alternative energy, domestic oil drilling (the "Drill,Baby, Drill) part of his policy, and mass transit use.

"Seventy percent of our petroleum use goes to transportation," he said today."Seventy percent."

His speech today (full text here) made a careful argument.  We must, he posited, reduce oil consumption by a third in a decade.  To get there, he proposed, first, the US must exploit its own supplies -- "as long as it's safe and responsible."

"When it comes to drilling onshore,"  he added, in a line of argument that might surprise some of his 2008 primary voters -- "my Administration approved more than two permits last year for every new well that the industry started to drill.  So any claim that my Administration is responsible for gas prices because we’ve “shut down” oil production might make for a useful political sound bite – but it doesn’t track with reality.

And, then, in an adroit Obama-esque intellectual maneuver, he added "But let’s be honest – it’s not the long-term solution to our energy challenge.  America holds only about two percent of the world’s proven oil reserves.  And even if we drilled every drop of oil out of every one of those reserves, it still wouldn’t be enough to meet our long-term needs."

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Chemical Reaction

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

With news that plutonium has been found around Japan's damaged nuclear power plant, David Brenner, Ph.D., D.Sc., director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University's College of Physicians & Surgeons, explains what other radioactive elements might be released.

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The Takeaway

Will We Ever Stop Using Unsafe Energy?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tokyo's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is said to be registering at 100-thousand times the normal level of radiation following the Sendai earthquake three weeks ago. Is the breach at Fukushima further proof that, in our search for energy independence, nuclear power may just be an uncontrollable gambit? Or is there a safer means to extract the power of the atom? Does fail-safe technology really exist?

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Underreported: Indian Point and Water

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Concerns about seismic activity at the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant are grabbing the headlines this week, but other issues have been raised in the debate over whether the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should renew the plant's license. WNYC’s Bob Hennelly looks at environmental concerns about 90-100 degree waste water coming out of the plant into the Hudson River.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Nuclear Power Safety

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Robert Alvarez, senior scholar for the Institute for Policy Studies, a multi issue think tank, talks about nuclear power safety concerns and lessons learned from Japan's experience.

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