Nuclear Expansion Grows Near & Oyster Creek Gets 20 More Years (Episode 64)

Use the podcast player here. President Obama Promotes International Nuclear Fuel Bank At a speech delivered in Prague, Czech Republic this week President Obama advocated establishing an international nuclear fuel bank. The idea is this: countries who pledge not to develop nuclear weapons programs and who do not enrich uranium would have the assurance of a stable fuel supply for their peaceful nuclear energy programs. Countries who posses the ability to enrich uranium under the International Non-Proliferation Treaty would provide the service for the international community. Much of the initial fuel in the bank would come from diluting weapons grade uranium, essentially continuing efforts begun by Russia and the USA to reduce weapons stockpiles. President Obama also indicated support for the fuel bank to be located in Kazakhstan, a proposal that was endorsed by the European Union in March. The EU has already pledged $33 Million for set-up expenses, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would have the lead to set up standards and policies and overseeing operations of the bank. An international fuel bank would eliminate at least one of the obstacles that nations perceive in setting up new civilian nuclear energy programs. If they have no uranium or thorium resources of their own, or no ability to enrich the fuel, they will have to rely on other nations for their fuel supply. As with any commodity with a small number of suppliers, the potential for collusion and political leverage are high. In principle a fuel bank would provide greater assurance that if nations invest to build nuclear power plants they will be able to acquire fuel to run them. Oyster Creek License Renewed for 20 Years This week the Nuclear Regulatory commission granted at 20 year license extension to the Oyster Creek nuclear plant in New Jersey. The license renewal followed almost four years of safety and environmental analysis and deliberation by the Atomic Safety Licensing Board. Anti-nuclear groups waged a vigorous fight against the plant’s life extension, but in the end they were, according to the board, unable to provide any scientific analysis or evidence to support their claims that the plant is unsafe. The NRC called the Oyster Creek review the “most extensive license renewal review to date.” In addition to the analysis done by the NRC staff and the ASLB, the license extension request was reviewed by the NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards. In the end the NRC commissioners approved the extension on a 3 to 1 vote, the lone dissenting commissioner was Gregory Jaczko. The Changing Face of the NRC Commissioner Jaczko, who holds a PhD in Physics, is considered by...

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