Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Resolution to Support Expansion of Emergency Planning Zones

SAFE Carolinas is working to get a resolution passed with Asheville City Council and Buncombe County Commissioners to support the expansion of emergency planning zones around nuclear power plants. If you are interested in passing a resolution in your town, please contact us. 


Whereas current US Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations establish a 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone for evacuations around US nuclear reactors and a 50-miles Ingestion Pathway Zone to monitor and potentially interdict contaminated food, water, milk and livestock;

Whereas the April 1986 nuclear accident  in Chernobyl and the March 2011 nuclear accident at Fukushima resulted in interdiction of contaminated food and livestock hundreds of miles from the reactor sites and Wales contaminated livestock approximately 1,000 miles away after the Chernobyl accident;

Whereas the real –world experience of the Fukushima and Chernobyl nuclear accidents resulted in evacuations of villages 25 miles away from Fukushima and over 100 miles away from Chernobyl, the 10 mile Emergency Planning Zone and 50 mile Ingestion Pathway zones are inadequate and outdated;

Whereas the proposed WS Lee nuclear station is directly 60 miles from Asheville, NC and proposed location on the Broad River in Gaffney, SC with headwaters above Lake Lure, Chimney Rock , North Carolina;

Whereas nuclear power is generally the most water intensive energy technology and 60 % of the continental US experienced drought conditions this summer (2012 ); the  proposed WS LEE nuclear station would use 47 million gallons of water a day from the Broad River to cool and operate the plant which already services the Cliffside Coal Plant 16 miles upstream using 20 million gallons of water per day;

Whereas a US and European scientific study published this year (2012) Source: “Nuclear, Coal Power Face Climate Change Risk: Study” by David Fogarty, revealed the likelihood of extreme drops in power generation at nuclear plants resulting in either complete or almost-total shutdowns are projected to triple and that most significant US impacts will be at power plants inland along major rivers in the Southeast;

Whereas the AP1000 Westinghouse reactor proposed for the WS LEE nuclear plant is under a court challenge for safety issues and design flaws exacerbating concerns for potential accidents;

Whereas the federal Price Anderson Act leaves the financial responsibility of a nuclear accident to the affected citizens and municipalities and whereas Asheville could experience threats to agriculture, decrease in tourism, radiation exposure leading to health consequences, environmental degradation, and an influx of evacuees from towns closer to the reactor site.

Whereas the citizens of Asheville deserve the greatest possible protection from nuclear power accidents and the greatest possible preparation to mitigate the effects of nuclear accidents;

Whereas current NRC emergency planning regulations are inadequate to provide a sufficient level of protection for the citizens of Asheville;


Supports the expansion of current Emergency Planning Zones from 10 to 25 miles around U.S.
Nuclear sites;

Supports the creation of a new Emergency Response Zone of 25 to 50 miles around US nuclear reactor sites that would require nuclear power utilities to identify evacuation routes and provide this information to the public within this zone;

Supports the expansion of the Ingestion Pathway Zone from 50 miles to 100 miles around US nuclear reactors sites;

Supports emergency evacuation exercises that practice response to situations involving regionally-appropriate initiating or concurrent natural disasters;

Supports the petition for Rulemaking submitted by 38 organizations across the United States on February 15, 2012, since endorsed by more than 2700 organizations and individuals, and docketed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as PRM-50-104.  In addition, the City of Asheville will inform the Secretary of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the appointed Nuclear Regulatory Commissioners of its support for PRM-50-104.

SAFE Carolinas
Asheville, NC
Contact:  Laura Sorensen  lsredoak@gmail.com

Requesting Rate Hike Hearing in Asheville

Progress Energy is requesting a 14% increase in electricity rates for residential customers.
SAFE Carolinas signed with Greenpeace and other environmental groups asking the NC Utilities Commission
to hold public hearings in Asheville and other strategic towns in NC.  It is important for the public to speak out concerning the rate hikes. We should have response as to the location by mid-November. We will be sure to keep you updated. 

The following is the letter that was sent to the NC Utilities Commission:

October 16, 2012

The Honorable Edward S. Finley, Jr.
North Carolina Utilities Commission
4325 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4325

Re: Progress Energy Rate Hearings (Docket E-2 Sub 1023)
Re: Duke Energy Rate Hearings (Docket E-7 Sub 989) (anticipated)

Dear Chairman Finley:
We are writing you on behalf of the thousands of North Carolina members and Duke Energy ratepayers of our organizations interested in the upcoming Duke Energy rate hearings. Our members will be directly impacted by the outcome of the potential rate increases, as will all Duke Energy Carolinas and Progress Energy Carolinas customers throughout the state. In order to give customers of these utilities ample opportunity to testify and participate we have a few specific requests of the upcoming public hearing process:
1.       The upcoming public rate hike hearings are held in 9 locations across the state so as to allow geographic diversity for public input. We request that high density regions respective of each rate base have individual hearings to accommodate the thousands of concerned ratepayers in and around these municipalities. These should include Raleigh, Durham, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Asheville, Pittsboro, Fayetteville, and Wilmington. 
2.       At the 2011 rate hike hearings, dozens of concerned residents were turned away because there was a lack of seating. To accommodate hundreds of people at each hearing, we request that each hearing space be large enough and overflow space made available should the crowd eclipse capacity.
3.       We request that hearings are translated into regionally important languages, especially Spanish. The Latino community is the largest growing in our state, and language access should not be a barrier to participation for any of our neighbors.
4.    Upon request, providing ASL interpreter services or other accommodation to make sure that all people have access to the proceedings regardless of any disability that they may have.
5.      Similar to how the high interest hearings from this summer were streamed live, we ask that all of the hearings are streamed live for concerned residents from across the state unable to attend in person.
6.   We request that all of the hearings be in the evening to provide opportunity for working people to attend and provide input. 

Thank for you taking the time to consider these requests. Hundreds of thousands of North Carolina families do not have a choice of their energy supplier. What we have is the opportunity to hold our utility accountable to our interests through proceedings like the upcoming rate hike hearings. 
As the agency charged with regulating rates throughout the state, we look to you to protect the interest of the public and ensure reasonable rates. To that end, ensuring equal and ample access for all North Carolinians is our goal.
The organizations signed believe collectively that taking these steps will give the hearings integrity they will lack otherwise. We look forward to hearing back from you by Friday, October 26, 2012, and will follow up as appropriate.
SAFE Carolinas, Asheville, NC

This letter was also signed by:
350 Asheville
350 Boone
350 Winston-Salem
Action NC
Appalachian Voices
Canary Coalition
Catawba Riverkeeper® Foundation, Inc.
Clean Air Carolina
Clean Water for North Carolina
Democracy North Carolina
Disability Rights North Carolina
Dogwood Alliance
Environmentalists Inc.
Green Grannies
Greenpeace USA
Haw River Assembly
North Carolina Housing Coalition
North Carolina Interfaith Power and Light
North Carolina Justice Center
North Carolina League of Conservation Voters
Occupy Charlotte Environmental Working Group
Occupy Greensboro Energy Working Group
Proposition One Campaign
SAFE Carolinas
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Waterkeepers Carolina
We Love Mountain Island Lake
Western NC Alliance

Saturday, April 7, 2012

"America's 2 new nukes are on the brink of death."

The following is a link to an informational Free Press article written by Harvey Wasserman. He is the senior advisor to Greenpeace USA, the Nuclear Information & Resource Service, senior editor of  Freepress.org, and he edits the NukeFree.org web site.

"The only two US reactor projects now technically under construction are on the brink of death for financial reasons.  If they go under, there will almost certainly be no new reactors built here."

Read more:  http://www.freepress.org/columns/display/7/2012/1924

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Charlotte - Opposing Duke Engery Rate Hike

Duke must charge the ratepayers higher rates to pay for the precontruction costs for the W.S Lee Nuclear Power plant. Seventy percent of Dukes customers are in NC and the nuclear power plant is in South Carolina. Ratepayers will pay Duke even if the W.S Lee nuclear plant isn’t built. This happened in Florida, ratepayers are financing the Levy plant and the construction is put on hold indefinitely and may never be built.
Let’s not allow this to happen to NC ratepayers. We should be able to keep our money, not give it to Duke for a future unsafe, resource depleting nuclear plant.

Challenging Duke Energy Rate Hike

NC WARN strongly supports Attorney General Cooper’s appeal of the Duke Energy rate increase — the 10.5% rate of return is far too high in a struggling economy, when most residential and commercial customers are struggling to pay electric bills.Note that Cooper’s action is largely a response to the many of you whose public testimonies and letters called Duke’s profits, rate request and overall expanionist business model out of line with what is actually happening in today’s economy and environment.
Please send SHORT NOTES of appreciation for Cooper standing up for the public interest to his Information Director Noelle Talley: ntalley@ncdoj.gov
Intervenors from the rate case have 20 days to join the appeal.  Co-intervenors NC WARN, NC Justice Center and the NC Housing Coalition are considering such action.

The Charlotte Observer
NC attorney general challenges Duke Energy rate increase
By Bruce Henderson
March 29, 2012
Attorney General Roy Cooper said Wednesday he will appeal the 7 percent N.C. rate hike Duke Energy won in January.
Cooper called the rate hike, Duke’s second in the state since 2009, “wrong for N.C. consumers and businesses” in tough economic times. The appeal will go to the N.C. Court of Appeals.
“The economic realities faced by N.C. consumers must be put before company profits,” Cooper said in a statement. “Hundreds of people have contacted my office to let us know they can’t afford to pay much more for electricity in these tough times.”
Rates will go up about $7 a month for most of Duke’s residential customers. The utility has 1.8 million customers statewide.
Duke, which initially sought a 15 percent rate hike, said it is disappointed in the appeal.
Spokeswoman Betsy Conway said the settlement with the commission’s Public Staff, which represents consumers, balanced Duke’s need to recover $4.8 billion in capital spending with economic hardships faced by customers.
“We understand that the timing was challenging,” Conway said. Duke agreed in the rate settlement to donate $11 million to help low-income customers with energy costs.
Cooper’s appeal does not challenge Duke’s spending on power plants and pollution-control upgrades. It focuses instead on the 10.5 percent return on equity, or investor profit, the utilities commission approved.
It claims there’s not enough evidence in the commission’s findings that such a return is reasonable. The filing does not say what rate of return the attorney general would accept.
State law says the commission should approve a rate of return “considering changing economic conditions and other factors” such as construction projects by the utility.
“The rate of return testimony should balance the rate of return investors expect against the economic conditions and returns that Duke’s customers are experiencing,” the filing said. None of the expert witnesses who testified on the rate of return discussed the economic conditions customers face, it added.
Most members of the public who spoke at commission hearings protested the rate hike.
“The commission essentially backed into its finding … by noting that the stipulated return on equity falls between the parties’ negotiating positions and further noting that none of the (return) witnesses objected to the stipulated figure,” Cooper’s appeal said.
The attorney general’s staff was among several formal parties to the rate case, including representatives of large customers, advocacy groups and consumer groups. While most of those parties signed settlement agreements, or did not oppose the agreements, the attorney general did not.

Emergency Planning Regulations

On Feb, 15, 2012  Nuclear Information Resource Services, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League and other environmental groups filed a
Petition with the NRC to amend 1-CFR 50.47  which currently only allows for a 10 miles radius radiation plum exposure pathway in case of an accident and 50 mile radius for an ingestion pathway zone.  Their conclusion of the petition is below and would include Asheville as a “ingestion pathway zone”.
“The Petitioners believe that amending 10 CFR 50.47 to expand the Plume Exposure Pathway to about 25 mile radius of a reactor site, create a new Emergency Response Zone
of about 50 miles, and expanding the ingestion pathway zone to about 100 miles would more likely provide adequate protection to the public than current regulations, which
do not provide adequate protection.  Events that the NRC believed 30 years ago were nearly impossible to occur have in fact occurred and, in the case of Fukushima, continue
to occur.  Waiting to see how bad an emergency gets before expanding evacuation beyond a planned radius is not a plan of action, it is a recipe for disaster and an abdication of responsibility.  Action to expand Emergency Planning Zones and improve emergency response capability must be taken now in light of real-world evidence and the demonstrated history of the widespread damage nuclear accidents cause.”
information link:   www.nirs.com
Safe Carolinas recognizes the need for this petition and while we support the amendment we want our readers to be aware that the radiation fallout from a nuclear power plant accident goes far beyond what any agency can predict. Radiant from the Chernobyl accident in Ukraine and Japan went all over the world.
The following link  allows you to enter your zipcode to see how a nuclear accident and radiation fallout could affect you.  Keep in mind, the wind does change direction.