Environment/Energy

Madison Fruits & Nuts wins city approval

A plan to put "edible landscaping" in Madison city parks won the approval of the Madison city Parks Commission last week, over an earlier proposal to require volunteer groups planting fruit and nut trees to buy $1 million of liability insurance for each public park site where the trees would be planted. More than three dozen people came to the Parks Commission hearing to speak out in favor of fruit and nut trees in city parks, and in the end, all but one of the commissioners voted in favor of permitting the trees to be planted without the liability insurance requirement. 

Madison encouraging fossil fuel divestments

The fossil fuel divestment campaign organized locally by 350 Madison, a WNPJ member group, can celebrate a victory.

"Mayor Paul Soglin announced Thursday that Madison will join nine other U.S. cities in a campaign to encourage divestment of city funds from the fossil fuel industry," reports the Wisconsin State Journal.

"Soglin said Madison doesn't have any funds invested in fossil fuel companies but will introduce a resolution encouraging the Madison School District, Dane County, UW-Madison, the state and other local governments to divest their holdings."

Loans for new nukes stopped again

From the Nuclear Resource and Information Service:

THANK YOU! You've done it again! You sent more than 15,000 letters to Congress in December and made many, many phone calls to stop $8 billion in taxpayer loans for new nuclear reactor construction. And the final government funding bill, signed by President Obama, contains not one dime for new nukes!

Legislature leaves current nuclear laws intact; Clean Energy Jobs Act dies without a vote

The State Senate has adjourned for the session, without the Clean Energy Jobs Act ever coming to a vote in either house of the legislature.  The Carbon Free Nuclear Free Coalition, which includes WNPJ, has issued the following statement: 

Given the pro-nuclear provisions and many compromises in the final version of the Clean Energy Jobs Act (AB649 / SB450), we are relieved that the bill did not pass the state legislature. While the bill had great promise – and still contained some good measures – we are better off without this version of CEJA on this 40th anniversary of Earth Day.

Latest problem undermines 'safe, clean' nuke sales job

In the midst of a big PR and lobbying campaign to try to sell nuclear power as a clean, safe solution to climate change, another problem pops up -- radioactive tritium leaking from plants, including (as the map shows) some incidents in Wisconsin. WNPJ Board member Bill Christofferson has more on the WNPJ Blog.

 

Kewaunee reactor's toxic legacy

By mid-2013, the Kewaunee nuclear reactor near Green Bay will be shuttered by its owner, Virginia-based Dominion Resources.  But its toxic legacy will be far from over.

"Initial shutdown expenses for the creaking, leaking 39-year-old monster — waste management and reactor dismantling, containerizing and transporting to dump sites — are roughly predictable," John LaForge of Nukewatch, a WNPJ member group, writes in the Capital Times.

"Dominion, which bought Kewaunee in 2005 for $220 million, will 'record a $281 million charge in (2013’s) third quarter related to the closing and decommissioning.' But that’s just the earnest money. Literally endless expenditures will be required to keep Kewaunee’s radioactive wastes contained, monitored and out of drinking water for the length of time the federal appeals courts have declared is the required minimum — 300,000 years."

Kewaunee nuclear reactor to be shut down

The Kewaunee nuclear reactor, near Green Bay, will be shut down in mid-2013, owner Dominion Resources announced.

Dominion had been trying to sell the reactor for a year and a half, but could not find a buyer.

In a statement, the company said the decision to mothball the nuclear reactor "was based purely on economics."

The Chicago Tribune reports, "Kewaunee is the first nuclear plant to shut its doors due to competition from natural gas. Production has jumped in recent years as new technologies like horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking,' enable energy companies to tap the United States' vast shale reserves."

Journal Sentinel op ed: 'Re-evaluate nuclear energy policy'

WNPJ board member Bill Christofferson responds, in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel op ed column, to editorials in the state's two biggest newspapers calling for ending the state's nuclear "moratorium."

No one in the world has yet operated a nuclear power plant safely for more than 50 years.

 (We Energies CEO Gale) Klappa and the industry see that as a rationale to build new reactors. Actually, it provides an opportunity to re-evaluate Wisconsin's energy needs and decide whether nuclear power should be part of the mix.

Jeff Patterson, co-founder of PSR Wisconsin, dies

We're very sad to hear, via member group PSR-Wisconsin, that Dr. Jeff Patterson, a warm and wise man devoted to human health, the environment, and the abolition of nuclear weapons, has passed.  Below is PSR's statement on his loss.

Jeff Patterson, DO, Madison physician and professor was an indefatigable champion serving Physicians  for Social Responsibility (PSR) Wisconsin and will be sorely missed by all who knew and worked with him. Jeff passed away on Thursday night, January 23, of a heart attack.

Dr. Patterson's first work with PSR was to establish the Madison PSR chapter. With two other founding members and students at the UW medical school, they challenged the concept of a “winnable nuclear war.” Hundreds of people joined to formalize the Madison PSR chapter in 1983. Jeff remained very active in the chapter throughout three decades, and particularly enjoyed providing direction to interested medical students and nurturing their understanding of humanitarian ethics and activism. 

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