Sunday, May 20, 2007

Hanford plan revives old plants under GNEP

Yet one more try to bring back FFTF

Local economic development groups in Richland, WA, want to re-start the Fast Flux Test Facility (FFTF) and complete two unfinished nuclear power plants at Energy Northwest as part of a proposal for a new nuclear reprocessing plant, advanced reactor, and R&D labs under the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP). The groups got a federal grant to do a site study under the GNEP program, and has pulled out all the stops to make a compelling case for all three GNEP facilities.

The FFTF is a 400-megawatt sodium-cooled, fast neutron flux nuclear test reactor owned by the Department of Energy. The facility is located at the Hanford Site in southeastern Washington State. Currently, the FFTF is undergoing deactivation and shutdown.

Local opposition to the plan by the Tri-City Development Council (TRIDEC) and its partners centers on a desire to see cleanup at Hanford retain first priority for funding and government action. Like the situation at Piketon, OH, environmentalists worry once spent nuclear fuel comes to Hanford under the GNEP program it will never leave even if some of it is reprocessed.

Then there are some folks who think nothing will happen under GNEP at Hanford. They say that by the time Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman makes a decision in June 2008 on where the GNEP plants will go, and Congress considers whether to fund them in 2009, a new Democratic President and Congress could kill the whole GNEP program.

Although he is not a presidential candidate, former Vice-President Al Gore has been rallying his party to oppose nuclear energy funding by the federal government. Gore was instrumental during the Clinton administration in drastically reducing federal nuclear money for the Department of Energy. More recently, he criticized the re-opening of the Browns Ferry nuclear plant. He told an energy conference in Toronto, "Spending billions fixing a broken nuclear reactor you had to fix anyway, is not “going green.”

1 comment:

Joffan said...

I don't see the attribution of that "broken reactor" quote to Gore in the Toronto Sun article; it appears to be an original phrase in the op-ed by one Lorrie Goldstein. In fact I don't really see any activity by Gore at all there, just a passing reference to An Inconvenient Truth.