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Nuclear Registration: The Untold Story

Fortnightly Magazine - August 1995

the Trojan nuclear plant, located on the Columbia River in Oregon, with WNP-2, completed in 1984 for a total cost of $3.2 billion. The Trojan reactor was completed only 8 years earlier for a cost of $460 million-seven times less. Why?

WNP-2 contains more than double the amount of concrete (2.4 times), more than double the cable trays (2.4 times), and a spectacular six times the amount of electrical conduit, WNP-2 weighs two-and-a-half times as much as Trojan.

The quantities of materials in the two plants are not be dependent upon management practices. Nor on rates of inflation or interest rates. The differences stem from a huge explosion in regulations and, worse, changes in existing regulations.Political Equationsmore safety demands = more regulation

more regulation = higher nuclear costs

higher nuclear costs = advantage for higher-cost energy (coat, oil, etc.)

fossil advantage = reduced nuclear availability

reduced availability = greater popularity for some Congressmen

greater popularity = reelection1. "WPPSS Votes to Terminate Nos. 1 & 3," by John Stang, Tri-City Herald, May 14, 1994.

2. "Nuclear Power Plants (em What They Cost," by J.P.M., Maidment et al., available from Lewis, Mitchell & Moore, Vienna, Virginia, July 1987.

3. Northwest Energy News, Northwest Power Planning Council, July/August, 1993.

4. Editorial, Wall Street Journal, May 2, 1983.

5. "Shutdown Strategies: Citizens Efforts to Close Nuclear Power Plants," by Joseph Kriesberg, Public Citizen's Critical Mass Project, New York, May 1987.

6. Campaign literature by Congressman Ed Markey (MA), signed by Rep. Markey and dated June 28, 1984.

7. There is constant collaboration and global computer networking among the international groups of critics.

8. "Outlook for Nuclear Power," F.C. Olds, Power Engineering, Nov. 1981.

9. Reported in Organization Trends, Capital Research Center, January, 1991.

10. Earth First Journal, quoted by Lynn Wallis in "Vital Speeches of the Day", Nov. 1991.

11. See for example, Reference 5, Chapter 1, Before Its Too Late, Bernard L. Cohen, 1983. Footnote 5 in Chapter 1 of Cohen's book contains 23 references to comparative risks in energy production. Nuclear energy is invariably rated highly, even one by nuclear critics.

12. Before It's Too Late, By Bernard L. Cohen, Plenum Press, 1983.

13. A past member of Scientists and Engineers for Secure Energy. She was once expelled from a conference of the nuclear critics (Nuclear Information Resource Service, March 23, 1983).

14. Outlook for Nuclear Power, F.C. Olds, Power Engineering, November, 1981.

15. "Making Nuclear Power Work," by Kent Hansen, Dietmar Winje, Eric Beckjord, Elias P. Gyftopoulos, Michael Golay, and Richard Lester, Technology Review, Feb.-March, 1989.

16. Congressional Record, March 10, 1985.

17. Report on Backfitting and Licensing Practices at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Regulatory Reform Task Force, James Tourtellote, Chairman, March 11, 1985. (Backfitting is the word used to described the results of changing the regulations after construction began. In many instances it meant tearing out concrete, rebat, piping, conduit, wiring, etc., and rebuilding per the next new regulation.)

18. "Achieving Effective Regulation Through the Application of Universal Principles", speech (S-05-94) presented by Commissioner Kenneth C. Rogers, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission,