Vero Beach City Councilor Randy Old’s Father Would be Disappointed


Dr. Bruce S. Old


At USAEC Dr. Old had a very large budget to do the material development to permit what the Commission hoped to be an age of building nuclear power plants around the United States.

At that time everything nuclear had a magic aura until later in life when people began to fight nuclear activity.  He regretted that it never reached its potential for power the way it seemed following World War II, but believed it still would someday.

But now, in an October 31, 2015 article on “The Future of Nuclear Energy,” the Economist calls nuclear energy a “Half-death.”


Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plan in Massachusetts

In the U.S., New Entergy, based in New Orleans, announced on October 13, 2015 that it would close it’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Massachusetts.

In December, 2014, Entergy closed its nuclear plant in Vermont.

It’s rival, Exelon, based in Chicago, the largest operator of nuclear in the U.S. said 14 of its plants in the U.S. are “vulnerable,” including it’s Three Mile Island’s Unit One.

Germany is phasing out nuclear power.  Four years ago it announced it would shut-down all its nuclear plants by 2022.

France intends to slow it down.  It passed a bill in July, 2015 committing to reduce nuclear power in its electricity mix from 75% to 50% within 10 years.

Sweden wants to replace their 50% reliance on nuclear power with renewable energy, primarily from wind farms.


Sweden Wind Farms

According to the Economist, “the closure on both sides of the Atlantic represent a blow  (emphasis added) to an industry that for years talked about the prospect of a ‘nuclear renaissance,’ based on the merits of large scale, low-carbon energy.”

The blow is where Dr. Bruce S. Old would surely be disappointed.

Then there is the problem of decommissioning the nuclear power plants.  “Neither America nor most European countries have found adequate sites for permanently storing nuclear waste.”  And “more than three-quarters of nuclear plants in the rich world are 25 years or older.  In the coming years the number of them shutting down is only likely to accelerate.”

Remember, Dr. Old regretted that nuclear power never reached its potential for power the way it seemed following World War II, but believed it still would someday.  That would be his disappointment.

But maybe there is some hope for Dr. Old. According to the Economist, “China plans to almost to triple its nuclear generating capacity by 2020 and other emerging markets are also building new plants.”

One thought on “Vero Beach City Councilor Randy Old’s Father Would be Disappointed

  1. Having retired from the U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, I could not accept the reality of the claim that Dr. Old had the power and budget attributed to him. The best books on the story are: (1) Tuxedo Park by Jennet Connet, (2) The girls of Atomic city by Denise Kiernan, and (3) The Idea Factory by Jon Genert.

    The Three Mile Island accident was the focus of President Carter and he relied on the expertise of Dr. Harold Denton.

    There have been no submissions for building a new nuclear power plant since the Fukisma accident. The negative perceptions of nuclear power have grown since John Q. Public learned that they could get information directly by filing a Freedom of Information Act request.

    The major blow to atomic energy as a source of meeting the basic needs has ocurred because there is no identifiable long term storage of nuclear waste. Some states like Florida set aside funding from ratepayers in the event of a future need. This is essentially a slush fund for the Florida legislators.

    The Seabrook nuclear power plant has always been of concern because it has a high volume of people who would be negatively affected because of an accident.

    All Federal agencies have had difficulty in allocating for future energy sources. Thus, the rise of the Tea Party requires all agencies to reduce their budgets and there is no longer a process for budgeting for unknown expenses. The cooperation between the government and private contractors now falls into the category of warning of President Eisenhower to beware the military industrial complex.

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