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Showing posts from January, 2008

An Interview With Patrick Moore

Michael Kanellos of CNet recently interviewed CASEnergy co-chair Patrick Moore. Here's an excerpt:
Q: When people look at your biography and see you're a Greenpeace co-founder and now a nuclear advocate, they don't believe it. Could you give us a synopsis of your personal history on this issue?
Moore: Well, actually I did feel a little lonely in that corner for a while, but I've been joined by the likes of Stewart Brand, Jared Diamond (author of Guns, Germs, and Steel), and (environmental author) Tim Flannery, and now we form a fairly serious phalanx of pro-nuclear environmentalists. In fact, I'm the honorary chair of the Canadian chapter of Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy, which has 9,000 members worldwide.

As a co-founder of Greenpeace, even though I was a scientist, I made the same mistake in those days as all the rest of my colleagues did. We kind of lumped nuclear energy in with nuclear weapons as if all things nuclear were evil. It was an honest mistake. …

Again, On Nuclear Energy and the Southern Drought

Here's a letter to the editor that NEI has been sending around the country in response to last week's AP wire on nuclear power plants and the drought in the American South:
Contrary to the impression given in the Associated Press article, "Drought could close Southern nuclear plants," (Jan. 24), all steam-based power plants (coal, nuclear, natural gas) potentially can have their operations affected by drought conditions.

The extent to which readers received a skewed account of the facts is most evident from the article's first sentence, which begins, "Nuclear reactors across the Southeast could be forced to throttle back." In reality, the percentage of electricity produced by coal-fired power plants exceeds the percentage of electricity produced by nuclear power plants in the following Southeast states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Although the Southeast is suffering fr…

Van Leeuwen and Smith's Egregious Mathematical Errors

Last month Leslie Berliant of Celsias asked Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen if nuclear power is “free of greenhouse gas emissions.” For those who are unfamiliar with van Leeuwen, he and his colleague Philip Smith have been falsely claiming nuclear power’s lifecycle emissions will be higher than a fossil-fueled power station within several decades as high-quality uranium ore grades diminish. As I was reading the Celsias piece, the sentence below stopped me in my tracks:Today the world nuclear capacity is around 370 GW, providing 2.1% of the world energy supply (see Part A - PDF).2.1%? It's common knowledge around here that the actual share is about 6 percent, so I checked the reference. What I found was stunning.

In the debate about lifecycle emissions, the conclusions of both the antis and the pros depended mostly upon the assumptions of the analyses. But the error above wasn’t a matter of assumption, it was due to a complete lack of understanding of how certain energy statistics ar…

WNA's Nuclear Financial Index

The World Nuclear Association and S-Network LLC have created a world nuclear financial index expected to become available by March.A new index of 66 leading global nuclear companies has been created by a partnership of the World Nuclear Association (WNA) and S-Network LLC. Pending regulatory approval, financial products based on the WNA Nuclear Energy Index could be available by March.

The WNA Index is meant to provide a benchmark for the relative financial success of the nuclear industry. It is comprised of 66 globally traded companies, which either are 'materially influenced by industry development' or 'principally engaged' in nuclear energy because they generate 50% or more of their revenue from nuclear-related activity.

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Committee member Joseph LaCorte of S-Network said: "It is difficult to isolate and capture the economic opportunities embedded in the global growth of nuclear energy." However, through its broad base he considers that "the WNA Index …

The Nuclear Resurgence and Reasonable Expectations

Over the past few days we've seen a number of announcements that have given some folks pause over the near-term prospects for a resurgence in the American nuclear energy industry. In particular, we've seen both SCANA in South Carolina and a group in Idaho headed by Warren Buffet pull away from plans to build reactors.

For some insight into why these decisions were made, I asked NEI's Vice President of Policy Development, Richard J. Myers, to weigh in with his thoughts:
We’ve seen a couple of announcements over the last few days that various companies are adjusting their plans for new nuclear generating capacity. Mid-American Energy announced that it will not pursue development of a new nuclear plant in Idaho – partly due to concerns about cost, partly because of difficulties in coming to terms with suppliers over risk-sharing. South Carolina Electric & Gas and Santee Cooper also announced that they would defer their application for a construction/operating license for…

Should America Build More Nuclear Power Plants?

That's the question that Patrick Kiger at the Science Channel is asking his readers:
So what do you think? Should we build more nuclear power plants? Or should we focus harder on energy conservation and developing solar, wind and geothermal technologies instead?The short answer, of course, is that we're going to need to build all of those things in order to both meet future demand and to maintain a diverse energy mix that promotes security of supply. There's plenty more, and I encourage our readers to stop by and let Kiger and the Science Channel community know what we think about the issue.

NEI's Nuclear Performance - December 2007

Here's a summary of U.S. nuclear plant performances last month:Preliminary estimates indicate nuclear generation in 2007 was approximately 807 billion kilowatt-hours (bkWh), breaking the 2004 record of 788.5 bkWh. Estimates place the nuclear fleet average capacity factor in 2007 at 91.8%, breaking the record of 90.1%, also set in 2004.

For the month of December 2007, the fleet average net capacity factor was 96.1 percent, about 1.5 percentage points higher than that of December 2006. Nuclear generation in the month of December was 71.7 billion kilowatt-hours, compared to 70.5 bkWh for December 2006.

NEI’s preliminary look at the data suggests that the record setting generation in 2007 is the result of: (a) approximately 10 fewer refueling outages occurring in 2007 than in 2005 and 2006; (b) fewer days of generation lost to maintenance outages than in 2004, 2005, or 2006; (c) the addition of 4.5 bkWh to fleet generation produced by the return of Browns Ferry 1; and (d) the addition o…

NEI's Energy Markets Report - January 14-January 18, 2008

Here's a summary of what went on in the energy markets last week:Electricity peak prices increased $22-32/MWh at the Entergy and NEPOOL hubs. The four other hubs increased $8-10/MWh. Cold weather at the end of last week was to blame for the increased electricity prices (Platts, see pages 1 and 3).

Gas prices at the Henry Hub increased $0.51 to $8.27/MMBtu due to colder temperatures. This is the second highest weekly price over the past 12 months. Plentiful supplies of natural gas in storage and declining crude oil prices likely mitigated the extent of the price increases at many market locations (EIA, see pages 1 and 3).

Estimated nuclear plant availability remained at 94 percent last week. Grand Gulf 1 scrammed due to an electrical failure with the transformer cooling system. Palisades was shut down after one of its two main feedwater pumps tripped. Point Beach 1 declared an unusual event after an electrical transformer malfunctioned. Sequoyah 1 manually tripped due to lowering ste…

What the AP Story on Water Use and Nuclear Won't Tell You

Here's another followup to yesterday's AP story on drought and nuclear energy that we referred to earlier today. Steve Kerekes, a colleague of mine who runs the media relations department for NEI, dealt directly with Mitch Weiss, the AP reporter who wrote the story. He dropped me the following note that he asked me to share with everyone:
Call me old-fashioned. When I studied journalism in college, and in my subsequent career as a reporter many moons ago, the goals to strive for in covering the news, beyond accuracy, were balance and context. Thus my disbelief at the refusal of the Associated Press over the past 24 hours to provide context for a story it moved on the wire yesterday with a Lake Norman, N.C., dateline. It’s running in newspapers across the country under headlines such as “Drought Could Force Nuke-Plant Shutdowns,” and the story opens, “Nuclear reactors across the Southeast could be forced to throttle back or temporarily shut down later this year because drought…

The Effects of a Shutdown Nuclear Plant

Lisa Black of the Chicago Tribune wrote a piece on the effects the shutdown Zion plant in Illinois has had on the community:Ronald Schuster remembers exactly how he felt when he heard the Zion Nuclear Power Station would close, a decision that rocked the community that relied on it for much more than electricity.

"It was literally like someone got hit in the solar plexus," said Schuster, a radiation-protection safety officer who was herded into a meeting at 8:05 a.m. Jan. 15, 1998, to hear the news.

...

The plant's closing marked a crushing blow to blue-collar Zion, where it had served as the city's largest employer and taxpayer. Nearly 2,000 out-of-town contractors left town immediately, and the 860 regular full-time workers began looking for new jobs.

Some local businesses saw sales plummet by 25 percent to 30 percent, said Eugene Swindle, who said his auto shop lost up to $6,000 monthly when workers stopped coming in.

Across the street, a new owner of Dunkin' Donut…

On Nuclear Energy and Drought

Yesterday, the Drudge Report fronted an AP story by Mitch Weiss entitled, "Drought Could Force Nuke-Plant Shutdowns". To say the least, we're just a little exasperated around here, especially since we've gone to the trouble over and over again of letting folks know that water use isn't solely an issue for nuclear plants, it's an issue for any kind of electrical generating station that uses the steam cycle. Further, despite the claims of anti-nuclear activists, we don't believe this is a major issue.

The best short answer to this comes from Dr. Michael Ivanco, who wrote the following in a letter to the editor that was published by the Hamilton Spectator back in August 2006:
The impact of drought in Europe on electricity supply is not a "nuclear" problem, as the writer suggests, rather it affects all electricity generating stations that use a steam cycle: nuclear, coal, gas and oil.

These account for over 80 per cent of all electricity generated on…

Nuclear Energy Risks and Benefits in Perspective

Stan Gordelier, Head of the NEA Nuclear Development Division of the OECD, wrote a piece last month putting the risks and benefits of nuclear energy into perspective (pdf):A continuing concern for the public and politicians is the safety of nuclear power. ENSAD, the Energy-related Severe Accident Database established by the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland, contains data on over 18400 accidents, mainly between 1969 and 2000, of which 35% are energy-related, and 3117 of which are rated as severe (with five or more prompt fatalities).

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During this period there has only been one severe hydro power accident in OECD countries, resulting in 14 prompt fatalities. There have been no OECD nuclear accidents in this "severe" classification.

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Why then, does nuclear seem to provoke unique safety fears in the public mind? It could likely be some combination of the association with nuclear weapons, the fear of very low probability, but very large accidents, the fact that latent deat…

Pro-Nuclear Quote of the Day

From John Cole of Balloon Juice:
And I will say it again, even though it always rankles people. Three Mile Island was a success. It was not Chernobyl. It was not nuclear armageddon. No, that does not mean I am pining for meltdowns everywhere, but I think some perspective is necessary. While it damaged the reputation of the nuclear industry, no one was hurt. No radiation sickness. No spikes in cancer rates. It was a disaster, but it was a success.

Excluding nuclear energy from the possible ways to fulfill our energy needs in the future immediately makes you an unserious person, in my book.Sorry I missed this last week.

A Repository, Not a Dump

Andrea Jennetta and Nancy E. Roth, the two minds behind the new blog, Fuel Cycle Week, have a challenge for their colleagues in the mainstream media:
Why do respected reporters and editors so often use the word “dump” in mainstream news stories on any kind of radioactive waste, including spent fuel from civilian reactors? “Dump” appears in reports on the Yucca Mountain project, proposed interim storage sites and even low-level waste facilities in South Carolina, Utah and Washington. The word is endemic in the popular media. No one gives it a second thought. But does “dump” fairly characterize these sites? No.Absolutely.

For more on how the nuclear industry takes care of used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste, click here. And let me welcome Jennetta and Nancy to the blogosphere, we're glad you're here.

Thanks to the indefatigable Dan Yurman for the pointer.

What About South Carolina?

S.C. Politics Today poses an interesting question:
The chance juxtaposition of the Nevada and South Carolina primaries creates a Yucca problem for presidential candidates. In Nevada, the Democrats have been competing with each other to claim they are the most opposed to sending nuclear waste to the proposed Yucca Mountain facility there.

Next week, those same candidates will be in South Carolina, the state that would benefit the most from the opening of the Yucca Mountain depository. For years, federal officials have pledged nuclear waste stored at the Savannah River Site near Barnwell would be shipped to Yucca Mountain.

At a campaign stop in Nevada on Thursday, Democratic contender Barack Obama responded to a new Clinton radio ad that accused him of having financial ties to supporters of the Yucca Mountain site.

"I have said over and over again I'm against Yucca," Obama said. "I'm against Yucca Mountain. I think the science is not there. I've never, I've ne…

Press Weighs In on Democrats and Yucca Mountain

That Democratic Presidential debate on Tuesday night in Nevada keeps kicking up some dust.

Here's USA Today:
Yucca Mountain thus becomes the latest evidence of why it's so destructive to give a few early-voting states so much clout in the presidential selection process. Already this year, candidates have gone to Iowa and promised support for wasteful corn-based ethanol, and to Michigan and pledged fealty to the ailing auto industry. In both cases, candidates catered to a single state's interests by promising bad policy for the nation.

Now Nevada joins the list.

At Tuesday's debate in Las Vegas, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards all vowed to block the remote Yucca Mountain site if they become president — but failed to offer any alternative except more study.

In a singularly disingenuous bit of political jiu-jitsu, Edwards (who twice voted for Yucca Mountain) said he opposed using the site and then said he opposed building any more nuclear power plants because th…

Sproat ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ About 2008 Yucca License Application Despite Budget Cuts

The following is an early release of a story that's scheduled to run in the Monday, January 21 edition of Nuclear Energy Overview, NEI's members only publication. It was written by my NEI colleague, Rich Bickers:
The Energy Department’s director of radioactive waste management last week told Nevada legislators and the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board that a 2008 license application for the Yucca Mountain repository is still possible, even though the agency continues to evaluate the impact of a more than $100 million reduction in the repository program’s 2008 budget.

The projected 2017 opening date for the repository, however, is no longer achievable, Ward Sproat, director of DOE’s Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, told the Nevada State Legislative Committee and the review board at meetings last week in Nevada. Sproat said DOE expects to decide on a new projected opening date sometime this spring.

Sproat said that the license application process was still on sc…

Greenpeace's Jim Riccio Gets it Wrong

Yesterday on WNYC-FM's Brian Lehrer Show, Gwyneth Cravens, author of Power to Save the World: The Truth about Nuclear Energy, made a joint appearance with Jim Riccio, Nuclear Policy Analyst for Greenpeace.

Normally, I'd suggest that you take a listen, but given the fact that Riccio spent most of the interview talking over Cravens and not letting her get a word in edgewise, I'm afraid there's not much to recommend it. However, there was one point of contention between the two guests that I think bears closer examination.

At one point during the interview, Cravens made the point that there hasn't been any other core meltdowns of a commercial nuclear reactor in the U.S., at which point Riccio started berating Cravens about Fermi 2, and how she should have read a book by John G. Fuller called We Almost Lost Detroit concerning the accident.

Fermi 2 is a 1,098 MWe General Electric boiling water reactor owned by DTE Energy and currently still in operation. There has never …

Matt Yglesias: Now and Then on Nuclear Energy

It looks like Adam Blinick's post at TNR has kicked off a little debate. Over at The Atlantic, Matt Yglesias had this to say:
We'll be weaned off the dastardly power, perhaps, with nuclear powered cars?What about plug-in hybrids? The idea here is simple: If you generate electricity with a non-emitting source like nuclear, you can power plug-in hybrids while cutting the emission of carbon and other particulate matter like sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide, which would deliver the added benefit of helping to avoid acid rain.

Yglesias continues:
I have no problem with the idea that putting a proper price on carbon might lead to good things for the nuclear power industry, but the issue in practice is that nuclear advocates are busy demanding large subsidies. It makes sense to some extent to subsidize clean sources of electricity, but we should target subsidies on really, truly clean sources of power -- and nuclear's not that.

The idea that dastardly anti-nuclear activists are th…

An Appeal for Unity on Nuclear Energy

After hearing John Edwards declare his outright opposition to nuclear energy during Tuesday's Democratic debate in Nevada, Adam Blinick of The New Republic wrote ...
Gwyneth Cravens's illuminating Power to Save the World: The Truth about Nuclear Energy dispels many of the myths about nuclear energy that Edwards' position helps prop up. For example, she notes coal plants emit more radiation than nuclear ones. (In fact, humans get more radiation from medical x-rays or flying round-trip from New York to L.A. than living near a nuclear plant). Also, Cravens argues that nuclear energy plants are almost completely risk-free regarding nuclear weapons proliferation (it's a different enrichment process) and potential terrorist attacks (U.S. plants are simply too secure). She also makes the argument that we likely have safe ways of disposing of nuclear waste, even at Yucca Mountain.

For all the empty "unity" rhetoric that inevitably is present during an election cycle, n…

NEI's Energy Markets Report - January 7-January 11, 2008

Here's a summary of what went on in the energy markets last week:Electricity peak prices decreased $10-50/MWh at the Eastern hubs as temperatures returned to normal. The Western hubs increased only $1-2/MWh (Platts, see pages 1 and 3).

Gas prices at the Henry Hub rose $0.23 to $7.75/MMBtu. The Rockies Express Pipeline (REX) last week began providing interim service with a capacity of about 1.4 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per day to a gas delivery point in Kansas. By 2009, the proposed 1,679-mile gas pipeline is expected to reach Ohio from Colorado and will be the first pipeline to directly supply gas from the West to the Eastern markets (EIA and REX LLC, see pages 1 and 3).

Estimated nuclear plant availability remained at 94 percent last week. River Bend 1 began a refueling outage. Dresden 3 shut down for maintenance on a steam line after receiving low steam pressure indications (Platts and NRC, see pages 2 and 4).

Crude oil prices rose $2.78 from the previous week to $98.90/barrel. Thi…

Michael Mariotte from NIRS Needs to Update His Cost Sources

Tampa Tribune’s “Nuclear Costs Explode” piece provided some updated insights to the estimated costs of a new nuclear plant. The article began with Progress Energy’s cost reassessment of a new nuke from an initial estimate of about $5-7 billion per plant. “Based on new industry estimates, the tab for Progress Energy's project could surpass $10 billion.” The reason for the increase:because the cost of concrete, steel, copper, labor and reactor technology has soared as energy companies move forward with plans to build more than 30 new reactors nationwide. Also, Progress Energy's initial estimate excluded the cost of land, inflation, interest payments and new transmission lines.



A September 2007 report commissioned by the Edison Electric Institute, a nonprofit trade group for the nation's electric utilities, showed that steel prices have risen 60 percent since 2003. Copper prices nearly quadrupled between 2003 and 2006 and cement prices rose 30 percent during the same period, …

Italy Looking at Nuclear Again

From Reuters:Simmering debate of a nuclear energy relaunch in Italy, banned 20 years ago in a referendum, got a fresh boost on Wednesday with the news that major utilities were to draft a plan to build nuclear power stations.

A newly created think tank Energy Lab, which includes experts from leading Italian utilities A2A A2.MI and Edison, will soon start a feasibility study to build at least three or four nuclear power plants in Italy, a source familiar with the situation said, confirming a report in Il Sole 24 Ore.Great news!

Reuters Report on New Nuclear Build in the U.K.

Found this clip on YouTube today that gives a nice overview of the decision by the U.K. government to approve a new generation of nuclear power plants.

As for the Greenpeace spokesman who claimed that replacing gas-fired generation with nuclear-generated electricity wouldn't make a dent in greenhouse gas emissions, how in the world does he explain why France, which generates about 75% of its electricity from nuclear energy, has one of the smallest carbon footprints in the world?

For more on total lifecycle emissions, click here.

Czech Prime Minister Calls for European Nuclear Energy Expansion

From Wiener Zeitung (Austria):
Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek has called for a "renaissance" of nuclear energy throughout Europe. He said: "If Austria has decided not to produce nuclear energy, it is its decision and its problem."

He has also stated that the 2000 Austrian-Czech Melk Agreement on safety standards at the Czech nuclear-power plant at Temelin has outlived its usefulness. "In my opinion, the Melk Agreement is not binding in terms of international law. The hysteria about Temelin has been artificially stimulated," he said. Austria should concern itself with safety standards at nuclear-power plants in other countries whose "safety standards are lower than ours," Topolanek added.Which reminds me, Austria does have a nuclear power plant it could restart.

Heh. For more on Temelin, which welcomes 27,000 visitors a year, click here.

Obituary: Herbert J.C. Kouts, Nuclear Power Safety Expert

Herbert J.C. Kouts, an important figure in the early years of the development of the American nuclear energy industry, has died at the age of 88 at his home on Long Island. In an obituary in today's edition of the New York Times, Matthew Wald quotes a passage from Kouts that was included in an appendix to a New York State-sponsored report issued in 1983 about the Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant on Long Island. As many of you might recall, the plant was shut down by local opposition even as it was just about to being commercial operation:
In an appendix to the commission’s report, Dr. Kouts said: “All careful analysis confirms that the risk of nuclear power is small. The chance of a large accident is very low, and consequences of such an accident would be substantially less than most people think.”

“In the United States, the near-term risk of doing without nuclear power is the risk attached to using oil or coal instead,” he wrote. “The problems that these cause include acid rain; enor…

Who's who in opposing credible information on new baseload energy?

You gotta love truth in advertising.
If I were opposed to a new power station no matter how safe, clean, reliable, or necessary it were, no matter how much benefit it brought to a community, how could I chose a name for an organization that would communicate exactly that?


How, for that matter, could I get people to rally to my cause?

Could I make frightening insinuations without actually making any false accusations?

Could I put up a website introduced with a bunch of ominous questions, to encourage my readers to reach my own scary conclusions, absent any facts?

Could I come up with a name for my new organization that made it clear I planned to deal in fear-mongering rather than facts?

Could I tell people the site was run by anonymous concerned citizens (sounds friendly and credible enough) rather than use any names that people could associate with a history, bias, or performance?


Maybe none of these questions matter, really. Or maybe someone at Panic Calvert Cliffs.org would have some reas…

"Nuclear Power is progressive."

One of my old favorites in the Blogosphere is James Lileks. In today's Bleat, he gets around to redefining some old and cherished political ideas:
Nuclear power is progressive; the status quo, in place for twenty years, still thinks “The China Syndrome” is a documentary. I know it’s a different definition of progressive, but heck: redefining “progressive” is progressive.Thanks to our buddy Carter Wood at NAM Blog for the pointer.

Nuclear Myth-Busting at Spiked Online

Rob Johnston put together some great nuclear myth-busting in anticipation of the UK's "green light to the building of new nuclear power stations in the UK." My favorite myth is number 6:6) Building reactors takes too long This is perhaps the most ironic of the anti-nuclear arguments, since the legal manoeuvrings of Greenpeace delayed the UK government’s nuclear decision by a year and it is the very opposition of greens that will cause most of the future delays.

UCS’ “Nuclear Power in a Warming World”

It’s about that time of the year when the Union of Concerned Scientists comes out with their annual criticisms of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the nuclear industry. After reading their latest critique, “Nuclear Power in a Warming World,” my emotions are mixed. Some of the time I can agree with or at least understand their arguments. The rest of the time, though, I am frustrated and irritated by some of the claims in the report.

On the one hand, they correctly conclude nuclear power’s “life cycle emissions are comparable to those of wind power and hydropower” (p. 11). This tells me they have the potential to dig deep and analyze an issue and not just go by the usual anti-nuclear rhetoric.

On the other hand, though, they proclaim sabotage of a nuclear reactor “could contaminate large regions for thousands of years, producing higher cancer rates and billions of dollars in associated costs” P.4. The worst nuclear accident in the world at Chernobyl didn’t even do the damage they are…

NBC News on the Nuclear Comeback

Before the holidays, I forgot to share this clip from NBC Nightly News about the improved prospects for nuclear energy in the U.S.:



One quibble: NBC correspondent Martin Fletcher cast the spotlight on opposition to the possible addition of a new reactor at Calvert Cliffs in Maryland. Yet, as we've seen from our own coverage here at the blog, the local community is overwhelminglysupportive. A curious choice.

For the rest of our archive on Calvert Cliffs, click here.

Mike Huckabee on Nuclear Energy

Yesterday, we shared a video clip of Senator Barack Obama on the stump in Iowa answering a question about nuclear energy. Today, I've got a clip of the winner of the Iowa caucus on the Republican side, Governor Mike Huckabee, addressing the same topic:



For our previous posts on Governor Huckabee, click here.

Obituary: Luis Ramos

From the Times-Leader (Penn.):
Luis Ramos, who has been the public face of the Susquehanna nuclear plant since 2004, died Tuesday when his 1997 Hyundai Accent swerved off Interstate 80 and onto the median in Foster Township then struck a tree.

He was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, which occurred at about 7:30 p.m., according to state police at Hazleton.

The 57-year-old Puerto Rico native had been working for PPL Corp. since 1973, in positions that dealt with the public at the corporation’s Allentown headquarters. When the public-relations manager position opened up at the nuclear plant in Salem Township, Ramos moved to Shickshinny.

He was tailor-made for the position, according to Dan McCarthy, the company’s director of corporate communications, because he understood the contentious nature of the nuclear industry.

“The thing that was great about Lou was he respected people, so he respected people’s opinions even if they disagreed with him. … He wasn’t the kind of a guy to be…