Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Federal Commission inspects plant

The future of nuclear energy in Wisconsin is in jeopardy

following Code Red violations issued by the Nuclear Regulatory

Commission at a Point Beach Nuclear facility. The code violations


came amid inquiries into whether the nuclear power plants in Point

Beach and Kewaunee should be given extensions on their existing

permits, which end in 2010 and 2013 respectively.

As Viktoria Mitlyng of the NRC noted, there is an ongoing,

“comprehensive check of the power plant’s major systems.”

During the most recent inspection, NRC inspectors found a defect

in the auxiliary water feed system at the Point Beach Plant.

According to Mitlyng, “the plant missed several opportunities to

repair the faulty system.”

In light of these findings, the commission issued the plant a

red flag, suggesting that immediate action must be taken.

However, Mitlyng was quick to calm fears by assuring the public

that “the plant is completely safe” and that the issuance was more

of a precautionary measure to prevent any future problems.

Additionally, “the NRC found no need to shut down the plant, as

it is still within the NRC threshold for safety,” Mitlyng said.

Nonetheless, many groups in Wisconsin have expressed alarm about

the pending citations, claiming it is a sign that nuclear power

plants need to be abandoned altogether.

Steve Hiniker of the Citizens’ Utility Board argues that the

plant in Point Beach is truly a health and safety concern.

“The power plant at Point Beach is the worst in the country. Out

of the four red violations ever issued by the NRC, two have been

given to that plant,” Hinker said, adding that the plant is

“horribly run.”

This low regard is based on the findings of the NRC.

“The auxiliary water pump, the pump needed to keep the core cool

in case of a power failure, has failed twice and could have created

a disastrous situation.”

Hiniker was also critical of University of Wisconsin Chancellor

John Wiley because of his current push for nuclear power. Hiniker

argued that Wiley has “hijacked the reputation of the university to

lobby for nuclear power,” adding that Wiley was directly in contact

with contractors building a nuclear-waste storage facility in


However, Hiniker added that he is not proposing that the plants

be shut down immediately, but rather that both Wiley and the state

take an objective look at the future of electricity in


Despite opposition, nuclear supporters argue that nuclear power

is the safest and most practical way to produce power.

Rep. Mike Huebsh, R-West Salem, is pushing to make nuclear

power-plant construction mainstream. He is leading an effort to

pass a bill that would make it unnecessary for new plants to have

radioactive-waste-disposal plans prior to being built.

With a new federal disposal site being unearthed in the Yucca

Mountains of Nevada, many supporters, including Huebsh, consider

nuclear power the best way to meet current power demands. In

addition, they contend that nuclear plants are more cost-efficient

and create electricity for a cheaper price than their coal and

natural-gas counterparts.

Bryan Brosamle of Madison Gas and Electric stated that the

plants cannot simply be shut down.

“The two plants produce nearly 20 percent of the power in

Wisconsin and must be replaced if they are shut down.”

As Brosamle noted, the grid would not be able to support those

customers directly affected by the closure. In terms of energy

costs, Brosamle believes that it is too early to measure what the

increase or decrease might be if the two plants are shut down.

The fate of the power plants will be determined within the next

six months as electric officials from both plants decide which

course of action is most economically feasible.




Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *