I attended a Community Open House held by ZionSolutions, LLC, on Thursday, Oct. 28, which is a special-purpose subsidiary of EnergySolutions, Inc. formed specifically to deliver integrated services and solutions for the safe decommissioning and environmental restoration of the Zion Station site. 

Exelon Corporation made the decision to waste its Dual Zion Nuclear Plant in 1998 stating economic reasons. The Plant operated from 1974 to 1998 when it was prematurely close down and put in Safe/Store.  The Zion decommissioning represents the largest plant dismantling everundertaken in the U.S.  The billion dollar project is a ten-year operation.

A question never sufficiently answered: Why was Zion mothballed in 1998 when it had many years left of service and why is Zion being decommissioned when aging equipment could be replaced?

I exchanged cards with a number of ZionSolutions officials present and asked very pointed questions of the engineers, etc., not being surprised when their answers were illogical or not based on fact.  I listened politely to their responses, but refrained from responding, thinking it best to play along with the experts so as not to expose their efforts to pull the wool over my eyes.

All of the officials assigned to ZionSolutions were courteous to me.  Some seemed to agree with what I was saying about the foolishness of closing a plant which has the potential of producing a massive amount of energy, but it was obvious that the Community Meeting message was to convince me and others in attendance that ZionSolutions was making every effort to be open and transparent with the public. (When people try too hard to be congenial where there are outstanding issues that demand explanations, I become suspicious of motives.  This was the case when interacting with ZionSolutions officials.).

The major theme was that ZionSolutions had nothing to do with the Zion Plant closing.  It was all Exelon’s doing.  Zion Solutions was only handling the decommissioning (Weren’t contracts signed and negotiations happening during the past three years between ZionSolutions and Exelon Corporation, yet ZionSolutions had no knowledge about why Exelon was wasting a perfectly good plant!  Not believable.).

The same story was related to me by officials from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  I was told that the NRC only deals with safety and that it had no part in shutting down Zion.  The NRC was called in only when Exelon decided to mothball Zion in 1998, as licenses needed to be changed (revised) to conform to the Plant’s new Safe/Store status.

I did inquire about the invitation.  When did it go out?   Was the event advertised?  I was informed proudly by the public relations person that a full-page ad was placed in Mona Shannon’s Zion-Benton Harbor newspaper, where upon I responded that the Zion-Benton Harbor newspaper is but a weekly publication that doesn’t reach very many individuals. 

I was thanked for my information and proceeded to name other newspapers in Chicagoland which have far larger readerships.  (Molly has concluded that the invitation was purposely put in a little read newspapers, so ZionSolutions could honestly say that the community was notified.  In that ZionSolutions didn’t know what the major newspapers were in Illinois is not believable!  What about the Chicago Tribune?)

There were as many ZionSolutions officials present at the event as there were outsiders, no more than 50 individuals all total.  Only one County Commissioner was present, John Paxton.  Paxon was also surprised that no one else showed up, not even Mayor Lane Harrison of Zion; legislators Jo Ann Osmond and Michael Bond; Mona Shannon, editor of the Zion-Benton News; or Ken Graesser and Ken Butterfield, plant managers at the Dual Zion Plant during its operation. 

The previous week I had contacted all Lake County elected legislators and officials and selected Illinois Republican and Democrat legislators about the Zion Community Open House.

John Paxton is a Commissioner with the Lake County Sanitary District.  John told me about an aging force main that was built back in the 70′s and that will cost millions of dollars to replace because Mark Kirk will not allow the purified water to go into Lake Michigan. 

I was somewhat surprised when a ZionSolution engineer, now assigned inside the Plant, told her that the Units are beautiful inside.  After hearing the engineer’s response, I walked over to the person in charge of the Zion project, John Hess, and questioned why the Plant couldn’t be reopened if all looked beautiful inside. 

Mr. Hess told me that “just because something looks beautiful doesn’t mean that it’s still functional.”  To which Molly responded:  “Doesn’t Zion still have the equipment inside which it did when the plant was mushroomed back in1998?  If so, the other plants still operating in Illinois most likely have the same equipment, with perhaps some upgrades, so why can’t the Zion Plant be upgraded accordingly and restarted?”  

I also raised the issue that “to replace what was required inside the Zion Plant could be done at a fraction of the cost that it would take to build another Plant having the same power capacity as Zion.  After all, a billion dollars was being spent to tear the plant down.” 

Another inquiry was made about the validity of “economics” as the reason given by Exelon Corporation for wasting the plant.  John Hess didn’t quite know how to reply to my questions other than to say that is was Exelon’s decision to decommission the Zion Plant.  (Question: Is it possible for a citizen to request information though the Freedom of Information Act? Just an idea that might be worth looking into).

And what about Exelon? There was no one from Exelon Corporation at the Zion event.  Why?  Exelon knows there are questions that demand answers. Exelon Corporation has shut up like a clam.  Transparency and openness have been lacking from the beginning with its decision to take Zion’s power off the electrical grid.

There is another interesting story to tell about Mark Kirk.  A person who was working at the plant in1998, and who is now part of the ZionSolution group, told me that Kirk came up to the Zion Plant in1998 and called Zion “a mistake by the lake.”  This is why I have already cast my vote for the Libertarian candidate for senate in Illinois in Early Voting, even as a strong, conservative Republican.

I proceeded to ask about security at the Zion Plant.  The Zion Plant has had many individuals inside taking care of the Plant — it is not crumbling – and outside guarding the Plant since it was shut down in 1998.  The radioactive rods in dry cast storage will rest on an area about the size of a football field.  There will be a two chain link fences around the site which will be set as far back from Lake Michigan as possible not to encroach upon the Wet Lands (ZionSolutions is very much into considering the environment in dealing with its Zion decommissioning.). 

A natural berm will be built around the football-sized storage area so it can’t be seen by the public. When I asked how many guards would be needed to guard the area where the radioactive rods are to be stored, I was told, “just as many because the government mandates that we do so.” (I can only imagine the cost of all these guards and the use of only Union Workers to decommission Zion.  No wonder a BILLION dollars is needed for the Zion operation which shouldn’t even be on-going!)

Here are several other items of interest:

1.  Only the radioactive fuel will stay behind.  The low radioactive waste will be transported to ZionSolutions storage place at their Clive facility in Utah. 

2.  When Iasked why the radioactive rods weren’t being reprocessed as they were in other countries, I was told by one ZionSolutions representative that the process was too new to be considered (Untrue)  Another representative was perhaps more truthful when he told me that our government doesn’t wish to go that route.

3.  The licenses given for the decommissioning process gives ownership of all the building, etc., to ZionSolutions; Exelon owns the land underneath.  Once the decommissioning is done, Zion can do with the land whatever it wishes for it as its owner. 

4.  The Chicago Tribune sent a reporter and camera man to the Zion event.  The reporter came and spoke to me, asked for my comments, and then gave me his business card on which he wrote his telephone number.  I was told that the CT sent a reporter and camera man to the event because of my notification to the Tribune editors about the event.

Notices were sent to all other newspapers in Chicagoland,  but only the Tribune responded.

I did design a handout about Zion which was distributed to those present, even the ZionSolution team members.

On the handout these two important question were emphasized that need to asked of Exelon Executives (Public statements from Exelon regarding Zion’s closure have been opaque and confusing.) before Zion is unnecessarily demolished, which does not bode well for future energy needs here in Illinois: 

1.  Did Exelon intentionally prematurely close the two Zion Nuclear Fueled Electricity Generating Plants that customers have already paid for, in order to keep these least expensive, safe, green, non-polluting electricity generating plants out of the grid, thereby keeping electricity prices high?

2.  Why hasn’t Exelon tried to sell these two Zion electricity generating plants?  Could it be because a new owner would produce lowest cost, safe, green electricity for Illinois customers and this would lower the electricity bills for consumers, reducing Exelon’s profits?

 

CA’s Prop 23 and Economic Armageddon

By Nancy J. Thorner

Californians are about to vote on Proposition 23 to suspend enforcement of “The California Global Warming Solutions,” also know as AB (Assembly Bill) 32. AB 32 was signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on September 27, 2006, and mandates the following:
1.  Reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
2.  Producing one-third of the state’s electricity from renewable sources of energy by 2020.
The intent of Prop 23 is to delay the implementation of AB 32 until unemployment levels in California drop to 5.5 percent or less over four consecutive quarters.
It is not surprising that President Barack Obama and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore have come out against Prop 23. Gore has been promoting for the past several years his doomsday scenario of terrible, catastrophic happenings unless the world deals with the underlying causes of global warming.
Working hard in California to defeat Prop 23 are officials in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area. This consortium has already given more than $28 million to defeat Prop 23. For them, it represents profits and capturing international business ventures in the green sector such as solar power, electric cars, and efficient home lighting.   
The group, “Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs,” was formed specifically to oppose Prop 23. George Shultz, who served as secretary of state during the Reagan administration, was appointed as the honorary co-chairman of the group.  
“Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs” lists the following reasons for opposing Prop 23 and favoring the implementation of  AB 32: 
1. Prop 23 is a deterrent to finding alternatives to oil to limit dependence on Middle Eastern countries.
2. AB 32 will create “clean-tech” jobs.
3. Prop 23 is a polluter’s dream and will lead to more air pollution, increased health risks, and global warming.
Each of the above stated reasons is beset with flaws. 
According to a U.S. Geological Survey assessment released in April of this year, the report shows a 25-fold increase in the amount of oil that can be recovered compared to the agency’s 1995 estimate of 151 millions barrels of oil. 
This nation has plenty of recoverable oil, but it has been declared off-limits to drilling, etc. by a government that is pushing green sources of power and which has declared that CO2 produced by fossil fuels is a pollutant and the cause of man-made global warming.
Will AB 32 really create “clean-tech” jobs? A posting by Michelle Malkin on April 13, 2009 relates a study by Dr. Gabriel Calzada, an economic professor at Juan Carlos University in Madrid. According to Dr. Calzada, “Every green job with government money in Spain over the last eight years came at the cost of 2.2 regular jobs, and only one in 10 of the newly created green jobs became permanent jobs.” Calzada’s study also related “that the U.S. should expect results similar to those in Spain.”
Spain’s green initiative was used by President Obama as a blueprint for how this nation should use federal funds to stimulate the economy. Obama’s economic stimulus package, which Congress passed in February of this year, allocated billions of dollars to the green jobs industry.  
Regarding air pollution, California already has the toughest environmental laws in this nation. Prop 23 wouldn’t weaken or repeal the hundreds of laws in CA which already protect the environment, reduce air pollution, and protect public health.
Given that AB 32 would impose on Californians and the state more harm than good, why the expensive and heated campaign to convince Californians to vote down Prop 23, which would actually benefit the people and the state?
Dr. Robert J. Michaels, Professor of Economics at California State University at Fullerton, senior Fellow at the Institute for Energy Research, Adjunct Scholar at the Cato Institute, and an independent consultant, suggested in a recently published sixty-five page document titled “California’s Climate Policy: The Present and Future of AB 32″ that political promises are being made by politicians to convince Californians that a rejection of Prop 23 would give their state the moral and economic high ground in the battle against carbon.
Further stated by Dr. Michaels in his comprehensive report: “By the state’s own estimates, the market for green workers is negligible, and California’s historically aggressive environment policies haves left it with no greener a job picture than most other states” (Californias-Climate-Policy.pdf).
Californians must overwhelmingly vote “yes” on Prop 23 to save the state from continued loss of businesses and jobs and consequent financial ruination. The nation will be watching as Californians vote on Tuesday, November 2. Will voters elect to avoid economic Armageddon? A rejection of Prop 23 on November 2 will only encourage states like Illinois, with unreasonable and unrealistic green energy policies, to continue down the primrose path.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/10/cas_prop_23_and_economic_armag.html at October 30, 2010 – 06:04:37 PM CDT

Joe Bast, CEO of the Heartland Institute first alerted me to California’s Prop 23, an initiative that will be appearing on the November 2nd ballot in California.

As Illinois has its own mandates where power companies must get at least 10 percent of their electricity from green sources by 2015 and 25 percent by 2025, and likewise has a mandate in place restricting that no new nuclear power plants can be built in Illinois until there is a place to store radioactive waste (This brings to mind the issue I have been championing for two years about the decommissioning by Exelon of the Dual Zion Nuclear Plant with its massive potential capacity of 2,100 megawatts of energy.), I decided to investigate the energy situation in California. Why? Because it is often said that how goes California, so goes the rest of the nation.

About AB 32: The California Global Warming Solutions, also know as AB (Assembly Bill) 32, was signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger into law on September 27th 2006. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) appointed a board to act as the state’s air quality regulators, the first in the nation to be charged with designing and enforcing a program to control emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other “greenhouse gases (GHG) thought to be responsible for increasing global temperature.

AB 32 does the following:

1. Orders the reduction of GHG emissions that would return them to 1990 levels by 2020.

2. Calls for producing one-third of the state’s electricity from renewable sources of energy by 2020.

CARB intends to use direct controls to achieve over 80 percent of its emissions reduction goal. It should be noted that once direct control is established by CARB, it would be difficult for California to reverse course. Most likely additional initiative would be added to AB 32 under the guise of improving existing legislation.

About California’s Prop 23: It would suspend (delay) the implementation of AB 32 until CA unemployment drops to 5.5 or less over four consecutive quarter.

If passed Prop 23 would abandon the implementation of comprehensive greenhouse-gas-reduction programs which includes increased renewable energy and cleaner fuel requirements, and mandatory emission reporting, and fee requirements for major polluters such as power plants and oil refineries, until suspension ends

California already has the toughest environmental laws in the country. Prop 23 doesn’t weaken or repeal California’s hundreds of laws that protect the environment, reduce air pollution, keep our water clean or protect public health.

It is not surprising that President Barack Obama, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore have come out against Prop 23. Al Gore’s doomsday scenario is know to all, how the world will face a string of terrible catastrophes unless we act to prepare ourselves and deal with the underlying causes of global warming.

Working hard to defeat Prop 23 are officials in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area. This consortium has already given more than $28 million to defeat Prop 23. For them it involves profit and business ventures. It’s all about inventing, manufacturing and installing in an attempt to capture international resources in the green sector. Business ventures include solar power to electric cars and efficient home lighting.
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1010/43923.html

I was surprised to learn that George Shultz, who served as secretary of state during the Reagan administration, is the honorary co-chairman of a group formed to oppose Prop 23, “Californians for Clean energy and Jobs.”

“Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs” lists the following in its support for AB 32:

1. AB 32 will create “Clean-tech jobs.”

2. Prop 23 is a polluter’s dream that will kill a clean energy economy for California and lead to more air pollution and increased health risks, and Global Warming.

3. Prop 23 will reduce incentives to find alternatives to oil to limit dependence of Middle Eastern countries.

The above reasons set forth by “Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs” deserve examination as they as beset with flaws.

Will Prop 23 will really reduce incentives too find alternatives to oil? According to a U.S. Geological Survey assessment released in April of this year, the report shows a 25-fold increase in the amoujnt of oil that can be recovered compared to the agency’s 1995 estimate of 151 millions barrels of oil.

This nation has plenty of recoverable oil to meet its needs, but it is has been declared off-limits to drilling by a government that is pushing green sources of power in its ploy to gain control over the lives of its citizens, all in the name of Global Warming.
http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=1911

What about the creation of “Clean-tech jobs”? Michelle Malkin on April 13, 2009, posted remarks about the creation of green jobs titled, Spain’s green jobs boondoggle, in which she relates a study by Dr. Gabriel Calzada, an economic professor at Juan Carlos University in Madrid. According to Dr. Calzada: “Every ‘green job’ with government money in Spain over the last eight years came at the cost of 2.2 regular jobs, and only one in 10 of the newly created green jobs became a permanent job.”

Calzada’s study also related “that the U.S. should expect results similar to those in Spain.” Yet Obama’s economic stimulus package, which Congress passed in February, used Spain’s green initiative as a blueprint for how the U.S. should use federal funds to stimulate the economy. It allocated billions of dollars to the green jobs industry! http://michellemalkin.com/2009/04/13/spains-green-jobs-boondoggle/

Regarding air pollution and the claim that CO2 pollutes the air and leads to increased health risks and Global Warming, hear the words of Kevin Obrien as published in The Plain Dealer, Reducing U.S. CO2 emissions would have little global impact:

“The idea that reducing carbon dioxide emissions in the United States will affect the climate of the entire planet is absurd. It is truly a tragedy that so many people, including our president, have been brainwashed into believing this exo-hoax. Thousands of real scientists have rejected the greenhouse-gas theory but receive little coverage in the media.” http://blog.cleveland.com/letters/2009/06/reducing_us_co2-emissions…

Joe Bast, CEO of the Heartland Institute, which operates Freedom Pub, had this to say about Global Warming in a publication in Heartlander on 02/01/2007, Global Warming Madness and How to Stop It” :

“Public policies being proposed at the international, national, and state levels in the name of “stopping global warming” would result in a massive increase in the size and power of the state. To reduce emissions, governments must raise energy costs directly, with taxes or indirectly, with mandates and subsidies.”
http://www.heartland.org/policybot/results/20549/Global_Warming_Mad…

Now hear the words of Lord Christopher Mockton, chief policy adviser to the Science and Public Policy Institute, also a policy adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. I had the honor of hearing Lord Mockton speak at the final luncheon gathering at The Heartland’s Fourth International Conference on Climate Change in Chicago on May 18th of this year. Lord Mockton now travels the world, all for the sake of sound science (Mockton spoke in front of the U.S. Congress to warn legislators about the disastrous impact of “Cap and Trade” should such legislation pass.).

“Even if all economic activity were closed down to forestall global warming for a period of 100 years, the temperature reduction would only amount to 1 degree Fahrenheit. This would be the height of folly and cruelty.” http://nancyjthorner.wordpress.com/2010/05/24/report-of-heartland-i…

The obvious conclusion from Mockton’s above statement, and one which is held by thousands of scientists world-wide, is that the influence of CO2 is so small; it’s at a noise level. If temperatures can’t be projected for a week, how is it possible to project temperature to 2050 and beyond?

Given that the implementation of AB 32 will not create jobs, and that the GHG emissions AB 32 seeks to eliminate as the cause of Global Warming will instead create economic hardship, why the campaign to convince Californians to vote “no” on Prop 23?

Although some of the push for a “no” vote on Prop 23 can be ascribed to those who would profit with their money-making business ventures, might there be other reasons?

Dr. Robert J. Michaels, Professor of Economics at California State University at Fullerton, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Energy Research, Adjunct Scholar at the Cato Institute and an independent consultant, had this to say in a recently published sixty-five page document entitled, “California’s Climate Policy: The Present and Future of AB 32″

According to Dr. Michaels, political promises are being made by politicians to convince Californians that the defeat of Prop 23 would give California the moral and economic high ground in the battle against carbon.

Further stated by Dr. Michaels: “By the state’s own estimates, the market for green workers is negligible, and California’s historically aggressive environmental politics have left it with no greener a job picture than most other states.”

Hopefully Californians will overwhelmingly vote “yes” on Prop 23, which is necessary to save California from further financial ruin and job losses.

As for Illinois, the state is in no better shape than California. It’s green energy policies will likewise affect the future economic development and growth of Illinois.

If Illinois legislators persists on promoting green energy as the way of the future, Illinois will continue to be mired in massive and unsustainable debt and will remain, when compared to other states (according to “A Policy Point” issued by the Illinois Policy Institute in June 24, 2009), 48th in economic performance, 48th in employment growth, 44th in economic outlook, and 44th in personal income growth.

Ron and Cynthia are members of the First Presbyterian Church in Lake Forest, and they participate occasionally in the musical life with their vocal renditions at church services.

Ron and Cynthia have adjunct faculty positions at Lake Forest College teaching violin and viola. Ron is also music director and conductor of the North Suburban Symphony, based at Gorton Community Center in Lake Forest.

Recently I interviewed the Arden Family to find out how music came to be such an integral part of their lives, including for their two sons. Nikolas at 27, with his deep and pleasing baritone voice, is already on the way to a promising career in opera. Ivan at 20 is a sophomore at Northern Illinois University where he is pursing jazz studies with a major in saxophone.

One of my initial questions to the Ardens was: Why the Russian names for their children as the spelling of Nikolas differs from the usual spelling of the name? The riddle was solved when Ron informed me that he is of Russian ancestry. Even the family name was Anglicized from Ardan to Arden.

Since parents do influence their children and even the direction their lives, knowing the musical backgrounds of Ron and Cynthia was essential to my understanding of how music became the thread which connects family members to one another.

College Unite
Ron and Cynthia Arden met at Butler University in Indiana where both earned degrees in music. But what led up to their decisions to enter the music profession?

Cynthia — who is now an organist at Ravenswood Covenant Church — decided by her sophomore year in high school that she wanted to pursue music as a career. Cynthia’s decision was understandable when informed that she had started piano lessons at age two-and-a-half, violin followed at age nine, and organ at age ten. Cynthia remains proficient and performs regularly on all three instruments.

Ron’s decision to pursue music was not made until his senior year in high school, although Ron did study piano for five years. Throughout high school Ron’s interest was in the field of visual arts. Ron did express interest in playing the saxophone while in junior high school but was told that learning the clarinet must come first.

Rejecting the clarinet, Ron was offered either the viola, the cello or the bass violin as a way to build up his school’s junior high string program. As Ron told me, he chose the viola because it was the smallest of the three instruments.

According to Ron’s mother, as related by wife Cynthia, “Ron took to the viola like a duck takes to water. He was sounding good within a few weeks.”

Ron and Cynthia were married shortly after college. They lived first in Nebraska, then Texas and Florida, before moving with their family to Zion in 1998 when Ron was offered the position of Minister of Music at the Christ Community Church in Zion. Wherever the Ardens moved, music followed with involvement in church activities, orchestra playing, and teaching.

Home Schooling
The Ardens chose home schooling through the elementary grades for Nikolas and Ivan. Both boys were taught piano by their mother as part of their home- schooling routine. Neither warmed up to music as a profession until late in their childhood, nor did Ron and Cynthia push them into pursuing musical careers.

Although both boys were always musical, they were not encouraged to become professional musicians.

Cynthia did wish to start Nikolas on violin at an early age, but Ron was not keen on the idea. Singing, however, was a gift the Arden boys exhibited at an early age, both having been selected for the role of Amahl in Menotti’s one-act opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors.

While the family was living in Florida, Nikolas joined the Florida Singing Sons, an international recognized choir. For Nikolas it was something musical to do and he enjoyed doing it.

Nikolas was bitten by the opera bug while attending his parents alma mater, Butler University, after hearing the Indianapolis Opera perform at his college. Upon graduation from Butler University with a BA in Vocal Performance and a minor in Theater Workshop, Nikolas did graduate work in vocal performance at Northwestern University.

At the present time Nikolas is participating in and auditioning for national Young Artist Programs which find young artists and supports them. Based on the outstanding talent Nikolas has to offer, this summer Nikolas received sizable scholarships to attend workshops of the Maryland Opera Society and Resonanz in Albany, N.Y.

Since every promising young artist has future aspirations, I was curious to hear what Nikolas had to say. Without hesitation Nikolas told of his desire to eventually sing Wagner and baritone roles in Verdi operas by the time he reached forty or fifty. Nikolas must be prepared to sing opera roles in German, French and Italian.

Ron and Cynthia’s younger son, Ivan, also had an interesting story to tell. When Ivan reached the fourth-grade level in home-schooling, he was invited to the band room of Central Junior High School in Zion to try out instruments. Ivan fell in love with the saxophone and was allowed to participate as a home-schooled student in the elementary band program. 

Throughout high school Ivan played in school ensembles, supplemented by his participation in the excellent Midwest Artist Program for which he auditioned and was accepted in his freshman year in high school. Ivan participated in the Midwest Artist Program until graduation from high school.

Ivan is spinning musically in another direction from his brother Nikolas and his parents by pursing jazz instead of classical music, but Ivan will admit to liking classical music. Ivan’s attraction to jazz occurred when the Northern Illinois University Jazz Ensemble while touring visited Zion High School. Following this moving and exciting musical experience, Ivan decided to attend Northern Illinois University where he is now in the jazz studies program with a major in saxophone.

As shared by Ron and Cynthia Arden, there are now two musical experts in the family: Nikolas with opera and Ivan on jazz. Both boys claim their parents know little about their fields of musical study, which Ron and Cynthia refuted in a good-natured way even while both boys attempted to justify why their knowledge was superior to their parents. They all admitted to enjoying the banter that comes from the boys studies.

Because musicians and singers require practice time, I asked how practice time was allocated in the Arden household. Forthcoming was a description of the cacophony of sound which results when Ivan is practicing saxophone in his room, when Nikolas is filling the music room with his resonate and booming voice, and when Cynthia is practicing violin in the basement. Noting that Ron Arden was left out of the discussion, I asked Ron about his practice time and was told that he must wait his turn until after the rest of his family has finished practicing.

It is often said that a family that plays together stays together. This is true of the Arden Family, where music is the tie that binds.

 

This message was sent out in four separate emails, with some tweaking, to Republican legislators  throughout Illinois (Lake County excluded);
Republican legisltors in Lake County and County Elected Officials; Democrat legislators throughout Illinois; and Republican candiates running for office both federal and state (Robert Dold, Lauren Turelli, Dan Sugrue, Joel Pollack, and Mark Kirk).
Dear Republican Candidate,
The attached FYI was distributed on Wednesday, October 20.  It has to do with a Community Open House to discuss the Decommissioning and Site Restoration of the Zion Station on Thursday, October 28.  
 
 I hope as one who is running as a Republican candidate for either a state or federal office, you will plan to attend next Thursday’s Zion event.
 
As a candidate for elected office, I wish you success in your bid.  In the meantime, energy is a bi-partisan issue of concern here in Illinois.  It would be to your advantage to get up to speed on the issue of Nuclear Power and the decision to waste the Dual Zion Nuclear Plant.   I will be attending next Thursday’s Zion event.
  community open house oct2010.pdf (3.2 MB) Download | Remove

There have been reports that some legislators have had difficulty opening the above invitation link.  If you are likewise experiencing the same, the invitation reads:

“The Decommissioning and Site Restoration of the Zion Station is scheduled for Thursday, October 28, 2010, at Shepherd’s Crook Golf Course Club House, 351 Green Bay Road, Zion, Illinois from 4:30 p.m – 7:30 p.m.    Refreshments will be served.”

Upon request, I will fax a copy of the invitation to you.

My Comments:   Is this a joyous celebration of the very premature, illogical closing and demolition of two operating, large megawatt, green, non-polluting, low cost, safe, paid for Nuclear-fueled electricity generating plants that with proper maintenance, the NRC would allow them both to operate for many, many  decades, the best electricity generation money-making plants that Exelon has? 

While our elected politicians stand by to give incentives to Exelon and others of untold billions to invest in terribly inefficient and expensive to build and maintain windmill and solar farms and who only knows what else! 
 
All the while other countries are building and operating, or are planning to build and operate, Nuclear-fueled Electricity Generation PWR’s, including but not limited to France, China, Japan, Egypt and the entire Middle East.
 
The important question:  Did Exelon intentionally shut down and waste the Dual Zion Nuclear Plant, that customers have already paid for, in order to keep the Ziion cheap power supply out of the market and thereby keep prices high for its other three plants?
 
Also, why hasn’t Exelon tried to sell Zion?  Could it be because the new owner would run it to produce lowest supply for Illinois customers and this would drive the price down for consumers (and cut into Exelon’s profits from its other nuclear facilities)?
 
These are question that must be asked of Exelon executives before the plant is demolished. 
 
As one running for office with Zion in your own back yard, your presence is demanded.  Your future constituents must know the truth behind higher electric rates charges from ComEd.  It is folly to believe that wind and solar power are viable forms of energy on which to rely to meet future energy needs here in Illinois. 
 

Your endorsements

Voice of the People

October 24, 2010

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Editor’s note: The Tribune has endorsed Mark Kirk for senator. Now readers get their turn. Here are some of your endorsements.

Rejecting Kirk

From the time I was old enough to vote until today’s status as a senior citizen, I’ve never deviated from voting a straight Republican ticket in every general election. I refuse to cast my vote for Mark Kirk, who for 10 years has been my congressman.

Kirk felt the need to reinvent his background through exaggerated claims of his past accomplishments; this tells me that Kirk is not trustworthy and will continue to fudge the truth for his own personal gain.

It is also of concern that Kirk has repeatedly said in news media interviews that he is an independent who is proud of his past record of compromise and of being able to work across the aisle. Is it really beneficial to the Republican Party to elect a senator who marches to his own drummer and who is not committed to working with fellow Republicans senators to reverse the leftward trend of this nation during the past two years under the Obama administration and a Democratic Congress?

I am willing to see Alexi Giannoulias win his bid for the Senate in the hope that in six years a Republican candidate with character and who believes in Republican values and principles will be able to unseat Giannoulias.

— Nancy J. Thorner, Lake Bluff

As a political junkie and activist, the daily twists and turns of candidates as to where they stand in the polls captures my undivided attention, not unlike a spots fan who daily and enthusiastically follows the ups and downs of their favorite sports team.

One way I keep connected to what I liken to a “soap-opera-drama-of-political-intrigue,” is through the daily reading of several newspapers, including the Chicago Sun-Times. 

Up until now Democrat candidates have been endorsed by the Sun-Times, with the latest endorsements on Monday, October 18 bestowed upon Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Secretary of State Jesse White. 

The Sun-Times over the past several months has been calling for reform, transparency, and fiscal responsibility in its WE THINK columns on the Commentary page.

Your endorsements boggle the mind of any thinking person.  For how can Illinois once again become a power-house of a state, and one that Illinoisans can proudly call home, if the same Democrat governor, legislators, and other elected office-holders retain control of the governorship, the General Assembly in Springfield, and the state government?

Is the Sun-Times expecting a metamorphosis to take place? 

I don’t think so.  The status quo will only produce more of the same for Illinois.

Is the Sun-Times editorial board incapable of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel because partisanship rules the roost?

   

 As a political junkie and activist, the daily twists and turns of candidates as to where they stand in the polls captures my undivided attention, not unlike a spots fan who daily and enthusiastically follows the ups and downs of their favorite sports team.

One way I keep connected to what I liken to a “soap-opera-drama-of-political-intrigue,” is through the daily reading of several newspapers, including the Lake County News-Sun.  

News-Sun commentaries over the past several months have been calling for reform, transparency, and fiscal responsibility in both the state and federal government.  How can this be so when the News-Sun endorsed Pat Quinn for governor over Bill Brady and recommended to its readers on Tuesday, October 19 that Attorney General Lisa Madigan deserves re-election? 

Regarding Governor Quinn, what about his solution to the current budget problems?  Is borrowing billions more when the state’s credit rating is among the nation’s worst the sane way to go?

Regarding the Madigan team of father and daughter, Governor Quinn is too much of a scaredy-cat governor to stand up to House Speaker Mike Madigan who rules with an iron fist to block proposals that would help Illinois climb out of its financial morass.

Daughter Lisa Madigan, as the state’s chief law enforcement officer, continues to be too busy to investigate and prosecute public corruption.

How can Illinois once again become a power-house of a state, and one that Illinoisans can proudly call home, given your recommendations of retaining in office the same Democrat governor, Democrat legislators, and other elected Democrat office-holders?

Does the News-Sun expect a Democrat metamorphosis to take place? 

I don’t think so.  The status quo will only produce more of the same for Illinois.

Is the News-Sun editorial board incapable of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel because partisanship rules the roost?

 From the time I was old enough to vote until today’s status as a senior citizen, I’ve never deviated from voting a straight Republican ticket in every General Election. 

 November 2nd will represent the first time in my life as a conservative Republican that I must vote my conscience by refusing to cast my vote for Mark Kirk, who for ten years was my congressman in U.S. District 10.

 My reasons are two fold.  Unlike the Tribune who endorsed Mark Kirk because of his understanding of national security issues, a background Kirk felt the need to re-invent through exaggerated claims of his past accomplishments, tells me that Kirk is not trustworthy and will continue to fudge the truth for his own personal gain. 

 It is also of concern that Kirk has repeatedly said in news media interviews that he is an independent who is proud of his past record of compromise and of being able to work across the aisle.  

This nation is facing a crucial point in its history on November 2nd.  Is it really beneficial to the Republican Party to elect a senator who marches to his own drummer and who is not committed to working with fellow Republicans senators to reverse the leftward trend of this nation during the past two years under the Obama administration and a Democrat Congress?

The Pollyanna that I am, I am willing to see Giannoulias win his bid for the senate, in the hope that in six years a Republican candidate with character and who believes in Republican values and principles will be able to unseat Giannoulias.

Peter Cameron, a free-lance reporter for the Chicago Tribune, was assigned by the Tribune to write an article on the Zion Dual Nuclear Plant following the transfer of its licenses to Energy Solution out of Utah in September of this year. The decommissioning will cost $1 billion.  In that the Tribune assigned a reporter to write a follow-up story seems to indicate that not every one at the Tribune has been satisfied with past answers received from Exelon as to the “Why?” for the plant’s closing, which will forever waste its massive source of energy -  2,100 megawatts of it.

You will notice in my response to Cameron’s piece that neither Mayor Lane Harrison of Zion or Exelon Corporation officials had the courtesy to reply to Tribune inquiries. This in itself is quite telling.
 
With the above in mind, I took the time, and felt compelled, to write a letter to “Voice of the People” at the Chicago Tribune.  I also sent a Cc to all editors at the Tribune
 
Number two of my four proposed questions directed to Exelon, all of which demand answers, should be the main focus of any follow-up investigation done by the Tribune
 
This followup was recommended in my “Voice of the People” letter forwarded to Tribune editors.
 
I plan to  email this information to both state and federal legislators here in Illinois and to others who have shown an interest in the unfortunate and unnecessary demise of the Dual Zion Nuclear Plant
  
Article by Peter Cameron, published Friday, October 15, 2010, in the Chicago Tribune:
  
Zion awaits takedown of long-shut nuclear plant:  200 jobs a year promised, but some residents want Exelon to restart troubled facility  by Peter Cameron, Special to the Tribune.

“When the Zion Nuclear Power Station was built in the early 1970s, LeRoy Thompson poured the concrete. . . .” 

The complete article can be viewed at:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-x-n-zion-power-plant-20101015,0,2370880.story

Nancy Thorner’s “Voice of the People” letter to the Chicago Tribune in response to Peter Cameron’s article about Zion:
 
Lop-sided account about Zion no fault of the Tribune
As a Lake Bluff citizen and tax payer who has spent much time and effort into saving the Dual Zion Nuclear Plant over the past two years which sits on the Lake Michigan shoreline only miles north of my Lake Bluff home, I was quite disappointed in the article written by your freelance reporter, Peter Cameron, on Friday, October 15, Zion awaits takedown of long-shut nuclear plant. 
 
According to Peter Cameron’s article, many in Zion are still asking why the Plant’s power was shut off in 1998 and how spending the $1 billion to tear down the nuclear power station is more cost-efficient than flipping the switch back on?

Missing in Cameron’s report, which made it appear lop-sided, was the refusal of Mayor Lane Harrison of Zion to comment, and, most glaring of all, the failure of Exelon officials to respond to Tribune messages. 

Peter Cameron had no choice but to use the same response given by Exelon in the past to the Chicago Tribune when writing his Zion article, the “economic infeasibility” of restarting the plant.

Exelon must answer the following question:

1.  Explain fully and completely why the Dual Zion Facility is being wasted with its potential to generate some of the cheapest and cleanest power in the country – 2,100 megawatts.  Illinoisans have already paid billions in constructing the Plant.

2.  Explain fully why the closing of Zion isn’t being done to keep a cheap supply of power from the market place in order to keep prices high for Illinois consumers (and Exelon’s other plants) and Exelon’s own profits higher?

3.  Explain fully how much it would cost to restart Zion (upgrade the insides) in comparison to the one billion-dollar project (also paid by Illinoisans) to demolish Zion?  The structures are already in place. 

4.  Explain fully the future of the Zion site after the 10-year decommissioning project?   The land will not be usable for condos or any thing else.  The 200-acre site will be guarded and off-limits to the people of Zion, because of the 20-foot cylindrical silos to be built to hold the spent nuclear fuel and the highly radioactive material taken from the two nuclear reactors.   

Illinois is spending a fortune on expensive wind and solar power that costs three times as much and blights our landscape, with little power to show for it, based on the unsubstantiated claim that man is causing global warming and that CO2 is the culprit.   This makes the closing of Zion even more suspect, because nuclear power is green energy and gives the biggest bang for the buck!

The Tribune has an obligation to Illinois tax payers to dig further into the Zion/Exelon saga.  Whether assigned to Peter Cameron or another reporter, a follow-up story must attempt to hold Exelon’s feet to the fire. 

Accountability and transparency must be forthcoming from Exelon Corporation