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Why Should Baltimore Care About A New Nuclear Reactor At Calvert Cliffs

Why Should Baltimore Care About A New Nuclear Reactor At Calvert Cliffs

Calvert_Cliffs

If Constellation Energy has its way, the two nuclear reactors currently at Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Station in Maryland will soon be joined by a third.  So why should Baltimore residents care?

Here are a few points of interest:

1.    Maryland will forever be known as a state who instigated the “Nuclear Renaissance” (No new nuclear reactor has been built in the 30yrs since the 3-mile island nuclear melt down).

2.    There is currently no place to dispose of the waste.  Remember those plans to take nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain?  Well, those plans were created under the assumption that nuclear plants would eventually shut down and there would be a limit to the waste.  Now that energy companies hope to push nuclear as a “green” energy option, get federal funding and built more reactors, Yucca Mountain folks said NO WAY and the plans were scrapped.  Currently Calvert Cliffs has more than 900 tons of nuclear waste stored at the site.  So where will the waste go now?  Anyone?  Anyone?

3.    National Security.  There is no (public) evidence to suggest that Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant is a specific target. However, it should be noted that, according to a May 2009 article in the Washington Post, in recent security exercises (required by the Energy Policy Act of 2005), “At least five bullets escaped the firing range and traveled more than a half-mile before striking buildings and a vehicle near the reactors, according to the NRC, Constellation and the sheriff’s office.”  In other words, somebody shot the wrong way –toward the reactors.  Accidents happen, which is why you have exercises, but come on, you should at least know to shoot away from the giant radioactive object.  Now, do you feel confident that we are prepared?

4.    Cost.  Who’s paying for it?  According to an article this week in the Christian Science Monitor, “No nuclear plants in the US are under construction yet because they haven’t secured federal licenses or loan guarantees, many observers say. Such guarantees would become a huge stimulus for the nuclear power industry, enabling utilities to borrow billions from Wall Street or the federal finance bank.”  Yep, that’s right, if Constellation Energy starts to get going on the project, it will be because of money donated by you and me.

What can you do?

Contact Governor Martin O’Malley and voice your concern.  According to his site “We’d like to hear from you.”  So, go ahead and send him an email –CLICK HERE.

Switch to wind power.  Hit ‘em where it hurts!  You can do it with the click of a mouse and, by choosing “Clean Currents” as your new energy supplier, you will actually save money.  To learn more, CLICK HERE.

Sources:
1.    United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission
2.    WYPR
3.    World Nuclear Association
4.    Maryland PIRG Foundation
5.    CRS Report For Congress, February 2005
6.    The Washington Post



Super Green Was Super Interesting
Biomass stove at Mill Valley General Store. Photo courtesy of Baltimore Biomass.

Biomass stove at Mill Valley General Store. Photo courtesy of Baltimore Biomass.

For those of you who missed it, “Super Green” was a sustainability fair that took place at the Mill Valley General Store this past Saturday in Baltimore.  For more information about the fair, you can look at the post below.  There were workshops on making rain barrels, vegetable gardening, solar power and biomass, food from the Whiskey Island Pirate shop and all of the goodies usually available at the store such as organic vegetables from One Straw Farm, Zekes Coffee and sustainably cultivated milk, cheese and meats.  All in all it was fun, informative and I hope they do it again next year.

The thing I knew the least about, but learned a lot, was biomass.  I really didn’t completely understand what it was, but thanks to George L. Peters Jr. who runs the Baltimore Biomass project, I came away with a lot of information.  Basically, biomass is the fuel that is used to run the increasingly popular biomass or “pellet” stoves.  Pellet stoves are gaining traction because, as stated on EPA’s website, “pellet stoves burn a renewable fuel made of ground, dried wood and other biomass wastes compressed into pellets. They are some of the cleanest-burning heating appliances available today and deliver high overall efficiency.”  Additionally they have the potential of greatly reducing your winter heating bills and there is currently a tax credit available (through 2010) that offers 30% and up to $1500 cash back for the purchase and installment of a pellet stove in your home.  Stoves generally cost $2000-$4000 and installation is around $500.

Baltimore Biomass, which is located in the Mill Valley General Store is a conveniently located biomass co-op that offers corn biomass that is grown locally using sustainable practices by Maryland farmers to area residents.  For a link to Baltimore Biomass and more information about biomass stoves, click on the image below.



Baltimore Sustainability Fair This Saturday – Biomass, Solar, Rain Barrels, Vegetable Gardening And More!
Super_Green

Image Courtesy of Baltimore Biomass

Sustainable Urban Infrastructure Inc and Baltimore Biomass are pleased to present SUPER GREEN an afternoon of fun and education based in sustainability. August 15, 2009 9:30AM until 2:30pm 2800 Sisson Street Baltimore MD 21211, Doors open at 9:00am. SUPER GREEN will feature workshops that teach attendees how to heat their homes using locally grown sustainable Biomass, produce their own Solar electricity, build rain barrels to conserve water, and construct vegetable boxes to grow their own food. Each of the 45min. workshops will be held at 10:00am, 11:00am, noon, and 1:00pm. This will give attendees the opportunity to see all of the workshops with time in between to mingle. In addition to the workshops there will be food and drink for purchase, featuring Mick “the Pirate” of Whisky Island Fame, and the usual line up of goodies available at the Mill Valley General Store, Zeke’s coffee, fruit from Baugher’s Orchard, fresh organic veggies from One Staw farm and Tuscarora Organic Growers Co-op, baked goods from The Breadery and more We will also be giving away Over 1000 packs of Botanical Interests Seeds, DIY hand outs, and more to the first 200 people who pre-register for super green at www.baltimorebiomass.com so register now !



Green Business Award: Suga Shack Soaps Will Have You Wasting Not, But Wanting Much

Suga_Shack_Soaps

If you are someone who is trying to reduce your waste and specifically your plastic waste, the purchasing of everyday products can be a much more arduous task than it should be.  Just the other day I was downtown and in need of a midday snack.  I passed up several pre-packaged options and opted for a bagel with cream cheese from City Café.  To my dismay, a bagel was presented with two plastic mini-tubs of Philly cream cheese and a plastic knife.  Ugh -I should have bought the darn Kettle chips!

*****

It is with this sentiment and great joy that Baltidome offers its latest Green Business Award to Leslie Joyner and her Suga Shack booth at the Waverly Farmer’s Market for excellent products presented with minimal waste.  Each Saturday, Leslie and her crew set out long rectangles of uncut soap made from vegetable bases made mostly from olive, coconut and soy.  The soaps are all natural and do not contain colorants, enhancers or unnecessary binders of any kind.  Leslie is quick to point out that “I use only what I need”.  Each purchased block is hand cut, wrapped in wax paper and bagged in paper (if you need it).

However thoughtful the creation and packaging of the soap, it is the product itself that will keep you faithful. Leslie knows her stuff.  After working for years with M.A.C. and other cosmetic giants, she has plenty of experience with the skin care industry and it shows in her product.  Deliciously rich scents of peppermint, tea tree, lemongrass, mango and cranberry waft from the soap varieties and each are specially crafted to refresh, soothe, purify, etc..  It was Leslie’s Grandmother and the memory of her homemade soaps that inspired Leslie to start her own skin care business.  She explains that there is a world of difference between what was used to make soap then and what Leslie uses, but her Grandmother’s hand made soaps nonetheless sparked a love affair with skin care that continues to this day.

You can find Leslie Joyner’s products from the Suga Shack Soap Factory each Saturday at the 32nd Street Farmers Market (Waverly Farmer’s Market) from 7am to Noon.  For a map and directions, CLICK HERE.

Suga_Shack_Ladies



Recent Green News From Baltimore Blogs

Paperboy

There is a lot of great green news from Baltimore lately.  I wanted to share with you what other Baltimore bloggers are saying…

Baltimore Sun, B’More Green Blog:
Baltimore woman seeks to be first with wind turbine

Baltimore Etsy Street Team:
Have You Heard About The 3/50 Project?

Center For a Livable Future:
Meatless Monday Campaign

Joel The Urban Gardener:
Gardening On A Budget: Year Round Color With Perennials



Greening Baltimore’s Inner Harbor

IMG_4458

Truth be told, I don’t actually go to the Inner Harbor all that much.  As anyone who lives in Baltimore knows, the Inner Harbor is designed for tourists and the cost of parking, chain restaurants and crowds deter most of us who don’t live in the immediate proximity.  During a recent trip there (with out of town guests, of course), however, I noticed some distinct changes and I vowed to revisit Baltimore’s main attraction at a later date and look at it through fresh eyes.

Trash_Collector The following week I traveled via light rail early one morning to the harbor with a camera and was equipped with a good pair of walking shoes.

The first thing I noticed upon arrival was how clean everything was -yes CLEAN!  It was sparkling, in fact.

It was a weekday morning and the sidewalks were quiet, but employees were busy preparing for the day’s masses.  In an inlet near the National Aquarium I observed a skilled boatsman in a “solid waste” t-shirt doing figure eights in a small watercraft while simultaneously scooping trash. Harbor_Dragon A little further east the “Harbor Dragon” was doing its own thing by dipping into the water and pulling debris up onto a conveyor belt and dropping it into a receptacle.  In addition to the water ballet of trash collecting, everywhere I went there were city employees picking up trash, weeding and watering plants, wiping down benches, cleaning glass windows….

I also noticed the  inclusion of recycle bins around the area of the aquarium.  I had heard about the new trial recycling program at the harbor, but I hadn’t noticed the cans before.  Getting visitors to recycle in a festival-like atmosphere like the one that occurs here on the busier days is going to be difficult, but I hope the city hangs on to the effort for long enough for visitors to catch on.

Green_Space

The most exciting new green initiative at the Inner Harbor is the inclusion of actual green spaces.  For decades the area surrounding the harbor was void of anything resembling what was there originally, but now there is at least a gesture to a natural habitat.  A 3.5 acre park has just been completed between the Maryland Science Center and the Visitor Center and the are more gardens in the area near the aquarium.

West_Natives

No, that picture at left was not taken at Deep Creek, MD, but rather in front of the National Aquarium in Baltimore.  Here, there is a group of native plant gardens with each one representing a different plant community of Maryland.

The Maryland Science Center is also in the process of installing a green roof, and, although it is not currently visible from ground level, it will be open to the public in the future.

Finally, I checked out the new vegetarian-friendly restaurant, Pizzazz Tuscan Grille, featured in Baltidome’s last post.  I noticed that there was little advertising at the actual restaurant regarding the eatery’s organic, vegan and raw food offerings as compared to the website, but nonetheless it seems worth trying.  Although it was too early to grab a bite on this day, the inviting outdoor seating makes it worth giving a shot in the future.

Pizzazz