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Saturday
Jan312015

Yucca Mountain dump still dead, despite congressional Republican and nuclear industry spin to the contrary

Political cartoon by Jim Day of the Las Vegas Review Journal (be sure to count the toes!). President Obama and his DOE defunded and walked away from the Yucca Mountain dump project in 2009-2010, declaring it "unworkable."As reported by Steve Tetrault at the Las Vegas Review Journal, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued the last two installments in a five-part "Safety Evaluation Report" on the proposed high-level radioactive waste (HLRW) dump at Yucca Mountain. The NRC coffers for licensing the Yucca dump are now largely empty, with no replinishment in sight on Capitol Hill, due to Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) adamant opposition.

Despite congressional Republican and nuclear power industry spin to the contrary, the completion of the NRC SER does not represent the resurrection of the Yucca dump. The State of Nevada, its bipartisan congressional delegation, and the Obama White House and Department of Energy remain opposed to the project. Even the industry rubberstamp NRC has not endorsed the project, pointing out significant shortcomings, with lack of land title and water rights at the top of that list. There is also no guarantee that the essential titanium drip shields, needed to protect HLRW burial containers against dripping water from the fractured and saturated geology forevermore, would ever actually be installed.

Saturday
Jan312015

"PILGRIM STATION: Power stays on in most of Plymouth, but not at nuclear plant"

NRC file photo of Entergy's Pilgrim atomic reactor, located south of Boston on Cape Cod Bay. Plymouth, MA bore the brunt of winter storm "Juno," but Pilgrim was one of the only electric grid casualites.As reported by Wicked Local Plymouth, despite bearing the brunt of severe winter storm "Juno," about the only part of the electric grid that did not handle it well was Entergy Nuclear's Plymouth atomic reactor. Despite nuclear power industry claims of being reliable during the Polar Vortex of 2014, Pilgrim has been at 0% power now for several days, after its ties to the electric grid became dysfunctional due to ice and high winds. Tellingly, despite Pilgrim's disconnection from the electric grid, the lights remain almost entirely on in the greater Boston area.

Thus, Pilgrim's safety and cooling systems, circulating water through the hot core, are currently being run by emergency diesel generators currently, until connections to the primary, offsite electric grid can be restored. If this continues for many more days, a resupply of diesel fuel will be required, to keep the emergency generators operational.

Pilgrim's severe winter weather shut down comes immediately on top of a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) decision to increase inspections and oversight at the Fukushima Daiichi twin design and vintage atomic reactor (a General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactor, that fired up in 1972), due to numerous unexpected shutdowns in the past many months and years.

Despite 70 mph winds and record snow, most of the Plymouth's homes and businesses never lost power this week during the blizzard dubbed Juno. But the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant did. - See more at: http://plymouth.wickedlocal.com/article/20150131/NEWS/150139347/?Start=1#sthash.dIMFILTR.dpuf
Despite 70 mph winds and record snow, most of the Plymouth's homes and businesses never lost power this week during the blizzard dubbed Juno. But the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant did. - See more at: http://plymouth.wickedlocal.com/article/20150131/NEWS/150139347/?Start=1#sthash.dIMFILTR.dpuf
Saturday
Jan312015

NRC to send Special Inspection Team to Entergy's Pilgrim atomic reactor after snow storm shutdown

Ironically enough, NEI left this Tweet up for days after Pilgrim was shut down by snow storm "Juno"!As reported by the Boston Globe, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will send a 4-5 person Special Inspection Team to Entergy Nuclear's Pilgrim atomic reactor next week, to investigate why snow storm "Juno" shut the plant down very early last Tuesday morning.

As of Friday evening, NRC's website is still showing Pilgrim at 0% power. Emergency diesel generators are running the plant's safety and cooling systems.

As reported by the Washington Examiner, NRC had warned before the snow storm, packing hurricane-force winds, that as many as 26 atomic reactors along the eastern seaboard, and further inland, could be forced to shut down.

For its part, the industry's lobbying and PR HQ, Nuclear Energy Institute, was bragging up nuclear power's reliability during severe winter weather. Ironically, it left it's Twitter ad (see above left) up for days after Pilgrim was forced to shut down in the face of the snow, ice, and wind storm's ferocity.

Thursday
Jan292015

"Winter Storm Exposes Vulnerability of Nuclear Power Plants"

NRC file photo of Entergy's Pilgrim atomic reactor, on Cape Cod Bay south of Boston. Pilgrim bore the brunt of Nor'easter "Juno." NRC's website reports that Pilgrim is still at 0% power, as of 9pm Eastern ThursdayAs reported by the Pulitzer-Prize winning online publication Inside Climate News, the "Shutdown of Pilgrim facility in Massachusetts fuels critics' challenge."

The article reports: '...Tim Judson, executive director of the anti-nuclear activist group Nuclear Information and Resource Service, told InsideClimate News that during emergency shutdowns—especially during extreme heat or cold—grid operators "are scrambling to find generators to make up the power."

...Judson is skeptical of the plan [by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, to incorporate more extreme weather risks to atomic reactors,] and blamed the NRC of "doing everything they can to delay" industry facing up to new rules.'

Pilgrim is a Fukushima Daiichi twin-design and vintage, a GE BWR Mark I. One of those "Fukushima Lessons Learned" new rules that NRC has not just delayed, but killed, is the requirement to add radiological filters to the fatally-flawed, too small, too weak containments on Mark Is (and similarly designed Mark IIs). The U.S. has 22 operating Mark Is, and 8 Mark IIs.

For many years, Nuclear Energy Information Service in Chicago has warned "It's the Water, Stupid!" regarding risks of extreme weather to atomic reactors. Far from nuclear power being a solution for the climate crisis, Beyond Nuclear has warned that atomic reactors cannot safely operate amdist climate chaos, as has NIRS.

Wednesday
Jan282015

Environmental coalition demands NEPA & AEA compliance re: Nuclear Waste Confidence in reactor licensing proceedings

Irradiated nuclear fuel being moved in a high-level radioactive waste storage pool. The courts ruled in 2012 that NRC's days (well, many decades!) of lawlessness regarding nuclear waste generation, storage, and disposal are over.In a legal filing today, a coalition of environmental groups, including Beyond Nuclear, has demanded that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) fulfill its legally required obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Atomic Energy Act (AEA), regarding its Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) and Rule in various atomic reactor licensing proceedings around the country. The coalition is represented by attorneys Diane Curran of Washington, D.C., and Mindy Goldstein of Turner Environmental Law Clinic at Emory University in Atlanta.

In several reactor licensing proceedings where Final EISs came out prior to court victories negating NRC's Nuclear Waste Confidence policy (or "Nuke Waste Con Game," for short!) for violating NEPA and AEA in 2012, NRC has neither included the full 2014 Continued Storage GEIS and Rule in new reactor combined Construction and Operating License Application (COLA) proceeding FEISs, nor old reactor license extension proceeding FEISs. To not do so violates NEPA, and portions of AEA, and their implementing regulations at NRC, as well as the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

On Dec. 8, 2014, the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, represented by Curran, filed a Nuclear Waste Confidence-related placeholder contention in the Callaway atomic reactor license extension proceeding. That contention has, thus far, succeeded in staving off NRC's imminent rubberstamp of Callaway's 20-year extension.

Attorney Terry Lodge of Toledo represents Beyond Nuclear in the intervention against NRC approval of the proposed new Fermi Unit 3 reactor COLA in southeast Michigan, on the Great Lakes shoreline. Today's filing by Lodge  in that proceeding seeks to preserve Beyond Nuclear's opportunity to file a Nuclear Waste Confidence contention against Fermi 3, like was done at Callaway several weeks ago.