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Wednesday
Feb102016

Mum's the word as radioactive leak at Indian Point gets worse

Entergy’s Indian Point nuclear power plant at Buchanan, NY is leaking more radioactive tritium at higher concentrations into groundwater draining into the Hudson River. Failure of a sump pump needed for filtering radioactivity in contaminated water accumulated from a refueling outage is believed to be the cause of this latest spill picked up in three onsite monitoring wells next to Unit 2. 

The depth, breadth and flow rate of the underground contaminated plume remains unknown. One monitoring well (MW-32), which is 57 feet deep, first tested positive for high levels of tritium, radioactive hydrogen, at 8 million picoCuries per liter (pCi/L). In a press release, Entergy “voluntarily” admitted that a more recent follow-up test for tritium has now increased by 80%. Beyond Nuclear badgered the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for more transparency to find that tritium levels in three monitoring wells have soared.  Tritium concentrations  have risen in MW-30 from 1.5 million pCi/L to 2.7 million pCi/L, MW-31 from 38,100 pCi/L to 9.5 million pCi/L and MW-32 is now 14.8 million pCi/L.  

But "voluntary" compliance automatically ducks reliable reporting, federal regulations and enforcement action.

Beyond Nuclear repeatedly called NRC for two days. Entergy publicly posted a dismissive, detailess Event Notification to the NRC website that they "voluntarily" neglected to post when the tritium leak was first detected nearly a week earlier. Entergy's account is more evidence of the inconsistency and non-transparency to be expected of voluntary reporting of corporate pollution. Contaminated groundwater is flowing offsite into the Hudson River where according to the NRC and the nuclear power company dilution is the solution to pollution. Actually, its more a cheap substitute for compliance with the federal licensing agreement to control and monitor all radioactive effluent pathways to the environment.

Uncontrolled releases of radioactive effluent through unmonitored pathways into the environment are violations, albeit unenforced, of NRC’s “minimum requirements” and performance criteria (GDC 60 & 64) stipulated in Entergy’s operating licensing agreement. This most recent radioactive leak is more evidence of deteriorating systems where Entergy has lost control of the radioactive effluent coursing through reactor buildings and migrating offsite into the river. Of equal concern, the NRC has abdicated its regulatory authority to nuclear industry's “voluntary initiative” (aka the Groundwater Protection Initiative). Once again, Indian Point's leaks are just the latest demonstration of an errosion in public health oversight and the control and monitoring of radioactive water to “Nuclear Regulatory Capture.”

Monday
Feb012016

Take action to stop the Great Lakes nuclear waste dump!

Visit Stop the Great Lake Nuclear Dump's website at www.stopthegreatlakesnucleardump.comPlease act ASAP. Canada's Environment Minister has announced a decision by March 1st at the latest, on whether or not to proceed with a radioactive waste dump on the Great Lakes shore -- drinking water supply for 40 million people in eight U.S. states, two Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations. She could act at any time, and is certainly formulating her decision as we speak, so please act right away!

Write to Canada's Prime Minister and Environment Minister, respectively: Justin.Trudeau@parl.gc.ca & Catherine.McKenna@parl.gc.ca. (yes, even if you are American!)

Urge them to decide NO! on Ontario Power Generation's proposed Deep Geologic Repository for radioactive waste on the Great Lakes shore! More.

Monday
Feb012016

Thom Hartman: Could MI Be the Site of the Next Nuclear Disaster?

Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear joins Thom Hartmann on "The Big Picture." If a new nuclear waste disposal plan goes forward -- the Flint water crisis could soon be the least of Michigan's worries. Isn't it time we abandoned nuclear power once and for all and embraced real clean energy that doesn't turn our cities into potential fallout zones? (See Kevin's Counterpunch article, "After Flint, Don't Let Them Nuke the Great Lakes Next!")

Thursday
Jan282016

Repeal of WI ban on new reactors could return state to DOE's target list for national radioactive waste dump

The Wolf River Batholith in n. WI, shown here, could be back on DOE's target list for a high-level radioactive waste dump.EcoWatch has published an article by Beyond Nuclear entitled  "The Great Lakes and a High-Level Radioactive Nuke Waste Dump Don't Mix." Canada's proposed DGR isn't the only such risk. The Wisconsin State Assembly's recent passage of a bill, to repeal the state's 33-year-old new atomic reactor moratorium, risks putting Wisconsin's northern granite geology back at the top of the U.S. Department of Energy's target list for a high-level radioactive waste dump, as it was in the 1980s. The Wisconsin State Senate hasn't voted to repeal the ban yet, and may be the last chance to preserve it. The targeted granite geology could include areas located within the Great Lakes Basin watershed, raising the specter of leakage into the drinking water supply for 40 million people in two countries. More

Monday
Jan252016

Video documentary on the Challenger shuttle and its plutonium

Karl Grossman's (journalism professor and Beyond Nuclear board member) investigation into how the next mission of the ill-fated Challenger shuttle involved lofting a plutonium-fueled space probe, is featured in a documentary broadcast on the Dutch Public Broadcasting System tonight. The program is underpinned by then President Ronald Reagan's speech following the disaster. Others in the documentary include Jello Biafra, the musician, spoken word artist and environmental activist, and Reagan's son Ron. Grossman criticize the U.S. media in the documentary for being a booster rather than a watchdog of the space program -- then and now. And he relates how he learned of the Challenger plutonium shot and pursued it.