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Wednesday
Feb252015

NRC Commissioners to reveal votes on Nuke Waste Con Game Thursday, Feb. 25

Portrait of the current NRC Commission. Pictured from left to right: Commissioner Jeff Baran, Commissioner Kristine L. Svinicki, Chairman Stephan (sic) Burns and Commissioner William C. Ostendorff. (Please note, Chairman Burns' first named is correctly spelled Stephen. His first name is misspelled in the text, below this portrait, posted on NRC's homepage.)The four U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Commissioners (there is currently a vacant fifth seat on the Commission) have announced that they will hold an "Affirmation Session" on Thurs., Feb. 25th at 12:55pm Eastern, revealing their votes on a Petition to Suspend Licensing and Re-Licensing of Reactors. The session will be webcast via the NRC's website.

Last September, some three dozen groups, including Beyond Nuclear, filed the petition -- and parallel contentions, in 27 old reactor license extension, and proposed new reactor construction and operating license, proceedings. The environmental coalition legal action, taken by attorneys Diane Curran and Mindy Goldstein, was in response to NRC's finalization of the Continued Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage rule and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). (Terry Lodge of Toledo serves as legal counsel for Beyond Nuclear in several NRC licensing proceedings.)

The reason the coalition filed the Petition and contentions was that NRC, in its new Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel Rule (previously called "Nuclear Waste Confidence"), had failed to make the Atomic Energy Act-required safety findings that the agency had been making since the late 1970s. NRC suddenly dropped such legally required safety findings in the court-ordered, 2014 Rule.

The Rule and EIS were ordered by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in June, 2012, after a coalition of states, an Indian tribe, and the environmental groups challenged NRC's "Nuclear Waste Confidence" policy. If a majority of the NRC Commissioners vote to reject the Petition, and the contentions in these 27 licensing proceedings, the New York v. NRC coalition will very likely take this issue back to court. More.

Wednesday
Feb252015

Urge President Obama to oppose burial of TransCanada's radioactive wastes on Great Lakes shore!

Successul resistance to TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands crude oil pipeline must now shift to fend off the dumping of TransCanada's radioactive wastes on the Great Lakes shore!

As reported by the Associated Press, on Feb. 24th, President Obama vetoed Senate Bill 1, which would have rushed the immediate construction of TransCanada Pipelines' Keystone XL tar sands crude oil pipeline. Our friends and colleagues at 350.org called for a rapid response action at the White House, at 5pm, just hours after the veto. As we have many times in the past -- on tar sands, fracking, and other environmental issues -- Beyond Nuclear answered the call, and stood in solidarity with our allies. We have also joined a unity statement with a large number of other groups, calling on President Obama to reject TransCanada's Keystone XL Pipeline once and for all.

Take action against another of TransCanada's dirty, dangerous and expensive scheme: the plan to bury radioactive waste on the Great Lakes shoreline! Urge President Obama to block this insane proposal!

Tuesday
Feb242015

Security guards sue Entergy for overtime pay at Palisades

NRC file photo of Entergy's Palisades atomic reactor on the Lake Michigan shoreline in southwest Michigan.As reported by Jim Hayden at the Holland Sentinel, nearly two dozen security guards and security department supervisors at the Palisades atomic reactor in Covert, MI (photo, left) have launched a legal action against Entergy Nuclear. They are demanding back overtime pay due them, but Entergy refuses to pay. Vermont Yankee atomic reactor security guards previously prevailed in a similar lawsuit against Entergy.

Although the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) claims the "chilled work environment" in Palisades' security guard department has been resolved, security guards themselves seem to think otherwise -- including their feeling that as soon as NRC enhanced oversight ends, Entergy will return to harassing guards who "make waves" (that is, do their jobs, and call attention to problems).

Monday
Feb232015

"Appeals Court will hear case on cover-up of Diablo Canyon quake risks"

PG&E's Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, near San Luis Obispo, CAAs reported by a Friends of the Earth news release, subtitled "Friends of the Earth [FOE] petition says NRC illegally let PG&E alter nuclear plant's license," a 9th Circuit federal appeals court panel has rejected motions by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, allowing FOE's lawsuit to proceed to a hearing on the merits.

FOE alleges that NRC and PG&E colluded to secretly alter the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant (photo, left) operating license regarding the capability of the twin reactors to survive earthquake magnitudes greater than the facility was ever designed to withstand. In recent years, the lengths and interconnections of earthquake fault lines, and their proximity to Diablo Canyon, were revealed to be significantly greater than previously understood.

FOE is demanding a public adjudicatory hearing on the increased seismic risks, something that should have happened in the first place. In the meantime, FOE is calling for both units to be shutdown, until its concerns are fully addressed.

Harvey Wasserman has blogged about FOE's preliminary legal victory at EcoWatch.

“This is a big victory,” said Damon Moglen, senior strategic advisor for Friends of the Earth. “The public has a right to know what the NRC and PG&E won’t admit -- hundreds of thousands of people are put at immediate risk by earthquake danger at Diablo Canyon. The evidence will show that the NRC and PG&E colluded to illegally change the terms of Diablo Canyon’s operating license, to cover up the fact that it cannot withstand a rupture of the larger, more powerful earthquake faults that have been discovered since the reactors were designed. This means the plant violates its operating license and must be shut down.” - See more at: http://www.foe.org/news/news-releases/2015-02-appeals-court-will-hear-case-on-cover-up-of-diablo-canyon-quake-risks#sthash.1XcED3oc.dpuf
Friends of the Earth petition says NRC illegally let PG&E alter nuclear plant’s licens - See more at: http://www.foe.org/news/news-releases/2015-02-appeals-court-will-hear-case-on-cover-up-of-diablo-canyon-quake-risks#sthash.1XcED3oc.dpuf
Friends of the Earth petition says NRC illegally let PG&E alter nuclear plant’s licens - See more at: http://www.foe.org/news/news-releases/2015-02-appeals-court-will-hear-case-on-cover-up-of-diablo-canyon-quake-risks#sthash.1XcED3oc.dpuf
Monday
Feb232015

"Pilgrim Nuclear Plant shutdowns leave questions unanswered for Outer Cape"

NRC file photo of Entergy Nuclear's Pilgrim atomic reactor in Plymouth, MA on Cape Cod Bay, south of BostonAs reported by Peter J. Brown at Wicked Local Wellfleet, concerns continue to simmer downwind of Entergy Nuclear's Pilgrim atomic reactor (photo, left) in the aftermath of two severe winter storm related shutdowns in the span of just a couple weeks. Numerous elected and other public officials, from Massachusetts State legislators to local Selectmen, to spokespeople for the Cape Cod National Seashore advisory body, are quoted in the article, calling for Pilgrim's permanent shutdown as a safety precaution in the unevacuable Cape Cod region.