A researcher from North West University has found that the internal organs of cattle kept in the Wonderfontein Spruit area have been contaminated with uranium and cobalt. Uranium levels in the animals' kidneys were 4,350 times higher than those in a control group. The cattle were eating grass that grew next to the river. This indicated that the heavy metals bio-accumulated in the grass, said the researcher, David Hamman. More.
Animals are affected by the operation of nuclear power - but are the most ignored of all the nuclear industry's victims. Whether sucked into reactor intake systems, or pulverized at the discharge, aquatic animals and their habitats are routinely harmed and destroyed by the routine operation of reactors. (For more, see our Licensed to Kill page).
Environmental coalition defends Davis-Besse intervention at ASLB oral argument pre-hearings in Toledo
The environmental coalition comprised of Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Green Party of Ohio has defended its safety and environmental intervention contentions against the proposed 20 year license extension at FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company's (FENOC) Davis-Besse atomic reactor. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Atomic Safety (sic) and Licensing Board (ASLB) oral argument pre-hearings took place on Nov. 5th and 6th (yes, Election Day) in Toledo, Ohio at the Lucas County Courthouse. The coalition's representatives, including attorney Terry Lodge of Toledo (photo, left), Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear, and Michael Keegan of Don't Waste Michigan, squared off against opposition to the contentions mounted by FENOC's and NRC's legal teams and experts.
The environmental coalition defended its Severe Accident Mitigation Alternatives (SAMA) analyses contentions -- environmental contentions already admitted for a full hearing on the merits by ASLB -- against a motion for summary disposition mounted by FENOC. The coalition also advocated for admission of its cracked concrete containment contention -- a safety and environmental contention -- for a full hearing on the merits, while FENOC and NRC staff opposed it.
On Monday, the Toledo Blade published an editorial, "Tough enough to last?", questioning the structural integrity of the shield building for 25 more years (2012 to 2037). Today, it ran an article, "Davis-Besse hearings open." U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), a long-time watchdog on Davis-Besse and other FENOC atomic reactors,submitted a statement for the hearing record.
Riverkeeper reports in a fact sheet on the Entergy Nuclear Indian Point Units 2 & 3 atomic reactors:
"...in 2010 the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) denied a critical water quality certification required for the relicensing of Indian Point. Because Indian Point needlessly kills over a billion fish, eggs and fish larvae annually, and has been leaking radioactive waste into the groundwater and the Hudson River, the State determined that Indian Point's continued operation would violate state water quality standards.
A full hearing on the State's 2010 water quality determination began on October 17, 2011. Riverkeeper is mounting a comprehensive legal effort to support the State and deny the water quality certification Indian Point needs to operate. A victory would mark a turning point in Riverkeeper's decades long campaign to halt Indian Point's environmental assault on the Hudson River and force the plant's retirement."
On October 10th, Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps debated Timothy Maloney, a proponent of so-called "thorium (nuclear) power," at a meeting of the Nepessing Group of the Sierra Club's Michigan Chapter, at Mott Community College's Regional Technical Center in Flint. The Nepessing Group of Michigan represents Sierra Club members in Genesee, Lapeer, and northern Oakland counties.
Kevin's research in preparation for the debate depended on: a Beyond Nuclear backgrounder compiled by Linda Gunter; "Thorium Fuel -- No Panacea for Nuclear Power," by Dr. Arjun Makhijani of Institute for Energy and Environmental Research and Michele Boyd of Physicians for Social Responsibility (2009); a Science Friday program entitled "Is Thorium a Magic Bullet for our Energy Problems?" featuring Dr. Makhijani (May 4, 2012); "Thinking about Thorium" by Dr. Gordon Edwards of Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (Sept. 16, 2012); "Thorium Reactors: Back to the Dream Factory," by Dr. Edwards (July 13, 2011); and "What is the Thorium Cycle?" by Dr. Edwards (1978).
The Thorium-232/Uranium-233 nuclear fuel chain shares many similarities with the Uranium-235 and Plutonium-239 nuclear fuel chains, including the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation, the risk that reactors could unleash catastrophic amounts of radioactivity (particularly from intentional terrorist attacks or acts of warfare), the unsolved (unsolvable?!) radioactive waste problem, the astronomical expense of RDD (research, development, and demonstration) for "thorium reactors," and the environmental ruination downwind and downstream (as well as up the food chain and down the generations) from reprocessing facilities.
Thanks to Debra Stoleroff of Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance for sharing with us news of "three opportunities to keep the fact that Vermont Yankee is still operating in the public eye and to voice your opinion regarding this fact that Entergy continues to undermine Vermont's democratic process for its own profits; gambling away the health of people in VT, MA, and NH as well as our environment. Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant remains an accident away from devestating the region."
Sat, Sept. 1: We Are Not Going Away Until VT Yankee is Shut Down and Safely Decommissioned With a Greenfield
Sat, Sept. 8: Our River Runs Through It Flotilla Down the Connecticut River to VT Yankee (see event poster, left, and SAGE Alliance website for details). A major theme of this flotilla is Vermont Yankee's negative impact on the aquatic ecosystem in the Connecticut River, as to fish species (as shown on the poster!)
Sun, Sept. 23: Burlington Friends Meeting at Vermont Yankee followed by NVCD at Vt Yankee
For more info., see Beyond Nuclear's NUCLEAR POWER website section.
The five member NRC Commission unanimously rubberstamped Vermont Yankee's 20 year license extension on 3/10/11, one day before the beginning of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe. NRC Staff then finalized the paperwork on the rubberstamp a couple weeks later. Vermont Yankee and Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4 are identidically designed: General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactors.