Canada is the world's largest exporter of uranium and operates nuclear reactors including on the Great Lakes. Attempts are underway to introduce nuclear power to the province of Alberta and to use nuclear reactors to power oil extraction from the tar sands.



Gundersen: Forever deadly radioactive waste, versus renewables

Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer, Fairewinds Associates, Inc.As Fairewinds Associates, Inc.'s Chief Engineer, Arnie Gundersen (photo, left), concluded his keynote presentation at the Beyond Nuclear/FOE/NEIS "Mountain of Radioactive Waste 70 Years High" conference in Chicago in Dec. 2012:

"What we're seeing is that the cost of solar is plummeting while nuclear is rising," Gundersen said, adding that he often hears the rebuttal that the sun doesn't shine day and night. "But if you believe that man can build a repository to store nuclear waste for a quarter of a million years, surely those same people can find a way to store electricity overnight.", November 16, 2012

Gundersen serves as the expert witness for an international environnental coalition (Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and Sierra Club, Ohio Chapter) that has challenged the risky, experimental steam generator replacements at Davis-Besse.

An overlapping coalition (including the Green Party of Ohio) has raised the radioactive waste dilemma and the renewables alternative as major arguments against the 20-year license extension at Davis-Besse.


International coalition opposed to 20 more years at Davis-Besse cites radioactive waste dilemma, renewable alternatives

Environmental coalition attorney Terry Lodge of ToledoThe environmental coalition opposing the 20-year license extension sought by FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC) at its problem-plagued Davis-Besse atomic reactor on the Lake Erie shore east of Toledo has spoken out at NRC Environmental Impact Statement public comment meetings. The coalition issued a press release, focused on the unsolved dilemma created by Davis-Besse's ongoing generation of forever deadly high-level radioactive waste, as well as the renewables alternative (wind power, solar PV, etc.) to a risky, dubious 20 more years of atomic reactor operations.

The press release quoted Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps: “The worsening cracking of Davis-Besse’s concrete containment, the corrosion of its inner steel containment vessel, the risks of its experimental steam generator replacement, and its recently revealed Shield Building wall gap are clear signs that this atomic reactor is overdue for retirement and decommissioning.”

The international coalition includes Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Green Party of Ohio. Terry Lodge of Toledo serves as the coalition's legal counsel.


Davis-Besse: from Hole in the Head, to hole in the containment wall

NRC file photo of NRC inspector visually examining severe cracking in Davis-Besse's Shield Building wall in Oct., 2011.

An international coalition of environmental groups, including U.S.-based Beyond Nuclear and Canada-based Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, has long sought the shutdown of the Davis-Besse atomic reactor, located on the Great Lakes shore.

FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC) ran its Davis-Besse atomic reactor to the breaking point in 2002. The Hole-in-the-Head fiasco -- a nearly complete breach of the reactor vessel closure head, or lid -- was the most infamous near-miss to a major reactor accident in the U.S. since the Three Mile Island meltdown in 1979.

Now it has been revealed that Davis-Besse has a hole in its Shield Building wall -- an essential component of the radiological containment structures -- that extends up to 12 inches through its 30-inch width, a full 40% way through. Davis-Besse has operated for over two years, at full power, with this potentially fatal flaw in its Shield Building wall.

The gap or air space was discovered last Thursday, and publicly revealed Friday, during the current Davis-Besse steam generator replacement project, which has breached Davis-Besse's Shield Building for an unprecedented fourth time. The previous three breaches include the pre-operational Initial Construction Opening in the 1970s; the 2002-2004 reactor lid replacement project; and the 2011 reactor lid replacement project. Each breach risks further damaging the Shield Building, where severe cracking was discovered in late 2011. In September 2013, FENOC admitted that the severe cracking is growing worse over time.

The hole in the containment wall begs serious questions about NRC incompetence and/or collusion. The hole is located in the area of the construction opening re-sealed in a great big hurry by FENOC, with NRC's blessing, after the reactor lid replacement in late 2011. Beyond Nuclear and environmental coalition allies officially protested the rush to re-start, as the re-sealing literally covered up the primary evidence of severe cracking under feet of concrete.

FENOC never checked the replacement wall -- as with ultra-sonic, X-ray, or other acoustic techniques -- to make sure it was solid. NRC did not require such tests.

How NRC allowed FENOC to do such a bad concrete pour in 2011, leaving behind such a large gap in the Shield Building wall, boggles the mind. NRC claimed to have had its full resources, in terms of inspectors and oversight, in place at the Davis-Besse site, due to the severe containment cracking in late 2011.

Such obvious incompetence, and perhaps even collusion, by NRC raises very serious concerns about public health, safety, and environmental protection. After all, the Japanese Parliament concluded in 2012 that the actual root cause of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe was not the earthquake and tsunami, but rather the collusion between the nuclear utility, the supposed safety regulator, and elected officials, which left the Fukushima Daiichi site so vulnerable to the natural disaster.

NRC Region III Staff are holding a Webinar on Davis-Besse's current steam generator replacement project on Thursday, Feb. 20th, from 6 to 7 PM Eastern. The Webinar was scheduled before revelation of the hole in the containment wall. Please pre-register and attend the Webinar. Beyond Nuclear and Don't Waste MI have generated a series of sample questions you can put to NRC during the Webinar.

Beyond Nuclear helps lead environmental coalition efforts challenging both the steam generator replacements, as well as FENOC's application for a 20-year (2017-2037) license extension at Davis-Besse. Terry Lodge, Toledo-based attorney, serves as legal counsel for the environmental coalition in both NRC proceedings.

Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer, Fairewinds Associates, Inc., serves as expert witness for the coalition in the "experimental" steam generator replacement intervention. Gundersen serves as expert witness for Friends of the Earth on the botched San Onofre 2 & 3 steam generator replacements, which has led to the permanent shutdown of those two reactors -- a multi-billion dollar boondoggle. Gundersen was also instrumental in outing the truth on the fatal cracking in Crystal River, FL's concrete containment, also caused by a botched steam generator replacement, another multi-billion dollar boondoggle. Gundersen has alleged that Davis-Besse's steam generator replacement has taken the same shortcuts on safety, made all the worse by its Shield Building's already very questionable, and worsening, structural integrity.

The coalition launched the challenge against the steam generator replacement in May, 2013, and defended its challenge in June and July -- twice in one month! -- 2013. The NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) which heard the intervention quickly dismissed it, without addressing the merits, effectively green-lighting Davis-Besse's shortcuts on safety. Beyond Nuclear has posted the entire docket of the steam generator intervention on its website.

Beyond Nuclear has filed a Freedom of Information Act Request on the gap in the Davis-Besse Shield Building wall.

The Toledo Blade has reported on this story, on Feb. 14 and Feb. 15.

NRC posted an Event Notification Report on Feb. 18, and a Preliminary Notification of Occurrence (PNO) on Feb. 19.


Resistance to Canadian Great Lakes radioactive waste dump deepens; please join the opposition by submitting public comments!

Our allies at Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump (whose online petition now has 46,748 signatures!) have reported the following municipal resolutions recently passed against Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) proposed DGR (Deep Geologic Repository, or DUD -- Deep Underground Dump) targeted at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station (the world's largest, with 8 operable reactors and a permanently shutdown prototype reactor) in Kincardine, Ontario on the Lake Huron shore for permanent burial of radioactive waste:


City of Sault Ste. Marie;

City of St. Catharines;

Municipality of Chatham-Kent;


City of Eastpointe;

Clinton Township.

These resolutions join a long and growing list, representing nearly 20 million U.S. and Canadian Great Lakes region residents. Resolutions have come from the largest city in Canada, Toronto, as well as the company town for FirstEnergy's Davis-Besse atomic reactor, Port Clinton, Ohio, just to name a couple.

As reported by WKSU, U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) has repeated her concerns, as well as that of U.S. Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI), about the DGR. The two senior U.S. House members are seeking action from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. So too are both of Michigan's U.S. Senators, senior Democrats and Committee Chairs, Carl Levin (Armed Services) and Debbie Stabenow (Agriculture). Numerous Democratic MI U.S. House members have also expressed their concerns about the DGR to the Canadian federal Joint Review Panel (JRP) reviewing OPG's environmental assessment of the DUD.

Meanwhile, the JRP has opened another public comment period on the insane proposal. Please join the growing chorus of opposition, by sending a comment to the JRP.

Here is the JRP's contact info., where you can email or snail mail your comments:

Attn. Debra Myles; OPG DGR JRP Secretariat; 160 Elgin St., 22nd Floor; Ottawa ON K1A 0H3; Canada


[Please note this email address is a correction to the incorrect, dysfunctional one previously provided by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.]

And here is a sample comment you can use, or adapt to write your own: "The JRP expert paper by Dr. Peter Duinker, showing that OPG's cumulative environmental impacts assessment is woefully inadequate, is reason enough to reject OPG's application for a license to construct and operate the DGR on the Great Lakes shore. The Great Lakes are the drinking water supply for 40 million people in 8 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations. The health, safety, and environmental risks of this proposal are completely unacceptable."

Please also contact your local, county, and state elected officials, and urge that they lead the effort to pass a resolution against the DUD. In addition, urge your U.S. Senators and U.S. Rep. to join congressional efforts to block the DUD (you can call your Congress Members offices via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121).


Port Clinton, OH passes resolution against Canadian Great Lakes radioactive waste dump; bipartisan congressional opposition grows

On Dec. 10, the City of Port Clinton, Ohio passed a resolution opposing OPG's proposed radioactive waste dump targeted at the Great Lakes shoreline. What is very significant about this is that Port Clinton is located within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) of FirstEnergy Nuclear's Davis-Besse atomic reactor, on the Lake Erie shore just east of Toledo. Even "nuclear company towns" like Port Clinton -- which "host" many hundreds of tons of high-level radioactive waste, in "temporary storage" -- are opposed to any proposal to permanently bury radioactive waste on the Great Lakes shore.

In this regard, Port Clinton's resolution is similar to the Town of Ajax's, to the east of Toronto, located immediately adjacent to the 8-reactor Pickering nuclear power plant on the Lake Ontario shore.

Port Clinton's population is just over 6,000, so the number of people represented by resolutions passed at the state, county, town, and village levels in both countries is still around 17.8 million. This, compared to the Town of Kincardine which supposedly has "volunteered" to "host" the dump in Ontario, with a population of only around 11,000, including many Bruce Nuclear Power Plant workers, and other influenced by Bruce Nuclear revenue streams. But in fact, local opposition in and around Kincardine has grown stronger over time.

Tom Henry of the Toledo Blade has published a comprehensive article, "Ohio, Mich. riled over plan to bury radioactive waste: Critics fear dump may contaminate lakes," reporting on Port Clinton's resolution. He reported that a concerned resident of Port Clinton, Victoria Clemons, was instrumental in advocating for passage of the resolution.

Henry also reports that U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and U.S. Congresswoman Candice Miller (R-MI) are working on a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, urging him to negotiate with his Canadian counterparts to end this proposal. Kaptur, the Ranking Democrat on the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water, also indicated she will also take her concerns to the Canadian ambassador. Miller is Chairwoman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, and also sits on the Transportation Subcommittees on Hazardous Materials, as well as Water Resources and the Environment.

Kaptur and Miller thus join Michigan's two U.S. Senators, as well as several additional U.S. House Members, in opposing the Great Lakes radioactive waste dump.

In addition, Henry reports that Ohio State Legislators, Rep. Chris Redfern (D-Catawba Island) and Rep. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green), intend to introduce a resolution in the Ohio General Assembly early next year opposing the proposed dump.

This is similar to a State of Michigan Senate resolution, introduced by Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood (Democrat-Taylor) and passed unanimously in spring 2013.

Meanwhile, the Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump petition now has 43,864 signatories.