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Civil Liberties

The construction and operation of dangerous nuclear reactors - and the infrastructure needed to support them - inevitably flout civil liberties. Most recently, the opportunities for public intervention against proposed new reactors have been severely curtailed, often leaving a window open largely after the project is a fait accompli.

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Friday
Aug222014

Will Entergy clean up its act at Palisades' security department?

Don't Waste Michigan board members Michael Keegan, Alice Hirt, and Kevin Kamps call for Palisades' permanent shutdown at the 2000 Nuclear-Free Great Lakes Action Camp, on the Lake Michigan beach at Van Buren State Park, with the atomic reactor's cooling tower steam visible in the backgroundJudging by Entergy's several years worth of security failures at Palisades, and breaches going back over a decade at other Entergy nuclear power plants such as Indian Point near New York City, the answer to that question is quite dubious.

Beyond Nuclear has published a backgrounder chronicling Entergy security problems at Palisades and Indian Point, and the lethal, and potentially catastrophic risks, at stake. See the PDF, as well as the Word version (containing live links to various documents cited).

The backgrounder was prompted by an NRC Confirmatory Order that went into effect on August 22nd.

Concerns include threats to civil liberties, such as the right to peacably assemble, and freedom of speech, without fear of lethal force being used by heavily armed, overworked, and perhaps inadequately trained, security guards. Guards who may soon be granted immunity, under state law, if they wrongfully shoot someone dead, whether a protestor, kayaker, or hiker.

 

Thursday
Jul102014

Act now to support Russian environmental group!

We express our strong solidarity with EcoDefence activists based in Russia, whose anti-nuclear NGO has been declared a “foreign agent” by the Russian Ministry of Justice. The Russian government must immediately stop this repression of environmentalists. We as individuals concerned with human rights of activists need to demand that EcoDefense be allowed to work freely.

SIGN HERE!

Monday
Mar102014

U.S. Nuclear Agency Hid Concerns, Hailed Safety Record as Fukushima Melted

The NRC didn't lie, but it also didn't tell the whole truth. This begs the question -- should a federal agency, financed with U.S. taxpayer dollars, be in the business of concealing the truth from and deceiving the American people and news media?

As reported by NBC News's Bill Dedman, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Office of Public Affairs defended its own image, as well as that of the nuclear power industry, as its top priority during the first days of the fast-breaking Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe three years ago. As revealed by internal NRC emails obtained via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), NRC went so far as to attack Dedman's own reporting at the time, when he used a little known NRC report published in 2010 to rank the seismic risk at atomic reactors across the U.S. The confusion created by NRC's attack on Dedman's reporting dissuaded other news outlets, including the New York Times, from mentioning NRC's ranking of seismic risks -- of which Entergy Nuclear's twin reactor Indian Point nuclear power plant on the Hudson River near New York City had the worst ranking in the U.S. 21 million people live or work within 50 miles of Indian Point. In 2008, seismologists at Columbia University warned about previously unknown earthquake fault lines near Indian Point.

 

Thursday
Feb202014

Coalition files Petition to NRC to strengthen reactor license extension rules due to significant new revelations on radioactive waste risks

Environmental coalition attorney Diane CurranA Petition for Rulemaking was filed on Feb. 18th by Washington, D.C.-based attorney, Diane Curran (photo, left), as well as Mindy Goldstein of the Emory U. Turner Environmental Law Clinic, to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The Petition seeks to re-open the License Renewal GEIS (Generic Environmental Impact Statement), in order to consider new and significant information about irradiated nuclear fuel storage impacts that was generated by the NRC Staff during the Expedited Spent Fuel Transfer proceeding, carried out under NRC's Fukushima "Lessons Learned" activities. Curran and Goldstein filed the Petition on behalf of three dozen environmental groups, including Beyond Nuclear.

One of these risks newly recognized by NRC Staff is the contribution of high-level radioactive waste storage pool risks to reactor catastrophes, and vice versa.

NRC staff has also admitted that release into the environment of even a small fraction of the contents of a high-level radioactive waste storage pool could cause the long-term dislocation of more than 4 million people, and could render more than 9,000 square miles of land uninhabitable for long time periods. What would the socio-economic costs of such a catastrophe be? Don't people have the inalienable right to safety, health, and environmental protection?

The filing urges that no reactor license extensions be approved by NRC until the Petition for Rulemaking has been integrated into NRC's safety regulations.

The coalition has issued a press release.

Friday
Jan172014

Volunteers Crowdsource Radiation Monitoring to Map Potential Risk on Every Street in Japan

As reported by Democracy Now! on the Pacifica Radio Network:

Safecast is a network of volunteers who came together to map radiation levels throughout Japan after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster in 2011. They soon realized radiation readings varied widely, with some areas close to the disaster facing light contamination, depending on wind and geography, while others much further away showed higher readings. Safecast volunteers use Geiger counters and open-source software to measure the radiation, and then post the data online for anyone to access. Broadcasting from Tokyo, we are joined by Pieter Franken, co-founder of Safecast. "The first trip we made into Fukushima, it was an eye-opener. First of all, the radiation levels we encountered were way higher than what we had seen on television," Franken says. "We decided to focus on measuring every single street as our goal in Safecast, so for the last three years we have been doing that, and this month we are passing the 15 millionth location we have measured, and basically every street in Japan has been at least measured once, if not many, many more times."

The atomic reactors that melted down and exploded at Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4 were General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactors. The U.S. has 23 still-operating Mark Is, as well as 8 more very similarly designed Mark IIs.

Amy Goodman asks Pieter Franken how Japan's new State Secrets Act will impact the work of Safecast in Japan. Franken said it should not impact Safecast's work at all, as collecting such radioactivity contamination data is civil society's right. In fact, the government should be doing it, but is not. Even if the government were doing it, citizens should watchdog and verify the government's data.