Climate Change

Nuclear power is counterproductive to efforts to address climate change effectively and in time. Funding diverted to new nuclear power plants deprives real climate change solutions like solar, wind and geothermal energy of essential resources.



NRC to send Special Inspection Team to Entergy's Pilgrim atomic reactor after snow storm shutdown

Ironically enough, NEI left this Tweet up for days after Pilgrim was shut down by snow storm "Juno"!As reported by the Boston Globe, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will send a 4-5 person Special Inspection Team to Entergy Nuclear's Pilgrim atomic reactor next week, to investigate why snow storm "Juno" shut the plant down very early last Tuesday morning.

As of Friday evening, NRC's website is still showing Pilgrim at 0% power. Emergency diesel generators are running the plant's safety and cooling systems.

As reported by the Washington Examiner, NRC had warned before the snow storm, packing hurricane-force winds, that as many as 26 atomic reactors along the eastern seaboard, and further inland, could be forced to shut down.

For its part, the industry's lobbying and PR HQ, Nuclear Energy Institute, was bragging up nuclear power's reliability during severe winter weather. Ironically, it left it's Twitter ad (see above left) up for days after Pilgrim was forced to shut down in the face of the snow, ice, and wind storm's ferocity.


"Winter Storm Exposes Vulnerability of Nuclear Power Plants"

NRC file photo of Entergy's Pilgrim atomic reactor, on Cape Cod Bay south of Boston. Pilgrim bore the brunt of Nor'easter "Juno." NRC's website reports that Pilgrim is still at 0% power, as of 9pm Eastern ThursdayAs reported by the Pulitzer-Prize winning online publication Inside Climate News, the "Shutdown of Pilgrim facility in Massachusetts fuels critics' challenge."

The article reports: '...Tim Judson, executive director of the anti-nuclear activist group Nuclear Information and Resource Service, told InsideClimate News that during emergency shutdowns—especially during extreme heat or cold—grid operators "are scrambling to find generators to make up the power."

...Judson is skeptical of the plan [by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, to incorporate more extreme weather risks to atomic reactors,] and blamed the NRC of "doing everything they can to delay" industry facing up to new rules.'

Pilgrim is a Fukushima Daiichi twin-design and vintage, a GE BWR Mark I. One of those "Fukushima Lessons Learned" new rules that NRC has not just delayed, but killed, is the requirement to add radiological filters to the fatally-flawed, too small, too weak containments on Mark Is (and similarly designed Mark IIs). The U.S. has 22 operating Mark Is, and 8 Mark IIs.

For many years, Nuclear Energy Information Service in Chicago has warned "It's the Water, Stupid!" regarding risks of extreme weather to atomic reactors. Far from nuclear power being a solution for the climate crisis, Beyond Nuclear has warned that atomic reactors cannot safely operate amdist climate chaos, as has NIRS.


"Playing chicken with Illinois' electric rates won't improve the climate"

Peter BradfordSo warns Peter Bradford (photo, left) in an op-ed published in Crain's Chicago Business. Bradford served on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission during the Three Mile Island meltdown. He has also served as chairman of the State of New York, and State of Maine, public utility commissions. He now serves as an adjunct professor at Vermont Law School.


Beyond Nuclear warns about C-14, urges EPA remove nuclear power from "Clean Power Plan"

By the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) December 1st deadline, Beyond Nuclear submitted comments, written by its Radiation and Health Specialist, Cindy Folkers, to the "Clean Power Plan" (CCP) docket. The comments focused on the very significant, but largely overlooked, health hazards of radioactive Carbon-14 (C-14), generated by atomic reactors. EPA had not considered this is in its "Clean Power Plan" proposal, which supports expansion of nuclear power at public expense.

C-14 has a 5,700 year half-life, meaning its significant biological hazard will persist for 57,000 to 114,000 years after it is generated in an operating reactor core. Radioactive C-14 can go anywhere in the body, or food chain, that carbon goes, which is pretty much everywhere. It can cause cancer, birth defects, and genetic damage. Children, pregnant women, and the fetus in the womb, are the must vulnerable to C-14's hazards.

C-14 is released from the nuclear power industry in the form of radioactive green house gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane. It is released as part of "routine radiation releases" from atomic reactors (not to mention nuclear catastrophes like Fukushima), leaking radioactive wastes, and at an especially large-scale due to radioactive waste reprocessing, as is done in France.

In addition to its own comments, Beyond Nuclear joined with 31 allied environmental groups to endorsed comments prepared by the coalition's legal counsel, Diane Curran of Harmon, Curran, Spielberg + Eisenberg LLP, submitted to EPA's regarding the CCP.

The coalition's comments have the expert witness support of a report filed by Dr. Arjun Makhijani of Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) and Dr. M.V. Ramana of Princeton University's Program on Science and Global Security (and a member of Beyond Nuclear's advisory board), as well as a report filed by Dr. Mark Cooper, Senior Fellow for Economic Analysis at the Vermont Law School's Institute for Energy and Environment. Chris Shuey, MPH, of Southwest Research and Information Center (SRIC) provided a literature summary, entitled "Uranium Exposure and Public Health in New Mexico and the Navajo Nation," documenting uranium mining and milling's devastating impact on indigenous peoples communities and lands in the Four Corners region.

In addition, Beyond Nuclear endorsed an environmental coalition effort led by NIRS; these comments garnered the signatures of 148 groups.

And Beyond Nuclear also signed onto the Climate Reality Check Network's (125 groups) comments to EPA, as well as the Energy Justice Network's "NO Fracking, Nukes & Incinerators in the Clean Power Plan!" (over 100 groups) comments regarding the CCP.


Beyond Nuclear at People's Climate March

Fairewinds Energy Education board of directors member Chiho Kaneko, Physicians for Social Responsibility national board of directors member Alfred Meyer, and Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps (wearing yellow "Nuclear Power? No Thanks!" flag) preparing to march in the Nuclear-Free, Carbon-Free Contingent at the People's Climate March. Photo by Leslie Sullivan Sachs.Beyond Nuclear's Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Kevin Kamps, was honored and privileged to join with many friends and colleagues, and to take part in the Nuclear-Free, Carbon-Free Contingent at the People's Climate March in New York City on September 21st. The contingent comprised many hundreds, even thousands, of people, representing a large number of groups and coalitions, carrying 650 "Nuclear Power? No Thanks!" flags, 200 "Don't Nuke the Climate" placards, and countless other signs and banners from anti-nuclear campaigns across the country.

Spearheaded by Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), which provided the flags and placards, the contingent kicked off with inspiring speakers, including: Chris Williams (NIRS board chair, with Vermont Citizens Action Network and Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance); Dr. Arjun Makhijani (President, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, and author of the 2007 book Carbon-Free, Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy); Leona Morgan (Dine No Nukes), New York City-based Japanese anti-nuke artist and activist Yuko Tonohira; Gary Shaw of Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition (IPSEC); and Jessica Azulay, Program Director, Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE).

Mary Olson of NIRS read new poems by Marge Piercy written especially for the occasion. On-stage performers included: Raging Grannies; Joel Landy; Chiho Kaneko; and Mel & Vinnie.

The People's Climate March was so huge -- around 400,000 people -- that the Nuclear-Free, Carbon-Free Contingent had to wait two hours before even beginning to march! But the contingent was lucky enough to have "The Himalayas," one of about a dozen energetic activist marching bands, in its midst, which helped to keep spirits up throughout the long day.

In addition, folks like Joe DeMare with the Green Party of Ohio helped lead No Nukes chants. Joe organized a vanload of folks from northwest Ohio to attend the Climate March's anti-nuke contingent. The Green Party of Ohio, along with Beyond Nuclear, is part of the environmental coalition that has been challenging the 20-year license extension at the problem-plagued Davis-Besse atomic reactor near Toledo for several long years now. (See local media coverage of Joe's participation in the march here.)

Visual art added to the colorful display. Jean Shaw of IPSEC created an amazing King C.O.N.G. (Coal, Oil, Nuclear, Gas) diorama, with the same theme as Gail Payne's march poster, included with an essay by Harvey Wasserman.

New York City-based Japanese anti-nuclear activists created giant, beautiful origami peace cranes.

NIRS' President, Michael Mariotte, has offered his reflections on the Nuclear-Free, Carbon-Free Continent at the People's Climate March in a GreenWorld blog post.

Harvey Wasserman, author of Solartopia, filed this report about the march. Harvey has invited Kevin onto his radio show, "Green Power and Wellness," next Tuesday, Sept. 30th at 5 P.M. Eastern, to talk about the march, as well as to give an update on the Davis-Besse intervention -- which they talked about while marching alongside one another in New York City.

There was extensive media coverage about the People's Climate March, including by EcoWatch, as well as on the front page of the New York Times.

The day before the march, Kevin also took part in an anti-nuke strategy meeting convened by NIRS. The main subject matter of discussion was the "nuclear war against renewables" -- both at the federal as well as the state level -- as Dave Kraft of Nuclear Energy Information Service in Chicago has put it. Tim Judson, NIRS' executive director, published a report this month about this dangerous threat, entitled "Killing the Competition: The Nuclear Power Agenda to Block Climate Action, Stop Renewable Energy, and Subsidize Old Reactors."