BEYOND NUCLEAR PUBLICATIONS

Search
JOIN OUR NETWORK

     

     

DonateNow

Decommissioning

Although it is imperative that we shut down nuclear plants, they remain dangerous, and expensive even when closed. Radioactive inventories remain present on the site and decommissioning costs have been skyrocketing, presenting the real danger that utilities will not be able to afford to properly shut down and clean up non-operating reactor sites.

.................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Tuesday
May132014

"Senators Markey, Boxer and Sanders Introduce Legislation to Increase Safety at Nuclear Plants"

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works CommitteeU.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA, photo at left), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) introduced three bills today aimed at improving the safety and security of decommissioning reactors and the storage of spent nuclear fuel at nuclear plants across the nation. 

The three bills address safety of spent fuel storage and decommissioning plans. They are entitled: Safe and Secure Decommissioning Act of 2014; Nuclear Plant Decommissioning Act of 2014 (see the bill, Sen. Sanders' press release, and a one-page summary); Dry Cask Storage Act of 2014. To learn more, see the press release at Sen. Markey's website.

The EPW Committee will hold and webcast a hearing entitled “Nuclear Reactor Decommissioning: Stakeholder Views” on Wed., May 14th, at 10 AM Eastern. Witnesses include CA and VT officials, and spokespeople from NRDC and NEI.

Please urge your two U.S. Senators to support these three bills. You can contact your Senators via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

Friday
May022014

"Senators to NRC: Do Not Exempt Decommissioning Nuclear Reactors from Emergency Response and Security Measures"

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, Chairwoman, Environment and Public Works CommitteeFive Democratic U.S. Senators have written U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane, uring that NRC's rubberstamp of exemptions from emergency preparedness and security requirements at permanently shutdown nuclear power plants be stopped.

The five Senators are: Barbara Boxer (D-CA); Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY); Edward J. Markey (D-MA); Patrick Leahy (D-VT); Bernard Sanders (D-VT). Boxer (photo, above left) is Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, with oversight on NRC and nuclear power issues; Gillibrand, Markey, and Sanders also serve on the EPW Committee.

Their letter points out that nuclear utilities have always received requested exemptions, within just a year or two of reactor shutdowns, from NRC, at permanently shutdown nuclear power plants. This, despite the fact that the nuclear plants still have large amounts of irradiated nuclear fuel stored in pools, vulnerable to catastrophic releases of hazardous radioactivity, such as due to natural disasters, terrorist attacks, heavy load drops, etc.

The Senators list NRC's "perfect record" of such regulatory relaxation at: Humboldt Bay, CA; LaCrosse, WI; Fort St. Vrain, CO; Rancho Seco, CA; Yankee Rowe, MA; Trojan, OR; Haddam Neck, CT; Maine Yankee; Big Rock Point, MI; and Zion, IL.

Most ironically, NRC consistently stands by its indefensible claim that high-level radioactive waste storage is safe, sound, and secure, and will remain so for at least 60 years post-reactor shutdown, by citing the existence of emergency preparedness and security regulations. Yet, it is these very regulations that NRC consistently exempts shutdown nuclear plants from having to meet!

The Senators have urged NRC chief Macfarlane to not grant such requested exemptions at the five atomic reactors permanently shutdown in 2013 (Crystal River, FL; Kewaunee, WI; San Onofre 2 & 3, CA) or about to be shutdown by the end of 2014 (Vermont Yankee).

On April 10, Beyond Nuclear's Reactor Oversight Project Director, Paul Gunter, urged NRC to enforce emergency preparedness and security regulations at decommissioning nuclear power plant sites, due to the potentially catastrophic risks associated with the irradiated nuclear fuel still stored there.

Tuesday
Mar252014

Opponents to 20 more years at Davis-Besse call for problem-plagued reactor's long overdue retirement, decommissioning

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 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.

Monday
Jan132014

Chris Williams, VCAN & VYDA, "Entergy Nuclear, Resisting a Rogue Corporation," Palisades, MI, Thurs., Jan. 16th

Yard signs created by Michigan Safe Energy Future--Kalamazoo Chapter

[And please also mark your calendars for Dr. Jeff Patterson, National Board Chair of Physicians for Social Responsibility, who is scheduled to speak about "Nuclear Power: What you need to know about Price, Pollution and Proliferation," on the evening of Feb. 14th, at the same venue as Chris Williams below. Dr. Patterson will also speak in numerous additional Michigan communities, on a week-long speaking tour in mid-February. This will include Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo on Feb. 13th, at 7 PM. It will also include stops in southeast MI, targeted by Detroit Edison for the proposed new Fermi 3 GE-Hitachi atomic reactor in Monroe County. Dr. Patterson's additional stops in other Michigan cities will be announced ASAP.]

Shamefully, NRC rubber-stamped a 20-year license extension at Vermont Yankee (VY) just days after the meltdowns, explosions, and catastrophic releases of hazardous radioactivity from the identically-designed Fukushima Daiichi General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactors, but Vermont forced VY's permanent shutdown anyways! Let's hope that Michiganders (and Michigeese, and Michigoslings) will be inspired by, and follow the model of, their Green Mountain State allies...The retirement, and decommissioning, of Entergy's severely age-degraded Palisades atomic reactor is long overdue...

Entergy Nuclear: Resisting a Rogue Corporation and its Radioactive Risks

A presentation by Chris Williams of Vermont Citizens Action Network as well as Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance

Thursday, January 16, 2014, 6:30 to 9:00 PM,

Lake Michigan College,

125 Veterans Blvd., Room 141

South Haven, MI 49090

(For directions to campus, location of parking, etc.,
see:
http://www.lakemichigancollege.edu/SH)

Come learn about Entergy Nuclear’s dirty dozen atomic reactors, including the problem-plagued Palisades near South Haven. Chris Williams is a leader of the ongoing, highly successful grassroots campaign to shutdown Entergy's dangerously degraded Vermont Yankee atomic reactor (a Fukushima Daiichi twin design). Having stopped proposed new reactors in Indiana during his 25 years of service as Executive Director of Citizen Action Coalition, he will show how community organizing can stop dirty, dangerous, and expensive atomic reactors, and replace them with efficiency and renewables like wind and solar.

Chris Williams, is a long time sustainable energy policy activist. He is currently organizer for the Vermont Citizens Action Network, a grassroots organization working to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear station and replace it with sustainable energy generation. Williams has a long professional history working with public interest organizations. For 25 years he was the executive director for Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, a not for profit consumer and environmental advocacy organization. CAC conducts extensive grassroots public education campaigns concerning, public utility regulation, energy policy, environmental policy, and the preservation of family farms.

Co-sponsored by Michigan Safe Energy Future (http://michigansafeenergyfuture.com),
Beyond Nuclear (
www.beyondnuclear.org),
and Don’t Waste Michigan
(http://dwmi.homestead.com).

For more info, contact Bette Pierman, Michigan Safe Energy Future, (269) 369-3993 or

Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear, (240) 462-3216

[See the event flier here]

Friday
Dec202013

Environmental coalition meets NRC's "Nuclear Waste Confidence" DGEIS public comment deadline

Environmental coalition attorney Diane Curran

(Mark Cooper of Vermont Law School, expert witness on behalf of this environmental coalition, has estimated that storage and disposal of irradiated nuclear fuel could add $210 to $350 billion onto the costs of nuclear-generated electricity in the U.S. In addition, the once-per-century replacement of dry cask storage across the U.S., assumed by NRC in its "Nuclear Waste Confidence" DGEIS, would add another $100 billion per replacement, Cooper estimates. Cooper asserts that NRC cannot ignore such "staggering" costs in its EIS on the costs and risks of generating irradiated nuclear fuel in the first place -- that is, approving new reactor construction and operating licenses, and old reactor license extensions.

Of course, such costs, risks, and liabilities associated with the "indefinite storage" of irradiated nuclear fuel at reactor sites would greatly complicate, and long delay -- perhaps forever -- the ultimate completion of decommissioning at nuclear power plants. In fact, a number of atomic reactors that have "completed" decommissioning -- such as Big Rock Point in MI, Maine Yankee, Yankee Rowe in MA, and Fort Saint Vrain in CO, just to name a few -- still store their high-level radioactive wastes on-site, in dry cask storage, with no end in sight. Another lingering issue is the remaining radioactive contamination of soil, groundwater, flora, fauna, etc., despite NRC releasing such sites for "un-restricted re-use.")

An environmental coalition of nearly three dozen groups, including Beyond Nuclear, has submitted comments on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) "Nuclear Waste Confidence" Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DGEIS). The coalition is represented by a team of attorneys, including Diane Curran (photo, left) of Harmon, Curran, Spielberg, and Eisenberg, LLP, Washington, D.C.; Mindy Goldstein, Director, and Jillian Kysor, Fellow, Turner Environmental Law Clinic, Emory University, Atlanta, GA; and Phillip Musegaas, Hudson River Program Director, and Deborah Brancato, Staff Attorney, Riverkeeper, Ossining, NY.

The coalition is also represented by a team of expert witnesses, including Dr. Arjun Makhijani, President, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, Takoma Park, MD; David Lochbaum, Director, Nuclear Safety Project, Union of Concerned Scientists, Chattanooga, TN; Dr. Gordon Thompson, Executive Director, Institute for Resource and Security Studies, Cambridge, MA; and Dr. Mark Cooper, Senior Research Fellow for Economic Analysis, Institute for Energy and the Environment, Vermont Law School, South Royalton, VT.

The environmental coalition's comments, as well as its expert witnesses' declarations, have been posted on the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) website, as well as at the bottom of a press release featuring the work of Dr. Cooper on the economic costs of irradiated nuclear fuel management. The coalition's comment and expert witness declarations are also posted at the NIRS website.

Curran, on behalf of three environmental groups (Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, Riverkeeper, and SACE), in alliance with Natural Resource Defense Council, as well as four state attorneys general (CT, NJ, NY, and VT) won a landmark legal victory on June 8, 2012. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that NRC had to carry out an environmental impact statement on its "Nuclear Waste Confidence" policy and rule, including the on-site storage risks of irradiated nuclear fuel in pools and dry casks. The Dec. 20th public comment deadline on the DGEIS is a part of that court-ordered process.