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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.

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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.

Monday
Dec162013

Experimental Saxton atomic reactor site released for unrestricted re-use by NRC in 2005

Saxton Nuclear Experiment StationAs reported in this 1998 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, the former site of the Saxton Nuclear Experimental Corporation's 7 Megawatt-electric, experimental atomic reactor has been declared re-usable, for un-restricted re-use by the NRC. 7 MW-e is only enough electricity for 100 homes.

The reactor pressure vessel was shipped by heavy haul truck, then rail, to South Carolina for burial in a ditch at the Barnwell "low-level" radioactive waste dump. Numerous other reactor pressure vessels -- including from Big Rock Point, MI; Yankee-Rowe, MA; and CT Yankee -- were buried at Barnwell before the dump's closure to 36 of 39 states which previously had dumped there. In recent years, only SC, NJ, and CT are allowed to dump radioactive wastes at Barnwell.

(In 2003, protestors -- including Kevin Kamps, now with Beyond Nuclear, along with Mike Ferner of Veterans for Peace -- were arrested for committing a non-violent civil resistance action against the Big Rock Point RPV shipment bound for Barnwell.

Years earlier, Citizens Awareness Network of the Northeast conducted a "Caravan of Conscience" tour from Yankee-Rowe, MA to Barnwell, SC, to educate transport corridor communities about the risks, as well as to apologize to the dump's "hosts" -- surrounding residents, disproportionately African American, an environmental injustice. Yankee Atomic "public relations" officials shadowed the "Caravan of Conscience," conducting satellite phone interviews with the media to rebut and counter CAN's work.)

Local residents, whose own children died due to leukemia, found a very high leukemia rate in the area's small population. The nuclear utilities, and even state government officials, scoffed at the findings.

Wikipedia has some additional information about the Saxton atomic reactor, including that NRC released the former SNEC site for unrestricted reuse, although questions remain about radioactive contamination, as from radioactive releases and leaks that went unreported for many years.

Saturday
Nov232013

Nov. 25th Forum on the Decommissioning of Vermont Yankee in Montpelier

A message from Debra Stoleroff of Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance (VYDA):

After more than 40 years, our efforts have paid off and the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant is closing in 2014 and will be decommissioned. There are many ways to decommission a nuclear power plant; some more safe than others.

So, what does deliberate, thorough and responsible decommissioning mean?  What does it look like? And how can Vermont (and we) advocate for deliberate, thorough and responsible decommissioning with a greenfield when Vermont does not have a legal say in the process?

Deb Katz of the Citizens' Awareness Network (CAN) and Chris Williams of VCAN and VYDA will address what will happen to Vermont Yankee when it closes in 2014.  They will discuss transition, clean-up, long term waste storage and what role citizens can play In the process.

Join VYDA for a forum on The Decommissioning of Vermont Yankee with Deb Katz, Executive Director of Citizens' Awareness Network  and Chris Williams, Director of VT Citizen's Action Network and member of VYDA

Monday, November 25,6:30 pm, at the Unitarian Church, 130 Main St., Montpelier
Sponsored by the Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance

For more information call: 476-3154

THE DECOMMISSIONING OF VERMONT YANKEE:

Making VT Yankee Accountable

WHEN:  Monday, November 25, 6:30 pm

WHAT:  Forum with panel discussion and Q&A to address what will happen when Vermont Yankee shutters in 2014. A two-person panel will talk about transition, cleanup, long-term waste storage and what role citizens can play in the process.

WHERE:  Unitarian Universalist Church, 130 Main St., Montpelier, VT

WHO: Deb Katz, Executive Director of the Citizens Awareness Network; Chris Williams, Organizer for Vermont Citizens Action Network

BACKGROUND:

Citizens must remain engaged and demand continued legislative action to support a successful transition to sustainable energy and stricter decommissioning and operational standards going forward. How Entergy will address the issues of transition, closure, and decommissioning is more significant than ever. Recently questions have been raised about how the local community will be affected as well as the state and even the region. 

Can citizens play a role in assuring that Vermont Yankee is properly dismantled, cleaned-up and radioactive waste safely stored?  With the slow motion Fukushima disaster highlighting the vulnerabilities of Mark 1 reactors, how will the state deal with the increased vulnerability of this aged reactor?

The Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance and The Citizens Awareness Network are sponsoring a forum to discuss the issues surrounding the decommissioning, clean up, and accountability of Vermont Yankee.  CAN has been intimately involved with closure and decommissioning of reactors in New England. “Nowhere is the colossal failure of nuclear power more evident than in decommissioning - with its extensive contamination, ballooning costs, limited oversight, and lack of solutions for its contaminated wastes,” said Deb Katz, executive director of the CAN. “Added to this is the inability to trust a systemically mismanaged corporation.”

The choice to hold the forums was based on a lack of relevant information on what decommissioning entails, what choices Entergy is making and what has been the industry standard on decommissioning until now. “The decommissioning of the Entergy Vermont Nuclear Power Plant will be one of the most significant undertakings in Vermont’s history,” said Chris Williams of Vermont Citizens Action Network. “We will have one, and only one, opportunity to get it right."

For more information about this event contact: Debra Stoleroff , 802.476.3154

For more information contact Deb Katz 413.339.5781. Panelists will be available for interviews before the event.

Citizens Awareness Network, instrumental in the closures of Yankee Rowe, Ct Yankee and Millstone Unit 1 reactors, & intervened in the NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board hearings on Yankee Rowe and Ct Yankee reactors. CAN won a lawsuit against the NRC in the first circuit Appellate Court over the illegal decommissioning of the Yankee Rowe reactor, the violation of citizen hearing rights and EPA regulations; Represented nuclear worker's health and safety interests before an NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board; Participated in an NRC workshop - Site Specific Advisory Boards for Decommissioning, presented a model for public participation; Organized a “Peoples’ Hearing” on Decommissioning Presenters included  representatives from Union of Concerned Scientists, Nuclear Information and Resource Service, and Radioactive Waste Management Assoc; Organized Caravan of Conscience Tours to accompany waste shipments from Yankee Rowe And Ct Yankee to Barnwell, SC to high light issues of environmental racism and to alert transport communities about the shipments.  CAN commissioned a seminal paper by Dr. Gordon Thompson on the vulnerability of reactor fuel pools to terrorism in a post 9/11 world that focused on Vermont Yankee and Indian Point.

See the poster for the event here.