Nuclear safety is, of course, an oxymoron. Nuclear reactors are inherently dangerous, vulnerable to accident with the potential for catastrophic consequences to health and the environment if enough radioactivity escapes. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Congressionally-mandated to protect public safety, is a blatant lapdog bowing to the financial priorities of the nuclear industry.


Entries by admin (319)


Beyond Nuclear warns about safety risks of operating Palisades till 2022

Beyond Nuclear issued a press statement upon the news of Entergy Nuclear's decision to not close its Palisades atomic reactor in s.w. MI, as it previously had announced, by Oct. 1, 2018.

Entergy has now indicated it will run Palisades until at least 2022, till the end of its Power Purchase Agreement with Consumers Energy.

However, in 2007, the NRC rubber-stamped Palisades' operating license extension till 2031, so it's possible the reactor could continue to operate even after 2022.

This would be unlikely, given its inability to compete with much cheaper sources of electricity, including renewables.

However, as seen in IL and NY, massive subsidies at ratepayer expense, awarded by the nuclear power industry's friends in high places of government, have overcome such economic failures, and allowed dangerously age-degraded atomic reactors to keep operating.

In the case of Palisades on the Lake Michigan shoreline, the Davis-Besse and Fermi nuclear power plants on the Lake Erie shore in OH, and multiple reactors on the Lake Ontario shore in NY, this is putting the Great Lakes at increasing risk of a radioactive catastrophe.

The Great Lakes are the source of drinking water for 40 million people, in 8 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations, in current generations alone. All future generations will also need safe, clean drinking water, of course, and the Great Lakes are one of the most significant single sources on the planet.

Arnie Gundersen, chief engineer at Fairewinds Energy Education (our expert witness at Palisades, Davis-Besse, and Fermi), wrote an essay entitled "Downstream," about the extreme radioactive risks faced by the Great Lakes. It seems Entergy intends to exacerbate such risks at Palisades, for at least another five years, if not for 14 more years!


Davis-Besse cracks to be repaired

As reported by the Sandusky Register.

Beyond Nuclear has sought Davis-Besse's closure, ever since these uniquely-bad-in-the-nuclear-industry containment cracks were first revealed in Oct. 2011. Alas, NRC not only allowed Davis-Besse to continuing operating under its initial 1977-2017 license, it even rubber-stamped a license extension till 2037!


"Nuclear close calls" at Davis-Besse -- Beyond Nuclear letter to the editor in n. OH's News-Messenger

Nuclear close calls

Davis-Besse’s atomic reactor has had more close calls with radioactive catastrophe than any other in the U.S. Six years ago, we learned its Shield Building was severely cracked.

In 2014, FirstEnergy finally deigned to reveal, after a 2½-year cover-up, that every time it freezes, the cracking grows by a half inch or more in circumferential orientation, around the steel reinforced, cylindrical, concrete containment.

In short, it is doubtful the containment would prevent catastrophic releases of hazardous radioactivity to the environment, if Davis-Besse melts down. The 20-year license extension that began on Earth Day (April 22) 2017 means that risk increases with time.

FirstEnergy has been trolling for a massive ratepayer bailout for several years. In essence, the nuclear lobbyists hope Ohio ratepayers won’t mind if several billion dollars are added to household and business electric bills over coming years to compensate for FirstEnergy’s own mismanagement and bad business decisions. At least exorbitant executive salaries, and shareholder dividends, will be protected.

Regarding the Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants workforce, and tax revenues generated, it’s past time to begin preparing for the day the reactors close for good.

The dismantlement and radioactivity contamination cleanup during decommissioning mean many of the workers, who know the sites the best, can be retained for many years to come.

So too, considering the need for ongoing management of highly radioactive irradiated nuclear fuel on-site. A just transition, for workers and the host communities, should be a top priority, and FirstEnergy should help fund it. 

Kevin Kamps

Takoma Park, Maryland

Link to letter to the editor published online:

Beyond Nuclear has resisted Davis-Besse's 20-year license extension since 2010, but the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) rubber-stamped it anyways, despite the severe, and ever worsening, cracking of the Shield Building. The cracking has grown so bad that FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC) has begun repair work. During Beyond Nuclear et al.'s legal intervention against Davis-Besse's license extension, FENOC downplayed the risk of cracking, and committed to merely monitor it under its Aging Management Plan. (Beyond Nuclear et al. is represented by Toledo attorney Terry Lodge.) Apparently, that plan was not good enough. Beyond Nuclear stands by its years-long call for Davis-Besse's permanent shutdown, for safety's sake.


Thom Hartmann: How We Almost Lost Detroit

The Big Picture

How We Almost Lost Detroit

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Massachusetts Elected Officials Call for Public Meeting on Safety at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant

As posted at the website of U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA):

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Congressman William Keating (MA-09), Governor Charlie Baker, the entire Massachusetts Congressional delegation, and numerous Massachusetts state legislators are calling on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to immediately hold a public meeting to address concerns about the safety of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant. In a letter sent today to the NRC, the Massachusetts elected officials call attention to a leaked December 6, 2016 e-mail from the leader of the NRC special inspection team that has raised serious questions about Entergy’s ability to operate the plant safely [see the Boston Globe's Dec. 7 article, "Pilgrim nuclear plant staff said to be 'overwhelmed'"]. The NRC is currently conducting a three-phased supplemental inspection process at Pilgrim as a result of the NRC determination that recurring safety issues at the aging nuclear power plant required the Commission to list the plant in “Column 4” of its reactor safety ratings, its least safe rating for an operating reactor. Most recently Entergy was forced to shut down Pilgrim on December 15 when it reportedly discovered leaks in three of the eight main steam isolation valves, which are used to prevent radioactivity from leaking into the environment during a nuclear accident.

Signing the letter are Attorney General Healey, Senator Markey, Governor Baker, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, and U.S. Reps. Keating, Michael E. Capuano, Katherine Clark, Joseph P. Kennedy, III, Stephen F. Lynch, James P. McGovern, Seth Moulton, Richard Neal, and Niki Tsongas.

Also signing are Massachusetts State Senate President Stanley Rosenberg; Massachusetts State Senators Vinny deMacedo, Patrick O’Connor, and Julian Cyr; and Massachusetts State Representatives Sarah Peake, James M. Cantwell, Randy Hunt, Mathew Muratore, Thomas J. Calter, Davis T. Vieira, Josh S. Cutler, Timothy R. Whelan, and Dylan Fernandes. 

“While the NRC undoubtedly regrets the inadvertent disclosure of the preliminary thoughts expressed in the December 6 e-mail, the disclosure happened, and the NRC now has the obligation to address questions raised by that e-mail to help assuage growing public safety concerns,” write the lawmakers in the letter to NRC Chairman Stephen Burns. “A public meeting also will allow the NRC to outline for the public the steps it may take in light of the special inspection team’s findings to date, the steps that remain in the NRC’s inspection process, and when the official results of the inspection will be released to the public.”

A copy of the letter to the NRC can be found HERE.