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Nuclear Reactors

The nuclear industry is more than 50 years old. Its history is replete with a colossal financial disaster and a multitude of near-misses and catastrophic accidents like Three Mile Island and Chornobyl. Beyond Nuclear works to expose the risks and dangers posed by an aging and deteriorating reactor industry and the unproven designs being proposed for new construction.

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Entries by admin (488)

Wednesday
Jul082009

No joke, oldest reactor in US relicensed despite adverse safety findings on April Fools Day 2009

Since November 15, 2005, a coalition of national, state and local groups (Stop The Relicensing of Oyster Creek) has struggled through the labyrinth of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s relicensing process. Oyster Creek began generating power in December 1969. Its 40-year operating license expires on April 9, 2009. The coalition’s single contention before the licensing board focused on the discovery of a band of corrosion at the base of the 100-foot tall iron structure that in places had eaten through nearly half the contain wall structure raising the concern that the structure could buckle and collapse.It was no joke on April Fools’ Day 2009 when the Commission voted (4-0) to extend the operating license despite an NRC inspection report and email disclosed by the Freedom of Information Act documenting that Exelon Nuclear doesn’t have a working age-management program for the corrosion nor do they know the extent of the containment damage all critical elements of the relicensing decision. The Commission decided that the reactor’s containment corrosion management program and the enhanced assessment of the extent of the damage can come later.This kind of decision-making can lead to the next Three Mile Island accident or worse. NRC has placed its cart before the horse in the relicensing process. The company has demonstrated neither a working age-management program nor the knowledge of the extent the damage. This should have been grounds for denying or at least delaying the re-licensing. NRC’s decision to promote schedule over assurance of safety undermines confidence in the NRC’s gamed process and the continued safety of the reactor.

Wednesday
Jul082009

Three Mile Island 30th commemoration

On March 28, 1979, what Americans had been told by the nuclear industry could not occur happened; the meltdown of a nuclear power plant. The combination of mechanical failure and human error at the three month-old nuclear power plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania caught the industry, its regulators, state officials and the surrounding public, completely by surprise. The unfolding drama over the next several days chronicled the uncertainty surrounding an inherently dangerous industry that today is only more radioactive with diminishing safety margins. Two days later, Walter Cronkite was in the anchor's chair at CBS Evening News. Watch the historic Cronkite broadcast here (part I) and here (part II). Also, listen to VOICES FROM THREE MILE ISLAND, from Turning Tide Productions here. VOICES FROM THREE MILE ISLAND is a re-broadcast of the two-hour radio program originally aired March 28, 1980 on the first anniversary of the accident. The program, broadcast on 65 public radio stations across the U.S., chronicles the personal experiences of Pennsylvania residents from communities around the stricken reactor. And see the original 1997 press release detailing the findings of the epidemiological study led by Dr. Steven Wing that found elevated rates of leukemia and lung cancer among populations living under the path of the radioactive plume released at the start of the Three Mile Island accident. Read the press release here.

Wednesday
Jul082009

Beyond Nuclear helps lead environmental coalition against new Michigan Fermi 3 reactor 

On March 9, 2009, Beyond Nuclear, along with Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and Sierra Club, filed over a dozen intervention contentions with NRC against Detroit Edison's Fermi 3 reactor proposal. See the contentions filed here. Read the media release here. See the media coverage here. And view Beyond Nuclear's Feb. 9 environmental scoping comments to NRC -- signed onto by hundreds of groups in Michigan and across the Great Lakes -- here.

Wednesday
Jul082009

Nuclear power's toxic assets

Why Wall Street shies away from the toxic assets represented by new reactor construction. Read the Beyond Nuclear fact sheet here and the longer, White Paper analysis here.

Wednesday
Jul082009

Entergy suspends applications for two new reactors in Mississippi and Louisiana

The so-called “nuclear renaissance” was exposed as a house of cards on January 9, 2009 when New Orleans-based

Entergy Nuclear asked the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to suspend review of two applications to build new reactors in Port Gibson, Mississippi and River Bend, Louisiana. Entergy had submitted the applications to construct and operate the General Electric/Hitachi Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactors (ESBWR). But the design has proven to be neither economic nor simple. The NRC is reviewing hundreds of stubborn technical problems for the half-baked design. Entergy was unable to reach agreement with Hitachi as to how to resolve the technical issues but had reportedly already pre-ordered ESBWR parts on July, 27 2007.

Entergy now joins Exelon Nuclear, the Chicago-based nuclear power company, which similarly withdrew its application to build and operate an ESBWR design in November 2008 in Victoria, Texas. Two other nuclear power companies, Virginia-based Dominion and Michigan-based DTE, are still pursuing applications for permission to build ESBWRs in Mineral, Virginia and Monroe, Michigan, respectively. However, Dominion announced on January 9 an impasse on its agreement with Hitachi and is looking for a new construction partner to press onward into the fog.