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Environmental Impacts

The entire nuclear fuel chain involves the release of radioactivity that contaminates the environment. Radiation can affect the air, water, soil, plants, animals, places of residence and recreation and elsewhere.

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Tuesday
May122015

Beyond Nuclear on Thom Hartman's "The Big Picture" re: Indian Pt. fire/oil spill & Chinese proliferation concerns

Thom Hartmann, host of "The Big Picture"Thom Hartmann, host of "The Big Picture," had Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps on to discuss the transformer fires at Entergy Nuclear's Indian Point nuclear power plant, and consequent oil spill into the Hudson River upstream from New York City. Thom and Kevin also discussed the Obama administration's attempt to extend approval nuclear power commerce with China, despite congressional concerns about dual-use technology that could be transferred to China's nuclear submarines, as well as "vertical" and "horizontal" proliferation concerns from reprocessing plutonium (adding to China's own nuclear arsenal, or the spread of nuclear weaponry to other countries or terrorist groups, respectively). (See the segment from the 46:00 minute mark to the 52:15 minute mark.)

Sunday
May102015

Transformer fire at Entergy Nuclear's Indian Point causes thousands of gallons of oil to leak into Hudson River upstream of New York City

Oil sheen seen in the Hudson River near Indian Point nuclear plant following a transformer fire on May 11, 2015 (Credit: Riverkeeper)As reported by CBS New York, a transformer fire took place at Entergy Nuclear's Indian Point Unit 3 (IP) yesterday. New York Governor Cuomo rushed to the scene, concerned about the potential for leaking oil to reach the Hudson River.

Sure enough, it has. As reported by ABC News, the multiple fires did lead to an oil slick on the Hudson River, when an oil overflow tank's capacity was not enough to stem the leakage. Thousands of gallons of oil have reportedly leaked into the river, some 30 miles north of New York City.

Riverkeeper issued a press release, as well as photos (see left), stating that this latest accident is proof positive that IP should be permanently closed.

Beyond Nuclear just took part in an anti-nuclear summit very near Indian Point, held at Stony Point Conference Center on May 3rd. Hosted by Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, the event focused on high-level radioactive waste (HLRW) and decommissioning issues. Beyond Nuclear's presentation addressed HLRW risks at IP, including radioactive leaks from IP's HLRW storage pools, documented in a Beyond Nuclear report and backgrounder. Representatives from NIRS, Citizens Awareness Network, Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, and Riverkeeper also presented.

Wednesday
Jan072015

Cook nuclear plant leaks 2,000 gallons of oil into Lake Michigan over two month period

The twin-reactor Donald C. Cook nuclear power plant in Bridgman, MI on the Lake Michigan shoreline Nuclear power is "clean, carbon-free" energy? Hardly!

As reported by the Detroit Free Press on Jan. 3rd, and The Huffington Post on Jan. 7th, the twin-reactor Donald C. Cook nuclear power plant, owned by American Electric Power/Indiana-Michigan Power Company, leaked an estimated 2,000 gallons of oil into Lake Michigan, over the course of two months, before the leak was discovered and stopped.

Lake Michigan is a headwaters of the Great Lakes, which provide drinking water to 40 million North Americans in 8 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations.

And, as reported by Climate Progress on Jan. 6, Entergy's Palisades -- just 30 miles north of Cook, also on the Lake Michigan shore -- recently leaked 80 gallons of oil on the beach, but claimed it didn't reach the lake.

Climate Progress also reported a scare at Cook just months ago, that 8,700 gallons of oil had leaked into Lake Michigan -- but American Electric Power later claimed a worker misread a guage, disavowing the oil leak had actually occurred.

And Climate Progress mentioned the fears swirling around Enbridge Canadian tar sands crude oil pipelines under Lakes Michigan and Huron at the Straits of Mackinac.

1.4 million gallons of Canadian tar sands crude leaked into the Kalamazoo River, upstream of Lake Michigan, in July 2010. Inside Climate News won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2013 for its coverage of the devastating impact of this largest ever inland oil spill in U.S. history.

A recent oil leak into Lake Michigan also occurred at a BP oil refinery in Whiting, IN.

The Detroit Free Press article quoted Michael Keegan of Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes:

Michael Keegan, director of the nonprofit Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes, is troubled by news of the leak.

"What's concerning is they don't really know the extent of the leak," he said. "Nearly two months later is the first determination they make that they have an oil leak? It speaks to the quality assurance of all of their other systems."

The fact that the oil is not recoverable is also problematic, Keegan said.

"There's a belief some have that the solution to pollution is dilution. It's not," he said.

From 1997 to 2000, both Cook units were shut down for major safety violations revealed by nuclear industry whistleblower Curtis Overall and David Lochbaum, Director, Nuclear Safety Program, Union of Concerned Scientists. A slogan developed in the nuclear power industry, of not wanting to get "Cooked" -- that is, busted by whistleblowers and nuclear safety advocates, forcing NRC to do its job.

An environmental coalition borrowed the phrase, and flew airplane banners over Cook, with holiday themes. For example, the Valentine's Day banner, complete with radiation symbols and hearts, read "Stop in the Name of Love! Don't Cook the Great Lakes!"

Wednesday
Oct082014

Crisis Without End: The Medical and Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe

Dr. Helen Caldicott, Beyond Nuclear's Founding PresidentTeaching for Change Bookstore at Busboys and Poets welcomes Helen Caldicott, editor of the new book,

Crisis Without End: The Medical and Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe

 introduced by Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 

6:30 to 8:00 PM

Busboys and Poets - 14th & V, N.W., Washington, D.C.

 

Sponsors: 

Physicians for Social Responsibility 

Beyond Nuclear 

Teaching for Change 

Busboys and Poets

 

Beyond Nuclear's Cindy Folkers and Kevin Kamps presented at the 2013 symposium which led to this new book. Summaries of their presentations are included.

Tuesday
Oct072014

Coalition asserts Fermi 3 transmission corridor violates NEPA

Atomic reactors and their electrical transmission lines are inextricably interlinked, yet NRC staff has failed to undertake a NEPA review of the proposed new Fermi 3 transmission line corridor's environmental impacts.The environmental coalition intervening against the proposed new Fermi 3 reactor has re-asserted its nearly three-year old challenge, directly to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's five Commissioners themselves, that the inextricably interlinked transmission line corridor needed to export the electricity to the grid is still in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

The coalition's Toledo-based attorney, Terry Lodge, filed a Petition for Review with the NRC Commissioners by their ordered deadline. The petition defends not only the contention's merit, but also its separation from the NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) panel's request to the Commissioners for permission to undertake a sua sponte review.

That is, the ASLB panel has requested permission to review, on its own initiative, the NRC staff's apparent violation of NEPA, by failing to undertake an Environmental Impact Statement review of the proposed new transmission corridor, which will past through forested wetlands, likely habitat to endangered and threatened species.

Detroit Edison (DTE) proposes to construct and operate a General Electric-Hitachi (GEH) so-called Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) -- "Unit 3" -- at the Fermi nuclear power plant in Frenchtown Township, on the Lake Erie shore in southeast Michigan. It would be located immediately adjacent to Fermi Unit 2, the world's single largest Fukushima Daiichi twin design (a GE Mark I BWR). Ironically enough, Fermi 3 would be build on the exact same spot where Fermi Unit 1, an experimental plutonium breeder reactor, suffered a partial core meltdown on Oct. 5, 1966, a near-catastrophe documented in John G. Fuller's book We Almost Lost Detroit (Reader's Digest Press, 1975).

The binational coalition intervening against Fermi 3's license includes Beyond Nuclear, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination (CACC), Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario (CEA), Don't Waste Michigan, and the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter. The coalition initially filed its intervention in March 2009, and has submitted dozens of contentions since.