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Beyond Nuclear “Freeze Our Fukushimas” petition accepted in part by NRC: Prompts deeper investigation of GE Mark I reactors

On August 16, 2011, a Petition Review Board of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) provided its recommendations to accept and reject in part emergency enforcement actions requested by Beyond Nuclear in an April 13, 2011 petition regarding the 23 Fukushima-style reactors now operating in the US.  

The Beyond Nuclear petition, which NRC confirms includes more than 5,000 additional co-petitioner requests from around the country, seeks to suspend the operation of the dangerous and deeply flawed General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactors until certain safety conditions are met. The NRC review board will now look further into several of Beyond Nuclear’s requested actions.

The petitioners are seeking to have the agency; 1) hold public hearings in each of the emergency planning zones for the Fukushima-style reactors; 2) revoke the agency’s 1989 NRC prior approval allowing nuclear power plant operators to “voluntarily” install the same radioactive containment venting system demonstrated at Fukushima Daiichi to have a 100% failure rate during a severe nuclear accident and; 3) issue an Order to all GE Mark I operators to immediately install dedicated emergency back-up electrical power systems to keep cooling the densely-packed nuclear waste storage pools that sit atop each of the reactors in the event of simultaneous loss of all off-site and on-site electrical power for safety systems. 

The NRC review process will now consider the review board’s recommendation to “accept” in part Beyond Nuclear’s requested actions for additional investigation to include:    

(1)  “Immediately revoke prior pre-approval of the hardened vent system or direct torus vent system at each GE BWR Mark I unit under the provisions of 10 CFR 50.59,” and; 

(2)  “Immediately issue Confirmatory Action Orders to all GE BWR Mark I units to promptly install safety-related backup electrical power (Class E-1) and additional backup DC battery system to ensure reliable supply for the spent fuel pool cooling system.”

The review board further recommended that the agency “reject” in part Beyond Nuclear’s requested actions for any further review to include;

1) “Immediately suspend operating licenses of all GE BWR Mark I units pending full NRC review with independent expert and public participation from the affected emergency planning zone communities,” and;

2) “Conduct public meetings within each of the ten-mile emergency planning zone for each GE BWR site for the purpose of receiving public comment and independent expert testimony regarding the reliability of hardened vent system or direct torus vent system.”

You can still take action and become a co-petitioner with Beyond Nuclear's "Freeze Our Fukushimas" petition.