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Freeze Our Fukushimas

"Freeze Our Fukushimas" is a national campaign created by Beyond Nuclear to permanently suspend the operations of the most dangerous class of reactors operating in the United States today; the 23 General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactors, the same flawed design as those that melted down at Fukushima-Daiichi in Japan.

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Monday
Mar102014

Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster

David Lochbaum, Edwin Lyman, Susan Q. Stranahan, and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) have published a book in time for the third anniversary of the beginning of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe. The book details the blow by blow unfolding of the disaster at Japan, and serves as a searing indictment of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's dereliction of its safety duty domestically, risking an American Fukushima.

See UCS's web post about the book's publication here. See UCS's press release here. See UCS's blog post here.

UCS's Director of News & Commentary, Elliott Negin posted a blog at HuffPost's Green site. LA Times Pulitzer Prize-winning business columnist Michael Hiltzik has pointed to Fukushima's lessons learned (his column includes a link to his earlier review of the book).

Lochbaum is the head of the UCS's Nuclear Safety Project, and also author of Nuclear Waste Disposal Crisis. Lyman is a senior scientist in the Global Security Program of UCS. Stranahan was the lead reporter of the Philadelphia Inquirer's Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the Three Mile Island accident and the author of Susquehanna: River of Dreams.

Given the presence of 23 operating GE BWR Mark Is in the U.S., and 8 operating Mark IIs, this book has important Fukushima "lessons learned" to be applied here. This is especially true, given the conclusion of the Japanese Diet (Parliament), that the root cause of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe was not the earthquake and tsunami, but rather the industry-regulatory agency-elected official collusion, which left the nuclear power plant so vulnerable to the natural disasters. Of course, as this book makes clear, we have such collusion in spades here in the U.S.

Friday
Mar072014

NRDC: Preventing Hydrogen Explosions in Severe Nuclear Accidents

Hydrogen explosion at Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3 in mid-March 2011, which turned the reactor building into rubble and deposited 50 tons of debris into the high-level radioactive waste storage poolAs the fourth year of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe is about to begin on March 11th, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has published a report, Preventing Hydrogen Explosions in Severe Nuclear Accidents: Unresolved Safety Issues Involving Hydrogen Generation and Mitigation. This report was authored by nuclear safety consultant Mark Leyse. Christopher Paine, who served as contributing editor on the report, has published a blog. NRDC has also put out a press release.

The hydrogen explosions at the General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactors at Fukushima Daiichi Units 1, 3, and 4 contributed to Beyond Nuclear's decision to launch its Freeze Our Fukushimas campaign, in April 2011, calling for the immediate and permanent shutdown of the 23 identically-designed U.S. Mark Is, and the 8 similarly-designed Mark IIs, across the U.S.

Wednesday
Mar052014

What's next at Fukushima? Are U.S. nuclear plants at risk? Beyond Nuclear press release

Read the full press release here.

Some excerpts:

“Few lessons from Fukushima have been learned in the U.S. One of the most important should be that high density U.S. pools are emptied into hardened on-site storage as soon as possible, before the worst happens, whether due to natural disaster or terrorist attack.” Kevin Kamps

“The American Medical Association has passed a resolution pressing for seafood testing for the U.S. But independent testing is almost non-existent. We have the highest allowable limit of radioactive cesium in the world, but not the robust food testing needed to see if we are exceeding it." Cindy Folkers

“The U.S. nuclear industry has claimed that our nuclear power plants are not vulnerable to severe earthquakes and tsunamis. In reality, 34 U.S. reactors located downstream of 50 major dams could suffer a prolonged and potentially catastrophic loss of power caused by a dam break and the resulting inland tsunami." Paul Gunter

"Japan’s predicament spotlights exactly how detrimental the nuclear energy path has been to preserving our planet. We cannot take back the disastrous releases of radioactivity. But Japan, like Germany, could now choose to renounce any further such risks.” Linda Gunter

The U.S. has 23 operating GE BWR Mark Is, identical in design to Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4, and another 8 operating Mark IIs, very similar in design.

Monday
Mar032014

Karl Grossman, commemorating three years of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe

Karl Grossman, reknowned author and educator on the inherent hazards of nuclear technology, brings us up to date on the ongoing catastrophe of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident which began on March 11, 2011. Inherent in any such discussion is what lessons we should have learned, and applied, at "our Fukushimas": 23 GE BWR Mark Is still operating in the U.S. (identical to Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 2), and an additional 8 GE BWR Mark IIs (very similar in design). The take home lesson? Shut them down, before they melt down!

Thursday
Feb202014

Coalition files Petition to NRC to strengthen reactor license extension rules due to significant new revelations on radioactive waste risks

Environmental coalition attorney Diane CurranA Petition for Rulemaking was filed on Feb. 18th by Washington, D.C.-based attorney, Diane Curran (photo, left), as well as Mindy Goldstein of the Emory U. Turner Environmental Law Clinic, to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The Petition seeks to re-open the License Renewal GEIS (Generic Environmental Impact Statement), in order to consider new and significant information about irradiated nuclear fuel storage impacts that was generated by the NRC Staff during the Expedited Spent Fuel Transfer proceeding, carried out under NRC's Fukushima "Lessons Learned" activities. Curran and Goldstein filed the Petition on behalf of three dozen environmental groups, including Beyond Nuclear.

The filing urges that no reactor license extensions be approved by NRC until the Petition for Rulemaking has been integrated into NRC's safety regulations.

The coalition has issued a press release.

Incredibly enough, NRC has already rubberstamped 20-year license extensions at most, or even almost all, operating US GE BWR Mark Is and IIs (23 and 8, respectively) -- despite intense resistance by local grassroots and even national environmental groups, in many cases. However, the Limerick 1 & 2 Mark IIs in Pennsylvania, as well as the Fermi 2 Mark I in Michigan, could have their license extension application proceedings further delayed by this environmental coalition petition for rulemaking and motion for stay.

Limerick 1 & 2 applied for 20-year license extensions in 2011. NRDC has legally intervened to challenge to license extensions, contending that the SAMA (Severe Accident Mitigation Alternatives) analyses are inadequate. Remarkably, the NRC Atomic Safety (sic) and Licensing Board panel overseeing NRDC's intervention ruled against admitting the contention for a hearing on the merits. In addition to NRDC's intervention, the grassroots group ACE (Alliance for a Clean Environment), led by local Pottstown residents Dr. Buzz Cuthbert and Donna Cuthbert, has long sought Limerick 1 & 2's shutdowns.

Fermi 2 -- the largest Mark I in the world, as big in size as Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 & 2 put together -- has indicated it will seek a 20-year license extension this year. A growing coalition of groups -- Don't Waste MI, Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes, Alliance to Halt Fermi 3, Citizens Resistance at Fermi 2, Beyond Nuclear, and others -- will oppose this, perhaps including by officially intervening in the NRC ASLB proceeding. Several groups (Beyond Nuclear, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste MI, and Sierra Club Michigan Chapter) likewise intervened against the proposed new Fermi 3 (a GE-Hitachi so-called "Economic Simplified BWR," or ESBWR) in March 2009, and have been duking it out with DTE and NRC ever since.