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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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Tuesday
Apr012014

Thom Hartmann quotes Beyond Nuclear on need to "Freeze Our Fukushimas!"

On his radio show, Thom Hartmann quoted Beyond Nuclear on the 23 identical twins to Fukushima Daiichi (General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactors) operating in the U.S., and the additional 8 similarly designed reactors across this country (Mark IIs). Beyond Nuclear staff are frequent guests on Thom's radio and television programs.

Hartmann referred to an exposé by NBC News on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's numerous cover-ups in the initial days of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, unearthed via the Freedom of Information Act. The exposé, entitled "U.S. Nuclear Agency Hid Concerns, Hailed Safety Record as Fukushima Melted," by investigative reporter Bill Dedman, was published on the eve of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe's three-year mark.

Here is Thom Hartmann's observations, from the transcript:

Thom Hartmann here - on the best of the rest of....science & green news.....

You need to know this. Last week marked the third anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. And, recently released documents show that since then, our nuclear regulators have been playing down the risk of a similar incident happening in the U.S. Emails obtained via a Freedom of Information Request show that the higher-ups at the Nuclear Regulatory Agency told staff to hide information from reporters, to keep quiet about NRC scientists studying risk at US plants, and to change the subject when media asked what a worst-case scenario in our country could look like. At the very same time they were down-playing the risk to Americans, experts at the agency were questioning U.S. safety standards and feverishly working to determine if the NRC needed to implement new rules for nuclear plants in our nation. According to nuclear experts, rules aren't enough to prevent a disaster like Fukushima from happening in the U.S. Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear pointed out that there are 23 nuclear plants in our nation that have exact replicas of the nuclear reactor at Fukushima Daiichi, and eight other reactors are similarly designed. These plants, and many others, won't suddenly be safe if the Nuclear Regulatory Commission institutes a few weak regulations. Our regulators and lawmakers seemed to have learned nothing from Fukushima except how to hide the risk of a similar disaster. It's time that regulators own up to the real dangers of nuclear energy, and it's time that Americans stand up and say "No Nukes."

Thursday
Mar272014

NRC rejects environmental coalition emergency enforcement petition calling for shutdown of GE BWR Mark Is and IIs

On March 27, 2014 -- the eve of the 35-year mark on TMI's meltdown -- NRC issued "G20130229 - 2206 Petition Closure Letter Re Revoke Operating License for General Electric Mark I and Mark II Boiling Water Reactors." The closure letter is stored on NRC's ADAMS system under ADAMS Accession No.: ML13338A612.

The NRC closure letter rejects an environmental coalition's -- led by Beyond Nuclear's Reactor Oversight Project Director, Paul Gunter -- emergency enforcement petition from March 2013 seeking the immediate shutdown of GE BWR Mark Is and IIs, of which the US has 23 and 8, respectively, still operating. Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4 were Mark Is, but Mark IIs are also very similarly designed.

Thursday
Mar132014

Coalition calls for OIG investigation into NRC vote against GE BWR Mark I/II radiation filters

On the third anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, Beyond Nuclear was joined by dozens of allied grassroots groups across the country in requesting that the U.S Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) initiate an inquiry into public health and safety matters relating to the NRC's post-Fukushima severe accident countermeasures.

The request regards severe accident countermeasures for the unreliable containment systems on General Electric Mark I and Mark II boiling water reactors (BWR) as identified in “Consideration of Additional Requirements for Containment Venting Systems for Boiling Water Reactors with Mark I and Mark II Containments” (SECY 2012-0157) and the subsequent “Issuance of Order to Modify Licenses with regard to Reliable Hardened Containment Vents Capable of Operation Under Severe Accident Conditions,”( EA 2013-109).

The coalition urges OIG to investigate perceived undue bias of the majority of NRC Commissioners to protect industry financial interests, over public health and safety interests, in a March 19, 2013 vote. Four of the five NRC Commissioners voted to reject the NRC's Japan Lessons Learned Project Directorate staff recommendation to Order the installation of engineered external radiation filters on severe accident capable hardened containment vents.

By its majority vote, the Commission rejected the combined quantitative and qualitative cost-benefit analyses duly performed by the NRC technical staff to justify the associated costs in recommending an Order to require both Option 2 (severe accident capable hardened containment vents) and Option 3 (engineered external high capacity radiation filtration systems on hardened containment vents) be installed on all U.S. GE Mark I and Mark II Boiling Water Reactors.

NRC Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane was the only Commissioner to vote for filters.

Beyond Nuclear launched its Freeze Our Fukushimas campaign, calling for the permanent shutdown of GE BWR Mark Is and IIs, in the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima catastrophe.

Tuesday
Mar112014

Volunteers Crowdsource Radiation Monitoring to Map Potential Risk on Every Street in Japan

As reported by Democracy Now! on the Pacifica Radio Network:

Safecast is a network of volunteers who came together to map radiation levels throughout Japan after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster in 2011. They soon realized radiation readings varied widely, with some areas close to the disaster facing light contamination, depending on wind and geography, while others much further away showed higher readings. Safecast volunteers use Geiger counters and open-source software to measure the radiation, and then post the data online for anyone to access. Broadcasting from Tokyo, we are joined by Pieter Franken, co-founder of Safecast. "The first trip we made into Fukushima, it was an eye-opener. First of all, the radiation levels we encountered were way higher than what we had seen on television," Franken says. "We decided to focus on measuring every single street as our goal in Safecast, so for the last three years we have been doing that, and this month we are passing the 15 millionth location we have measured, and basically every street in Japan has been at least measured once, if not many, many more times."

The atomic reactors that melted down and exploded at Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4 were General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactors. The U.S. has 23 still-operating Mark Is, as well as 8 more very similarly designed Mark IIs.

Monday
Mar102014

U.S. Nuclear Agency Hid Concerns, Hailed Safety Record as Fukushima Melted

Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4 were General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactors. The U.S. has 23 still-operating Mark Is, as well as an additional 8 Mark IIs of very similar design.

As reported by NBC News's Bill Dedman, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Office of Public Affairs defended its own image, as well as that of the nuclear power industry, as its top priority during the first days of the fast-breaking Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe three years ago. As revealed by internal NRC emails obtained via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), NRC went so far as to attack Dedman's own reporting at the time, when he used a little known NRC report published in 2010 to rank the seismic risk at atomic reactors across the U.S. The confusion created by NRC's attack on Dedman's reporting dissuaded other news outlets, including the New York Times, from mentioning NRC's ranking of seismic risks -- of which Entergy Nuclear's twin reactor Indian Point nuclear power plant on the Hudson River near New York City had the worst ranking in the U.S. 21 million people live or work within 50 miles of Indian Point. In 2008, seismologists at Columbia University warned about previously unknown earthquake fault lines near Indian Point.