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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
Feb282012

Remembering Fukushima: Will you be marching against nuclear madness?

Beyond Nuclear is compiling a global calendar of events, with additional details found on our March Against Nuclear Madness Facebook page. Search our listings for an event near you. Or post yours to our Facebook page or email them to linda@beyondnuclear.org. Whether you are in Brazil or Brattleboro, there is an event for you! We will be speaking at some of these events and can provide literature to those who need additional support materials.

Although the U.S. has 23 GE BWR Mark Is (identical in design to Fukushima Daiichi Units 1-4), and another eight GE BWR Mark IIs (very similar in design), its over 70 additional BWRs and PWRs each have their own pathways to catastrophe, as well.

Monday
Feb272012

Independent investigation documents that "demonic chain reaction" of atomic reactor meltdowns could have forced Tokyo's evacuation

Yoichi Funabashi, founder of the Rebuild Japan Initiative FoundationMartin Fackler of the New York Times has reported that an imminent, high-level independent investigation into the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Catastrophe has documented that the worst-case scenarios were intentionally concealed from the Japanese people and world community. Led by Yoichi Funabashi (pictured, left), former editor in chief of the daily newspaper Asahi Shimbun, regarded as one of Japan’s foremost intellectuals, an investigative team "of 30 university professors, lawyers and journalists" came together to form the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation. Over the course of six months, it interviewed more than 300 people, including top government and nuclear officials involved in the response, to compile a 400 page report due out within days, described as "one of the most vivid accounts yet of how Japan teetered on the edge of an even larger nuclear crisis than the one that engulfed the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant."

The article describes what might have happened if Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) had been allowed to abandon emergency efforts at Fukushima Daiichi, as it considered doing in the first days:

'The report quotes the chief cabinet secretary at the time, Yukio Edano, as having warned that such a “demonic chain reaction” of plant meltdowns could result in the evacuation of Tokyo, 150 miles to the south.

“We would lose Fukushima Daini, then we would lose Tokai,” Mr. Edano is quoted as saying, naming two other nuclear plants. “If that happened, it was only logical to conclude that we would also lose Tokyo itself.”

The Foundation 'credited Mr. Kan [the former Japanese Prime Minister who was serving when the catastrophe began, and resigned in August, 2011] with making the right decision in forcing Tepco not to abandon the plant.

“Prime Minister Kan had his minuses and he had his lapses,” Mr. Funabashi said, “but his decision to storm into Tepco and demand that it not give up saved Japan.” '

As listed in Beyond Nuclear's pamphlet "Freeze Our Fukushimas," the U.S. has 23 identically designed GE BWR Mark Is, and an additional eight similarly designed Mark IIs.

Friday
Feb242012

Danger Zone: Aging Nuclear Reactors

[22 of the 23 GE BWR Mark Is -- identical in design to Fukushima Daiichi Units 1-4 -- operating in the U.S. have already gotten NRC rubberstamps to operate not 40 years, but 60 years. The only exception, thus far, is Fermi 2 in MI. And half of the eight similarly designed Mark IIs have also gotten their license extensions rubberstamped, as well. The exceptions are Limerick 1 & 2 in PA, and LaSalle 1 & 2 in IL. Beyond Nuclear's pamphlet "Freeze Our Fukushimas" lists all 31 GE BWR Mark Is and IIs in the U.S.]

Al Jazeera's weekly program "People & Power" has produced an excellent exposé on the more than 70 risky rubberstamps the Nuclear Regulatory has granted: 20 year license extensions at "break down phase," age-degraded atomic reactors across the U.S. Here is the introduction:

Following Japan's nuclear disaster last year there are fears the US may be heading for a nuclear catastrophe of its own

In March 2011, a devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

As tens of thousands of people were evacuated from nearby towns and villages, the world waited anxiously to see whether the radioactive fallout would spread across the country, or even be carried overseas.

Unsurprisingly, in the wake of this incident, the nuclear operations of other countries have come under considerable scrutiny.

One such country is the US where more than 100 similar reactors - some of them in earthquake zones or close to major cities - are now reaching the end of their working lives.

Their owners want to keep them running, but others - from environmentalists to mainstream politicians - are deeply concerned.

In this investigation for People & Power, Joe Rubin and Serene Fang of the Center for Investigative Reporting examine whether important safety considerations are being taken into account as the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) considers extending the licences of these plants.

The agency has recently come under fire for glossing over the potential dangers of ageing reactors, for becoming too cosy with the industry and for political infighting among the agency's senior executives, which critics in the US Senate and elsewhere say seriously hampers its ability to ensure safety.

The investigation focuses on the Pacific Gas & Electric nuclear facility at Diablo Canyon and two others, which are at Indian Point in New York and Fort Calhoun in Nebraska.

These three sites represent the dangers posed to nuclear power plant safety by earthquakes, terrorism and flooding.

Rubin and Fang discover that the NRC's oversight track record is far from perfect, and that unless urgent action is taken the US could be heading for a nuclear catastrophe of its own.

Thursday
Feb232012

"Fog of War" begins to part almost a year after the Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe began

As first reported by Steve Mufson of the Washington Post on Feb. 7th, transcripts and audio recordings of U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission responses to the unfolding Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Catastrophe in the first hours, days, and weeks after March 11, 2011-- recently released in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by journalists and environmentalists -- reveal a state of confused chaos and groping frustration. Clearly, NRC's March 13, 2011 media release, claiming that no harmful levels of Fukushima radioactive fallout would reach U.S. territory, were -- as Beyond Nuclear warned in media interviews at the time -- at best premature (as a number of large-scale explosions were yet to happen, and meltdowns were still very much underway). However, the recently released documentation reveals that a strong element of deception was also at work, as NRC was aware that Alaska could experience plumes of radioactive Iodine-131, hazardous to human thyroid glands. An NRC official referred to the proposal -- from a U.S. Department of Energy ad hoc emergency response think tank -- to use a shaped charge to blow a hole through a radiological containment structure, in order to create a pathway for cooling water flow to a melting down reactor core, as "madness."

As revealed by a Feb. 22nd New York Times article by Matt Wald, as well as a transcript uncovered by Scott Portzline of Three Mile Island Alert, NRC was very much in spin mode, worried about the political ramifications and public perceptions in response to the unfolding radioactive calamity. The latter transcript could be entitled "How many NRC staff does it take to make a hole?" Several NRC staff spend pages of transcript just over a week into the nuclear catatrophe discussing how to enlarge a hole in the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2 reactor building's roof, in order to "vent" explosive hydrogen gas, partly to avoid the "political" fallout of yet another large-scale explosion broadcast worldwide on live t.v. Frighteningly, deputy administrator Chuck Casto of NRC's Western U.S. regional office suggests using a helicopter to drop or slam a heavy weight, such as a colorfully named "Bambi bucket" (a large water filled container used for fighting forest fires), above or beside the irradiated nuclear fuel storage pool. Apparently, Casto was unfamiliar with 2001 and 1997 NRC reports, as cited in the 2003 Alvarez et al. study about pool fire risks, warning that a "heavy load drop" that drains a storage pool's cooling water could cause a radioactive waste inferno releasing up to 100% of the irradiated nuclear fuel's volatile Cesium-137, resulting in 25,000 to 143,000 latent cancer deaths downwind, up to 2,700 square miles of agricultural land condemned, and economic costs due to evacuation into the hundreds of billions of dollars.

In addition, National Public Radio's "Marketplace" has just posted audio recordings of NRC discussions.

As listed in Beyond Nuclear's "Freeze Our Fukushimas" pamphlet, the U.S. has 23 operating GE BWR Mark Is (identical in design to Fukushima Daiichi Units 1-4), and another eight similarly designed Mark IIs.

When it comes to NRC FOIA responses, "patience is a virtue." NRC's FOIA office has told Beyond Nuclear that its requests for documentation on the Davis-Besse atomic reactor's cracked containment will take four months to provide. Even worse, NRC's FOIA office has told Beyond Nuclear that there is no date certain for responding to a request for documentation on allegations that NRC Commissioner William Magwood IV regularly meets with nuclear industry representatives "off campus," in violation of norms -- and perhaps even laws and regulations -- pertaining to open, transparent, and accountable government, principles promised by President Barack Obama within hours of taking office in January 2009.

Tuesday
Feb212012

CNN links growing concerns with Vermont Yankee to Fukushima tragedy

CNN Presents featured a segment on the growing controversy around the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant which is one of the  23 GE Mark I boiling water reactors operating in the United States that is the same design as the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power stations that exploded and melted down in Japan following the  March 11, 2012 earthquake and tsunami. The Vermont legislature voted to permanently close the reactor on March 22, 2012 while the NRC voted to extend the reactor operating license by 20 years, just days after the Fukushima accident.

Here is the February 17, 2012  news account of the TV feature.

Beyond Nuclear was part of the Breaking News story from the CNN Situation Room on March 11, 2011 warning that the GE reactors were in danger of exploding into a nuclear catastrophe.

Watch the CNN Presentation February 18, 2012 televised story:

Part 1

Part 2