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Tuesday
Mar102015

Coalition challenges RPV regulatory rollbacks at Entergy's age-degraded Palisades atomic reactor on Great Lakes shore

Entergy Nuclear's Palisades atomic reactor, located 4 miles south of South Haven, in Covert, MI on the Lake Michigan shoreline.An environmental coalition, represented by Toledo-based attorney Terry Lodge, as well as expert witness Arnie Gundersen (Chief Engineer, Fairewinds Associates, Inc.), has filed another challenge to proposed safety regulation rollbacks regarding the age-degraded reactor pressure vessel (RPV) at Entergy Nuclear's 44-year-old Palisades atomic reactor located in Covert, MI on the Lake Michigan shoreline (see photo, left).

Lodge filed the intervention petition opposing Entergy's License Amendment Request (LAR), regarding RPV plates and welds decreasing below "Charpy V-Notch Upper-Shelf Energy" values of 50 ft.-lbs, by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) deadline. He also refiled Gundersen's expert witness declaration, which accompanied the coalition's parallel, Dec. 1, 2014 intervention petition opposing Entergy's LAR for "alternate" (that is, weakened) RPV pressurized thermal shock (PTS) regulatory treatment, as well as a Feb. 15, 2015 Greenpeace International report warning that RPV cracking in Belgian reactors could indicate a worldwide danger, including at Palisades.

Under direct questioning by watchdogs, NRC has been forced to admit, multiple times, that Palisades has the single worst embrittled RPV in the U.S. Palisades' RPV is at serious risk of PTS fracture. A loss-of-coolant-accident (LOCA) would result, and almost certain reactor core meltdown. If containment were breached, a catastrophic release of hazardous radioactivity would occur on the very edge of the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes serve as the drinking water supply for 40 million people in eight U.S. states, two Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations.

The coalition includes Beyond Nuclear, Don't Waste Michigan, Michigan Safe Energy Future--Shoreline Chapter, and Nuclear Energy Information Service of Chicago.