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Monday
Aug012011

Japan Nuclear Agency in New Storm 

"The Japanese government disclosed reports Friday showing that its primary nuclear regulator [NISA] tried to manipulate public opinion at forums to promote nuclear power, findings that further damage the industry's already tattered reputation.

NISA had asked nuclear utilities to "seed" public events with utility employees and pro nuclear people and attempted to have the utility "give them supportive questions they could ask."

"NISA has been attacked by industry critics for having been too lax and too close to nuclear-plant operators ever since details of the March 11 events at Fukushima began to emerge." Wall Street Journal

Monday
Aug012011

N.R.C. Lowers Estimate of How Many Would Die in Meltdown

"The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is approaching completion of an ambitious study that concludes that a meltdown at a typical American reactor would lead to far fewer deaths than previously assumed."

However, "the study assumed a successful evacuation of 99.5 percent of the people within 10 miles, for example. The report also assumes 'average' weather conditions" as noted by Edwin Lyman of UCS. The New York Times

As the Fukushima disaster has clearly demonstrated, nearly perfect evacuation is impossible and radiation does not deposit in concentric circles radiating out from the plant, but rather, follows the weather.

Monday
Aug012011

Fukushima radiation readings peg monitors offscale at 1000 REM/hr

Deadly doses of radiation at ground level around the shambles of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant were recorded at the highest level since the March 11, 2011 nuclear accident at 10 sieverts per hour sending radiation monitors off scale. Radiation exposures of 500 REM can cause prompt fatality.

Sunday
Jul312011

"I Told You So" - great new anti-nuclear song by John Hall

Friday
Jul292011

Waste commission rubberstamps more nuclear but rejects reprocessing - for now

A year and a half after its creation, on July 29th Energy Secretary Chu’s “Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future” (BRC) has published its draft report of recommendations for dealing with the mountain of U.S. high-level radioactive waste now nearly 70 years high.

The good news: The BRC rejects reprocessing for now. The report states: “No currently available or reasonably foreseeable reactor and fuel cycle technology developments—including advances in reprocess and recycle technologies—have the potential to fundamentally alter the waste management challenge this nation confronts over at least the next several decades, if not longer. Put another way, we do not believe that today’s recycle technologies or new technology developments in the next three to four decades will change the underlying need for an integrated strategy that combines safe, interim storage of SNF with expeditious progress toward siting and licensing a permanent disposal facility or facilities.”

The bad news: The BRC recommends continued funding for the industry that caused unsolvable radioactive waste problem in the first place and advocates centralized interim storage – and ultimately a permanent repository site – both of which raise transportation as well as on-site security risks among other problems. Beyond Nuclear is in  consensus with the position of a broad coalition of national, regional, and grassroots environmental groups that recommend hardened on-site storage at reactor sites as an interim measure to address ongoing, unacceptable risks with pools and dry casks. Despite repeated recommendations to the BRC, this option was not embraced by commission. Due to is safety and security risks and disproportionate targeting of indigenous lands, there is widespread opposition to centralized interim storage and the unnecessary radioactive waste transportation it would require. The BRC says it is open to public comment on its draft. Its final report is due out in early 2012.

Read the Beyond Nuclear press release for our more detailed take on the BRC draft report.

 WHAT YOU CAN DO

Register your disapproval with the BRC for advocating “consolidated interim storage.” Urge them instead to address the current, potentially catastrophic risks posed by the storage of radioactive waste in indoor pools and in outdoor dry casks, and advocate instead for hardened on-site storage as a medium-term alternative.

Contact President Obama and Energy Secretary Chu, again urging hardened on-site storage, rather than “consolidated interim storage” for radioactive wastes that already exist. Urge them that nuclear power be phased out so that no more radioactive waste is generated.

Urge your two U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative to oppose the bill introduced by U.S. Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), two long-time supporters of the nuclear power industry, or any similar legislation that would rush risky radioactive waste shipments onto our roads, rails, and waterways.

See Beyond Nuclear's backgrounder for more information on radioactive waste risks, and ideas to communicate to your elected representatives in Congress, as well as Executive Branch officials.