Environmental coalition rebuts challenges against Fermi 3 proposed new reactor contention

Environmental coalition attorney Terry Lodge of ToledoAttorney Terry Lodge of Toledo (photo, left), and expert witness Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer at Fairewinds Associates, Inc, have filed a rebuttal against challenges brought by Detroit Edison and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff (NRC) regarding Quality Assurance (QA) contentions in opposition to the proposed new Fermi 3 atomic reactor.

The rebuttal includes expert witness testimony by Gundersen, and an "Intervenor's Rebuttal Statement of Position" legal filing by Lodge.

Lodge and Gundersen filed their rebuttal on behalf of an environmental coalition comprised of Beyond Nuclear, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Sierra Club's Michigan Chapter.

Fermi 3 is a proposed new General Electric-Hitachi so-called "ESBWR" ("Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor"), targeted at the Lake Erie shoreline in Monroe County, Michigan, 8 miles as the crow flies (or the radioactivity blows) from Ontario, Canada.

NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board hearings are set for Halloween on not only this QA contention, but also an Eastern Fox Snake threatened species contention. In addition, Fermi 3's combined Construction and Operation License Application (COLA) cannot be finalized until NRC completes its court-ordered Environmental Impact Statement on its so-called [High-Level] Nuclear Waste Confidence Rule, a proceeding that could take years.


Landfill fire near radioactive waste dump raises alarm in St. Louis

Kay Drey, Beyond Nuclear board member and long-time watchdog on West Lake landfillIn early May, Rolling Stone quoted Beyond Nuclear board member Kay Drey (photo, left), regarding a municipal garbarge dump fire burning underground precariously near a radioactive waste dump near St. Louis.

Kay is a long-time watchdog on the West Lake landfill, a radioactive waste dump in the Missouri River floodplain near St. Louis. Mallinckrodt Chemical Co. processed Belgian Congo uranium during the secret Manhattan Project race to develop the atomic bomb in the 1940s. Those radioactive wastes were then dumped at the West Lake landfill in 1973. EPA wants to abandon them in place. Kay has long worked to have them removed from the Missouri River floodplain, not far upstream from St. Louis drinking water supply intakes.

Now the Associated Press/New York Times and St. Louis Magazine have reported on "the possibility of a slow-moving disaster right before our eyes," in the words of Ed Smith of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. The former article focuses on the health risks to nearby communities if the fire reaches the radioactive waste dump, while the latter article focuses on the health damage that the radioactive wastes may have already inflicted, especially in local children downstream.


USA, an energy innovator, launches first floating deepwater wind turbine in the world 

On May 31, 2013, the University of Maine and the Advanced Structures & Composite Center will put the United States in the lead as a safe energy innovator by launching the first-in-the world floating deepwater wind turbine that will be connected to the land-based electrical grid.  The VolturnUS wind turbine is the first of its kind with a advanced composite floating hull and tower. It is the product of the collaborative steppingstone effort to harvest 5 Gigawatts of renewable offshore wind from the Gulf of the Maine by 2030.  The launch paves the way for the first full scale deep water deployment of the 6 MW floating turbine in 2016.


Common Cause of NY outs Entergy's spending on lobbying, campaign contributions, and false front groups to win Indian Point license extensions

In a major report, Common Cause of New York has revealed that Entergy Nuclear has spent, from 2005 to 2012 alone, over $40 million at the state and national levels on lobbying, campaign contributions, and the operation of false front groups to win 20-year license extension at Indian Point Units 2 & 3, dangerously close to New York City. See links to the report summary, the full report, a press release, and extensive media coverage of the report's release.

over $4.5 million in New York State and $35.6 million in Washington on political contributions and lobbying. - See more at:

Risk of "dirty shutdown" at Paducah gaseous diffusion uranium enrichment plant

Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. Photo credit: USEC/U.S. Department of EnergyIn a two-part series, Geoffrey Sea of Neighbors for an Ohio Valley Alternative (NOVA) has exposed deep financial troubles which could lead to major radiological risks at the Paducah gaseous diffusion uranium enrichment plant in Kentucky. Mind boggling mismanagement, or worse, by U.S. Enrichment Corporation (USEC) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are to blame.

Part I, entitled "Countdown to Nuclear Ruin at Paducah," was published May 22nd, and warned that there were just 9 days left to avert a "dirty shutdown" in the many miles of enrichment cells. If the uranium laden gas solidifies within the system, it will make eventual decommissioning and clean up astronomically expensive for taxpayers, and radiologically risky for workers.

Part II, "Slow Cooker at Paducah Comes to a Boil,"  was published May 28th, with only three days left to avert dirty shutdown.

Paducah has operated since the 1950s. Sea reports that Paducah, which employs the highly energy intensive gaseous diffusion uranium enrichment process, has the single biggest electric meter in the country, electrified by two dirty coal plants. It is also one of the single biggest emitters of ozone layer destroying CFC-114, which also happens to be a very potent greenhouse gas.

In September 1999, Joby Warrick of the Washington Post broke the story that post-reprocessing uranium from Hanford Nuclear Reservation, containing fission products and transuranics, had been secretively run through Paducah. Local residents, such as Ron Lamb, had already been long protesting Technetium-99 in his drinking well water, however. Paducah whistleblower Al Puckett helped expose a secret dumping ground for radioactive and hazardous wastes on site. Such revelations help to explain the high cancer rate amongst Paducah workers and area residents.

As Sea reports, USEC is still seeking a $2 billion federal loan guarantee from the Obama administration for its proposed American Centrifuge Plant at Portsmouth, Ohio. Newly confirmed Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has deep ties to USEC, both during his time in the Clinton DOE, as well as afterwards, as a paid private consultant.