In yet another of his "Aging Nukes" articles, "NRC and industry rewrite nuke history," Associated Press reporter Jeff Donn reports that decades ago, engineers and regulators were clear that atomic reactors were never meant to operate longer than their original 40 year licenses, if that. Donn reports that "The 40-year license was created by Congress as a somewhat arbitrary political compromise — 'some long period of time, because nobody in his right mind would want to operate a nuclear plant beyond that time,' said Ivan Selin, an engineer who chaired the NRC in the early 1990s." However, since the year 2000, NRC has rubberstamped 66 of the 20 year license extensions, with dozens more in the works. But 60 years of operations isn't risky enough for NRC or the industry -- for several years now, there has been talk of approving 80, even 100, years of operations. Donn appeared on Democracy Now! this morning.
As Bloomberg reports, despite the “ 'blindingly obvious' need for greater transparency," the International Atomic Energy Agency has invoked secrecy surrounding its June 20 to 24 review of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, effectively delaying any safety significant lessons learned for application at atomic reactors around the world, as well as societal decision making about the future of nuclear power. IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor explained that the Fukushima catastrophe evaluation meetings will be closed “because of the highly detailed and technical nature of the drafting work.” Members of the public and journalists are barred from attending the invitation-only sessions. This utter lack of transparency flies in the face of the Japanese government's own report to the IAEA, dated June 7th, calling for and commiting to maximum transparency in the ongoing aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe.
Musicians United for Safe Energy anti-nuclear concert to benefit Japanese recovery efforts in aftermath of Fukushima catastrophe
Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE), founded in 1979 in the aftermath of the Three Mile Island meltdown, is reuniting for an August 7th concert in Mountain View, CA to benefit Japanese disaster recovery in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe. The line up thus far includes: Crosby, Stills and Nash; Jackson Browne; Bonnie Raitt; Jason Mraz; Tom Morello; Kitaro; Sweet Honey in the Rock; and Jonathon Wilson. MUSE has published a poster and a media release about the concert. The Guacamole Fund and Nukefree.org are helping with the concert. The 1979 MUSE concerts at Madison Square Garden played to sold out crowds for a week; a free concert was then performed outdoors at Battery Park in New York City for a huge crowd.
In the wake of new nuclear power plant build rebukes in both Germany and Italy, a new poll conducted by international research company Ipsos for Reuters News finds that global support for nuclear energy has dropped quickly to 38% (down 16 points from 54%) to now become lower than support for coal (48%)—fuelled by a 26% jump in new opponents to nuclear power (above 50% in India, China, Japan and South Korea) who indicate that the recent crisis in Japan caused their decision. Ipsos also released a detailed power point presentation of their findings. The survey of nearly 19,000 people in 24 countries also showed that nearly three-quarters of people think nuclear energy is only a limited and soon obsolete form of energy. Solar energy topped the charts with 97% of respondents strongly favoring it, closely followed by 93% for wind power.
An important exposé by Jeff Donn of the Associated Press on June 21 that shows that "radioactive tritium has leaked from three-quarters of U.S. commercial nuclear power sites, often into groundwater from corroded, buried piping." The story confirms the findings in our 2010 report, Leak First, Fix Later. Beyond Nuclear also contributed background on the story. Some leaks migrated off site and at three sites — two in Illinois and one in Minnesota — leaks have contaminated drinking wells of nearby homes, the AP report shows. Read the full AP investigation.
Appendix A of the Beyond Nuclear report "Leak First, Fix Later" lists the radioactive leak events at each of the US nuclear power plants through April 2010.