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ARTICLE ARCHIVE


 

Saturday
Sep152012

SAMA contention defended, resistance to Davis-Besse license extension continues

Environmental coalition attorney Terry Lodge speaks at an August 9th press conference at Oak Harbor High School about the severe cracking of Davis-Besse's shield building prior to an NRC public meetingOn Sept. 14th, environmental coalition attorney, Toledo-based Terry Lodge (photo, left), filed a rebuttal against FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company's (FENOC) Motion for Summary Dismissal (MSD) of an intervention contention challenging the Davis-Besse atomic reactor's Severe Accident Mitigation Alernatives (SAMA) analyses.

FENOC recently admitted that it had made five major errors in its original SAMA analyses, including getting wind directions 180 degrees wrong; undervaluing Ohio farmland and urban property values; and underestimating the amount of hazardous radioactivity that could escape into the environment during a meltdown at Davis-Besse, as well as the land area that could become contaminated.

The heart of the environmental coalition's defense of its contention involves the severe cracking of Davis-Besse's outer concrete, steel reinforced shield building, as well as significant corrosion of its inner steel containment vessel. The environmental Intervenors charge that FENOC's SAMA analyses are fatally flawed, for they ignore the questionable structural integrity of Davis-Besse's containment structures, which could fail under even small loads, such as mild earthquakes, or meltdown conditions (high temperatures and pressures, which the shield building was never even designed to withstand when brand new, let alone severely cracked).

The ASLB has indicated it will hold oral argument pre-hearings in the vicinity of Davis-Besse in early November, at which the environmental coalition will defend not only its SAMA contention, but also its shield building cracking contention. More.

Saturday
Sep152012

Palisades a catastrophe waiting to happen, must be shutdown before it melts down

Photo Credit: Steve Carmody, Michigan RadioA strong turn out of concerned local residents and representatives of environmental groups, including Beyond Nuclear, calling for the shutdown of Entergy's Palisades atomic reactor in southwest Michigan, has generated extensive local media coverage. In the photo at left, longtime grassroots anti-nuclear watchdog Catharine Sugas asks the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) “If you can’t shut down a plant that’s dangerous…what are you? How can you keep a plant going that’s obviously dangerous?”

Friday
Sep142012

Japan will be nuclear-free sometime in the 2030s

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has finally done what tens of thousands of Japanese people have been urging - agreed to phase out nuclear power in that country entirely. After demonstrators surrounded his residence every Friday and tens to hundreds of thousands of Japanese took to the streets in unprecedented protests, the Japanese government has agreed to have all nuclear power plants shut down by the 2030s. Noda admitted that the majority of the Japanese public favored a transition to zero use of nuclear power. The government had also been considering 15% and 25% usage. But the continuing aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi triple reactor meltdowns, and the perilous state of unit 4 at the site along with on-going radioactive releases made a continued pro-nuclear policy untenable. More.

Friday
Sep142012

Police brutality and blaming of foreign NGOs mark India clampdown on Koodankulam protesters

Many us have been following the often shocking events unfolding in India as protesters at both the Koodankulam and Jaitapur nuclear sites have been brutalized by authorities. Meanwhile, government officials blame foreign interference and incitement by overseas NGOs. Nothing could be further than the truth, with challenges to the proposed Jaitapur reactors and the fuel loading at the Russian Koodankulam reactors led by prominent Indians such as Admiral Ramdas and S.P. Udayakumar. The latter's life was considered in such danger at Koodankulam that fellow protesters refused to allow him to volunteer for arrest. Thousands occupied the beach and many fled into the sea when police opened fire, killing one protester. Read more. And to participate in support of the Koodankulam protests, go here.

Tuesday
Sep112012

Explosion at oldest French nuclear plant

The oldest operating French nuclear power plant, at Fessenheim near the German border, suffered a chemical explosion on September 5 that sent 8 workers to the hospital, two of them with steam burns. This was just the latest set-back for the French nuclear sector which is struggling to maintain a presence overseas but saw its Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR) all but canceled at the Calvert Cliffs, MD site on August 30. Fessenheim sits on the banks of a river and on an active fault line and has been the object of consistent and large opposition to its continued operation (Colmar rally in 2009 pictured). At first alarm, it was believed a fire had broken out as 50 firefighters were dispatched to the site, operated by EDF. Later, it was described as a chemical explosion that released "non-radioactive" steam. The newly-elected French president, François Hollande, said he would shut the Fessenheim plant during his five-year term which most observers believe means at the end of it, in 2017. Furthermore, his energy minister, Dauphine Batho, has been quoted recently describing nuclear energy as "necessary" and the "energy of the future" causing a flurry of critical and often derisory articles and commentaries in the French media.