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Tuesday
Aug022011

Significant degradation of plant safety reported at Davis-Besse atomic reactor

Despite possessing this photo showing severe corrosion on Davis-Besse's lid, NRC allowed the atomic reactor to continue operating to the brink of rupture in 2002.In a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission "Event Notification Report" dated July 26th, and posted on NRC's website July 27th, entitled "UNANALYZED CONDITIONS INVOLVING THE SAFETY RELATED DIRECT CURRENT (DC) SYSTEM," an "unanalyzed condition that significantly degrades plant safety" and a "condition that could have prevented fulfillment of a safety function" were reported at the problem-plagued Davis-Besse atomic reactor. Two problems were identified, having to do with "an old design issue" going unresolved despite being identified during inspections. The first problem "could challenge the adequacy of electrical separation between the potentially grounded non-safety related equipment and the safety related batteries. The second problem posed the risk of "If a ground fault existed on one of these switches, the fault could be transferred from one power source to the redundant source, potentially impacting the ability of both safety-related DC power sources to perform their required functions." Davis-Besse has had a long litany of near-disasters, as chronicled in a Beyond Nuclear backgrounder. Beyond Nuclear, along with Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Green Party of Ohio, has intervened against Davis-Besse's requested 20 year license extension, and won standing and the admittance of four contentions from NRC's Atomic Safety (sic) and Licensing Board. The contentions argue that (1) wind power alone could replace Davis-Besse; (2) solar photovoltaics alone could replace Davis-Besse; (3) a combination of wind, solar PV, and compressed air storage could certainly replace Davis-Besse; and (4) Davis-Besse severely underestimated the costs and casualties that would result from a catastrophic radioactivity release, a fatal flaw in its Severe Accident Mitigation Alternatives (SAMA) analyses required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

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