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Thursday
Aug252011

Hurricane Irene threatens U.S. atomic reactors on East Coast

Aug. 25th NOAA GOES-East satellite photo of Hurricane Irene bearing down on U.S. Atlantic CoastAs reported by Fox News, Hurricane Irene's landfall on the U.S. Atlantic seaboard is threatening atomic reactors:

"...Inspectors were also making sure the state's [of New Jersey's] four nuclear power plants were secured for the storm...

...Skip Sindoni, a spokesman for PSEG Nuclear, which operates three of the state's four nuclear reactors, said inspections were under way to make sure the plants' water-tight doors are working and to secure anything that could be loosened by the wind. He said the plants would be taken offline if it looks like hurricane-force winds are within two hours. He also said they could be shut down if floodwater reaches a certain level...".

PSEG Nuclear owns and operates three reactors -- Salem 1 & 2 and Hope Creek (a Fukushima Daiichi twin) -- on Artificial Island, NJ, just 15 miles from Wilmington, DE. Exelon Nuclear owns and operates the Oyster Creek reactor (another Fukushima Daiichi twin) near Toms River on the Atlantic Coast.

The article reported that electricity outages are of concern across Connecticut and Virginia, which could throw atomic reactors onto emergency diesel back up power, itself infamous for malfunctioning (Brunswick nuclear power plant, directly in the path of Hurricane Irene, has suffered 7 EDG breakdowns in 6 years, as documented by U.S. Rep. Ed Markey), in order to continue cooling hot reactor cores:

"...Gov. Dannel P. Malloy declared a state of emergency in Connecticut as residents stocked up on generators and other provisions Thursday and officials warned they should prepare for potentially prolonged power outages from Hurricane Irene, which threatened to dump up to a foot of rain on this already saturated state...

Malloy said this has been the clearest warning about a major hurricane hitting Connecticut, giving state and local officials, as well as the utilities, time to prepare for the storm. The electric and gas utilities have detailed response plans, including contracting with tree removal crews in anticipation of downed limbs and trees, he said.

Connecticut Light & Power, which serves 1.2 million customers, said it was cancelling vacations, putting all its personnel on standby and coordinating with sister companies in Massachusetts and New Hampshire to have additional crews available to restore power...

...[in Virginia,] Emergency officials are warning residents to prepare for massive power outages, flooding and damage from Hurricane Irene, a Category 3 storm that is expected to hit Virginia late Saturday or early Sunday."

Connecticut's operating reactors include Millstone Units 2 and 3 on Long Island Sound. Virginia's operating reactors are Surry on the James River, and North Anna Units 1 and 2 in Mineral, which just scrammed and declared an alert two days ago due to the 5.8 magnitude earthquake, consequent loss of offsite power, and failure of an emergency diesel generator. The Lake Anna Dam, which holds back Lake Anna, North Anna nuclear power plant's cooling water supply, is also of questionable structural integrity, especially after the earthquake.

Power Engineering also reported on this story. Jeff Tittel of the New Jersey Sierra Club has also written about Hurricane Irene's threat to the Garden State's 4 atomic reactors. Reuters lists 20 atomic reactors in 9 East Coast states "that could be in the path of Hurricane Irene." Reuters also reported more details on storm preparations being taken at various nuclear plants. Bloomberg has also reported on this story.

Thursday
Aug252011

Mass non-violent civil resistance at White House against dirty energy 

Among anti-tar sands activists is Dave Schlesinger, seated in the first row in dark ball cap, also active in Calvert Cliffs 3 and Clamshell activism.Daily waves of about 50 people, protesting against the 1,700 mile long XL Keystone tar sands oil pipeline proposed from Canada to Texas, are being arrested at the White House. Mike Tidwell, founder of Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), has written about his own and hundreds of others' experience in "Jailhouse Rock: Activists Score Victory Over Police in Tar Sands Pipeline Fight -- The Inside Scoop." CCAN is an ally of Beyond Nuclear in the Chesapeake Safe Energy Coalition's fight against the proposed new French Areva reactor targeted at Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant in Maryland.

A non-violent civil resistance campaign for the shutdown of Vermont Yankee atomic reactor has been under way for several years already. The Shut It Down Affinity Group has been led by grandmothers and great-grandmothers, such as nonagenarian Francis Crowe. Francis was active with the Clamshell Alliance 35 years ago, when 1,414 people were arrested on a single day in 1977 protesting the Seabrook nuclear power plant. The non-violent direct action campaign is heating up in Vermont.

Thursday
Aug252011

Paul Gunter on North Anna and earthquake: Thom Hartmann

Thursday
Aug252011

Aftershock causes "unusual event" at North Anna

NRC file photo of North Anna, on the Lake Anna shore.At 1:18 a.m. Eastern on August 25th, Dominion Nuclear communicated a "Notice of Unusual Event" at its North Anna nuclear power plant in Mineral, VA to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) when an aftershock registering less than 5.0 on the Richter scale, according to National Public Radio, impacted the site.

Thursday
Aug252011

NRC, Entergy reach agreement on quality assurance, retaliation against workers who raise safety concerns at 11 reactors

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued a media release, "NRC ISSUES CONFIRMATORY ORDER TO ENTERGY WITH ACTIONS TO IMPROVE QUALITY CONTROL AND EMPLOYEE CONCERNS PROGRAMS." NRC and Entergy Nuclear have reached agreement, through a "neutral mediator," regarding safety significant quality assurance practices, as well as resolving allegations by workers that Entergy retaliates against them for raising safety concerns. NRC refers to this "neutral mediation" as its "Alternative Dispute Resolution process." Why the federal regulatory agency charged with protecting public health, safety, and the environment had to undergo "neutral mediation" with Entergy, rather than simply cracking down on the licensee's safety and workplace violations, is not explained. The agreement applies at 11 atomic reactors owned and operated by Entergy: Arkansas Nuclear One Units 1 and 2, James Fitzpatrick (NY), Grand Gulf (MS), Indian Point Units 2 and 3 (NY), Palisades (MI), Pilgrim (MA), River Bend (LA), Vermont Yankee, and Waterford 3 (LA).