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Wednesday
Feb222012

Congressman Kucinich outs the truth at Davis-Besse

U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH, pictured at left) has watchdogged the dangerous Davis-Besse atomic reactor not for years, but for decades. Most recently, he has played the essential role of pressuring both FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC) and even the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to admit the truth about what is going on with Davis-Besse's cracked containment. With the backing of NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko, Rep. Kucinich succeeded in winning a public meeting near Davis-Besse on Jan. 5th, where FENOC was forced to admit the cracking was not just in "decorative" elements of the concrete shield building, as it had deceptively held to for months, but rather was structural in nature.

On Feb. 8th, Rep. Kucinich revealed the full significance of cracking in the "outer rebar mat": NRC had concluded by Jan. 5th, if not weeks earlier, that the outer layer of steel reinforcement in Davis-Besse's concrete shield building has lost its functional effectiveness. Outrageously, at least up until Dec. 29, 2011, NRC continued to parrot FENOC's claims that the cracking impacted only "decorative" elements. And at the Jan. 5th "standing room only" public meeting attended by 300 people, including dozens of reporters, NRC failed to communicate to the public the full significance of cracking in the outer rebar mat. In fact, NRC still has not done so.

On Feb. 21st, Rep. Kucinich asked "The question for residents of Ohio is given FirstEnergy’s historical lack of credibility on issues at Davis-Besse, will anyone believe them?" He was referring to a "root cause analysis" by FENOC due by Feb. 28th about the cracking. Read more.

Tuesday
Feb212012

Beyond Nuclear quoted on Palisades' radioactive risks

Anti-nuke watchdogs have long called for Palisades' shut down. Here Don't Waste Michigan board members Michael Keegan, Alice Hirt, and Kevin Kamps speak out at the 2000 Nuclear-Free Great Lakes Action Camp, with the reactor's steam and Lake Michigan in the background.In the past five days, Rosemary Parker at the Kalamazoo Gazette has quoted Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps in two articles focused on the radioactive risks of the Palisades atomic reactor on the Lake Michigan shoreline. On. Feb. 19th, in an article entitled "Is Southwest Michigan ready for nuclear emergency?", she reported:

'...But nuclear watchdog groups point to the hundreds of hours of additional oversight required by the NRC, the plant's aging equipment, the many glitches at the plant in recent months. The group Beyond Nuclear immediately responded to the change of Palisade's regulatory status with calls to "close it down before it melts down."

...Kevin Kamps, whose title is "radioactive waste watchdog" for the antinuclear group Beyond Nuclear, envisions a more unnerving worst-case scenario, akin to the disastrous 1986 explosion at  Chernobyl in Ukraine, where radioactive contamination was released into the atmosphere and traveled for miles.

In his view, disaster at Palisades could put the city of Chicago's drinking water supply at risk, wipe out Southwest Michigan's fruit belt orchards, destroy the area's tourism industry for years and make ghost towns out of thriving lakeshore communities.'

Parker also quoted Kevin's response to recent high-risk accidents at Palisades in a Feb. 16th article.

Kevin was born and raised in Kalamazoo. His anti-nuclear power activism began at Palisades in 1992.

Tuesday
Feb212012

Nuclear fuel at 11 Westinghouse PWRs at risk of dangerously overheating

As reported by Reuters, the NRC has issued a media release admitting that 11 pressurized water reactors (PWRs) using Westinghouse nuclear fuel are at risk of "thermal conductivity degradation" -- that is, they could dangerously overheat during an accident. The 11 PWRs are located at the following nuclear power plants: FirstEnergy's Beaver Valley in Pennsylvania, Exelon's Byron in Illinois, Duke Energy's Catawba in South Carolina and McGuire in North Carolina, American Electric Power's Cook in Michigan, and Dominion's Kewaunee in Wisconsin.

The NRC release stated:  "The NRC alerted the industry to this problem in 2009, and Westinghouse needs to do more to account for thermal conductivity degradation in its fuel performance codes," said Eric Leeds, director of the NRC's Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. "We need assurances from a few nuclear power plants licensees to maintain assurance that they can continue to operate safely with sufficient margin." Despite already having given industry three years to respond, NRC is still giving them another month to do so now.

However, NRC's current limit of 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit for nuclear fuel cladding has been challenged by 10CFR2.206 emergency enforcement petitions filed by concerned citizens. They pointed to data from Germany that showed that ziroconium in fuel rod cladding is dangerously unstable at a significantly lower temperature

Along these lines, the NRC mentioned cryptically at the end of its release: "An additional 23 plants that use Westinghouse performance models also received information copies of the RFI [Request for Proposal], to ensure that they are aware of their obligations to address this error."

In early 2006, Toshiba of Japan acquired Westinghouse. In the early to mid-1970s, Toshiba was the reactor supplier and architect for Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3, the atomic reactor that suffered the worst explosion during the catastrophe; its reactor building now resembles a pile of twisted ruins.

Tuesday
Feb212012

Beyond Nuclear to co-present "Into Eternity" with BetterWorld Happenings in Livonia, Michigan for 3/11 commemoration of Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe

On Sunday, March 11, 2012, the first anniversary of the beginning of the still ongoing Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe, Beyond Nuclear is joining with BetterWorld Happenings to co-present the film "Into Eternity" about the proposed Finnish high-level radioactive waste repository (see the trailer, above). The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. at Unity Church of Livonia, Michigan. Keith Gunter, Promoter and Producer of BetterWorld Happenings, and a Beyond Nuclear Launch Partner, has organized the event. Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps will speak at the screening. A media release has gone out, as well as a flyer.

Nukewatch of Wisconsin just showed "Into Eternity" in Duluth, MN on Feb. 20th. Nuclear Energy Information Service is planning to show it on March 22nd in Chicago (see their press release and "Know Nukes" film series schedule). And yet another screening is in the works for the Blue Water region of Michigan near Port Huron in mid-March, again with Kevin Kamps as a speaker. If you would like to host a screening, learn more here.

Tuesday
Feb212012

CNN links growing concerns with Vermont Yankee to Fukushima tragedy

CNN Presents featured a segment on the growing controversy around the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant which is one of the  23 GE Mark I boiling water reactors operating in the United States that is the same design as the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power stations that exploded and melted down in Japan following the  March 11, 2012 earthquake and tsunami. The Vermont legislature voted to permanently close the reactor on March 22, 2012 while the NRC voted to extend the reactor operating license by 20 years, just days after the Fukushima accident.

Here is the February 17, 2012  news account of the TV feature.

Beyond Nuclear was part of the Breaking News story from the CNN Situation Room on March 11, 2011 warning that the GE reactors were in danger of exploding into a nuclear catastrophe.

Watch the CNN Presentation February 18, 2012 televised story:

Part 1

Part 2