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ARTICLE ARCHIVE


 

Friday
Aug242012

FENOC weather seals severely cracked Davis-Besse shield building exterior -- 40 years too late

Painters work high off the ground to apply a protective weatherproof coating to Davis-Besse’s concrete Shield Building. Cracks were discovered in the fall that were blamed on the Blizzard of 1978. THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGTAs reported by the Toledo Blade in an article entitled "Work crews apply waterproof coating to Davis-Besse: Project not silencing critics of plant," the only "corrective action" FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC) plans to take, in response to severe cracking of its radiological containment "shield building," is to weather seal the exterior of the steel-reinforced concrete structure -- four decades too late. FENOC blames the cracking on the "brutal Blizzard of 1978," which Beyond Nuclear has dubbed a snow job -- a charge repeated on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives by long-time Davis-Besse watchdog, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), whose constituents live immediately downwind and downstream from the problem-plagued plant. 

The article quoted both Terry Lodge, Toledo-based attorney representing the environmental coalition (Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Green Party of Ohio) battling against Davis-Besse's 20-year license extension, as well as Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps:

"I'm not at all comforted that they discovered an error that never should have happened to the most expensive and safety-significant building on the site," Mr. Lodge said Thursday.

Added Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear, "It's 40 years too late. Weather sealant will not fix the cracks that are there."

As reported by Fox 8 Cleveland, a FENOC spokesman outright lied: “The shield building meets all its design parameters, we have evaluated it for all its parameters, and it is fully operable,” said Jon Hook, the design engineer manager at the plant.

In fact, both the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and FENOC itself have acknowledged that Davis-Besse's severe shield building cracking violates the atomic reactor's design and licensing bases. At an August 9th public meeting in Oak Harbor, OH, an NRC spokesman, with an audible scoff, admitted that NRC has generously granted FENOC until December 2012 to merely come up with a "plan for a plan" to "restore conformance" -- that is, pencil whip the violations, making everything appear okay on paper.  

Hook also told the Toledo Blade the shield building "wasn't coated originally because 'there was no requirement that it be done...'." Why such a basic no brainer as weather sealant was not required -- on the shoreline of Lake Erie, which suffers severe winter weather -- has never been explained, neither by FENOC nor NRC. Further deepening the mystery is the fact that all other -- much less safety significant and expensive -- concrete structures on site were weather sealed. When asked to explain, FENOC spokeswoman Jennifer Young has simply said it was done for aesthetic reasons, as those other structures appeared "splotchy." 

WNWO also reported on this story.

Thursday
Aug232012

Record radiation levels in fish near Fukushima

Fish on sale near FukushimaThe operator of Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant says it has detected radiation up to 380 times the government safety limit in fish caught near the crippled facility.

It is the highest contamination recorded in marine life so far.

The operator TEPCO recently measured radiation in 20 kinds of fish and shellfish caught along the coast.

It says it detected 38,000 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive caesium in a rock trout caught about a kilometre from Minamisoma City, north of the shattered plant.

TEPCO says it also found high levels of caesium in nine other fish species.

In March 2011 an earthquake and tsunami triggered meltdowns in reactors at the plant. ABC

Also see CNN

Bluefin tuna contaminated from the nuclear catastrophe have been found off the California coast.

Octopus and snail fished from waters near Fukushima showed little cesium contamination and was put out for public sale, but the samples were boiled before testing, potentially compromising the data. Cesium is volatile and boiling could have removed it from the fish flesh. Reports vary on whether all fish was boiled before being put out for sale or whether just the samples were boiled. Of course, the cesium would have to go somewhere, like the boiling water or the steam. Because the samples were boiled, it is unclear how contaminated the fish might have been right out of the ocean. Cesium is only one radionuclide of concern in fish. Strontium-90, which can concentrate in fish bones, is a danger in the waters off Fukushima particularly because a lot if washed into the ocean during the ongoing catastrophe.

Tuesday
Aug212012

Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds Associates: "Can Spent Fuel Pools Catch Fire?"

Fairewinds Associates Chief Engineer Arnie GundersenReproduced verbatim from the Fairewinds Associates website: "In this Fairewinds’ feature, Fairewinds Associates Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen [pictured, left] analyzes a US government national laboratory simulation video that shows nuclear spent fuel rods do catch fire when exposed to air. This simulation video proves Fairewinds’ assertions that nuclear fuel rods can catch fire when exposed to air, and Arnie discusses the ramifications of this phenomena if the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 spent fuel pool were to lose cooling water. 

The Sandia National Laboratories video in its entirety can be seen here."

Monday
Aug202012

Greg Palast: "Fukushima: They Knew"

Investigative reporter Greg PalastFrom Shoreham nuclear power plant on Long Island, NY, to Fukushima Daiichi, Japan, in 2011, investigative reporter Greg Palast (photo left) documents that "they knew" that atomic reactor seismic qualifications were not up to real world risks. See Palast's article, "Fukushima: They Knew," here.

Friday
Aug172012

Kucinich weighs in on NRC OIG investigation of Ostendorff

U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today weighed in on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigation into whether or not NRC Commissioner William C. Ostendorff interfered with another OIG investigation, into why former NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko was kept in the dark about radioactive and acidic water leaks, being caught in buckets in the control room of Entergy Nuclear's Palisades atomic reactor in Covert, Michigan. The Huffington Post broke that story yesterday.

Here is the text of Rep. Kucinich's press release:

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today issued the following statement concerning an investigation by the Inspector General of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission examining the possibility that a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Commissioner undermined a probe of the Palisades [Nuclear] Power Plant in Michigan.

Yesterday, Congressman Kucinich requested the Inspector General investigate the agency’s public response to problems at Davis-Besse. Kucinich’s request came after the Nuclear Regulatory Commission held a hearing in Ohio to reassure the public about the safety of the plant. Official answers from NRC employees made at that hearing differed dramatically from what NRC engineers had previously told Kucinich and his staff.

“I can’t say the cases are related, but the similarities between these two investigations are troubling. In Michigan, an effort to determine why a radioactive leak was kept from the Chairman of NRC may have been undermined. In Ohio, we witnessed agency officials give public statements that varied dramatically from what engineers had told my staff. I cannot determine what caused this change in the answers of these Region III engineers, but I am concerned that it was in response to political pressure. I hope that the Inspector General is able to restore confidence in the NRC’s ability to provide effective oversight of our nation’s nuclear power plants,” said Kucinich.