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Thursday
Nov152012

Stop plans for a uranium mine in the Grand Canyon!

The Grand Canyon is again threatened with a uranium mine. Plans to reopen the Canyon mine must be stopped. Please help the Grand Canyon Trust and their allies to block this! Pictured is an old growth Ponderosa Pine chopped down to make way for the uranium mine. Photo by Taylor MacKinnon.

Monday
Nov122012

"Reading Radioactive Tea Leaves": Kewaunee reactor to shut down

John LaForge of Nukewatch in Luck, WI (pictured left) has penned an op-ed, "Reading Radioactive Tea Leaves: Without a Buyer for Old Kewaunee Reactor, Owner Chooses Shut Down." In it, he details the many radioactive bullets Wisconsin has dodged, and has not dodged, at Kewaunee, just in recent years, including: "...a 2009 emergency shutdown caused by improper steam pressure instrument settings; a 2007 loss of main turbine oil pressure; an emergency cooling water system design flaw found in 2006; [the August 2006 discovery of radioactive tritium leaking into groundwater, for an unknown period, from unidentified pipes somewhere beneath the reactor complex]; a possible leak in November 2005 of highly radioactive primary coolant into secondary coolant which is discharged to Lake Michigan; a simultaneous failure of all three emergency cooling water pumps in February 2005, etc.".

Nukewatch has watchdogged Kewaunee for decades. On April 23, 2011, Nukewatch organized a "Walk for a Nuclear-Free Future" from Kewaunee to Point Beach's two reactors -- a distance of seven miles, the same as the distance between Fukushima Daiichi and Daini nuclear power plants -- to commemorate the 25th year since the Chernobyl atomic reactor exploded and burned beginning on April 26, 1986. The event took place just six weeks after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe had begun. Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps took part in the walk, and as a keynote speaker along with Natasha Akulenko, a native of Kiev, Ukraine and surivor of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe.

Tuesday
Nov062012

Environmental coalition opposes Davis-Besse license extension at ASLB oral argument pre-hearings in Toledo

Terry Lodge speaks out against the Davis-Besse license extension at an August 9, 2012 NRC meeting at Oak Harbor High School in Oak Harbor, OHThe environmental coalition comprised of Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Green Party of Ohio has defended its intervention contentions against the proposed 20 year license extension at FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company's (FENOC) Davis-Besse atomic reactor. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Atomic Safety (sic) and Licensing Board (ASLB) oral argument pre-hearings took place on Nov. 5th and 6th (yes, Election Day) in Toledo, Ohio at the Lucas County Courthouse. The coalition's representatives, including attorney Terry Lodge of Toledo (photo, left), Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear, and Michael Keegan of Don't Waste Michigan, squared off against opposition to the contentions mounted by FENOC's and NRC's legal teams and experts.

The environmental coalition defended its Severe Accident Mitigation Alternatives (SAMA) analyses contentions -- already admitted for a full hearing on the merits by ASLB -- against a motion for summary disposition mounted by FENOC. The coalition also advocated for admission of its cracked concrete containment contention for a full hearing on the merits, while FENOC and NRC staff opposed it.

On Monday, the Toledo Blade published an editorial, "Tough enough to last?", questioning the structural integrity of the shield building for 25 more years (2012 to 2037). Today, it ran an article, "Davis-Besse hearings open." 

U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), a long-time watchdog on Davis-Besse and other FENOC atomic reactors, submitted a statement for the hearing record. The interveners and Rep. Kucinich co-wrote a joint op-ed late last week.

During a break in the proceeding, members of the Green Party of Ohio, an intervention coalition partner -- including State Co-Chair Anita Rios of Toledo -- held an anti-nuclear rally in front of the Lucas County Courthouse, as well as a rally in support of the Green Party's candidates for U.S. President and Vice President, Dr. Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala.

Saturday
Nov032012

Protect humanity from nuclear, not nuclear from nature

Our letter, published today in the Washington Post, argues that further fortifying nuclear plants cannot guarantee public safety. Only shutting them will. Read the letter on the Washington Post website or reproduced below: 

The Washington Post

Letter to the Editor

Keeping nuclear plants safe from severe weather

Published: November 2

Protecting nuclear plants from the catastrophic consequences of failure during a natural disaster will take more than higher sea walls and backup generators [“Shutdown of 3 nuclear reactors dubbed a ‘wake-up call,’ ” news story, Oct. 31]. Even if diesel generators keep reactors running in the event of a loss of off-site power, the fuel pools have no such backup. Spent-fuel pools across the United States hold hundreds of tons of irradiated nuclear fuel. Without power, water-circulation pumps stop operating. If the pool water then boils down to the tops of the irradiated nuclear fuel assemblies, the assemblies could catch fire once exposed to air, causing radioactivity releases.

It is not nuclear plants that need protecting from nature. It is humanity that needs protecting from nuclear plants. Rather than risk such a disaster, the United States should shut its nuclear reactors, remove the fuel to fortified casks and begin to implement wide-scale renewable energy and energy-efficiency measures while emphasizing conservation.

Linda Pentz Gunter, Takoma Park

The writer is an international specialist with the group Beyond Nuclear.

Friday
Nov022012

Radioactive leak at Flamanville reactor in France

The EDF-owned Flamanville 1 reactor on France's Normandy coast experienced a radioactive leak late on October 24th. Although downplayed by the French nuclear authority, a French watchdog group based near Flamanville received direct reports from workers, who described a very close call that almost cost three plant workers their lives. The unit had been shut down since the end of July for refueling. Around 42,000 liters of 300°C radioactive water escaped from a primary cooling circuit, contaminating the reactor building. Flamanville has two operating reactors, with the third, an EPR design, still under construction but way behind schedule and over budget.