"Congress and the Fiscal Cliff," by Karl Grossman

Racing towards a radioactive cliff edge? Entergy's on a nuclear joy ride, in more ways than one!Investigative journalist, author, prolific nuclear power muckraker, and Beyond Nuclear board member Karl Grossman has published a piece in Counterpunch entitled "Congress and the Fiscal Cliff." Reflecting on the role of corporate cash in elections -- and in policy making, as members of congress return favors for the campaign contributions they've received -- Karl concludes:

"...As Alex Gibney, maker of the documentary 'Casino Jack and the United States of Money,' has said, we have 'a system of legalized bribery in Washington.'

This reflects directly on the low, low level of Congress doing anything—and, when it does, mainly serving special interests.

Change—major change—is desperately needed!"

In fact, investigative journalist Judy Pasternak at American University reported three years ago that, from 1999 to 2009, the nuclear power industry had spent $645 million lobbying the federal government (that's $1.25 million per week!), and "invested" another $64 million over that decade in the best Congress and White House money can buy in the form of campaign contributions.

Also in his article, Karl writes "...Indeed, making the rounds of the Internet in recent years has been the posting: 'Members of Congress should be compelled to wear uniforms like NASCAR drivers, so we could identify their sponsors.'" The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), American Nuclear Society (ANS), and nuclear utilities, such as the infamous Entergy, owner of a dirty dozen atomic reactors (see photo, left), have literally emblazoned their logos on race cars, as documented by Sourcewatch, so members of congress may very well be next! More.


NRC ASLB rules against environmental coalition's contentions challenging 20-year license extension at Davis-Besse

"Homer Simpson and Humpty Dumpty act out" the Blizzard of '78 "snow job" root cause theory for shield building cracking at Davis-Besse's front entrance on March 24, 2012. The street theater was held in solidarity with the SAGE Alliance's Shut Down Vermont Yankee day of action, and protested FENOC's cherry-picked "root cause of convenience," first floated on Feb. 28th.The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Atomic Safety (sic) and Licensing Board (ASLB) today issued two rulings rejecting an environmental coalition's intervention against the 20-year license extension sought by FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC) at its problem-plagued Davis-Besse atomic reactor near Toledo.

The first ruling supported FENOC's Motion for Summary Dismissal of the environmental interveners' (Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, Green Party of Ohio, represented by Toledo attorney Terry Lodge) Severe Accident Mitigation Alternatives (SAMA) analyses contentions, previously admitted for hearing. To do so, both ASLB and NRC had to ignore FENOC's assumption that the containment structures at Davis-Besse are fully functional, which they are not. This ruling came despite FENOC's admission that it had made five major errors in its original SAMA analyses, such as under-estimating the value of Ohio farmland and urban property values, and even getting wind directions 180 degrees wrong.

The second ruling rejected interveners' proposed cracked concrete containment contention. Intervenors' have dubbed FENOC's claim that the Blizzard of 1978 severely cracked its concrete containment shield building a "Snow Job," and its cover up of the visual evidence of the cracking with concrete in late 2011, and with a coat of paint on the shield building exterior in August 2012, a "White Wash."

The environmental coalition issued a press release in response to the ASLB rulings, vowing to fight on.

The Toledo Blade has reported on this story. At the bottom righthand side of the article, the Toledo Blade is conducting an online poll as to whether or not Davis-Besse should be re-licensed. Beyond Nuclear encourages readers to vote NO in the poll. WKSU radio has also reported on this storyMore.


North Korea may be poised to conduct its third nuclear weapons test since 2006

The satellite image released Friday shows the traffic flow pattern at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Facility in North Korea. AP Photo/DigitalGlobe via 38 North.As reported by the Associated Press, satellite photos (left) have confirmed that the North Korean military regime may be on the brink of exploding its third atomic weapon test. Its first was conducted in 2006, and its second in 2009. North Korea has utilized plutonium, extracted from irradiated nuclear fuel generated by a "civilian" research reactor provided by the Soviet Union many decades ago, as the fissile material for its weapons tests. However, two years ago, North Korea announced it also has a uranium enrichment program -- another pathway to weapons-usable fissile material, highly enriched uranium (HEU). 

The article quoted Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, as saying: "With an additional nuclear test, North Korea could advance their ability to eventually deploy a nuclear weapon on a long-range missile."


Beyond Nuclear on Thom Hartmann's "The Big Picture"

Thom Hartmann, host of "The Big Picture"Ever since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe began on March 11, 2011, Thom Hartmann's "The Big Picture" television news program has featured Beyond Nuclear staff on a regular, ongoing basis to provide updates and analysis of the situation in Japan, and its implications for the U.S. On December 27th, Thom interviewed Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps on the recent return to political power of the pro-nuclear Liberal Democratic Party, which (during its previous reign from 1955-2009) oversaw the establishment of the collusion between government, regulator, and industry which Japan's own parliament reported was the root cause of the triple reactor meltdown. Thom and Kevin also discussed the potential risk that vast amounts of flotsam and jetsam from the Japanese tsunami, now arriving on the west coast of North America, could be radioactive.


INVITATION to CELEBRATE: The Nuclear Age in Quebec is Over! Gentilly-2 is SHUT DOWN!

"Rest in Peace, Gentilly-2". Image compliments of CentricoisES et mauricienNEs pour le déclassement nucléaire

This tremendous good news just came in from Dr. Gordon Edwards, chair of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, and co-chair of the Great Lakes United Nuclear-Free/Green Energy Task Force:

28 December: The Nuclear Age in Quebec is Over! 

Join us, in Montréal, at 1 o'clock in the afternoon

On this occasion, Sonomi and her two children-- refugees from Fukushima, Japan -- will be our special guests.

P.S. Québec will be truly out of the nuclear age only when we achieve a permanent moratorium on uranium mining, as has been done in two other provinces -- Nova Scotia and British Columbia!

(Nuclear utility Hydro-Quebec announced Gentilly-2's permanent shutdown, to occur tomorrow, last October. Gentilly-2 is a CANDU atomic reactor which has operated since 1982.)