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ARTICLE ARCHIVE
Thursday
Oct182012

NRC ASLB oral argument pre-hearings on Davis-Besse license extension, Nov. 5 & 6, Toledo

Nuclear Regulatory Commission photos taken in late 2011 show the laminar subsurface cracking (left) at the Shield Building and core bore samples from the Shield Building. Despite the severe cracking, NRC Staff has strenuously opposed the environmental coalition's attempts to raise the issue in the license extension proceedings.The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Atomic Safety (sic) and Licensing Board (ASLB) panel presiding over the Davis-Besse atomic reactor license extension proceeding has ordered oral argument pre-hearings at the Common Pleas Courtroom in the Lucas County Courthouse, located at 700 Adams Street in downtown Toledo, Ohio, to be held from 9 AM to 4:30 PM on Monday, November 5th and Tuesday, November 6th (yes, Election Day!).

Beyond Nuclear, along with Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Green Party of Ohio, represented by Toledo attorney Terry Lodge, launched an official intervention against Davis-Besse's 20 year license extension on December 27, 2010. At these oral argument pre-hearings,  the coalition will argue for a hearing on the merits of its concrete containment cracking contention, first filed on January 10, 2012, and supplememted numerous times this year based on new revelations contained in FENOC and NRC documents, including those made public by a Beyond Nuclear Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. More.

Thursday
Oct182012

Honesty followed by industry jargon. San Onofre NRC public meeting

Excellent snippet of video made by Myla Reson at a two-hour NRC public meeting at Dana Point, CA, regarding California Edison's miserable failure at San Onofre, where two deeply flawed and dangerous reactors remain idle whilst Edison endeavors to convince the public and NRC they are safe enough to restart.

Wednesday
Oct172012

Beyond Nuclear FOIA on Davis-Besse containment cracking cited in paint and coatings industry newsletter

Nuclear Regulatory Commission photos taken in late 2011 show the laminar subsurface cracking (left) at the Shield Building and core bore samples from the Shield Building.Paintsquare, a paint and coatings industry newsletter, has reported on the revelations of dubious structural integrity at the Davis-Besse atomic reactor's concrete and steel reinforced shield building, due to a decision made in the late 1960s to not weather seal the containment structure's 100,000 square foot exterior. FirstEnergy Nuclear blames the Blizzard of 1978 for the cracking, a charge that Beyond Nuclear has dubbed a "snow job." The article cites Beyond Nuclear's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, which brought previously unpublished internal U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission safety staff emails to light, which question the very structural integrity of the shield building, due to the extensive cracking supposedly first discovered a year ago. 

An earlier Paintsquare article reports on FirstEnergy's 2,500 gallon "white wash" of the problem -- the application, 40 years too late, of three coats of Sherwin-Williams’ Loxon off-white paint within the past couple months. The article reported:

"Environmentalists who are now fighting a 20-year extension of the plant’s operating license say the new coating does not allay their concerns.

The groups, including Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, and Don't Waste Michigan, have urged regulators to deny the renewal for Davis-Besse when its license expires in 2017.

'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,' said Terry Lodge, a Toledo attorney representing the coalition.

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

Wednesday
Oct172012

"Regulators should begin decommissioning the Palisades Nuclear Plant"

NRC file photo of Palisades atomic reactorMark Muhich, a Jackson County resident and chairman of the Central Michigan Group of the Sierra Club, has published a column by the title above at the Jackson Citizen Patriot/MLive. Muhich begins his column:

"The Palisades Nuclear Plant bordering Michigan’s Van Buren State Park squats menacingly between high sand dunes and pristine Lake Michigan waves. Palisades rates as one of the three most dangerous nuclear plants in the U.S., out of 120 total nuclear plants. In the past two years Palisades has suffered more than two dozen serious breaches of safety protocol and seven complete shutdowns. A catastrophe at Palisades could kill tens of thousands of people and destroy more than $116 billion in property.

How could the Nuclear Regulatory Commission need more evidence for decommissioning Palisades? Is there a reason why more than half the serious accidents at nuclear facilities worldwide have occurred in the U.S? The General Accounting Office, Office of the Inspector General and the Union of Concerned Scientists all find the NRC’s “enforcement of existing regulations inadequate.” Does the NRC regulate the nuclear industry, or promote it? An independent inspection team, Conyer-Elsea, found “a lack of accountability at all levels at Palisades.” Is the NRC waiting for Chernobyl 2?..."

Monday
Oct152012

Climate change visionary and creator of Energy Star, dies at 62

From The Washington Post: John S. Hoffman, a former federal environmental official whose innovative program to identify and reward energy-efficient practices became the Energy Star program, a voluntary international rating system for “green” products, died Sept. 24 at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. He was 62 and a Washington resident.

He had complications after surgery for a perforated peptic ulcer, said his wife, Lucinda McConathy.

Mr. Hoffman was a global warming crusader in the 1980s, before the terms “climate change” and “clean energy” were part of everyday life. People looked at him as if he were a modern-day Chicken Little when he discussed ozone depletion and climate change, said Maria Vargas, a former colleague of his at the Environmental Protection Agency and current director of the Better Buildings Challenge at the Department of Energy.

Mr. Hoffman’s brainchild, the Energy Star program, was originally intended to be just one of a series of voluntary programs to combat global warming and demonstrate the profit potential of developing ecologically sustainable products. He was one of the first officials at EPA, Vargas said, to recognize that voluntary programs could help the agency take preventive action against environmental problems instead of just responding to them.

In 1996, the EPA partnered with the Department of Energy to include major home appliances and home electronics in the Energy Star program. The label is now featured on houses, commercial and industrial buildings and more than 40,000 consumer products.

In the past two decades, according to the EPA, Energy Star has prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of carbon emissions and saved Americans nearly $230 billion in utility bills.

The program celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and has been adopted by the European Union.

Mr. Hoffman was also a driving force behind what became the 1987 Montreal Protocol, a landmark international treaty designed to reduce harmful chemical emissions. More.

And David Doninger of NRDC writes that Hoffman was a "brilliant leader of the EPA team that saved the ozone layer."