The Senate today ratified the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with the more than the two thirds majority needed. The vote was 71 to 26. The New START continues the reduction of U.S. and Russian strategic arms and extends verification protocols, which have lapsed in recent months.
Beyond Nuclear, along with The Green Party of Ohio (ohiogreens.org), the Ohio Sierra Club (ohiosierraclub.org ), Don't Waste Michigan and the Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes held a people's hearing in Toledo on Sat., Dec. 18th to oppose the 20 year license extension recently sought by the trouble-plagued Davis-Besse atomic reactor. The event was held at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Toledo, Ohio. Concerned citizens' comments and testimony were videorecorded, and will be submitted to NRC as official public comment for its environmental scoping on the proposal. Alvin D. Compaan, Distinguished University Professor of Physics, Emeritus, at the University of Toledo, presented on "The case for replacing Davis-Besse with efficiency improvements and renewable energy sources." Kathryn Hoepfl, a University of Toledo undergraduate student of physics, also showed how wind power and solar power can readily replace Davis-Besse's atomic electricity. Other speakers included event organizers Joseph DeMare and Anita Rios of the Green Party of Ohio, Tony Szilagye of the Ohio Sierra Club, Ed McArdle of the Southeast Michigan Group of the Sierra Club, Phyllis Oster (who intervened against Davis-Besse's initial licensing over 30 years ago), David Ellison (a Cleveland architect and Green Party member), Ralph Semrock of SOLTERRA, and Michael Leonardi (a Toledo native who now resides in Italy). Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear presented on his backgrounder, "Davis-Besse: 20 MORE Years of Radioactive Russian Roulette?!", which summarizes the numerous near-disasters there since operations began in 1977. Environmental groups plan to intervene against the license extension by the Dec. 27th deadline. A flyer announced the people's hearing. The Toledo Free Press has editorialized against the Davis-Besse license extension, and Tom Henry of the Toledo Blade attended and wrote an article about the people's hearing.
Victory, for now: Bruce Power postpones radioactive steam generator shipment on Great Lakes till next spring
The Owens Sound, Ontario Sun Times reports that Bruce Power has decided to postpone its proposed shipment of 16 school bus sized, 100 ton radioactive steam generators until the spring. This represents a huge grassroots environmental victory. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission had planned to simply rubberstamp the risky proposal several months ago, until a groundswell of resistance in the U.S., Canada, and numerous Native American First Nations put the brakes on! See Beyond Nuclear's Canada website section for more detailed information.
The U.S. House of Representatives, by the narrow margin of 212 to 206, today passed a 423 page long "Continuing Resolution" (CR) bill, H.R. 3082, including $7 billion in additional nuclear power loan guarantees for the building of new atomic reactors, as well as an additional $3 billion in loan guarantees for "fossil energy technologies." Retiring House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey, Democrat from Wisconsin, served as the primary sponsor for the legislation; his committee website has posted a summary of the bill, the bill's full text, as well as Rep. Obey's floor statement. Although there are numerous factors which undoubtedly determined each House Member's final decision on whether or not to vote for or against the CR, it is still valuable to thank those who voted against, while expressing disappointment to those who voted for, these $10 billion in dirty, dangerous, and expensive nuclear and fossil energy loan guarantees. Check the roll call vote lists for your U.S. Representative. Thank them if they voted "nay" against the CR and its nuclear loan guarantees; "spank" them if they voted "yea" for the CR and its nuclear loan guarantees. You can call your U.S. Representative's office via the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Or, you can visit your House Member's website, in order to send a fax, letter, or email. Now consideration of the CR, or alternatively an Omnibus spending bill, and debate over such matters as nuclear loan guarantees, shifts to the U.S. Senate. It's vital that you call your two U.S. Senators via the Capitol Switchboard, or visit their websites in order to fax, write or email them. Urge them to block any CR or Omnibus that contains additional nuclear loan guarantees. Also contact the White House, and urge President Obama to stop subsidizing new atomic reactors -- a violation of a presidential campaign pledge he made in 2007-2008. The White House comment line can be reached at 202-456-1111; you can send a fax at 202-456-2461; you can fill out the webform at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact; or you can send a snail mail letter to President Obama at The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500.
The Associated Press has reported that Oyster Creek nuclear power plant owner, Exelon of Chicago, has reached an agreement with the State of New Jersey to permanently shutdown its 41 year old reactor, in exchange for not having to install cooling towers. Oyster Creek's withdrawal of 1.4 billion gallons of water per day from Barnegat Bay kills billions of aquatic creatures each year. Oyster Creek entered its Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved 20 year license extension in April 2009, after a prolonged challenge co-led by Beyond Nuclear's Paul Gunter, who had initially pinpointed a key technical issue -- the corrosion of the dry well liner radiological barrier. This agreement would mean the reactor, first fired up in 1969, can now continue to "strain the Bay," passing the entire volume of Barnegat Bay through its innards for cooling purposes once every six weeks, a "license to kill" billions of marine organisms annually for another decade. Jeff Tittel, director of New Jersey's Sierra Club chapter, summed it up, scoffing that Exelon "gets to operate the plant for 10 years, then walk away with a pile of cash at the expense of the bay."