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Thursday
Jun042015

Battles against nuclear utility mega-money grabs intensify

"Burning Money" image by Gene Case and Avenging Angels.Beyond Nuclear is working with allies across the country to resist multi-billion dollar subsidies, at ratepayer expense, being sought by nuclear utility lobbyists in order to prop up dirty, dangerous, and uncompetitive atomic reactors. In IL, NEIS is leading the resistance against a $1.6 billion bailout; the 34-year-old grassroots group helped secure a big victory -- for now -- when the state legislature recessed till autumn, without enacting Exelon's wish list for five failing nukes. In the Mid-Atlantic, the PowerDC coalition is urging District of Columbia decision makers to block Exelon's takeover of Pepco, a merger that would undermine efficiency and renewables, and further subsidize the distant IL nukes, by gouging ratepayers 700 miles away. And in OH, Sierra Club and other allies have called for a rally and teach-in, to oppose FirstEnergy's attempted $3 billion ratepayer ripoff for its age-degraded Davis-Besse atomic reactor and Sammis coal burner. More.
Wednesday
Jun032015

Coalition cites catastrophic risk of Palisades RPV fracture, appeals ASLB ruling to full NRC Commission

A diagram describing pressurized thermal shock in a nuclear reactor. Credit: Japan Atomic Energy Agency. Japan's worst embrittled RPV, at Genkai 1, has been permanently closed in the aftermath of Fukushima.Citing the risks of reactor pressure vessel (RPV) fracture, core meltdown, and catastrophic release of hazardous radioactivity at Entergy's Palisades atomic reactor in southwest Michigan, an environmental coalition (Beyond Nuclear, Don't Waste MI, MI Safe Energy Future, and Nuclear Energy Info. Service of IL) has appealed an Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) panel's adverse ruling to the full U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

The coalition's legal counsel, Toledo-based attorney Terry Lodge, filed the appeal on June 2nd.

Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer at Fairewinds Associates, Inc. in Burlington, VT, serves as the coalition's expert witness on the risks of pressurized thermal shock (PTS) causing "brittle fracture" in the Palisades RPV. Gundersen and Fairewinds Energy Education have produced a short, humorous, educational video about PTS risks entitled "Nuclear Crack Down?"

NRC has admitted on numerous occassions that Palisades has the worst neutron radiation embrittled RPV in the country. Palisades first surpassed embrittlement safety standards in 1981, just ten short years into its operations. NRC, and/or the nuclear utilities owning and operating Palisades, have previously predicted various "End of Life" dates for the problem-plagued atomic reactor, the earliest being 1995. However, as reported by Jeff Donn of AP in 2011, NRC has weakened safety regulations time after time, to accommodate the age-degraded nuclear power plant, one of the oldest still operating in the U.S.

See updates on Beyond Nuclear et al.'s intervention against Entergy Palisades' License Amendment Request for regulatory relief dating back to Dec. 1, 2014 at the Reactor Safety website section.

Saturday
May302015

"Kirk Urges President to Halt Canadian Proposal to Store Nuclear Waste Near Great Lakes"

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL)U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (Republican-Illinois, photo left) has issued a press release, and the text of a letter he sent to President Obama, calling for administration action to protect the Great Lakes against Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) proposed "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive waste dump, targeted at the Lake Huron shoreline at Bruce Nuclear Generating Station.

Sen. Kirk stated: “As co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, I am fighting to keep our lakes free from toxins that could harm our precious ecological system and threaten the drinking water source for more than 30 million Americans. Storing nuclear waste underground along the shores of the Great Lakes directly jeopardizes the wellbeing of this shared natural resource, and I urge the President to work with the Canadian Government to postpone this decision and protect our lakes for generations to come.”

In 2011, and again in 2013, Sen. Kirk sent letters of concern to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator. Last year, and again this year, Sen. Kirk has introduced resolutions of disapproval for the site.

In his letter to President Obama, Sen. Kirk stated: "This matter presents an immediate threat to all the Great Lakes, and I ask you to use all diplomatic means available to urge the Canadian government to delay its decision-making process until the proposal has been given all due consideration by the [International Joint Commission."

Sen. Kirk warned: "As a permanent repository, the Kincardine, Ontario facility would hold 7 million cubic feet of nuclear waste for thousands of years. Any leak during that time could unleash toxic material throughout the Great Lakes Basin, and contaminate the largest surface freshwater system in the world while causing irreparable damage to the more than 3,500 plants and animals that inhabit the ecosystem."

More information about Canada's Great Lakes shore radioactive waste dump is posted under Beyond Nuclear's Canada website section.

Monday
May252015

"Nuclear Waste Hard To Handle For GOP Candidates"

As reported by Jason Plautz in National Journal, "Two early voting states are on opposite ends of the Yucca Mountain divide." South Carolina -- the third presidential primary after Iowa's caucus and New Hampshire's primary -- stores a large amount of irradiated nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste at its many commercial atomic reactors, as well as at the Savannah River Site nuclear weapons complex. The powers that be in South Carolina have long been in favor of dumping its radioactive wastes on Nevada --at the long-targeted Yucca Mountain site -- even though the Silver State already suffered the ravages of four decades of full-scale nuclear weapons testing (both atmospheric, and underground, which also often leaked into the biosphere; sub-critical nuclear weapons tests still take place in Nevada), and has not one single atomic reactor within its borders.

But the Nevada caucus comes just days after the South Carolina primary in the presidential campaign. Republican presidential candidates are now trying to walk that tightrope, dangling above a mountain of radioactive waste 73 years high.

Wednesday
May202015

Michael J. Keegan receives ANA & Beyond Nuclear "Judith Johnsrud Unsung Hero Award" at DC Days 

Michael J. Keegan (right) receives Judith Johnsrud Unsung Hero Award from Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps. Photo by Glenn Carroll of Nukewatch South.On May 18, the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) and Beyond Nuclear named Michael J. Keegan of Monroe, MI the 2015 Judith Johnsrud Unsung Hero, "for demonstrating tireless dedication and stubborn determination, undeterred by lack of recognition, resources, or short-term success, in his creative, visionary work for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes." The award ceremony took place as part of ANA's annual D.C. Days Capitol Hill reception, held at Rayburn House Office Building.

The award was named after Beyond Nuclear founding board member, Dr. Judith H. Johnsrud, who passed on in 2014. Judy's anti-nuclear activism began in 1967, when she blocked Project Ketch, a scheme to explode a thousand H bombs underground in Pennsylvania, to carve natural gas storage. Her resistance to nuclear power included intervening against Three Mile Island, long before the meltdown. In 2012, the Sierra Club honored Judy with a lifetime achievement award for her half-century of anti-nuclear activism. (See Beyond Nuclear's tribute to Judy on p. 6 of its TMI 35th anniversary newsletter.)

The criteria for this award include: a clear dedication to the issue; hard-working and self-sacrificing; determined, fearless spirit when confronted with challenges and setbacks; unsung. No one fits this bill better than Michael J. Keegan. More.