Coalition alleges safety rollbacks at Entergy Palisades, cites risk of vessel fracture, calls for permanent shutdown

NRC file photo of Entergy's Palisdes atomic reactor on the Lake Michigan shoreline in southwest MichiganA coalition of environmental groups and concerned local residents has intervened against Entergy Nuclear's License Amendment Application (LAR) to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) at its Palisades atomic reactor on the Lake Michigan shore in southwest Michigan (see photo, left). The LAR seeks to apply an alternate reactor pressure vessel (RPV) fracture toughness rule (10CFR50.61a, instead of the current 10CFR50.61). If successful, the intervention could force the permanent shutdown of the 44-year-old nuclear power plant.

The coalition cites the risk of catastrophic release of hazardous radioactivity to the environment due to Pressurized Thermal Shock (PTS) fracturing the embrittled RPV, causing a Loss-of-Coolant-Accident (LOCA), core meltdown, and containment failure.

See the coalition's intervention filing here, including legal and technical arguments, as well as numerous examples of PTS regulatory rollbacks over the decades. See expert witness Arnie Gundersen's declaration and CV here. See eyewitness affidavits re: NRC's refusal to require metal samples to be analyzed here. See an extensive (yet still far from complete) compilation of Palisades' PTS-related documents here. See the coalition's press release here. See also a statement by Gail Snyder, President of the Board of Nuclear Energy Information Service of IL, and a local landowner near Palisades who has intervened against the LAR.

The coalition includes Beyond Nuclear, Don't Waste Michigan, Michigan Safe Energy Future, and Nuclear Energy Information Service (Chicago, IL). Arnie Gunderden, Chief Engineer of Fairewinds Associates, Inc., serves as the coalition's expert witness. Terry Lodge, Toledo-based attorney, serves as the coalition's legal counsel.


We can't afford another Fukushima

There's still time to show your appreciation for the work we do at Beyond Nuclear. We know that "Giving Tuesday" is crowded with appeals. We thank you for making Beyond Nuclear one of the choices for your year-end giving.  Click here to give.

Another explosion or meltdown at a nuclear power plant somewhere in the world is an ever-present possibility. We still have more than 30 reactors just like Fukushima running in the U.S. alone. You can help us to shut them down. No community should have to suffer the devastation of Fukushima -- and, as we know, the harm doesn't stop at borders. Radioactive contamination from Fukushima is traveling around the world. Let's make Giving Tuesday a win for our efforts to create a nuclear-free world! 

UNSCEAR should be "disbanded." Its Fukushima conclusions are not "scientific"

From The Asahi ShimbunA British scientist who studied the health effects of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster panned a United Nations report that virtually dismissed the possibility of higher cancer rates caused by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Keith Baverstock (pictured) said a report released in April by the U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) was “not qualified to be called ‘scientific’” because it lacked transparency and independent verification. He added that the committee should be disbanded.

The U.N. report said any increase in overall cancer rates among residents of Fukushima Prefecture due to fallout from the accident was unlikely. Read more.


Beyond Nuclear before ASLB to stop last Mark I "Fukushima" reactor relicensing

Beyond Nuclear, Don't Waste Michigan, Citizens' Resistance at Fermi 2 (CRAFT), and Citizens Environmental Alliance of Southwestern Ontario argued before the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board in Monroe Michigan on November 20, that the aging Fermi 2 nuclear reactor should not receive a 20-year license extension. Fermi 2 is the last of the U.S. fleet of Mark I reactors to request a license extension. The U.S. Mark I is the same design as the GE Mark I Boiling Water Reactors that exploded and melted down at Fukushima Daiichi. The groups were there to defend their contentions against the relicensing of Fermi 2.

Paul Gunter of Beyond Nuclear (pictured at the table third from right) raised a concern that Fermi 2 should install a filter on a containment vent to remove any radioactive particles that may escape into the environment in the event of a severe accident, which he said wasn’t considered in DTE’s analysis. “Containment vents can fail early, and that may result in uncontrolled releases of radioactive particles,” Mr. Gunter said. “This can lead to population relocation and land contamination that carries a health impact with it.”  Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps told NPR in an interview: "Fermi 2 presents a serious danger to life, property, and the environment.You've got a dangerous reactor design. You've got an inadequate containment on the shoreline of the Great Lakes which, of course, is itself the drinking water supply for tens of millions of people." First hand reports from the proceeding by Gunter and Kamps will follow soon. More.


40 years since nuclear whistleblower Karen Silkwood's tragic, suspicious death

Karen Silkwood, Feb. 19, 1946 to Nov. 13, 1974. Nov. 13, 2014 marks the 40th year since her death.Thursday, November 13th marks the 40th year since the tragic, suspicious death of Karen Silkwood, nuclear whistleblower. The Christic Institute Archives on the Karen Silkwood case remain a testament to the inspiration of her courageous stand against radioactivity risks to workers, and safety shortcuts by the nuclear industry.

Beyond Nuclear will have an information table in memory of Karen Silkwood at the Sierra Club Nuclear-Free Campaign national gathering in Washington, D.C. from November 14-17, including at the "Uranium? Keep It in the Ground!" film screening and discussion on Nov. 16th at Busboys and Poets 5th&K Streets, N.W. location.

The table will feature copies of the books The Killing of Karen Silkwood: The Story Behind the Kerr-McGee Plutonium Case by Richard L. Rashke, as well as Who Killed Karen Silkwood? by Howard Kohn.

Silkwood, the drama starring Meryl Streep and Cher, won multiple Oscar nominations, and brought Karen Silkwood's story to the attention of millions.

Kay Drey, Beyond Nuclear board member, penned a pamphlet aimed at protecting nuclear workers against radioactivity risks: Your Nuclear Work Place: Know Your Risks, Know Your Rights. Coincidentally, Kay gave her first public speech against nuclear power on the very day that Karen Silkwood died.