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Tuesday
Apr192016

Beyond Nuclear presents Kay Cumbow of Michigan with the 2016 Dr. Judith H. Johnsrud "Unsung Hero" Award at ANA's DC Days

Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear presents Kay Cumbow of Michigan with the 2016 Dr. Judith H. Johnsrud "Unsung Hero" Award at ANA's D.C. Days on Capitol Hill. Photo by Scott Kovac, Nuclear Watch New Mexico.At the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability's (ANA) 28th annual D.C. Days, Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps presented the 2016 Dr. Judith H. Johnsrud "Unsung Hero" Award to Kay Cumbow of Michigan, for her more than three decades of grassroots anti-nuclear activism. The awards reception was held April 19th, on the top floor of Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, overlooking a panoramic view of the District of Columbia at sunset.

Kevin's introduction of Kay describes the Judy Johnsrud "Unsung Hero" Award, and includes a far from complete list of the reasons why Kay is most deserving.

The text of the award certificate reads: Alliance for Nuclear Accountability and Beyond Nuclear award the 2016 Dr. Judith H. Johnsrud Unsung Hero Award to Kay Cumbow, for demonstrating tireless dedication and stubborn determination, despite daunting odds, in her creative, visionary work for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes.

Here are Kay Cumbow's prepared remarks.

Kay attended DC Days as a member of a delegation from Women's International League for Peace and Freedom's (WILPF) Michigan Chapter. WILPF, founded more than a century ago, is an ANA member group, as is Beyond Nuclear. (WILPF celebrates its 101st birthday on 4/28/16!)

The award is named in honor of Judy Johnsrud (1931-2014), a Beyond Nuclear founding board member, in celebration of her nearly half-century of anti-nuclear leadership. Judy herself was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Sierra Club in 2012. Beyond Nuclear featured a tribute to Judy on the back cover of our Three Mile Island meltdown +35 years commemoration newsletter.

Wednesday
Apr132016

As John Kerry Visits Hiroshima, U.S. Quietly Launches $1 Trillion Effort to Upgrade Nuclear Arsenal

Marylia Kellley, Executive Director of Tri-Valley CAREs in California, an ANA member groupAs reported by Amy Goodman at Demoracy Now!:

On Monday, John Kerry became the first secretary of state to visit Hiroshima, the Japanese city destroyed by a U.S. nuclear bomb on August 6, 1945. Three days after the Hiroshima bombing, the U.S. dropped another nuclear bomb on the city of Nagasaki. Hundreds of thousands were killed. The United States is the only country ever to drop an atomic bomb. Kerry offered no apology for the U.S. nuclear attack but called for "a world free from nuclear weapons." Despite his remarks, the Obama administration has been quietly upgrading its nuclear arsenal to create smaller, more precise nuclear bombs as part of a massive effort that will cost up to $1 trillion over three decades. We speak to Marylia Kelley. Her group, the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability [ANA], just published a report titled "Trillion Dollar Trainwreck: Out-of-control U.S. nuclear weapons programs accelerate spending, proliferation, health and safety risks."

The report has been released on the eve of ANA's annual DC Days. You can find a link to the full report, as well as a press release about DC Days, on ANA's website homepage.

Beyond Nuclear is proud to have been an ANA member group since our founding in 2007.

Thursday
Apr072016

When "FirstEnergy says PUC vote assures Davis-Besse operation for several years," Beyond Nuclear begs to differ

This still images comes from a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission video. The yellow arrow shows a sub-surface crack in Davis-Besse's concrete containment Shield Building wall. The cracking was revealed during an October 2011 reactor lid replacement. The cracking grows by a half-inch, or more, in length, every time it freezes out, due to Ice-Wedging Crack Propagation, due to water locked in the walls by FENOC's 2012 "White Wash" weather sealant of the Shield Building exterior, 40 years too late.In an article entitled "FirstEnergy says PUC vote assures Davis-Besse operation for several years," Nucleonics Week reporter Michael McAuliffe quoted Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps:

A coalition of anti-nuclear and environmental groups including Beyond Nuclear was also critical of the PUC decision.

“PUCO’s $4 billion bailout to FirstEnergy will mostly go towards padding the pockets of company executives and shareholders, not to critically needed repairs of safety systems, structures, and components,” Beyond Nuclear spokesman Kevin Kamps said in a March 31 statement.

[FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company, FENOC, spokesman] Colafella said “there are currently no major capital improvements needed at Davis-Besse.” But the coalition said that among needed plant maintenance is repairing a shield building which has a multitude of cracks. The shield building protects the reactor from impact by external objects.

Kamps questioned whether Davis-Besse will be able to remain in operation for the eight years covered by the plan and said in an April 4 interview that FirstEnergy does not “plan on plowing much of their bailout back into maintenance, and the NRC didn’t require it.” More.

Thursday
Apr072016

Resistance continues against nuke industry mega-money grabs

"Burning money" graphic art by Gene Case, Avenging AngelsFrom FirstEnergy's problem-plagued Davis-Besse in OH, to Dominion's Millstone twin unit power plant in CT, nuclear utilities are seeking many billions of dollars in public subsidies to prop up dirty, dangerously age-degraded, and uncompetitive atomic reactors. Exelon is now the country's largest electric provider, after its hotly disputed takeover of Pepco; it simultaneously plans to gouge Mid-Atlantic ratepayers, while also lobbying the states of IL and NY for multi-billion dollar bailouts. For its part, Entergy -- despite its welcome announcement of FitzPatrick's closure date -- seeks public subsidy even for its cash cow Indian Point, with a likely lawsuit up its sleeve, if it doesn't get what it wants. But ratepayers and environmental groups across the country are uniting to urge elected officials to protect them from the risks of such 21st century nuclear robber barons. More.
Wednesday
Apr062016

Nuclear energy in financial free fall

In an article for World Financial Review, Beyond Nuclear's Linda Pentz Gunter writes that nuclear is on the wane.

"While nuclear energy continues to play a role in political discussion and decision-making circles, the financial realities indicate it is a dying industry with no meaningful role in the future energy mix. Too costly, too slow to build, and too inefficient in an energy market heading away from the big grid system and toward distributed electricity generation, nuclear power simply offers too many serious drawbacks to remain viable."

In it, she cites the empirical evidence available today from sources such as Bloomberg and the World Nuclear Energy Status Report.  An excerpt:

"All eyes instead were on renewable energy. The year 2015 saw unprecedented progress during which 64GW of wind and 57GW of solar PV was commissioned, an increase of nearly 30% over 2014, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.1Bloomberg noted that dollar investment in renewables globally soared to nearly six times the 2004 total and a new record of one third of a trillion dollars.

"These numbers are supported by the empirical data found in the independent World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR),2   produced annually and whose 2015 edition concluded: “There now seems to be general recognition that the falling production costs of renewable energy technologies, particularly solar photovoltaics (PV), coupled with the expected falling costs of electricity storage, will accelerate the transformation of the power sector.”3

"Indeed, it is the agility of renewable energy that is contributing to the poor economic outlook for nuclear power, as the 2015 WNISR points out. Large, centralised power stations that rely on baseload, such as nuclear and coal, “that cannot rapidly react to the resultant changing prices and/or demand will increasingly have to continue to generate when they are no longer needed or when they are operating at a loss. As solar or wind power have no fuel costs, they are able to produce power at lower cost and therefore will enter the market, unless obstructed, whenever they are able to generate,” the WNISR states.4"

Read the full article.