Beyond Nuclear to testify at NRC regarding reactor earthquake and fire risks

NRC HQ, Rockville, MarylandOn Monday, December 12, 2011 from 2:30 to 4:30 PM EST, a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission petition review board will hear Beyond Nuclear staff and joint petitioners -- including Saprodani Associates, Not On Our Fault Line, Alliance for Progressive Values, and the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter -- who have called for emergency enforcement action, and full public hearing rights, on license changes to Virginia’s North Anna nuclear power plant following the August 23, 2011 earthquake of 5.8 magnitude, epicentered just 11 miles away. The meeting will be webcast and a telephone bridge line is being provided for up to 100 toll free lines for the public to listen in. Details for linking to the webcast and toll free telephone bridge line can be viewed by clicking on December 12 in NRC homepage calendar for public meetings.

On Tuesday, December 13, 2011, beginning at 9 AM EST, Beyond Nuclear Director of Reactor Oversight, Paul Gunter, will be testifying before the Chairman and Commissioners of the US NRC on what we believe to significant decades old fire protection risks at US reactors. These same risks potentially threaten control room operations for safe shutdown and cooling of reactors similar to the failure that led to the explosions and meltdowns at Fukushima. Go to this NRC link to view the webcast and Beyond Nuclear at the meeting.


NRC cites Exelon for emergency cooling and containment violations at Limerick Unit 2

NRC file photo of Limerick nuclear power plant; NRC does not indicate whether or not the plant in the foreground is spiderwort, mutated by radioactivity.The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) reports that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued a "white finding" of "low to moderate safety significance" at the Limerick nuclear powere plant's Unit 2, owned and operated by Exelon Nuclear, regarding faulty valves “resulting in one of the plant’s safety systems, known as the Reactor Core Isolation Cooling system, being inoperable from April 23 to May 23." The faulty valves also rendered a Primary Containment Isolation Valve inoperable during the same time period, which “would be used during an accident to close off the plant’s containment building during a significant event in order to prevent the release of radioactivity into the environment.” As mentioned in NRC's press release on the safety violations, regulatory inspections will be increased. “Because the valves in question failed to fully shut, the majority of the cooling water from one of the plant’s safety systems would have diverted to the condenser rather than flow to the reactor,” NRC Region I Administrator Bill Dean said.

On Nov. 22nd, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) submitted a petition to NRC to intervene against Limerick's proposed 20 year license extension. An NRC commissioned report from 1982 found that a major accident at Limerick Unit 2 could cause 74,000 "peak early fatalities," 610,000 "peak early injuries," 34,000 "peak cancer deaths," and $197 billion in property damage. However, in the past 30 years, the surrounding population has grown to a whopping 8 million within 50 miles. Those property damages, adjusted for inflation, would now top $434 billion.


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Kucinich: "FirstEnergy Tells Public One Thing, NRC Another; Nuke Plant Damage More than Previously Admitted"

U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), a long time watchdog on Davis-BesseAfter a Dec. 6 meeting between his staff and representatives of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) issued a strongly worded statement critical of nuclear utility FirstEnergy's public assurances about the problem of cracking recently discovered in the Davis-Besse atomic reactor's shield building, an essential layer of radiological containment. 

“In response to inquiries by my staff, the NRC provided a detailed description of the cracking at FirstEnergy’s Davis-Besse plant. That description revealed that the cracks in the Davis-Besse ‘shield’ building are more numerous and more widely distributed than FirstEnergy has publicly portrayed,” said Kucinich.

Congressman Kucinich's office has prepared a comparison of FirstEnergy statements with known facts, and calls on readers to decide for themselves how bad the situation is.

Beyond Nuclear, along with Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Ohio Green Party, has intervened against the 20 year license extension sought by FirstEnergy for Davis-Besse, a problem-plagued 35 year old atomic reactor. David Lochbaum at Union of Concerned Scientists has also submitted allegations about the cracked shield building to the NRC.


Hazardous radiation dusts all of Japan

"Radioactive substances from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant have now been confirmed in all prefectures [in Japan], including Uruma, Okinawa Prefecture, about 1,700 kilometers from the plant, according to the science ministry," reports the Japan daily, the Asahi Shimbun. "The highest combined cumulative density of radioactive cesium-134 and cesium-137 was found in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki Prefecture, at 40,801 becquerels per square meter. That was followed by 22,570 becquerels per square meter in Yamagata, the capital of Yamagata Prefecture, and 17,354 becquerels per square meter in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward."