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Friday
Mar112011

BREAKING NEWS: JAPANESE REACTOR EMERGENCY

JAPAN HAS DECLARED ITS FIRST TIME EVER NUCLEAR POWER PLANT EMERGENCY.

THERE ARE 54 OPERATING REACTORS IN JAPAN. IN THE WAKE OF THE EARTHQUAKE THAT HIT JAPAN, HERE IS WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR ABOUT THE FUKUSHIMA DAIICHI NUCLEAR SITE:

The electrical grid is down. The emergency diesel generators have been damaged. The multi-reactor Fukushima atomic power plant is now relying on battery power, which will only last around 8 hours. The Magnitude 8.9 quake hit 10 hours ago followed by two aftershocks of magnitudes 6.8 and 7.1 nine hours ago. It is unclear which of these damaged the reactor cooling system or when the battery power was turned on.

The danger is, the very thermally hot reactor cores at the plant must be continuously cooled for 24 to 48 hours. Without any electricity, the pumps won't be able to pump water through the hot reactor cores to cool them. Once electricity is lost, the irradiated nuclear fuel could begin to melt down i8n as little as an hour. If the containment systems fail, a catastrophic radioactivity release to the environment could occur. 

In addition to the reactor cores, the storage pool for highly radioactive irradiated nuclear fuel is also at risk. The pool cooling water must be continuously circulated. Without circulation, the still thermally hot irradiated nuclear fuel in the storage pools will begin to boil off the cooling water. Within a day or two, the pool's water could completely boil away. Without cooling water, the irradiated nuclear fuel could spontaneously combust in an exothermic reaction. Since the storage pools are not located within containment, a catastrophic radioactivity release to the environment could occur. Up to 100% of the volatile radioactive Cesium-137 content of the pools could go up in flames and smoke, to blow downwind over large distances. Given the large quantity of irradiated nuclear fuel in the pool, the radioactivity release could be worse than the Chernobyl nuclear reactor catastrophe of 25 years ago.

Thursday
Mar102011

Help block latest nuke industry raid on the U.S. Treasury!

Don't let the financial burden of new atomic reactors crush American taxpayers! Call your U.S. Senators ASAP!Despite the fact that its proposed new reactor projects are beset by ongoing major safety risks, schedule delays, cost overruns, and other economic and radiological pitfalls, the nuclear power industry continues to seek massive taxpayer bailouts, not only in the U.S. but even overseas. The environmental movement has responded by urging the Japanese government not to risk its own taxpayers’ funds on the risky South Texas Project twin reactor expansion. A coalition of more than 170 organizations, including Beyond Nuclear, recently sent a letter to the Japanese prime minister, and issued an accompanying media release. (Last August, Beyond Nuclear’s Kevin Kamps, along with Japanese allies from Green Action, Citizens Nuclear Information Center, Friends of the Earth, and other groups met with the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and the federal Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) to deliver just such a message.) The nuclear industry's attempted money grab in the U.S. has now shifted -- yet again -- to the U.S. Senate, which is considering funding measures for the current and next fiscal year. Right now is a critical time to stave off this latest attempt to risk additional billions of taxpayer dollars on proposed new atomic boondoggles. Call your two U.S. Senators via the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, or look up their fax numbers and websites for writing in via their webforms, or to find their in-state offices nearest you. Urge them to not only reject additional nuclear power loan guarantees, but also to roll back the entire nuclear loan guarantee program, as 57% of Americans polled by the Wall Street Journal/NBC have indicated ("When it comes to reducing spending, the most popular targets were subsidies to build nuclear power plants...")! After more than half a century of heavy subsidization by American taxpayers and ratepayers, it's high time for the nuclear power industry to stand on its own two feet in the marketplace, or go away for good!

Wednesday
Mar092011

NRC says Vermont Yankee reactor is "safe" & shuts down legal fight

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has declared the Vermont Yankee reactor "safe" and on March 10, 2011 concluded the legal hearings clearing the way for issuing a controversial 20 year license extension even though the State of Vermont voted to close the plant on schedule on March 21, 2012. Watch our newest video - Vermont Yankee - Unsafe Today, Shut it Tomorrow! - to see what we think of the decision!

 

Wednesday
Mar092011

After $31 billion and counting, utilities cry "hold, enough!"

The nation's electric utitlies have collectively paid the U.S. Department of Energy $31 billion to "take away" their radioactive waste. But of course, there is still nowhere for it to go - a problem that is likely to persist indefinitely. Given the lack of a waste dump or other "solution," the utilities are suing the DOE to try to suspend fees they pay the government for nuclear waste storage. But the DOE wants to keep collecting its annual fees because, as the agency telllingly admits to Automated Trader, "they'll eventually develop a long-term storage solution. And when they do, it's likely to be expensive."

Wednesday
Mar022011

Environmentalists defend challenge against Davis-Besse license extension

Davis-Besse's infamous "red photo," showing boric acid crystal and rust "lava" flowing from the reactor lid.On Tuesday, March 1st, the environmental coalition resisting the Davis-Besse atomic reactor's 20 year license extension defended its contentions before a Nuclear Regulatory Commission Atomic Safety (sic) Licensing Board at the Ottawa County Common Pleas Court in Port Clinton, Ohio near the nuclear power plant. Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps defended the coalition's contention that FirstEnergy had severely underestimated the costs and casualties that would result from a severe accident and catastrophic radioactivity release at the problem-plagued reactor. Phyllis Oster, a Beyond Nuclear supporter from Bowling Green, Ohio who resisted the reactor's construction in the first place four decades ago, has provided standing to Beyond Nuclear to take part in this proceeding. Toledo attorney Terry Lodge, on behalf of Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Green Party of Ohio, defended the coalition's wind and solar photovoltaics alternatives to the 20 year license extension. Green Party co-chair Anita Rios, a lifelong Toledo resident, testified about her concerns for her family living downwind of Davis-Besse. The court room was packed with concerned citizens, as reported by the local newspaper. The Toledo Blade also covered the hearing, as did Toledo's NBC affiliate. The coalition's media release also helped generate coverage by a number of area National Public Radio affiliates, including Michigan Radio-Ann Arbor, WDET in Detroit, and Kent State NPR in Ohio.