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Friday
Jun272014

Fired security guard whistleblowers speak out against Palisades at NRC meeting

As reported by the Kalamazoo Gazette and Michigan Radio, three security guard force whistleblowers spoke out an a Nuclear Regulatory Commission public meeting last night, alleging that they were terminated from Entergy's Palisades atomic reactor because they raised safety and security concerns.

The attorney representing two of the three whistle blowers, Billie Pirner Garde of Washington, D.C., phoned into the meeting as well.

Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps, as well as members of Michigan Safe Energy Future, and other concerned local residents, also spoke out at the meeting.

Kevin discussed a long list of security failures at Palisades, including a scandal involving the chief of security exposed by Esquire magazine in 2007, as well as incidents in 2002: a security guard suffering a nervous breakdown on the job, while armed, after having been forced to work 72 hours per week for a solid year; and three suspicious cars penetrating deep into Palisades, but driving off without ever being stopped, because Palisades security guard force phoned the wrong local law enforcement agency, resulting in a 45 minute delay in response.

Remarkably, nearly 12 years after POGO first warned about security weaknesses at Entergy's Indian Point nuclear power plant near New York City, Entergy's security failures continue today, as at Palisades.

At a recent meeting with NRC Chairman Allison Macfarlane, Kevin objected to NRC Region 3 Office of Public Affairs spokesman Viktoria Mytling expressing agency support for a state bill in Michigan granting immunity to nuclear power plant security guards for lethal shootings. The sponsor of the bill has been quoted warning environmentalists that they should think twice before protesting at nuclear plants.

The coalition also expressed concern to Chairman Macfarlane about the recipe for disaster of Palisades problem-plagued security guard force now being granted immunity for fatal shootings, with a state park immediately to the north, and a resort community immediately to the south. In addition, the State of Michigan has established a waterway trail on Lake Michigan, encouraging kayakers to travel past Palisades. Although there are buoys in the Lake demarcating Palisades' property, there is no signage warning boaters that they are entering a zone where use of lethal force is authorized.

WOOD TV and WSBT TV also reported on last night's NRC meeting.

Thursday
Jun262014

"Great Lakes Communities Struggle Against Proposed Nuclear Waste Facility"

In an article entitled "Great Lakes Communities Struggle Against Proposed Nuclear Waste Facility," reporter Katie Rucke of MintPress News provides an update on the 13-year-long resistance to what Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps has described as a "declaration of war against the Great Lakes."

The Canadian federal Joint Review Panel, evaluating dump proponent Ontario Power Generation's environmental assessment, will hold another round of public hearings beginning on Sept. 9th in Kincardine, Ontario -- targeted for the proposed Deep Geologic Repository at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, which already "hosts" nine reactors, as well as a radioactive waste incinerator and "interim" storage site.

Tuesday
Jun242014

Michigan's U.S. Senators urge Secretary of State Kerry to take action against proposed Great Lakes shore radioactive waste dump

As reported by the Macomb Daily Tribune, U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin (both Democrats from Michigan) have again written U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, urging that the Canada-U.S. International Joint Commission be activated, to study the risks of Ontario Power Generation's proposed "Deep Geologic Repository" (DGR) on the Lake Huron shore. Sens. Stabenow and Levin posted the full text of the letter on June 18th.

The DGR, dubbed the DUD by critics (for Deep Underground Dump), would be located at OPG's Bruce Nuclear Generating Station in Kincardine, Ontario, just 50 miles across Lake Huron from the Tip of Michigan's Thumb. OPG proposes to permanently bury all of the so-called "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes (L&ILRWs) from 20 commercial atomic reactors across the province there, less than a mile from the Lake Huron shore.

In addition, a number of Bruce area municipalities -- mostly populated by Bruce Nuclear workers, and receiving tax revenues from the nuclear utility -- have volunteered to host Canada's national high-level radioactive waste (HLRW) dump. This has raised fears that the DGR1 (for L&ILRWs) could easily turn into DGR2 (for HLRWs as well).

The article also reports on a recent study by Environment Michigan, about large amounts of toxic chemicals being intentionally dumped into the Great Lakes as well. The study raises the specter of synergistic effects between radioactive and toxic chemical hazards -- the whole of the risks greater than the sum of its parts -- as warned about by Rachel Carson in Silent Spring over 50 years ago.

Sunday
Jun222014

Beyond Nuclear at 25th anniversary Midwest Renewable Energy Association Fair

Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps (back to camera), NIRS executive director Tim Judson (seated), and Nukewatch Wisconsin's John LaForge present at the annual "Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer" workshop session at the MREA Fair. Photo by Dave Kraft, NEIS exective director.Beyond Nuclear continued its annual tradition of info. tabling and workshop presenting at the MREA Summer Solstice long weekend festival in central Wisconsin from June 20 to 22, at the event's 25th annual gathering. The event is billed as among the biggest of its kind in the country, with an estimated 18,000 attendees this year.

Beyond Nuclear's Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Kevin Kamps, shared the stage with Nukewatch Wisconsin's John LaForge and Nuclear Information and Resource Service's Tim Judson (photo left) at the annual "Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer" workshop session. The workshop was named after the book by Helen Caldicott, who keynoted the entire festival in 2007. Kevin focused on why nuclear power cannot solve the climate crisis, citing IEER's excellent 2006 book Insurmountable Risks. Tim focused on the "Nuclear Attack on Renewables," and the fission industry's latest money grabs, to keep uncompetive old reactors afloat at public expense, as in IL.

Nukewatch WI also presented a workshop on "Getting Ready for Non-Violence," led by John, as well as Bonnie Urfer.

Beyond Nuclear's info. table -- shared with Nukewatch WI -- featured all of our pamphlets, as well as sharp stickers and maps, produced by New York City-based anti-nuke artist/activist Yuko Tonohira, copies of Stephanie Cooke's In Mortal Hands: A Cautionary History of the Nuclear Age, action alerts, etc. NIRS and NEIS (Chicago-based Nuclear Energy Information Service) also shared an info. table.

Saturday
Jun212014

Safecast "Upload of the Month"!

The upload as it appears in Safecast's new web map.Beyond Nuclear is pleased to have been selected for the first ever "Upload of the Month" by Safecast, for our bGeigie Nano radiation monitor readings taken at the Van Buren State Park in Michigan, immediately north of Entergy Nuclear's Palisades atomic reactor on the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Safecast wrote: "Every now and then we get a data submission which strikes us as particularly interesting for one reason or another, and we’d like to start highlighting them. So here’s our first “Upload of the Month.”"

Safecast addded: "A lot of people are concerned about radiation levels in areas near nuclear power plants, but we rarely see reliable independent surveys of the sort that can help inform people about what is normal and what is not. Safecasters can quickly and easily survey and post readings like these, and as more a data like this becomes publicly available it will help establish baselines for radiation levels in areas of concern. This bGeigie Nano survey shows readings mainly in the 25-40 CPM [Counts Per Minute] range, with a few slightly higher areas. We don’t have a lot of data from this area to compare this to, but it seems well within the range of normal background."

Beyond Nuclear is committed to return to Palisades -- and other atomic reactors -- to continue collecting radioactivity measurements, in order to be able to make comparisons over time. Although Safecast commented that our June 11, 2014 measurements near Palisades "[seem] well within the range of normal background," Palisades has leaked radioactivity into the environment (including a 2007 tritium leak into soil and groundwater, and a 2013 spill of more than 80 gallons of radioactive water directly into Lake Michigan). Palisades also "routinely," intentionally "batch releases" radioactivity into Lake Michigan, as well as into the air.

Safecast concluded: "Another reason we’re happy to see this upload is that Beyond Nuclear was one of the groups which participated in the bGeigie Nano workshop we held in Washington DC in April of this year. It’s great to see concrete results like this emerge from that important effort."

In addition to the Palisades upload to Safecast, Beyond Nuclear has also taken bGeigie Nano radiation monitor readings at the University of Michigan research reactor in Ann Arbor, as well as the Point Beach and Kewaunee nuclear power plants in northern Wisconsin. Beyond Nuclear hopes to facilitate the distribution of equipment and know how to grassroots groups in the not too distant future, so they can do their own watchdogging.