Gundersen: Forever deadly radioactive waste, versus renewables

Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer, Fairewinds Associates, Inc.As Fairewinds Associates, Inc.'s Chief Engineer, Arnie Gundersen (photo, left), concluded his keynote presentation at the Beyond Nuclear/FOE/NEIS "Mountain of Radioactive Waste 70 Years High" conference in Chicago in Dec. 2012:

"What we're seeing is that the cost of solar is plummeting while nuclear is rising," Gundersen said, adding that he often hears the rebuttal that the sun doesn't shine day and night. "But if you believe that man can build a repository to store nuclear waste for a quarter of a million years, surely those same people can find a way to store electricity overnight.", November 16, 2012

Gundersen serves as the expert witness for an environnental coalition (Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and Sierra Club, Ohio Chapter) that has challenged the risky, experimental steam generator replacements at Davis-Besse.

An overlapping coalition (including the Green Party of Ohio) has raised the radioactive waste dilemma and the renewables alternative as major arguments against the 20-year license extension at Davis-Besse.


"Measured Progress on Nuclear Security," or a "World Awash in Nuclear Explosive?"

The Nuclear Genie, as depicted in Walt Disney's 1950s pro-nuclear propaganda book "Our Friend the Atom"The New York Times editorial board has cited "Measured Progress on Nuclear Security," given Japan's pledge to turn over a small fraction of its potentially weapons-usable plutonium and highly enriched uranium to the U.S. for "disposal."

But as the Center for Public Integrity and Truthout have warned in an article by Douglas Birch and R. Jeffrey Smith entitled "The World Awash in Nuclear Explosive?", we have a frighteningly long way to go in our attempts to put the nuclear weapons proliferation genie back in the bottle.


Opponents to 20 more years at Davis-Besse cite radioactive waste dilemma, renewable alternatives

Environmental coalition attorney Terry Lodge of ToledoThe environmental coalition opposing the 20-year license extension sought by FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC) at its problem-plagued Davis-Besse atomic reactor on the Lake Erie shore east of Toledo has spoken out at NRC Environmental Impact Statement public comment meetings. The coalition issued a press release, focused on the unsolved dilemma created by Davis-Besse's ongoing generation of forever deadly high-level radioactive waste, as well as the renewables alternative (wind power, solar PV, etc.) to a risky, dubious 20 more years of atomic reactor operations.

The press release quoted Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps: “The worsening cracking of Davis-Besse’s concrete containment, the corrosion of its inner steel containment vessel, the risks of its experimental steam generator replacement, and its recently revealed Shield Building wall gap are clear signs that this atomic reactor is overdue for retirement and decommissioning.”

The coalition includes Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Green Party of Ohio. Terry Lodge of Toledo serves as the coalition's legal counsel.


Crimean conflict intensifies need to abandon nuclear weapons and atomic power

Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine has reignited bellicose threats of nuclear war and the shocking global consequences that could arise out of regional conflicts. It has further underscored the inherent threat and vulnerability from atomic power not only from the reality of catastrophic accidents but as pre-deployed retaliatory weapons for mass destruction that could be targeted in conventional war.  As world tensions mount, more effort must now be directed on the need to abandon both nuclear weapons and nuclear power for planetary survival.

Newsweek reports that many Ukrainians regret surrendering what was the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world following the 1991 breakup of the former Soviet Union.  In response to President Obama’s concern that the Russian army backed taking of Crimea is “dangerous and destablizing", Russian television host and anchorman Dmitry Kiselyov for the state-owned Russia One channel retorted, “Russia is the only country in the world realistically capable of turning the U.S. into radioactive ash.” The Wall Street Journal rattled back, “nations that abandon their nuclear arsenals do so at their own peril.

In fact, in preparing for and waging nuclear war nobody wins, everybody loses.

Building and maintaining nuclear arsenals is economically draining the world of vital human needs resources.

Climate scientists at Rutgers University have refocused attention on their study of the global climate catastrophe with a limited exchange of 100 nuclear weapons from the thousands of thermonuclear warheads in the world’s arsenal. As first warned by famed scientist Carl Sagan, nuclear war will generate tremendous amounts of smoke from the burning cities that would absorb incoming sunlight heating the atmosphere, while the dust from ground bursts will reflect sunlight back into space. Both will prevent sunlight from penetrating the atmosphere over a prolonged period of time resulting in a global agricultural collapse.  Not only do the nuclear warring nations suffer unthinkable causalities but there will be the global collateral damage from mass starvation.

Even the so-called “peaceful atom” in times of crisis as is growing out of  confrontation over Crimea carries inherent catastrophic risk. Nuclear power plants are not only identified as vital infrastructure that could be targeted in a conventional war to cripple that nation’s electricity production but radiological weapons capable of widespread land and resource contamination that will disregard borders.

There is one rational position remaining, abandon nuclear weapons and nuclear power.  As militaries mobilize along many borders now, most recently Cuba has voiced the call for the global elimination of nuclear arsenals that “threaten the survival of our species.”  The elimination of nuclear arsenals fundamentally begins with the elimination of nuclear weapon building blocks themselves,  enriched uranium and plutonium, as generated in nuclear power plants.


What happened on board the USS Reagan? Democracy Now!