Nuclear fiddling while the planet burns

Our Counterpunch column is a warning that our money will be squandered on pipe dreams and pipelines. The nuclear pipedream has gone on for decades and still there are NO Gen IV or Small Modular Reactors out there. We must act now on climate change and redirect funding to renewables.

"There is a climate crisis upon us. Polar ice is melting. Sea level rise is happening. Time is running out. Emergency solutions are the only option — energy supplies that can come on fast and sustainably.

Sadly, some in the U.S. Congress would rather bury their heads in radioactive quicksand, sinking our money into nuclear energy research at national laboratories that have sought but failed to find illusory atomic answers for decades.

The House and Senate are re-introducing near identical versions of the “Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act of 2017,” which promises to throw our money down the nuclear rabbit hole rather than direct major funding to renewable energy solutions that are already addressing climate change quickly and effectively but should be supported and accelerated before it’s too late."

Read the full opinion column.


Will Rick Perry Privatize America's Nuclear Waste Storage?

As reported at Mother Jones. See Beyond Nuclear's exposé on Energy Secretary-nominee Rick Perry's blatant conflict of interest with Waste Control Specialists, LLC, published at Counterpunch. Take action ASAP -- sign multiple petitions, and contact your two U.S. Senators, urging them to block Perry's confirmation! Also, submit comments to the U.S. Department of Energy, opposing private permanent parking lot dumps for high-level radioactive waste!


Beyond Nuclear and allies petition NRC to halt nuclear plants with potentially defective parts

Beyond Nuclear, a national anti-nuclear advocacy group, along with co-petitioners from around the United States, have requested that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) take emergency enforcement action at U.S nuclear power plants that AREVA notified may be operating with potentially defective large components. The parts were manufactured and imported from France’s Le Creusot Forge and are at the center of an international nuclear safety controversy. 

The 17 affected units at U.S. nuclear power plant sites were confirmed by AREVA to the NRC in an attachment to a December 15, 2016 letter.  

The at-risk reactors and components are: Reactor Pressure Vessels: Prairie Island 1 & 2 (MN) (pictured); Replacement Reactor Pressure Vessel Heads: Arkansas Nuclear One 2 (AR), Beaver Valley 1 (PA), North Anna 1 & 2 (VA), and Surry 1 (VA); Steam Generators: Beaver Valley 1 (PA), Comanche Peak 1 (TX), V.C. Summer (SC), Farley 1 & 2 (AL), South Texas 1 & 2 (TX), Sequoyah 1 (TN) and Watts Bar 1 (TN), and; Reactor Steam Pressurizers: Millstone 2 (CT) and Saint Lucie 1 (FL). 

The groups’ petition to the agency requests that power operations at the 17 affected U.S. reactors be suspended pending thorough inspection and material testing of the at-risk components.  The request follows on the public release of a December 7, 2016 Areva communication to the NRC and its listed U.S. customers notifying them of potential defective components and non-compliance from the Le Creusot Forge. 


Which nuclear plants are really "under construction"?

The term "under construction" is often used by the nuclear industry to inflate the numbers to make the new nuclear sector appear to be booming. After all Watts Bar-2 was "under constrution" for 43 years before it finally opened last year. The World Nuclear Industry Status Report has now launched "a fully interactive visualization on nuclear power reactor construction. How many of the 55 reactors currently under construction in the world are behind schedule? Which 13 countries are building nuclear power plants? Who are the technology providers? How long did it take for a specific reactor to be connected to the grid? For how long were the 90 units actually under construction before they were abandoned? 

If you wish to find out these and more details about any of the 754 nuclear reactors that have been under construction sometime between 1951 and 2017, explore the Global Nuclear Power Database now available on the website of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.


Environmental coalition legal challenge against unprecedented highly radioactive liquid waste shipments coming to a head in D.C.

Political cartoon by Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News. Buffalo, NY, as well as Thousand Island, NY, are the two most likely border crossings for these shipments, although others could also be used. DOE has invoked security-related secrecy on the routing and timing of the shipments.A Canadian-U.S. environmental coalition, including Beyond Nuclear, has been resisting unprecedented shipments of highly radioactive liquid waste, from Chalk River, Ontario, Canada to Savannah River Site, South Carolina, U.S.A., since they were first announced in spring, 2013. Last August, the coalition filed a federal lawsuit, demanding an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be conducted. Various court filings have gone back and forth since, between the coalition and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

In the latest round of legal filings, on Jan. 10, 2017, attorneys for DOE and the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a Defendants' Combined Reply in Support of their Motion to Strike and Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion to Supplement the Record and to Submit Extra-Record Documents.

On Jan. 12, 2017, Terry Lodge of Toledo and Diane Curran of Washington, D.C., the environmental coalition's legal counsel, responded, filing Plaintiffs' Reply to Defendants' Opposition to Motion to Supplement the Record and to Submit Extra-Record Documents.

On Jan. 18, 2017, at 10am Eastern, Lodge and Curran will square off against DOE/DOJ, and argue the environmental coalition's case at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse, 333 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20001.

If the environmental coalition prevails in the expedited legal proceeding, the court will order DOE to carry out a long overdue Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), significantly delaying or perhaps even aborting the truck shipments. If the DOE prevails, it could start trucking highly radioactive liquid wastes by mid-February, 2017. See Beyond Nuclear's Waste Transportation website section for more information.