Efforts by all of us will need to escalate over the coming weeks after Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman, Barbara Boxer (D-CA), confirmed September 9 that the Senate climate bill will include a section dedicated to incentives for the nuclear power industry. Groups including Beyond Nuclear, along with individual activists around the country, have been working hard to keep nuclear funding out of the Senate climate legislation. Please continue to contact your Senator and let him or her know that diverting funding to the already sated nuclear industry will starve real climate change solutions like renewable energy and energy efficiency condemning the measures in the bill to failure.
In response to the nuclear power establishment's current push to revive commercial high-level radioactive waste reprocessing in the U.S. for the first time in 37 years, Beyond Nuclear and Physicians for Social Responsibility have revised and updated the 2006 "Principles for Safeguarding Nuclear Waste at Reactors." Beyond Nuclear and PSR recently invited organizations to sign the revised Principles. Please sign your group onto these revised Principles as soon as possible by emailing Morgan Pinnell at PSR, firstname.lastname@example.org. Individuals can help by sharing this alert with groups they are associated with, as well as contacting their own U.S. Senators and Representative, to urge "hardened on-site storage" as an interim alternative to such high-risk proposals as commercial reprocessing. (Image from Dr. Gordon Thompson's 2003 report, "Robust Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel: A Neglected Issue of Homeland Security," commissioned by Citizens Awareness Network).
Beyond Nuclear tabled at the recent Bonnie Raitt/Taj Mahal (BonTaj) concerts in several venues around the country where proceeds will go to advocacy groups including Beyond Nuclear. Pictured left to right are: Taj Mahal, Beyond Nuclear's Cindy Folkers, Bonnie Raitt and Beyond Nuclear associate, Alfred Meyer. So that groups like Beyond Nuclear can receive such funding, please cast your vote for "Safe & Sustainable Energy" at the BonTaj website!
More radioactive leaks from reactors like Dresden, Oyster Creek, Vermont Yankee and Indian Point are calling attention to a largely ignored Nuclear Regulatory Commission document dating back to 1979 when the agency first asked operators to periodically inspect pipes and tanks to prevent uncontrolled leaks. Reactor operators are not inspecting the miles of buried and corroding pipes and tanks. NRC is instead allowing reactors a "leak first, fix later" approach rather than use preventive inspections to maintain integrity of these radioactive waste management systems through preventive inspections. In addition to frequent intentional radioactive releases, these accidental and unmonitored spills and leaks onsite are contaminating water resources away from the reactors, jeopardizing public health. The October 19, 1979 NRC technical circular entitled "Prevention of Unplanned Releases of Radioactivity" advises the nuclear industry to periodically inspect buried pipes specifically using hydrostatic testing equipment and procedures with the focus on the "prevention" of uncontrolled and unmonitored radioactive release pathways.
The Krummel reactor near Hamburg, Germany was shut down on July 4, 2009 following a transformer fire caused by an electrical short circuit. The reactor had been running for only two weeks after a previous fire in the other transformer in 2007 had closed the plant for two years and cost Vattenfall, its Swedish owner, $420 million in repairs and upgrades. Vattenfall officials reluctantly disclosed that this time the SCRAM was complicated by damage to "perhaps a few fuel elements" but would not elaborate other than to say all safety systems operated and there was no radiation leak. Der Spiegel reports that evidence of sharp metal shavings and other foreign objects left behind from repairs inside the reactor vessel are evidence of the company's even more problematic carelessness and mismanagement. If you can understand German (and even if you can't), please enjoy the Greenpeace video on the Vattenfal reactor situation.