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Tuesday
Apr272010

Graham walks but climate bill still "dirty energy" legislation

South Carolina Senator, Lindsay Graham, may have taken his climate bill toys and gone home, but the impact is less relevant than the fact that the potential bill itself is a feeding frenzy for the nuclear industry. As quoted on BusinessGreen.com, Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps said of the bill that: "he saw as excessive support for the nuclear industry in the proposed legislation. He argued that the American Clean Energy and Security Act passed by the House of Representatives last June represents a better option. "The House Bill is not perfect by any means but it's so much better than the Senate Bill," he said, adding that the alternative Cantwell-Collins draft bill also offered an alternative approach.

"Kamps, who called the Kerry bill "dirty energy" legislation, said that the environmental movement is increasingly turning to state-level initiatives to address climate change issues, as Congress proves increasingly gridlocked. "In fact, Congress wants to intervene in state and regional activities," he complained. "In Kerry-Lieberman-Graham, they were going to dismantle the state and regional level cap and trade initiatives."

Friday
Apr232010

Earth Day founder says nuclear has no place in climate change

Denis Hayes, the coordinator of the first Earth Day 40 years ago, still believes that nuclear has no place in addressing climate change or emerging energy needs. Writing in The Cap Times, Hayes says "Let's not be duped again." Among the points he makes against nuclear energy are: "Nuclear is poised to soak up billions that could be invested far more prudently in hyper-efficiency and renewable energy. Energy efficiency can be achieved at a fraction of the cost of a new reactor, and produces immediate results. New reactors won’t come online for at least decade or more, meaning we’ll be that much further behind in slowing global warming. Renewable energy produces no radioactive waste, bomb-grade materials or terrorist risks." Read more.

Thursday
Apr222010

Reactor cancer study has potential for conflict

In a press release issued today, Beyond Nuclear identified significant potential for conflict of interest in a proposed new study of cancer around U.S. nuclear reactors. The study, initiated by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), has been offered to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). However, the chair of the NAS board that would conduct the study is former NRC chair, Richard Meserve. Furthermore, past NAS studies have raised concerns about absence of bias.  The two agencies will meet to discuss the study on April 26th, ironically the 24th anniversary of the 1986 Chernobyl reactor explosion that dispersed radiation across the planet. Although the study may be awarded to the NAS, Beyond Nuclear has concerns that the NRC - with a demonstrated bias toward industry priorities - will retain undue influence.

Monday
Apr192010

Beyond Nuclear report on leaking reactors finds regulator ignoring oversight

A new report released today by Beyond Nuclear - Leak First, Fix Later: Uncontrolled and Unmonitored Radioactive Releases from Nuclear Power Plants - looks at the epidemic of reactors leaking tritium into groundwater. The report finds that the federal regulator – the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission -  is ignoring its oversight and enforcement responsibilities at the nation’s increasingly leaky, uninspected and unmaintained nuclear power plants.  The report shows that despite agency efforts initiated in 1979 to prevent uncontrolled radioactive releases to groundwater, the NRC is capitulating to an industry decision to take almost three more years before announcing an action plan.

Instead of mandating compliance with established license requirements for the control and monitoring of buried pipe systems carrying radioactive effluent, the NRC cedes responsibility to industry voluntary initiatives that will add years onto the resolution of a decades-old environmental and public health issue.

Of further concern, the agency and the industry continue to downplay and trivialize the health risks of prolonged exposure to tritium, a known carcinogen which is shown to cause cancer, genetic mutations and birth defects.

The highly-publicized leaks of radioactive hydrogen – or tritium – from buried pipes at the Braidwood, Oyster Creek and Vermont Yankee nuclear power plants have drawn attention to a more widespread and longstanding problem analyzed by the report. Leaking U.S. reactors are now ubiquitous. There is evidence of 15 radioactive leaks from March 2009 through April 16, 2010 from buried pipe systems at 13 different reactor sites. At least 102 reactor units are now documented to have had recurring radioactive leaks into groundwater from 1963 through February 2009.

The full report, the executive summary and the press release can all be downloaded. We encourage you to reproduce and distribute all three and to forward these documents to others in your community and to send the press release to your media contacts.

Wednesday
Apr142010

Higher birth-defect rate seen in Chernobyl area counters UN reports

Reuters reports that higher-than-normal rates of certain birth defects plague one Ukrainian region affected by fallout from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power reactor explosion. The findings were reported in April’s journal of Pediatrics and counter a 2005 United Nations report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which stated that there was no increase in birth defects. Dr. Wladimir Wertelecki, researcher at the University of Southern Alabama, says that this official conclusion had a “chilling effect” on study of prenatal disease and that these findings show more research is needed into congenital defects, especially in regions of chronic, low-dose radiation.