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Friday
Jul222016

Greenpeace International: Fukushima five years later report, "Atomic Depths: An Assessment of Freshwater and Marine Sediment Contamination"

Beyond Nuclear board of directors member Kendra Ulrich, a Greenpeace Japan nuclear campaigner, is a co-author of a new Greenpeace International Fukushima five years later report, "Atomic Depths: An Assessment of Freshwater and Marine Sediment Contamination."

The report summarizes numerous scientific studies from the past several years, and also publishes Greenpeace International radioactivity measurements from the Fukushima Daiichi coastline, and nearby river banks and estuaries, as well as control measurements, from the pristine sediments of the ancient Lake Biwa (millions of years old).

Thursday
Jul212016

ACT BY TOMORROW (Fri., 7/22): $8 billion bailout would worsen radioactive risks to the Great Lakes!

Graphic art from AGREE action alertNY Governor Cuomo and his Public Service Commission have proposed a massive $8 billion bailout, at ratepayer expense, to prop up three financially failing Exelon atomic reactors in upstate NY on the Lake Ontario shore, and a fourth currently owned by Entergy but that Exelon also wants to buy. The nuclear bailout would gobble up two-thirds of a Clean Energy Fund originally meant for renewables, like wind and solar power, as well as energy efficiency. These four age-degraded reactors are also deep into their breakdown phase, so continued operations significantly increase the risk of a catastrophic radioactivity release on the shore of the Great Lakes, drinking water supply for many millions downstream in the U.S., Canada, and a large number of Native American First Nations. Please take one or more of the following actions ASAP to prevent this dangerous boondoggle -- the public comment deadline is tomorrow, Friday, July 22nd, as the PSC races to rubber-stamp this bad deal. You can use the Alliance for a Green Economy's (AGREE) web form, and/or  Public Citizen's web form, and/or sign and submit a letter drafted by Clearwater. If this nuclear bailout precedent gets set in NY, Exelon's and other nuclear industry lobbyists could then attempt to get away with it at dirty, dangerous, and expensive atomic reactors in other states too. More

Wednesday
Jul202016

Susquehanna operators suspended after prioritizing reactor operation ahead of safety

Susquehanna nuclaer power plant in Salem Twp., PAAs Susan Schwartz of the Press Enterprise reports from Salem Twp., PA, three senior reactor operators at the Susquehanna nuclear power plant (see NRC file photo, left) have been temporaily suspended, pending retraining:

Three senior reactor operators have been temporarily disqualified after they took a safety system offline before shutting down a reactor at the Susquehanna nuclear plant in May, regulators confirm. A nuclear watchdog believes the operators did it in an effort to avoid shutting down the unit, an expensive move for the plant.

Susquehanna has two reactors, both Fukushima Daiichi sibling designs. Susquehanna Units 1 and 2 are General Electric Mark II boiling water reactors.

The article, which reports the incident took place at Unit 2, quotes Dave Lochbaum of UCS:

Watchdog’s take

But David Lochbaum, nuclear safety project director for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said he suspects the operators disabled the safety system to buy themselves time in the hope of avoiding the shutdown. More.

Monday
Jul182016

Letter claims info on nuclear risks withheld from safety commissioners

As reported by Gloria Galloway at the Globe and Mail, an anonymous letter written by Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) staffers alleges that the agency staff has kept the CNSC Commissioners, and the CNSC President, in the dark about significant safety issues at Canadian nuclear power plants such as Darlington just east of Toronto, and Bruce on the Lake Huron shore just upstream of Port Huron and Detroit, Michigan.

The letter was sent not only to CNSC President Michael Binder, but also to two leadinng Canadian environmental groups, Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) and Greenpeace Canada.

As the article reports:

...Although it is impossible to verify that the letter was written by CNSC specialists, environmentalists who received copies of the document say the level of detail, the manner of speaking and the amount of complexity suggest it was written by someone with inside knowledge. And, they say, the problems are symptomatic of a culture at the commission in which employees are expected to act as boosters of the nuclear industry rather than watchdogs of nuclear safety...

Theresa McClenaghan, executive director of the Canadian Environmental Law Association, who was the other environmentalist sent a copy of the letter, said actions of this sort – in which whistle-blowers make such specific allegations – are both rare and surprising. But, she said, she has no doubt it was written by someone inside the CNSC.

“We are often very concerned that commissioners are not getting the full story from the proponents or the regulatory staff,” Ms. McClenaghan said. “In the hearings, we really do see a frustrating amount of apologetics for the industry going on by staff.”

Mr. Stensil, of Greenpeace, said the most serious issue raised in the letter is the allegation suggesting that CNSC staff knows about additional risks being posed by reactors, but is ignoring them. That is what happened at Fukushima, he said.

“That’s not a nuts-and-bolts or an engineering issue,” Mr. Stensil said. “That’s a safety culture issue.” More.

Monday
Jul182016

Untrained Palisades security guards scapegoated by Entergy management for fire risk violations

As reported by Cody Comb's of WWMT-TV 3's I-Team, who originally broke the story of fire risk violations at Entergy Nuclear's Palisades atomic reactor earlier this month, based on whistle-blower revelations, additional whistle-blowers have revealed they are being scapegoated by management that didn't even see fit to train them properly in the first place.

A key question -- will the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) yet again be complicit with Entergy, by effectively taking part in that scapegoating?

WWMT quoted a Palisades security guard who has been placed on administrative paid leave:

"I'm on paid leave right now, and I have been for almost a month," said one of the plant workers, agreeing to speak with Newschannel 3's I-Team on the condition of anonymity.

"Now the company [Entergy] lawyer is asking us questions, saying the NRC will be speaking with us…and that we could be criminally liable," the worker added...

"The training department never once trained us on fire tours," the officer said. "Security used to have a fire brigade that had a certain number of security members on shift, but when Entergy bought the plant they got rid of that…there's a whole fire brigade staff at that plant right now that have never trained anybody on how to do the fire tours." More.