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Sunday
Jun222014

Beyond Nuclear at 25th anniversary Midwest Renewable Energy Association Fair

Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps (back to camera), NIRS executive director Tim Judson (seated), and Nukewatch Wisconsin's John LaForge present at the annual "Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer" workshop session at the MREA Fair. Photo by Dave Kraft, NEIS exective director.Beyond Nuclear continued its annual tradition of info. tabling and workshop presenting at the MREA Summer Solstice long weekend festival in central Wisconsin from June 20 to 22, at the event's 25th annual gathering. The event is billed as among the biggest of its kind in the country, with an estimated 18,000 attendees this year.

Beyond Nuclear's Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Kevin Kamps, shared the stage with Nukewatch Wisconsin's John LaForge and Nuclear Information and Resource Service's Tim Judson (photo left) at the annual "Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer" workshop session. The workshop was named after the book by Helen Caldicott, who keynoted the entire festival in 2007. Kevin focused on why nuclear power cannot solve the climate crisis, citing IEER's excellent 2006 book Insurmountable Risks. Tim focused on the "Nuclear Attack on Renewables," and the fission industry's latest money grabs, to keep uncompetive old reactors afloat at public expense, as in IL.

Nukewatch WI also presented a workshop on "Getting Ready for Non-Violence," led by John, as well as Bonnie Urfer.

Beyond Nuclear's info. table -- shared with Nukewatch WI -- featured all of our pamphlets, as well as sharp stickers and maps, produced by New York City-based anti-nuke artist/activist Yuko Tonohira, copies of Stephanie Cooke's In Mortal Hands: A Cautionary History of the Nuclear Age, action alerts, etc. NIRS and NEIS (Chicago-based Nuclear Energy Information Service) also shared an info. table.

Saturday
Jun212014

Safecast "Upload of the Month"!

The upload as it appears in Safecast's new web map.Beyond Nuclear is pleased to have been selected for the first ever "Upload of the Month" by Safecast, for our bGeigie Nano radiation monitor readings taken at the Van Buren State Park in Michigan, immediately north of Entergy Nuclear's Palisades atomic reactor on the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Safecast wrote: "Every now and then we get a data submission which strikes us as particularly interesting for one reason or another, and we’d like to start highlighting them. So here’s our first “Upload of the Month.”"

Safecast addded: "A lot of people are concerned about radiation levels in areas near nuclear power plants, but we rarely see reliable independent surveys of the sort that can help inform people about what is normal and what is not. Safecasters can quickly and easily survey and post readings like these, and as more a data like this becomes publicly available it will help establish baselines for radiation levels in areas of concern. This bGeigie Nano survey shows readings mainly in the 25-40 CPM [Counts Per Minute] range, with a few slightly higher areas. We don’t have a lot of data from this area to compare this to, but it seems well within the range of normal background."

Beyond Nuclear is committed to return to Palisades -- and other atomic reactors -- to continue collecting radioactivity measurements, in order to be able to make comparisons over time. Although Safecast commented that our June 11, 2014 measurements near Palisades "[seem] well within the range of normal background," Palisades has leaked radioactivity into the environment (including a 2007 tritium leak into soil and groundwater, and a 2013 spill of more than 80 gallons of radioactive water directly into Lake Michigan). Palisades also "routinely," intentionally "batch releases" radioactivity into Lake Michigan, as well as into the air.

Safecast concluded: "Another reason we’re happy to see this upload is that Beyond Nuclear was one of the groups which participated in the bGeigie Nano workshop we held in Washington DC in April of this year. It’s great to see concrete results like this emerge from that important effort."

In addition to the Palisades upload to Safecast, Beyond Nuclear has also taken bGeigie Nano radiation monitor readings at the University of Michigan research reactor in Ann Arbor, as well as the Point Beach and Kewaunee nuclear power plants in northern Wisconsin. Beyond Nuclear hopes to facilitate the distribution of equipment and know how to grassroots groups in the not too distant future, so they can do their own watchdogging.

Wednesday
Jun182014

Appeal made to force quality assurance compliance at proposed new Fermi 3 atomic reactor

Terry LodgeTerry Lodge (photo, left), Toledo-based attorney representing the environmental coalition intervening against the proposed new Fermi 3 atomic reactor in Monroe County, MI, has appealed the May 23rd Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) ruling regarding QA (quality assurance) to the full five member Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

See the appeal here. See the press release here.

This appeal preserves the coalition's right to appeal the ruling to the federal courts.

From 2009 to 2013, the coalition's expert witness on QA, Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer of Fairewinds Associates, Inc., has filed voluminous testimony during the course of this proceeding.

The coalition includes Beyond Nuclear, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and Sierra Club Michigan Chapter.

Wednesday
Jun182014

"Fatally compromised" NRC Commissioner Magwood urged to resign immediately

NRC Commissioner William Magwood IVAs explained in a press release, 34 groups, including Beyond Nuclear, have urged U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Commissioner William Magwood IV (photo, left) to resign immediately, due to his apparent and actual conflict of interest. Several months ago, Magwood agreed to become Director-General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Nuclear Energy Agency (OECD NEA), which has an explicit mandate to promote nuclear power. His job there begins in September, and he has indicated he will leave NRC before his term expires sometime this summer.

The coalition's letter to Magwood, calling for his resignation, was written by the Joint Counsel to the Environmental Organizations, Diane Curran of Harmon Curran Speilberg + Eisenberg LLP in Washington DC, and Mindy Goldstein of Turner Environmental Law Clinic at Emory Law School in Atlanta. It also calls for Magwood to retroactively recuse himself from any votes made in the past many months, after he began negotiating with OECD for his new job at NEA. The letter was cc'd to the other four NRC Commissioners, as well as to the White House and U.S. Senate oversight committee.

The NRC and its Commissioners are not supposed to promote nuclear power, but rather to regulate its safety, in order to protect the public and environment. In fact, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was disbanded in the mid-1970s, due to its schizophrenic promotional and safety regulatory roles. NRC was then formed, mandated to regulate safety, while the U.S. Department of Energy was given the promotional role.

Tellingly, Magwood directed DOE's promotional Office of Nuclear Energy (ONE) for several years, as well as working in the nuclear industry itself, before President Obama nominated him, and the U.S. Senate confirmed him, as an NRC Commissioner. Beyond Nuclear helped lead a coalition of more than 100 groups opposing Magwood's nomination and confirmation.

In late 2011, during an oversight hearing, U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman, Barbara Boxer (D-CA), cited the group letter spearheaded by Beyond Nuclear, opposing Magwood's nomination and confirmation. Boxer was angry with Magwood for leading the mutiny against then serving NRC Chairman Greg Jaczko. As reported by the Huffington Post, it was an apparent bid by Magwood to take the NRC Chairmanship for himself -- similar to how Magwood got the top spot at DOE ONE. As also reported by the Huffington Post, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) ended any such notion, citing Magwood's broken promises regarding the proposed Yucca Mountain dump.

Wednesday
Jun112014

Concerned citizens and environmental group reps tour Entergy Palisades atomic reactor

NRC file photo of Palisades, and the Great Lake and countryside it puts at risk.On June 11, 2014, a group of five concerned local residents and environmental group representatives, including Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps, toured Entergy Nuclear's problem-plagued Palisades atomic reactor. It is located on the Lake Michigan shoreline in Covert, MI.

See Kevin's notes and thoughts from the tour.

[This version of Kevin's notes/thoughts, in Word, allows you to click on various functional links provided.]