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Thursday
Jan142010

DOE and OMB "at odds" over speed of Yucca dump's cancellation?

A letter from U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu to White House Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag seems  to indicate a difference in positions as to how quickly the Yucca Mountain, Nevada high-level radioactive waste dumpsite should be phased out. Although President Obama and Energy Secretary Chu have made clear time and time again that Yucca is no longer an option for high-level radioactive waste disposal, the proposed repository's construction and operating license application proceeding before the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been allowed to continue (in fact an oral hearing will be held at the end of this month in Las Vegas), raising the specter that the supposedly cancelled dump could come back to life someday under the right political circumstances. In the meantime, the State of Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects, Timbisha Shoshone Indian Tribe, and other dump opponents must remain vigilant until the final nail has been pounded down on the dump's coffin lid.

Thursday
Jan142010

"Step It Up To Shut It Down" -- 126 mile march through bitter cold against Vermont Yankee reaches Statehouse

Activists opposed to a 20 year license extension at Entergy's Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant have marched 126 miles through bitter winter weather from the reactor in Brattleboro to the state capitol in Montpelier. Anti-nuclear activism in the Green Mountain State is ramping up, as the Vermont state legislature will likely vote by spring whether or not to support the license extension at one of the nation's oldest reactors.

Thursday
Jan142010

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists turns back Doomsday Clock

The board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has turned its Doomsday Clock back by one minute - from five minutes to midnight to six minutes. In a statement today, made during a live, web-cast conference, the board members stated: "We are poised to bend the arc of history toward a world free of nuclear weapons. For the first time since atomic bombs were dropped in 1945, leaders of nuclear weapons states are cooperating to vastly reduce their arsenals and secure all nuclear bomb-making material. And for the first time ever, industrialized and developing countries alike are pledging to limit climate-changing gas emissions that could render our planet nearly uninhabitable". The full statement can be found on the Bulletin's Web site.

Thursday
Jan142010

FPL halts two new reactors targeted at Turkey Point!

In what appears to be a major victory for anti-nuclear efforts in Florida, the state's Public Utility Commission  (PUC) has rejected Florida Power and Light's (FPL) request for a massive electricity rate increase, which would have largely gone to pay for two new Toshiba-Westinghouse AP-1000 reactors at its Turkey Point nuclear power plant near Miami. This victory is all the more significant, in that the State of Florida had already empowered its PUC to approve "Construction Work in Progress," charging ratepayers on their bills in advance to build new reactors, many years before any electricity is actually delivered. However, the PUC has decided to refuse such charges.  FPL responded by halting its plans to pursue the two new reactors past the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing phase. Thus, continued anti-nuclear vigilance will be required, as FPL will undoubtedly try again to force its ratepayers to bear the financial burdens and risks of building new reactors, while offering little to none of the projected profits in return. David Kraft of Nuclear Energy Information Service in Chicago asserts that this decision could well set back the nuclear power relapse nation-wide.

Tuesday
Jan122010

'It’s like the inmates are running the jail'

Eartha Jane Melzer's article, "Group urges suspension of license process for new Fermi nuclear plant," in the Michigan Messenger reports on Beyond Nuclear's and environmental coalition allies' efforts to challenge the proposed Fermi 3 reactor in Monroe, MI based on quality assurance violations at Detroit Edison Company, "Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor" (ESBWR) designer General Electric-Hitachi, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission itself. Responding to NRC's conclusion that Detroit Edison's "failure to establish a Fermi 3 QA program resulted in inadequate control of procurement documents and ineffective control of contract services performed by [subcontractor] Black and Veatch (B&V)," the environmental coalition's expert witness Arnold Gundersen, a nuclear engineer, concluded "That’s like having the inmates running the prison."