Farewell Flamanville? French reactor may be toast

Such serious flaws have now been found in the French prototype EPR reactor still under construction at Flamanville in France (pictured) that the project may have to be scrapped. Authorities have found that the project has a faulty steel reactor vessel at risk of splitting, a 100% unacceptable outcome. But because the reactor vessel is already encased in a concrete well it would be laborious and very costly to replace. The alternative is to scrap the project.

Pierre-Franck Chevet, president of France's nuclear safety authority (ASN), told the French daily newspaper, Le Parisien, the anomalies were in the "base and lid" of the vessel, which is "an absolutely crucial component of the nuclear reactor on which no risk of breakage can be taken."

The major setback is just the latest in a string of disasters for the EPR once touted as the poster child of new nuclear reactors. Enormous delays and equally vast cost-overruns have plagued the Flamanville project as well as the EPRs under construction in Finland and China. China recently stopped loading fuel into its EPR reactors over safety concerns. More. 


Beyond Nuclear discusses Fukushima on RT International

Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps was interviewed by RT International regarding current developments at Fukushima Daiichi, Japan.

The interview includes footage, taken by drones, of the large mounds of radioactively contaminated materials being transferred to Okuma and Futaba for "temporary storage." Okuma and Futaba are the two "host" towns in Fukushima Prefecture across which the six reactor nuclear complex sprawls. Both towns are now "Dead Zone," indefinitely uninhabitable. All surviving former residents are now living as nuclear evacuees, unable to go home.

The interview also includes footage of the snake-like robots Tokyo Electric is sending into the Unit 1 reactor's damaged radiological containment structure. The first, deployed on April 10th, broke down after a few hours of service, for yet unexplained reasons. The radiation levels it measured would be lethal to humans within 30 minutes or less.


"FERC Rejects Ginna Rates, Orders Settlement Proceeding"

The Ginna atomic reactor, on the Lake Ontario shoreline in upstate New YorkAs reported by William Opalka in RTO Insider, "The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday rejected the rate schedule proposed for a struggling nuclear power plant needed for reliability in western New York and ordered hearing and settlement proceedings (ER15-1047)."

The R.E. Ginna atomic reactor, owned and operated by Exelon Nuclear of Chicago, is one of the very oldest still-operating in the U.S. It fired up in 1969. It is located in Ontario, New York, on the Lake Ontario shoreline.

Exelon's scheme for keeping Ginna operating -- despite losing tens of millions of dollars per year, for the past three years -- is to gouge ratepayers in Rochester, NY.


In Memoriam: Bill Hirt, stalwart supporter of the anti-nuke movement in the Great Lakes

Bill Hirt (in radiation suit, holding "Chernobyl 1986" placard) with assistance from Alice Hirt, protesting the industry's first "Nuclear Renaissance" event at the Palmer House, Chicago, late 2001. Photo by Kathy Barnes.We are very sad to report that our dear friend and colleague, Bill Hirt, has passed on. He died surrounded by his loving family on Monday, March 30, 2015, more than eight years after being diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), more commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Bill was very multi-faceted (the Toledo Blade's remembrance focused on his historic preservation and low-income housing efforts), but one of those facets was his generous support for, and deep involvement in, the anti-nuclear movement in the Great Lakes region. Along with his wife Alice (see the obituary she and their son Nick wrote, here), who serves on the board of directors of Don't Waste Michigan and the Toledo Coalition for Safe Energy, the Hirts vigilantly watch-dogged nuclear risks from Lake Michigan to Lake Erie, from Palisades to Davis-Besse, traveling to meetings and events across the Great Lakes for years and even decades on end, in opposition to atomic reactor and radioactive waste risks. See a listing of but a few of the countless examples of Bill's involvement, here.

Bill's generous support and deep involvement will be sorely missed, as will his vivacious spirit and love of life. More.


From Midwest to Mid-Atlantic, ratepayer resistance to nuclear bailouts intensifies!

"Burning money" graphic art by Gene Case and Avenging Angels appeared on the cover of the Nation Magazine, accompanying an article about the nuclear relapse by Christian ParentiNuclear utilities, like Exelon of Chicago and FirstEnergy of Ohio, are seeking multi-billion (yes, billion with a B!) dollar bailouts for their dirty, dangerous, and uncompetitive atomic reactors. Exelon is also trying to take over the Mid-Atlantic utility Pepco, in a thinly veiled attempt to gouge ratepayers to prop up its failing nukes, while gutting clean energy competition: efficiency, renewables, and distributed energy. But a growing coalition of residential and business ratepayers, nuclear watchdogs, and even state agencies, are pushing back, with creative street theater, community educational forums, and legal interventions before Public Service Commissions. More.