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Friday
Aug082014

Environmental coalition presses case for NEPA review of Fermi 3 transmission corridor

Although atomic reactors and their transmission lines are inextricably interconnected, NRC staff failed to include them in its FEIS for the proposed new Fermi 3 reactor, a violation of NEPAOn Aug. 7th, Terry Lodge, Toledo-based attorney for the environmental coalition intervening against DTE's proposed new Fermi 3 reactor in southeast MI, has filed a final reply brief requested by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

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

Lodge's reply rebuts July 28th filings made by DTE, NRC staff, and the Nuclear Energy Institute. All three sought to block the NRC's Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) from undertaking its own review of NRC staff's alleged failure to perform an environmental assessment on the impacts from building nearly 30 miles of new transmission lines to serve Fermi 3. This includes an 11 mile stretch through undeveloped areas, including forested wetlands. These could serve as critical habitat for endangered or threatened species.

In addition, ancient Native American burials, deserving of protection under law, very likely are located along the targeted transmission corridor pathway, as well.

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires such a review, interverers have argued since Jan. 2012. And it appears the ASLB, as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, agree with them.

DTE and NRC staff also filed replies by the August 7th deadline, attempting to rebut the environmental interveners' July 28th filing.

Now the NRC Commissioners will take the matter behind closed doors, to decide whether or not they will grant the ASLB permission to review NRC staff's alleged NEPA failures, as the licensing board overseeing the Fermi 3 combined Construction and Operating License Application has requested.

Thursday
Aug072014

Tell EPA: Don't Nuke the Climate!

As reported in Beyond Nuclear's weekly email bulletin on June 5th, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled President Obama's proposal to curb greenhouse gas emissions causing the climate crisis. Most unfortunately, the Obama administration is attempting to use the proposed new carbon cutting rules to throw a lifeline to sinking atomic reactors.

During the week of July 28th, EPA held a small number of public meetings -- in Washington, D.C., Denver, Atlanta, and Pittsburgh -- to gather public comments on its proposed carbon reduction policy.

Friends of the Earth (FOE) put out talking points, one more focused on the nuclear power implications of EPA's proposed carbon rule, and one more general, for use by those making public comments. Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) did as well.

Synapse Energy Economics, Inc. has provided analysis, posting slides, as well as the recording of its July 23, 2014 webinar, providing analysis on "111(d): Next Steps for States."

Beyond Nuclear is thankful to our various colleagues for preparing these analyses and talking points on such complex subject matter, as well as to Sara Barczak of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) for compiling -- and alerting us to -- them.

What can you do? Provide your own public comments to EPA by its Oct. 16th deadline. Tell EPA: Nukes don't save the climate! Email to <A-and-R-Docket@epa.gov> and include Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0602 in the subject line of your email message.

You can also attend the climate rally in New York City on Sept. 21st and join the Carbon-Free, Nuclear-Free contingent!

Wednesday
Aug062014

Beyond Nuclear in Space

The solar-powered Rosetta space probe made a successful rendezvous this week with a comet more than 300 million miles from the Sun -- a distance at which nuclear-proponents have for decades insisted solar energy would never work; that nuclear power was necessary.

An article, written by Beyond Nuclear board member Karl Gtrossman and posted on Enformable, describes the Rosetta mission as a "'demonstration' that in space as on Earth solar power is an alternative to dangerous nuclear power." Grossman has long investigated the use of nuclear power in space, authoring "The Wrong Stuff: The Space Program's Nuclear Threat to Our Planet" and writing and narrating the TV documentary "Nukes in Space: The Nuclearization and Weaponization of the Heavens" (www.envirovideo.com). The book and TV program reveal how accidents involving the use of nuclear power in space have already occurred including the fall back to Earth of a U.S. satellite with a SNAP-9A plutonium-238 radioisotope thermal generator on board in 1964.
The European Space Agency states on its website,“The solar cells in Rosetta’s solar panels are based on a completely new technology, so-called Low-intensity Low Temperature Cells. Thanks to them, Rosetta is the first space mission to journey beyond the main asteroid belt relying solely on solar cells for power generation. Previous deep-space missions used nuclear RTGs, radioisotope thermal generators. The new solar cells allow Rosetta to operate over 800 million kilometres from the Sun, where levels of sunlight are only 4% those on Earth. The technology will be available for future deep-space, such as ESA’s upcoming Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer...ESA has not developed RTG i.e. nuclear technology, so the agency decided to develop solar cells that could fill the same function.” NASA has begun to follow ESA’s lead.  It went with solar power for its Juno mission to Jupiter that is now underway. Launched in 2011, energized by solar power, the Juno space probe is to arrive at Jupiter in 2016.
Wednesday
Aug062014

Remembering Hiroshima & Nagasaki, 69 years later

Candles and paper lanterns float on the Motoyasu River in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome at the Peace Memorial Park, in memory of the victims of the bomb on the 63rd anniversary of the Hiroshima bomb on August 6, 2008 in Hiroshima, Japan.Commemorations of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945, and Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945 are taking place all around the world.

Both atom bombed cities are holding their annual commemoration ceremonies, while continuing to call for the abolition of nuclear weapons worldwide, as through the Mayors for Peace campaign they initiated.

A commemoration was held at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall, by the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Peace Committee in Washington, D.C. Featured speakers included: Mr. Toshiyuki Mimaki, a Hiroshima Hibakusha, who serves as Vice President of Hiroshima Prefectural Hidankyo, and a former Executive Board member of Nihon Hidankyo, The Confederation of A & H Bomb Survivors Organizations; Ms. Fumie Kakita Nagasaki, a second-generation Hibakusha, who serves as Assistant Secretary General of Nagasaki Council of A-bomb Sufferers; and Dennis Nelson, Director of Support and Education for Radiation Victims (SERV) U.S.A., himself a Downwinder from St. George, Utah. Beyond Nuclear was invited to give an update on the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe.

A commemoration was also held at the Henry Moore sculpture at the University of Chicago, marking the very spot where Enrico Fermi initiated the first chain reaction, as part of the Manhattan Project, on Dec. 2, 1942. Speakers included Dave Kraft, Director of Nuclear Energy Information Service of Chicago (NEIS). (Beyond Nuclear joined with NEIS, and Friends of the Earth, to mark the 70th year since that infamy, on Dec. 2, 2012, with a "Mountain of Radioactive Waste 70 Years High" conference.)

Physicians for Social Responsibility has compiled a listing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemoration events.

Friday
Aug012014

Tell EPA to protect kids, not industry profits!

 

After nearly 40 years, EPA is considering updating its radiation exposure standards for regularly operating nuclear facilities. Human health, not the financial health of the nuclear industry, should drive any changes that EPA makes. These standards need to protect humans during their most vulnerable life stage: childhood. Female children are the most vulnerable. See Beyond Nuclear's main comments and additional comments on water regulations, as well as comments on radioactive waste. See group press release from Beyond Nuclear, NIRS, CBG and PSR. SIGN HERE