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Thursday
Jul142016

Burning down the house: Entergy & NRC learn no lessons from prior fire safety and security violations 

Entergy Nuclear's Palisades atomic reactor, located on the Lake Michigan shore in Covert, MIForty-one years after a catastrophic fire at Browns Ferry, Alabama nearly caused a reactor core meltdown, and two years after Entergy was busted for fire watch falsifications at its Waterford reactor in Louisiana, NRC's Office of Investigations and the FBI are now investigating whistle-blower allegations at Entergy's problem-plagued Palisades reactor in Michigan (see photo, left) of skipped fire watches. 22 security guards at Palisades have reportedly been relieved of their duties, raising concerns that security is currently compromised. The remaining security guards have been pressured by Entergy to sign waivers, an end run around NRC fatigue rules, in order to work 75 hours per week, to compensate for the reduced force size. NRC has repeatedly let Entergy off the hook, via Alternative Dispute Resolution processes, instead of doing its job to protect public health, safety, and the environment by enforcing its regulations, and holding accountable wrongdoers. Congressional investigations are desperately needed. Beyond Nuclear has prepared two backgrounders in the past week, chronicling the long history of fire and security risks, not just at Palisades, but across Entergy's fleet of reactors, and even nationwide throughout the entire nuclear power industry. More 

Wednesday
Jun292016

Join the March for a Clean Energy Revolution, Philadelphia, PA, July 24th!

Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) has issued an action alert, calling for folks to join the March for a Clean Energy Revolution in Philadelphia, PA on Sunday, July 24th, on the eve of the Democratic National Convention. See the beginning of the NIRS action alert, below, and follow the link to see full action alert, including a tribute to NIRS former long-time executive director, and president, Michael Mariotte, who died on May 16th, after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer. (Also, see Beyond Nuclear's own tributes to Michael Mariotte, posted at our website.)

Beyond Nuclear has joined in the NIRS-initiated planning for the March for a Clean Energy Revolution, and will take part on July 24th. Beyond Nuclear encourages everyone who can make it, to join in the Carbon-Free, Nuclear-Free contingent in Philadelphia on July 24th, as well as at the teach-ins, meetings, gatherings, etc., the day before. If you can't make it, please spread the word widely to those who can.

June 29, 2016

Dear Friends,

We invite you to join us for the next historic safe energy mobilization--the March for a Clean Energy Revolution, July 24 in Philadelphia. You can find more details on the march [as well as a tribute to the life and work of Michael Mariotte, at this link to the complete NIRS action alert.]

Tuesday
Jun282016

Solar-energized Juno to arrive at Jupiter on Independence Day

NASA Juno Spacecraft graphic, showing the three large solar panels providing it power, with Jupiter pictured in the backgroundInvestigative journalist Karl Grossman has been watch-dogging nukes in space since the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986.

As Grossman relates in his latest article, "Solar-energized Juno to arrive at Jupiter on Independence Day":

I broke the story 30 years ago about how the next mission of NASA’s ill-fated Challenger shuttle was to involve lofting a plutonium-powered space probe and I have been reporting in articles, books and on television on the nuclear-in-space issue ever since.

Grossman conveys the breakthrough Juno's well timed arrival at Jupiter (July 4th -- America's Independence Day) represents, showing that solar can power not just satellites orbiting Earth, and Mars missions, but also deep space missions. More.

Tuesday
Jun282016

Entergy FitzPatrick causes oil spill into Great Lakes

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary aerial photo of oil sheen on Lake Ontario caused by Entergy Nuclear's FitzPatrick atomic reactor, visible in backgroundNuclear power is not "emissions-free," as its proponents so often claim. In fact, sometimes it causes oil spills into fresh drinking water supplies...

As reported by the Democrat & Chronicle, Entergy Nuclear's FitzPatrick atomic reactor on the Lake Ontario shoreline in upstate New York just released up to 30 gallons of oil into that drinking water supply, utilized by many millions of people downstream in two countries.

The oil spill was not detected nor announced at first by Entergy, or the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), but rather by a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary air crew, who spotted the visible sheen on Lake Ontario's surface waters (see photo, left). But this is just the latest of many oil spills into fresh surface waters caused by Entergy Nuclear, not to mention other nuclear utilities. More.

Thursday
Jun232016

Exelon to close three Illinois nukes in 2017 and 2018: Quad Cities 1 &2 and Clinton

The Chicago-based nuclear giant, Exelon Generation Corporpation, formally notified the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that it will permanently close its Quad Cities Units 1 & 2 and Clinton nuclear generating stations in Illinois.  The two Fukushima-style reactors at Quad Cities, both GE Mark I boiling water reactors will close in 2018 and Clinton, a GE Mark III boiling water reactor will permanently close in 2017.

The Exelon formal filing to the NRC is just the latest in a trend of reactor closure announcements across the country at Fort Calhoun in Nebraska by the end of 2016, Diablo Canyon Units 1 & 2 by 2025 in California. This latest trend of closure announcements follows on the 2013 shutdowns at Crystal River 3 (Florida), San Onofre 2 & 3 (California), and Kewanee (Wisconsin). Vermont Yankee (Vermont) permanently closed in 2014. Additional closure announces have been submitted to the NRC for Fitzpatrick (NY) in 2017 and the Pilgrim (Massachusetts) and Oyster Creek (New Jersey) nuclear power stations in 2019.  More reactor units, like Pennsylvania’s infamous Three Mile Island nuclear power station, are still pending formal announcements to the NRC.

Nuclear power is rapidly becoming redundant where conventional utility-scale renewable energy generation and efficiency cost less. Nuclear power’s full-on-all-the-time operating mode is recognized as inflexible to these increasing competitive electricity markets. Operating costs and major repairs for an aging and inherently dangerous nuclear technology have simply become unaffordable at many reactors. The added cost of even more safety-related nuclear accident retrofits is one more straw on the industry’s bowed economic back. Add to the steadily rising cost of nuclear power, energy efficiency is not only its cheapest competitor it is the quickest to deploy to customers at residential, commercial and industrial levels. As a result, electricity demand in the United States has continued to drop in five of the past eight years due to advances in energy efficiency technology.