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Friday
Nov202015

State of Nevada refuses to be "screwed" by half-baked attempt to revive cancelled Yucca Mountain radioactive waste dump

Native Community Action Council bumper stickerRobert J. Halstead, the Executive Director of the State of Nevada's Agency for Nuclear Projects, serving under the Office of the Governor, Brian Sandoval, has submitted comments to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on the agency's Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) on Yucca Mountain. The comments comprise powerful pushback against the half-baked attempt to revive the cancelled Yucca Mountain radioactive waste dump. The chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has called the entire NRC SDEIS proceeding "a useless act," a multi-million dollar waste of time, energy, and taxpayer resources, not to mention public involvement. More.

Friday
Nov202015

Resisting environmental racism at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

Corbin Harney (standing), Western Shoshone spiritual leader, and Raymond Yowell, then Western Shoshone Indian Nation chief, at Peace Camp, NV, Oct. 2002, leading protests against nuclear weapons testing, militarism, and radioactive waste dumping at the Nevada Test Site. Photo by Gabriela Bulisova.November 20th marked the end of a rushed, "going-through-the motions" Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), a thinly veiled attempt to revive the cancelled Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste dump in Nevada.

NRC didn't even bother to provide advance notice to the affected Indian tribes downstream from the targeted site, let alone consult with them in a government-to-government manner, as is the agency's legal obligation. But at least NRC is consistent: it didn't provide any funding to the tribes, either, placing an extraordinary burden on the tribal nations to meet the arbitrarily-short deadline. In this regard, NRC's SDEIS public comment proceeding itself was a violation of environmental justice (EJ), not to mention the agency's biased push to bury 70,000 metric tons, or more, of high-level radioactive waste on indigenous land, guaranteed to leak into the precious, even sacred, drinking water supply.

Despite NRC's own EJ violations, the Timbisha Shoshone Tirbe and the Native Community Action Council met the deadline, with powerful comments. They thereby continued a tradition of protecting Yucca Mountain, and its groundwater, that dates back not just years or decades, but centuries and millenia, to time immemorial. More.

Wednesday
Nov182015

Entergy re-affirms FitzPatrick will be closed about a year from now

Monday
Nov162015

State of NY denies Entergy coastal management permit, blow to Indian Point's license extension prospects

Entergy's Indian Point reactors on the Hudson River near New York CityAs reported by the Associated Press, the State of New York Secretary of State has denied a coastal management certificate to Entergy Nuclear, for its twin reactor Indian Point nuclear power plant near New York City. The Secretary of State, Cesar Perales's, decision is the latest blow to Entergy's application for 20-year license extensions.

As reported:

"For over 40 years, Entergy's Indian Point nuclear facilities have been damaging the coastal resources of the Hudson River estuary," the state agency wrote. That includes 2.5 [billion] gallons of water withdrawn daily from the Hudson for cooling that kills an estimated 1 billion larvae, small fish and other organisms annually. More.

Tuesday
Nov102015

NRC dismisses Beyond Nuclear et al. interventions against Entergy Palisades RPV risks; environmental coalition vows to fight on

NRC file photo of Entergy's Palisades atomic reactor on the Lake Michigan shore in Covert, MIAn environmental coalition (Beyond Nuclear, Don't Waste MI, MI Safe Energy Future, and Nuclear Energy Information Service of IL, represented by Toledo attorney Terry Lodge, and served by expert witness Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Associates) has been officially intervening against yet further regulatory rollbacks at Entergy's Palisades atomic reactor since Dec. 1, 2014. Entergy Nuclear has applied to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for weakened safety regulations, to accommodate Palisades' continued operations, despite having the single worst embrittled reactor pressure vessel (RPV) in the U.S., and other forms of severe, and worsening, RPV age-related degradation. Palisades has operated for nearly 45 years. It is located on the Lake Michigan shoreline in Covert, MI (see photo, left).

The NRC Commissioners have been considering dueling petitions filed by the environmental coalition and Entergy. On June 2, 2015, the coalition appealed an Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel (ASLBP) rejection of its contention regarding RPV embrittlement, and risks of pressurized thermal shock brittle fracture due to suddenly decreasing temperatures. On July 13, 2015, Entergy appealed the same ASLBP's granting of a hearing to the environmental intervenors on the technical merits of their contention, regarding other forms of RPV age-related degradation, and risks of ductile tearing failure even at hotter normal operating temperatures. Either form of failure of the RPV would lead to Loss-of-Coolant-Accident, and reactor core meltdown, and likely containment breach and release of catastrophic amounts of hazardous radioactivity.

Today, the NRC Commissioners ruled Entergy's way in both overlapping proceedings, denying the environmental coalition's appeal, while ruling in favor of Entergy's appeal.

The coalition, working in alliance with groups like the Sierra Club Nuclear-Free Michigan Committee, has vowed to fight on, to demand Palisades' shutdown, before it melts down. It has issued a press release. (See the word version for functional links to relevant documents.) Matthew Bandyk at SNL has reported on this story.