Cost overruns, construction delays plunge Toshiba-Westinghouse into "nuclear nightmare"

Gene Case of Avenging Angels' graphic, "Burning Money," was featured on the cover of The Nation Magazine, accompanying an article by Christian Parenti in 2003 about the nuclear power relapseAs reported by Bloomberg, multi-billion dollar (and skyrocketing) cost overruns, and years-long (and worsening) schedule delays, at four new reactor construction sites in the U.S. Southeast have plunged Toshiba-Westinghouse stock values into a "nuclear nightmare" or financial meltdown. The company is facing a $4-5 billion write-down, after a major accounting error, when its acquisition of new reactor construction firm, Chicago Bridge & Iron, went sour.

Fairewinds Associates warned years ago that the Toshiba-Westinghouse AP-1000 reactor design has a potentially fatal flaw, that could result in catastrophic amounts of hazardous radioactivity being pumped into the environment in the event of a core meltdown.

A whopping one-fifth of South Carolina ratepayers' electric bills now go toward construction costs of the Summer 2 and 3 new reactors. At Georgia's Vogtle 3 and 4 new reactors, not only regional ratepayers, but also U.S. taxpayers, are on the hook, to the tune of $8.3 billion, in the form of a federal nuclear loan guarantee, compliments of the Obama administration. More.


Coalition presses case against Fermi atomic reactors in Michigan

Fermi 2, located on the Great Lakes shoreline in Monroe County, MIOn Dec. 15, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) finalized its rubber-stamp of Fermi Unit 2's 20-year license extension, despite years and decades of resistance by such grassroots groups as Citizens Resistance at Fermi Two (CRAFT) and Don't Waste MI. Most recently, CRAFT raised "Got KI?" contentions, building on work led by the Alliance to Halt Fermi 3. Fermi 2 is the largest Fukushima Daiichi General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactor twin design in the world; but if Detroit Edison (DTE) gets its way, an even bigger boiling water reactor would be built immediately adjacent, Fermi 3. However, Beyond Nuclear and a coalition of environmental allies, represented by legal counsel Terry Lodge of Toledo, OH, has resisted the Fermi 3 combined Construction and Operating License Application at every turn, since 2008. Most recently, on Dec. 23, this included a legal filing at the second highest court in the land, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The appeal against Fermi 3's license includes an unprecedented challenge to a scandalous, Orwellian 2007 NRC rule change that fundamentally violates the National Environmental Policy Act -- excluding Fermi 3's transmission line corridor from NRC's Environmental Impact Statement. It also challenges DTE's violation of NRC's Quality Assurance regulations, a contention for which Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Associates, Inc. has served as Beyond Nuclear's expert witness.


Beyond Nuclear calls for NRC to name reactors with potentially defective parts

Beyond Nuclear is calling for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to name the U.S. reactors that might be operating with defective parts imported from France. While potentially affected French reactors have closed down as a safety precaution, the U.S. NRC has refused to even name the affected reactors let alone mandate precautionary closures until the parts are checked. Beyond Nuclear is filing an emergency enforcement 2.206 petition and a Freedom of Information Act Request to demand that the NRC release the full list of reactors with flawed parts; inform the affected reactor communities of the risks; and require the shutdown of reactors with potentially defective reactor components.

As Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps stated in our press release:“Every one of those potentially defective parts are safety-significant and could lead to meltdown if they fail.” 

A Greenpeace France report indentified 19 U.S. reactors at 11 sites that could be operating with defective safety-essential components from Areva's Le Creusot forge in France. They are:

Prairie Island in Minnesota; North Anna and Surry in Virginia; Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania; Arkansas One in Arkansas; Turkey Point and St Lucie in Florida; DC Cook in Michigan; Salem in New Jersey; Callaway in Missouri; and Millstone in Connecticut. The Crystal River reactor in Florida was also listed but is now permanently closed.


World War Three, by Mistake

Harsh political rhetoric, combined with the vulnerability of the nuclear command-and-control system, has made the risk of global catastrophe greater than ever. By Eric Scholosser, in the New Yorker.


Environmental coalition defends its legal appeal, seeks to block Fermi 3 proposed new reactor in Michigan

Terry Lodge, legal counsel for the environmental coalition resisting Fermi 3

An environmental coalition, including Beyond Nuclear, is entering its 10th year of resistance (2008-2017) against Detroit Edison's proposed new Fermi Unit 3 reactor in southeast Michigan on the Great Lakes shoreline.

On Dec. 23rd, Toledo-based attorney Terry Lodge filed a Reply Brief, in defense of a legal appeal originally filed in October, at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the second highest court in the land, just below the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Reply rebuts challenges to the appeal brought by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Detroit Edison (DTE).

The appeal challenges NRC's exclusion of the transmission line corridor from the Environmental Impact Statement, a violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The appeal also challenges DTE's violations of NRC's quality assurance (QA) regulations (Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Associates, Inc. serves as the coalition's QA expert).