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Beyond Nuclear, while U.S. based, recognizes that the issue of nuclear power, particularly in relation to climate change and reactor expansion, has become an international issue. Multi-national corporations, often with foreign ownership, have taken over every facet of the nuclear fuel chain, from uranium mining to waste disposition. Beyond Nuclear is currently engaged in supportive efforts in a number of different countries.

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Saturday
Oct112014

Binational coalition presses case against containment cracking at Davis-Besse

An NRC inspector investigates cracking revealed in Davis-Besse's Shield Building wall shortly after it was discovered on 10/10/11.An environmental coalition, challenging the proposed 20-year license extension at FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company's (FENOC) Davis-Besse atomic reactor in Oak Harbor, OH on the Lake Erie shore, has filed a defense of its September 3rd and September 8th, 2014 contentions regarding worsening containment cracking.

This comes in response to October 3rd motions, by both FENOC and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff, calling for the NRC's Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) panel overseeing the nearly four-year-old License Renewal Application (LRA) proceeding, to dismiss the contentions.

The binational coalition consists of Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Green Party of Ohio. It is represented by Toledo-based attorney, Terry Lodge.

The coalition's filing on October 10th marks the third anniversary, to the day, of when severe cracking was first discovered and publicly announced at Davis-Besse, on Oct. 10, 2011 (see photo, above). The environmental coalition filed its first cracking contention in the proceeding a few months later, and has filed many more -- throughout 2012, and on Earth Day this year. However, all have been dismissed by the ASLB, despite many of the coalition's assertions later being acknowledged as correct by FENOC.

Davis-Besse's original 40-year license will expire on Earth Day (April 22nd), 2017. FENOC is seeking a 20-year extension, till 2037. NRC has rubber-stamped 73 such extensions such the year 2000.

Thursday
Oct092014

Cook County, Illinois Joins Call to Stop Proposed Nuclear Waste Dump beside the Great Lakes

Official seal of Cook County, IllinoisThe international opposition to the Great Lakes nuclear waste dump has just grown in a big way! As shared by Dave Kraft, Executive Director of Nuclear Energy Infomation Service in Chicago (Cook County), Illinois:

"We share this important good news that the Cook County Board unanimously passed a resolution in support of banning the construction of a low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste disposal facility on the shore of Lake Huron on the Bruce Peninsula in Canada.  Ontario Power Generation of Canada has proposed building such a facility near its Bruce nuclear generating station in Kincardine, Ontario.  The proposal has engendered the opposition of over a hundred municipalities on the Great Lakes, including the City of Toronto, and numerous First Nations tribal governments.  The Cook County Resolution was initiated by Commissioners Joan Patricia Murphy and Peter N. Silvestri; and supported by the entire Cook County Board.  The Resolution applies to any attempt to propose a radioactive waste disposal facility in the Great Lakes Basin, and was greeted enthusiastically by Stop The Great Lakes Nuclear Dump [STGLND], the citizens organization in Canada opposing construction of the Kincardine dump. [See the STGLND press release here.]  Recognizing that placement of a radioactive waste dump on the shores of the drinking water supply for over 40 million people is a bad idea, it can only be a matter of time before public officials acknowledge that 38 nuclear reactors on both sides of the border between the U.S. and Canada creating even more toxic, radioactive and long-lived "high-level" radioactive waste 24/7/365 is not such a good idea, either.  Our heartfelt thanks and congratulations to the Cook County Board for its courageous position."
As reported by STGLND on its website, Cook County's resolution joins 135 other village, town, city, county, and even state resolutions. Cook County's 5.2 million residents now means that these resolutions represent a total of 16.3 million Great Lakes residents, on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border.
In addition, over 70,000 individuals have signed STGLND's petition against the DGR. If you haven't signed yet, please do. And if you have, please spread the word to everyone you know to sign the petition too!
Thursday
Oct092014

Beyond Nuclear's closing remarks opposing Great Lakes radioactive waste dump

OPG's proposed Deep Geologic Repository would be located less than a mile from the waters of the Great Lakes, amidst the Bruce NGSBeyond Nuclear has submitted closing remarks opposing the radioactive waste dump (or "DGR," for Deep Geologic Repository) targeted at the Ontario shore of Lake Huron, thus meeting the deadline set by the Canadian federal Joint Review Panel (JRP) overseeing the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposal.

Beyond Nuclear has opposed the insane proposal since the organization was founded, in 2007, providing staff testimony twice, in person, in Kincardine, Ontario before the JRP, as well as numerous written submissions.

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) proposes burying all of the province's so-called "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes -- from 20 reactors -- on the Great Lakes shore. The proposed burial site is at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station (NGS), itself one of the world's single largest nuclear power plants, with a total of nine reactors on site.

OPG's proposal has generated a groundswell of opposition throughout the Great Lakes Basin, on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border. The Great Lakes provide drinking water for 40 million people in 8 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations. The Great Lakes comprise 95% of North America's, and 20% of the planet's, surface fresh water. They are the life blood of one of the world's largest regional economies.

The JRP will now prepare its EA conclusions in the near future, and report to the Canadian federal Environment Minister. She will then make a recommendation to Prime Minister Harper's Cabinet, bypassing Parliament.

As Beyond Nuclear concluded its closing remarks, Dave Martin of Greenpeace Canada dubbed OPG's DGR the DUD -- short for Deep Underground Dump, but also succinctly summing up the inanity and insanity of the proposal!

Thursday
Oct092014

Dr. Frank Greening's closing remarks to DGR JRP

Dr. Frank GreeningDr. Frank Greening, a scientist who worked at Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and its predecessor (Ontario Hydro) for decades, has submitted his closing comments to the Canadian federal Joint Review Panel (JRP) overseeing the Environmental Assessment (EA) on the proposed Deep Geologic Repository (DGR). Closing comments are due on October 9, 2014.

The DGR would be located at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station (NGS), on the shore of Lake Huron in Kincardine, Ontario, Canada. It would bury all of Ontario's so-called "low-level" and "intermediate-level" radioactive wastes (L&ILRWs), from 20 reactors across the province.

Dr. Greening, whose previous submissions to the JRP have revealed major underestimates by OPG and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) regarding such basic issues as the radioactivity content of the waste, has here focused on two mass-exposure accidents at OPG (and Ontario Hydro's) commercial nuclear facilities: 55 workers exposed to internal Carbon-14 contamination at Pickering NGS in March, 1985; and 557 workers exposed to internal alpha-particle contamination at Bruce NGS in November and December, 2009.

Greening argues that those accidents, as well as the February, 2014 radioactivity release at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico, should serve as a serious warning against rushing ahead with this ill-considered DGR proposal.

Greening ends with this powerful conclusion:

What concerns me most about the proposed DGR is OPG’s level of ignorance about its size, about its radionuclide inventory, about how it will operate and about the potential for things to go horribly wrong through unexpected synergisms, as in the tragic Lac Mégantic disaster where a combination of relatively minor problems led to a major catastrophe. It is quite evident that OPG’s DGR proposal is based on only a pretense of knowledge of all possible risks within the proposed facility. As a result OPG ignores true uncertainty, as defined by U.S. economist F.H. Knight, which is something that is not susceptible to measurement and can never be eliminated from human endeavor. Or as J.M. Keynes eloquently described it: “... matters where there is no scientific basis on which to form any calculable probability whatever. We simply do not know.”

Therefore I strongly urge the JRP to reject OPG’s DGR proposal. We know so very little about the long-term safety of a DGR and the American experience with the WIPP facility shows why we should err on the side of caution before proceeding with such a venture. After all, it took only one bad waste container to spoil an entire DGR facility! And besides, it is evident that a lot more research and development is needed before DGR technology could be declared to be safe and reliable. But in the meantime, we certainly do not need the existing WWMF [Bruce NGS's Western Waste Management Facility] to become home to a deep underground nuclear waste disposal test-bed on the shores of Lake Huron. Only fools rush in where angels fear to tread....".

Tuesday
Oct072014

Binational coalition asserts Fermi 3 transmission corridor violates NEPA

Atomic reactors and their electrical transmission lines are inextricably interlinked, yet NRC staff has failed to undertake a NEPA review of the proposed new Fermi 3 transmission line corridor's environmental impacts.The environmental coalition intervening against the proposed new Fermi 3 reactor has re-asserted its nearly three-year old challenge, directly to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's five Commissioners themselves, that the inextricably interlinked transmission line corridor needed to export the electricity to the grid is still in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

The coalition's Toledo-based attorney, Terry Lodge, filed a Petition for Review with the NRC Commissioners by their ordered deadline. The petition defends not only the contention's merit, but also its separation from the NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) panel's request to the Commissioners for permission to undertake a sua sponte review.

That is, the ASLB panel has requested permission to review, on its own initiative, the NRC staff's apparent violation of NEPA, by failing to undertake an Environmental Impact Statement review of the proposed new transmission corridor, which will past through forested wetlands, likely habitat to endangered and threatened species.

Detroit Edison (DTE) proposes to construct and operate a General Electric-Hitachi (GEH) so-called Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) -- "Unit 3" -- at the Fermi nuclear power plant in Frenchtown Township, on the Lake Erie shore in southeast Michigan. The Fermi nuclear power plant is less than ten miles away from Ontario, Canada, directly across Lake Erie.

Fermi 3 would be located immediately adjacent to Fermi Unit 2, the world's single largest Fukushima Daiichi twin design (a GE Mark I BWR). Ironically enough, Fermi 3 would be build on the exact same spot where Fermi Unit 1, an experimental plutonium breeder reactor, suffered a partial core meltdown on Oct. 5, 1966, a near-catastrophe documented in John G. Fuller's book We Almost Lost Detroit (Reader's Digest Press, 1975).

The binational coalition intervening against Fermi 3's license includes Beyond Nuclear, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination (CACC), Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario (CEA), Don't Waste Michigan, and the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter. The coalition initially filed its intervention in March 2009, and has submitted dozens of contentions since.