HBO's investigative reporting series, VICE, took a trip to Fukushima Daiichi to examine untold stories from the nuclear catastrophe. Watch the reporter's debrief here.
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.
International coalition defends its challenge against Davis-Besse Shield Building cracks, gaps, and rebar damage
An environmental coalition, represented by attorney Terry Lodge of Toledo (photo, left), has filed a defense of its contention alleging that FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company's (FENOC) Davis-Besse atomic reactor on the Lake Erie shore should be denied a 20-year license extension by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Most recently, Davis-Besse's concrete containment Shield Building has exhibited ever more severe cracking, steel reinforcement damage, as well as wall gap 80% of the way through its 2.5 foot thickness (an air space, or void, through 24 of 30 inches of the wall). The filing rebuts challenges against the contention by FENOC and NRC Staff.
As official intervenors in the NRC Atomic Safety (sic) and Licensing Board (ASLB) proceeding, the coalition, comprised of Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Coalition of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Ohio Green Party, has resisted Davis-Besse's 20-year license extension since the end of 2010. Davis-Besse's 40-year operating license expires on Earth Day (April 22), 2017. This is the coalition's sixth contention filed.
Chinese military cyber-attack hacks Westinghouse nuclear secrets; How vulnerable are US reactors to "offensive cyber-inovations"?
The U.S. Justice Department has indicted five members of China’s Peoples Liberation Army on charges of economic espionage and cyber-theft. The Chinese military officers allegedly hacked into company computers and stole an estimated $100 billion in trade secrets from Westinghouse Nuclear Division and other leading U.S. steel and solar power firms. The federal grand jury indictments against a foreign country on cyber-security charges are unprecedented. The Pittsburgh, PA-based Westinghouse Nuclear Division was in the middle of a huge nuclear technology transfer for the construction of its AP1000 nuclear power plants in China when it was announced that the Chinese military was at the same time stealing propriety information about the reactor technology and Westinghouse’s negotiation strategies. At the same time, China is ambitiously establishing itself as a global leader in the marketing of nuclear power technology with its own nuclear reactor design based largely on the AP1000 pressurized water reactor.
The grand jury indictments focus on the cyber-theft of industrial secrets aimed at gaining an international competitive edge over “fair trade” with the U.S.-based companies. However, the discovery raises long standing and on-going national security, public health and safety concerns associated with the potential for large scale military cyber-attacks against vulnerable critical infrastructure, particularly a vast patchwork electrical grid system and inherently dangerous nuclear power plants. U.S. nuclear power plants initially rely upon the offsite electrical grid to power all of the onsite reactor safety systems. A standoff cyber-attack not only can shutdown the electrical production from nuclear reactors but target internal components where failure leads to radiological catastrophe. “Offensive cyber-innovations” aimed at destroying nuclear infrastructure and internal systems are not unprecedented. In 2010, the United States and Israel conducted a joint cyber-attack code-named “Olympic Games” where the Stuxnet computer worm disabled Iran’s nuclear program by ruining roughly one-fifth of its German-made uranium enrichment centrifuges.
At the urging of environmental allies in southeast Michigan, Beyond Nuclear in March 2012 prepared a backgrounder on reactor, radioactive waste, and other nuclear risks in the region. The backgrounder has been updated for use at a presentation by Beyond Nuclear's Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Kevin Kamps, to be held at the Huron Valley Sierra Club Chapter meeting in Ann Arbor, MI on May 20th. The backgrounder complements the "Great Lakes Region Nuclear Hot Spots" map, prepared by Anna Tilman at International Coalition of Concern for Public Health last year.
The backgrounder and map include sections on the "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive waste dump targeted at Bruce Nuclear Generating Station in Ontario, on the Lake Huron shoreline, 50 miles from the tip of Michigan's Thumb.
Despite the industry's claim that nuclear power is "clean energy," Entergy's Palisades atomic reactor has just spilled "approximately 70 gallons" of oil onto the ground, adjacent to the waters of Lake Michigan. As a headwaters for the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan supplies drinking water to 40 million people in eight U.S. states, two Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations.
The oil spill comes a year and two days after Palisades leaked 82.1 gallons of radioactive water directly into Lake Michigan. The radioactive spill prompted a protest vigil at Palisades' front entrace, organized by Beyond Nuclear and local concerned citizens' groups, after U.S. Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI), Chair of the powerful House Committee on Energy and Commerce (whose district "hosts" Palisades), as well as NRC Commissioner Svinicki, failed to even acknowledge requests for meetings after their hastily arranged emergency tour of the problem-plagued plant.
Palisades' oil spill also comes less than two months after British Petroleum spilled 1,638 gallons of Canadian tar sands crude oil into Lake Michigan at its refinery in Whiting, IN, and less than four years after the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history, upstream of Lake Michigan: 1.4 million gallons of Canadian tar sands crude, from Enbridge's Line 6B oil pipeline, into the Kalamazoo River at Marshall, MI. To protect irreplacable surface waters like Lake Michigan, Beyond Nuclear stands in solidarity with anti-dirty energy allies against oil pipelines.
The very title of a May 7, 2014 U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General report shows there is much to be concerned about: PHMSA's State Pipeline Safety Program Lacks Effective Management and Oversight. Before becoming PHMSA's Administrator, Cynthia L. Quaterman, she had represented oil companies, including Enbridge, as a legal counsel.
There were widespread calls for PHMSA Administrator Quaterman to block a permit for Bruce Nuclear to ship, by boat, radioactive steam generators on the Great Lakes, but she did not do so. However, it took Mohawk First Nation pledges to block the boats on the Saint Lawrence River before Bruce Nuclear stopped pushing the proposal.