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International

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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Tuesday
Aug192014

Bi-national coalition opposes Fermi 2 license extension on Great Lakes shore

NRC file photo of Fermi 2Multiple environmental groups have met an arbitrarily short, 11:59pm Eastern deadline, and officially intervened against the application by DTE (Detroit Edison) to extend the operating license at its Fermi 2 atomic reactor (photo, left) for an additional 20 years. Fermi 2's operating license is currently set to expire in 2025.

DTE's Fermi nuclear power plant, most infamous for the October 5, 1966 "We Almost Lost Detroit" partial meltdown of its Unit 1 experimental plutonium breeder reactor, is located on the Lake Erie shore of southeast Michigan, in Monroe County.

Beyond Nuclear has entered into coalition with Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, as well as Don't Waste Michigan, to file four contentions against Fermi 2's license extension.

Two of the contentions concern radioactive waste. The first is about the risk of catastrophic irradiated nuclear fuel storage pool fires. Fermi 2's storage pool holds around 600 tons of irradiated nuclear fuel, more than all four destroyed units at Fukushima Daiichi put together (419 tons). The second radioactive waste contention is about the lack of safety and environmental assurances, since the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) "Nuclear Waste Confidence" policy was declared null and void two years ago by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and NRC has not yet replaced it.

Another contention concerns the General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactor, and its containment's, long-known, fatal design flaws. Fermi 2 is largest GE Mark I BWR in the world, almost as big as the melted down Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 and 2 reactor cores put together. 

The final contention is about the interconnected risks between the age-degraded Fermi 2, and the untested, proposed new Fermi 3 atomic reactor, including the vulnerability of both sharing a common off-site electricity transmission corridor.

The three groups, joined by Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, as well as the Sierra Club, Michigan Chapter, have also been intervening against the Fermi 3 proposed new reactor since March, 2009.

Both coalitions challenging Fermi 2, and Fermi 3, are represented by Toledo-based attorney Terry Lodge.

Citizens Resistance at Fermi Two (CRAFT) separately filed 14 contentions of its own against the Fermi 2 license extension. CRAFT released a press release.

Monday
Jul072014

"A Scary Super Typhoon Is Bearing Down on Japan…and Its Nuclear Plants"

U.S. Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center map showing projected path of Super Typhoon NeoguriAs reported by Mother Jones, a "once in decades storm" packing winds stronger than 150 miles per hour, Super Typhoon Neoguri, is taking direct aim at some of Japan's nuclear power plants. The good news is, the reactors have long been shut down. However, irradiated nuclear fuel in need of cooling remains stored on-site. Will "Fukushima lessons learned," and supposed safety regulation upgrades in Japan, be enough to weather yet another monster storm?

Saturday
May242014

HBO's VICE: "Playing with Nuclear Fire," about Fukushima

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.

Friday
May232014

International coalition defends its challenge against Davis-Besse Shield Building cracks, gaps, and rebar damage

Environmental coalition attorney Terry LodgeAn 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.

Thursday
May222014

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.