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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
Feb142012

Environmental coalition continues international resistance to Fermi 3

NRC file photo of Fermi 2 on the Lake Erie shore, where Detroit Edison wants to build a giant new reactorOn Feb. 13, 2012, attorney Terry Lodge of Toledo, on behalf of an environmental coalition, filed a rebuttal to challenges by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff and Detroit Edison. The agency and utility were challenging contentions filed by the environmental coalition on Jan. 11, 2012 concerning NRC's Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) about the new Fermi 3 reactor, a proposed General Electric-Hitachi ESBWR (so-called "Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor"). The new contentions involve such issues as impacts on endangered and threatened plant and animal species, and their critical habitats, from the overall Fermi 3 proposal, as well as related sub-proposals, such as the contemplated transmission line corridor; radiological health impacts on the Monroe County community from Fermi 3, which has already suffered a half century of radiological and toxic chemical harm from the Fermi 1 and Fermi 2 reactors, as well as a number of giant coal burning power plants; and impacts on the Walpole Island First Nation, just 53 miles away across the U.S./Canadian border. Ontario, Canada is located a mere 8 miles across Lake Erie from the Fermi nuclear power plant.

Citizen Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario is a member of the environmental coalition opposing Fermi 3, which also includes Beyond Nuclear, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter.

Beyond Nuclear has compiled all the filings relating to the battle over the Fermi 3 Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

Friday
Feb102012

Japanese Toshiba-Westinghouse AP1000 design, just approved for construction in US by NRC, has major safety flaw

Graphic courtesy of Fairewinds AssociatesBy a 4 to 1 vote, the Commissioners of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) today approved the combined Construction and Operating License Application (COLA) of Southern Nuclear Company, paving the way for two 1,100 megawatt-electric Toshiba-Westinghouse "Advanced Passive" AP1000s to be built at the Vogtle nuclear power plant near Augusta, Georgia. NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko cast the sole "no" vote, while Commissioners Kristine Svinicki, George Apostolakis, William Magwood IV, and William Ostendorff voted in favor. Chairman Jaczko had previously cast the sole dissenting votes against such controversial proposals as: the 20 year license extension at the Oyster Creek, NJ GE BWR Mark I, the oldest operating reactor in the U.S. and identical in design to Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4; and the Private Fuel Storage, LLC high-level radioactive waste "parking lot dump" targeted at the tiny Skull Valley Goshutes Indian Reservation in Utah. Recently, Beyond Nuclear's Linda Gunter pointed out that Chairman Jaczko, although not perfect, shows concern for safety that sets him apart from the other four NRC Commissioners.

In addition to the U.S., four AP1000s are under construction in China, despite serious questions about lack of qaulity assurance in their design and construction.

Japanese nuclear giant Toshiba, before it took over U.S. nuclear giant Westinghouse, was the reactor supplier and architect at the ill-fated Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3 reactor. Unit 3 suffered the worst explosion, leaving the reactor building a pile of twisted rubble. Its high-level radioactive waste storage pool in full of debris; the exact condition, or even location, of the stored irradiated fuel, as well as of the melted core in the reactor itself, is largely unknown -- at least to the public, that is.

Beyond Nuclear responded to the Vogtle Units 3 and 4 NRC approval with a media statement, pointing out that a NRC license does not ensure project success. Read more, including updates, at our "New Reactors" section...

Friday
Feb102012

"New Containment Flaw Identified at the BWR Mark I"

Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen (pictured at left), in a video now posted at the homepage of Fairewinds Associates, explains that a non-radioactive test performed at the Brunswick, North Carolina General Electric Boiling Water Reactor of the Mark I design 40 years ago, supports his theory that the primary reactor containment head at Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1 lifted, due to elongation of bolts, allowing hydrogen gas generated by the meltdown in the reactor core to escape into the secondary or outer reactor containment building. "It only took a spark" to then detonate the hydrogen gas, destroying the reactor containment building. Thus, and very significantly, all the talk (including in the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Fukushima Task Force deliberations) about "hardening" the vents at U.S. and other Mark Is around the world is irrelevant. This is a flaw in the Mark I design that any hardening of the vents to make them "new and improved" cannot solve. Arnie shows a photo revealing that the vent at Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1 appears to have been functioning before the explosion -- steam is visible exiting the top of the Unit 1 "smoke stack." Despite this, it did not prevent the explosion that followed.

Monday
Feb062012

Fermi nuclear power plant's risks extend beyond borders

NRC file photo of Fermi 2 on Lake Erie shoreCitizen Environmental Alliance of Southwestern Ontario has joined a U.S. environmental coalition to officially intervene against the new "Fermi 3" reactor proposed near Monroe, Michigan. This is because the risks from the Fermi nuclear power plant (including the operating Fermi 2 reactor, a GE BWR Mark I, identical in design to, although significantly larger than, Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4) extend across the artificial U.S.-Canadian border drawn through Lake Erie and the Detroit River. Such risks and impacts include to health, the impossibility of effectively evacuating all of southeast Michigan, northwest Ohio, and southwest Ontario during a catastrophic radioactivity release, etc.

The Fermi nuclear power plant is located a mere 8 miles across Lake Erie from Ontario.

Regarding the environmental coalition's -- and allies' -- recent strong resistance to Fermi 3, including those issues mentioned above, please see:

(A comprehenisive, running list of comments, media coverage, and nuclear utility and NRC responses is now posted on Beyond Nuclear's website.)

Monday
Jan302012

Beyond Nuclear expert witness testimony to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

In October 2011, Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps was honored to be asked by Families Against Radiation Exposure in Port Hope, Ontario, Canada to serve as its expert witness in a proceeding before the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission regarding Cameco's application for a five year license extension at its Uranium Conversion Facility, just off downtown and very near residential neighborhoods. Cameco's waterfront facility is amongst the oldest nuclear industrial sites in the world, first opened in 1932 as a radium extraction plant. Port Hope's residents have suffered many decades of radioactive pollution and contamination as a consequence.

Kevin submitted his written comments to CNSC on December 19, 2011. He focused on the radioactive stigma impacts to Port Hope, including on property values, as well as threats of flooding at the site due to climate destabilization, as well as security risks given Cameco's (and its predecessor Eldorado's) involvement in the nuclear weapons industry, as well as depleted uranium (DU) munitions. Kevin then attended a three day long hearing before the CNSC, from January 17 to 19, 2012, at which he testified.

In late March, 2011 Kevin also served on the Northwatch team, along with Northwatch's Brennain Lloyd and Great Lakes United's John Jackson, at a Joint Panel Review concerning proposed new reactors at the Darlington Nuclear Power Plant, just a short distance west of Port Hope. Kevin focused on high-level radioactive waste risks associated with that proposal. A coalition of environmental groups in Ontario has since filed a lawsuit challenging the decision to move ahead with those new reactors.