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.



Entergy Nuclear infamous for "buying reactors cheap, then running them into the ground," owns a number of plants on the U.S.-Canadian border

The Kalamazoo Gazette has quoted Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps responding to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's downgrading of the Palisades nuclear power plant's safety status as one of the worst in the country. The call has gone out from grassroots Vermont Yankee watchdogs for the formation of an "Entergy Watch," to monitor reactor risks at the second biggest corporate nuclear power fleet across the U.S., which includes the following dozen atomic reactors at 10 different nuclear power plants: Arkansas Nuclear One, Units 1 and 2; Cooper Nuclear Station in Nebraska; FitzPatrick in upstate New York; Grand Gulf in Mississippi; Indian Point Units 2 and 3 near New York City; Palisades in Michigan; Pilgrim near Boston; Riverbend in Louisiana;Vermont Yankee; and Waterford in Louisiana. Of these, Cooper, FitzPatrick, Pilgrim, and Vermont Yankee are General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactors (GE BWR Mark Is), identical in design to Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4, the focus of Beyond Nuclear's "Freeze Our Fukushimas" shutdown campaign. 

As Beyond Nuclear spelled out in a recent backgrounder, GE BWR Mark I storage pools for high-level radioactive waste are especially vulernable to catastrophic radioactivity releases, whether due to natural disaster, accident or attack.

Although a catastrophic radioactivity release from a number of Entergy-owned and operated reactors could impact Canada downwind and downstream, FitzPatrick in upstate New York is especially risky in this regard. Located on the south shore of Lake Ontario, directly across from the province of Ontario, this reactor had claimed to have installed a "hardened vent" in order to compensate for its small, weak containment, but that claim was later proved to be untrue.


Bi-national coalition presses case against cracked containment, seeks to block Davis-Besse license extension 

The "Red Photo" showing boric acid corrosion of Davis-Besse's reactor vessel head, which came within 3/16ths of an inch of a Loss of Coolant Accident in 2002Yesterday, the environmental coalition opposing the 20 year extension at the problem-plagued Davis-Besse atomic reactor near Toledo defended its contention about the recently revealed severe cracking in the concrete shield building against challenges by FirstEnergy nuclear utility, as well as the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff. Terry Lodge of Toledo serves as the coalition's attorney.

One revelation the coalition exposed today is that FirstEnergy, with NRC staff complicity, kept secret from the public, and even from FirstEnergy investors, cracking in the upper 20 feet of the structure for five weeks -- until pressure by U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich (Democrat-Ohio) forced NRC staff to admit the truth to his staff. Kucinich made the information public the very next day, and won NRC Chairman Gregory Jackzo's support for an NRC public meeting near Davis-Besse, where FirstEnergy was forced to admit publicly for the first time the expanded extent of the problem.

The environmental coalition intervening against Davis-Besse's license extension includes Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Green Party of Ohio. The reactor, located on the Lake Erie shore just east of Toledo, is just 50 miles from the heart of Windsor, Ontario. Davis-Besse has had a disproportionately large number of near-misses with disaster in its 35 years of operations, including a Three Mile Island precursor incident 18 months before the infamous meltdown, a very dicey direct hit by a tornado in 1998, and its own infamous "Hole-In-The-Head Fiasco" in 2002.


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.


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...


"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.