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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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Monday
Oct292012

"A Mountain of Radioactive Waste 70 Years High: Ending the Nuclear Age," Chicago, December 1-3

A number of experts have confirmed they will speak, including (alphabetical by last name): Kinnette Benedict, Executive Director & Publisher, Bulletin of the Atomic ScientistsRobert Chavez, indigenous youth anti-uranium activist, Okayowingeh (San Juan Pueblo), New Mexico; Diane D'Arrigo, Radioactive Waste Project Director, Nuclear Information and Resource ServiceKay Drey, Beyond Nuclear board member, and nearly four decade long anti-nuclear activist; Norma M. Field, Ph.D., Robert S. Ingersoll Distinguished Service Professor in Japanese Studies in East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago; Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer, Fairewinds AssociatesPaul Gunter, Reactor Oversight Project Director, Beyond NuclearKristen Iversen, author, Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky FlatsArne Jungjohann, Director for the Environment and Global Dialogue Program of the Washington, D.C. office, Heinrich Boell FoundationKevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Beyond Nuclear; and Dr. Arjun Makhijani, President, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, and author, Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy PolicyDr. Jeff Patterson, Board of Directors, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Madison, Wisconsin; Kathleen Rude, conducting Active Hope (a workshop to deal with Nuclear Despair, based on the works of Joanna Macy); Kendra UlrichFriends of the Earth USA, Washington, DC; Charmaine White Face, Coordinator, Defenders of the Black Hills, Rapid City, South Dakota; and  Akiko YoshidaFriends of the Earth, Tokyo, Japan

In addition, a film has been confirmed to be screened: The Atomic States of Americaby Sheena Joyce and Don Argot of 9.14 Pictures in Philadelphia.

Finally, on Monday, December 3rd, an optional field trip to Red Gate Woods is being organized. This is the forest preserve in the southwestern suburbs of Chicago where Fermi's first radioactive wastes of the Atomic Age were buried under a mound of earth, and marked with a simple stone marker. Bicycle and hiking paths pass close by. Previous tours to the site have not registered higher than normal background radioactivity levels, although concerns persist about eventual leakage of radioactivity from the site into the environment. We will be sure to take radiation monitors on our Dec. 3rd field trip, in order to document radioactivity levels, as well as to protect ourselves.

Friday
Oct262012

"The Rust-Bucket Reactors Start to Fall"

Harvey WassermanHarvey Wasserman, editor of Nukefree.org and author of Solartopia, has written a blog inspired by the announced closure of the Kewaunee atomic reactor in Wisconsin. He begins by stating 'The US fleet of 104 deteriorating atomic reactors is starting to fall. The much-hyped "nuclear renaissance" is now definitively headed in reverse.'

He points out that Kewaunee may be but the first domino to fall, describing the impact of "low gas prices, declining performance, unsolved technical problems and escalating public resistance" at numerous other old, age-degraded, troubled reactors across the U.S., including San Onofre, CA; Crystal River, FL; Cooper and Fort Calhoun in NE; Vermont Yankee; Indian Point, NY; Oyster Creek, NJ; and Davis-Besse, OH. But Harvey also points out the momentum applies to new reactors as well, such as at Vogtle, GA and Summer, SC, as well as overseas, in the wake of Fukushima, not only in Japan, but also India, and even Europe, led by Germany's nuclear power phase out.

About Japan, Harvey writes "A fuel pool laden with radioactive rods still hangs precariously in the air at Fukushima, casting an even harsher light on the two dozen GE reactors of similar design still operating here [in the U.S.]. All but two of Japan's reactors remain shut while an angry debate rages over whether any of the rest will ever reopen."

Harvey, a senior advisor to Greenpeace USA and Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), will address "From Fukushima to Fermi-3: Getting to Solartopia Before It's Too Late" in Dearborn, MI on Dec. 7th at the official launch event for the new organization, the Alliance to Halt Fermi-3.

Monday
Oct222012

Feed-in tariffs for energy conservation and efficiency proposed in the UK

October 18, 2012, By Paul Gipe

In a precedent-setting move, WWF-UK and Green Alliance have urged the conservative British government to use feed-in tariffs to spur greater energy conservation and efficiency as part of its upcoming Energy Market Reform.

The joint press release by WWF-UK (known as the World Wildlife Fund in North America) and Green Alliance, a British environmental think tank, used the publication of a new report to recommend that the ruling coalition include feed-in tariffs for energy efficiency, what it is calling "EE FiTs", in the energy bill that will be introduced this fall.

In a sign that the two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) may have some influence on the policy debate, British trade publication Energy & Environmental Magazine is reporting that Conservative MP Tim Yeo, the Chair of the House of Commons Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change, has voiced qualified support of the effort. The magazine quotes Yeo as saying the NGO's have made "a very strong case" at an energy policy debate where the report was launched.

Yeo is also president of the Renewable Energy Association, a trade group representing British renewable heat, power, and transport industry.

Academics have discussed the possibility of using feed-in tariffs for energy conservation and energy efficiency for some time. As recently as April 2012, an American NGO, the Regulatory Assistance Project, issued a report, Energy Efficiency Feed-in-Tariffs: Key Policy and Design Considerations, detailing how it could be done.

However, the British NGOs' proposal is the first serious attempt at incorporating such a policy in current political discourse. Thus, the move is significant not only in Britain, but also worldwide.

Thursday
Oct182012

NRC ASLB oral argument pre-hearings on Davis-Besse license extension, Nov. 5 & 6, Toledo

Nuclear Regulatory Commission photos taken in late 2011 show the laminar subsurface cracking (left) at the Shield Building and core bore samples from the Shield Building. Despite the severe cracking, NRC Staff has strenuously opposed the environmental coalition's attempts to raise the issue in the license extension proceedings.The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Atomic Safety (sic) and Licensing Board (ASLB) panel presiding over the Davis-Besse atomic reactor license extension proceedinghas ordered oral argument pre-hearings at the Common Pleas Courtroom in the Lucas County Courthouse, located at 700 Adams Street in downtown Toledo, Ohio, to be held from 9 AM to 4:30 PM on Monday, November 5th and Tuesday, November 6th (yes, Election Day in the U.S.!).

An international environmental coalition, including Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Green Party of Ohio, represented by Toledo attorney Terry Lodge, launched an official intervention against Davis-Besse's 20 year license extension on December 27, 2010. At these oral argument pre-hearings, the environmental coalition will strive to fend off FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company's (FENOC) and NRC Staff's attempts to gut their Severe Accident Mitigation Alternatives (SAMA) analyses contention, which alleges that FENOC's SAMA models significantly underestimate the casualties and costs of a catastrophic radioactivity release from Davis-Besse.

The coalition will also argue for a hearing on the merits of its concrete containment cracking contention, first filed on January 10, 2012, and supplememted numerous times this year based on new revelations contained in FENOC and NRC documents, including those made public by a Beyond Nuclear Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

Members of the public and news media reporters are encouraged to attend these critical oral argument pre-hearings. But, as the ASLB itself has noted: "We recognize that November 6 is Election Day. We encourage those [Americans] who will have to travel out-of-town to attend this oral argument to vote early if their jurisdiction permits or to request an absentee ballot."

Wednesday
Oct172012

Beyond Nuclear FOIA on Davis-Besse containment cracking cited in paint and coatings industry newsletter

Nuclear Regulatory Commission photos taken in late 2011 show the laminar subsurface cracking (left) at the Shield Building and core bore samples from the Shield Building.Paintsquare, a paint and coatings industry newsletter, has reported on the revelations of dubious structural integrity at the Davis-Besse atomic reactor's concrete and steel reinforced shield building, due to a decision made in the late 1960s to not weather seal the containment structure's 100,000 square foot exterior. FirstEnergy Nuclear blames the Blizzard of 1978 for the cracking, a charge that an international environmental coalition has dubbed a "snow job." The article cites Beyond Nuclear's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, which brought previously unpublished internal U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission safety staff emails to light, which question the very structural integrity of the shield building, due to the extensive cracking supposedly first discovered a year ago. 

An earlier Paintsquare article reports on FirstEnergy's 2,500 gallon "white wash" of the problem -- the application, 40 years too late, of three coats of Sherwin-Williams’ Loxon off-white paint within the past couple months. The article reported:

"Environmentalists who are now fighting a 20-year extension of the plant’s operating license say the new coating does not allay their concerns.

The groups, including Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, and Don't Waste Michigan, have urged regulators to deny the renewal for Davis-Besse when its license expires in 2017.

'I'm not at all comforted that they discovered an error that never should have happened to the most expensive and safety-significant building on the site,' said Terry Lodge, a Toledo attorney representing the coalition.

Added Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear, 'It's 40 years too late. Weather sealant will not fix the cracks that are there.'"