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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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Wednesday
Mar072012

Update on defending Great Lakes against risky atomic reactors

Satellite photo of the Great Lakes: 20% of the planet's surface fresh water; drinking water supply for 40 million people in North America; and lifeblood of one of the world's biggest regional economiesThree weeks ago, we reported on Beyond Nuclear's efforts, in conjunction with environmental coalitions and concerned citizens, to shut down two especially risky atomic reactors on the Great Lakes shorelines that have been generating a lot of controversy recently: Palisades in southwest Michigan, and Davis-Besse in northwest Ohio.

A lot has happened since. NRC was forced to admit that Palisades has the most embrittled reactor pressure vessel in the U.S. NRC's repeated regulatory rollbacks have put it at risk of fracturing like a hot glass under cold water due to Pressurized Thermal Shock. And thanks to revelations by Congressman Dennis Kucinich, we've contended that Davis-Besse's containment cracking is so severe that its outer layer of steel reinforcement rebar is no longer performing its safety function. We joined Congressman Kucinich in challenging Davis-Besse's root cause report, which blames the cracking on the Blizzard of 1978, as a "snow job of convenience."

Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario is a coalition member in the intervention against Davis-Besse's license extension, as it is against the proposal to build a new reactor, Fermi 3, in Monroe, Michigan. A number of Canadian groups also joined the resistance to the Palisades' license extension several years ago. Great Lakes United, a coalition of 150 groups in 8 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American/First Nations, has also passed a resolution against Fermi 3, and also opposed the license extension at Palisades. GLU's Nuclear-Free/Green Energy Task Force helps coordinate anti-nuclear efforts across the border throughout the Great Lakes. Read more.

Saturday
Mar032012

Radiation precautions are not child's play in Fukushima Prefecture

A heartbreaking BBC News Asia video focuses on Ayaka, a young girl who lost her grandfather and home to the tsunami in Fukushima Prefecture on March 11, 2011, and whose life is now circumscribed by radiation precautions that limit her freedom to play outdoors. This, despite now living beyond the arbitrarily small 12.4 mile (20 km) "Dead Zone" around the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Her father bought a Ukrainian radiation monitor on the internet, which he uses to check background levels before he lets Ayaka play on the parking lot for at most 30 minutes, only on weekends. She's not allowed to play on the grass, or near trees or surface water, because the radiation levels are higher there. Ayaka also wears a face mask on her way to school, and a personal radiation monitor to track her exposures. Ayaka reads from her diary entry from March 13, 2011, in which she expresses her fear of the invisible radioactivity around her. Writing helped her deal with her emotions -- she was afraid to express her fears directly to her father or grandmother.

Saturday
Mar032012

Lessons from Fukushima: new Greenpeace report a warning on nuclear risks

Saturday
Mar032012

"Fukushima in review: A complex disaster, a disastrous response"

Yoichi Funabashi and Kay Kitazawa are chairman of the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation, and staff director of the Foundation's Independent Investigation Commission on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident, respectively. They have published an article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) entitled "Fukushima in review: A complex disaster, a disastrous response." It's an overview of a 400 page study on the lessons to be learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe, first reported by the New York Times on Feb. 27. The BAS abstract reads:

"On March 11, 2011, an earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. The emerging crisis at the plant was complex, and, to make matters worse, it was exacerbated by communication gaps between the government and the nuclear industry. An independent investigation panel, established by the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation, reviewed how the government, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), and other relevant actors responded. In this article, the panel's program director writes about their findings and how these players were thoroughly unprepared on almost every level for the cascading nuclear disaster. This lack of preparation was caused, in part, by a public myth of "absolute safety" that nuclear power proponents had nurtured over decades and was aggravated by dysfunction within and between government agencies and Tepco, particularly in regard to political leadership and crisis management. The investigation also found that the tsunami that began the nuclear disaster could and should have been anticipated and that ambiguity about the roles of public and private institutions in such a crisis was a factor in the poor response at Fukushima."

The article announces that the full report, in Japanese only, would be released at the end of Feb. However, the English translation will not be ready until sometime this summer.

Friday
Mar022012

"Demonic" reality of Fukushima, versus absurdity of NRC

NRC file photo of Peach Bottom 2 & 3, PennsylvaniaWhile top level Japanese government officials admit that they feared a "demonic chain reactor" of atomic reactor meltdowns not only at Fukushima Daiichi, but also at Fukushima Daini and Tokai nuclear power plants, which would have led to an evacuation of Tokyo and perhaps its permanent loss, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's SOARCA report absurdly claims that a reactor meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi identically designed Peach Bottom Units 2 and 3 in Pennsylvania, surrounded by several other nuclear power plants, would cause few to no casualties. Read more.