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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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Thursday
May102012

Beyond Nuclear discusses bi-national radioactive waste risks on Sarnia, Ontario radio interview

On the 26th annual commemoration of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe (April 26, 2012), Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps discussed the risks of a proposed radioactive waste dump on the Lake Huron shoreline at Bruce Nuclear Complex with radio station CHOK, located in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. Sarnia is downstream of Bruce, and is located just across the narrow and shallow St. Clair River from Port Huron, Michigan, U.S.A. Kevin had been the featured speaker the previous evening after a showing of "Into Eternity" at a meeting of the Blue Water Sierra Club at Port Huron city hall.

Last year, on March 23, 2011 (just 11 days after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe in Japan began), Kevin also spoke with CHOK about the risks of Bruce Nuclear's proposed shipment of radioactive steam generators by boat right down the St. Clair River between Port Huron and Sarnia. This shipment has been held off by determined resistance stretching from the Great Lakes to Europe. CHOK broke the news story about the proposed shipment in spring 2010.

Thursday
May102012

Hollande in, but nuclear not necessarily out in France

The election of François Hollande as the new president of France will not mean a significant reduction in the use of nuclear energy in that country, despite such declarations early on in the campaign from the then Socialist candidate. Hollande is only committed to closing the two oldest reactors - at Fessenheim - and not until his term ends in 2017. That will still leave 56 reactors running plus the new EPR currently under construction at Flamanville (pictured left) which Hollande has not indicated he will halt. In fact, his ties to Areva - like those of President Obama to US nuclear corporation, Exelon - are close. One of Hollande's three chief spokespeople on the campaign was Cherbourg deputy mayor, Bernard Cazeneuve, a huge supporter of the nearby Areva-owned La Hague reprocessing plant and a consistent booster for the corporation. 

Monday
Apr162012

Japanese diplomat Matsumura warns of Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 high-level radioactive waste storage pool risks

Recent photo of Unit 4, with workers (in white radiation suits, under girders) next to pool's surfaceJapanese diplomat Akio Matsumura has been warning about the risks of Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4's high-level radioactive waste storage pool failing (see photo, left), as due to another strong earthquake. Matsumura has worked with the former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland, Murata, who has recently testified before the Japanese federal parliament, as well as written to Japanese Prime Minister Noda and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, urging international cooperation to address the dangers at Unit 4. Matsumura has devoted his homepage to dialogues with the likes of Bob Alvarez at Institute for Policy Studies, Gordon Edwards at Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsiblity, and Steven Starr with PSR, to better understand the situation and amplify the international warning.

Monday
Apr162012

US Sen. Wyden tours Fukushima Daiichi, reveals situation worse than reported, urges Japan to accept international assistance

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), a senior member of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, recently donned a radiation suit and investigated firsthand the devastated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. He reveals the situation is worse than reported, and is urging the Japanese Ambassador to the United States, Ichiro Fujisaki, to accept international assistance to address ongoing risks of catastrophic radioactivity releases, especially from the hundreds of tons of high-level radioactive waste stored in precarious pools vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis. Wyden has issued a press release, and posted his letter to the Japanese Ambassador.

In the letter, Wyden wrote: “The scope of damage to the plants and to the surrounding area was far beyond what I expected and the scope of the challenges to the utility owner, the government of Japan, and to the people of the region are daunting. The precarious status of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear units and the risk presented by the enormous inventory of radioactive materials and spent fuel in the event of further earthquake threats should be of concern to all and a focus of greater international support and assistance.” 

Wyden also wrote U.S. Energy Secretary ChuSecretary of State Clinton, and NRC Chairman Jaczko, urging the full resources and expertise of the United States government be offered to Japan to prevent yet another catastrophic radioactivity release at Fukushima Daiichi due to a failed pool fire.

Please contact Sen. Wyden to thank him for his vital efforts, and contact Secretary ChuSecretary Clinton, andChairman Jaczko, urging they do what Sen. Wyden calls for. You can also contact your U.S. Senators andRepresentative, to urge them to add their voices to Sen. Wyden's effort.

Monday
Apr162012

Tepco reveals 35 ton machine fell into Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3 high-level radioactive waste storage pool

Kyodo News has reported that a camera lowered into the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3 high-level radioactive waste storage pool has revealed that a 35 ton piece of equipment used to transfer irradiated nuclear fuel into and out of the pool fell in, most likely due to the massive hydrogren explosion which rubblized the reactor building in the earliest days of the catastrophe in mid March 2011.

"Heavy load drops" can punch holes in the sides or floors of pools, draining the cooling water away and causing a high-level radioactive waste fire. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2005, Robert Alvarez et al. in 2003, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2001, and Brookhaven National Lab in 1997 have long warned about such risks. The NRC study reported that 25,000 people could die of latent cancer fatalities up to 500 miles downwind of a pool fire. The Brookhaven study warned of the potential for 143,000 deaths.

No explanation is given for why it has taken Tepco 13 months to reveal this information. There is growing concern about the Unit 4 pool collapsing, which could lead to a catastrophic radioactivity release larger in size than what has already been disgorged by the three reactor meltdowns. But as this article above shows, Unit 3 is also at risk -- there is a lack of even basic information about its status, condition, and structural integrity.