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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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Saturday
Sep152012

SAMA contention defended, international resistance to Davis-Besse license extension continues

Environmental coalition attorney Terry Lodge of Toledo speaks at an August 9th press conference at Oak Harbor High School in Ohio, prior to an NRC meeting about Davis-Besse's severely cracked shield buildingOn Sept. 14th, environmental coalition attorney, Toledo-based Terry Lodge (photo, left), filed a rebuttal against FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company's (FENOC) Motion for Summary Dismissal (MSD) of an intervention contention challenging the Davis-Besse atomic reactor's Severe Accident Mitigation Alernatives (SAMA) analyses. The coalition includes U.S. and Canadian groups.

FENOC recently admitted that it had made five major errors in its original SAMA analyses, including getting wind directions 180 degrees wrong; undervaluing Ohio farmland and urban property values; and underestimating the amount of hazardous radioactivity that could escape into the environment during a meltdown at Davis-Besse, as well as the land area that could become contaminated.

The heart of the environmental coalition's defense of its contention involves the severe cracking of Davis-Besse's outer concrete, steel reinforced shield building, as well as significant corrosion of its inner steel containment vessel. The environmental Intervenors charge that FENOC's SAMA analyses are fatally flawed, for they ignore the questionable structural integrity of Davis-Besse's containment structures, which could fail under even small loads, such as mild earthquakes, or meltdown conditions (high temperatures and pressures, which the shield building was never even designed to withstand when brand new, let alone severely cracked).

The ASLB has indicated it will hold oral argument pre-hearings in the vicinity of Davis-Besse in early November, at which the environmental coalition will defend not only its SAMA contention, but also its shield building cracking contention. More.

Friday
Sep142012

Japan will be nuclear-free sometime in the 2030s

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has finally done what tens of thousands of Japanese people have been urging - agreed to phase out nuclear power in that country entirely. After demonstrators surrounded his residence every Friday and tens to hundreds of thousands of Japanese took to the streets in unprecedented protests, the Japanese government has agreed to have all nuclear power plants shut down by the 2030s. Noda admitted that the majority of the Japanese public favored a transition to zero use of nuclear power. The government had also been considering 15% and 25% usage. But the continuing aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi triple reactor meltdowns, and the perilous state of unit 4 at the site along with on-going radioactive releases made a continued pro-nuclear policy untenable. More.

Monday
Sep032012

Saugeen Ojibway Nations challenge the targeting of their traditional territory for a high-level radioactive waste dump

Saugeen First Nation logoThe Saugeen Ojibway Nations (SON, the Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation and the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation) live on the Lake Huron shoreline of Ontario. Their Communal Lands are just 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from the Bruce Nuclear Complex. With a total of 9 atomic reactors (8 operable, 1 permanently shutdown), as well as "centralized interim storage" (including incineration!) for all of Ontario's 20 atomic reactors' "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes, Bruce is amongst the world's single largest nuclear sites. 

But now a Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) for burying all of Ontario's "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes has been proposed by Ontario Power Generation (OPG), owner of Ontario's 20 atomic reactors. 

As the SON have submitted to the Canadian nuclear establishment, the likelihood that its traditional lands are also targeted for Canada's national HIGH-level radioactive waste dump (for all of Ontario's, Quebec's, and New Brunswick's irradiated nuclear fuel) means that OPG's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the DGR is illegally deficient, failing to consider the cumulative impacts associated with the potential for this high-level radioactive waste DGR in the immediate vicinity of Bruce.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), comprised of Canada's nuclear utilities, has been hired by OPG to represent it in the "low"/"intermediate" DGR Environmental Assessment proceeding, and is also in charge of the high-level radioactive waste dump site search in Canada. NWMO has entered into ever deepening stages of consideration for locating Canada's national high-level radioactive waste dump at any of five municipalities surrounding the site of the proposed Bruce DGR, namely: Saugeen Shores, Brockton, Huron-Kinloss, South Bruce and Arran-Elderslie. 

Monday
Sep032012

Dr. Gordon Edwards speaks against Canadian national high-level radioactive waste dump on Great Lakes shoreline

Dr. Gordon Edwards, president of CCNRAs reported by the Saugeen Times, Dr. Gordon Edwards (pictured, left), president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, spoke at an event sponsored by Southampton Residents Association-Save Our Saugeen Shores (SRASOS) on the Ontario shoreline of Lake Huron near the Bruce Nuclear Power Complex, just 50 miles across Lake Huron from Michigan. He was joined by John Jackson, acting Executive Director of Great Lakes United. SRASOS opposes the Canadian national high-level radioactive waste dump targeted at Saugeen Shores, Ontario, as well as number of other communities nearby Bruce. In addition to the targeted communities on Ontario's Lake Huron shoreline, additional Canadian communities on Lake Superior's shoreline have also been targeted, as well as yet more in Saskatchewan. The selected high-level radioactive waste dump would then permanently host all of the irradiated nuclear fuel from all of Canada's nuclear power plants (20 reactors in Ontario, 1 in Quebec, and 1 in New Brunswick).

This proposed high-level radioactive waste dump is supposedly different than and distinct from the "Deep Geologic Repository" (DGR) for "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes, also targeted at the Bruce Nuclear Complex itself by Ontario Power Generation, the provincial nuclear utility which owns 20 atomic reactors. But of course, how different and distinct can two such dumps be, located so close together?! And with DGR "storage space" astronomically expensive, as shown by the proposed Yucca Mountain, Nevada, high-level radioactive waste repository and its estimated nearly $100 billion price tag, how could two DGRs located very close together, rather than just one consolidated DGR, be economically justified?!

Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps, a long-time member of the Great Lakes United (GLU) Nuclear-Free/Green Energy Task Force, is serving as an expert witness for GLU in the environmental assessment proceeding regarding the proposed DGR.

To confuse the two proposals yet more, the Nuclear Waste Management Organziation (NWMO), comprised of Canadian nuclear utilities, is in charge of both the high-level and DGR dump proposals.

Wednesday
Aug292012

Save the dates: "A Mountain of Radioactive Waste 70 Years High: Ending the Nuclear Age," Chicago, December 1-3, 2012

Please save the dates, on the first weekend in December, for a gathering in Chicago, Illinois, to mark the 70th year since Enrico Fermi first split the atom -- in a squash court, under the football stadium at the University of Chicago -- as part of the top secret Manhattan Project, on December 2, 1942. Since then, no permanent, safe location or technology has ever been found to isolate even the first cupful of radioactive waste from the biosphere. And yet we continue to generate more and more -- a mountain of waste 70 years high.

The goal of the Friday evening to Sunday afternoon conference is to educate, inspire, and activate. Diverse expert speakers will be featured, on a range of subject matter, including: radioactive waste; the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe; the inextricable link between nuclear weapons and nuclear power; degraded old and proposed new atomic reactor risks; the Atomic Age's impacts on human beings, and resistance to it; and the way forward without nuclear power and nuclear weapons.

The event will also feature: film screenings/discussions; real-time linkage to, and interaction with, remote participants in Hiroshima, Japan and Takoma Park, Maryland; a commemoration ceremony at the Henry Moore Sculpture (the very spot where Fermi first split the atom); and a possible field trip to Red Gate Woods (a suburban forest preserve, where Fermi's radioactive wastes are buried, next to a bicycle path, under a mound of dirt).

In addition to an excellent networking opportunity, the event will help participants get up to speed on various nuclear power, nuclear weapons, and radioactive waste issues, so we can better fend off the nuclear establishment's expansion plans next year, after the presidential and congressional elections.

For more information, contact David Kraft at Nuclear Energy Information Service in Chicago (neis@neis.org; 773-342-7650), or Kevin Kamps at Beyond Nuclear (kevin@beyondnuclear.org; 301-270-2209x1).

For more background on the radioactive waste issue, see Beyond Nuclear's pamphlet, "A Mountain of Waste Seventy Years High" (see its cover, at left), and visit the Radioactive Waste section of the Beyond Nuclear website.