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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
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.

Tuesday
Feb282012

Independent investigation documents that "demonic chain reaction" of atomic reactor meltdowns could have forced Tokyo's evacuation

Martin Fackler of the New York Times has reported that an imminent, high-level independent investigation into the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Catastrophe has documented that the worst-case scenarios were intentionally concealed from the Japanese people and world community. Led by Yoichi Funabashi (pictured, left), former editor in chief of the daily newspaper Asahi Shimbun, regarded as one of Japan’s foremost intellectuals, an investigative team "of 30 university professors, lawyers and journalists" came together to form the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation. Over the course of six months, it interviewed more than 300 people, including top government and nuclear officials involved in the response, to compile a 400 page report due out within days, described as "one of the most vivid accounts yet of how Japan teetered on the edge of an even larger nuclear crisis than the one that engulfed the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant."

The article describes what might have happened if Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) had been allowed to abandon emergency efforts at Fukushima Daiichi, as it considered doing in the first days:

'The report quotes the chief cabinet secretary at the time, Yukio Edano, as having warned that such a “demonic chain reaction” of plant meltdowns could result in the evacuation of Tokyo, 150 miles to the south.

“We would lose Fukushima Daini, then we would lose Tokai,” Mr. Edano is quoted as saying, naming two other nuclear plants. “If that happened, it was only logical to conclude that we would also lose Tokyo itself.”

The Foundation 'credited Mr. Kan [the former Japanese Prime Minister who was serving when the catastrophe began, and resigned in August, 2011] with making the right decision in forcing Tepco not to abandon the plant.

“Prime Minister Kan had his minuses and he had his lapses,” Mr. Funabashi said, “but his decision to storm into Tepco and demand that it not give up saved Japan.” '

Monday
Feb272012

Bi-national environmental coalition supplements Davis-Besse cracked containment contention: outer rebar no longer functional

NRC file photo of Davis-Besse atomic reactor on the Ohio shoreline of Lake ErieThe environmental coalition opposing the Davis-Besse atomic reactor's 20 year license extension (Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Green Party of Ohio) has filed a supplement to its cracked containment contention. In a motion filed with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Atomic Safety and License Board (ASLB) today, the coalition cited a Feb. 8th revelation by the office of U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH, pictured at left), which broke the news to the public that the NRC considers the outer rebar steel reinforcement layer in the Davis-Besse atomic reactor to have lost its functional effectiveness due to the extensive cracking. Despite this, NRC approved Davis-Besse's restart in early December 2011. The ASLB plans oral pre-hearings near Davis-Besse in the weeks ahead on the cracked containment contention. A copy of today's filing, with the Kucinich Feb. 8th media release, as well as an NRC inspection report dated Jan. 31st, is posted here. The NRC inspection report provides further detail on structural cracking in the upper 20 feet of the containment building. The coalition published a media release on today's filing, posted here.