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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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Friday
Sep172010

Bi-national environmental coalition demands U.S. Dept. of Transportation scrutinize risks of radioactive waste ship on Great Lakes

A U.S.-Canadian environmental coalition has sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, demanding that it perform a federally required National Environmental Policy Act examination of the risks associated with Bruce Power shipping 16 radioactive steam generators from its 8 reactor nuclear power plant on the Lake Huron shoreline in Ontario, via the remaining Great Lakes, across the Atlantic, to Sweden for melting down and mixing into the consumer product scrap metal recycling stream. The coalition also demands that PHMSA analyze the less dangerous alternative of a longstanding Canadian plan simply to store the steam generators indefinitely onsite. They demand this happen before granting a U.S. DOT permit for the shipment of these radioactive wastes through U.S. waters on the Great Lakes. As described in the coalition's press release, the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence Cities Initiative has calculated that the radioactive cargo would violate International Atomic Energy Agency safety regulations for the amount of radioactivity allowed on a single ship by 50 times over. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, whose staff has described the shipment as of very low risk, will hold a hearing in Ottawa, Ontario beginning on Sept. 29th to receive public comment from concerned citizens. Over 75 such submissions have been made by groups from the U.S. and Canada, showing how concerned environmentalists are about this radioactive waste shipment on the Great Lakes. Beyond Nuclear has registered to provide oral testimony at the hearing on the comments it has submitted. A full size image of the map showing the route above appeared in the Detroit News on Sept. 11.

Tuesday
Sep072010

German anti-nuclear activists planning huge protest rally

German anti-nuclear activists are preparing for a huge rally on September 18 in Berlin to protest license extensions for Germany's existing nuclear plants. A year ago, a similar rally due tens of thousands or nuclear opponents. The impetus comes as the German government announces a compromise position on license renewals for its 17 nuclear plants, agreeing to a 12-14-year extension rather than 20 but more than the eight-year limit pushed by the environment minister. The rally organizers  - spearheaded by Campact - also organized last April's 75-mile long and 1,200+ human chain to protest license extensions for two of the country's reactors. Hundreds already protested the license extension announcement in Berlin on September 5.

Tuesday
Sep072010

Floating Chernobyls

They would be floating Chernobyls. Russia has embarked on a scheme of building floating nuclear power plants to be moored off its coasts and sold to nations around the world. The Huffington Post. More here on the risks.

Thursday
Aug262010

Resistance builds to radioactive waste shipments on Great Lakes

The Great Lakes United (GLU) Nuclear-Free/Green Energy Task Force has taken the lead in shining a spotlight on the proposal by Bruce Nuclear Power Complex in Ontario to barge 16 radioactive steam generators out the Great Lakes, and across the Atlantic, to Sweden for "recycling" the metal for un-restricted re-use in consumer products. A resolution signed by scores of organizations in the U.S. and Canada, as well as a cover letter to heads of government in the U.S. and Canada, signed by Task Force co-chairs Dr. Gordon Edwards and Michael Keegan, as well as GLU executive director Derek Stack, is posted at the GLU website. Also posted there are three documents written by Dr. Gordon Edwards of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility: a graphic image and photograph showing the radioactive "intestines" inside steam generatorss; an inventory of the hazardous radioactive isotopes that contaminate steam generators; and official company and government environmental assessment documents showing that the plan had been to store the radioactive steam generators on-site as waste, not ship them off for "recycling."

In addition to the radiological risks of one of these barges sinking -- including stigma impacts on economic sectors such as Great Lakes tourism and fisheries, even if there is not a radioactive release -- there is also the precedent setting nature of this proposal. As part of its Yucca Mountain plan, the U.S. Dept. of Energy has also proposed barging high-level radioactive wastes on the Great Lakes, as well as on the Chesapeake and Delaware Bay, various surface waters surrounding metro New York City as well as Boston, the California and Florida coastlines, and such inland rivers as the James in Virginia, the Mississippi, the Missouri, and the Tennessee. Unlike steam generators, irradiated nuclear fuel sinking risks accidental nuclear chain reactions underwater, due to the presence of fissile U-235 and Pu-239 in the high-level radioactive waste, which would make emergency response a "suicide mission," and would worsen radioactive releases to the environment. But any other "away-from-reactor" plans, such as reprocessing or "centralized interim storage" (aka parking lot dumps), could also involve such barge shipments.

Beyond Nuclear has delivered copies of the materials about the Bruce steam generator barge shipments proposal to the U.S. congressional delegations of the eight Great Lakes States (IL, IN, MI, MN, NY, OH, PA, WI). Please contact your own U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative via the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Urge them to take action, such as contacting the Obama administration, to protect the inland and coastal waters of the U.S. from the risks of shipping radioactive wastes.

Monday
Aug232010

Iran Opens Its First Nuclear Power Plant

Thirty-six years after construction began under the shah, Iran finally opened its first nuclear power plant at a ceremony on Saturday. Although Iran denies that it is using its civilian nuclear program to mask a plan to build a bomb, many Western countries are dubious. The New York Times.