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ARTICLE ARCHIVE

Licensed to Kill

In 2001, Beyond Nuclear’s Paul and Linda Gunter, then with NIRS and Safe Energy Communication Council, co-authored a landmark report and accompanying video, describing how animals were harmed and killed by the routine operation of nuclear reactors. The authors found that marine habitats are being damaged and destroyed by nuclear power plant operations using the “once-through cooling system.” A variety of animal species are routinely drowned, thermally shocked, pulverized, injured and trapped by reactors that can draw in and discharge as much as three billion gallons of water a day to cool the plant. A short film, Licensed To Kill: How Reactors Kill Animals, accompanies the report.

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Monday
Mar072016

Nuclear plant that sucked in diver has violated law for a decade

TAKOMA PARK, MD, March 7, 2016 -- A Florida nuclear power plant that sucked a scuba diver through its unprotected cooling intake pipe, is in ongoing violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Beyond Nuclear and the Rachel Carson Council have charged.  

The incident at the St. Lucie Nuclear Generating Station on Hutchinson Island, Florida, is the second entrainment of a human at the plant.  The first occurred in 1989.  However, the plant’s intake system has for decades routinely captured, harmed and killed thousands of marine animals, most notably endangered and threatened species of sea turtle as well as manatees and other protected species.  The plant is owned by Florida Power & Light (FPL).

“Sucking in the scuba diver exposes that FPL has failed to act for almost a decade on its ongoing violations of the Endangered Species Act,” said Paul Gunter, Director of Reactor Oversight at Beyond Nuclear, the national group of record that watchdogs the environmental damage caused by nuclear power.  “Federal law establishes the terms of FPL’s operating license to set limits on the number of protected marine species that it kills and injures that are caused by power plant operations,” he said.   

In 2006 St. Lucie drew in 662 sea turtles, 22 of which FPL admits were killed by the plant’s operation.  FPL has been obligated to limit the number of endangered species killed by the plant’s intake system since its operating license was amended in 2001.  

Read the full press release.

Monday
Jul222013

Riverkeeper, NYS DEC pressure Entergy to install cooling towers

As reported by Riverkeeper, State of New York hearings regarding Entergy's Indian Point nuclear power plant's impacts on the Hudson River are not going well for the troubled company. Entergy proposes installing wedgewire screens to mitigate its impacts on animal life in the Hudson River, but does not own the five acres of river bottom it would need for the proposal. Building the wedgewire screens would destroy river bottom habitat in its own right, and could re-suspend radioactivity from river bottom sediment which Indian Point put there in the first place.

Both Riverkeeper and the State of New York's Department of Environmental Conservation are urging that Entergy should have to install cooling towers, if it carries through with its plans to run the two reactors for 60, rather than 40, years. Hearings on that demand are coming up this fall.

Indian Point withdraws massive amounts of water from the Hudson to cool its reactor operations, then discharges destructive quantities of waste heat into the river. Such operations have significant impacts on the Hudson River's natural ecosystem and its fisheries.

Thursday
Jun272013

Riverkeeper contests NRC's conclusion that IP's aquatic impacts on Hudson "small"

As reported by POWERnews, in response to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's FSEIS (Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement) finding that aquatic impacts from 20-year license extensions at Entergy's Indian Point Unit 2 and 3 atomic reactors would be "small":

'...One environmental group, Riverkeeper, has alleged that Indian Point violates the Clean Water Act and has devastating effects on the ecology of the Hudson River. "It leaks radioactive water, discharges heated water that damages river life, and its ineffective cooling water-intake screens do too little to stop the slaughter of more than a billion fish and other river organisms every year," the group says on its website...".

Saturday
Jun082013

Swan SONGS as Edison opts to permanently close San Onofre

Image by J. DeStafano, 2012Southern California Edison has decided to permanently shutter its Units 2 and 3 San Onofre Nuclear Generating Stations (SONGS) reactors in Southern Cal! Congratulations to all who fought so hard for this great victory! Read the Edison press release.

"This is very good news for the people of Southern California," said [a] statement from Friends of the Earth president Erich Pica. "We have long said that these reactors are too dangerous to operate and now Edison has agreed. The people of California now have the opportunity to move away from the failed promise of dirty and dangerous nuclear power and replace it with the safe and clean energy provided by the sun and wind."

And as FOE senior advisor S. David Freeman pointed out on a FOE press conference, San Onofre's closures means that the harmful impacts on aquatic life in the Pacific Ocean from reactor operations (such as thermal, radiological, and toxic chemical) now ends. 

Beyond Nuclear has compiled comprehensive media coverage on, and other reactions to, the San Onofre 2 & 3 closures at its Nuclear Retreat page.

Wednesday
Jan162013

Watchdogs continue to hound Entergy Pilgrim

Mother endangered Right Whale near PNPS on 1/15/13, calf is out-of-view. Images acquired under authorization of NOAA/NMFS. Credit: Rachel Karasik.Watchdog groups such as Pilgrim WatchCape DownwindersPilgrim Coalition and Cape Cod Bay Watch keep up the good fight against Entergy's Pilgrim atomic reactor in Plymouth, MA. Pilgrim is a four decade old General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactor, the same age, or older, and design as the Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4 reactors. 

Pilgrim Watch spearheaded a six year long intervention against the reactor's 20-year license extension, a record of resistance. But, just as it has done 72 other times across the U.S. since 2000, NRC rubberstamped the license extension in the end.

Member of Cape Downwinders, who have carried out non-violent civil disobedience actions in opposition to Pilgrim's ongoing risks, networked with Beyond Nuclear staff at a Clamshell Alliance reunion in New Hampshire last July. A key risk is that there is "No Escape from the Cap" should the worst happen at Pilgrim, as recently affirmed by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency itself. 

Wicked Local Plymouth reported: “There are no plans to evacuate us from danger,” Pilgrim Coalition wrote in a release quoting Falmouth resident and Cape Downwinders member Bill Maurer, “but there are plans to control us during that danger, which essentially insures that we will be exposed to that danger.”

Pilgrim Coalition is plugging Pilgrim's shutdown:

"Plug-In to Unplug Pilgrim: this is an opportunity to find your place in a growing movement to remove the risk from Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in your community.

Join us on February 6, 2013 in the Otto Fehlow Room of the Plymouth Public Library and kick off the new year by learning about the issue and ways you can help. Snacks and refreshments will be served.

For more information, contact Karen Vale at info@capecodbaywatch.org or (508) 951-4723."

And Cape Cod Bay Watch points out that "Plymouth Is Where NO NUKES Meets SAVE THE WHALES" (see photo, above left). It has just today published a piece in the Wicked Local Plymouth about Pilgrim's harmful tritium and nitrogen pollution into the underlying Plymouth-Carver Sole Source Aquifer, recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protetion Agency as “the principal source of drinking water for the residents of the area."

As reported by the Patriot Ledger, Pilgrim just resumed operations after a one week shutdown, caused by an electrical relay failure at the 41 year old reactor which blocked the operation of two water recirculation pumps.