New Reactors

The U.S. nuclear industry is trumpeting a comeback - but only if U.S. taxpayers will foot the bill. Beyond Nuclear is watchdogging nuclear industry efforts to embark on new reactor construction which is too expensive, too dangerous and not needed.



Beyond Nuclear files Nuke Waste Con Game contentions against 2 proposed new atomic reactors

NRC has formerly blocked environmental groups from objecting to new reactor licensing due to their concern about the high-level radioactive wastes that would be generated. NRC implicitly pointed to the proposed Yucca Mtn., NV dump as the "illusion of a solution." But the Obama administration wisely canceled the dump. In this photo by Gabriela Bulisova, a Western Shoshone Indian ceremonial sweat lodge frames their sacred Yucca Mtn.Beyond Nuclear has filed intervention contentions against a total of four atomic reactors (proposed new reactors at Grand Gulf Unit 3, MS and Fermi Unit 3, MI seeking construction and operating licenses, as well as degraded old reactors at Grand Gulf Unit 1, MS and Davis-Besse Unit 1, OH seeking 20 year license extensions) based on a recent U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruling gutting the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) "Nuclear Waste Confidence Decision."

That confidence game has been used against states, environmental groups, and concerned citizens for decades, blocking them from challening the generation of high-level radioactive waste in atomc reactor licensing proceedings, as the NRC has flippantly expressed "confidence" that storage on-site was safe for decades or even centuries, and that a geologic repository for permanently disposing of irradiated nuclear fuel was just over the horizon -- despite mounting evidence to the contrary.



Fermi 3, Don't Tread on Me! No Indoctrination Without Representation!

The environmental coalition officially intervening against the proposed new Fermi 3 atomic reactor in Monroe, Michigan has defended its contention to protest the threatened Eastern Fox Snake, an indigenous constrictor.

The coalition, represented by attorney Terry Lodge of Toledo, has also challenged Detroit Edison, the State of Michigan, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's attempt to whitewash the true history of the Fermi 1 experimental plutonium breeder reactor's partial meltdown on October 5, 1966. Detroit Edison has moved to demolish the Fermi 1 containment shell despite its listing on the National Register of Historic Places without public participation in the decision making process, a violation of the National Historic Preservation Act. The Fermi 3 construction plan requires the removal of the remaining half-century-old Fermi 1 facilities. The intervenors presented evidence of the true nature of Fermi 1, from the nearly catastrophic consequences of the meltdown, to the fact that originally Fermi 1 was proposed to generate weapons-grade plutonium for use in the U.S. nuclear arsenal.


Declaration of Independence from proposed Fermi 3 new atomic reactor: "No indoctrination without representation!" regarding Fermi 1 meltdown history 

A cover on the 1975 non-fiction book by John G. Fuller, "We Almost Lost Detroit," about the 1966 meltdown at the Fermi 1 experimental plutonium breeder reactor in Monroe, MichiganBeyond Nuclear and its allies in the intervention against the proposed new Fermi 3 atomic reactor in Monroe, Michigan have filed their 25th contention opposing the proposed new atomic reactor, citing a violation of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). NRC, Detroit Edison and the State of Michigan have finalized a NHPA mitigation Memorandum of Agreement about the demolition of the Fermi 1 containment shell, despite its inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, in order to make room for the construction of Fermi 3, a General Electric-Hitachi so-called "Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor" (ESBWR) . However, the decisions were made without even notifying -- let alone involving -- the public, a violation of NHPA. The coalition has issued a media release.

The intervenors have cited Atomic Energy Commission, Nuclear Power Development Corporation (Dow Chemical, Detroit Edison, et al.), U.S. congressional testimony, and documentation on how close the Fermi 1 meltdown of October 5, 1966 came to a "terrifying," catastrophic radioactivity release. The coalition's attorney, Terry Lodge of Toledo, has argued that the Fermi 1 archive must include documentation of the experimental plutonium breeder reactor's original goal of generating weapons-grade plutonium for U.S. hydrogen bombs, as well as materials for radiological ("dirty bomb") weaponry. "The 'official' narrative of this 20th century failure must not be hijacked for use as pro-industry promotion by the 21st century nuclear industry," Lodge said.

"The story of Fermi 1's nearly catastrophic failure offers a large window into the history of commercial nuclear power, an institutional void of safety culture within the primary regulatory agency, and nuclear power’s inherent weapons connection," said Keith Gunter of Livonia, Michigan, a launch partner of Beyond Nuclear and an official intervenor against Fermi 3. "After all, as John G. Fuller's book and Gil Scott-Heron's song titles put it, 'We Almost Lost Detroit,' not to mention Monroe, Toledo, and beyond," Keith Gunter added. (see image, above left)


"Fermi 3, Don't Tread on Me!" 

A growing movement of human beings feeling endangered by the proposed new reactor, Fermi 3, are declaring their independence from the tyranny of atomic energyBeyond Nuclear and its environmental coalition allies intervening against the proposed Fermi 3 atomic reactor have defended their threatened Eastern Fox Snake contention against a motion for summary disposition filed by nuclear utility Detroit Edison.The filing, submitted by the coalition's attorney Terry Lodge, challenged DTE's proposed mitigation plans, as well as the Michigan Department of Natural Resources' (MDNR) woefully inadequate enforcement of threatened and endangered species protections. DTE's plan for replacement habitat for land ruined by Fermi 3's construction and operation is a former farm field immediately under its Monroe Power Plant, one of the largest coal burners in North America (3,000 Megawatts-electric), meaning the land is likely contaminated with acids, radioactivity, mercury, and other toxic chemicals fallout.

Even the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Atomic Safety (sic) and Licensing Board (ASLB) has agreed with the intervenors that harm to the Eastern Fox Snake species will be inflicted by the 1,000 acre (29.4 mile long, 300 foot wide) transmission line corridor to be built, which neither DTE nor NRC have adequately addressed. And the State of Michigan has de-funded MDNR endangered species regulatory activities, meaning no staff are available to review DTE's proposals, nor to monitor its mitigation activities.

The intervenors issued a press release. Don't Waste Michigan's Michael Keegan of Monroe, MI, was quoted as saying "DTE, don't tread on me! No irradiation without representation!" The other coalition groups include Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Citizens Environmental Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, and the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter.


"Nuclear Rubberstamp Commission" by Karl Grossman

Investigative journalist, and Beyond Nuclear board of directors member, Karl Grossman (pictured, left), has published an article entitled "Nuclear Rubberstamp Commission" which has appeared at the Huffington Post and elsewhere. In it, Karl reports that U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairman, Dr. Gregory Jaczko, has been pressured to resign over a year early due to withering attacks by the nuclear power industry and its friends within the NRC and on Capitol Hill, due to his safety advocacy. Karl points out that NRC has never, in its nearly 40 years of existence, denied a license to construct or operate a commercial atomic reactor. It has also rubberstamped 73 license extensions for 20 additional years of operation at U.S. atomic reactors, with 13 other license extensions already applied for.

NRC's rubberstamp also extends to new reactor proposals. For the first time in several decades, NRC just this year alone has approved 4 new reactors' combined Construction and Operating Licence Applications (COLAs): 2 at Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia, and 2 at Summer nuclear power plant in South Carolina. Both times, NRC Chairman Jaczko cast the sole dissenting vote in the 4 to 1 NRC Commission approvals of the proposals. Jaczko warned that the approvals took place "as if Fukushima never even happened," as NRC has not required conditions that "Fukushima lessons learned" be applied at the new reactors prior to their approval.