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.



"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.


More than $900 million cost overrun documented on Vogtle 3 & 4 new reactors construction

"Burning Money" image by Gene Case, Avenging AngelsA coalition of environmental groups, including North Carolina Waste Awareness and Reduction Network (NC WARN), has issued a press release decrying a nearly billion dollar cost overrun at the Vogtle 3 & 4 new reactor construction project in Georgia. The groups warn that further cost increases are likely, due to rushed design and construction that has led to errors, as in sub-foundation grading, rebar quality assurance, and even radiological containment "shield building" design and construction.

The coalition's expert witness Arjun Makhijani, President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER), said: “Southern Company rushed into this project, as evidenced by the many requests for modifications of the license and early technical difficulties and problems including failure of ‘some details’ of early construction to conform to the Design Control Document, according to Georgia Power’s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Indeed, a part of the cost increase of $900 million appears to be attributable to overcoming delays and rushing the project again despite construction non-compliance.  The cost increase should not be a surprise; rather it is déjà vu all over again.  Rushing nuclear power reactors is not prudent and stockholders and/or the vendors, not ratepayers, should bear the burden of such costs.  It would be much better if construction were suspended until all design issues were resolved.”


"Fighting the Legacy of Enrico Fermi"

NRC file photo of Fermi 2Michael Leonardi of Occupy Toledo has published an essay in Counterpunch, re-run at Ecowatch, about the resistance to the Fermi nuclear power plant on the Lake Erie shoreline near Monroe, MI. Leonardi links to Beyond Nuclear's involvement in "Freeze Our Fukushimas" efforts to shutdown Fermi 2 (see photo, left), the largest Fukushima Daiichi twin GE Mark I reactor in the world, with around 550 tons of high-level radioactive waste stuck in its storage pool, more than Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4 put together.

Leonardi also mentions the struggle to nip the proposed new "Fermi 3" reactor, a GE-Hitachi "Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor" (ESBWR), in the bud. Beyond Nuclear's website hosts the compiled submissions by the the environmental coalition resisting Fermi 3, submitted in response to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Beyond Nuclear, along with Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter -- represented by Toledo attorney Terry Lodge -- continue to officially intervene against Fermi 3 in the NRC's Atomic Safety (sic) and Licensing Board proceeding.


Beyond Nuclear to co-present "Into Eternity" in Livonia, MI on 3/11 to commemorate Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe

On Sunday, March 11, 2012, the first anniversary of the beginning of the still ongoing Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe, Beyond Nuclear is joining with BetterWorld Happenings to co-present the film "Into Eternity" about the proposed Finnish high-level radioactive waste repository (see the trailer, above). The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. at Unity Church of Livonia, Michigan. Keith Gunter, Promoter and Producer of BetterWorld Happenings, and a Beyond Nuclear Launch Partner, has organized the event. Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps will speak at the screening. A media release has gone out, as well as a flyer. Kevin will discuss the risks of such reactors in the vicinity as Fermi 2, the proposed new reactor at Fermi 3, as well as Davis-Besse.

Nukewatch of Wisconsin just showed "Into Eternity" in Duluth, MN on Feb. 20th. Nuclear Energy Information Service is planning to show it on March 22nd in Chicago (see their press release and "Know Nukes" film series schedule). And yet another screening is in the works for the Blue Water region of Michigan near Port Huron in mid-March, again with Kevin Kamps as a speaker. If you would like to host a screening, learn more here.