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NRC

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is mandated by Congress to ensure that the nuclear industry is safe. Instead, the NRC routinely puts the nuclear industry's financial needs ahead of public safety. Beyond Nuclear has called for Congressional investigation of this ineffective lapdog agency that needlessly gambles with American lives to protect nuclear industry profits.

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Wednesday
Oct172012

Beyond Nuclear FOIA on Davis-Besse containment cracking cited in paint and coatings industry newsletter

Nuclear Regulatory Commission photos taken in late 2011 show the laminar subsurface cracking (left) at the Shield Building and core bore samples from the Shield Building.Paintsquare, a paint and coatings industry newsletter, has reported on the revelations of dubious structural integrity at the Davis-Besse atomic reactor's concrete and steel reinforced shield building, due to a decision made in the late 1960s to not weather seal the containment structure's 100,000 square foot exterior. FirstEnergy Nuclear blames the Blizzard of 1978 for the cracking, a charge that Beyond Nuclear has dubbed a "snow job." The article cites Beyond Nuclear's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, which brought previously unpublished internal U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission safety staff emails to light, which question the very structural integrity of the shield building, due to the extensive cracking supposedly first discovered a year ago. 

An earlier Paintsquare article reports on FirstEnergy's 2,500 gallon "white wash" of the problem -- the application, 40 years too late, of three coats of Sherwin-Williams’ Loxon off-white paint within the past couple months. The article reported:

"Environmentalists who are now fighting a 20-year extension of the plant’s operating license say the new coating does not allay their concerns.

The groups, including Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, and Don't Waste Michigan, have urged regulators to deny the renewal for Davis-Besse when its license expires in 2017.

'I'm not at all comforted that they discovered an error that never should have happened to the most expensive and safety-significant building on the site,' said Terry Lodge, a Toledo attorney representing the coalition.

Added Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear, 'It's 40 years too late. Weather sealant will not fix the cracks that are there.'"

Wednesday
Oct172012

"Regulators should begin decommissioning the Palisades Nuclear Plant"

NRC file photo of Palisades atomic reactorMark Muhich, a Jackson County resident and chairman of the Central Michigan Group of the Sierra Club, has published a column by the title above at the Jackson Citizen Patriot/MLive. Muhich begins his column:

"The Palisades Nuclear Plant bordering Michigan’s Van Buren State Park squats menacingly between high sand dunes and pristine Lake Michigan waves. Palisades rates as one of the three most dangerous nuclear plants in the U.S., out of 120 total nuclear plants. In the past two years Palisades has suffered more than two dozen serious breaches of safety protocol and seven complete shutdowns. A catastrophe at Palisades could kill tens of thousands of people and destroy more than $116 billion in property.

How could the Nuclear Regulatory Commission need more evidence for decommissioning Palisades? Is there a reason why more than half the serious accidents at nuclear facilities worldwide have occurred in the U.S? The General Accounting Office, Office of the Inspector General and the Union of Concerned Scientists all find the NRC’s “enforcement of existing regulations inadequate.” Does the NRC regulate the nuclear industry, or promote it? An independent inspection team, Conyer-Elsea, found “a lack of accountability at all levels at Palisades.” Is the NRC waiting for Chernobyl 2?..."

NRC rubberstamped Palisades' 20 year license extension in 2007, despite widespread environmental oppositionnot only in Michigan but throughout the Great Lakes basin.

Wednesday
Oct032012

Chris Williams (VCAN, VYDA), "Entergy Watch: Resisting Palisades Atomic Reactor," WMU's Bernhard Ctr., Kzoo, MI, Thurs., Oct. 11, 4-5:30 PM

Entergy Nuclear: Resisting a Rogue Corporation, and its Radioactive Risks

A presentation by Chris Williams of Vermont Citizen Action Network (VCAN) and Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance (VYDA)

4:00 to 5:30 PM, Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Western Michigan University, Bernhard Center, Brown and Gold Room (2nd Floor, Room #242), 1903 W. Michigan Ave.,

Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5408 (click here for directions to campus, location of parking, etc.)

Come learn about Entergy Nuclear’s dirty dozen atomic reactors, including the problem-plagued Palisades near South Haven. Chris Williams is a leader of the ongoing, highly successful grassroots campaign to shutdown Entergy's dangerously degraded Vermont Yankee atomic reactor (a Fukushima Daiichi twin design). Having stopped proposed new reactors in Indiana during his 25 years of service as Executive Director of Citizen Action Coalition, he will show how community organizing can stop dirty, dangerous, and expensive atomic reactors, and replace them with efficiency and renewables like wind and solar. 

Co-sponsored by Beyond Nuclear (www.beyondnuclear.org)  and the Kalamazoo Peace Center (www.kzoopeacecenter.org)

Contact: Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear, kevin@beyondnuclear.org(240) 462-3216

For more info. on Palisades, click here.

For more background on Chris Williams, click here.

Friday
Sep282012

NRC whistleblowers warn about upstream dam break flood risks at atomic reactors, condemn agency cover up

NRC file photo of triple reactor complex at Oconee, South CarolinaAs reported by the Huffington Post, two U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff engineers have blown the whistle on a long lasting agency cover up of the catastrophic risk to atomic reactors posed by the failure of upstream dams:

"...[T]he [NRC] engineer is among several nuclear experts who remain particularly concerned about the Oconee plant in South Carolina [photo, left], which sits on Lake Keowee, 11 miles downstream from the Jocassee Reservoir. Among the redacted findings in the July 2011 report -- and what has been known at the NRC for years, the engineer said -- is that the Oconee facility, which is operated by Duke Energy, would suffer almost certain core damage if the Jocassee dam were to fail. And the odds of it failing sometime over the next 20 years, the engineer said, are far greater than the odds of a freak tsunami taking out the defenses of a nuclear plant in Japan.

"The probability of Jocassee Dam catastrophically failing is hundreds of times greater than a 51 foot wall of water hitting Fukushima Daiichi," the engineer said. "And, like the tsunami in Japan, the man‐made 'tsunami' resulting from the failure of the Jocassee Dam will –- with absolute certainty –- result in the failure of three reactor plants along with their containment structures.

"Although it is not a given that Jocassee Dam will fail in the next 20 years," the engineer added, "it is a given that if it does fail, the three reactor plants will melt down and release their radionuclides into the environment."

In addition to Oconee, other nuclear power plants in the U.S., including Fort Calhoun, NE, which was inundated by historic floods on the Missouri River in summer 2011, are at risk of upstream dam breaks causing "inland tsunamis" (a phrase coined by Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Associates over a year ago) and reactor meltdowns.

Friday
Sep282012

Congressman Kucinich objects to whitewash of Davis-Besse containment cracking

U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)On Thursday, September 20th, U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinch (D-OH, pictured left) sponsored a congressional briefing on Capitol Hill during the Coalition Against Nukes events in Washington, D.C. Rep. Kucinich thanked those gathered for working on an issue "that is bigger than all of us." During his talk, he focused on the whitewash, by FirstEnergy and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, of containment cracking at the Davis-Besse atomic reactor, just upwind of his congressional district on northern Ohio's Lake Erie shoreline, as representative of the dangerous state of decay of the nuclear power industry in the U.S. And he had some kind words for Beyond Nuclear: "...I want to thank my friends at Beyond Nuclear like Kevin Kamps who have been doing a fantastic job at citizen oversight over Davis-Besse."

Later that same night, Rep. Kucinich helped lead the successful effort to block H.R. 5987, which proposed creating a new national park to glorify the Manhattan Project, which culminated with the August 1945 dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians.

At an NRC review meeting in Painesville, OH on Sept. 26 regarding FirstEnergy's entire nuclear fleet, Rep. Kucinich lambasted safety lapses at not only Davis-Besse, but also Perry nuclear power plant northeast of Cleveland. He asked: "Why does the NRC think FirstEnergy’s past record justifies an extension of their current operating licenses at their nuclear power plants?” As he had done at a U.S. House hearing in December 2011, Rep. Kucinich submitted for the record a Beyond Nuclear report documenting Davis-Besse's numerous near-disasters.