As reported by the Associated Press, an eight member "supplemental inspection team" from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) began two weeks of work today at Entergy Nuclear's problem-plagued Palisades atomic reactor in Covert, Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. Last Valentine's Day, NRC lowered Palisades' safety status to among the four worst-run reactors in the U.S. This came after a September 25, 2011 near-electrocution, caused by short cuts on safety, that plunged half the control room into a power outage, instantly throwing 22 safety related plant systems into chaos. Age-degraded systems, structures, and components were strained to the breaking point, risking multiple potential pathways to loss of coolant accident in the reactor core, as control room operators took hours to bring the situation under control. NRC allowed Entergy to tell it when it was ready for this special inspection. Entergy took over seven months to prepare itself. More.
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.
On Sept. 14th, environmental coalition attorney, Toledo-based Terry Lodge (photo, left), filed a rebuttal against FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company's (FENOC) Motion for Summary Dismissal (MSD) of an intervention contention challenging the Davis-Besse atomic reactor's Severe Accident Mitigation Alernatives (SAMA) analyses.
FENOC recently admitted that it had made five major errors in its original SAMA analyses, including getting wind directions 180 degrees wrong; undervaluing Ohio farmland and urban property values; and underestimating the amount of hazardous radioactivity that could escape into the environment during a meltdown at Davis-Besse, as well as the land area that could become contaminated.
The heart of the environmental coalition's defense of its contention involves the severe cracking of Davis-Besse's outer concrete, steel reinforced shield building, as well as significant corrosion of its inner steel containment vessel. The environmental Intervenors charge that FENOC's SAMA analyses are fatally flawed, for they ignore the questionable structural integrity of Davis-Besse's containment structures, which could fail under even small loads, such as mild earthquakes, or meltdown conditions (high temperatures and pressures, which the shield building was never even designed to withstand when brand new, let alone severely cracked).
The ASLB has indicated it will hold oral argument pre-hearings in the vicinity of Davis-Besse in early November, at which the environmental coalition will defend not only its SAMA contention, but also its shield building cracking contention. More.
A strong turn out of concerned local residents and representatives of environmental groups, including Beyond Nuclear, calling for the shutdown of Entergy's Palisades atomic reactor in southwest Michigan, has generated extensive local media coverage. In the photo at left, longtime grassroots anti-nuclear watchdog Catharine Sugas asks the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) “If you can’t shut down a plant that’s dangerous…what are you? How can you keep a plant going that’s obviously dangerous?”
Concerned local residents and environmental groups express concerns to NRC Chair Macfarlane about leaks & coverups at Palisades
A coalition of concerned local residents, as well as representatives of environmental groups, has responded to a letter sent to them on September 4th by U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairwoman, Allison Macfarlane. The exchange centers on a leak of radioactive and acidic water above, around, and even into the control room at the problem-plagued Palisades atomic reactor in Covert, Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. Chairwoman Macfarlane stated that the NRC Staff had determined that the leak was not significant enough for the NRC Chair and Commissioners, as well as the general public, to be notified about it. The coalition begged to differ.
Chairwoman Macfarlane also stated that NRC's approval of Palisades' 20 year license extension requires Entergy to manage aging of safety significant systems, structures, and components. The coalition responded that Entergy is utterly failing at that, as are NRC's own oversight and inspections, for Palisades has suffered a large number of sudden age-related break downs, some of "substantial significance to safety," in NRC's own words (see photo, above left). More.
The five Commissioners who direct the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) have just ordered NRC Staff to carry out an expedited, two-year long Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process to revise the agency's Nuclear Waste Confidence Decision (NWCD) and Rule. Critics have charged the NWCD is a confidence game, which for decades has prevented environmental opponents of new reactor construction/operation licenses, as well as old reactor license extensions, from raising high-level radioactive waste generation/storage concerns during NRC licensing proceedings, or even in the federal courts. This EIS process and NWCD revision will thus delay any final NRC approval for new reactor construction/operation licenses, or old reactor license extensions, for at least two years.
The "Mountain of Radioactive Waste 70 Years High" conference in Chicago Dec. 1-3 will serve as a launch pad for generating public comments to NRC on this EIS, as well as to push back against the nuclear establishment's backlash proposals to begin "Mobile Chernobyl" irradiated nuclear fuel shipments by road, rail, and waterway to "consolidated interim storage." See Beyond Nuclear's pamphlet on high-level radioactive waste (cover reproduced at left). More.