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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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Friday
Jul122013

Coalition rebuts motions to strike at Davis-Besse, while FOE defends legal victory at San Onofre

Terry Lodge speaks out against Davis-Besse's 20-year license extension at a press conference in Oak Harbor, OH, in August 2012. The main bone of contention at that time was the recently revealed severe cracking of Davis-Besse's concrete containment structure.The environmental coalition challenging safety shortcuts by FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC), on its proposed 2014 steam generator replacements at the Davis-Besse atomic reactor along the Lake Erie shore east of Toledo, has responded this week to motions to strike filed by FENOC and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff. The coalition's Reply to FENOC's motion to strike was filed on July 8th; its Reply to NRC staff's motion to strike was filed on July 11th.

If the NRC's Atomic Safety (sic) and Licensing Board (ASLB) rules in favor of the motions to strike, whole sections of the coalition's intervention petition arguments could be erased from the record, and would no longer allowed to be raised.

The coalition challenging the risky steam generator replacements at Davis-Besse consists of Beyond Nuclear, Citizen Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario (CEA), Don't Waste Michigan, and the Sierra Club.

An overlapping coalition comprised of Beyond Nuclear, CEA, Don't Waste MI, and the Green Party of Ohio has also challenged FENOC's application to NRC for a 20-year license extension at Davis-Besse. The problem-plagued reactor's original 40-year license expires on Earth Day (April 22), 2017. If granted, the license extension would allow Davis-Besse to operate until 2037. This coalition's contention against NRC's bogus Nuclear Waste Confidence Decision, regarding the on-site storage risks of irradiated nuclear fuel, is still live. For example, little known is the fact that Davis-Besse's high-level radioactive waste storage pool has leaked radioactivity into the ground, precariously close to the Great Lakes shoreline. The Great Lakes represent 20% of the planet's surface fresh water, and supply 40 million people in 8 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations with drinking water. NRC has announced that a public comment meeting regarding its court-ordered Nuclear Waste Confidence Decision environmental impact statement will be held in the Toledo area sometime this autumn. More.

Tuesday
Jul092013

Coalition defends intervention against risky Davis-Besse steam generator replacements

Terry Lodge, Toledo-based attorney, speaking out against Davis-Besse's 20-year license extension in August 2012 at Oak Harbor High School, OHTerry Lodge (pictured left), Toledo-based attorney representing an environmental coalition intervening against FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company's (FENOC) risky steam generator replacements at its Davis-Besse atomic reactor, has filed PETITIONERS’ REPLY IN OPPOSITION TO FENOC ‘MOTION TO STRIKE.’

The coalition includes Beyond Nuclear, Citizen Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Sierra Club. Its expert witness, Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer at Fairewinds Associates, Inc, has warned that FENOC has taken similar shortcuts on safety as did Edison International with its dangerously flawed steam generator replacements at San Onofre, CA. Edison was forced to permanently shut San Onofre 2 & 3, after Friends of the Earth (FOE) successfully intervened for license amendment hearings after the replacement steam generators suffered extensive, premature degradation, putting 8 million residents and workers within 50 miles at risk. Arnie serves as FOE's expert at San Onofre, as well.

The coalition plans to reply in opposition to similar U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff motions to strike in coming days. More.

Wednesday
Jul032013

Davis-Besse has emergency shutdown, pressure boundary leakage; coalition presses case against risky steam generator replacements

Toledo attorney Terry Lodge speaks out against Davis-Besse's 20-year license extension at an August 2012 press conference in Oak Harbor, OhioOn June 29th, FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company's (FENOC) Davis-Besse atomic reactor on the Lake Erie shore near Toledo experienced an emergency shutdown.

The event notification report posted on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) website states:

'AUTOMATIC REACTOR TRIP DUE TO REACTOR COOLANT PUMP TRIP 

"Automatic trip of Reactor Coolant Pump 1-2 due to an electrical differential current fault resulted in an RPS actuation on Flux/Delta Flux/Flow. Startup Feedwater Valve 1 did not respond as expected post-trip and has been placed in manual control. All secondary side steam reliefs initially re-seated following reactor trip. Subsequent Main Steam Line #1 Safety Valve leakage mitigated during post-trip recovery actions. All other systems have functioned as expected. The plant is stable in Mode 3 - Hot Standby."

All rods inserted into the core during the trip. Decay heat is being removed via turbine bypass valves to the main condenser with normal feedwater to the steam generators. The plant is in its normal shutdown electrical lineup. The licensee characterized the trip as uncomplicated. 

The licensee will be notifying Lucas and Ottawa counties, the State of Ohio and will be issuing a press release. They have notified the NRC Resident Inspector.'

Helpfully translating that Nukespeak into plain English, David Lochbaum, Union of Concerned Scientists' Director of Nuclear Safety, has prepared a powerpoint presentation to explain what happened at Davis-Besse.

Vanessa McCray at the Toledo Blade has reported on this story. She quotes Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps:

'...Kevin Kamps, a radioactive-waste specialist for Beyond Nuclear, said the most recent incident is another worry.

“A lot of plants have problems, but often times it’s a single problem a plant will have ...,” he said. “But for Davis-Besse, they have just a whole long list of problems, and that’s what concerns us too —that those might line up one day in a very bad way.”...' More.

Tuesday
Jul022013

Paducah uranium enrichment facility suffers radioactive contamination incident 4 weeks after permanently shutting down

Paducah (uranium enrichment) Gaseous Diffusion Plant. Photo credit: U.S.E.C./U.S. Department of EnergyDespite being permanently shutdown on June 1st, the Paducah facility experienced a radioactivity contamination accident on June 28th, according to a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) incident report dated July 2nd. The radioactivity contamination accident stemmed from a water leak. Given the mountain of radioactive materials at Paducah, such radioactive contamination risks to the facility, the environment beyond, and the people who live there (some directly across dirt roads from the fence line, in a community already showing signs of significantly elevated cancer incidence and death rates) will continue far into the future, despite the facility's welcome permanent shutdown.

Saturday
Jun222013

Coalition defends its challenge against risky steam generator replacements at Davis-Besse

Terry Lodge speaks out against 20-year license extension at Davis-Besse at Oak Harbor High School in Ohio, August 2012On June 21st, an environmental coalition represented by Toledo attorney Terry Lodge (photo, left) re-asserted its challengeagainst risky steam generator replacements at FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company's (FENOC) Davis-Besse atomic reactor near Toledo. The filing rebutted June 14th attacks byFENOC as well as the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff on the coalition's standing, as well as the merits of its contentions.

The coalition, comprised of Beyond Nuclear, Citizen Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Sierra Club, launched its intervention petition on May 20th. The coalition's expert, Fairewinds Associates, Inc's Chief Engineer, Arnie Gundersen, also serves as Friends of the Earth's (FOE) expert in the San Onofre defective replacement steam generator proceeding, which recently resulted in the permanent closure of two reactors. FENOC has taken similar short cuts on safety as did Edison International, which resulted in the San Onofre engineering catastrophe that put 8 million southern Californians at radiological risk, and has resulted in a $2.5 billion boondoggle.