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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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Sunday
Jan022011

Environmental coalition challenges "20 MORE years of radioactive Russian roulette" at Davis-Besse

Rust-boric acid "lava" flows from Davis-Besse lid leading to 2002 hole in the head accidentAn environmental coalition including Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Green Party of Ohio has filed a petition to intervene and a request for hearings on First Energy Nuclear Operating Company's application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a 20 year license extension (any of the 75 exhibits listed are available in PDF format from Kevin Kamps at Beyond Nuclear upon request -- kevin@beyondnuclear.org). The four contentions filed allege that Davis-Besse's nuclear electricity could readily be replaced by wind power, by solar photovoltaics (PV), and by a combination of wind and solar PV. Alvin Compaan, Distinguished University Professor of Physics, Emeritus, at the University of Toledo, and former Chair of UT’s Physics and Astronomy Department, is serving as the environmental coalition's expert witness on renewables' potential to replace the dangerously deteriorated atomic reactor. The coalition issued a media release about its official intervention. Beyond Nuclear recently prepared a comprehensive summary of near-disasters which have occurred at Davis-Besse since 1977, entitled "Radioactive Russian Roulette on the Great Lakes Shore: 20 MORE Years at Davis-Besse?!"

Tuesday
Dec212010

Environmental coalition organizes to resist Davis-Besse license extension

Boric acid-rust "lava" flowing from Davis-Besse lid. In 2002, it was revealed that a mere 3/16ths of an inch of metal had prevented a breach and loss-of-coolant-accident.Beyond Nuclear, along with The Green Party of Ohio (ohiogreens.org), the Ohio Sierra Club (ohiosierraclub.org ), Don't Waste Michigan and the Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes held a people's hearing in Toledo on Sat., Dec. 18th to oppose the 20 year license extension recently sought by the trouble-plagued Davis-Besse atomic reactor. The event was held at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Toledo, Ohio. Concerned citizens' comments and testimony were videorecorded, and will be submitted to NRC as official public comment for its environmental scoping on the proposal. Alvin D. Compaan, Distinguished University Professor of Physics, Emeritus, at the University of Toledo, presented on "The case for replacing Davis-Besse with efficiency improvements and renewable energy sources." Kathryn Hoepfl, a University of Toledo undergraduate student of physics, also showed how wind power and solar power can readily replace Davis-Besse's atomic electricity. Other speakers included event organizers Joseph DeMare and Anita Rios of the Green Party of Ohio, Tony Szilagye of the Ohio Sierra Club, Ed McArdle of the Southeast Michigan Group of the Sierra Club, Phyllis Oster (who intervened against Davis-Besse's initial licensing over 30 years ago), David Ellison (a Cleveland architect and Green Party member), Ralph Semrock of SOLTERRA, and Michael Leonardi (a Toledo native who now resides in Italy). Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear presented on his backgrounder, "Davis-Besse: 20 MORE Years of Radioactive Russian Roulette?!", which summarizes the numerous near-disasters there since operations began in 1977. Environmental groups plan to intervene against the license extension by the Dec. 27th deadline. A flyer announced the people's hearing. The Toledo Free Press has editorialized against the Davis-Besse license extension, and Tom Henry of the Toledo Blade attended and wrote an article about the people's hearing.

Thursday
Dec092010

Addressing the climate crisis with nuclear power would be like using "caviar to fight world hunger"

NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko (left) listens as Energy Secretary Steven Chu (right foreground) discusses a point at a nuclear energy summit organized by the think tank Third Way and the Idaho National Laboratory. To Chu’s left is Nuclear Energy Institute President Marvin Fertel (C) and right of Jackzo is Jack Fuller, Board Chairman of GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy.As reported by Matt Wald of the New York Times, former NRC Commissioner Peter Bradford strikes again, with a most apt metaphor bringing a dose of reality to the so-called Third Way/Idaho National Lab conference on nuclear power's future. Unmentioned in the reporting, however, is the irony of U.S. Senators Voinovich (R-OH) and Carper (D-DE) hosting the event. It was on Voinovich's watch that the Davis-Besse atomic reactor near Toledo came within 3/16ths of an inch of a meltdown; Carper's political power base in Wilmington could suffer 100,000 "peak early fatalities," over 70,000 "peak early injuries," 40,000 "peak cancer deaths," and over $300 billion in property damage if any one of the three Salem/Hope Creek atomic reactors suffered a catastrophic radiation release, according to NRC's 1982 CRAC-2 study ("Calculation of Reactor Accident Consequences"). Also unreported was the irony that, as Obama administration officials -- Energy Secretary Steven Chu, White House climate and energy czar Carol Browner, NRC chairman Greg Jaczko -- rubbed shoulders with NEI President Marvin Fertel, GE-Hitachi Board Chair Jack Fuller, etc., the nuclear power industry's army of lobbyists worked Capitol Hill to attach a $7 billion nuclear loan guarantee onto the congressional lame duck session Continuing Resolution to fund government operations. NRC's homepage described the gathering as "28 nuclear leaders from government, industry and finance -- focused on long term policy for nuclear energy," but offered no explanation as to why its Chairman would attend an event seemingly largely devoted to nuclear power's promotion -- NRC is not supposed to promote nuclear power, but rather to regulate it in the interests of public health and safety and environmental protection.

Friday
Nov192010

Inside EPA: "Agencies Struggle to Craft Offsite Cleanup Plan for Nuclear Power Accidents"

On Nov. 10th, Inside EPA's Douglas Guarino broke the story "Agencies Struggle to Craft Offsite Cleanup Plan for Nuclear Power Accidents." It revealed that NRC, EPA, and FEMA disagree about which agency would be responsible for long term cleanup after a major radiation release, and where the funding to do so would come from. Due to the heightened interest surrounding this story, Inside EPA has made the article, including embedded links to the corresponding FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) response documents, available to non-subscribers via the above link.

Monday
Nov082010

We haven't seen a quote like this from an NRC Commissioner in a LONG time!

''If a Secretary of Agriculture endorsed better meat inspection, you wouldn't have a debate of near religious fervor about whether that person was pro- or anti-meat, whether he had sold out to the vegetarians.

You'd debate whether the stricter regulations made sense. It's somehow unique to nuclear power that, when one refuses to have nuclear power on the industry's terms, one gets chucked into a bin labeled 'anti-nuclear.' ''

-Peter A. Bradford, former Commissioner of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 3/9/82

So where is Peter Bradford when we need him? Very much engaged in these issues, actually. Serving on the board of Union of Concerned Scientists and teaching at Vermont Law School, Peter Bradford very actively speaks out on the uneconomic nature of new reactors on a very regular basis. His latest essay is entitled "Honey, I Shrunk the Renaissance: Nuclear Revival, Climate Change, and Reality."