Nuclear Power

Nuclear power cannot address climate change effectively or in time. Reactors have long, unpredictable construction times are expensive - at least $12 billion or higher per reactor. Furthermore, reactors are sitting-duck targets vulnerable to attack and routinely release - as well as leak - radioactivity. There is so solution to the problem of radioactive waste.



"Nuclear power’s last stand in California: Will Diablo Canyon die?"

As reported by David R. Baker in the San Francisco Chronicle, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has gotten cold feet about its 2009 application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a 20-year license extension at its Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

Diablo is encircled by earthquake fault lines. PG&E is still reeling from a natural gas pipeline explosion in 2010, which killed nine residents in San Bruno, CA. PG&E has focused on repairing its image after the fatal explosion, not on re-licensing Diablo.

'We've got a lot on our plates, and we just don't need to take on another big public issue right now,' said Tony Earley, PG&E Corp.'s CEO."

(Earley was CEO at Detroit Edison until 2011. He left that utility amidst its application to build a new reactor, Fermi 3, in southeast MI. Beyond Nuclear and environmental coalition allies have been fighting the Fermi 3 proposal since 2008.)

Especially in light of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, and its ongoing radioactivity releases into the Pacific Ocean, PG&E can expect a fight, if it attempts to extend Diablo's operating licenses, from groups such as San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, Friends of the Earth, Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, and others.

The article quotes a long time watchdog:

“It should be illegal,” said Linda Seeley, 71, a retired midwife who in the 1980s was arrested twice during mass demonstrations at Diablo’s gates. “They’re playing with fire, and the people who will get burned are the people who live here.”

The article highlights the role Diablo's lack of cooling towers, and consequent massive impact on aquatic life, will play in the license extension fight to come. Beyond Nuclear's Paul Gunter and Linda Gunter have reported on such impacts at Diablo in their report, Licensed to Kill.

With the closure of San Onofre 2 & 3 in southern CA in 2013, and the previous closures of CA's other atomic reactors, Diablo represents "nuclear power's last stand in California."


Where is America’s cyberdefense plan?

The Empire State Building towers over the skyline of a blackout-darkened New York City just before dawn. (George Widman/Associated Press)That is the online title of an op-ed by Ted Koppel appearing in the Washington Post (the hardcopy headline reads "Before the cyber-blackout"). Koppel, best known for hosting the ABC news program “Nightline” from 1980 to 2005, is the author of the new book, Lights Out: A Cyberattack, a Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath.

The op-ed raises the specter of a power outage lasting not hours, or days, but weeks, or months, due to a coordinated cyber-attack on the vulnerable U.S. electricity grid.

But the op-ed does not address what this would mean at the 100 still operating atomic reactors across the country, and even at the numerous atomic reactors permanently shutdown. Even if operating atomic reactors were able to power down and shutdown safely during a power outage, their thermally hot cores would still have to be cooled for several days, or longer, before cold shutdown was reached, or else risk melting down. Although high-level radioactive waste storage pools would have a longer fuse -- days or even weeks before boiling would expose irradiated nuclear fuel to air, and risk a catastrophic fire -- the pools are not even required to be connected to emergency diesel generators, as reactors are. More.


Beyond Nuclear on Solartopia radio show: DYING NUKES THAT TERRIFY US ALL

Solartopia author and radio show host Harvey WassermanBeyond Nuclear's reactor oversight project director, Paul Gunter, and radioactive waste watchdog, Kevin Kamps, joined with Don't Waste Michigan's Michael Keegan on Harvey Wasserman's (photo, left) Solartopia radio show (named after the title of his book) on the Progressive Radio Network. Listen to the audio recording.

(Please note, there may be a minute or two of echo/feedback midway through the show -- just forward through that part.)

Here is Wasserman's summary:

We visit DYING NUKES THAT TERRIFY US ALL with MICHAEL KEEGAN of Don’t Waste Michigan and PAUL GUNTER and KEVIN KAMPS of Beyond Nuclear.

The debate over atomic energy is over.  FUKUSHIMA has shown the world that nuke reactors will explode and destroy whole sections of a country while contaminating oceans.  Germany’s ENERGIEWIND is showing that the transition to 100% renewables can be done quickly, cleanly and profitably.

But we’re left in the US with 99 dying nukes that truly terrify us all.  Starting in Michigan, at Monroe, we deal with Fermi Unit I, which nearly exploded in 1966;  Fermi 2 which is now falling apart; and Fermi 3, which Detroit Edison wants to build at massive ratepayer expense.

We then shift to the truly horrifying Davis-Besse reactor near Toledo, which operated for years with a massive hole in its head, and which has a shield building that’s literally crumbling.  It’s owner wants a $3 billion public bailout to keep endangering all of the Great Lakes region.

We also visit Pilgrim near Boston, which is officially in violation of both NRC production standards and NRC safety standards.  Paul tells that October 10 we will hear a major announcement from Energy, which owns this dying nuke.

Over the coming weeks we will “tour” the national fleet of reactors that need to shut ASAP.  Let’s hope Pilgrim will now lead the way to the end of this insane industry!!!


Beyond Nuclear joins PowerDC at DC city hall rally to urge "No Deal!" on Exelon Nuclear's takeover of Pepco

Participants in the PowerDC rally against Exelon's takeover of Pepco took a group photo before marching to DC Mayor Muriel Bowwer's officeOn Sept. 17th, Beyond Nuclear staff joined with allies in the PowerDC coalition at the Wilson Building -- housing the Executive Office of the Mayor of Washington, D.C., Muriel Bowser -- to urge her to not cave to lobbyists' pressure from Exelon Nuclear of Chicago. The Washington City Paper and the Washington Post have reported on the rally.

Last month, the DC Public Service Commission (PSC) unanimously rejected Exelon's takeover of Mid-Atlantic utility Pepco, a ruling Mayor Bowser said she supported at that time. But, Exelon appears unwilling to take no for an answer. Exelon lobbyists have taken to back room deal making, as well as a high-priced ad campaign. In addition, the two companies will formally appeal the DC PSC decision by the Sept. 28th deadline, and have also threatened a lawsuit.

A link to exposés has been provided by Nuclear Energy Information Service of Chicago, a 34 year watchdog, on Exelon's nuclear misdeeds in IL and beyond.

PowerDC has a webform where you can take action, urging Mayor Bowser and DC City Council Members to stand firm, and not buckle under Exelon Nuclear's lobbying pressure! More.


Cue up the bailout plea: Entergy might close aging FitzPatrick nuclear plant in New York State

Entergy's FitzPatrick atomic reactor (NRC file photo).The subject line above is Scott Stapf of the Hasting Group's Tweet pointing to an article at The dirty, age-degraded, dangerous, expensive, uncompetitive Fukushima Daiichi twin design (a General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactor) on the Lake Ontario shore in upstate NY (see photo), couldn't close a moment too soon!