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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.

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Friday
Nov212014

Beyond Nuclear before ASLB to stop last Mark I "Fukushima" reactor relicensing

Beyond Nuclear, Don't Waste Michigan, Citizens' Resistance at Fermi 2 (CRAFT), and Citizens Environmental Alliance of Southwestern Ontario argued before the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board in Monroe Michigan on November 20, that the aging Fermi 2 nuclear reactor should not receive a 20-year license extension. Fermi 2 is the last of the U.S. fleet of Mark I reactors to request a license extension. The U.S. Mark I is the same design as the GE Mark I Boiling Water Reactors that exploded and melted down at Fukushima Daiichi. The groups were there to defend their contentions against the relicensing of Fermi 2.

Paul Gunter of Beyond Nuclear (pictured at the table third from right) raised a concern that Fermi 2 should install a filter on a containment vent to remove any radioactive particles that may escape into the environment in the event of a severe accident, which he said wasn’t considered in DTE’s analysis. “Containment vents can fail early, and that may result in uncontrolled releases of radioactive particles,” Mr. Gunter said. “This can lead to land relocation and contamination that carries a health impact with it.”  Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps told NPR in an interview: "Fermi 2 presents a serious danger to life, property, and the environment.You've got a dangerous reactor design. You've got an inadequate containment on the shoreline of the Great Lakes which, of course, is itself the drinking water supply for tens of millions of people." First hand reports from the proceeding by Gunter and Kamps will follow soon. More.

Thursday
Nov132014

Coalition presses case against reactors on Great Lakes

Lake Erie's shores are dotted with numerous large-scale atomic reactors and coal burners. These thermal-electric power plants dump 2/3rds of the heat they generate as waste into the environment, contributing to recent toxic algae blooms visible in this satellite photo.An environmental coalition, including Beyond Nuclear, is working at fever pitch against degraded old, and proposed new, reactors on the Great Lakes shoreline in southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio.

Davis-Besse, OH

At U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, the groups Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario (CEA), Don't Waste Michigan, and the Green Party of Ohio pressed their case against a 20-year license extension at FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company's problem-plagued Davis-Besse atomic reactor east of Toledo. An oral argument pre-hearing was ordered to take place on Nov. 12th by the NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel (ASLBP) overseeing the License Renewal Application (LRA) proceeding. The coalition first intervented against the license extension nearly four years ago.

Attorney Terry Lodge, Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps, and Don't Waste MI's Michael Keegan represented the coalition before NRC ASLBP. The coalition was joined by expert witness Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer of Fairewinds Associates, Inc. The focus of the day-long hearing was the severe, and worsening, cracking of Davis-Besse's concrete containment Shield Building. The dangerously deteriorating Shield Building is the last line of defense against a catastrophic release of hazardous radioactivity, as from a reactor core meltdown and Inner Steel Containment Vessel failure due to a reactor disaster, earthquake, tornado missile, etc. The coalition has filed numerous contentions about the cracking since it was first revealed on October 10, 2011.

The coalition issued a press advisory about the Nov. 12th oral hearing. The Toledo Blade has reported on this story.

Fermi 2, MI

Beyond Nuclear, CEA, and Don't Waste MI, again represented by Toledo-attorney Terry Lodge, will appear at oral argument pre-hearings before an NRC ASLB on November 20th in Monroe, Michigan. The coalition is opposing the 20-year license extension proposed at Detroit Edison's Fermi 2 atomic reactor in nearby Frenchtown Township, on the Lake Erie shore. Fermi 2 is the single biggest G.E. Mark I Boiling Water Reactor in the world -- the same design as melted down and exploded, times three, at Fukushima Daiichi, Japan.

Beyond Nuclear's Reactor Oversight Director, Paul Gunter, will argue a contention calling for radiological filters on hardened vents, an obviously needed safety upgrade actively ignored by a majority of the NRC Commissioners, despite the lessons that should have been learned from the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe. Beyond Nuclear's Freeze Our Fukushimas campaign calls for the shutdown of all U.S. Mark I and II reactors. (See Beyond Nuclear's Freeze Our Fukushimas pamphlet.)

Beyond Nuclear's Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Kevin Kamps, will argue a contention regarding serious safety risks associated with the Fermi nuclear power plant's off-site transmission line corridor, as well as radioactive waste contentions.

Another group, Citizens Resistance at Fermi Two (CRAFT), has launched another 15 contentions against the license extension.

Fermi 3, MI

The coalition comprised of Beyond Nuclear, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination (CACC), CEA, Don't Waste MI, and the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter -- again represented by attorney Terry Lodge -- continues to press its case against the proposed new Fermi 3 reactor, to be built on the very site that the Fermi 1 "We Almost Lost Detroit"  reactor partially melted down on October 5, 1966.

The coalition intervened against Fermi 3 on March 9, 2009, and has since filed dozens of contentions against the proposal.

Its transmission line corridor NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) contention is still before the NRC Commissioners, thanks to a sua sponte motion by the NRC ASLBP itself. On behalf of the coalition, Lodge just filed a motion with the NRC Commissioners, supporting the ASLBP's request to the Commissioners for permission to carry out its own independent review of what appears to be NRC staff violations of NEPA, for not including the required "hard look" at the environmental impacts of Fermi 3's transmission line corridor in the FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement).

In addition, the coalition has appealed the ASLBP's rejection of its quality assurance (QA) contention to the full NRC Commission. Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds serves as the coalition's Fermi 3 QA expert witness. The NRC Commissioners will likely rule on the QA and transmission corridor contentions in the near future.

Monday
Oct272014

Anti-nuke activities galore in Washington, D.C., Nov. 10 to 17

Karen Silkwood, Feb. 19, 1946 to Nov. 13, 1974. Nov. 13, 2014 marks the 40th year since her death.November 10th to 17th is shaping up into a very busy week of anti-nuclear activities in the nation's capital! Come if you can (but if you can't, you can still call-in on Nov. 12th--see below)!

Mon., Nov. 10: Lifetime Achievement Award Event and Reception for Michael Mariotte, former Executive Director, and current President, of Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), Carnegie Institution for Science, 1530 P Street, Northwest, Washington, D.C. 20005, 6 to 9pm. For more information, contact Tim Judson or Diane D'Arrigo at NIRS, (301) 270-6477.

Wed., Nov. 12: Oral argument pre-hearings on concrete containment cracking contentions at FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company's Davis-Besse atomic reactor in northwest Ohio, before the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, to be held at NRC HQ in Rockville, Maryland, beginning at 9am sharp. Those wishing to attend in person should arrive 30-minutes early, with valid photo ID, as well as the name and phone number of the NRC contact person. You can also listen-in by phone, by obtaining the call-in numbers from the NRC contact person by Nov. 10th. More info.

Thurs., Nov. 13: The 40 year mark since the death of Karen Silkwood, nuclear whistleblower. Various forms of commemoration will take place at the other anti-nuclear events listed here. The Christic Institute Archives on the Karen Silkwood case are remarkable.

Fri., Nov. 14 to Mon., Nov. 17: Sierra Club Nuclear-Free Campaign summit, strategy session, and lobbying, Chevy Chase, Maryland. More info.

Sun., Nov. 16: "Uranium? Leave It in the Ground!" film screening and discussion, fund raiser for Diné No Nukes and other groups fighting uranium mining and milling. Sponsored by Beyond Nuclear, NIRS, PSR, and SANS. More info.

Thursday
Oct232014

Beyond Nuclear statement regarding NRC Chairman Macfarlane's announced resignation

NRC Chairman Allison Macfarlane just announced her resignationBeyond Nuclear has issued the following statement regarding NRC Chairman Allison Macfarlane's announced resignation, just a year and a half into her current five-year term:

"Chairman Macfarlane took some principled and important steps toward restoring the NRC’s integrity and upholding its public safety mission statement, but failed to fulfill them.

Unfortunately, the 'go along to get along' strategy is inherently hamstrung, particularly given the many ferocious industry policy fights raging throughout the agency...

Sometimes there is no successful righting of any ship of state after its credibility has sunk just so low..." More.

Thursday
Oct162014

Return of the Yucca dump zombie?!

Political cartoon by Jim Day of the Las Vegas Review Journal (be sure to count the toes!)Despite hoots and hollers from nuclear industry lobbyists and their friends in Congress, the publication of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Yucca Mountain radioactive waste dump  Safety Evaluation Report volume, entitled "Repository Safety After Permanent Closure," does not herald the dump's resurrection. To the contrary, the State of Nevada, its congressional delegation, and their powerful allies in the U.S. Senate -- backed by a thousand or so environmental groups across the country -- remain adamantly, and tirelessly, committed to preventing the still-cancelled, unfunded, scientifically unsuitable dump-site from ever opening. More.