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.



Radioactive flooding at Fermi 2 atomic reactor

On Wednesday, Dec. 1st, the Fermi 2 nuclear power plant in Monroe, Michigan experienced radioactive floodwaters pouring through walls and ceilings and standing one to two inches deep in plant buildings. This happened when a waste water holding tank valve stuck open, causing the tank to overflow. A half dozen workers' shoes and clothes were saturated by the radioactive water. Although Detroit Edison officials were quick to say "no radiation dose" was suffered by any workers, this simply cannot be the truth, as tritium (radioactive hydrogen), almost certain to have been in the radioactive water, can pass through human skin. Thus, the workers' radiation dose was more than zero. And although NRC, as is its habit, downplayed any radiological risk to the public, the fact that at least 100 gallons of the radioactive water did reach the Monroe County sewer system and water treatment plant means that at least some radioactivity was discharged into Lake Erie. Again, the radiation release to the environment, and potential for radiation doses to members of the public, although diluted and perhaps small, is greater than zero. As Dr. Rosalie Bertell has said, "Dilution is not the solution to radioactive pollution!" She led the International Joint Commission Nuclear Task Force's research into the "radioactive inventory" of the Great Lakes, and the phenomenon of bioaccumulation or biomagnification, where the ecosystem naturally re-concentrates "dilute" artificial radioactivity up food chains, delivering significant doses to such predators as humans. The Monroe Evening News covered the incident on Dec. 3rd and Dec. 11th, as did the Toledo Blade on Dec. 4th.


U.S. House approves additional $7 billion in new reactor loan guarantees

Retiring U.S. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey, Democrat from Wisconsin, led approval of $7 billion in nuclear loan guarantees on House floor.The U.S. House of Representatives, by the narrow margin of 212 to 206, today passed a 423 page long "Continuing Resolution" (CR) bill, H.R. 3082, including $7 billion in additional nuclear power loan guarantees for the building of new atomic reactors, as well as an additional $3 billion in loan guarantees for "fossil energy technologies." Retiring House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey, Democrat from Wisconsin, served as the primary sponsor for the legislation; his committee website has posted a summary of the bill, the bill's full text, as well as Rep. Obey's floor statement. Although there are numerous factors which undoubtedly determined each House Member's final decision on whether or not to vote for or against the CR, it is still valuable to thank those who voted against, while expressing disappointment to those who voted for, these $10 billion in dirty, dangerous, and expensive nuclear and fossil energy loan guarantees. Check the roll call vote lists for your U.S. Representative. Thank them if they voted against the CR and its nuclear loan guarantees; "spank" them if they voted for the CR and its nuclear loan guarantees. You can call your U.S. Representative's office via the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Or, you can visit your House Member's website, in order to send a fax, letter, or email. Now consideration of the CR, or alternatively an Omnibus spending bill, and debate over such matters as nuclear loan guarantees, shifts to the U.S. Senate. It's vital that you call your two U.S. Senators via the Capitol Switchboard, or visit their websites in order to fax, write or email them. Urge them to block any CR or Omnibus that contains additional nuclear loan guarantees. Also contact the White House, and urge President Obama to stop subsidizing new atomic reactors -- a violation of a presidential campaign pledge he made in 2007-2008. The White House comment line can be reached at 202-456-1111; you can send a fax at  202-456-2461; you can fill out the webform at; or you can send a snail mail letter to President Obama at The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500.


Oyster Creek: ten more years of "straining the Bay" with no cooling tower

Oyster Creek atomic reactor withdraws 1.4 billion gallons of water per day from Barnegat Bay's watershed.The Associated Press has reported that Oyster Creek nuclear power plant owner, Exelon of Chicago, has reached an agreement with the State of New Jersey to permanently shutdown its 41 year old reactor, in exchange for not having to install cooling towers. Oyster Creek's withdrawal of 1.4 billion gallons of water per day from Barnegat Bay kills billions of aquatic creatures each year. Oyster Creek entered its Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved 20 year license extension in April 2009, after a prolonged challenge co-led by Beyond Nuclear's Paul Gunter, who had initially pinpointed a key technical issue -- the corrosion of the dry well liner radiological barrier. This agreement would mean the reactor, first fired up in 1969, can now continue to "strain the Bay," passing the entire volume of Barnegat Bay through its innards for cooling purposes once every six weeks, a "license to kill" billions of marine organisms annually for another decade. Jeff Tittel, director of New Jersey's Sierra Club chapter, summed it up, scoffing that Exelon "gets to operate the plant for 10 years, then walk away with a pile of cash at the expense of the bay."


Calls to Congress Members urgently needed as nuclear lobbyists attach $7 billion new reactor loan guarantee onto Lame Duck Session CR

Call your two U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative right away via the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to urge them to block any additional nuclear loan guarantees by stripping out a $7 billion expansion added into the Continuing Resolution (CR) under consideration by Congress. If the nuclear loan guarantee funding remains in the CR, urge your Congress Members to vote against the overall bill. See Beyond Nuclear's "Nuclear Costs" website section for more information.


Defending an endangered species against a proposed new atomic reactor

The "Mad Hatter" Tea Party isn't the only one that gets to use symbols from the American Revolution!Beyond Nuclear and a coalition of environmental groups (including Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Citizens Environmental Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter), represented by attorney Terry Lodge of Toledo, has just filed our defense in opposition to DTE/Detroit Edison's motion to dispose of "Contention 8" against the Fermi 3 new reactor proposal in Monroe, Michigan. Contention 8 alleges that the nuclear utility has not properly mitigated the effects from construction and operation of Fermi 3 on the state-endangered Eastern Fox Snake.  This also has implications for protection of the fragile wetlands habitat along the Lake Erie shoreline favored as habitat by the snake, threatened by the 1,560 megawatt-electric GE-Hitachi "Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor" (ESBWR).