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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
Feb202015

"Vermont Yankee: Vermont asks for hearing in EPZ reductions"

NRC file photo of VY, located across the Connecticut River from New Hampshire, in Vernon, VT, just 8 miles upstream of the Massachusetts state line.As reported by Robert Audette of the Associated Press, the State of Vermont Department of Public Service has petitioned to intervene, and for full adjudicatory public hearings, regarding an Entergy Nuclear's License Amendment Request (LAR) that would significantly reduce, or completely eliminate, emergency preparedness at the permanently closed Vermont Yankee atomic reactor in Vernon, VT (photo, left).

As reported in the article:

'Entergy's requested amendment would reduce the 10-mile emergency preparedness zone around the plant to its actual footprint as well as its financial contributions to emergency management organizations in the EPZ [Emergency Planning Zone]. Entergy is also asking for a reduction in its offsite emergency notification system, elimination of hostile-action scenario planning and remove the state from participating in emergency response exercises. The change in the notification system would increase notification time from 15 to 60 minutes, states the filing presented to the NRC on Feb. 9."

In the filing, Recchia wrote that if approved the amendment request would "increase the threat to public health and safety in the event of a credible accident scenario...

Lack of funding from Entergy would also hinder the state's ability "to implement the Vermont Radiological Emergency Response Programs, and any additional off-site response to an emergency," wrote Recchia.'

Significantly, many hundreds of tons of irradiated nuclear fuel will likely remain in VY's storage pool until at least 2020. Loss of the cooling water supply, as by sudden drain down or slower motion boil down, whether due to accident, attack, or natural disaster, could cause an irradiated nuclear fuel fire, and unleash a catastrophic radioactivity release. The storage pool is not located within a radiological containment structure.

Wednesday
Feb182015

"Thousands more cracks found in Belgian nuclear reactors: Belgian regulatory head warns of global implications"

Entergy's Palisades atomic reactor, on the Lake Michigan shore in Covert, MI, has the worst embrittled RPV in the U.S., vulnerable to catastrophic failure due to PTS.As revealed in a new report from Greenpeace Belgium, micro-cracking in Belgian atomic reactor pressure vessels (RPV) due to hydrogen flaking could be a global problem going undiagnosed, simply because nuclear utilities and government regulators haven't done the needed testing. Belgium's nuclear regulatory agency has issued "a statement confirming that the additional tests conducted in 2014 revealed 13,047 cracks in Doel 3 and 3,149 in Tihange 2," as reported in Greenpeace Belgium's press release.

Embrittlement can lead to RPV failure due to pressurized thermal shock (PTS) in pressurized water reactors (PWRs). Beyond Nuclear, in coalition with Don't Waste MI, MI Safe Energy Future, and Nuclear Energy Information Service, has challenged the continued operation of Entergy Nuclear's Palisades atomic reactor in s.w. MI on the Lake Michigan shore (photo, above left), due to its worst embrittled RPV in the U.S. As reported by Greenpeace Belgium, a RPV breach due to PTS could cause a Loss-of-Coolant-Accident (LOCA), core meltdown, containment failure, and catastrophic radioactivity release.

However, Greenpeace Belgium's report warns that hydrogen flaking micro-cracking also impacts boiling water reactors (BWRs). Greenpeace Belgium's experts call for comprehensive testing of all atomic reactors worldwide, a position echoed by Belgium's top nuclear regulator. Belgium's two suspect reactors are shut; Greenpeace demands they remain so till the concern is addressed. Meanwhile, Palisades operates at full power.

Wednesday
Feb112015

Beyond Nuclear presses its case against Fermi 2 license extension and Fermi 3 new reactor!

NRC file photo of Fermi 2 on the Lake Erie shore. Fermi 3 would be built immediately adjacent to Fermi 2 -- ironically enough, on the very spot where Fermi 1 had a partial core meltdown in 1966!U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) rulings regarding the proposed Fermi 2 license extension, and the proposed Fermi 3 new reactor combined construction and operation license, have been coming fast and furious in recent days. And Beyond Nuclear, along with its environmental coalition allies, stands ready to press its case in both proceedings. The Fermi nuclear power plant is located on the Lake Erie shore near Monroe in southeast Michigan (see photo, left).

Fermi 2

On Feb. 6th, the NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel (ASLBP) overseeing the Fermi 2 license extension proceeding issued its ruling on environmental coalition contentions against DTE's application. The ASLBP only admitted a small fraction of the numerous contentions filed last August.

The ASLBP will schedule oral argument hearings in the near future.

Fermi 3 proposed new reactor COLA

On Feb. 4th, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissioners held their "Mandatory, Uncontested Hearing" on DTE's (formerly Detroit Edison) combined Construction and Operating License Application (COLA) for the proposed Fermi 3 ESBWR (General Electric-Hitachi, so-called "Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor"). Required by the Atomic Energy Act, the day-long session was self-congratulatory, making short shrift of the countless risks that Fermi 3 would create. The hearing was one of the very last steps remaining before NRC grants COLA approval.

The environmental coalition, including Beyond Nuclear, that has been intervening against Fermi 3 for six and a half years issued a press release, vowing to appeal NRC's rubberstamp of the Fermi 3 COLA to the federal courts, on "Nuclear Waste Confidence," quality assurance (QA), and NRC's violation of NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) by excluding Fermi 3's transmission corridor from the EIS (Environmental Impact Statement).

On Feb. 12th, Lodge will file a "place-holder" contention with the Fermi 3 ASLB panel regarding Nuclear Waste Confidence. It seeks to apply any U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit environmental coalition legal victory against NRC's current, bogus reincarnation of Nuclear Waste Confidence (now renamed Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel by the agency) in the Fermi 3 proceeding. That is, Beyond Nuclear will call for the blocking of Fermi 3's license, or its revocation if already granted, until the Nuclear Waste Confidence concerns have been addressed -- if they even can be. More.

Wednesday
Feb112015

Entergy threatens to simply walk away from VY decommissioning after 60 years!

An aerial view of the known extent of the tritium contamination in soil and groundwater at the VY site, on the banks of the Connecticut River in southeastern Vermont.Entergy Nuclear is infamous for its arrogance. Now, reports the Associated Press, the country's second biggest nuclear utility, with one less than a dirty dozen atomic reactors in its fleet (Vermont Yankee -- VY -- was forced into permanent shutdown on Dec. 29th under intense public pressure), is threatening the State of Vermont to simply walk away from the radioactively contaminated site after 60 years, if the decommissioning is not yet completed.

The threat was made by Entergy Vice President Michael Twomey, to State of Vermont legislative committees. Under the Orwellian policy "SAFSTOR," the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) allows nuclear utilities to simply sit on permanently shutdown reactors, without doing radiological clean up or facility dismantlement.

Entergy only has about $666 million in the VY decommissioning fund -- only about half what is projected to be needed. The agreement to not require Entergy to put a single penny into the decommissioning fund, from when it took over VY in 2002 till now, was approved by Gov. Howard Dean's (D-VT) administration, well over a decade ago.

Entergy's plan is to keep the $666 million invested in the stock market, so its value can grow to the needed $1.25 billion. What happens if the money is lost in another stock market crash, Entergy is not saying. More.

Monday
Feb092015

Beyond Nuclear on Thom Hartmann's "The Big Picture" regarding Fermi 1, 2, and 3

Thom Hartmann, host of "The Big Picture"Thom Hartmann (photo, left) invited Beyond Nuclear onto his television program "The Big Picture" to discuss the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) impending decision to rubberstamp the proposed new Fermi 3 atomic reactor's license in southeast Michigan -- to be constructed on the very spot where the "We Almost Lost Detroit" Fermi 1 reactor had a partial core meltdown in 1966. The environmental coalition that has been intervening against Fermi 3's license for six and a half years, represented by Toledo attorney Terry Lodge, has vowed to appeal NRC's decision to federal court, if need be.

Thom also asked about the risks at Fermi 2 -- identical in design to Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4 -- and the liabilities associated with U.S., Japanese, and other nuclear firms building dangerous new reactors in places like India and China.