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.



Aging nuclear power plants in New York uneconomic without bailout

Karl GrossmanBeyond Nuclear board of directors member Karl Grossman (photo, left) writes:

On Enformable today, my article on the New York State Public Service Commission yesterday approving a $7.6 billion bail-out of aging nuclear power plants in upstate New York under a "Clean Energy Standard" advanced by Governor Andrew Cuomo. He has pushed for continued operation of the plants and appoints the members of the PSC.

Grossman is the professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury. Karl is also the author of Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power and other books on nuclear technology, as well as hosting numerous TV programs on the subject including "Chernobyl: A Million Casualties," "Three Mile Island Revisited" and "The Push to Revive Nuclear Power."


Groups Criticize “Nuclear Mistake” Amid Praise for New York State’s Clean Energy Standard

Groups say state now responsible to ensure nuclear safety of the plants going forward

[NIRS and AGREE have issued a press release that begins:]

Albany, NY – The New York State Public Service Commission today approved the “Clean Energy Standard” policy that puts into place a popularly-supported requirement that that utilities must buy increasing amounts of renewable energy, until the state meets its goal of 50% renewable energy by 2030. The proposal also includes an unpopular subsidy for economically struggling upstate nuclear power plants, the projected cost of which suddenly ballooned to almost $8 billion just three weeks ago.

The nuclear subsidies have drawn growing criticism and controversy with more than 15,000 people submitting comments opposed to nuclear subsidies and dozens of elected officials raising concerns...

[The press release also quotes Clearwater and Citizens Environmental Coalition. The press release contains additional background information, including links to statements of concern about and opposition to the bailout by New York State elected officials, as well as links to news articles. More.]


Susquehanna operators suspended after prioritizing reactor operation ahead of safety

Susquehanna nuclaer power plant in Salem Twp., PAAs Susan Schwartz of the Press Enterprise reports from Salem Twp., PA, three senior reactor operators at the Susquehanna nuclear power plant (see NRC file photo, left) have been temporaily suspended, pending retraining:

Three senior reactor operators have been temporarily disqualified after they took a safety system offline before shutting down a reactor at the Susquehanna nuclear plant in May, regulators confirm. A nuclear watchdog believes the operators did it in an effort to avoid shutting down the unit, an expensive move for the plant.

Susquehanna has two reactors, both Fukushima Daiichi sibling designs. Susquehanna Units 1 and 2 are General Electric Mark II boiling water reactors.

The article, which reports the incident took place at Unit 2, quotes Dave Lochbaum of UCS:

Watchdog’s take

But David Lochbaum, nuclear safety project director for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said he suspects the operators disabled the safety system to buy themselves time in the hope of avoiding the shutdown.

If the high pressure coolant injection system is triggered, it can cause the unit to shut down automatically, said Lochbaum. He’s a nuclear engineer who worked 17 years in the industry and also a former reactor technology instructor with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

He believes the operators hoped that by delaying the automatic scram, they would give workers time to fix the electrical fault and restore proper cooling and ventilation so the reactor wouldn’t need to be shut down.

But before they took the safety system offline, they didn’t check to make sure nothing was happening that might require it to work.

“They breezed through that step,” he said. “They put the operation of the plant ahead of safety. They took some shortcuts.”

‘Mistakes were made’

That attitude contributed to the accident at Three Mile Island in 1979, he said.

Operators there misdiagnosed a problem with the reactor and shut off the safety systems, explained Lochbaum. If they had left them alone, he says the safety systems as designed would have saved the day.

The Susquehanna Steam Electric Station was nowhere near such dire straits, Lochbaum stressed.

“It’s unfortunate mistakes were made, but the system is pretty robust,” he said. “It would have taken several more miscues before this event would have resulted in meltdown or core damage.”

In other words, luckily, operators at Susquehanna Unit 2 in 2016 only made one major mistake, instead of several. The March 28, 1979 series of mistakes made at Three Mile Island Unit 2, however, led to a 50% core meltdown, and the worst nuclear power disaster -- thus far, anyway -- in U.S. history.


Burning down the house: Entergy & NRC learn no lessons from prior fire safety and security violations

Entergy Nuclear's Palisades atomic reactor, located on the Lake Michigan shore in Covert, MIForty-one years after a catastrophic fire at Browns Ferry, Alabama nearly caused a reactor core meltdown, and two years after Entergy was busted for fire watch falsifications at its Waterford reactor in Louisiana, NRC's Office of Investigations and the FBI are now investigating whistle-blower allegations at Entergy's problem-plagued Palisades reactor in Michigan (see photo, left) of skipped fire watches. 22 security guards at Palisades have reportedly been relieved of their duties, raising concerns that security is currently compromised. The remaining security guards have been pressured by Entergy to sign waivers, an end run around NRC fatigue rules, in order to work 75 hours per week, to compensate for the reduced force size. NRC has repeatedly let Entergy off the hook, via Alternative Dispute Resolution processes, instead of doing its job to protect public health, safety, and the environment by enforcing its regulations, and holding accountable wrongdoers. Congressional investigations are desperately needed. Beyond Nuclear has prepared two backgrounders in the past week, chronicling the long history of fire and security risks, not just at Palisades, but across Entergy's fleet of reactors, and even nationwide throughout the entire nuclear power industry. More


Join the March for a Clean Energy Revolution, Philadelphia, PA, July 24th!

Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) has issued an action alert, calling for folks to join the March for a Clean Energy Revolution in Philadelphia, PA on Sunday, July 24th, on the eve of the Democratic National Convention. See the beginning of the NIRS action alert, below, and follow the link to see full action alert, including a tribute to NIRS former long-time executive director, and president, Michael Mariotte, who died on May 16th, after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer. (Also, see Beyond Nuclear's own tributes to Michael Mariotte, posted at our website.)

Beyond Nuclear has joined in the NIRS-initiated planning for the March for a Clean Energy Revolution, and will take part on July 24th. Beyond Nuclear encourages everyone who can make it, to join in the Carbon-Free, Nuclear-Free contingent in Philadelphia on July 24th, as well as at the teach-ins, meetings, gatherings, etc., the day before. If you can't make it, please spread the word widely to those who can.

June 29, 2016

Dear Friends,

We invite you to join us for the next historic safe energy mobilization--the March for a Clean Energy Revolution, July 24 in Philadelphia. You can find more details on the march [as well as a tribute to the life and work of Michael Mariotte, at this link to the complete NIRS action alert.]