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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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Wednesday
Feb242016

Entergy Palisades: "The Candor Gap"

"The Candor Gap" is the title of an article by Andrew Lersten in the St. Joe-Benton Harbor Herald-Palladium in southwest MI.

The article reports on a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Office of Investigations (OI) report, five-years in the making, about "apparent," "willful violations" of NRC regulations by four Entergy Palisades employees in 2011.

Entergy's problem-plagued Palisades atomic reactor is located in Covert, MI, on the Lake Michigan shore (see photo, above).

The cover up involves leakage of corrosive and radioactive water, from the Safety Injection Refueiling Water [Storage] Tank, the SIRWT, through the ceiling of the safety-critical control room. The leaks, which went on for over a year, were captured in buckets, next to control room operator work stations. Electrical circuitry essention for running safety, cooling, and control systems was thus put at risk of short-circuiting.

On May 25, 2012, NRC Chairman Greg Jaczko, and his large delegation of high-ranking NRC officials (including Chuck Casto, NRC Region 3 Administrator, who had served as Jaczko's eyes and ears on the ground in Japan during the first nine months of the Fukushima Daiichi catastrophe, as well NRC Office of Public Affairs Director, Elliot Brenner), were kept in the dark about the "crisis in the control room".

A few weeks later, thanks to whistleblowers' tips to attorney Billie Garde in Washington, D.C., who alerted Ed Markey, Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts, the "crisis in the control room" was revealed.

Jaczko demanded an OI investigation as to why he, and his entire entourage, had been kept in the dark. It has taken nearly four years, but the OI report appears to be nearing completion, in the next several weeks.

OI has not released its draft report to the public yet. It has offered Entergy Palisades a behind closed door meeting to explain itself, if it hopes to prevent escalated enforcement action. That is, the concerned public is not welcome at that meeting.

The largely to entirely unaddressed "crisis in the control room" ultlimately led to the spill of 82.1 gallons of radioactive water into Lake Michigan, in May 2013.

Lersten's article in the Herald-Palladium quoted Beyond Nuclear:

Kevin Kamps of the anti-nuclear group Beyond Nuclear Tuesday criticized Entergy regarding the allegations.

“The company should be held responsible,” he said. “If they were not privy to it, then they were incompetent. We’ve seen Entergy try to blame its own employees before. We can’t trust the company that’s running the plant to tell the truth, let alon[e] run the plant safely.”

Kamps also said “it’s absurd” that it took the NRC so long to complete the investigation and notify Entergy and the public of its findings.

Wednesday
Feb172016

Seabrook reactor's concrete structures "micro-fracturing" 

A public safety watchdog group in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, Citizens within the Ten-Mile Radius Research and Education Foundation (C-10), is publicly exposing that for more than seven years, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has known that concrete structures are deteriorating at the Seabrook nuclear power station on the New Hampshire seacoast and done nothing about it. To date, the federal agency responsible for the public safety of millions of people within the nuke’s emergency planning zone spanning from Maine to Massachusetts, has not required NextEra, the operator, to do any certified testing of the nuclear power plant’s concrete structures. These concrete structures include the reactor’s containment dome and the spent fuel storage pool loaded with hundreds of tons of nuclear waste.  What’s more absurd, the NRC is considering giving Seabrook a 20-year operating license extension from 2030 to 2050 in September 2016.

The NRC knows that the nuclear power plant’s structures are under active attack by an expansive chemical reaction known as Alkali-Silica Reaction (ASR) that is progressively weakening the reactor by micro-fracturing of concrete increasingly saturated with groundwater intrusion. There is “no known remedy” for ASR.  Surface visual inspections are worthless for determining the depth, breadth and progress of attack. It is impossible to predict how long before the chemical attack makes the concretes structural engineering incompetent to earthquake, accident or structural collapse.  

Seabrook’s control building was the first structure confirmed to have moderate to severe deterioration from test results taken from onsite concrete core samples extracted in 2010. After discovering structural deterioration, NextEra stopped taking any further core extraction samples from onsite structures vital to the reactor’s defense-in-depth protection from a potentially catastrophic radiological accident no more than 35 miles from Boston. Instead, the power company with the NRC’s permission decided to test a “replica” built in Ferguson, Texas made of different and dissimilar concrete materials from New Mexico and call the results a legitimate scientific analysis.  C-10 is saying “no” to a sham process obviously bent on rigging the results to continued operations and license extension.  Core extraction sampling of Seabrook’s concrete is an inexpensive test that would produce a reliable comparison of the remaining mechanical qualities of affected concrete from unaffected concrete areas of the nuclear power plant.

To date, the NRC Is describing Seabrook’s condition as “operable but degraded.”

C-10 is relentless in pressing the agency to require NextEra to analyze actual concrete core extractions taken from Seabrook’s containment and spent fuel pool.

Why is NRC going to such great lengths to hide Seabrook from real science?

Saturday
Feb062016

Beyond Nuclear presents at Alliance to Halt Fermi 3's third annual meeting in Dearborn, MI

Beyond Nuclear's Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Kevin Kamps, was honored and privileged to be invited to present at the Alliance to Halt Fermi 3's third annual meeting, at the University of Michigan-Dearborn's Environmental Interpretive Center on Feb. 6.

Here is the link to Kevin's Power Point Presentation, entitled "Fukushima + 5, Chernobyl + 30, Fermi 1 + 50, Where Next?!"

Beyond Nuclear is one of 20 organizations proud to claim membership in the Alliance to Halt Fermi 3.

Beyond Nuclear helped lead the environmental coalition (including Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste MI, and Sierra Club Michigan Chapter) that officially intervened against the proposed new Fermi 3 atomic reactor on the Lake Erie shore in southeast Michigan since 2008.

Beyond Nuclear also joined with CEA and DWM to officially intervene against the Fermi 2 20-year license extension. Citizens Resistance at Fermi 2 (CRAFT) also intervened against the Fermi 2 license extension.

Toledo attorney Terry Lodge has long served as legal counsel to both environmental coalitions intervening against Fermi 2 and Fermi 3.

Monday
Jan182016

"Indian Point files suit against state over certificate"

As reported by Michael D'Onofrio at the Journal News, on Jan. 14th Entergy Nuclear, owner of the two-reactor Indian Point nuclear power plant on the Hudson River near New York City, filed a lawsuit against the State of New York Secretary of State, Cesar Perales, for rejecting a Coastal Zone certificate needed for the facility's 20-year license extension.

As reported:

“Federal law is clear that only the federal government can regulate a nuclear power plant on safety issues,” Entergy spokesman Jerry Nappi said.

Entergy won a federal lawsuit against the State of Vermont on similar grounds concerning its Vermont Yankee reactor. In a case of winning the battle only to lose the war, despite winning in court, Entergy nonetheless announced Vermont Yankee's permanent closure just a couple weeks after that court ruling. However, now Entergy can cite that legal ruling as precedent in its current lawsuit against the State of New York. 

What Entergy's spokesman neglected to mention, however, is that states do retain certain jurisdiction over nuclear power plant operations besides radiological safety (the exclusive jurisdiction of NRC). One such area is thermal and other ecological impacts on surface waters, a very relevant issue at Indian Point, which currently lacks cooling towers.

But Perales' position, as the article reports, is:

Perales, a member of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s cabinet, rejected Entergy’s request for a Coastal Zone certificate on Nov. 6 to use the Hudson River. In a letter to Entergy, Perales said for the past 40 years the plant has been "damaging the coastal resources of the Hudson River,” withdrawing billions of gallons of water a day, and killing at least a billion fish.

In addition, Perales cited the plant’s proximity to two active seismic faults, and the nation's most heavily populated area and its source of drinking water.

Indian Point Unit 2's 40-year initial operating license expired in Sept. 2013. Unit 3's license expired in Dec. 2015.

However, NRC's rules are so loose that Entergy's applications for the 20-year license extensions, many years ago now, allow both Indian Point reactors to continue operating on expired permits.

Entergy counts on such NRC complicity and collusion, as reflected in its spokesperson's estimate in the article that this situation could go on for a long time to come:

The nuclear power plant can continue to operate until the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission decides on its application — a process that will take several years, [Entergy's] Nappi said.

The article also chronicles multiple unplanned shutdowns at Indian Point in recent years. A spate of incidents in December 2015 prompted New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to order a state Department of Public Service review of the nuclear plant, due Feb. 15th.

Friday
Jan152016

"NUKE DINOSAURS & SOLAR OUTRAGE arrive in Solartopia with astonishing implications"

Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear was honored to be invited back on Harvey Wasserman's "Solartopia Green Power and Wellness" radio show on PRN.

Here is Harvey's blurb about the show:

At Ohio's crumbling Davis-Besse nuke, KEVIN KAMPS tells us how this dying, decrepit reactor is demanding huge bail-outs from ratepayers and taxpayers because it cannot compete.  But now DAVE KRAFT reports that competing utility giants Exelon and Dynegy have filed claims saying they can provide power to Ohio far cheaper, leaving DB hopefully twisting in the wind.

Meanwhile, JUDY TREICHEL and STEVE FRISHMAN report from Nevada that the corrupt Public Utilities Commission has rolled back long-standing agreements and is conspiring to prevent homeowners from installing solar panels on their rooftops.  Public outrage is enormous, with thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investments being wasted on behalf on obsolete investments in King Cong (Coal, Oil, Nukes and Gas).

Similar push-back in Wisconsin is being perpetrated by the planet-killing fossil-nuke pushers who threaten us all.

You can listen to the audio recording here.