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.



Lyman at UCS: "Preventing an American Fukushima"

Coinciding with the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the ongoing Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, Dr. Ed Lyman at Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has published a report entitled Preventing an American Fukushima.

UCS's teaser on its website reads:

The U.S. has invested heavily in post-Fukushima nuclear safety—but it remains unclear how effective that investment has been.

Read more at UCS's website, and link to the full report.


Beyond Nuclear on TRT, debating nuclear power with industry lawyer

Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps was hosted on Turkish Radio and Television's (TRT) program "The Newsmakers." He squared off against attorney Elina Teplinsky, a parnter at the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Pillsbury, which serves as legal counsel to the nuclear power industry, domestically and internationally. The debate was on nuclear power's present status, and future prospects, on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the ongoing Fukushima nuclear catastrophe. Watch the debate during the first 16 minutes of the recording; also, the final minute of the episode has the host of the show recapping the nuclear power debate.


"A huge loss" for the public interest, ratepayers, and environment: Exelon Nuclear takeover of Pepco poised for approval

Sept. 17, 2015 PowerDC rally against Exelon takeover of Pepco, before marching to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser's office to deliver the hand-signed bannerAs reported by Crain's Chicago Business, the Washington Post, and Bloomberg, Exelon Nuclear is now poised to take over Mid-Atlantic utility Pepco. Exelon won the war, despite a determined public interest, ratepayer, and environmental group coalition winning all the battles against the controversial merger over the course of the past two years.

As quoted in the Blooomberg article:

"This is a huge loss for consumers, a discouraging setback for the institutions to protect them and a sad commentary on how things are done in the District," said Allison Fisher, public outreach director for Public Citizen.

(See Allison Fisher's full statement here.)

PowerDC issued a summary and action alert. More.


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.


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?