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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
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.

Saturday
Feb072015

Many have tried, all have failed // Washington Examiner: GOP must overcome Reid to get to Yucca nuclear storage

As shown in Jim Day's political cartoon (be sure to count the toes) in the Las Vegas Review Journal, the President Obama zeroed out funding, and ordered his DOE to withdraw the license application, in 2010.U.S. Senator Harry Reid's (D-NV) Communications Director, Adam Jentleson, put it concisely with that Tweet above, in response to a Washington Examiner article.

Even as Minority Leader in a Republican majority Senate, Reid can be counted on to block any attempt to resurrect the long-canceled high-level radioactive waste dump targeted at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as he has done for decades, ever since the "Screw Nevada bill" was passed into law in 1987.

In 2010, President Obama zeroed out funding for the Yucca Mountain Project, and ordered the U.S. Department of Energy to withdraw the construction and operating license application.

Friday
Feb062015

Entergy's Pilgrim suffered "a major loss of emergency assessment capability" during severe winter storm "Juno"

As this weather map shows, Pilgrim bore the brunt of winter storm "Juno."Pilgrim's bad week is turning into a bad month. As revealed by a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) "Event Notification Report" on Feb. 6th, Entergy Nuclear's Pilgrim atomic reactor on Cape Cod Bay south of Boston, MA suffered "a major loss of emergency assessment capability," during the severe winter storm nicknamed "Juno" on Jan. 27th. The report did not explain why it took ten days to report the incident.

The report, titled "LOSS OF SEA WATER INTAKE BAY LEVEL INSTRUMENTATION DUE TO LOSS OF INSTRUMENT AIR," states:

"On January 27, 2015, during winter storm JUNO, there was a loss of instrument air at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station (PNPS). Follow-up evaluations of the plant events that occurred on that day revealed that the loss of instrument air resulted in a loss of water level indicators in the seawater intake bays. The affected instruments, LI-3831 A/B, are utilized in assessing conditions for entry into the Emergency Action Levels. PNPS Emergency Plan Implementing Procedure (EPIP) EP-IP-100.1 specified a compensatory action of 'visual inspection required' should these instruments be unavailable. However, there was not a clear linkage between the EPIP compensatory actions and the operations procedure for loss of instrument air. Neither the EPIP nor operations procedure identified the specific actions necessary to perform the local monitoring action. Based on the above, we have concluded that this event was reportable pursuant to 10CFR50.72(b)(3)(xiii), Any event that results in a major loss of emergency assessment capability." (emphasis added)

Watchdogs called for Pilgrim's shutdown as a safety precaution before "Juno" hit, but Entergy and NRC ignored the request. But "Juno's" ferocity forced Pilgrim's shutdown. Pilgrim Watch and the Town of Duxbury nuclear committee then fired off a letter to NRC, demanding answers to a long list of hard-hitting questions about the risks at Pilgrim before, during and after the storm. For its part, NRC has kept Pilgrim on its short list of reactors nationwide with "degraded performance," and dispatched a "Special Inspection Team" in the aftermath of the "Juno" "unplanned shutdown."