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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
Apr172015

Beyond Nuclear discusses Fukushima on RT International

Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps was interviewed by RT International regarding current developments at Fukushima Daiichi, Japan. The interview includes footage of the large mounds of radioactive waste being transferred to Okuma and Futaba, the two "host" towns in Fukushima Prefecture across which the six reactor nuclear complex sprawls. Both towns are now "Dead Zone," indefinitely uninhabitable. All surviving former residents are now living as nuclear evacuees, unable to go home.

The interview also includes footage of the snake-like robots Tokyo Electric is sending into the Unit 1 reactor's damaged radiological containment structure. The first, deployed on April 10th, broke down after a few hours of service, for yet unexplained reasons. The radiation levels it measured would be lethal to humans within 30 minutes or less.

Thursday
Apr162015

"FERC Rejects Ginna Rates, Orders Settlement Proceeding"

The Ginna atomic reactor, on the Lake Ontario shoreline in upstate New YorkAs reported by William Opalka in RTO Insider, "The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday rejected the rate schedule proposed for a struggling nuclear power plant needed for reliability in western New York and ordered hearing and settlement proceedings (ER15-1047)."

The R.E. Ginna atomic reactor, owned and operated by Exelon Nuclear of Chicago, is one of the very oldest still-operating in the U.S. It fired up in 1969. It is located in Ontario, New York, on the Lake Ontario shoreline.

Exelon's scheme for keeping Ginna operating -- despite losing tens of millions of dollars per year, for the past three years -- is to gouge ratepayers in Rochester, NY.

Sunday
Apr052015

In Memoriam: Bill Hirt, stalwart supporter of the anti-nuke movement in the Great Lakes

Bill Hirt (in radiation suit, holding "Chernobyl 1986" placard) with assistance from Alice Hirt, protesting the industry's first "Nuclear Renaissance" event at the Palmer House, Chicago, late 2001. Photo by Kathy Barnes.We are very sad to report that our dear friend and colleague, Bill Hirt, has passed on. He died surrounded by his loving family on Monday, March 30, 2015, more than eight years after being diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), more commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Bill was very multi-faceted (the Toledo Blade's remembrance focused on his historic preservation and low-income housing efforts), but one of those facets was his generous support for, and deep involvement in, the anti-nuclear movement in the Great Lakes region. Along with his wife Alice (see the obituary she and their son Nick wrote, here), who serves on the board of directors of Don't Waste Michigan and the Toledo Coalition for Safe Energy, the Hirts vigilantly watch-dogged nuclear risks from Lake Michigan to Lake Erie, from Palisades to Davis-Besse, traveling to meetings and events across the Great Lakes for years and even decades on end, in opposition to atomic reactor and radioactive waste risks.

But a few of countless examples will give some idea of Bill's deep involvement. Moved to action by the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe of 1986, the Hirts helped lead the challenges to the storage of high-level radioactive waste in defective dry casks on the Great Lakes shorelines at Palisades and Davis-Besse. From 1999 to 2000, as part of the international Nix MOX campaign, Bill and Alice generously supported a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy, seeking to block the risky truck transport of weapons-grade plutonium bound from Los Alamos, NM to Chalk River, ON, Canada (the case is entitled Hirt v. [Energy Secretary] Richardson). In 1999, 2000, and 2001, the Hirts took part in the Nuclear-Free Great Lakes Action Camps in Michigan and Illinois. In late 2001, Bill donned a radiation suit and, along with Alice (see photo of Bill and Alice, taken by Kathy Barnes, above left) and colleagues from Illinois and Michigan, protested the first "Nuclear Renaissance" event held by the industry, at the Palmer House in Chicago (his hometown). In 2002, with his neighbors on a towering sand dune in Holland, MI, looking out over Lake Michigan to the west, Bill educated them about the high-level radioactive waste barge shipments proposed from Palisades to the Port of Muskegon, that would travel right past where they were standing, unless they were stopped (and thus far, they have been!). From 2005-2007, Bill and Alice generously donated towards the largely all-volunteer and pro bono environmental intervention against the 20-year license extension at Palisades; in the midst of that difficult campaign, the Hirts warmly opened their lovely home in Holland, MI, with its magnificient vista of the freshwater inland sea called Lake Michigan, for a much-needed morale boost: a holiday party, to celebrate with friends and colleagues involved in the fight.

Bill's generous support and deep involvement will be sorely missed, as will his vivacious spirit and love of life.

Wednesday
Apr012015

From Midwest to Mid-Atlantic, ratepayer resistance to nuclear bailouts intensifies!

"Burning money" graphic art by Gene Case and Avening Angels appeared on the cover of Nation Magazine, accompanying an article by Christian Parenti about the nuclear power relapseNuclear utilities, like Exelon of Chicago and FirstEnergy of Ohio, are seeking multi-billion (yes, billion with a B!) dollar bailouts for their dirty, dangerous, and uncompetitive atomic reactors. Exelon is also trying to take over the Mid-Atlantic utility Pepco, in a thinly veiled attempt to gouge ratepayers to prop up its failing nukes, while gutting clean energy competition: efficiency, renewables, and distributed energy. But a growing coalition of residential and business ratepayers, nuclear watchdogs, and even state agencies, are pushing back, with creative street theater, community educational forums, and legal interventions before Public Service Commissions. More.
Monday
Mar302015

Op-eds urge PUCO to reject FirstEnergy's requested $3 billion bailout for Davis-Besse & coal plant

Two op-eds published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer advocate that FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC) should not be allowed to saddle Ohio ratepayers with a $3 billion surcharge over the next 15 years. FENOC seeks the subsidy to keep two dirty, dangerous, and uncompetitive power plants on life support (the Davis-Besse atomic reactor near Toledo, and the Sammis coal plant on the Ohio River).

The first op-ed was written by Connie Kline, a long-time nuclear power watchdog in northeast Ohio. She focused on safety risks at FENOC's problem-plagued Davis-Besse reactor.

A second op-ed opposing the bailout was co-written by three Cuyahoga County elected officials (a state senator, a Cuyahoga County council member, and a Cleveland city council member). It described burdening hard-working Ohio ratepayers with this subsidy for FirstEnergy as "unconscionable and unacceptable," and urged the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to reject the plan.

Readers are encouraged to join in the debate by submitting comments in the section under the op-eds.