BEYOND NUCLEAR PUBLICATIONS

Search
JOIN OUR NETWORK

     

     

DonateNow

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.

.................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Friday
Jul122013

Help hold NRC's feet to the fire -- please attend Palisades Webinar, Tues., July 16, 5:30 PM Eastern

MI Radio photo showing the location of the SIRWT, located on the roof directly above the control room; the reactor containment building towers to the leftAs announced by a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) meeting notice, the agency will hold yet another Webinar about Entergy's problem-plagued Palisades atomic reactor on the Lake Michigan shore in Covert, Michigan. This one will focus on the May 5th spill of 82.1 gallons of radioactive water from the leaking Safety Injection Refueling Water Tank (SIRWT) into Lake Michigan. The Great Lakes represent 20% of the surface fresh water on the entire planet, and serve as the drinking water supply for 40 million people in 8 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations.

The Webinar will be held on Tuesday, July 16th (the 68th annual commemoration of the world's first atomic weapon blast, "Trinity," at Alamagordo, NM on July 16, 1945).

To register to attend the Webinar, do so by filling out the required information (your name and email address) by July 15th at the following websitehttps://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/431957345

More.

Friday
Jul122013

Coalition rebuts motions to strike at Davis-Besse, while FOE defends legal victory at San Onofre

Terry Lodge speaks out against Davis-Besse's 20-year license extension at a press conference in Oak Harbor, OH, in August 2012. The main bone of contention at that time was the recently revealed severe cracking of Davis-Besse's concrete containment structure.The environmental coalition challenging safety shortcuts by FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC), on its proposed 2014 steam generator replacements at the Davis-Besse atomic reactor along the Lake Erie shore east of Toledo, has responded this week to motions to strike filed by FENOC and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff. The coalition's Reply to FENOC's motion to strike was filed on July 8th; its Reply to NRC staff's motion to strike was filed on July 11th.

If the NRC's Atomic Safety (sic) and Licensing Board (ASLB) rules in favor of the motions to strike, whole sections of the coalition's intervention petition arguments could be erased from the record, and would no longer allowed to be raised.

The coalition challenging the risky steam generator replacements at Davis-Besse consists of Beyond Nuclear, Citizen Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario (CEA), Don't Waste Michigan, and the Sierra Club.

An overlapping coalition comprised of Beyond Nuclear, CEA, Don't Waste MI, and the Green Party of Ohio has also challenged FENOC's application to NRC for a 20-year license extension at Davis-Besse. The problem-plagued reactor's original 40-year license expires on Earth Day (April 22), 2017. If granted, the license extension would allow Davis-Besse to operate until 2037. This coalition's contention against NRC's bogus Nuclear Waste Confidence Decision, regarding the on-site storage risks of irradiated nuclear fuel, is still live. For example, little known is the fact that Davis-Besse's high-level radioactive waste storage pool has leaked radioactivity into the ground, precariously close to the Great Lakes shoreline. The Great Lakes represent 20% of the planet's surface fresh water, and supply 40 million people in 8 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations with drinking water. NRC has announced that a public comment meeting regarding its court-ordered Nuclear Waste Confidence Decision environmental impact statement will be held in the Toledo area sometime this autumn.

Toledo-based attorney Terry Lodge (photo, above left) serves as legal counsel for both coalitions. He has watchdogged Davis-Besse since 1977.

Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth (FOE) has resisted attempts by the NRC staff to vacate the recent ASLB ruling which effectively led Edison International to decide to permanently shutdown San Onofre 2 & 3 in southern CA due to extensive damage in defective replacement steam generators. The ASLB granted FOE the license amendment hearing it sought, during which devilish new details would have been revealed regarding the $2.5 billion dollar boondoggle which put 8 million residents within 50 miles at risk. If NRC staff succeeds, the ASLB ruling would be erased from the official record, as if it never happened. FOE's victory could then not be cited as a precedent in the Davis-Besse, or any other future, intervention proceedings. The Attorneys General of the States of New York and Vermont have filed friend of the court briefs in support of preserving FOE's legal victory as a citable precedent.

Terry Lodge pointed out to the Davis-Besse steam generator replacement ASLB that NRC staff's legal arguments in the San Onofre and Davis-Besse proceedings are 180 degrees diametrically opposed to one another. At San Onofre, NRC staff argued that FOE was years too late in intervening; at Davis-Besse, NRC staff argue that the coalition is intervening too early. As environmental attorney Richard Webster pointed out in his closing arguments at the Oyster Creek, NJ license extension ASLB proceeding in September 2007, it's like the Queen's toasted logic in Alice in Wonderland: "The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day." The only consistency is NRC staff's seemingly eternal struggle to deny environmental interveners' hearing rights. This is an odd form of behavior by a federal agency whose mandate is to protect public health and safety and the environment.

In fact, it violates NRC's own stated policy of welcoming public involvement in licensing proceedings with open arms. Terry Lodge cited this in his conclusion to his July 11th PETITIONERS’ REPLY IN OPPOSITION TO NRC STAFF ‘MOTION TO STRIKE’:

"The Commission has long maintained that “the Commission's objectives are to provide a fair hearing process...and to produce an informed adjudicatory record that supports agency decision-making on matters related to the NRC's responsibilities for protecting public health and safety, the common defense and security, and the environment,” and that “the opportunity for hearing should be a meaningful one that focuses on genuine issues and real disputes...”. Fed. Register, Vol. 63, No. 150 (August 5, 1998).

Moreover, “Public participation through intervention is a positive factor in the licensing process and Intervenors perform a valuable function and are to be complimented and encouraged.” See, e.g., Virginia Elec. & Power Co. (North Anna Power Station, Units 1 & 2), ALAB- 256, 1 NRC 10, 18 n.9 (1975); Consolidated Edison Co. of N.Y., Inc. (Indian Point Nuclear Generating Unit 2), ALAB-243, 8 AEC 850, 853 (1974); Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. (Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station), ALAB-229, 8 AEC 425 (1974); Gulf States Utils. Co. (River Bend Station, Units 1 & 2), ALAB-183, 7 AEC 222 (1974).

Joint Petitioners trust that the NRC means what it has said, and that the Petitioners here will be permitted to perform their indisputably “valuable function” of helping to ensure that the NRC will fulfill its “responsibilities for protecting public health and safety, the common defense and security, and the environment.”

On a recent Fairewinds Energy Education podcast, entitled "Barrier to Entry," Terry Lodge explained how NRC policies, regulations, and actions serve to lock the public out, not let it in. NRC's idea of "public service" seems to be serving the public up for dinner to the nuclear power industry.

Even U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) was shocked to learn that NRC staff almost always take the side of the nuclear industry proponent in licensing proceedings. She learned this at a hearing of the Environment and Public Works Committee she chaired in October 2007, regarding the proposed Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste dump in Nevada. NRC had taken the side of the dump advocate, the U.S. Department of Energy, and were striving to block any challenges to the proposal by opponents, such as the State of Nevada. Even NRC's own ASLB in that case was moved to chastise NRC staff, pointing out that it would be highly unlikely that Nevada's experts, with impeccable credentials and carefully crafted legal and technical work, could be wrong about every single one of the state's hundreds of contentions, as NRC staff was arguing.

Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer at Fairewinds Associates, Inc, serves as expert witness for FOE at San Onofre, as well as for the environmental coalition at Davis-Besse. Kendra Ulrich, FOE nuclear campaigner at San Onofre, also serves on Beyond Nuclear's board of directors.

See more about the coalition's challenge to Davis-Besse's risky shortcuts on safety with its proposed steam generator replacements, as well as recent incidents at the reactor, at this link.

Thursday
Jul112013

Beyond Nuclear on Thom Hartmann radio show regarding worsening radioactivity releases at Fukushima Daiichi

On July 11th, Thom Hartmann (photo, left) interviewed Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps on his radio show about the cancer death of Masao Yoshida, Tokyo Electric Power Company's (Tepco) general manager of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and leader of the "Fukushima 50" who tried, at great personal risk, but unsuccessfully, to prevent the three reactor meltdowns of March 2011. Thom also asked Kevin about reports that radioactivity releases from Fukushima Daiichi have increased nearly 100-fold in recent weeks and months, and what this means in terms of radioactivity hazard for Japanese seafood, rice, and other exports to the United States.

A day earlier, Sam Sachs on RT interviewed Kevin about the same issues.

Tuesday
Jul092013

Paducah uranium enrichment facility suffers radioactive contamination incident 4 weeks after permanently shutting down

Paducah (uranium enrichment) Gaseous Diffusion Plant. Photo credit: U.S.E.C./U.S. Department of EnergyDespite being permanently shutdown on June 1st, the Paducah facility experienced a radioactivity contamination accident on June 28th, according to a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) incident report dated July 2nd. The radioactivity contamination accident stemmed from a water leak. Given the mountain of radioactive materials at Paducah, such radioactive contamination risks to the facility, the environment beyond, and the people who live there (some directly across dirt roads from the fence line, in a community already showing signs of significantly elevated cancer incidence and death rates) will continue far into the future, despite the facility's welcome permanent shutdown.

Tuesday
Jul092013

Coalition defends intervention against risky steam generator replacements at Davis-Besse

Terry Lodge, Toledo-based attorney, speaking out against Davis-Besse's 20-year license extension in August 2012 at Oak Harbor High School, OHTerry Lodge (pictured left), Toledo-based attorney representing an environmental coalition intervening against FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company's (FENOC) risky steam generator replacements at its Davis-Besse atomic reactor, has filed PETITIONERS’ REPLY IN OPPOSITION TO FENOC ‘MOTION TO STRIKE.’

The coalition includes Beyond Nuclear, Citizen Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Sierra Club. Its expert witness, Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer at Fairewinds Associates, Inc, has warned that FENOC has taken similar shortcuts on safety as did Edison International with its dangerously flawed steam generator replacements at San Onofre, CA. Edison was forced to permanently shut San Onofre 2 & 3, after Friends of the Earth (FOE) successfully intervened for license amendment hearings after the replacement steam generators suffered extensive, premature degradation, putting 8 million residents and workers within 50 miles at risk. Arnie serves as FOE's expert at San Onofre, as well.

The coalition plans to reply in opposition to similar U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff motions to strike in coming days. More.