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.



Kendra Ulrich, FOE nuclear campaigner, joins Beyond Nuclear board of directors

Kendra Ulrich, FOE nuclear campaigner and Beyond Nuclear board memberBeyond Nuclear is excited to announce that Kendra Ulrich, nuclear campaigner at Friends of the Earth (FOE), has agreed to serve on our board of directors. She joins Kay Drey, Lou Friedman, Karl Grossman, Dr. Judith Johnsrud, and Judith Kaufman on the Beyond Nuclear board.

As described in Kendra's FOE staff profile (reproduced in its entirety below), during her graduate studies, she served as the Freeze Our Fukushimas Outreach Coordinator for Beyond Nuclear to organize and implement a pilot project for this campaign.

As shown in "The Activists Occupy Entergy" video posted at the top of Beyond Nuclear's homepage, on March 22, 2012 -- the first day of Vermont Yankee's controversial 20-year license extension, rubberstamped by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission -- Kendra, along with Beyond Nuclear's Paul Gunter and several others, formed the "New England Natural Guard" affinity group. Their non-violent civil disobedience action at Entergy Nuclear's national headquarters in New Orleans resulted in 7 arrests, occurring simultaneously with 168 arrests at Entergy's Vermont headquarters, and 5 more at Entergy's Northeast HQ in White Plains, NY near the Indian Point nuclear power plant.

Kendra was also a featured speaker at the "Mountain of Radioactive Waste 70 Years High: Ending the Nuclear Age" conference in Chicago on December 1-3, 2012, including on the panel about "Nuclear Power/Nuclear Weapons: The Connections." That conference, hosted by Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS), also represented a collaboration between Beyond Nuclear and FOE.

Kendra is currently helping lead FOE's campaign focusing on the problem-plagued San Onofre Units 2 & 3 reactors in southern California, which is part of FOE's Climate and Energy Project.

Following is Kendra Ulrich's FOE staff profile:

Kendra is the nuclear campaigner for Friends of the Earth. She focuses on protecting people and the environment from the threats posed by nuclear energy. Her work is grounded in the basic tenant that all people, both current and future generations, have the intrinsic right to a safe and healthy environment. Prior to joining Friends of the Earth, she spent nearly a decade working on a variety of pollution and energy issues with environmental advocacy organizations. Her previous work has helped to force the multinational corporate owners of polluting facilities to invest millions of dollars in cleaning up, halt the construction of coal fired power plants, shut down dirty factories and pass environmental initiatives. While in graduate school, she was selected as the Congressional Progressive Caucus fellow. As the CPC fellow, she expanded their Energy and Environment Task Force and spearheaded CPC involvement in stopping anti-environmental legislation. During her graduate studies, she also served as the Freeze Our Fukushimas Outreach Coordinator for Beyond Nuclear to organize and implement a pilot project for this campaign. Most recently, she served as the New Hampshire Coordinator for Safe & Green Campaign and on the Coordinating Committee for the regional SAGE Alliance, where she focused garnering the support of local legislators, increasing community involvement, and organizing a mass nonviolent direct action campaign to shut down the Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor. She holds an M.S. in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability from Antioch University New England.


The nuclear relapse has derailed -- literally!

Photo by Tom Clements, Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA)Tom Clements of Alliance for Nuclear Accountability in South Carolina has documented, in photo and blog, a most remarkable development: the AP1000 nuclear reactor vessel targeted at Vogtle, Georgia has been discovered unprotected, stranded in Savannah Port since a December 15 shipment failure. Tom's remarkable blog is posted at the Aiken Leader. Connect Savannah has also reported on the "Nuclear Train Wreck."

As Tom has described it: the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) for the chronically delayed Vogtle AP1000 reactor construction project near Waynesboro, Georgia sits stranded and seemingly unprotected in the port of Savannah. The special railroad car carrying the 300-ton vessel had unknown mechanical problems on December 15 on exiting the port.  The NRC has said that the vessel only got one-quarter mile before a sound was heard and the car stopped.  Plans by Westinghouse and Southern Company to move the vessel are unknown. It is also unknown if the railroad car can be repaired and used or if the railroad company which owns the line is concerned that the rail car might break down again on its line in an in accessible place.  Meanwhile, the apparently unguarded reactor might be subject to sabotage and sits in apparent violation of NRC quality assurance and "administrative control" regulations.


"Bad math" dating back 40 years adds to long list of problems at idled Fort Calhoun, NE atomic reactor

Ft. Calhoun during the worst of the summer 2011 flooding. Photo credit: AP.As reported by the Associated Press, a design flaw dating back to the early 1970s raises concerns about heavy equipment support structures at the Omaha Public Power District-owned/Exelon-operated Fort Calhoun atomic reactor in Nebraska. Both the utility, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), missed the flaw, both during initial licensing four decades ago, as well as during the rubberstamp of a 20-year license extension in 2003.

The article lists the many woes which have kept the reactor shutdown since before historic floods on the Missouri River in summer 2011, which inundated the Fort Calhoun site, doing untold damage to underground structures, systems, and components, including safety-significant electrical cables, as well as pipes which carry radioactive materials (see photo, left):

"...Among the violations cited by regulators was the failure of a key electrical part during a 2010 test, a small electrical fire in June 2011, several security issues and deficiencies in flood planning that were discovered a year before the river spilled its banks.

Still to be addressed: the repair of flood damage at the facility; the replacement of fire-damaged equipment; strengthening the management of the plant; improving the safety culture among workers; the removal of the Teflon insulation; and the strengthening of heavy equipment supports...".

As Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds is quoted, "If Fort Calhoun were being run by a business, it would have been shut down a year ago."


GSN: "Industry, Activists at Odds Over Security Risks of Interim Waste Storage"

TOW anti-tank missiles can be fired from vehicles, or even shoulder-fired. Large numbers of TOWs are reportedly loose and unaccounted for on the international black market.In a Global Security Newswire article entitled "Industry, Activists at Odds Over Security Risks of Interim Waste Storage," Douglas P. Guarino quotes Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps about the risks of high-level radioactive waste, including during both on-site storage, as well as during transportation. Kevin referred to a 1998 test conducted at Aberdeen Army Proving Ground in Maryland, which showed that even the so-called "Cadillac of dry casks," the German CASTOR, could not withstand an anti-tank TOW missile attack (TOW is an acronym which stands for "Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire command data link, guided missile"). Most U.S. dry cask systems have much thinner metallic walls than the CASTOR. Kevin reiterated the call by over 150 environmental groups, for Hardened On-Site Storage of irradiated nuclear fuel, rather than a risky, rushed radioactive waste shell game on the roads, rails, and waterways.


GSN: "Watchdog Groups Add to Legal Criticism of Nuclear Waste Review"

Dr. Arjun Makhijani, President of Institute for Energy and Environmental ResearchAs reported by Douglas P. Guarino at Global Security Newswire in an article entitled "Watchdog Groups Add to Legal Criticism of Nuclear Waste Review," a coalition of two dozen environmental groups (including Beyond Nuclear), as well as three states (Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont) are keeping the pressure on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to do a thorough Environmental Impact Statement on the on-site storage risks of high-level radioactive waste, not to mention the transport, off-site storage, and permanent disposal risks of irradiated nuclear fuel. The article quotes one of the environmental coalition's attorneys, Diane Curran, as well as one of its expert witnesses, Dr. Arjun Makhijani (photo, left).