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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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Tuesday
Feb052013

"Endangered Snakes Prompt Hearing Over Fermi 3 Nuclear Plant"

An Eastern Fox Snake, an endangered constrictor species indigenous to southeast MichiganThe Monroe Evening News has reported on an environmental coalition's successful bid for hearing before the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) in opposition to Detroit Edison's proposed new Fermi 3 atomic reactor on the Lake Erie shore of southeast Michigan.

The coalition is comprised of Beyond Nuclear, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and Sierra Club Michigan Chapter.

It contends that the nuclear utility, federal government, and State of Michigan are failing to protect the endangered Eastern Fox Snake species (see photo, left) from extinction due to habitat destruction caused by the construction and operation of a 1,550 Megawatt-electric General Electric Hiticahi so-called "Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor" (ESBWR), as well as an associated 11-mile long, 300-foot wide transmission line corridor.

The State of Michigan has admitted the reactor construction will involve the largest impact on Great Lakes coastal wetlands in the history of state environmental protection law. Combined with the transmission line's destruction of more than 1,000 acres of undeveloped land, including forests and wetlands, the coalition contends the habitat loss could extirpate the endangered Eastern Fox Snake species in the region. More. 

Monday
Feb042013

Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump!

Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump billboard in Toronto

A new group has formed in opposition to the radioactive waste dump(s) targeted at the Great Lakes shoreline near the Bruce Nuclear Complex in Kincardine, Ontario, Canada. Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump has a website, and has launched a petition drive.

As reported by Bayshore Broadcasting, Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump has also erected a billboard on the Gardiner Expressway in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), in order to draw wider attention to this national -- and even international -- threat. The report, which includes a short audio recording of Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump spokeswoman, Beverly Fernandez, points out "The billboard, on one of Canada’s busiest commuter strips, could be seen by up to one million people a week."

Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump encourages U.S. citizens to sign their petition. The petition is directed to Canada's Minister of the Environment, Peter Kent.

The Bruce Nuclear Complex "hosts" a total of 9 reactors (including a permanently shutdown prototype), one of the single biggest nuclear power plants, and concentrations of radioactive waste, in the world. For decades, all of Ontario's 20 reactors have "temporarily" stored their so-called "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes at Bruce. Low-level radioactive waste has been incinerated. Now, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) proposes burying these low- and intermediate-level radioactive wastes on-site, just 400 meters from the waters of Lake Huron.

To make matters worse, Canada's Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is considering applications from several Bruce area municipalities, which are volunteering to "host" a national high-level radioactive waste dump for all of Canada's 22 atomic reactors. These communities are disproportionately populated by Bruce Nuclear workers. They stand to receive substantial sums of money for being studied, and perhaps ultimately selected, as Canada's national high-level radioactive waste dumpsite. Kincardine, Bruce's "home town," has already received millions of dollars for agreeing to "host" OPG's proposed "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive waste burial dump at the Bruce Nuclear Complex.

In addition to the Bruce region, a number of municipalities in Canada's Lake Superior basin, and further north and west (including the Province of Saskatchewan, with one of the world's single biggest uranium mining industries), have also "volunteered" to "host" Canada's high-level radioactive waste dump.

Proponents have dubbed these proposed dumps "Deep Geologic Repositories," or DGRs. Critics refer to them, sarcastically, as Deep Underground Dumps, or DUDs.

The Great Lakes comprises 20% of the world's surface fresh water. It serves as the drinking water supply for 40 million people in 8 U.S. states (from west to east, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York), 2 Canadian provinces (Ontario and Quebec), and a large number of Native American First Nations.

Thursday
Jan242013

"Ski Yucca Mountain in a Hazmat suit"

That's the title for the announcement of an art exhibition in theLas Vegas Weekly. The exhibit will feature Joseph Woolfolk’s paintings on glass.

The article concludes: '“Ski Yucca,” featuring a skier hitting the slopes wearing a gas mask and orange Hazmat suit, probably best sums up the clever and well-executed Poster Power.'

But this is not the first time that the high-level radioactive waste dump targeted at Yucca Mountain, Nevada has brushed up against cutting edge art work, or vice versa.

Joshua Abbey's Desert Space Foundation held a "Universal Warning Sign: Yucca Mountain" competition a decade ago. The idea was to come up with the best way to warn future generations "forevermore" about what was buried below.

Speaking of "Don't Dig Here," that is the title of a song about the Yucca dump performed by David Crosby and Graham Nash.

And the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) not having done it homework was starkly revealed, when its proposed railway for delivering 70,000 metric tons of high-level radioactive waste to Yucca scored a direct bull's eye on one of the single largest works of art ever conceived, Michael Heizer's "City" landscape sculpture in a remote Nevada desert valley. DOE hadn't realized Heizer's art was "in the way," till the artist protested the plan! The good news is, the Obama administration's wise cancellation of the Yucca dump will spare Heizer's "City," as well as countless other cities in most states along DOE's targeted Yucca dump transport corridors by truck, train, and barge.

Thursday
Jan242013

House Republican leaders demand Yucca dump be included in irradiated nuclear fuel centralized interim storage bill

Yucca Mountain, as framed by a Western Shoshone Indian ceremonial sweat lodge. Photo by Gabriela Bulisova.As reported by Nuclear Power International/Power Engineering, as well as the Wall Street Journal, U.S. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), Chairman of the Environment and the Economy Subcommittee of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, holds that the formerly proposed dumpsite targeted at Yucca Mountain, Nevada must be included in any irradiated nuclear fuel centralized interim storage legislation.

Shimkus, as well as U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), have long been outspoken champions pushing for the Yucca dump, as well as many other nuclear power industry "wish list" lobbying priorities. Upton, for example, sponsored "Mobile Chernobyl" bills each and every session from 1995 to 2000, which would have established centralized interim storage at Yucca, long before countless scientific studies were completed, or permanent disposal authorized at the site. Yucca is located on Western Shoshone Indian land (see photo, left), as acknowledged by the U.S. federal government when it signed the "peace and friendship" Treaty of Ruby Valley in 1863.

On Jan. 11th, in response to U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu's "Strategy for the Management and Disposal of Used Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste," Reps. Upton and Shimkus issued a joint statement calling for the resumption of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Yucca dump licensing proceeding.

However, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), as the senior member of the united, bipartisan Nevada congressional delegation, has devoted his political career to successfully stopping the Yucca dump. President Barack Obama agrees, and DOE Secretary Chu has zeroed out the funding for the Yucca Mountain Project for several years running now. Secretary Chu has also moved to withdraw DOE's application from NRC's moribund licensing proceeding.

Thursday
Jan242013

U.S. Rep. Markey actively exercises oversight on nuclear power and nuclear weapons

U.S. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA)U.S. Representative Ed Markey (D-MA, pictured left), a 37-year nuclear watchdog in Congress, has been busy this year. Rep. Markey serves as Ranking Member of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, and as a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

On Jan. 11th, Markey wrote to U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu -- and his office issued a press release -- expressing deep concerns and asking pointed questions about the U.S. Department of Energy's proposals to "recycle" large quantities of radioactive scrap metal into consumer products.

On Jan. 14th, Rep. Markey again wrote Secretary Chu, questioning the wisdom of DOE's dirty, dangerous, and expensive proposal to "recycle" surplus weapons plutonium into MOX (Mixed-Oxide, uranium-plutonium) reactor fuel.

And on Jan. 18th, Rep. Markey urged Secretary Chu to maintain the construction ban at the Hanford nuclear weapons complex in Washington State, in order to avoid hydrogen explosions and dangerous nuclear accidents.

Rep. Markey has announced his campaign for U.S. Senate, to fill the seat vacated by U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), who has been nominated by President Obama for Secretary of State.