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.



Nuclear utilities beg for bailouts to avert reactor shutdowns, Obama administration appears amenable

In a pair of articles, E&E's Hannah Northey reports that nuclear utility giants such as Exelon and Entergy are lobbying hard for changes to electricity marketplace rules that would enable them to keep uncompetitive atomic reactors operating. For its part, the Obama Dept. of Energy appears poised to do all it can to prop up its favorite dirty, dangerous, and expensive energy industry.

Northey quotes an Exelon spokesman as admitting not just Quad Cities (two reactors) and Clinton (one reactor) in IL are at risk of near-term shutdown, but a total of five reactors altogether, although he would not specify the other two.

Northey also quotes an Entergy official, who compares the risk of numerous additional near-term atomic reactor meltdowns to driving off a cliff.


Exelon considers closing two GE BWR Mark Is in IL

As reported by Crain's Chicago Business, Exelon -- the largest nuclear utility in the U.S. -- is considering shuttering its Quad Cities nuclear power plant, because it cannot compete on the wholesale electricity market. Quad Cities consists of two General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactors, identical in design to Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4.

At the same time, Exelon is considering permanently closing its single unit Clinton nuclear power plant -- a GE BWR Mark III. A decade ago, Exelon was riding high at Clinton -- recipient of U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) rubber-stamp support for an "Early Site Permit" for a proposed new reactor at the site.

The Chicago Tribune has also reported on this story.



As stated in the first paragraph of a press release issued on Jan. 30 by the Civil Society Institute: "Sixty groups from across the United States called on President Obama today to issue an executive order protecting water availability and quality in the U.S. from haphazard energy exploration, warning that in the absence of a national water/energy “roadmap” there will be many more “sacrifice zones” like the coal-processing chemical spill in West Virginia that contaminated the drinking water of 300,000 people and creating a federal state of emergency."

The press release is entitled: GROUPS: EXPECT MORE WV-STYLE WATER DISASTERS UNLESS OBAMA SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER PROTECTING U.S. WATER FROM ENERGY DEVELOPMENT; West Virginia is Not Alone: 10 Similar "Sacrifice Zones" Identified in CO, LA, MA, ND, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX & VT; Warning That Water Will Be Subject to Repeated Disasters in Absence of Water/Energy Roadmap, Clear Priorities.

A telephone press conference was held at 1pm Eastern on Jan. 30th. The speakers, as reflected in the press release above, included: Grant Smith, Senior Energy Policy Analyst, Civil Society Institute, Newton, MA; Janet Keating, Executive Director, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Huntington, WV; Tracy Carluccio, deputy director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Bristol, PA; Bob Arrington, retired mechanical engineer, board member of the Western Colorado Congress.

A streaming audio replay of this news event will be available as of 5 p.m. EST on January 30, 2014 at

Beyond Nuclear was one of the sixty groups which signed on.

Groups are still encouraged to endorse the proposed Executive Order. To do so, contact Jennifer Filiault at the Civil Society Institute: p: 617-243-3514; c: 508-648-4184;

The proposed executive order includes sections on the disastrously large amounts of water used by centralized thermal electric power plants -- including atomic reactors -- and calls for their phase out and replacement with other forms of electricity generation, such as wind power and solar photovoltaic, which use little to no water during operations. The thermal releases alone from atomic reactors have large negative impacts on surface water ecosystems, as documented in Paul and Linda Gunter's Licensed to Kill report.

Incredibly, centralized thermal electric power plants -- both nuclear and fossil fueled -- discharge two-thirds of the heat generated (whether by atom splitting, or fossil fuel combustion) as waste. That is, only one-third of the heat generated is actually converted into electricity. The waste thermal heat is then either directly released into adjacent surface water, causing significant ecosystem damage, or else released as steam via cooling towers -- often resulting in the loss of that water to the basin, as it blows away downwind.

In addition to thermal discharges to surface water and the atmosphere, operating atomic reactors also release hazardous radioactivity and toxic chemicals -- both intentionally and "routinely," with permission from the government; as well as "accidentally," as by leaks -- into surface waters, groundwater, soil, and the air, as documented in a Beyond Nuclear pamphlet and report.

Uranium mining and milling also result in toxic and radioactive releases to surface waters, including one of the worst nuclear disasters in U.S. history -- the 1979 earthen dam break, unleashing a large flood of uranium tailings into the Rio Puerco, the drinking and irrigation water supply for a large number of Navajo downstream in New Mexico.

In fact, such impacts often disproportionately harm indigenous peoples.

Another example is the aftermath of large-scale uranium mining at Elliot Lake, Ontario (again, on indigenous peoples lands -- this time, the Serpent River First Nation). Even two decades after cessation of active uranium mining and milling at Elliot Lake, the tailings "mountains" left behind are still releasing the single largest plume of hazardous radium from any point source into the Great Lakes, which serve as the drinking water supply for tens of millions of people in several U.S. states, and 2 Canadian provinces, downstream.


Fairewinds Energy Education at the Big Picture Theater

As posted by Fairewinds Energy Education on Jan. 23rd, a video recording regarding: Maggie and Arnie [Gundersen] speak at The Green Mountain Global Forum about the risks of living near one of the twenty-three US nuclear reactors that are identical to the four that exploded at Fukushima Daiichi (Mark 1 Boiling Water Reactors). The “Lake Wobegone” effect (where each community thinks their nuclear plant is better than average) convinces the 23 local communities in which there is a Mark 1 BWR that a nuclear accident couldn’t possibly happen at their nuclear reactor. The experiences at Fukushima Daiichi, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, prove that faith in nuclear safety is unfounded.


Alfred Meyer, PSR, MI speaking tour, Feb. 12-17: "Nuclear Power: What You Need to Know about Price, Pollution and Proliferation"

Alfred Meyer, PSR national board memberAlfred Meyer, member of the national board of directors of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), will present on "Nuclear Power: What You Need to Know about Price, Pollution and Proliferation" at several stops across southern Michigan between Feb. 12 to 17. Please see Alfred Meyer's bio, below.

The speaking tour will be conducted in honor of Dr. Jeffrey Patterson, Past President, PSR, who tragically died, suddenly and unexpectedly, of a heart attack on January 23rd. Please see Beyond Nuclear's In Memoriam.

Beyond Nuclear is honored and privileged to coordinate the tour, as well as co-sponsor it alongside such allies as: Sierra Club; Fountain Street Church; WMU Lee Honors College; WMU Environmental Studies program; WMU Institute of Government and Politics; Michigan Safe Energy Future (both Kalamazoo and South Haven chapters); Don't Waste Michigan; PSR Michigan Chapter; Alliance to Halt Fermi 3; and Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes.

Following are the particulars for each stop on the tour. Please print up hard copies of the flier for the event(s) nearest you, and post them in good places, as well as spread the word electronically and to your social media networks!

6:30-8:30pm, Wed., Feb. 12, Chapel, Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain Street, N.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49503 (flier); free street parking available in area after 5:00 pm, or there is a parking ramp about 3 blocks away at Pearl and Ionia;

7:00pm, Thurs., Feb. 13, WMU, Sangren Hall, Room 1910, Kalamazoo, MI (flier);

6:30-9:00pm, Fri., Feb. 14, Lake Michigan College, Rm. 141, 125 Veterans Blvd., South Haven, MI 49090 (flier);

3:00-5:00pm, Sat., Feb. 15, Ferndale Public Library, 222 E. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale, MI 48220 (flier);

1:00-3:00pm, Sun., Feb. 16, Ellis Library & Reference Center, 3700 S. Custer Rd., Monroe, MI 48161 (flier; and library e-calendar link, including link to map of library's location);

6:00-7:30pm, Mon., Feb. 17, at the Ecology Center, 339 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor 48104, hosted by Michigan Physicians for Social Responsibility (flier).

Alfred Meyer's bio:

Alfred Meyer is a social activist who serves on the board of directors of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), and Co-Chairs the Radiation and Health Committee.  Based in Washington, D.C., PSR is a U.S. non-profit organization that advocates for the public health by addressing policies regarding nuclear weapons, nuclear power, nuclear waste, climate change and toxic chemicals.

Mr. Meyer is active in New York City, networking PSR with other groups and efforts regarding the ongoing nuclear disaster at Fukushima Dai-ichi in Japan, the United Nations’ response to Fukushima, and efforts to close the nearby reactors at Entergy’s Indian Point nuclear power plant on the Hudson.

Additionally, Mr. Meyer is Past-President and Secretary of the board of Friends of Chernobyl Centers U.S., which works with Chernobyl Centers for Psycho-Social Rehabilitation in five Ukrainian communities greatly affected by the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe, that began on April 26, 1986.  He has visited the community centers and the reactor site in Ukraine.

He has also been the Program Director for the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability in Washington DC, Executive Director of PSR Wisconsin, and Chair of the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice.