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.



April 4, 2018: Beyond Nuclear on Sputnik Radio's Loud & Clear

Loud & Clear's write up:

Wednesday is the regular segment looking at nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Today is focused on the potential shutdown of several reactors in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, joins the show.

Beyond Nuclear segment:

The full show is here:


FirstEnergy announces four reactor closures, scheduled for 2020 and 2021

Photo showing Davis-Besse's cracked concrete containment Shield Building, as well as its cooling tower, with the waters of Lake Erie immediately to the north.On the 39th annual commemoration of the beginning of the Three Mile Unit 2 meltdown (March 28, 1979 to March 28, 2018), FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC) issued a press release announcing its schedule for permanent shutdowns of four atomic reactors in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

FENOC announced:

The plants scheduled for retirement are:

  • Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station (908 MW) in Oak Harbor, Ohio, in 2020 [see photo, left]
  • Beaver Valley Power Station (1,872 MW) in Shippingport, Pa.,
    in 2021
  • Perry Nuclear Power Plant (1,268 MW) in Perry, Ohio, in 2021

However, FENOC added:

In the interim, the plants will continue normal operations, as FES [FirstEnergy Solutions] seeks legislative policy solutions as an alternative to deactivation or sale. (emphasis added)

Thus, it seems clear that FirstEnergy has not given up on its efforts of many years, and counting, to secure massive bailouts, at public expense, to prop up its economically failed (and ever more risky, due to age-related degradation) atomic reactors. FirstEnergy has been very active, for many long years already, at both the State of Ohio and the federal level, in seeking such subsidies, at ratepayer and/or taxpayer expense. Fortunately, they have not succeeded -- not yet anyway. 

Tellingly, FirstEnergy included the following nuclear-related subject matter in its "Forward-Looking Statements" legal fine print at the bottom of the press release:

...adverse regulatory or legal decisions and outcomes with respect to our nuclear operations (including, but not limited to, the revocation or non-renewal of necessary licenses, approvals or operating permits by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or as a result of the incident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant); issues arising from the indications of cracking in the shield building at Davis-Besse; changing market conditions that could affect the measurement of certain liabilities and the value of assets held in our Nuclear Decommissioning Trusts, pension trusts and other trust funds, and cause us and/or our subsidiaries to make additional contributions sooner, or in amounts that are larger than currently anticipated...(emphasis added)

Beyond Nuclear helped lead the watch-dogging campaign on Davis-Besse's concrete containment Shield Building cracking. From 2011, when the cracking was first revealed, and continuing for several long years, Beyond Nuclear introduced multiple cracking-related contentions opposing Davis-Besse's 2017-2037 license extension. See the comprehensive backgrounder on the cracking prepared by Beyond Nuclear in August 2012, early in the course of the cracking related legal work.

Beyond Nuclear was allied with local grassroots groups, including the Green Party of Ohio, Don't Waste Michigan, and Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, in the legal intervention against Davis-Besse's license extension. Toledo attorney Terry Lodge served as legal counsel for Beyond Nuclear and the environmental coalition. (This also included a challenge against Davis-Besse's risky replacement steam generators, in which the Ohio Sierra Club Nuclear-Free Committee, and expert witness Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer at Fairewinds Associates, joined the coalition's legal opposition to Davis-Besse risks.)

 However, the complicit and colluding Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and its kangaroo court Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, rubber-stamped the 20-year license extension in late 2015, regardless of the safety significance of the cracking.

Watchdogs must remain vigilant against FirstEnergy's still ongoing lobbying for massive bailouts, to prop up its four failing atomic reactors in OH and PA. The reactors should be permanently shutdown ASAP, given the ever increasing age-related degradation safety risks.


Beyond Nuclear and Los Alamos Study Group on Sputnik's Loud & Clear

Loud & Clear on Sputnik International, with Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, now host a regular segment every Wednesday, looking at nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Greg Mello, the executive director of the Los Alamos Study Group, and Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, join the show as the weekly guests. See below for links to audio recordings and write ups of the first two of these weekly half-hour segments, and watch for us on Wednesdays to come:
March 14, 2018:

March 7, 2018:
Today is the first day of a regular segment looking at nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Greg Mello, the executive director of the Los Alamos Study Group, and Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, join the show.

Why Trump might bend nuclear security rules to help Saudi Arabia build reactors in the desert

As report by Steven Mufson in the Washington Post.

The article quotes a number of voices skeptical of the nuclear weapons proliferation risks a nuclear power program in the Middle East would represent:

Henry Sokolski, the executive director of the nonprofit Nonproliferation Policy Education Center who served in President George H.W. Bush’s Pentagon, asked, “How do we feel about the stability of the kingdom? The reactors are bolted to the ground for a minimum of 40 years and a maximum of 80 years. That’s enough for the whole world to change.”

...Many experts on Saudi Arabia say the kingdom wants its own program to deter or counterbalance Iran. “I think part of it is keeping up with the Iranians and trying to build up a nuclear infrastructure that could be turned into weapons capability,” Gause said. [F. Gregory Gause is a professor of international affairs at Texas A&M University.]

...“We have a tendency to use nukes as a way of ingratiating ourselves with countries around the world and then we get into a negotiation of whether there are safeguards,” said Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.). “I think ultimately it’s going to come back to haunt us.”

...Saudi Arabia “would like us to cave to some degree on some elements of the 123 agreement,” said Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. But, he added, “the fewer Mideast nuclear weapons states, the better. And the fewer nondemocratic nuclear states, the better. And the fewer states where I can’t predict 10 years down the road what their attitudes will be toward the United States, the fewer of those countries that have nuclear weapons the better.”


Nuclear power could END this history of southwest Michigan

In an article by Alexandra Newman in the St. Joe-Benton Harbor Herald-Palladium entitled "How nuclear power became a Southwest Michigan powerhouse," the following section quotes Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps (who is from s.w. MI, and has served as a board member of the statewide anti-nuclear group Don't Waste MI since 1992, representing his hometown Kalamazoo chapter):

A history of opposition

Kevin Kamps, of the anti-nuclear group Beyond Nuclear, said long before he joined the anti-nuclear effort in 1992, grassroots activists were fighting against Palisades and Cook.

“I had mentors that opposed, at least Palisades, before construction even began,” he said. “Sandy Adams told me of her times gathering signatures on petitions and a local man, Maynard Koffman, started very early opposing the plant. You hear a lot of stories like that.”

Kamps said Mary Sinclair, who died in 2011, was a prominent anti-nuclear activist in the state who got her start opposing nuclear power when original owner Consumers Power announced its intention to build the Palisades plant.

Kamps said people like him still fight against nuclear power because of all the risks involved. He claims, for example, that Palisades has one of the most embrittled reactors in the country; Cook’s design is weak and small, making it uncertain that if an accident happened, whether the containment system would actually contain it; they both have very problematic dry cask storage systems; and they pose huge risks to Lake Michigan.

“What these risks represent is the ending of history in Southwest Michigan if areas have to be evacuated because of some sort of accident,” Kamps said. “It has only happened a handful of times, but it does happen. They’re playing nuclear Russian roulette. Energy can be created in much safer ways.”