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Nuclear Reactors

The nuclear industry is more than 50 years old. Its history is replete with a colossal financial disaster and a multitude of near-misses and catastrophic accidents like Three Mile Island and Chornobyl. Beyond Nuclear works to expose the risks and dangers posed by an aging and deteriorating reactor industry and the unproven designs being proposed for new construction.

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Monday
Jan042016

SNL: "Palisades plant critics vow to continue fight over 'thermal shock' issue" (risks extend to Pt. Beach, Indian Pt., Diablo, & Beaver Valley)

Entergy's Palisades atomic reactor, located on the Lake Michigan shoreline in southwest Michigan.SNL Financial has published an in-depth investigative article by Matthew Bandyk, "Palisades nuclear plant critics vow to continue fight over 'thermal shock' issue."

The article revealed that Palisades' previous owner, Consumers Energy, had planned to attempt to repair the severely neutron radiation embrittled reactor pressure vessel (RPV), by undertaking experimental, expensive annealing (super-heating the metal in an attempt to restore ductility) in the late 1990s, but decided not to, for fear of public backlash and/or legal intervention against the needed License Amendment Request. More.

Sunday
Dec062015

Entergy's Indian Point 2 shut down after electricity loss to control rods

Entergy's Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, on the Hudson River in Westchester County, NY, near New York CityAs reported by ZeroHedge, Entergy Nuclear has announced that a power loss to control rods led to the shutdown of its Unit 2 atomic reactor at the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant on the Hudson River in Westchester County, NY, near New York City. Entergy stated "The cause of the loss of power to the control rods is being investigated."

In a statement, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said "The company reports that there was no radioactivity released to the environment. I have directed the Department of Public Service to investigate and monitor the situation and a team is currently en route to Indian Point to begin its work."

Last May, after a transformer fire at Indian Point led to a large oil spill into the river, Gov. Cuomo travelled to the scene, and held a press conference at the nuclear plant within hours of the accident. His administration is taking many actions in opposition to a 20-year license extension at Indian Point, including: challenging Entergy's application before a Nuclear Regulatory Commission Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel for the past eight years (the record for the longest contested such proceeding); challenging irradiated nuclear fuel generation at Indian Point, as a lead plaintiff in the New York v. NRC II legal appeal against NRC's "Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel" policies (formerly called "Nuclear Waste Confidence," a lawsuit to which Beyond Nuclear is also a party); and requiring Indian Point to install cooling towers, at a cost of hundreds of millions or billions of dollars, in order to protect the Hudson River ecosystem from massive thermal pollution, and other harm upon the aquatic life.

Ironically enough, just as the May transformer fire took place just days after an anti-nuclear event held a few miles from Indian Point at the Stony Point Center, last night's incident occurred on the eve of the "Building our Energy Future Activist Training," sponsored by Hudson Sloop Clearwater and Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, at Stony Point Center.

Friday
Dec042015

Decreasing economies of scale put pressure on remaining Entergy Nuclear merchant reactors

Entergy's Indian Point nuclear power plant, on the Hudson River near New York City.As reported by Syracuse.com, Entergy Nuclear's top executive in charge of its fleet of merchant nuclear power plants, William Mohl, has admitted that its remaining atomic reactors are under increasing pressure, due to loss of economies of scale:

"We don't have any immediate plans (to change direction) on Indian Point, but you start to have to think about what will you do down the road if you have a single asset in the Northeast,'' he said. "You just have less economies of scale. We're looking at that and what we need to do in that regard.''

Although his context was Entergy's two unit Indian Point nuclear power plant near New York City, in light of Entergy's recent rapid-fire decisions to close FitzPatrick in upstate NY (as early as a year from now, but hopefully sooner), and Pilgrim in MA (in mid-2019, but hopefully sooner), the same logic applies at Entergy's age-degraded, problem-plagued Palisades atomic reactor in MI as well. More.

Wednesday
Dec022015

Beyond Nuclear blasts billion dollar Davis-Besse bailout as "Faustian fission" due to cracked containment risks

"Burning money" graphic by Gene Case of Avenging Angels.Beyond Nuclear has published a media release in response to FirstEnergy and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Staff announcing a settlement agreement for an eight-year, nearly $4 billion ratepayer bailout to prop up the utility's uncompetitive Davis-Besse atomic reactor, as well as a number of coal burning power plants. (See the Word version of Beyond Nuclear's media release, for live links.)

Beyond Nuclear's Radioactive Waste Watchdog also submitted a letter to the editor to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, opposing the bailout, and calling for Davis-Bess'e permanent shutdown. More.

Thursday
Nov122015

State of NY denies Entergy coastal management permit, blow to Indian Point's license extension prospects

Entergy's Indian Point reactors on the Hudson River near New York CityAs reported by the Associated Press, the State of New York Secretary of State has denied a coastal management certificate to Entergy Nuclear, for its twin reactor Indian Point nuclear power plant near New York City. The Secretary of State, Cesar Perales's, decision is the latest blow to Entergy's application for 20-year license extensions.

As reported: "For over 40 years, Entergy's Indian Point nuclear facilities have been damaging the coastal resources of the Hudson River estuary," the state agency wrote. That includes 2.5 [billion gallons] of water withdrawn daily from the Hudson for cooling that kills an estimated 1 billion larvae, small fish and other organisms annually.

Beyond Nuclear has reported on Indian Point's impacts on the Hudson, in its Licensed to Kill report.

Entergy could build cooling towers to mitigate such impacts on the Hudson, but refuses to make the investment, despite Indian Point's nearly $1.5 million per day in net profits from electricity sales.

Indian Point 2's initial 40-year operating license expired in 2013. Indian Point 3's license expires next month. But NRC's loose rules allow both units to continue operating, until NRC's final decision on the license extension is made. Already, the Indian Point license extension proceeding, begun in 2007, is the longest lasting in U.S. history. Hearings will resume this week, including intervenor Riverkeeper.