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.



Beyond Nuclear slams GE-Hitachi ESBWR design for QA violations at Fermi 3

Beyond Nuclear -- in coalition with Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Citizens Environmental Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don’t Waste Michigan, and the Michigan Chapter of the Sierra Club -- has filed its 16th contention in the Fermi 3 new reactor proceeding before an NRC licensing board challenging the quality assurance violations associated with General Electric-Hitachi's "Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor" design. The coalition has called for the new reactor licensing proceeding to be suspended until QA on the ESBWR design can be assured. As expressed in the Beyond Nuclear media release, the QA violations surrounding Fermi 3 are three-fold: QA failures on Detroit Edison's combined Construction and Operating License Application (COLA), QA failures on General Electric-Hitachi's ESBWR design, and QA regulatory oversight failures by NRC staff itself. Beyond Nuclear's "Nuclear Reactors" website section shows the original Nov. 6 QA contention filing against Fermi 3, as well as the initial overall intervention launched on March 9, 2009. (Pictured, Terry Lodge, attorney working on behalf of the coalition.)


Quality assurance violations lead to yet another contention against Fermi 3 new reactor

On Nov. 6, 2009, Beyond Nuclear and a coalition of environmental groups filed yet another contention against the proposed Fermi 3 reactor with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Atomic Safety and Licensing Board on November 6th. Based on NRC notices to Detroit Edison, the coalition charged that Fermi 3's combined Construction and Operating License Application (COLA) is premature, given its utter lack of quality assurance, and should be suspended. Beyond Nuclear's press release, alleging that Fermi 3's COLA is built upon a foundation of sand, led to Monroe Evening News coverage. On Dec. 1, 2009, Detroit Edison and NRC both responded to our contention, in opposition to it.


Beyond Nuclear Slams Entergy Nuclear CEO’s Compensation as Needed Safety Fixes Go Undone at Palisades

In light of important revelations made by the Brattleboro Reformer, Beyond Nuclear issued a press release contrasting Entergy Nuclear CEO J. Wayne Leonard's exorbitant compensation package with long delayed, and even cancelled, vital safety repairs needed at Entergy's Palisades nuclear power plant in Michigan.



Document shows NRC did not enforce testing for reactor leaks

More radioactive leaks from reactors like Dresden, Oyster Creek, Vermont Yankee and Indian Point are calling attention to a largely ignored Nuclear Regulatory Commission document dating back to 1979 when the agency first asked operators to periodically inspect pipes and tanks to prevent uncontrolled leaks. Reactor operators are not inspecting the miles of buried and corroding pipes and tanks. NRC is instead allowing reactors a "leak first, fix later" approach rather than use preventive inspections to maintain integrity of these radioactive waste management systems through preventive inspections. In addition to frequent intentional radioactive releases, these accidental and unmonitored spills and leaks onsite are contaminating water resources away from the reactors, jeopardizing public health. The October 19, 1979 NRC technical circular entitled "Prevention of Unplanned Releases of Radioactivity" advises the nuclear industry to periodically inspect buried pipes specifically using hydrostatic testing equipment and procedures with the focus on the "prevention" of uncontrolled and unmonitored radioactive release pathways.


Beyond Nuclear challenges new reactor & old waste at Fermi, Michigan

Regarding the new reactor proposed at Fermi nuclear power plant, on July 31, 2009, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission Atomic Safety and Licensing Board admitted four of the fourteen contentions Beyond Nuclear and its allies submitted opposing the Fermi 3 new reactor proposal in Monroe, Michigan on the Lake Erie shoreline. Beyond Nuclear's fourteen contentions had been filed on March 9, 2009. There was extensive media coverage of Beyond Nuclear's opposition to the Fermi 3 new reactor.

Regarding "old waste" at Fermi, on August 31, 2009, Beyond Nuclear appealed to the NRC to reconsider an ASLB ruling rejecting our standing to intervene against dry cask storage of high-level radioactive waste at the 21-year-old Fermi 2 reactor. On August 21, 2009, the ASLB had rejected our standing, thus dismissing our intervention request for a hearing on the merits of our concerns. Beyond Nuclear's initial intervention, detailing security-related concerns regarding dry cask storage of high-level radioactive waste at Fermi 2 on the Lake Erie shore, was filed on May 7, 2009. See Detroit Edison's and NRC Staff's June 1st challenges to Beyond Nuclear's intervention here. Beyond Nuclear responded to those challenges on June 9th.

On Sept. 3rd, the Monroe Evening News reported on the ASLB's adverse ruling on Beyond Nuclear's intervention. But on Sept. 6th, the Monroe Evening News published an editorial supportive of Beyond Nuclear's efforts to increase security at Fermi 2's imminent dry cask storage facility.