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 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.


Victory in Missouri as AmerenUE cancels plans to build new reactor

"A large plant would be difficult to finance under the best of conditions, but in today's credit constrained markets, without supportive state energy policies, we believe getting financial backing for these projects is impossible." AmerenUE statement.

AmerenUE has announced that it has canceled its plans to build a new 1,600 megawatt-electric French Areva "Evolutionary Power Reactor" at its Callaway nuclear power plant in central Missouri. The project’s biggest stumbling block was Missouri's anti-CWIP law. "Construction Work in Progress" (CWIP) allows a nuclear utility to recover the construction costs of a reactor before the reactor actually operates. Ratepayers pay this cost through their current electricity bill even though the reactor has not produced any power. Like federal taxpayer loan guarantees, CWIP is a way to overcome private investors' wise aversion to the large financial risks of new reactor loans.

In 1976, Beyond Nuclear board member Kay Drey helped lead a state-wide ballot measure barring CWIP in Missouri which passed by 2 to 1 margin. Nuclear industry efforts to overturn the anti-CWIP law in Missouri have failed, leading to the nuclear utility's announcement that it has cancelled its new reactor proposal.


Rusty bubble found at Beaver Valley reactor

During a recent visual inspection inside the Beaver Valle Unit 1 reactor containment building, a rusty-colored bubble was discovered under the protective painting coating on the inside wall of the steel liner to the thick concrete containment.


FERC Chair says "no" to nuclear and coal

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman, Jon Wellinghoff, has declared that no new coal or nuclear plants may ever be needed in the U.S. "We may not need any, ever," he said. Wellinghoff said he believed renewable energy could meet baseload capacity and future energy demands and that nuclear and coal were simply too expensive. Read more here.


Beyond Nuclear and allies defend contentions against new proposed reactor on Great Lakes Shoreline 

On April 10, a bi-national environmental coalition comprised of Beyond Nuclear, Citizens fo Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Sierra Club defended its contentions against Detroit Edison's proposed new Fermi 3 atomic reactor targeted at the Lake Erie shoreline in Southeastern Michigan. The coalition's April 10th filing rebutted challenges raised by the NRC Staff as well as Detroit Edison, which sought to disqualify their concerns from any further consideration. In its filing, the coalition re-asserted its objections to Fermi 3's radioactive, toxic, and thermal impacts on Lake Erie's very shallow and vulnerable western basin. The coalition's contentions emphasized the cumulative damage already occurring in the Great Lakes due to the presence of 33 operating atomic reactors, and dozens of additional coal fired power plants. These include Detroit Edison's Fermi 2 atomic reactor and Monroe Power Plant (one of the largest coal burners in North America), Consumers Energy's Whiting Coal Plant, and First Energy's Davis-Besse atomic reactor and Bay Shore (Coal) Plant near Toledo. Read the coalition's defense of its contentions here. Read the media release here.