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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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Friday
Sep282012

Congressman Kucinich objects to whitewash of Davis-Besse containment cracking

U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)On Thursday, September 20th, U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinch (D-OH, pictured left) sponsored a congressional briefing on Capitol Hill during the Coalition Against Nukes events in Washington, D.C. Rep. Kucinich thanked those gathered for working on an issue "that is bigger than all of us." During his talk, he focused on the whitewash, by FirstEnergy and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, of containment cracking at the Davis-Besse atomic reactor, just upwind of his congressional district on northern Ohio's Lake Erie shoreline, as representative of the dangerous state of decay of the nuclear power industry in the U.S. And he had some kind words for Beyond Nuclear: "...I want to thank my friends at Beyond Nuclear like Kevin Kamps who have been doing a fantastic job at citizen oversight over Davis-Besse."

Later that same night, Rep. Kucinich helped lead the successful effort to block H.R. 5987, which proposed creating a new national park to glorify the Manhattan Project, which culminated with the August 1945 dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians.

At an NRC review meeting in Painesville, OH on Sept. 26 regarding FirstEnergy's entire nuclear fleet, Rep. Kucinich lambasted safety lapses at not only Davis-Besse, but also Perry nuclear power plant northeast of Cleveland. He asked: "Why does the NRC think FirstEnergy’s past record justifies an extension of their current operating licenses at their nuclear power plants?” As he had done at a U.S. House hearing in December 2011, Rep. Kucinich submitted for the record a Beyond Nuclear report documenting Davis-Besse's numerous near-disasters.

Wednesday
Sep262012

Entergy & NRC Watchers needed at NRC meeting on Palisades' CRDM through-wall leakage

Entergy Nuclear's problem-plagued Palisades atomic reactor, located on the southeastern shore of Lake Michigan, in Covert, MIThe U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has announced a public meeting, to be held on Monday, October 1st from 1-2 PM Central time (2-3 PM Eastern time) at its Lisle, IL Region 3 office near Chicago, regarding the through-wall leakage of radioactive and acidic primary coolant water from the Palisades atomic reactor's Control Rod Drive Mechanism (CRDM).

If you can attend the meeting in person, please do. However, NRC is making Webinar and even call-in participation possible, for those unable to attend in person. Contact NRC Region 3 Staffer Swetha Shah by Saturday, September 29th for more information on how to participate at (630) 829-9608 or Swetha.Shah@nrc.gov.

You can also "reserve a seat" at the Webinar by signing up at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/977718426. Again, do so by Sat., Sept. 29th.

NRC will then send a confirmation email, giving additional information about the option to "Use Telephone" if you prefer, rather than Webinar. Call-in numbers and access codes will be provided. More.

Monday
Sep172012

NRC "supplemental inspection" begins at Palisades

The panel at Paisades' control room involved in the Sept. 25, 2011 accident, which NRC concluded was of "substantial significance to safety"As reported by the Associated Press, an eight member "supplemental inspection team" from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) began two weeks of work today at Entergy Nuclear's problem-plagued Palisades atomic reactor in Covert, Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. Last Valentine's Day, NRC lowered Palisades' safety status to among the four worst-run reactors in the U.S. This came after a September 25, 2011 near-electrocution, caused by short cuts on safety, that plunged half the control room into a power outage, instantly throwing 22 safety related plant systems into chaos. Age-degraded systems, structures, and components were strained to the breaking point, risking multiple potential pathways to loss of coolant accident in the reactor core, as control room operators took hours to bring the situation under control. NRC allowed Entergy to tell it when it was ready for this special inspection. Entergy took over seven months to prepare itself. More.

Saturday
Sep152012

SAMA contention defended, resistance to Davis-Besse license extension continues

Environmental coalition attorney Terry Lodge of Toledo speaks at an August 9th press conference at Oak Harbor High School in Ohio, prior to an NRC meeting about Davis-Besse's severely cracked shield buildingOn Sept. 14th, environmental coalition attorney, Toledo-based Terry Lodge (photo, left), filed a rebuttal against FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company's (FENOC) Motion for Summary Dismissal (MSD) of an intervention contention challenging the Davis-Besse atomic reactor's Severe Accident Mitigation Alernatives (SAMA) analyses.

FENOC recently admitted that it had made five major errors in its original SAMA analyses, including getting wind directions 180 degrees wrong; undervaluing Ohio farmland and urban property values; and underestimating the amount of hazardous radioactivity that could escape into the environment during a meltdown at Davis-Besse, as well as the land area that could become contaminated.

The heart of the environmental coalition's defense of its contention involves the severe cracking of Davis-Besse's outer concrete, steel reinforced shield building, as well as significant corrosion of its inner steel containment vessel. The environmental Intervenors charge that FENOC's SAMA analyses are fatally flawed, for they ignore the questionable structural integrity of Davis-Besse's containment structures, which could fail under even small loads, such as mild earthquakes, or meltdown conditions (high temperatures and pressures, which the shield building was never even designed to withstand when brand new, let alone severely cracked).

The ASLB has indicated it will hold oral argument pre-hearings in the vicinity of Davis-Besse in early November, at which the environmental coalition will defend not only its SAMA contention, but also its shield building cracking contention. More.

Saturday
Sep152012

Palisades a catastrophe waiting to happen, must be shutdown before it melts down

Photo Credit: Steve Carmody/Michigan RadioA strong turn out of concerned local residents and representatives of environmental groups, including Beyond Nuclear, calling for the shutdown of Entergy's Palisades atomic reactor in southwest Michigan, has generated extensive local media coverage. In the photo at left, longtime grassroots anti-nuclear watchdog Catharine Sugas asks the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) “If you can’t shut down a plant that’s dangerous…what are you? How can you keep a plant going that’s obviously dangerous?”