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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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Thursday
Oct182012

People power pressure against Entergy intensifies nationwide

Entergy Nuclear's ironic motto, "The Power of People" (see left), has backfired, with concerted pressure intensifying against its dirty dozen atomic reactors across the country. In New York, hearings have begun on the State's and environmental groups' opposition to Indian Point's license extensions; the Alliance for a Green Economy and Beyond Nuclear have followed up their emergency enforcement petition with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request against the FitzPatrick Mark I; and Beyond Nuclear has been invited to speak in Stony Point on October 21st, and on Long Island on October 27th. A lawsuit has been launched against the Pilgrim Mark I near Boston, objecting to Entergy's impacts on Cape Cod Bay. And at Vermont Yankee, the drum beat of citizen actions continues, as oral arguments at the federal court of appeals against the Mark I's extended operations are scheduled for next month.

Thursday
Oct182012

NRC ASLB oral argument pre-hearings on Davis-Besse license extension, Nov. 5 & 6, Toledo

Nuclear Regulatory Commission photos taken in late 2011 show the laminar subsurface cracking (left) at the Shield Building and core bore samples from the Shield Building. Despite the severe cracking, NRC Staff has strenuously opposed the environmental coalition's attempts to raise the issue in the license extension proceedings.The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Atomic Safety (sic) and Licensing Board (ASLB) panel presiding over the Davis-Besse atomic reactor license extension proceeding has ordered oral argument pre-hearings at the Common Pleas Courtroom in the Lucas County Courthouse, located at 700 Adams Street in downtown Toledo, Ohio, to be held from 9 AM to 4:30 PM on Monday, November 5th and Tuesday, November 6th (yes, Election Day!).

Beyond Nuclear, along with Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Green Party of Ohio, represented by Toledo attorney Terry Lodge, launched an official intervention against Davis-Besse's 20 year license extension on December 27, 2010. At these oral argument pre-hearings, the environmental coalition will strive to fend off FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company's (FENOC) and NRC Staff's attempts to gut their Severe Accident Mitigation Alternatives (SAMA) analyses contention, which alleges that FENOC's SAMA models significantly underestimate the casualties and costs of a catastrophic radioactivity release from Davis-Besse.

The coalition will also argue for a hearing on the merits of its concrete containment cracking contention, first filed on January 10, 2012, and supplememted numerous times this year based on new revelations contained in FENOC and NRC documents, including those made public by a Beyond Nuclear Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

Members of the public and news media reporters are encouraged to attend these critical oral argument pre-hearings. But, as the ASLB itself has noted: "We recognize that November 6 is Election Day. We encourage those who will have to travel out-of-town to attend this oral argument to vote early if their jurisdiction permits or to request an absentee ballot."

Wednesday
Oct172012

Beyond Nuclear FOIA on Davis-Besse containment cracking cited in paint and coatings industry newsletter

Nuclear Regulatory Commission photos taken in late 2011 show the laminar subsurface cracking (left) at the Shield Building and core bore samples from the Shield Building.Paintsquare, a paint and coatings industry newsletter, has reported on the revelations of dubious structural integrity at the Davis-Besse atomic reactor's concrete and steel reinforced shield building, due to a decision made in the late 1960s to not weather seal the containment structure's 100,000 square foot exterior. FirstEnergy Nuclear blames the Blizzard of 1978 for the cracking, a charge that Beyond Nuclear has dubbed a "snow job." The article cites Beyond Nuclear's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, which brought previously unpublished internal U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission safety staff emails to light, which question the very structural integrity of the shield building, due to the extensive cracking supposedly first discovered a year ago. 

An earlier Paintsquare article reports on FirstEnergy's 2,500 gallon "white wash" of the problem -- the application, 40 years too late, of three coats of Sherwin-Williams’ Loxon off-white paint within the past couple months. The article reported:

"Environmentalists who are now fighting a 20-year extension of the plant’s operating license say the new coating does not allay their concerns.

The groups, including Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, and Don't Waste Michigan, have urged regulators to deny the renewal for Davis-Besse when its license expires in 2017.

'I'm not at all comforted that they discovered an error that never should have happened to the most expensive and safety-significant building on the site,' said Terry Lodge, a Toledo attorney representing the coalition.

Added Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear, 'It's 40 years too late. Weather sealant will not fix the cracks that are there.'"

Wednesday
Oct172012

"Regulators should begin decommissioning the Palisades Nuclear Plant"

NRC file photo of Palisades atomic reactorMark Muhich, a Jackson County resident and chairman of the Central Michigan Group of the Sierra Club, has published a column by the title above at the Jackson Citizen Patriot/MLive. Muhich begins his column:

"The Palisades Nuclear Plant bordering Michigan’s Van Buren State Park squats menacingly between high sand dunes and pristine Lake Michigan waves. Palisades rates as one of the three most dangerous nuclear plants in the U.S., out of 120 total nuclear plants. In the past two years Palisades has suffered more than two dozen serious breaches of safety protocol and seven complete shutdowns. A catastrophe at Palisades could kill tens of thousands of people and destroy more than $116 billion in property.

How could the Nuclear Regulatory Commission need more evidence for decommissioning Palisades? Is there a reason why more than half the serious accidents at nuclear facilities worldwide have occurred in the U.S? The General Accounting Office, Office of the Inspector General and the Union of Concerned Scientists all find the NRC’s “enforcement of existing regulations inadequate.” Does the NRC regulate the nuclear industry, or promote it? An independent inspection team, Conyer-Elsea, found “a lack of accountability at all levels at Palisades.” Is the NRC waiting for Chernobyl 2?..."

Wednesday
Oct032012

Great Lakes events in resistance to uranium fuel chain, atomic reactor & radioactive waste risks

The Great Lakes comprises 20% of the world's surface fresh water, providing drinking water to 40 million people downstream in the U.S., Canada, and a large number of Native American First NationsFrom the "Nuclear Labyrinth" conference in Huron, OH Oct. 4-6, to an Oct. 11 "Entergy Nuclear Watch" presentation in Kalamazoo, Michigan (bridging resistance from Vermont Yankee to Palisades), to"A Mountain of Radioactive Waste 70 Years High" summit in Chicago Dec. 1-3, strong resistance to the uranium fuel chain in the Great Lakes is building! Beyond Nuclear is proud and honored to be a co-sponsor and active participant in all three events.