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.



Environmental coalition bolsters case against Davis-Besse's cracked concrete containment

An NRC inspector investigates cracks in Davis-Besse's shield building shortly after they were announced last OctoberThe environmental coalition battling against the 20 year license extension proposed at the problem-plagued Davis-Besse atomic reactor near Toledo, Ohio has filed a supplement to its cracked concrete containment contention.FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company first admitted its concrete shield building, an integral part of its radiological containment, was cracked in October 2011. This most recent filing cites FENOC's own May 16, 2012 revised root cause analysis report to highlight multiple forms of cracking and other degradation across the shield building, rather than the nuclear utility's preference to exclusively focus on sub-surface laminar cracking at the outer steel reinforcement layer. FENOC blames those cracks on the Blizzard of 1978, and the fact that the shield building, the most safety significant concrete structure on site, was never weather sealed, even though its own dome, and other less safety significant concrete buildings, were sealed. The coalition has revealed that FENOC's revised root cause analysis report admits for the first time in 36 years that cracking was observed on the shield building dome in August 1976, nearly a year and a half before the Blizzard of 1978. The intervening groups, including Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Green Party of Ohio, is represented by Toledo attorney Terry Lodge.


Beyond Nuclear files Nuke Waste Con Game contentions against 4 atomic reactors

In this photo by Gabriela Bulisova, Yucca Mountain, NV is shown framed by a Western Shoshone Indian ceremonial sweat lodge. Yucca served as the "illusion of a solution" for the radioactive waste problem for 25 years. But the Obama administration wisely canceled it. This pulled the rug out from under NRC's "confidence" that a repository could be opened in the near future.Beyond Nuclear has filed intervention contentions against a total of four atomic reactors (proposed new reactors at Grand Gulf Unit 3, MS and Fermi Unit 3, MI seeking construction and operating licenses, as well as degraded old reactors at Grand Gulf Unit 1, MS and Davis-Besse Unit 1, OH seeking 20 year license extensions) based on a recent U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruling gutting the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) "Nuclear Waste Confidence Decision."

That confidence game has been used against states, environmental groups, and concerned citizens for decades, blocking them from challening the generation of high-level radioactive waste in atomc reactor licensing proceedings, as the NRC has flippantly expressed "confidence" that storage on-site was safe for decades or even centuries, and that a geologic repository for permanently disposing of irradiated nuclear fuel was just over the horizon -- despite mounting evidence to the contrary.



Kucinich on House floor: "How long before FirstEnergy's 34 year snow job is fully exposed?" at Davis-Besse

U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today took to the House floor to protest FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company's claim that the Blizzard of 1978 caused the widespread, severe cracking in the Davis-Besse atomic reactor's concrete shield building. Kucinich asked "Can they be believed when they claim a snow storm 34 years ago created cracks that appear today? Are buildings all over northern Ohio falling apart today because of the blizzard of '78? Or is this just another in a series of desperate lies used keep a plant going that should either be shut down or massively repaired? How long before FirstEnergy's 34 year snow job is fully exposed?" Kucinich put out a media release, with links to the video of his House floor statement. 

The Toledo Blade reports that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has accepted FENOC's "Snow Job" as the root cause explanation for the cracking at Davis-Besse, despite its own staff's tough questioning of FENOC's original root cause analysis report on Feb. 28th.

Beyond Nuclear has issued a press release.


Dr. Judith H. Johnsrud receives national Sierra Club Award

This quilt Judy is admiring was created by textile artist Margaret Gregg of Virginia, and was given to her on May 4th by the Sierra Club "No Nukes Activist Team" in honor of her 50 years of anti-nuclear leadership. It reads "JUDITH: PROTECTING LIFE FOREVER."Leon Glicenstein, a life-long friend and supporter of Dr. Judith H. Johnsrud, has written an article for the Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter's Summer 2012 newsletter The Sylvanian about the national Sierra Club and the Sierra Club "No Nukes Activist Team" recognition ceremony, held May 4th in Takoma Park, Maryland, honoring Judy's half-century of anti-nuclear leadership not only locally, regionally, and nationally, but even globally. Judy is a founding board member of Beyond Nuclear. Included in Leon's article is a partial list of anti-nuclear victories Judy helped win in her home state of Pennsylvania alone. These have included:

The Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor in Meshoppen, PA defeated;

Energy Parks defeated (ten candidate sites: 20,000 megawatts, 10 coal plants an 10 nuclear power reactors);

Quehanna decommissioned: aircraft engine, Penn State reactor;

The Newbold Island Reactor defeated;

Fulton 1 & 2 reactors canceled;

Waltz Mill reactor accident clean-up, decommissioned;

Saxton Experimental reactor decommissioned.

In addition, Judy helped lead interventions against the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant, both before and after its meltdown in 1979.

Beyond Nuclear posted a tribute to Judy shortly after the ceremony, which includes more photos of the presentation of her quilt (see photo, left), as well as links to writings by Judy, such as her brief history of the Environmental Coalition on Nuclear Pollution, which she founded and led for many decades.


Declaration of Independence from proposed Fermi 3 new atomic reactor: "No indoctrination without representation!" regarding Fermi 1 meltdown history 

A cover on the 1975 non-fiction book by John G. Fuller, "We Almost Lost Detroit," about the meltdown at the Fermi 1 experimental plutonium breeder reactor in Monroe, MichiganBeyond Nuclear and its allies in the intervention against the proposed new Fermi 3 atomic reactor in Monroe, Michigan have filed their 25th contention opposing the proposed new atomic reactor, citing a violation of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). NRC, Detroit Edison and the State of Michigan have finalized a NHPA mitigation Memorandum of Agreement about the demolition of the Fermi 1 containment shell, despite its inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, in order to make room for the construction of Fermi 3, a General Electric-Hitachi so-called "Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor" (ESBWR) . However, the decisions were made without even notifying -- let alone involving -- the public, a violation of NHPA. The coalition has issued a media release.

The intervenors have cited Atomic Energy Commission,Nuclear Power Development Corporation (Dow Chemical, Detroit Edison, et al.), U.S. congressional testimony, anddocumentation on how close the Fermi 1 meltdown of October 5, 1966 came to a "terrifying," catastrophic radioactivity release. The coalition's attorney, Terry Lodge of Toledo, has argued that the Fermi 1 archive must include documentation of the experimental plutonium breeder reactor's original goal of generating weapons-grade plutonium for U.S. hydrogen bombs, as well as materials for radiological ("dirty bomb") weaponry. "The 'official' narrative of this 20th century failure must not be hijacked for use as pro-industry promotion by the 21st century nuclear industry," Lodge said.

"The story of Fermi 1's nearly catastrophic failure offers a large window into the history of commercial nuclear power, an institutional void of safety culture within the primary regulatory agency, and nuclear power’s inherent weapons connection," said Keith Gunter of Livonia, Michigan, a launch partner of Beyond Nuclear and an official intervenor against Fermi 3. "After all, as John G. Fuller's book and Gil Scott-Heron's song titles put it, 'We Almost Lost Detroit,' not to mention Monroe, Toledo, and beyond," Keith Gunter added. (see image, above left)