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.



Vogtle nuclear loan guarantee drags into fifth round of delays

Aerial image of Plant Vogtle Nuclear Generating Station - photo credit to High Flyer. The photo shows the operating Units 1 and 2, as well as the construction site for proposed new Units 3 and 4.As reported by Platts, and conveyed in a Friends of the Earth press release, the December 31, 2013 U.S. Department of Energy deadline for finalization of the $8.3 billion federal taxpayer backed nuclear loan guarantee for Vogtle 3 & 4 has been extended yet again, for a fifth time, until the end of January, 2014.

As reported by FOE: "Freedom of Information Act requests and litigation revealed that the credit subsidy fee offered to Southern Company ranged from 0.8 to 1.5 percent. The credit subsidy fee is supposed to insulate against default, but the fee offered to Southern Company is woefully inadequate to cover the risks involved in major nuclear construction. According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 32 percent of reactor construction is cancelled before any electricity is produced."

Watchdog groups have long called for a credit subsidy fee commensurate with the risk of the nuclear new build proposals. Congressional auditors reported several years ago that new reactors, historically, have had a 50% risk of cancellation and potential default. The Vogtle 3 & 4 nuclear loan guarantee puts 15 times more taxpayer money at risk than did the Solyndra loan guarantee scandal, which had a significantly lower risk of default than does Vogtle 3 & 4.

Given the Obama administration offered the $8.3 billion nuclear loan guarantee nearly four years ago, and now this latest delay, concerns continue to mount that the project is a financial house of cards, and will ultimately leave taxpayers holding the bag. Nuclear Watch South has called for taxpayers to express their concerns to decision makers, as has Beyond Nuclear.


Chris Williams of VCAN & VYDA: "Entergy Nuclear, Resisting a Rogue Corp. & its Radioactive Risks," South Haven, MI, Jan. 16th

Yard signs created by Michigan Safe Energy Future--Kalamazoo Chapter

[And please also mark your calendars for Dr. Jeff Patterson, National Board Chair of Physicians for Social Responsibility, who is scheduled to speak about "Nuclear Power: What you need to know about Price, Pollution and Proliferation," on the evening of Feb. 14th, at the same venue as Chris Williams below. Dr. Patterson will also speak in numerous additional Michigan communities, on a week-long speaking tour in mid-February. This will include Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo on Feb. 13th, at 7 PM. It will also include stops in southeast MI, targeted by Detroit Edison for the proposed new Fermi 3 GE-Hitachi atomic reactor in Monroe County. Dr. Patterson's additional stops in other Michigan cities will be announced ASAP.]

Entergy Nuclear: Resisting a Rogue Corporation and its Radioactive Risks

A presentation by Chris Williams of Vermont Citizens Action Network as well as Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance

Thursday, January 16, 2014, 6:30 to 9:00 PM,

Lake Michigan College,

125 Veterans Blvd., Room 141

South Haven, MI 49090

(For directions to campus, location of parking, etc.,

Come learn about Entergy Nuclear’s dirty dozen atomic reactors, including the problem-plagued Palisades near South Haven. Chris Williams is a leader of the ongoing, highly successful grassroots campaign to shutdown Entergy's dangerously degraded Vermont Yankee atomic reactor (a Fukushima Daiichi twin design). Having stopped proposed new reactors in Indiana during his 25 years of service as Executive Director of Citizen Action Coalition, he will show how community organizing can stop dirty, dangerous, and expensive atomic reactors, and replace them with efficiency and renewables like wind and solar.

Chris Williams, is a long time sustainable energy policy activist. He is currently organizer for the Vermont Citizens Action Network, a grassroots organization working to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear station and replace it with sustainable energy generation. Williams has a long professional history working with public interest organizations. For 25 years he was the executive director for Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, a not for profit consumer and environmental advocacy organization. CAC conducts extensive grassroots public education campaigns concerning, public utility regulation, energy policy, environmental policy, and the preservation of family farms.

Co-sponsored by Michigan Safe Energy Future (,
Beyond Nuclear (,
and Don’t Waste Michigan

For more info, contact Bette Pierman, Michigan Safe Energy Future, (269) 369-3993 or

Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear, (240) 462-3216

[See the event flier here]


Atomic reactors? Electricity is but the fleeting byproduct; the actual product is forever deadly radioactive waste

At the first anti-nuclear power event Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps ever attended, in March 1993, Michael Keegan of Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes and Don't Waste Michigan pointed out that "Electricity is but the fleeting byproduct from atomic reactors. The actual product is forever deadly radioactive waste."

An environmental coalition of nearly three dozen groups, including Beyond Nuclear and Don't Waste Michigan, has said just as much to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission regarding its "Nuclear Waste Confidence" Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement. So too has Beyond Nuclear directly itself.

The image to the left is the cover of the Beyond Nuclear pamphlet published for the Dec. 2, 2012 conference held at the U. of Chicago entitled "A Mountain of Radioactive Waste 70 Years High." Sponsored by Beyond Nuclear, FOE, and NEIS, it marked the 70th year, to the day, since Enrico Fermi fired up the first self-sustaining chain reaction in an atomic reactor, creating the world's first high-level radioactive waste, as part of the Manhattan Project's race to create atomic weapons, culminating in the annihilation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan in August, 1945.


NRC and Industry downplay significance of Arkansas Nuclear fire in second accident of 2013

On December 9, 2013, an electrical transformer exploded in the switchyard at the Arkansas Nuclear One (ANO) Unit 2 nuclear power station. The explosion caused a fire that lasted more than an hour before it was contained and extinguished. This was the second significant accident this year at Entergy Corp’s two unit atomic power station located near Russellville, Arkansas. 

The nuclear industry and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission immediately played down the significance of the nuclear power plant accident as occurring in the “non-reactor portions of the plant.”  

However, transformer explosions are significant because theynot only result in fire but generate large, high-velocity missiles that can slam into other equipment and combustibles. For example, Entergy’s Palisade plant in Michigan has large hydrogen gas storage tanks located just 30 feet from those main transformers.  Only within the past few years Palisades installed a missile barrier to shield that explosive equipment.

Significant accidents can and do occur at nuclear power stations on the “non-reactor side” that can impact reactor safety operations, potentially adversely.  An earlier accident in March 2013 at ANO Unit 1, shutdown for repairs, occurred on the “non-reactor” side where one worker was killed and eight more injured when a heavy load crane moving replacement equipment failed and dropped a 600-ton main turbine generator stator at Unit 1. That accident caused a loss of offsite power to Unit 1 and also caused Unit 2 to hit the breaks in an automatic reactor SCRAM from full power.  Unit 1 temporarily lost decay heat cooling of the reactor core before the emergency diesel generators quickly restored emergency power.  

Fires at nuclear power plants are equally significant.  According to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, fire represents 50% of the risk from an accident that leads to reactor core damage. To make matters riskier, ANO is currently operating on a large number of exemptions from NRC fire code for non-compliances with fire protection requirements regulating the safe shutdown of the reactors in the event of a significant fire.


Nov. 25th Forum on the Decommissioning of Vermont Yankee in Montpelier

A message from Debra Stoleroff of Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance (VYDA):

After more than 40 years, our efforts have paid off and the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant is closing in 2014 and will be decommissioned.  There are many ways to decommission a nuclear power plant; some more safe than others.

So, what does deliberate, thorough and responsible decommissioning mean?  What does it look like? And how can Vermont (and we) advocate for deliberate, thorough and responsible decommissioning with a greenfield when Vermont does not have a legal say in the process?

Deb Katz of the Citizens' Awareness Network (CAN) and Chris Williams of VCAN and VYDA will address what will happen to Vermont Yankee when it closes in 2014.  They will discuss transition, clean-up, long term waste storage and what role citizens can play In the process.

Join VYDA for a forum on The Decommissioning of Vermont Yankeewith Deb Katz, Executive Director of Citizens' Awareness Network  and Chris Williams, Director of VT Citizen's Action Network and member of VYDA

Monday, November 25,6:30 pm, at the Unitarian Church, 130 Main St., Montpelier
Sponsored by the Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance

For more information call: (802) 476-3154