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.



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

You can also "reserve a seat" at the Webinar by signing up at 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.


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.


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.


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?”


Concerned local residents and environmental groups express concerns to NRC Chair Macfarlane about leaks & coverups at Palisades

The area of the control room at Palisades where, on Sept. 25, 2011, a short circuit nearly electrocuted a worker, cutting off 50% of control room power, which plunged Palisades into near-disaster, testing age-degraded systems, structures, and components to the breaking point. Photo taken by Mark Bugnaski, Kalamazoo GazetteA coalition of concerned local residents, as well as representatives of environmental groups, has responded to a letter sent to them on September 4th by U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairwoman, Allison Macfarlane. The exchange centers on a leak of radioactive and acidic water above, around, and even into the control room at the problem-plagued Palisades atomic reactor in Covert, Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. Chairwoman Macfarlane stated that the NRC Staff had determined that the leak was not significant enough for the NRC Chair and Commissioners, as well as the general public, to be notified about it. The coalition begged to differ.

Chairwoman Macfarlane also stated that NRC's approval of Palisades' 20 year license extension requires Entergy to manage aging of safety significant systems, structures, and components. The coalition responded that Entergy is utterly failing at that, as are NRC's own oversight and inspections, for Palisades has suffered a large number of sudden age-related break downs, some of "substantial significance to safety," in NRC's own words (see photo, above left). More.