BEYOND NUCLEAR PUBLICATIONS

Search
JOIN OUR NETWORK

     

     

DonateNow

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.

.................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Tuesday
Jan272015

Entergy's Pilgrim atomic reactor to remain on NRC's "degraded cornerstone" list for second year, as winter storm bears down

NRC file photo of Entergy Nuclear's Pilgrim atomic reactor on Cape Cod Bay near BostonAs reported by The Enterprise, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has kept Entergy Nuclear's Pilgrim atomic reactor (photo, left), near Boston, on its "degraded cornerstone" list of worst performing atomic reactors in the country. Ironically, Entergy failed an NRC inspection, even though it told the agency when it was ready to be inspected. First of all, when do students get to tell the teacher when they're ready for the exam? And then fail the test?! Who's the regulator, and who's the regulated?!

This comes as a severe winter storm bears down on Boston. As the industry lobby and PR front, Nuclear Energy Institute, brags up nuclear power's supposed reliability during severe winter weather, anti-nuclear and environmental watchdogs near Pilgrim put out a press release warning that severe weather increases the safety risks of reactor operations and high-level radioactive waste (HLRW) management. Despite this, the reactor remains at 100% power, and inherently risky HLRW pool to dry cask transfer operations continue as if business is usual.

During Superstorm Sandy in 2012, the storm surge came precariously close to flooding safety-significant pumps needed to keep cooling water circulating in the HLRW storage pool at Pilgrim.

Pilgrim is an age-degraded, General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactor, identical in design to Fukushima Daiichi Units 1-4.

Sunday
Jan252015

Battle lines drawn over Vermont Yankee decommissioning: "A Herculean task ahead"

In an email action alert with the subject line "A Herculean Task Ahead," Leslie Sullivan Sachs of the Safe and Green Campaign in Brattleboro, Vermont has written today:

"Dear Friends of the Safe & Green Campaign,     

Listen to Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear:

"I can point out to people that shutting down Vermont Yankee was a miracle, right? We weren’t, as the people, supposed to have that power. And people did it anyway. They insisted on it and they saw it through and made it happen. And so the same kind of courage and vision will have to be applied now to the decommissioning process. People have to stay in there, attend all the meetings, read all the documents. It’s a Herculean task and if anybody can do it, it’s the folks who have already forced the shutdown of Vermont Yankee." [Nuclear Free Future Yankee Post-Mortem 01.06.15]

It’s time – again - to show up and create a miracle. We need your courage and vision for the next month, while the focus is on Entergy’s decommissioning plan for Vermont Yankee. There are a lot of inspiring stories in this newsletter, most created by our own folks. First, mark your calendar with these events:

  •       Jan. 28  NDCAP Meeting
  •       Feb. 5   NRC Webinar on Yankee Decommissioning
  •       Feb. 9   Forum to prep for NRC Public Hearing (Safe & Green and CAN)
  •       Feb. 19 NRC Public Hearing on decommissioning plan

All the above, as well as events planned for March and April, are on the agenda of the Safe and Green Campaign steering committee’s next meeting on February 2nd. We meet once or twice a month on Mondays at 5:30pm, and it’s always a pot luck supper. Email safeandgreencampaign@gmail.com if you’re interested in more info.

NDCAP January 28: Vermont's Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel will meet next Wednesday, January 28 at the Quality Inn (Putney Road, Brattleboro) from 6-9pm. (This is a change from the Jan. 22 date set at the December meeting). All NDCAP meetings are open to the public, and there is time after each Agenda item for public comment. We will post an agenda on our website once it is available.

NRC webinar on VT Yankee on February 5 at 3:00pm “to provide key facts about the decommissioning process and how the NRC regulates such activities through on-site inspections and other reviews… view slides prepared by NRC staff and ask questions in writing via a web page set up to host the session. Online registration is required to take part.” Click here to register.

Arnie Gundersen and Deb Katz will speak at a Forum on Entergy’s decommissioning plan on February 9th, from 6-9pm at Marlboro Graduate Center, downtown Brattleboro. The Safe and Green Campaign and the Citizens Awareness Network will co-host. The presentations, with time for Q&A, will help you prepare remarks for the one and only NRC hearing, and to write your comments to the NRC (March 23 deadline). Forums before the NRC public hearing are also planned for Montpelier and Greenfield. Please visit to our Decommissioning Resources page for issues we have identified to date and for info how to comment.

NRC public hearing on decommissioning Vermont Yankee - February 19, 6-9pm at the Quality Inn in Brattleboro).  Details on the hearing and how to submit written comments are on our website here..."

Friday
Jan092015

Beyond Nuclear on "Vermont Yankee: Post-Mortem," on Ch. 17/Town Meeting T.V. in Burlinton, VT

On Jan. 9th, Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps joined Fairewinds Energy Education's Chief Engineer, Arnie Gundersen, on the program "Nuclear Free Future" hosted by Margaret Harrington Tamulonis on Channel 17/Town Hall Meeting Television in Burlington, Vermont. The program was shown repeatedly throughout the month across Vermont.

The title for the installment is "Vermont Yankee: Post-Mortem," referring to the permanent shutdown of Entergy Nuclear's controversial Vermont Yankee atomic reactor at 12:12pm on Dec. 29, 2014.

Fairewinds Energy Education has posted the full video, as well as the audio-only, and the full transcript.

Channel 17/Town Hall TV has also posted the program.

The Vermont Yankee shutdown means the plant carcass must be safely decommissioned as quickly as possible. With full spent fuel pools, we hope Vermont Yankee rests in peace, not in pieces like Fukushima Daiichi. In this video, CCTV Nuclear Free Future Host Margaret Harrington discusses the economic, environmental, health and safety implications that the recent closing of Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant will have on New England with Beyond Nuclear’s Kevin Kamps and  Arnie Gundersen, chief engineer of Fairewinds Energy Education. - See more at: http://www.fairewinds.org/vermont-yankee-shutdown/#sthash.mHAU2bNH.dpuf

The discussion is wide ranging, with a focus on the upcoming challenges of decommissioning at Vermont Yankee, including clean-up of the radioactively contaminated site, as well as management of the forever deadly high-level radioactive waste stored there.

Friday
Jan092015

Around 185 Entergy Palisades workers exposed to 2.8 R in month-long job

Workers pictured at Palisades last spring doing repair work on top of the reactor vessel head. Entergy provided this and other photos of the work to the NRC.As reported by Lindsey Smith at Michigan Radio, around 185 workers at Entergy's Palisades atomic reactor in Michigan were exposed to 2.8 Rem of radioactivity exposure on a single project last year. From Feb. to March, 2014, the Control Rod Drive Mechanisms at Palisades were replaced, due to chronic seal and through-wall leakage that dates back to 1972.

2.8 Rem of exposure violates Entergy's self-imposed ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) limits of 2 Rem/year for workers. 2 Rem/year for nuclear workers is the national standard in Germany, which will completely phase out reactor operations by 2022 as a direct response to the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe.

However, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission allows, or permits, up to 5 Rem/year of exposure to nuclear workers. Members of the general public, by comparison, are only allowed to receive 100 milliRem, or 0.1 Rem, per year of exposure to artificial radioactivity from the nuclear power industry. Thus, in a single month, 185 workers at Palisades were exposed to 28 times the amount of harmful radioactivity allowed for members of the general public in an entire year.

Wednesday
Dec312014

Vermont Yankee closes!

Today, thanks to decades of citizen organizing and protest; the wise backing of the elected officials of the State of Vermont; the attempted deception of Vermont Yankee owners, Entergy, whose representatives even lied under oath; and the hopeless economics of nuclear power, the Vermont Yankee reactor has shut down permanently. 

The lights will not go out. In fact, the New England electric grid operator knew two years ago that permanently closing Vermont Yankee would not affect regional grid stability.

In a statement today, Vermont governor, Peter Shumlin, said:Today, thanks to investments in renewable energy such as solar, Vermont's energy future is on a different, more sustainable path that is creating jobs, reducing energy costs for Vermonters and slowing climate change.” Shumlin was a strong advocate for the closure of the reactor once its license expired. 

In what was viewed at the time as a blatant example of regulatory capture, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission gave Vermont Yankee a 20-year license extension just ten days after the March 11, 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster began. Vermont Yankee was one of 23 GE Mark I boiling water reactors, along with eight Mark II units, in the U.S., the same flawed design as the Fukushima reactors. Watch Shut Vermont Yankee! and The Activists, two videos made by Beyond Nuclear during the campaign to close the plant. For more, read Harvey Wasserman's analysis.