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.



ASLBP issues split decision on vessel risks at Palisades, Beyond Nuclear vows appeal

A diagram describing pressurized thermal shock in a nuclear reactor. Credit: Japan Atomic Energy Agency. Japan's worst embrittled RPV, at Genkai 1, has been permanently closed in the aftermath of Fukushima.A U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel (ASLBP) issued a ruling on May 8th that recognized an environmental coalition's legal standing, but rejected its proferred contention, thus denying any further hearings on the matter.

Beyond Nuclear and coalition partners Don't Waste MI, MI Safe Energy Future--Shoreline Chapter, and Nuclear Energy Information Service of Chicago, represented by Toledo attorney Terry Lodge, and expert witness Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Associates, Inc., filed an intervention on Dec. 1st against regulatory rollbacks on reactor pressure vessel (RPV) embrittlement/pressurized thermal shock (PTS) risks at Palisades, the most brittle RPV in the U.S. See the full docket of filings between the adversarial parties, here.

The coalition has issued a press release in response to the rejection of its contention. It has vowed to appeal the ruling within the next 25 days.

Lodge filed a second, related but separate intervention on behalf of the coalition on March 9. It challenges Entergy’s License Amendment Request to NRC for “equivalent margins analysis” regulatory relief from potentially disastrous “ductile tearing” (as opposed to brittle fracture) risks at Palisades, due to another form of age-related RPV metal degradation (loss of Charpy V-Notch Upper Shelf Energy below the 50 foot-pound screening criteria). The ASLBP has yet to rule on that intervention.


"Environmentalists Threaten Palisades, NRC With Lawsuit"

Photo taken in May 2013 during a protest organized by Beyond Nuclear at the front entrance of Palisades, which had just leaked 82.1 gallons of radioactive water into Lake Michigan. Marion Anderson of South Haven, a member of MSEF-Shoreline Chapter, created the placard.As reported by Rebecca Thiele at WMUK (NPR at Western Michigan University), an environmental coalition, including Beyond Nuclear, is intervening against regulatory rollbacks at Entergy Nuclear's Palisades atomic reactor on the Lake Michigan shore in southwest Michigan.

Thiele interviewed Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps (a native of Kalamazoo -- just 35 miles downwind of Palisades -- who serves on the board of directors of Don't Waste MI), as well as the coalition's attorney, Terry Lodge. At the top of the story, Bette Pierman of Benton Harbor, chairwoman of Michigan Safe Energy Future (MSEF)--Shoreline Chapter, is heard presenting during a panel discussion. The interviews took place at a fund- and awareness-raising event held at the Old Dog Tavern on April 19th in downtown Kalamazoo. Music performed by the "Duffield-Caron Project, with Friends" can be heard in the background of the interviews.

The intervention focuses on the risk of pressurized thermal shock (PTS). Palisades has the worst neutron radiation embrittled reactor pressure vessel (RPV) of any nuclear power plant in the U.S. Like a hot glass under cold water (and a ton of pressure per square inch!), PTS could fracture Palisades' RPV, causing a loss of coolant accident, core meltdown, and catastrophic radioactivity release.

Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer at Fairewinds Energy Education, and the expert witness for Beyond Nuclear and the coaltion at Palisades, has produced a humorous short video about this serious subject, entitled "Nuclear Crack Down?"


Successful event raises funds and awareness on Entergy Palisades atomic reactor's dangerously brittle pressure vessel

Entergy's Palisades atomic reactor, located in Covert, MI on the Lake Michigan shoreOn April 19, a fund- and awareness-raiser,  “Pull the Plug on Palisades for Earth Day,” was held at the Old Dog Tavern in downtown Kalamazoo, MI.

The event, focused on the Entergy Palisades atomic reactor's (see photo, left) dangerously brittle pressure vessel, was sponsored by  Michigan Safe Energy Future-Kalamazoo Chapter’s “Palisades Shutdown Campaign,” in support of an environmental coalition's (Beyond Nuclear, Michigan Safe Energy Future-Shoreline Chapter, Don’t Waste Michigan, Nuclear Energy Information Service of Illinois) legal interventions before the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Atomic Safety and Licensing Board. The interventions seek the long overdue, permanent shutdown of Palisades due to major safety risks.

See links to a video by Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education about pressurized thermal shock risks at Palisades, a slide show of images prepared by Beyond Nuclear for the April 19th event, as well as photos and audio/video of the music performed: More.


"FERC Rejects Ginna Rates, Orders Settlement Proceeding"

The Ginna atomic reactor, on the Lake Ontario shoreline in upstate New YorkAs reported by William Opalka in RTO Insider, "The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday rejected the rate schedule proposed for a struggling nuclear power plant needed for reliability in western New York and ordered hearing and settlement proceedings (ER15-1047)."

The R.E. Ginna atomic reactor, owned and operated by Exelon Nuclear of Chicago, is one of the very oldest still-operating in the U.S. It fired up in 1969. It is located in Ontario, New York, on the Lake Ontario shoreline.

Exelon's scheme for keeping Ginna operating -- despite losing tens of millions of dollars per year, for the past three years -- is to gouge ratepayers in Rochester, NY.


From Midwest to Mid-Atlantic, ratepayer resistance to nuclear bailouts intensifies!

"Burning money" graphic art by Gene Case and Avening Angels appeared on the cover of Nation Magazine, accompanying an article by Christian Parenti about the nuclear power relapseNuclear utilities, like Exelon of Chicago and FirstEnergy of Ohio, are seeking multi-billion (yes, billion with a B!) dollar bailouts for their dirty, dangerous, and uncompetitive atomic reactors. Exelon is also trying to take over the Mid-Atlantic utility Pepco, in a thinly veiled attempt to gouge ratepayers to prop up its failing nukes, while gutting clean energy competition: efficiency, renewables, and distributed energy. But a growing coalition of residential and business ratepayers, nuclear watchdogs, and even state agencies, are pushing back, with creative street theater, community educational forums, and legal interventions before Public Service Commissions. More.