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.



"NRG Might Exit Nuclear Project"

The Wall Street Journal reports that NRG Energy, based in New Jersey, may pull the plug on its involvement in the South Texas Project nuclear power plant's proposal to build two additional reactors of the General Electric-Hitachi "Advanced Boiling Water Reactor" (ABWR) design at the site which already hosts two operating reactors (pictured at the left). What makes this news all the more remarkable is the fact that the U.S. Department of Energy had previously selected the South Texas Project proposal as one of the top four applications in the entire country for new reactor loan guarantees. As reported by Greg Harman in a three part series entitled "Nukes of Hazard," as well as additional coverage in the San Antonio Current and the San Antonio Express News, the South Texas Project new reactor proposal has been coming apart at the seams for several months now. DOE seems all too ready to risk many billions in taxpayer funding on new reactors resting on financial -- not to mention safety -- foundations built on sand.


Beyond Nuclear testimony to Vermont Legislature regarding Vermont Yankee radioactivity leaks

On Jan. 27th, Beyond Nuclear's Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Kevin Kamps, testified before a joint hearing of the State of Vermont House and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committees regarding radioactivity leaks from underground pipes at Entergy Nuclear's Vermont Yankee atomic reactor. The notes accompanying Kevin's Power Point Presentation can be obtained upon request. Beyond Nuclear's Reactor Oversight Project Director, Paul Gunter, also prepared a backgrounder on buried pipes and tritium leaks that was distributed to Vermont legislative committee members. Later that same day, nuclear expert witness Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Associates, Inc., presented a Power Point Presentation documenting Entergy Nuclear's repeated "misstatements" regarding the presence of buried piping that carries radioactive materials at the Vermont Yankee atomic reactor.


Co-60 and Zn-65 also detected in Vermont Yankee groundwater

In addition to the hazards of tritium, harmful Cobalt-60 and Zinc-65 radioisotopes have been detected in groundwater at Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. According to the Rutland Herald,  Co-60 levels are 130 times higher than federal reportable levels, while the Zn-65 levels are over 8 times higher than federal reportable levels. Tritium concentrations in a test well just 30 feet from the Connecticut River are higher than EPA Safe Drinking Water Act limits allow, and tritium concentrations in a radioactive waste trench are even in violation of NRC's lax groundwater standards. Meanwhile, Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee has hired a Washington, D.C. law firm to investigate allegations, and do damage control, concerning top ENVY officials providing false testimony under oath to state officials regarding the presence of buried pipes at Vermont Yankee that carry radioactive liquids.


Vermont AG investigating alleged perjury by Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee official

The Governor of Vermont, James Douglas, has confirmed that the Vermont Attorney General, William Sorrell, is investigating the possibility that Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee vice-president of operations, Jay Thayer (pictured at left) provided false testimony under oath to the Vermont Public Service Board last year when he assured utility regulators that the Vermont Yankee reactor did not have buried piping that carries radioactive liquids. Last week, Vermont Yankee officials announced that such buried piping does indeed exist at the Connecticut River-side site, which likely explains the tritium contaminated well water revealed there last week.


NRC Issues Notice of Violation to Entergy Nuclear Palisades for High-Level Radioactive Waste Risk

Beyond Nuclear, Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes, and Don't Waste Michigan issued a media release upon learning of a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Notice of Violation issued to Entergy's Palisades Nuclear Power Plant on the Lake Michigan shoreline in southwest Michigan citing a nuclear criticality risk in the irradiated nuclear fuel storage pool that threated not only worker safety, but also public health. The coalition not only raised concerns about the waste storage pool, but also pointed out that the outdoor dry casks are defective and at risk of earthquakes.