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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.

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Monday
Jan092017

Statement By A.G. Schneiderman On Signed Agreement Between Entergy, Cuomo Administration, Riverkeeper, And NY Attorney General's Office To Decommission Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant

Statement By A.G. Schneiderman:

Shutting down the Indian Point power plant is a major victory for the health and safety of millions of New Yorkers, and will help kick-start the state’s clean energy future.

“For the past six years, my office has led the state’s challenge to Entergy’s request for a twenty-year extension of its license to operate Indian Point, and this agreement marks the successful culmination of our work to address the serious health and safety risks that the plant poses to neighboring communities. 

“This agreement puts in place several important safety provisions that go beyond federal requirements to ensure that Indian Point operates as safely as possible as it transitions to a timely shut down. These measures include new requirements for safer storage of spent nuclear fuel at the plant, increased inspections to address faulty and deteriorating bolts throughout the facility, and $15 million in new funding from Entergy to support the environment in the Hudson River and neighboring communities.

“My office will vigorously monitor Entergy's compliance with today's agreement to ensure its terms are met and that our state remains a national leader on the environment. I commend Governor Cuomo for working with all stakeholders, including my office and the committed environmental advocates at Riverkeeper, to get this important deal done for New Yorkers."

Since taking office in 2011, A.G. Schneiderman has continuously advocated for improving safety conditions at the Indian Point facility, and has led the state’s challenge to Entergy’s application before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for an extended 20-year license to operate the Indian Point plant. 

In March 2011, the A.G’s office filed a petition with the NRC requesting the Commission take action against Entergy for violating numerous fire safety regulations for which the company was seeking exemptions from compliance. In July 2011, the Commission accepted the A.G.’s petition, and in February 2012, the Commission denied Entergy’s request for exemptions from more than 100 fire safety requirements that overlapped with those listed in the petition.   

Following the earthquake and tsunami that caused a major nuclear accident at Fukushima, Japan in March 2011, the A.G’s office petitioned the NRC to address the risk of seismic events causing a nuclear accident at Indian Point, which is located in an area of seismic activity. In response the Commission began implementing a stepped-up program to manage seismic risk at nuclear power plants.  

Over the past five years, the A.G’s office has successfully enforced laws – over challenges raised by Entergy – requiring federal regulators to take into consideration New York’s policies protecting critical coastal resources as part of the relicensing application process for Indian Point.

Saturday
Jan072017

Additional media coverage of Indian Point's closure in 2020-2021

Lohud.com; Pix11; NY Daily News; NY Post;

CBS NY quotes Gary Shaw of Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition:

“It is insane to be operating a nuclear power plant in the New York metropolitan area,” Gary Shaw told CBS2’s Brian Conybeare.

More than 17 million people live within 50 miles of the plant, which sits along the lower Hudson River 30 miles north of the city.

Shaw has been fighting to shut down the plant for 16 years and welcomed the news of the apparent deal.

“The devil is in the details. Anything that will stop the plant from operating is a good thing,” he said.

WABC-TV NY; NBC 4 NY; Peekskill Daily Voice; Pleasantville Daily Voice.

Saturday
Jan072017

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant to Close by 2020-2021

As reported by the New York Times.

However: 

...Richard Azzopardi, a spokesman for the governor, cautioned that nothing had been finalized.

“There is no agreement — Governor Cuomo has been working on a possible agreement for 15 years and until it’s done, it’s not done,” he said. “Close only counts for horseshoes, not for nuclear plants.”

(As reported by Westchester Magazine, "We should find out the fate of our next-door neighbor soon; Cuomo is scheduled to deliver the third of six regional State of the State speeches in Westchester on Tuesday.")

And the NY Times article added:

The agreement also provides for flexibility if the state cannot find a replacement for Indian Point’s energy: The deadlines in 2020 and 2021 can be pushed to 2024 and 2025 if both the state and Entergy agree.

The NY Daily News quoted NY State AG Schneiderman:

“If we can shut down Indian Point under an agreement that enhances public safety and kick-starts investment into safer and more reliable renewable energy sources, that will be a major victory for the millions of New Yorkers who live in the region,” he said.

The Daily News also quoted [f]ormer Westchester Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, a longtime proponent of closing the plant, [who] said: "It's about damn time. The plant isn't safe, it isn't economical and it's falling apart."

More media coverage.

Saturday
Dec242016

Environmental coalition defends its legal appeal, seeks to block Fermi 3 proposed new reactor in Michigan

Terry Lodge, legal counsel for the environmental coalition resisting Fermi 3

An environmental coalition, including Beyond Nuclear, is entering its 10th year of resistance (2008-2017) against Detroit Edison's proposed new Fermi Unit 3 reactor in southeast Michigan on the Great Lakes shoreline.

On Dec. 23rd, Toledo-based attorney Terry Lodge filed a Reply Brief, in defense of a legal appeal originally filed in October, at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the second highest court in the land, just below the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Reply rebuts challenges to the appeal brought by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Detroit Edison (DTE).

The appeal challenges NRC's exclusion of the transmission line corridor from the Environmental Impact Statement, a violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The appeal also challenges DTE's violations of NRC's quality assurance (QA) regulations (Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Associates, Inc. serves as the coalition's QA expert).

More.

Wednesday
Dec142016

U.S. looks for potential issues linked to falsified French nuclear documents

As reported by Reuters, and Tweeted by Scott Stapf of the Hastings Group: Nine U.S. reactors linked to French scandal over falsified documents over nuclear parts.

The Reuters article mentions one U.S. nuclear power plant by name:

One U.S. plant with parts from Le Creusot is Dominion Resource Inc's Millstone station in Connecticut, which has had a pressurizer from the French forge in service in Unit 2 since 2006.

Dominion spokesman Ken Holt said that when Areva manufactured the pressurizer for Millstone they performed some additional heat treatment, but did not tell Dominion.

Another U.S. nuclear power plant that may be implicated, according to the article, is FirstEnergy's Beaver Valley in Pennsylvania:

Another plant that may be affected is FirstEnergy Corp's Beaver Valley station in Pennsylvania. Beaver Valley has steam generators and reactor vessel heads manufactured by Spain's Equipos Nucleares SA, or ENSA, which FirstEnergy said may contain some subcomponents from Le Creusot.

The article also reports:

There are nine U.S. plants with parts from Le Creusot, but the NRC did not immediately name them.

No explanation is given for why NRC will not name th implicated nuclear power plants, other than the obvious -- to save the plants bad publicity, and increased public and media scrutiny. 

Such a lack of transparency and accountability by the NRC -- an agency largely to entirely captured by the industry it is supposed to regulate -- is a key part of the collusion that the Japanese Parliament concluded in 2012 was the root cause of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe in that country. But such collusion exists in spades in the United States, as well. 

The Wall Street Journal has also reported on this story, in an article entitled "Coverup at French Nuclear Supplier Sparks Global Review."

Mycle Schneider, lead author of the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Report, was quoted by the Wall Street Journal, warning “Likely we have seen only the tip of the iceberg.”