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Relicensing

The U.S. nuclear reactor fleet is aging but owners are applying to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for license extensions to operate reactors an additional 20 years beyond their licensed lifetimes. Beyond Nuclear is challenging and opposing relicensing efforts.

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Monday
Jan042016

SNL: "Palisades plant critics vow to continue fight over 'thermal shock' issue" (risks extend to Pt. Beach, Indian Pt., Diablo, & Beaver Valley)

Entergy's Palisades atomic reactor, located on the Lake Michigan shoreline in southwest Michigan.SNL Financial has published an in-depth investigative article by Matthew Bandyk, "Palisades nuclear plant critics vow to continue fight over 'thermal shock' issue."

The article revealed that Palisades' previous owner, Consumers Energy, had planned to attempt to repair the severely neutron radiation embrittled reactor pressure vessel (RPV), by undertaking experimental, expensive annealing (super-heating the metal in an attempt to restore ductility) in the late 1990s, but decided not to, for fear of public backlash and/or legal intervention against the needed License Amendment Request.

An environmental coalition, including Don't Waste MI and NIRS, battled against the Palisades' 20-year license extension rubber-stamp by NRC, but lost in early 2007. The coalition's top safety concern was RPV embrittlement/PTS risk.

More.

Tuesday
Dec082015

Environmental coalition decries decision to extend Davis-Besse's license

The coalition of environmental groups that have been battling against FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company's (FENOC) bid to extend operations at its problem-plagued Davis-Besse atomic reactor for the past five years, have decried the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) approval of FENOC's application as a rubber-stamp. The coalition warns that the 2017 to 2037 extension, to be largely funded by multiple billions of dollars in ratepayer subsidies, if approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, amounts to another two decades of "radioactive Russian roulette" on the Lake Erie shoreline. 

"Davis-Besse is a contrivance of regulatory neglect and corporate welfare. Without the existence of both, it would be a fading road bump in the transition to a full-employment, safe energy future," said Terry Lodge, a Toledo attorney, and the intervening environmental coalition's legal counsel.

The coalition is comprised of Beyond Nuclear, Citizen Environmental Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste MI, and the Ohio Green Party.  Read the full press release.

Tuesday
Dec082015

Beyond Nuclear legal filings at NRC sets stage for appeal in federal court opposing Fermi 2 license extension

Terry LodgeOn Dec. 4, 2015, Toledo attorney Terry Lodge (photo, left), on behalf of Beyond Nuclear, filed a Motion to Reopen the Record, and a Petition to Intervene, in the Fermi 2 license extension proceeding.

The filings have set the stage, in anticipation of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's ultimate rejection, for a Beyond Nuclear appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The appeal will challenge the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's "Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel" policy, formerly known as its "Nuclear Waste Confidence" policy.

Thus, the Fermi 2 proceeding would join Beyond Nuclear's legal appeals to the D.C. Circuit Court regarding the Davis-Besse, OH license extension proceeding, as well as the Fermi 3 proposed new reactor proceeding.

The consolidated appeal is known as New York v. NRC II.

Attorneys Diane Curran of Washington D.C., and Mindy Goldstein of Emory University's Turner Environmental Law Clinic in Atlanta, serve as legal counsel for Beyond Nuclear in New York v. NRC II.

In New York v. NRC, in June 2012, a coalition of states, environmental groups, and an Indian tribe won a major legal victory, invalidating NRC's Nuclear Waste Confidence policy.

Beyond Nuclear hopes to prevail again this time. Oral arguments are to be held in spring 2016 on New York v. NRC II. Another Beyond Nuclear et al. legal victory would be a major blow to the license extensions at Fermi 2 and Davis-Besse, as well as the construction and operations license at Fermi 3.

The Fermi nuclear power plant in southeast MI, and the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant in northwest OH, are located on the shoreline of Lake Erie's shallow, fragile, and bio-diverse Western Basin, one of the planet's most productive walleye fisheries. Lake Erie, and points downstream in Lake Ontario and the Saint Lawrence River, serve as the drinking water supply for millions of Americans, Canadians, and Native Americans.

Beyond Nuclear has been joined in coalition by Don't Waste MI and Citizen Environmental Alliance of Southwestern Ontario in intervening against Fermi 2's license extension. Keith Gunter, co-chair of the Alliance to Halt Fermi 3 and a Beyond Nuclear Launch Partner, has helped provide Beyond Nuclear legal standing in the Fermi 2 legal proceedings. Citizens Resistance at Fermi Two (CRAFT) is also fighting the 20-year extension.

Thursday
Dec032015

Solartopia Green Power and Wellness Hour: Davis-Besse's bailout and license extension

Harvey WasswermanHarvey Wasserman (see photo) has Beyond Nuclear on again to discuss Davis-Besse's outrageous bailout and risky license extension rubber-stamp. He also had on Shannon Fisk, Earthjustice attorney representing the Sierra Club, which is officially opposing the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio staff's sweetheart deal for bailing out FirstEnergy, at ratepayer expense.

Harvey also had on Charles Komanoff, author of the 1992 Greenpeace report Fiscal Fission: The Economic Failure of Nuclear Power, to discuss the carbon tax, as the COP21 (Council of Parties UN climate negotiations) got underway in Paris.

Listen to the show here. See Harvey's write up below:

Solartopia is today invaded by the utter insanity of Ohio’s Public Utilities Commission, whose staff is recommending (this is not a typo) that ratepayers be gouged $4 billion to subsidize continued operation of the Davis-Besse nuke and several coal burners between the ages of 40 and 60 years old. We hear from the incomparable atomic expert KEVIN KAMPS of BEYOND NUCLEAR who dissects the terrifying physical condition of the Davis-Besse nuke, which is literally crumbling before our eyes, And from SHANNON FISK of EARTHJUSTICE which is representing the SIERRA CLUB in litigation against this insane mega-robbery. Suffice it to say the level of sheer cynicism comprised in this proposed bail-out defies description. We then hear from world-renowned CARBON TAX advocate Charles Komanoff, who explains how a levy on the burning of fossil fuels can help us right the CLIMATE CHAOS destroying our ability to survive on this Earth. If you intend to survive on this planet, this is an action-packed, fact filled reality show you can’t afford to miss.

Thursday
Sep242015

FirstEnergy Nuclear intends to file License Amendment Request on Shield Building cracking; environmental opponents vow legal action

The Davis-Besse "White Wash of 2012," applied 40 years too late, backfired by locking water in the walls, which now worsens the Shield Building cracking every time it freezes!

A 38-year old atomic reactor, that has had more close calls with catastrophe than any other in the U.S., that can't compete, with a concrete containment that is literally at risk of falling apart, wants a multi-billion dollar ratepayer bailout, in order to keep operating for 22 more years?!

Oak Harbor, OH and Washington, DC—At a meeting of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS), held at the agency’s Rockville, MD HQ yesterday, FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC) and NRC Staff revealed that the nuclear utility plans to submit a License Amendment Request (LAR), in order to restore its Davis-Besse atomic reactor’s Current Licensing Basis and Design Basis in the aftermath of severe Shield Building cracking first discovered four years ago. Representatives from environmental groups, comprising multiple coalitions opposing the 20-year license extension sought by FENOC, as well as current operations, have vowed to legally intervene in opposition to the LAR.

At the meeting, responding to pointed ACRS questioning, FENOC spokesmen confirmed that, if the cracking grows badly enough, large chunks of concrete could detach from the Shield Building, and plummet onto safety-significant structures below, such as the auxiliary building and borated water storage tank.

See the full press release, with quotes from environmental coalition attorney Terry Lodge; Michael Keegan of Don't Waste MI; Patricia Marida of the Ohio Sierra Club Nuclear-Free Committee; and Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear.