John LaForge of Nukewatch in Luck, WI (pictured left) has penned an op-ed, "Reading Radioactive Tea Leaves: Without a Buyer for Old Kewaunee Reactor, Owner Chooses Shut Down." In it, he details the many radioactive bullets Wisconsin has dodged, and has not dodged, at Kewaunee, just in recent years, including: "...a 2009 emergency shutdown caused by improper steam pressure instrument settings; a 2007 loss of main turbine oil pressure; an emergency cooling water system design flaw found in 2006; [the August 2006 discovery of radioactive tritium leaking into groundwater, for an unknown period, from unidentified pipes somewhere beneath the reactor complex]; a possible leak in November 2005 of highly radioactive primary coolant into secondary coolant which is discharged to Lake Michigan; a simultaneous failure of all three emergency cooling water pumps in February 2005, etc.".
John also wrote:
"...Governor Scott Walker announced his disappointment with Kewaunee’s termination and said it “highlights the need to decrease unnecessary federal regulations.” Walker’s sort of de-regulation agenda has caused disasters like Three Mile Island and Fukushima, and wouldn’t save nuclear power, in any case, because the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) rules are hardly ever enforced.
According to a year-long investigation of reactor aging problems by the Associated Press last year, when operators are found violating federal rules, the NRC routinely just weakens the requirements. For example, in the ‘60s and ‘70s, the industry andregulators said unequivocally that U.S. reactors were built to operate for a maximum of 40 years. Today they insist the very same reactors can run for 100 years. True to form, the NRC rubber-stamped a 20-year license extension for Kewaunee in March 2011 —like it’s done previously with 71 other 40-year-old reactors.
The AP’s four-part series found that such relicensing often lacks independent safety reviews, and that paperwork of the NRC sometimes matches word-for-word the language used in a reactor operator’s application..."
Nukewatch has watchdogged Kewaunee for decades. On April 23, 2011, Nukewatch organized a "Walk for a Nuclear-Free Future" from Kewaunee to Point Beach's two reactors -- a distance of seven miles, the same as the distance between Fukushima Daiichi and Daini nuclear power plants -- to commemorate the 25th year since the Chernobyl atomic reactor exploded and burned beginning on April 26, 1986. The event took place just six weeks after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe had begun. Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps took part in the walk, and as a keynote speaker along with Natasha Akulenko, a native of Kiev, Ukraine and surivor of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe.