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Environmental coalition raises cumulative health concerns in resistance against Fermi 3

NRC file photo of Fermi 2 on the Lake Erie shore, where Detroit Edison wants to build a giant new reactorOn Feb. 13, 2012, attorney Terry Lodge of Toledo, on behalf of an environmental coalition, filed a rebuttal to challenges by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff and Detroit Edison. The agency and utility were challenging contentions filed by the environmental coalition on Jan. 11, 2012 concerning NRC's Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) about the new Fermi 3 reactor, a proposed General Electric-Hitachi ESBWR (so-called "Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor"). The new contentions involve such issues as impacts on endangered and threatened plant and animal species, and their critical habitats, from the overall Fermi 3 proposal, as well as related sub-proposals, such as the contemplated transmission line corridor; radiological health impacts on the Monroe County community from Fermi 3, which has already suffered a half century of radiological and toxic chemical harm from the Fermi 1 and Fermi 2 reactors, as well as a number of giant coal burning power plants; and impacts on the Walpole Island First Nation, just 53 miles away across the U.S./Canadian border. Joe Mangano, executive director of the Radiation and Human Health Project, serves as expert witness for the environmental coalition. The coalition includes Beyond Nuclear, Citizen Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter.

Fermi 2 has not suffered an acute, catastrophic radioactivity release due to a major accident (God forbid), although it has had a number of close calls over the decades. But it does release radiation "routinely" on a nearly daily basis. In addition, large-scale releases have occurred, as after Christmas Day 1993, when millions of gallons of radioactively contaminated water were discharged into Lake Erie in the aftermath of a "turbine missile explosion" at Fermi 2. Fermi 1 suffered a partial meltdown on October 5, 1966, as chronicled in John G. Fuller's classic We Almost Lost Detroit.

Beyond Nuclear has compiled all the filings relating to the battle over the Fermi 3 Draft Environmental Impact Statement.