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« Beyond Nuclear op-ed in Toledo Blade: Davis-Besse is a curse on future generations | Main | Beyond Nuclear warns about safety risks of operating Palisades till 2022 »
Wednesday
Jan312018

Beyond Nuclear letter to the editor: Letter: Nuclear plants unsafe, should close

Beyond Nuclear's letter to the editor of the Columbus Dispatch (Ohio), as posted online there:

I respond to the Associated Press article “Company says Ohio, PA nuclear plants in danger of closing” in Friday’s Dispatch. Ohio and Pennsylvania’s atomic reactors cannot be closed soon enough.

Beaver Valley Unit 1 in Shippingport, Pennsylvania, has one of the worst neutron-embrittled reactor pressure vessels in the U.S., at risk of a pressurized thermal shock through-wall fracture like a hot glass under cold water. A core meltdown would follow, and only the containment would stand in the way of catastrophic release of hazardous radioactivity onto the winds and waters.

Fukushima Daiichi in Japan showed a containment can be damaged, or even destroyed, releasing its contents to the environment to harm people.

Davis-Besse near Toledo on the Lake Erie shore has an embrittled reactor too. But it also has a severely cracked concrete containment shield building. The cracks worsen with every freeze-thaw cycle, due to water locked in the walls. It is so bad, FirstEnergy has admitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, large chunks of exterior face concrete could spall off, crashing down on safety-significant systems, structures and components below. In this sense, the containment itself could cause the meltdown, then fail to hold in the consequences.

The nuclear workers, as well as the host communities, should be helped with just transitions, and made whole. But for safety’s sake, the reactors should be permanently shut down as soon as possible.

Kevin Kamps
Radioactive waste specialist
Beyond Nuclear
Takoma Park, Maryland