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Safety

Nuclear safety is, of course, an oxymoron. Nuclear reactors are inherently dangerous, vulnerable to accident with the potential for catastrophic consequences to health and the environment if enough radioactivity escapes. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Congressionally-mandated to protect public safety, is a blatant lapdog bowing to the financial priorities of the nuclear industry.

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Saturday
Jan312015

NRC to send Special Inspection Team to Entergy's Pilgrim atomic reactor after snow storm shutdown

Ironically enough, NEI left this Tweet up for days after Pilgrim was shut down by snow storm "Juno"!As reported by the Boston Globe, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will send a 4-5 person Special Inspection Team to Entergy Nuclear's Pilgrim atomic reactor next week, to investigate why snow storm "Juno" shut the plant down very early last Tuesday morning.

As of Friday evening, NRC's website is still showing Pilgrim at 0% power. Emergency diesel generators are running the plant's safety and cooling systems.

As reported by the Washington Examiner, NRC had warned before the snow storm, packing hurricane-force winds, that as many as 26 atomic reactors along the eastern seaboard, and further inland, could be forced to shut down.

For its part, the industry's lobbying and PR HQ, Nuclear Energy Institute, was bragging up nuclear power's reliability during severe winter weather. Ironically, it left it's Twitter ad (see above left) up for days after Pilgrim was forced to shut down in the face of the snow, ice, and wind storm's ferocity.

Thursday
Jan292015

"Winter Storm Exposes Vulnerability of Nuclear Power Plants"

NRC file photo of Entergy's Pilgrim atomic reactor, on Cape Cod Bay south of Boston. Pilgrim bore the brunt of Nor'easter "Juno." NRC's website reports that Pilgrim is still at 0% power, as of 9pm Eastern ThursdayAs reported by the Pulitzer-Prize winning online publication Inside Climate News, the "Shutdown of Pilgrim facility in Massachusetts fuels critics' challenge."

The article reports: '...Tim Judson, executive director of the anti-nuclear activist group Nuclear Information and Resource Service, told InsideClimate News that during emergency shutdowns—especially during extreme heat or cold—grid operators "are scrambling to find generators to make up the power."

...Judson is skeptical of the plan [by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, to incorporate more extreme weather risks to atomic reactors,] and blamed the NRC of "doing everything they can to delay" industry facing up to new rules.'

Pilgrim is a Fukushima Daiichi twin-design and vintage, a GE BWR Mark I. One of those "Fukushima Lessons Learned" new rules that NRC has not just delayed, but killed, is the requirement to add radiological filters to the fatally-flawed, too small, too weak containments on Mark Is (and similarly designed Mark IIs). The U.S. has 22 operating Mark Is, and 8 Mark IIs.

For many years, Nuclear Energy Information Service in Chicago has warned "It's the Water, Stupid!" regarding risks of extreme weather to atomic reactors. Far from nuclear power being a solution for the climate crisis, Beyond Nuclear has warned that atomic reactors cannot safely operate amdist climate chaos, as has NIRS.

Tuesday
Jan272015

"Relicensing Limerick nuke plant ignores safety risks"

NRC file photo of Exelon's twin GE Mark II BWR Limerick nuclear power plant. While NRC claims everything is coming up flowers, critics beg to differ.Dr. Lewis Cuthbert, President of the Alliance for a Clean Environment, has written an op-ed to the Pottstown (PA) Mercury, opposing the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's rubberstamp of a 20-year license extension at Exelon Nuclear's twin reactor Limerick nuclear power plant, near Philadelphia.

Limerick Units 1 and 2 are General Electric Mark II Boiling Water Reactors, very similar in design to the Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4 Mark Is.

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) intervened against the license extension before an NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board panel. NRDC raised Severe Accident Mitigation Alternatives (SAMA) analyses contentions. But their contentions fell on deaf ears, and NRC rubberstamped the license extension anyway.

As revealed in the 1982 NRC-commissioned CRAC-2 report ("Calculation of Reactor Accident Consequences"), Limerick's proximity to the densely populated Philadelphia metro area means a catastrophic radioactivity release there would inflict some of the worst casualties and property damages in the entire country downwind of atomic reactors.

Monday
Dec222014

Nuclear Crack Down?

Did you know that embrittled nuclear reactors could shatter like glass? Watch Fairewinds Energy Education's Nuclear Science Guy Arnie Gundersen (photo, left) demonstrate reactor embrittlement and imagine the shattering glass as a shattering nuclear reactor vessel. Learn more.

Arnie, Chief Engineer at Fairewinds Associates, Inc., serves as expert witness for an environmental coalition, including Beyond Nuclear, challenging Entergy Nuclear's application to weaken reactor pressure vessel (RPV) embrittlement safety standards, yet again, at its Palisades atomic reactor in s.w. MI on the Lake Michigan shoreline. Palisades has the worst embrittled RPV in the U.S., at risk of pressurized thermal shock (PTS), fracture, Loss-of-Coolant-Accident, core meltdown, containment failure, and catastrophic release of hazardous radioactivity.

NRC rubber-stamped Palisades' 20-year license extension in 2007, steamrolling an environmental coalition's intervention in opposition. The primary technical safety focus of the coalition was RPV embrittlement and PTS risk. See the chronicle of this 2005-2007 intervenion, posted online at the NIRS website.

Tuesday
Dec162014

NRC Commissioners deny appeal on QA at Fermi 3, but environmental intervenors vow to fight on

An artist's rendition of the GEH ESBWR, proposed by DTE to be built as "Fermi 3" at its nuclear power plant in Monroe Co., MIOn Dec. 16th, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) five Commissioners, in a unanimous ruling, denied an environmental coalition's appeal in the NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) proceeding on Detroit Edison's (DTE) proposed new Fermi 3 reactor in southeast MI on the Lake Erie shore. DTE proposes to construct and operate an untested General Electric-Hitachi (GEH), so-called "Economic, Simplified Boiling Water Reactor" (ESBWR) on the very spot where Fermi 1 had a partial meltdown in 1966, immediately adjacent to the Fukushima Daiichi twin-design Fermi 2, a GE Mark I BWR.

The coalition requested reconsideration of the ASLB's June 2014 ruling that DTE's Fermi 3 quality assurance (QA) program was adequate, reasserting its preponderence of evidence -- including the testimony of Fairewinds Associates, Inc.'s Chief Engineer, Arnie Gundersen -- that DTE's QA program was in fact in disarray, or even non-existent. The coalition intends to appeal this NRC ruling, and other pending matters, to the federal courts, if need be. More.