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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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Monday
Apr282014

"Three Mile Island and Nuclear Hopes and Fears"

The New York Times Retro Report has published a 13 minute video about the Three Mile Island disaster. Unfortunately, it repeats the myth that "no one died at TMI." Beyond Nuclear debunked that falsehood in its recent Thunderbird newsletter, Three Mile Island: The Truth, on the disaster's 35th anniversary. Beyond Nuclear also created a website devoted to TMI Truth.

The Retro Report also handed the microphone to Pandora's propagandist Michael Shollenberger of the Breakthrough Institute. Beyond Nuclear has also debunked the propaganda of Pandora's Promise.

It also presented the supposed potential of thorium power, another false promise Beyond Nuclear and its allies have challenged.

No discussion of "Retro" and nuclear power is complete without a link to NIRS's "Nuke Retro: Salesman from the '70s," created by cartoonist Mark Fiore during the George W. Bush/Dick Cheney push for a "nuclear renaissance" a decade ago.

Wednesday
Apr092014

NRC Denies Modest Post-Fukushima Emergency Response Recommendations

The UN IAEA's official radioactivity hazard warning signDave Kraft, Director of Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS) based in Chicago, wrote the following introduction as he forwarded the NIRS press release entitled "NRC Fails the American People: Denies Petition to Make Modest Improvements in Emergency Planning for Nuclear Reactor Accidents." Beyond Nuclear joined NEIS and three dozen other groups in supporting NIRS' petition.

"As a courtesy to our colleagues at NIRS in Washington, D.C., we forward a press release that reports the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s denial of a request to improve evacuation plans around U.S. nuclear reactors, based on the real-life information and evidence provided by the Fukushima and Chornobyl nuclear disasters.  With Illinois having 14 reactors – four of which are of Fukushima design and vintage -- and 9,000+ tons of high-level radioactive waste in the form of spent fuel in spent fuel pools and dry casks, this is no inconsequential matter.  (DISCLOSURE:  NEIS was a co-signatory of the petition to NRC)

Reality has never been a strong suit at the NRC, which consistently denies even the most common sense requests and recommendations emanating from members of the public they allegedly serve and protect.  The Commission’s interest in safety seems to be in direct proportion to the length of the leash held by Marvin S. Fertel, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the nuclear industry trade and lobbying group.  While NEI representatives are frequently invited by NRC to help write public policy on nuclear power issues, attend meetings and give briefings, public interest groups are routinely refused such opportunities.  This has been a consistent pattern of NRC behavior for decades.

It is for this reason that the public has come to understand that “NRC” actually stands for “not really concerned.”  NRC has yet to learn the lesson that betrayal is a rational justification for distrust."

Beyond Nuclear teamed up with NEIS on many occassions, including to co-sponsor the "Mountain of Radioactive Waste 70 Years High" conference in Chicago in Dec. 2012.

Tuesday
Mar252014

Opponents to 20 more years at Davis-Besse cite radioactive waste dilemma, renewable alternatives

Environmental coalition attorney Terry Lodge of ToledoThe environmental coalition opposing the 20-year license extension sought by FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC) at its problem-plagued Davis-Besse atomic reactor on the Lake Erie shore east of Toledo has spoken out at NRC Environmental Impact Statement public comment meetings. The coalition issued a press release, focused on the unsolved dilemma created by Davis-Besse's ongoing generation of forever deadly high-level radioactive waste, as well as the renewables alternative (wind power, solar PV, etc.) to a risky, dubious 20 more years of atomic reactor operations.

The press release quoted Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps: “The worsening cracking of Davis-Besse’s concrete containment, the corrosion of its inner steel containment vessel, the risks of its experimental steam generator replacement, and its recently revealed Shield Building wall gap are clear signs that this atomic reactor is overdue for retirement and decommissioning.”

The coalition includes Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Green Party of Ohio. Terry Lodge of Toledo serves as the coalition's legal counsel.

Monday
Mar102014

Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster

David Lochbaum, Edwin Lyman, Susan Q. Stranahan, and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) have published a book in time for the third anniversary of the beginning of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe. The book details the blow by blow unfolding of the disaster at Japan, and serves as a searing indictment of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's dereliction of its safety duty domestically, risking an American Fukushima.

See UCS's web post about the book's publication here. See UCS's press release here. See UCS's blog post here.

Lochbaum is the head of the UCS's Nuclear Safety Project, and also author of Nuclear Waste Disposal Crisis. Lyman is a senior scientist in the Global Security Program of UCS. Stranahan was the lead reporter of the Philadelphia Inquirer's Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the Three Mile Island accident and the author of Susquehanna: River of Dreams.

Monday
Mar102014

Markey Statement on Three-Year Anniversary of Fukushima Meltdowns

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA)FOR IMMEDIATE RELASE

Contact: Giselle Barry (Markey) 202-224-2742

In 2011 in the House of Reps., lawmaker introduced nuclear safety legislation to ensure U.S. nuclear power plants could withstand earthquakes, tsunamis, long power outages, or other major events

Washington (March 10, 2014) – Senator Edward J. Markey, Congress’s leading voice on nuclear safety, released the following statement today decrying the lack of progress on key improvement to America’s nuclear fleet in the wake of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that led to the meltdown of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactors in Japan. 

“America’s nuclear reactors are no more protected than they were three years ago when Japan experienced the worst nuclear disaster in history,” said Senator Markey, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee.  “Since the catastrophic meltdowns at Fukushima, reactors in the United States have yet to be required to implement a single new safety measure. While the NRC’s technical expert report called for swift mandatory adoption of all of its recommendations, the Commission voted to extend implementation deadlines, add cost-benefit analysis barriers to moving forward and delay consideration of some of the recommendations altogether. Three years later, it is past time to immediately act to implement all of the NRC technical staffs’ recommendations and ensure Americans, especially those living near nuclear reactors, are safe.”

Since the tragic events in Japan, Senator Markey has written to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and President Obama for more information on the implications for America’s domestic nuclear industry. He has repeatedly urged the NRC to consider specific domestic policies to ensure increased nuclear safety and introduced legislation to require their implementation.  He also queried the Food and Drug Administration on how the agency is ensuring that contaminated radioactive food or other agricultural products are prevented from entering the domestic food supply.