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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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Thursday
Apr212016

Palisades Forum for Earth Week, Kalamazoo, MI, Thurs., April 21

Entergy Nuclear's Palisades atomic reactor in Covert, MI on the Lake Michigan shoreline, upwind of KalamazooFukushima, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island...Where Next?!

Will it be Palisades on Lake Michigan?! (see photo, left)

Do you have your POTASSIUM IODIDE?!

Sierra Club Southwest Michigan Group, Michigan Safe Energy Future/Palisades Shutdown Campaign, and Beyond Nuclear will hold a

PALISADES FORUM

for Earth Week, at 6:30pm Eastern on Thursday, April 21, 2016 (Sierra Club founder John Muir's birthday; one day before Earth Day; and five days before the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe)

at First Congregational Church UCC, Small Chapel, 345 West Michigan Avenue, downtown Kalamazoo, MI 49007

featuring Beyond Nuclear's Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Kevin Kamps; a representative from the Alliance to Halt Fermi 3; and other speakers.

Free admission, donations accepted.

See the Facebook event link.

See the PDF of the event poster (please print hard copies and post or hand out around town!).

Please spread the word, and hope to see you there!

Tuesday
Apr122016

Entergy avoids fine in falsified fire report case at Pilgrim Station

As reported by Matthew Nadler at Manomet Current:

Entergy won’t be fined following the discovery that a former employee falsified fire watch records at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station.

Pilgrim Station Vice President John Dent, Jr was informed of the decision in a letter from Nuclear Regulatory Commission Acting Regional Administrator David Lew on Tuesday.

The company could have been fined $70,000, according to the letter. However, the NRC credited Entergy with investigating the problem after another employee had expressed concern. The safety officer who falsified the reports was fired and the company reexamined its fire watch procedures.

The security officer at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station falsified over 200 fire watch records between June 2012 and June 2014. Fire watches are supposed to be done an hourly basis in certain areas of the plant, according to an e-mail from NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan.

Thursday
Apr072016

When "FirstEnergy says PUC vote assures Davis-Besse operation for several years," Beyond Nuclear begs to differ

This still images comes from a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission video. The yellow arrow shows a sub-surface crack in Davis-Besse's concrete containment Shield Building wall. The cracking was revealed during an October 2011 reactor lid replacement. The cracking grows by a half-inch, or more, in length, every time it freezes out, due to Ice-Wedging Crack Propagation, due to water locked in the walls by FENOC's 2012 "White Wash" weather sealant of the Shield Building exterior, 40 years too late.In an article entitled "FirstEnergy says PUC vote assures Davis-Besse operation for several years," Nucleonics Week reporter Michael McAuliffe quoted Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps:

A coalition of anti-nuclear and environmental groups including Beyond Nuclear was also critical of the PUC decision.

“PUCO’s $4 billion bailout to FirstEnergy will mostly go towards padding the pockets of company executives and shareholders, not to critically needed repairs of safety systems, structures, and components,” Beyond Nuclear spokesman Kevin Kamps said in a March 31 statement.

[FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company, FENOC, spokesman] Colafella said “there are currently no major capital improvements needed at Davis-Besse.” But the coalition said that among needed plant maintenance is repairing a shield building which has a multitude of cracks. The shield building protects the reactor from impact by external objects.

Kamps questioned whether Davis-Besse will be able to remain in operation for the eight years covered by the plan and said in an April 4 interview that FirstEnergy does not “plan on plowing much of their bailout back into maintenance, and the NRC didn’t require it.” More.

Monday
Apr042016

Piling on yet more catastrophic risks at Indian Point

Pipe being laid near by energy company Spectra near the Indian Point nuclear plant in Westchester County, New York Photograph: Sam Thielman As reported by the Guardian, a 42-inch diameter natural gas pipeline under construction within 105 feet of the emergency diesel generator fuel storage depot, and within 400 feet of the electrical switchyard, is but the latest potentially catastrophic risk at Entergy Nuclear's Indian Point twin reactors. 

20 million people live or work within a 50-mile radius.

As quoted in the article, nuclear engineer Paul Blanch said:

“I’m not anti-nuke or anything like that. I’ve been in the business for 50 years and I’ve never seen anything as egregious as this.”

Oil industry veteran Richard Kuprewicz, who conducts risk analyses through his company Accufacts, and sits on PHMSA’s [the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration] own hazardous liquid pipeline safety standards committee, had this to say:

Kuprewicz performs assessments of that kind regularly and his own assessment of a rupture next to the switchyard where the pipeline will run is blunt. Were a pipeline to rupture, “the heat radiation and the impact zones are so great that with high heat flux they would actually melt the power lines”, he said.

If both the power lines bringing primary grid electricity into Indian Point to run safety and cooling systems were to be disabled, in an explosion or fire, and the backup emergency diesel generators too, the reactors would be plunged into station blackout. In such a Fukushima-like scenario, the reactor cores could melt down with hours.

As New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has asked, what would New York City residents do then, swim to Jersey? The impossibility of quickly evacuating 20 million people from the metro New York City region is a primary reason why Cuomo has long advocated for Indian Point's permanent shutdown. Both reactors are currently operating on expired licenses.

Tuesday
Mar222016

Belgium 'beefs up security' at nuclear plants

As reported by Agence France-Presse:

Brussels (AFP) - Belgium security forces tightened security at nuclear plants across the country after deadly attacks in the capital city of Brussels, the Belga news agency said.

"Surveillance is stepped up with added security measures at nuclear plants," the agency reported.

"Vehicles are being checked with police and army on site," the agency added.

In February, investigators probing the Paris attacks found video footage of a senior Belgian nuclear official at the property of a key suspect. (emphasis added)