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.



Orwell's turning so fast in his grave...

...he should be connected to the electric grid!

At a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) subcommittee meeting on May 26, 2011 about the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, ACRS Member Dana A. Powers bragged about how little radioactivity had escaped during the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe.

Powers said: "But, the whole thing is quite remarkable, I mean, that you have damage to three units, maybe a couple of spent fuel pools, we've got a megacurie or so of cesium outside the plant...I mean, that just shows you how much defense-in-depth you have, even when things get very, very heavily compromised here. I mean, there is a tremendous -- had you asked me a priori, before the event, you had this sort of event occur, what kind of source term would you expect, I would have written out a much more severe set of numbers for you." 

See page 130 of the transcript.

In a sense he's right -- perhaps 99% of the radioactivity hasn't disgorged into the environment -- yet. But that 1% packs quite a punch -- a million curies of radioactive cesium represents a catastrophic release. And we aren't out of the woods yet on the other 99%, especially since a lot of it is contained in the countless tens of thousands of tons of radioactively contaminated cooling water, which Tokyo Electric Power Company ran out of room to store many weeks ago. Of course, they continually "feed and bleed" the melted down Units 1, 2, and 3 each day, generating even more radioactively contaminated water with nowhere to go. Unknown amounts have already been released into the ocean, either accidentally through leaks, or else on purpose to make room in storage areas for even more highly contaminated water. 

An NRC media release from 1998, announcing his re-appointment to the ACRS at the time, gives this biography on Dr. Powers: "...born in Ironton, Missouri, received his B.S. degree in Chemistry and his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, and Economics from the California Institute of Technology. He began his career in 1974 at Sandia National Laboratory, where he currently serves as a senior scientist at the Nuclear Technology Center. Dr. Powers is responsible for the development of safety research programs for Department of Energy nuclear facilities. He has served on the Advisory Committee on Nuclear Facility Safety for DOE and for DOE's Chemical Reactions Tank Advisory Panel."



What lessons will the U.S. learn from Fukushima Daiichi's radioactive “tsunami that never seems to roll back”? 

An op-ed in the International Herald Tribune entitled "Fukushima in America" by Nassrine Azimi asks if the U.S. will take heed of the lessons from Japan's historic nuclear weapons and nuclear power catastrophes.


Nature reports that 90 million people live within 30 km danger zone of atomic reactors

The journal Nature reports toat over 90 million people around the world live within 30 km (19 miles) of an atomic reactor. 30 km represents the current radius of the "Dead Zone" drawn around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. Of these 90 million people, 16 million are in the U.S.; over nine million each reside in China, Germany and Pakistan; more than five million reside in France, India, and Taiwan. If the radius is expanded to 75 kilometres (47 miles), the number of residents in such nuclear emergency zones increases to almost 500 million. 50 miles is the distance that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman Greg Jazcko told Congress in mid March that Americans should stay away from the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, just days into the nuclear catastrophe.


Steam leak at Susquehanna shuts nuclear plant

A steam leak at the Susquehanna nuclear power plant near Berwick, PA on January 25. When operators realized the steam leak could not be isolated, they opted to "scram" - or shut down the reactor. The leak occurred in the feedwater heater bay of Unit 1. 


Environmental coalition organizes to resist Davis-Besse license extension

Boric acid-rust "lava" flows from Davis-Besse lid. In 2002 it was revealed that a mere 3/16ths of an inch of metal was preventing a breach and loss-of-coolant-accident.Beyond Nuclear, along with The Green Party of Ohio (, the Ohio Sierra Club ( ), Don't Waste Michigan and the Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes held a people's hearing in Toledo on Sat., Dec. 18th to oppose the 20 year license extension recently sought by the trouble-plagued Davis-Besse atomic reactor. The event was held at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Toledo, Ohio. Concerned citizens' comments and testimony were videorecorded, and will be submitted to NRC as official public comment for its environmental scoping on the proposal. Alvin D. Compaan, Distinguished University Professor of Physics, Emeritus, at the University of Toledo, presented on "The case for replacing Davis-Besse with efficiency improvements and renewable energy sources." Kathryn Hoepfl, a University of Toledo undergraduate student of physics, also showed how wind power and solar power can readily replace Davis-Besse's atomic electricity. Other speakers included event organizers Joseph DeMare and Anita Rios of the Green Party of Ohio, Tony Szilagye of the Ohio Sierra Club, Ed McArdle of the Southeast Michigan Group of the Sierra Club, Phyllis Oster (who intervened against Davis-Besse's initial licensing over 30 years ago), David Ellison (a Cleveland architect and Green Party member), Ralph Semrock of SOLTERRA, and Michael Leonardi (a Toledo native who now resides in Italy). Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear presented on his backgrounder, "Davis-Besse: 20 MORE Years of Radioactive Russian Roulette?!", which summarizes the numerous near-disasters there since operations began in 1977. Environmental groups plan to intervene against the license extension by the Dec. 27th deadline. A flyer announced the people's hearing. The Toledo Free Press has editorialized against the Davis-Besse license extension, and Tom Henry of the Toledo Blade attended and wrote an article about the people's hearing.