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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
Oct282010

Hole and corrosion found in containment at Turkey Point reactor

Workers at the Turkey Point nuclear power plant in South Florida have discovered a rusty quarter-sized hole in the steel liner of  the containment of one of the two reactors there along with a 30-inch section of corrosion. The hole and corrosion were found during a refueling shutdown. Turkey Point is now the fourth reactor to have discovered a containment liner hole in the last two years but the problem is feared to be widespread within the aging U.S. reactor fleet. According to Arnie Gundersen, a Vermont-based nuclear engineer and consultant who produced a report detailing holes and cracks at half a dozen U.S. reactors, a hole such as that found at Turkey Point could allow enough radiation to escape to threaten public safety.


Monday
Oct252010

Gas lines pose safety risk at Indian Point nuke

Natural gas pipelines running close to the Indian Point nuclear power plant pose a threat with potentially catastrophic consequences, according to Paul Blanch, an independent energy consultant. The pipelines pose what Blanch described as "a low probability" event but with "unimaginable" consequences if there should be an explosion causing a fire. Such an event is well within the bounds of possibility since it already occurred in San Bruno, CA where a large gas line exploded killing eight people and destroying 37 homes. Blanch has filed a petition with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission  that questions whether the NRC has properly studied the effects of an explosion of the lines or planned for such an accident.

Monday
Jul262010

Safety concerns about French Areva EPR raised in Europe and U.S.

The New York Times has reported allegations of safety significant design flaws with nuclear fuel rod cladding, as well as the danger of control rod ejection accidents, at the French Areva "European Pressurized Reactor" targeted at Flammanville on the Normandy Coast. Meanwhile, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has continued to question the safety of interconnections between safety and non-safety "Instrumentation and Control" systems at the Areva "Evolutionary Power Reactor" targeted to be built at Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant in Maryland, Nine Mile Point on the Lake Ontario shoreline in New York State, and elsewhere. See the NRC press release here.

Monday
Jul192010

PSR blasts Congressional proposals to rollback NRC safety regulations

In an op-ed published in The Hill newspaper, Physicians for Social Responsibility's board president, Dr. Jeff Patterson, has compared legislative attempts -- as in the Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act discussion draft -- to rollback Nuclear Regulatory Commission safety and licensning regulations for new atomic reactors to the same kinds of mistakes -- speed over safety -- that led to the BP Gulf of Mexico oil catastrophe.

Monday
Jul122010

Is the AP1000 rust prone and at risk of catastrophic radioactivity releases? Arnie Gundersen says yes!

Image compliments of Arnold Gundersen, Fairewinds Associates, Inc.See the story in the New York Times Green blog. And see Arnie's power point on the subject at the Fairewinds Associates, Inc. website. This fatal design flaw on the most "popular" (among nuclear utilities anyway!)new reactor design in the U.S. -- with 14 on order, all targeted at the Southeast -- raises serious safety concerns about the nuclear power relapse, and the tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer-backed federal loan guarantees proposed to pay for it. Also see the April 21, 2010 press conference and related background documents that first raised the red flag on this issue. And see the Oct. 2009 NRC press release admitting another major design flaw with the AP1000, a structurally unsound shield building vulnerable to earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes. If the AP1000 is "the best" new reactor design out there, awarded $8.3 billion in loan guarantees by President Obama last February and in line to potentially recieve a whole lot more, we'd hate to see the runners up!