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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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Tuesday
Apr062010

UCS files emergency enforcement petition with NRC regarding Davis-Besse lid leaks

The Union of Concerned Scientists' nuclear safety project director Dave Lochbaum has filed an emergency enforcement petition with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission concerning recent revelations of boric acid leakage through the Davis-Besse atomic reactor's lid near Toledo, Ohio. Similar leakage at Davis-Besse led, in 2002, to the nearest-miss to a major accident since Three Mile Island actually suffered a 50% core melt down in 1979. Due to that previous debacle, NRC fined Davis-Besse's owner, FirstEnergy, a record $5.45 million in penalties. However, this most recent leakage of corrosive boric acid appears to have again violated NRC's operating license, risking a fast-breaking breach of the reactor pressure vessel boundary and potential loss-of-coolant accident.

Monday
Feb152010

Entergy Nuclear seeks to boost profits by neglecting maintenance

In an editorial that despairs of ever getting "Straight answers" from Entergy Nuclear about its degraded, leaking Vermont Yankee atomic reactor, the Rutland Herald reports that Entergy CEO J. Wayne Leonard recently told investors that cash flow problems at Vermont Yankee will be solved by raising electric rates, as well as by " 'lower[ing] working capital requirements'...In other words, the company is investing less in the plant to enhance profits, which may account for the fact that it is falling apart. " Entergy Nuclear is equally guilty of neglecting major safety repairs and replacements at its Palisades nuclear power plant in Covert, Michigan. A Palisades' presentation to the Michigan Public Service Commission in 2006 (see page 2) revealed several major fixes required to address known safety risks at the reactor, including replacement of the corroded reactor lid, annealing severe reactor pressure vessel embrittlement, replacing the steam generators for the second time, and enlarging sump pumps and fixing filtering screens in order to deal with debris clogging coolant flow during an emergency. However, since taking over ownership and operations at Palisades in 2007, Entergy has fixed none of these major problems. And just as Vermont Yankee is leaking hazarous radioactive tritium into groundwater and the Connecticut River, Palisades is leaking tritium into groundwater and Lake Michigan. In both cases, drinking water supplies, food chains, and public health downstream are at risk.

Tuesday
Oct132009

Beyond Nuclear and close to 100 groups protest blatant nuclear "booster" nominated to Nuclear Regulatory Commission 

Beyond Nuclear joined close to 100 anti-nuclear watchdog groups from across the country in reiterating vehement opposition to President Obama's now official nomination of William Magwood as a new commissoner at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The groups had already alerted the White House, in an August 3rd letter, to Mr. Magwood's firmly pro-nuclear industry track record and history. Today, Beyond Nuclear issued a press release urging the Senate to carefully consider Magwood's nuclear industry boosterism given that the NRC mandate is to protect the interests of public safety in the nuclear power sector.

Friday
Oct092009

Cracked Florida reactor signals widespread risks of aging reactors

A deep crack just discovered this week in the concrete containment wall of the Crystal River nuclear reactor on Florida’s west coast signals a disturbing trend in on-going cracking and corrosion and other dangerous wear-and-tear symptoms among the country’s fleet of aging reactors. Beyond Nuclear argues that it is time the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission fulfill its Congressional mandate to look out for public safety instead of risking lives to save nuclear utilities money. The agency should keep the Crystal River reactor closed, Beyond Nuclear argues, while seriously evaluating the safety of continuing to relicense the country's aging reactor fleet.

 

 

Wednesday
Jul082009

Leaks at NJ reactor due to poor maintenance

"Improper maintenance techniques during the early 1990s are to blame for the tritium leak at Oyster Creek Generating Station in Lacey Township, according to a statement released on Wednesday," writes Ben Leach in the Press of Atlantic City.

"According to the statement, a document from 1991 indicated that the two pipes where the tritium leaks originated were completely recoated. In an engineering analysis, the staff at Oyster Creek found that the pipes had not been completely recoated, leaving some areas prone to corrosion.

"The pipes were replaced earlier this year. There was no threat to public or employee safety, according to the statement."