Yet another long overdue atomic reactor permanent shutdown: Fort Calhoun, NE switched off for good today!

Floodwaters on the Missouri River in spring and summer of 2011 lapped against safety significant buildings at Fort Calhoun atomic reactor in Nebraska, upstream of the state's largest city, Omaha.As reported by Cole Epley in the Omaha World-Herald, the Omaha Public Power District's (OPPD) Fort Calhoun atomic reactor permanently shutdown today, four and a half months after the nuclear utility's management proposed it, and the utility's board of directors voted in agreement.

Although OPPD emphasized Fort Calhoun's inability to compete with less expensive sources of electricity (including Nebraska's abundant wind power) as the reason for its decision, Fort Calhoun has also suffered serious safety problems for the past several years.

This included a close call with catastrophe, during historic floods on the adjacent Missouri River in the spring and summer of 2011. (This earned the atomic reactor the nickname "Port" Calhoun, as flood waters lapped against safety related systems, structures, and components! See the photo, above left.) It also included a fire, that smoldered within the plant for days, remarkably without response, also in 2011. The consequent two and half year shutdown cost Nebraskans several hundred million dollars (Fort Calhoun is publicly owned).

As soon as the irradiated fuel is removed from the core, Fort Calhoun can no longer suffer a reactor meltdown, by definition. In addition, no more high-level radioactive waste will be generated. That is the good news. The bad news is that the irradiated nuclear fuel already generated there, since 1974 -- currently stored in the indoor "wet" storage pool, and outdoor dry casks -- must be isolated from the living environment for the next million years.


Beyond Nuclear joins call to oust Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission president to protect Great Lakes

The Great LakesBeyond Nuclear has joined with a coalition of U.S. and Canadian environmental groups in calling for the ouster of the beleaguered head of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), Dr. Michael Binder, for acting as a cheerleader for the nuclear power industry, instead of protecting health, safety, and the environment, as is the agency's mandate. The coalition's call comes after a scathing report by the Canadian Federal Commissioner for the Environment and Sustainable Development, documenting significant failures by the CNSC. The call for the ouster of Dr. Binder as CNSC president also comes after CNSC whistle-blowers alleged that vital safety-significant information has repeatedly been withheld from the CNSC commissioners by senior agency staff. An internal agency review ordered by Binder dismissed the whistle-blower allegations, but independent nuclear experts slammed CNSC's whitewash as a "sham." Beyond Nuclear's many interventions against Canadian radioactive risks to the Great Lakes (photo, right) -- drinking water supply for 40 million people in eight U.S. states, two Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations -- includes: opposition to a radioactive waste dump targeted at the Great Lakes shore; resistance against unprecedented truck shipments to the U.S. of highly radioactive liquid waste; and objections to proposed new Canadian atomic reactors, as well as extended operations at dangerously age-degraded Canadian nuclear facilities, most located on the Great Lakes shores. More


Lawsuits, grassroots education and activism seek to stop Cuomo nuclear bailout in NY

Energy companies and trade associations have filed a lawsuit in federal court, while Public Citizen has filed an intervention at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, in opposition to a nearly $8 billion ratepayer-funded bailout of several failing atomic reactors in upstate New York. At the same time, a grassroots campaign called Stop the Cuomo Tax -- No Nuclear Bailout (which has generated a lot of media already!) has issued action alerts, from signing onto a petition, to handing out leaflets at public transit stations, which Beyond Nuclear has forwarded to its NY supporters. NYPIRG has just called for New Yorkers to phone Gov. Cuomo's office, to urge him to change his mind on propping up the dangerously age-degraded reactors, and instead invest in renewables. (Please forward the alert to everyone you know in NY!) Investigative journalist Karl Grossman, a Beyond Nuclear board member, presented at a business association on how Cuomo's nuclear bailout would undermine wind and solar power. Such efforts in NY help build momentum against nuclear power industry money grabs in other states, such as Illinois. More


Protect the Grand Canyon's magnificent watershed from toxic uranium mining

Greater Grand Canyon regionThe Center for Biological Diversity is circulating an action alert, calling for messages to be sent to President Obama, urging him to designate the Great Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument before he leaves office. This would effectively protect the Grand Canyon, and the greater Colorado River watershed -- including such Native American tribes as the Hualapai, Havasupai, as well as millions more people downstream, and a grand diversity of magnificent wildlife, all of whom depend on the river for drinking water -- from the ravages of uranium mining, and other environmental assaults, such as old growth logging. Please write President Obama!  More


Karl Grossman: “How Cuomo’s $7.6 Billion Nuclear Bail-out Can Impede Wind and Solar”

Karl GrossmanInvestigative journalist Karl Grossman (photo, left) -- a Beyond Nuclear board of directors member -- delivered a presentation to Long Island Metro Business Action entitled  “How Cuomo’s $7.6 Billion Nuclear Bail-out Can Impede Wind and Solar." A link to the written presentation is provided here.

Karl has also posted the presentation at his own blog, linked here.