The Palisades nuclear power plant in Covert, MI, will close in October 2018, its owner, Entergy, has announced. The notorious reactor has been beset by critical safety issues for decades, long neglected, ignored, or given a pass by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In July, nearly two dozen security workers at Palisades were placed on paid leave after inconsistencies in fire inspection records were found. Despite constant opposition from Beyond Nuclear and others, the NRC has consistently refused to close the plant, even though the Palisades reactor vessel has become brittle after decades of use. More details on this page, and comments from Beyind Nuclear, to come as the news unfolds. Read more.
A leaked email from an inspector with the U.S Nuclear Regulatory Commission mistakenly sent December 5, 2016 to a local community activist, reveals that Entergy Corporation is “overwhelmed” by the operation of its aging Pilgrim nuclear power station in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Deteriorating safety conditions at the Fukushima-style nuclear power plant located 35 miles south of the Boston metropolitan area continue to challenge beleaguered station workers with potential for catastrophic consequences under accident conditions.
The many issues reported to have “overwhelmed” site workers include:
• An emergency diesel generator necessary to power safety systems during an accident had been run with “little or no oil” in the gear box;
• Poor station performance in assessing and protecting against the potential failure modes for the emergency generator and its backup power generator;
• Several examples of inadequate corrective actions including an internal flooding issue raised in 2011 left unaddressed;
• Lack of an onsite safety culture including “poor maintenance, poor engineering practices, and equipment reliability problems,” and corrective actions that were circumvented because they were “too hard to complete.”
The emailed memo indicates that the NRC inspection team is “struggling to figure out what all this all means.”
The answer is quite simple. The Pilgrim nuclear power station must be permanently closed immediately.\
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Beyond Nuclear was once again a co-sponsor of the Nuclear-Free Future Awards, this time held in Johannesburg, South Africa, November 16-20. It was perhaps the most eclectic and international of all Award gatherings in recent years and “official” events such as the Awards, the Think Nuclear-Free Symposium, and a downtown anti-nuclear rally, included, and were interspersed with much joyful singing, dancing and embracing.
The 2016 winners were: Arif Ali Cangi (Turkey), Resistance; Bruno Chareyron (France), Education; Samson Tsegaye Lemma (Ethiopia) Solutions; and Susi Snyder (Netherlands/USA) and Alfred Sepepe (South Africa) for Special Recognition. Click on each winner’s name for more information on their work and the award.
Some prevailing themes from the Symposium.
- There are lies told from the beginning to the end of the uranium fuel chain story, by governments and industry. These lies and the corruption must be constantly exposed. There is a huge need for accountability and transparency.
- It is essential to get accurate, scientific information directly to communities.The information needs to be simple, properly and fully documented, and translated into relevant languages.
- It is important to train people to use radiation monitors so that communities can measure radiation levels themselves rather than be subjected to the lies of industry and government; understand what the levels mean; and know which protective steps they can and should take.
- In order to get information to rural or remote communities, a mobile information and training unit could be optimal, since many people cannot travel to a training event or conference.
- How we message is also important. Rather than talking about impact, talk about consequences and appeal to the heart. This means telling personal stories and having compelling messengers who have lived the nuclear experience whether nuclear weapons (such as Hibakusha) or nuclear power/uranium mining.
- How we look at the issue and frame it can make a difference in reaching people. The anti-nuclear weapons community is emphasizing that this is a humanitarian issue and a public health issue.
Beyond Nuclear board member, Karl Grossman, writing in Counterpunch today, says it's likely.
"It is highly likely that the Trump administration will move to have the U.S. deploy weapons in space. If this happens, it will be profoundly destabilizing, setting off an arms race and, also likely, leading to war in space.
For decades there’s been interest by U.S. administrations—the Reagan administration with its “Star Wars” plan a leading example—in placing weapons in space. But that has alternated with some administrations more-or-less opposed, the Obama administration an example.
Still, no matter the administration, since work at the United Nations began in 1985 on a treaty seeking, as its title declares, the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space, the U.S. has not supported it. Canada, Russia and China have been leaders in urging passage of this PAROS treaty, and there has been virtually universal backing from nations around the world. But by balking, U.S. administration after administration has prevented its passage."
Beyond Nuclear's Paul Gunter (left), also a founder of the Clamshell Alliance that opposed construction of the Seabrook, NH nuclear power reactors, gave some insight to the Cape Cod Times on why the dangers persist -- particularly at the Pilgrim, MA nuclear reactor, the same design as those that blew up and melted down at Fukushima Daiichi, Japan. Read the full article.