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ARTICLE ARCHIVE
Friday
Mar312017

French companies knew of Creusot forge flaws in 2005 but installed them in French and U.S. reactors anyway

Beyond Nuclear has today called for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to require all 17 U.S. reactors with Creusot parts to shut down for thorough and independently verified material testing for carbon content and enhanced inspections of these safety-related components.

In a press release sent today, Beyond Nuclear sounds the alarm that the French cover-up by EDF and Areva of quality control and falsification may extend to reactor components sold to U.S. plants. Read our full press release.

Letters sent to French nuclear corporations EDF and Areva by the French nuclear safety authority (ASN), reveal that the companies were alerted by the agency as far back as 2005 that there were major quality control problems at the Creusot Forge supplying their reactor components. 

The companies contracted Creusot to manufacture safety-sensitive nuclear components for reactors in France and other countries, including customers in the United States. The letters were uncovered and published by Radio France investigative reporter, Sylvain Tronchet. His story will air on April 1.

The Creusot Forge remains under investigation for failure to control manufacturing defects introduced into large forgings for steel components and then covering up the mistakes in falsified quality control documents. 

The defect, identified as “carbon macrosegregation,” and loss of control of the quality assurance process, has resulted in components with too much carbon content in the finished steel component that makes it vulnerable to cracking and tearing during reactor operations. 

This comes on the heels of recent revelations by ASN about the Creusot Forge lacking “the safety culture . . . to produce nuclear components.” Read the rest of the press release.

Friday
Mar312017

Opponents gird for nuclear waste dump battles in Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas

Political cartoon by Jim Day that appeared in the Las Vegas Review Journal in 2010The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has extended the deadline for public comments on the environmental scoping of Waste Control Specialists' proposed centralized interim storage facility for commercial irradiated nuclear fuel in Andrews County, Texas until April 28th. Please submit comments! You can also make oral comments, on Thurs., April 6 from 7 to 10pm Eastern, during an NRC public comment teleconference/call-in meeting (Bridge Number: (800) 619-9084, Pass Code: 3009542; please register in advance by contacting Ms. Antoinette Walker-Smith at (301) 415-6957, or by email no later than April 3, 2017.) Please spread the word on these public comment opportunities!

NRC has also just extended the deadline for legal intervention against the WCS de facto permanent high-level radioactive waste parking lot dump, till May 31st; Beyond Nuclear fully intends to intervene, along with a coalition of environmental groups and concerned citizens, not only residing near the dump, but also along transport routes throughout the country.

The Yucca Mountain, Nevada radioactive waste dump zombie is again stirring (see political cartoon, above left; be sure to count the toes!), as: the Trump administration has budgeted $120 million to resurrect its long cancelled licensing proceeding; Energy Secretary Perry made a surprise, secret trip to the site; and congressional Republicans attempt to "Screw Nevada" (the most common name for the 1987 law that singled out Yucca Mountain, despite its already documented scientific unsuitability, and environmental injustice). However, the State of Nevada, its congressional delegation, environmental watchdogs, and the Western Shoshone Indian Nation are girding for battle -- Beyond Nuclear, and a thousand environmental/justice groups nationwide, will stand with them, as we have for three decades. See Nevada's and Beyond Nuclear's websites for more information, and ways to take action.  

(And this late breaking news: Holtec International has just applied to NRC for a Centralized Interim Storage Facility (CISF) construction and operation license in Eddy-Lea County, Southeastern New Mexico -- just like WCS, TX, and only about 50 miles away! Combined with the Louisiana Energy Services/Uranium Enrichment Corporation, immediately adjacent to WCS, and the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP, for military trans-uranic waste disposal), close to the Holtec/Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance CISF, the nuclear establishment in government and industry is clearly attempting to turn the area into a nuclear sacrifice zone. Our coalition must rise to the challenge of resisting this latest environmental injustice. Stay tuned for updates as they come in, in the weeks and months ahead.)

Thursday
Mar302017

Nuclear Fool's Day?! Good and bad news after Westinghouse bankruptcy announcement

"Burning money" image by Gene Case of Avenging Angels. It was featured on the cover of the Nation magazine in 2003, accompanying an article by Christian Parenti about the nuclear power relapse.As reported by Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), four new Toshiba-Westinghouse AP1000 reactors in the American Southeast were supposed to be commercially operational by April 1, 2017: Vogtle Unit 3 in Georgia, and Summer Unit 2 in South Carolina, were scheduled to come online April 1, 2016; and Vogtle 4 and Summer 3 one year later. However, many billions of dollars of cost overruns, and years-long schedule delays, are the root cause of Japanese giant Toshiba's subsidiary, Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse Nuclear, declaring bankruptcy on March 29. Now, as stated by the chair of the GA Public Service Commission, "all bets are off," re: completion of all four reactors by the end of 2020, the current, delayed deadline.

As reflected in press statements by watchdog groups like Nuclear Watch South and SCAMA (a play on the name of nuclear utility SCANA), there is hope that the partially constructed reactors will be abandoned, and never operated. The good news is this would avert many decades of risk of catastrophic releases of hazardous radioactivity due to core meltdown(s), not to mention "routine" radiation releases; it would also avert the generation of thousands of tons of forever deadly high-level radioactive waste. The bad news is, ratepayers in both GA and SC have already paid through the nose for the partially constructed reactors. After nine rate hikes, nearly 20% of SC electric consumers' bill payments now go towards the Summer nuclear new build. Such advance cost recovery, or Construction Work in Progress (CWIP), "nuclear tax" surcharges are illegal in most states (for example, as decided by popular referendum in Missouri in 1976). In addition, Vogtle 3 & 4 were awarded an $8.3 billion federal taxpayer-backed loan guarantee by the Obama administration. If loan repayments go into default, the U.S. Treasury could lose that entire amount -- 15 times more money than was lost in the Solyndra solar loan guarantee default. Critics, including Beyond Nuclear, have warned about this economic moral hazard with a radioactive twist since nuclear loan guarantees were first proposed, in Vice President Dick Cheney's infamous Energy Task Force Report in May 2001.
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Tuesday
Mar142017

Beyond Nuclear on Sojourner Truth Radio: Six Years Later, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster's Impact Continues

Beyond Nuclear was interviewed by Margaret Prescod on Sojourner Truth Radio on Pacifica. Here is the show summary:

Today, we commemorate Saturday's 6th anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. The disaster was triggered by an 9.0 earthquake followed by a tsunami. Contamination from the accident spread across the Pacific Ocean. Now the Japanese government is set to lift evacuation orders for the area surrounding Fukushima. Our guests are Kevin Kamps, radioactive waste watchdog at Beyond Nuclear, and Arnie Gunderson, nuclear power expert with Fairewinds.

Here is the link to the audio recording.

Monday
Mar132017

Beyond Nuclear on RT: Fukushima Safe?

Beyond Nuclear was interviewed by RT, regarding the ongoing Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, six years after it began (3/11/11 to 3/11/17).