Oyster Creek to close this year but it should have shut in 2011

Beyond Nuclear today issued a press release welcoming a decision by Exelon to again move the shutdown date for its Oyster Creek, NJ reactor sooner, but decrying the absence of safety enforcement that should have seen the plant close as soon as the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster began in Japan, on March 11, 2011. 

“While we welcome Exelon’s announcement that it will close its Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in October 2018, this should have happened immediately after the March 11, 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan,” said Paul Gunter, Director of the Reactor Oversight Project at Beyond Nuclear, a leading national anti-nuclear watchdog group.  

Exelon announced today that it would shut the reactor more than a year earlier than its December 2019 closure date, but the company has not given an explanation for its decision. However, an Exelon press release alludes to “managing costs.” Oyster Creek is the first and the oldest Fukushima-design nuclear reactor in the world, a GE Mark I boiling water reactor. 

“It’s clear that Oyster Creek and the entire, aging U.S. nuclear reactor fleet is hemorrhaging financially,” Gunter said. “The fact that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the nuclear industry continue to prioritize financial margins over public safety margins is a growing concern, especially at the remaining 29 Fukushima style reactors still operating in the U.S.,” Gunter continued. 

“None of our country’s Fukushima-design reactors should have operated for even one more day once we saw the catastrophic events publicly unfold worldwide at Fukushima,” Gunter said.

Read the full press release.


Help stop another nuclear restart in Japan

Green Action Japan has started a petition to stop the planned restart of the Ohi nuclear power plant. As the petition states:

"The Japanese national government wants everything "back to normal" by the 2020 Olympics: Fukushima accident evacuees back to the Fukushima region, nuclear power plants restarted--everything back to pre-Fukushima days."

The reality is very different, with the Fukushima site still leaking deadly radioactivity and a country riddled with earthquake faults and volcanoes but a government eager to restart its nuclear reactors.

The Ohi plant -- in Fukui Prefecture which has the highest concentration of nuclear power plants in the world -- is just 37 miles from the historic city of Kyoto. The Governor and Mayor of Kyoto have petitioned the national government for the right to say yes/no to restart, to have control over Kyoto's fate. Their plea has been answered with silence.

Please help Koyoto, Japan and the world, by signing the Green Action petition today. 


To learn more, watch this video.



EPA orders partial cleanup at St. Louis nuclear waste site

As reported by the Washington Post.

Culminating a 27-year process, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has agreed to a $236 million partial clean up of the West Lake Landfill radioactive waste dump, rather than a complete clean up estimated to cost $700 million. (Actually, considering the wastes were illegally dumped there in the early 1970s, it's been a nearly half-century process; and considering the wastes are from the earliest days of the Manhattan Project, it's been more than a 75-year process!) The article does not report on where the radioactive contamination will be transferred to.

Dawn Chapman, co-founder of the West Lake Landfill neighborhood watch-dog group Just Moms STL northwest of St. Louis, MO, is quoted in the article:

“We were hoping for full, 100 percent excavation. But we know that would be difficult to accomplish,” said Dawn Chapman, co-founder of Just Moms, an activist group that has long pushed for an extensive excavation and relocation of families near the landfill.

She said her group views Thursday’s decision as a hard-fought victory, but one that is far from guaranteed, given that the public comment and cleanup process is likely to unfold over years. “We have to stay here and watch it and see it through,” she said. “I look ahead, and I see these other big battles coming. We’re not going to blink, because you can’t … We will continue to fight to get even more [radioactive waste] removed.”

Kay Drey, president of the board of Beyond Nuclear and a decades long watch-dog on the West Lake Landfill, located in the Missouri River floodplain just upstream from major metropolitan drinking water supply intakes, attended the early morning announcement of the EPA's decision. The radioactive waste is the oldest of the Atomic Age, originating from Belgian Congo uranium ore processed in St. Louis for use in the Manhattan Project race for the nuclear bomb in WWII. (The race was one-sided, as the U.S. learned in June 1944, when it confirmed Nazi Germany had abandoned its own nuclear weapons development program.)

EPA's announcement comes just 11 days before HBO premieres a major new documentary about the West Lake Landfill saga entitled "Atomic Homefront."


Karl Grossman receives Long Island Sierra Club's recognition as "Journalist of the Year"

Beyond Nuclear board member Karl Grossman was honored by the Sierra Club Long Island Chapter as “Journalist of the Year” for 2017. Karl is widely recognized for his investigative journalism on the real costs and danger of nuclear power and particularly the risks to Planet Earth that come with “Nukes in Space.”

Read more…


Documentary film "Atomic Homefront" premieres on HBO Mon., Feb. 12

Just Moms STL founders Dawn Chapman and Karen Nichols with their children and neighbors, protesting the radioactive contamination of their community in St. Louis in 2015.As reported on the film's website, where you can watch the trailer and a few clips.

Watch for screenings at cinemas near you (including Annapolis, MD on 2/11; St. Petersburg, FL on 2/22; and at the Washington, DC Environmental Film Festival sometime between 3/15-25, TBA).

Learn more about the film at "Atomic Homefront's" website.

(Beyond Nuclear board president Kay Drey of University City, MO has been a decades-long watchdog on the radioactive West Lake Landfill near St. Louis. Beyond Nuclear board member Lucas Hixon has published primary research on the radioactive contamination dumped there, and its escape into surrounding residential neighborhoods. Enter <West Lake Landfill> into this website's search field, for scores of posts about these Manhattan Project radioactive wastes, some of the very oldest of the Atomic Age, dumped illegally in the Missouri River floodplain, upstream of major metropolitan drinking water supplies.)

See an interview with the filmmaker, featured on KCRU/NPR for s.e. MO:

You can learn more about the documentary from "St. Louis on the Air" with director Rebecca Cammisa: HBO’s 'Atomic Homefront' explores the citizen activist movement around nuclear waste in St. Louis.