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ARTICLE ARCHIVE


 

Monday
Feb152010

Rutland Herald editorial praises Maggie and Arnie Gundersen for "Batting 1,000 on [Vermont] Yankee"

The Rutland Herald has praised the wife-and-husband team Maggie and Arnie Gundersen (pictured, left) of Fairewinds Associates, Inc. for getting it right all along on the aged Vermont Yankee atomic reactor, such as persistently asking questions about buried pipes that Entergy Nuclear denied, under oath, even existed, but now are likely the source of hazardous tritium leaks into groundwater and the Connecticut River. The Burlington Free Press likewise described the Gundersens' tenacity in getting at the truth regarding Vermont Yankee's many troubles. Julie Miller's Feb. 12, 1995 New York Times article, "Paying the Price for Blowing the Whistle," features Arnie Gundersen's nuclear whistleblowing, and describes the physical threats, psychological harrassment, legal battles, career blacklisting, and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission betrayal he suffered as a consequence.

Friday
Feb122010

Obama DOE to grant first new atomic reactor federal loan guarantee to Plant Vogtle in Georgia

Dow Jones Newswires has reported, according to sources close to the matter, that the Obama administration's U.S. Department of Energy has decided to grant the first federal taxpayer backed nuclear loan guarantee to the Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant in Georgia. Beyond Nuclear immediately issued a media release, denouncing this transfer of financial risk onto U.S. taxpayers, as well as this creation of radiological risk through DOE financing a reactor design which the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission just last October cited as having a major safety flaw. President Obama is putting such a political priority on this first nuclear power loan guarantee, the Associated Press reports, that he will announce it himself sometime next week. A spokeswoman from Southern Nuclear, beneficiary of the taxpayer-backed loan guarantee, responded “We are excited about the support for our project and for nuclear in general.” This is not change we can believe in. Call President Obama at the White House comment line (202-456-1111) to register your disapproval, then call your two U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative (via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard, 202-224-3121) to urge them to block President Obama's recent request to triple the nuclear loan guarantee program fund from $18.5 billion to $54.5 billion for financing new reactor construction which otherwise private investors would refuse to touch. Avenging Angels' graphic to the left (used with permission) graced the May 12, 2008 cover of The Nation Magazine, which featured Christian Parenti's excellent article "What Nuclear Renaissance?" As the "Burning Money" graphic indicates, any nuclear power relapse in the U.S. can only be carried out at taxpayers' financial, as well as radiological, risk.

Thursday
Feb112010

Evacuationplans.org provides valuable overview of Vermont Yankee issues

Lawrence Auclair has provided a very valuable website, www.evacuationplans.org, which gives a wide ranging overview of issues at the controversial Vermont Yankee atomic reactor, site of on-going radioactive tritium leaks of yet-unknown origin, increasing decommissioning costs, and false testimony by Entergy Nuclear officials under oath to State of Vermont officials denying the existence of underground piping carrying radioactive materials.

Wednesday
Feb102010

Hanford "clean up" will take at least 37 more years, cost as much as $100 billion, and still leave behind radioactive risks lasting thousands of years

An article in the Oregonian, written as the U.S. Department of Energy holds public hearings on its draft environmental impact statement for "cleaning up" high-level radioactive waste storage tanks and managing additional radioactive wastes and lingering radioactive contamination at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, reports that nearly a half century more ("clean up" has already been underway for decades), and a price tag that could top $100 billion, will be needed before the site's "clean up" is "finished." Even then, hazardous radioactive contamination will persist for many thousands of years, threatening the adjacent Columbia River and points downstream. The high-level radioactive wastes, and much of Hanford's contamination, have resulted from military reprocessing from 1943 to 1988. Commercial reprocessing of irradiated nuclear fuel, proposed as the latest "illusion of a solution" to nuclear power's waste problem, would involve vastly more waste than was ever reprocessed at Hanford, waste that is significantly more radioactive than military irradiated nuclear fuel. Thus, commercial reprocessing would likely cause radioactive ruination of the environment wherever it is carried out, with serious health consequences downwind and downstream for millenia.

Saturday
Feb062010

Environmental coalition opposes Magwood appointment to NRC

Soon after media reports last summer hinted that former DOE Office of Nuclear Energy director William Magwood IV was under consideration by President Obama for a seat on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), on August 3, 2009 a coalition of nearly 100 environmental groups (8 national organizations and 89 grassroots groups representing 32 states) signed a letter spearheaded by Beyond Nuclear that was sent to President Obama. The coalition's letter urged President Obama to nominate strong health, security, safety, and environmental regulators to the NRC, not industry promoters. Unfortunately, on Oct. 9, 2009 President Obama went ahead with his nomination of Mr. Magwood, who had only continued his nuclear power promotional activities after retiring from DOE in 2005, as pointed out in an Oct. 14, 2009 letter from Project on Government Oversight to the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. In addition to his leadership of efforts to expand atomic energy both here and around the world, Mr. Magwood supports the Yucca Mountain dumpsite, in direct contradiction to President Obama's wise policy to cancel it. Mr. Magwood also promotes commercial radioactive waste reprocessing, a radical and entirely inappropriate position for an NRC Commissioner, given its risks of nuclear weapons proliferation, environmental and health ruination, as well as astronomical costs to taxpayers and ratepayers. As with reactors, Magwood as an NRC commissioner could well be involved in formulating safety, security, health, and environmental regulations for reprocessing, and perhaps someday could decide upon a reprocessing facility license. In addition, Beyond Nuclear received an anonymous tip that Mr. Magwood had regularly met with a top leader of the Nuclear Energy Institute for secretive, private breakfast meetings to coordinate strategy and priorities for the promotion of atomic energy, outside of the scrutiny of the public and environmental groups. Beyond Nuclear's request to DOE under the Freedom of Information Act resulted only in DOE responding that any such documentation would have been destroyed shortly after Mr. Magwood left the agency in 2005. The U.S. Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Mr. Magwood's NRC nomination today, Tuesday, Feb. 9th. Check the U.S. Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee membership, and if your Senator serves on it, contact them via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard (202-224-3121) on Monday to urge that they ask him tough questions concerning his lack of independence from the industry he is seeking to regulate, and to oppose his confirmation as an NRC Commissioner based on his long record of nuclear power's promotion. Beyond Nuclear issued a press statement calling on the Senate EPW Committee to reject William Magwood's appointment to the NRC Commission.