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Thursday
Oct152009

Beyond Nuclear joins coalition opposing "streamlining" of new reactor licensing

A coalition of environmental groups, including Beyond Nuclear, has written to U.S. Senators urging opposition to any further gutting of Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing proceedings for new reactor proposals. In an opinion piece printed in the New York Times, Sen. John Kerry (Democrat-MA) -- co-sponsor of Sen. Barbara Boxer's (D-CA) climate bill, S. 1733 -- along with Sen. Lindsay Graham (Republican-SC), called for such "streamlining," along with other public support for expanding the nuclear power industry, as a supposed solution to the climate crisis. But nuclear power is too expensive and slow, and has not solved its "insurmountable risks" of nuclear weapons proliferation, accidents and attacks, radioactive waste, and "routine releases" of radioactivity and toxic chemicals at every step of the uranium fuel chain. (Environment America responded to the Kerry-Graham op-ed on at Huffington Post.)

Tuesday
Oct132009

Beyond Nuclear and close to 100 groups protest blatant nuclear "booster" nominated to Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Beyond Nuclear joined close to 100 anti-nuclear watchdog groups from across the country in reiterating vehement opposition to President Obama's now official nomination of William Magwood as a new commissoner at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The groups had already alerted the White House, in an August 3rd letter, to Mr. Magwood's firmly pro-nuclear industry track record and history. Today, Beyond Nuclear issued a press release urging the Senate to carefully consider Magwood's nuclear industry boosterism given that the NRC mandate is to protect the interests of public safety in the nuclear power sector. Project on Government Oversight (POGO), with a focus on nuclear power plant security (or lack thereof), has also protested Mr. Magwood's nomination in a letter to U.S. Senate leaders, and called instead for nomination of a Commissioner with security expertise, and with a public interest background. In addition to his boosterism for new reactors, Magwood has advocated a relapse into reprocessing of high-level radioactive waste, which risks nuclear weapons proliferation, environmental devastation, and an astronomical price tag for taxpayers. Magwood has also promoted the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump, contradicting President Obama's clear position that Yucca is unsuitable for radioactive waste disposal.

Friday
Oct092009

Deep crack in Florida reactor signals widespread risks of aging U.S. reactors

A deep crack just discovered this week in the concrete containment wall of the Crystal River nuclear reactor on Florida’s west coast signals a disturbing trend in on-going cracking and corrosion and other dangerous wear-and-tear symptoms among the country’s fleet of aging reactors.  Beyond Nuclear argues that it is time that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission fulfill its Congressional mandate to look out for public safety instead of risking lives to save nuclear utilities money. The agency should keep the Crystal River reactor closed, Beyond Nuclear argues, while seriously evaluating the safety of continuing to relicense the country's aging reactor fleet.

Saturday
Oct032009

French anti-nuclear rally goes on despite city "under siege"

As authorities effectively locked down the French city of Colmar, thousands of protesters - from France, Germany, Switzerland and elsewhere - gathered on October 3rd to demand the closure of the nearby Fessenheim reactor and an end to the nuclear age. Dressed in yellow representing solar energy and a nuclear-free future, activists entered the city through police barricades. One German representative said he had seen more police in Colmar - a city in Alsace close to the German border - than at the recent anti-nuclear protest in Berlin that drew 50,000. Beyond Nuclear's Linda Gunter was present and spoke at the rally. In the morning, before protesters arrived, she observed a silent city with stores shuttered, the streets peopled only by gendarmes, police and two trucks loaded with police horses.

During the rally, a helicopter circled overhead while activists draped an enormous banner from a nearby building which said "Nuclear kills the future" (the current nuclear slogan is "nuclear is the future,") while activists declared that "democracy is flouted." Thousands of German activists were held up at the border. Consequently, estimates on participation were made more problematic with organizers declaring 10,000 and officials 3,500.

Thursday
Oct012009

Beyond Nuclear resists DOE worsening risks for taxpayer-backed nuclear loan guarantees

On Sept. 22, Beyond Nuclear joined a national coalition led by Texans for a Safe Energy Policy and their attorney, Diane Curran, in submitting comments to the U.S. Department of Energy regarding a proposed weakening of its taxpayer-backed nuclear loan guarantee program rules. The coalition also includes Friends of the Earth, Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Public Citizen Texas, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Union of Concerned Scientists. DOE’s proposal would move taxpayers further to the back of the line, allowing other investors, such as foreign export banks, to receive priority compensation when half or more of new reactor projects default on their loan repayments, at a cost of many billions per failed project. The coalition’s comments represented a prompt and strong challenge to DOE’s rushed weakening of its rules, preserving our right to pursue legal challenges to such shenanigans in the future.