Act Now

Urgent: Take Action Now to Stop Dirty Energy Bank




January 27, 2009
Dear Friends:
We have just learned that Senate Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman is circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter to other Senators, seeking their support for his Clean Energy Development Administration (CEDA) concept. At first, the idea sounds great: who could oppose a bank to support clean energy projects? And, at this writing too many Senators seem willing to sign on without looking at the details.
Please tell your Senators NOT to sign Sen. Bingaman's letter and to oppose the CEDA legislation.
Because here are the details: Sen. Bingaman's CEDA would allow UNLIMITED taxpayer loan guarantees for construction of new nuclear reactors and "clean coal" projects. A nine-member unelected board of directors would determine which projects CEDA would fund--with no Congressional or public oversight. Unlike some other clean energy bank proposals, there would be no limit on how much money any single technology could receive, and no requirement that those technologies that offer the fastest, most cost-effective carbon reductions get funded first.
Indeed, the real intent of Sen. Bingaman's CEDA is to provide massive new taxpayer funding for nuclear power and coal--not genuinely clean, safe and cost-effective renewables and energy efficiency projects. CEDA is simply another taxpayer bailout for giant dirty energy interests. It must be stopped.
Please ask your Senator now to oppose CEDA, and certainly not to sign on to Sen. Bingaman's "Dear Colleague" letter.
Bingaman is taking this step to try to show support for CEDA, and to try to add it to a jobs bill, or any other legislation possible. We need to show Bingaman and the rest of the Senate that a dirty energy bank--no matter how he and the nuclear industry try to describe it--is not what our nation needs. One would think the Senate has learned recently that the American people are tired of taxpayer bailouts of huge corporations. Let's tell them again now.
And please ask your friends and colleagues to act too, and help us publicize this on your blogs, Facebook pages, etc. We need to act fast, and, if we're going to stop this thing, we all need to act now. Here is the link to the action page: http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5502/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY...
Thanks for all you do,
Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
nirsnet@nirs.org
www.nirs.org
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Call to Help Shut Vermont Yankee

Background: Despite assuring the State of Vermont for more than a year that it had no buried pipes carrying radioactivity, Entergy Nuclear’s Vermont Yankee reactor has revealed it is leaking radioactive tritium, almost certainly from underground pipes that it now admits do exist. In fact, Vermont Yankee has even announced the discovery of “highly radioactive water,” 50 times more radioactive than would be allowed in drinking water by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen has made clear that Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee has indeed lied about the existence of buried pipes over the course of many months.  

Our View: Entergy Nuclear has betrayed the trust of the lawmakers, regulators, and citizens of Vermont. Simultaneous with its revelation of radioactivity leaks on site, Vermont Yankee spokespeople engaged in a predictable campaign to downplay the health and safety risks of tritium. However, tritium can impact the human body right down to the DNA level, and can cross the placenta from mother to fragile fetus. At such intimate levels, tritium can and does damage human health, leading to cancer, genetic damage, birth defects, and other maladies. The National Academy of Science has reported consistently over the decades that any exposure to radioactivity, no matter how low the dose, still carries a health risk. As reactors age – and Vermont Yankee is nearly 40 years old – its systems, structures and components degrade, worsening tritium leaks from buried piping. Vermont Yankee’s license should not be extended 20 additional years. 

What You Can Do: If you live outside Vermont, contact Vermont’s Governor, Jim Douglas, and let him know that the safety, security, health and environmental risks of Vermont Yankee could carry with them radioactive stigma effects, impacting Vermont’s tourism industry and agricultural products. If you live inside Vermont, contact your legislators and urge that they vote against the 20 year license extension at Vermont Yankee when the issue comes up for legislative action in the next few months. 

Breaking: VT Yankee Lied

Vermont League of Conservation Voters (VLCV) has learned that theDepartment of Public service is looking into fining Entergy for hiding the existence of underground pipes that now may be leaking radioactive waste into the groundwater around their plant.
Yankee lobbyists were in the statehouse today trying to spin their way out of this mess. Your legislators have to hear from you on this one.
Please call and tell your legislators, "Enough is enough!"
We can't let Entergy weasel their way out of this. There are reports that top Vermont Yankee executives may have lied under oath about the existence of these pipes.
Entergy is not the kind of corporate citizen that we can tolerate in Vermont. This should be the last straw, even for their strongest supporters. Our state regulators are calling on the Public Service Board to reopen the proceedings on Entergy's relicensing based on this misinformation. Who knows where else they may have misled Vermonters?
We need to put an end to this.
Thanks for all that you do.
Todd Bailey
PS - We will be letting you know as this develops.
Time Argus
Entergy accused of 'misinformation'{Pi
Burlington Free Press
State rips Vermont Yankee
Rutland Herald
State goes after Entergy Administration criticizes Yankee for 'misinformation'

Principles for Safeguarding Waste at Reactors


Dear Friends,

Please sign your organization to the updated "Principles for Safeguarding Waste at Reactors."

This is an awesome initiative from 2006 signed by 150 groups. It was a long time coming and is a hard-won advocacy position for improving at-reactor radioactive waste storage (WHICH IS VULNERABLE NOW) while we human beings get our act together on nuclear waste repository or WHAT.

It has been updated recently to reflect Obama's assertion that Yucca Mountain is dead.

It is a powerful piece of work and I hope you and your organization will make it a priority to review it and sign it.

Send sign-ons to Morgan Pinnell at Physicians for Social Responsibility ~ mpinnell@psr.org

The next piece of business is to start moving legislation in this direction.

Here is a great explanation of the Principles laid out by Kevin Kamps in an e-mail to the group in August:

Three years ago, 150 safe energy groups across the U.S. signed onto "Principles for Safeguarding Nuclear Waste at Reactors." The Principles called for safety and security upgrades - "hardened on-site storage," or HOSS -- for irradiated nuclear fuel storage on-site at the reactors that generated the high-level radioactive waste in the first place. Such security upgrades are still currently needed as an urgent matter of national security, and also represent an interim alternative to such risky proposals as the Yucca Mountain, Nevada dumpsite, regional centralized interim storage, and reprocessing. Michele Boyd, now at Physicians for Social Responsibility, unveiled the Principles at a U.S. House of Representatives energy subcommittee hearing in September 2006.

We have now updated the Principles to reflect the Obama administration's clear position that Yucca Mountain, Nevada is no longer an option for radioactive waste disposal. In response to the current push by the nuclear establishment to revive commercial reprocessing in the United States, we have also revised the Principles to emphasize that plutonium extraction from irradiated nuclear fuel would be extremely expensive for taxpayers, highly polluting wherever it is carried out, and a serious nuclear weapons proliferation threat. These revised Principles will serve as a valuable tool to push for needed security upgrades at on-site radioactive waste storage facilities, while pushing back against such dangerous proposals as reprocessing. They will be especially valuable for informing the "radioactive waste blue ribbon commission" being formed by Energy Secretary Steven Chu, with input from Congress.

We invite you to sign this revised version of the Principles. They are attached. Apart from the introductory paragraphs, the Principles remain identical to the 2006 version. To sign on, please email your full contact information (personal name, title, organization name, city, state, zip code, phone number, and email address) to Morgan Pinnell at Physicians for Social Responsibility. Her email address is: mpinnell@psr.org .

(If your group already signed the Principles in 2006, thank you. But please do sign again onto this updated and revised version now.)

We look forward to working with you to steer U.S. radioactive waste management policy in safer and wiser directions than reprocessing. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

Sincerely,

Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear, kevin@beyondnuclear.org , 240-462-3216

and

Morgan Pinnell, Physicians for Social Responsibility, mpinnell@psr.org , 202-587-5232


Oppose Magwood nomination to NRC

Dear Friends,

Late last July, 100 environmental and clean energy organizations responded to media reports and wrote to President Obama urging him not to appoint William Magwood to become one of five Nuclear Regulatory Commissioners. You can read our letter here.

Unfortunately, Obama ignored this plea and appointed Magwood anyway.

One of your Senators sits on the Senate Environment Committee, which can approve or disapprove NRC nominees. Please write your Senator now and ask him/her to oppose the Magwood nomination.

The Senate has not yet confirmed Magwood, and his appointment has raised at least a few eyebrows.

It's not hard to see why. Magwood has been an unabashed promoter of nuclear power for decades. According to the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), "As head of  the Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Power, he helped lead the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative, Nuclear Power 2010, and the Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems Initiative. He also served as the first chairman of the Generation IV International Forum and as chair of the Steering Committee on Nuclear Energy Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation.

More recently, he founded Advanced Energy Strategies which provides "expert advice and analysis of U.S. and international energy policy activities; nuclear industry developments and prospects; and supporting business development efforts." Mr. Magwood has also been an investor in and President of Secure Energy North America Corporation, a company that is 'working with industry and investors to develop novel approaches to finance new nuclear power stations in the United States.''"

For years, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been plagued with Commissioners more interested in boosting the nuclear power industry than in meaningful regulatory oversight, even though the NRC is explicitly prohibited from nuclear promotion.

There is a real chance to stop this unwarranted nomination. Tell your Senator today that the NRC needs strong, public-minded regulators, not more nuclear cheerleaders.

And ask your friends and colleagues to take action too.

Thanks for all you do,

Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
nirsnet@nirs.org
www.nirs.org

CALL FOR WRITTEN COMMENTS ON OYSTER CREEK COOLING TOWERS


Contact: Elaine Makatura (609) 292-2994
Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795


DEP PERMIT CALLS FOR OYSTER CREEK NUCLEAR PLANT
TO BUILD COOLING TOWERS

(10/P1) TRENTON * The Department of Environmental Protection has proposed a draft water-discharge permit that calls for Exelon Generation Company, owner of the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in Lacey Township, to build a closed-cycle cooling system to protect aquatic life in the Barnegat Bay ecosystem, Acting Commissioner Mark N. Mauriello announced today.

"The use of cooling towers would result in a much healthier bay," Commissioner Mauriello said. "A healthier bay means a better quality of life for the region's residents as well as improved recreational experiences for those who visit to swim, fish, crab, watch wildlife * or to simply soak up the bay's beauty."

The DEP has determined that a closed-cycle cooling system consisting of cooling towers is the best available technology consistent with the federal Clean Water Act. The DEP is proposing the system be built as a condition for renewal of the New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit the nuclear plant needs to operate.

The DEP recognizes the proposal involves complex issues and will result in extensive public interest. The DEP will carefully weigh all viewpoints as it begins a comprehensive public comment process.

The plant currently discharges water heated during electricity generation into a canal that is connected to Barnegat Bay. The new cooling system will significantly reduce the amount of water the plant needs to draw from the canal, thereby reducing impacts to aquatic life. It will also reduce the temperature of water discharged into the canal.

Studies have determined that the trapping of aquatic organisms against intake screens at existing cooling water intakes and the actual intake of organisms into the system impacts a wide array of species, including bay anchovy, winter flounder, weakfish, Atlantic menhaden, shrimp, blue crab, eel grass and hard clams. Plant discharges have resulted in fish kills associated with cold shock. This occurs when plant shutdowns cut off the flow of hot water into the canal.

The DEP will hold public hearings on Wednesday, Feb. 24, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Lacey Township Municipal Building, 818 West Lacey Road, Forked River; and on Wednesday, March 3, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the DEP Public Hearing Room, 401 East State Street, Trenton.

The DEP will accept written public comments until March 15. Comments may be sent to Pilar Patterson, Chief of the Bureau of Surface Water Permitting, P.O. Box 029; Trenton, NJ 08625.

###

http://beta.app.com/article/20100107/NEWS/100107117/DEP++Oyster+Creek+ne...


Help the "Nuclear Renaissance" Crumble

Dear Friends,

Here's a quick, handy action to GET YOUR NEW YEAR ON! and help the "nuclear renaissance" crumble!

BACKGROUND
Though Bush's fantasy "nuclear renaissance" appears to meltdown before our eyes as 19 of 27 announced new nuclear reactors are cancelled or tabled in favor of efficiency and alternatives, a few reactors are unfortunately still rockin' along in the second year of the new administration.

Notably, Southern Co.'s Vogtle reactors in Georgia and SCG&E's Summer reactors in South Carolina are first in line with hands out for TAXPAYER-FUNDED loan guarantees which are reported to be rolling out from U.S. Department of Energy very soon. Besides the obvious socialism involved with bailing out the faltering nuclear industry, the reactors proposed for both projects are the ill-fated Westinghouse AP1000 design, just sent back to the drawing board for at least one year for serious safety concerns by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION!
E-mail U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu at: The.Secretary@hq.doe.gov

Title your e-mail: NO LOAN GUARANTEES FOR AP1000 PROJECTS

Copy and paste the sample letter below, or write your own, but DO IT TODAY!!! Stop the Speeding Nuclear Bailout!!

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear Energy Secretary Chu,

I am writing you to ask that you stop immediate payouts from the ill-advised taxpayer-funded nuclear loan guarantee program, an out-of-step legacy from the Bush administration's fantasy "nuclear renaissance."

Two Westinghouse AP1000 reactor proposals, in Georgia and in South Carolina, are the only remaining hold-outs of the rush to announce new reactors in recent years. Most of the new reactors have been cancelled or tabled in the face of better alternatives and escalating financial risks for nuclear reactors.

The ongoing interest of South Carolina Gas & Electric to add reactors at Summer in South Carolina and of Southern Company to build reactors at Vogtle in Georgia is maintained solely by the unwholesome enticement of taxpayer-funded loan guarantees promised by the U.S. Department of Energy.

SCG&E and Southern Co. have both testified before their respective Public Service Commissions that they persist in pursuing nuclear power because they "don't want to lose their place in line at the DOE."

The unfinished and unlicensed AP1000 reactor design has been, as you are aware, sent back to the drawing board for deep revisions by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Dr. Chu, your work with renewable energy at DOE speaks for itself. Non-poisonous renewable energy sources are ready to free us from the security risks and environmental degradation of nuclear and coal.

I beg you to use the power of your office to protect U.S. taxpayers from bad investments in drawing-board nuclear reactors.

Respectfully,

(include your name and address ... you may receive a reply)

----------------------


WRITE LETTERS NOW ON QUALITY ASSURANCE PROBLEMS AT FERMI, MICHIGAN


 

Dear Folks,
As you fire off those letters...

Please keep in mind the major Quality Assurance shortcomings at DTE Fermi 3 (Notice of Violation 10/5/09), at GE-Hitachi ESBWR (Notice of Violation on QA 11/12/09) and with NRC (OIG Report 11/16/09).

Both the AP-1000 & ESBWR will be funded through NuStart with DOE $ 2010 for Engineering support & more. This began October 1. Black & Veatch has provided DTE with QA which is proprietary. DTE has not provided the proper QA oversight of B & V. Now Black & Veatch has been contracted through NuStart for both AP-1000 and ESBWR. Does the QA get back-filled with DOE $ through NuStart?

Anyway, please be aware of QA problems with the ESBWR. Pasted below is our recent Press Release on Systemic QA Failures. The supportive documents are posted at Beyond Nuclear.

N2
Michael J. Keegan
Don't Waste Michigan


For Immediate Release: December 15, 2009


Fermi 3 Quality Assurance Crumbling
Critics slam systemic three-tiered Quality Assurance (QA) failures with Fermi 3's application, the Economically Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) design,
and NRC's oversight of QA
Monroe, MI - On Monday, environmental intervenors against the proposed Fermi 3 petitioned the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board seeking suspension of the new reactor's combined Construction and Operating License Application (COLA) proceedings until all three systemic Quality Assurance (QA) problems have been proven to be resolved. Petitioners note that the NRC's Office of Inspector General (OIG) has documented NRC staff QA failures, and argue that until NRC itself is competent at such oversight, there can be no meaningful safety review of QA on the Fermi 3 reactor's design, construction, and operation.
NRC's OIG reported, on November 16, that NRC staff are unable to verify that QA review coordination has occurred, and that all QA regulations have been fully satisfied, on new reactor COLAs. In addition, NRC's OIG questioned the accuracy of documents translated from foreign languages used for design, construction, and operation of new nuclear power plants. This latter point is especially relevant at Fermi 3, given Hitachi of Japan's primary involvement in designing the ESBWR, and the likely role of Japan Steel Works in manufacturing Fermi 3's reactor pressure vessel and other large nuclear components.
One week ago, the opponents of Fermi 3 ripped into Detroit Edison (DTE) and the NRC for attempting to have quality assurance (QA) concerns omitted from adjudicated hearings on Contention 15, having to do with DTE COLA violations.
Citing multiple internal NRC staff emails, the environmental coalition revealed several key NRC staff people have questioned whether Detroit Edison can truthfully guarantee that quality systems, structures and components would be built into the proposed Fermi 3 General Electric-Hitachi boiling water reactor. The Intervenors have called upon NRC's Atomic Safety and Licensing Board for a suspension of the construction and operating license application proceeding until such guarantees can be made.
The coalition submitted a 33-page declaration from Arnold Gundersen, a career nuclear engineer, who quoted internal NRC staff emails and analyzed the staff criticisms in light of federal requirements. One NRC quality assurance overseer stated, "At this time [June 4, 2009], the application is not providing an applicant's QA program for these activities as required by [Part] 52.79(a)(25) [of the NRC's regulations]." That same staffer said on June 8, 2009 that "This issue puts into question the quality of the overall application."
"This inadequacy of Detroit Edison's Quality Assurance Program cannot be repaired simply by a quick fix. This gaping hole in legally mandated QA must be addressed by the NRC and rectified by Detroit Edison. The only way to resolve this breach is to start over with a fully implemented QA Program and go back and look at every analysis since 2007. The people of Michigan should not have to shoulder the cost of repeating these studies," said Gundersen, Chief Engineer for Fairewinds Associates, Inc.
"A quality assurance program has to start at the very beginning of the design for a huge project like Fermi 3," said Terry Lodge, attorney for the environmental intervenors. "The utility has to guarantee that they won't buy junk parts or electrical components from manufacturers who care about making a quick buck and don't care if the plant can perform properly in an emergency. This isn't just a 'paperwork' issue, it's about protecting the public's health and safety."
"Given that quality assurance is the very foundation upon which the entire Fermi 3 project is based, DTE might as well build this new atomic reactor on quicksand in terms of its environmental and radiological safety and its financial viability. This project places all parties in peril," added Keith Gunter of Beyond Nuclear who lives in Livonia, Michigan.
The environmental coalition opposing Fermi 3 includes Beyond Nuclear, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Citizens Environmental Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter.
Documents associated with this ESBWR design QA contention, and the rest of the Fermi 3 intervention, are posted at Beyond Nuclear's website, www.beyondnuclear.org.
-30-
Beyond Nuclear aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abandon both to safeguard our future. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an energy future that is sustainable, benign and democratic. The Beyond Nuclear team works with diverse partners and allies to provide the public, government officials, and the media with the critical information necessary to move humanity toward a world beyond nuclear.
Contact information
Beyond Nuclear
6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 400
Takoma Park, MD 20912
Tel: 301.270.2209 Fax: 301.270.4000
Email:
info@beyondnuclear.org
Web site:
www.beyondnuclear.org

 


Helen Caldicott Slams Environmental Groups on Climate Bill, Nuclear Concessions


Tuesday 22 December 2009

by: Art Levine, t r u t h o u t | Report

http://www.truthout.org/1222096
Dr. Helen Caldicott, the pioneering Australian antinuclear activist and pediatrician who spearheaded the global nuclear freeze movement of the 1980s and co-founded Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), has joined with left-leaning environmental groups here in an uphill fight to halt nuclear power as a "solution" to the global warming crisis. "Global warming is the greatest gift the nuclear industry has ever received," Dr. Caldicott told Truthout.
The growing rush to nuclear power was only enhanced, experts say, by the weak climate deal at the Copenhagen 15 climate conference. The prospects for passage of a climate bill in Congress - virtually all versions are pro-nuclear - were enhanced, most analysts say, because it offered the promise that China might voluntarily agree to verify its carbon reductions and it could reassure senators worried about American manufacturers being undermined by polluters overseas. But at the two-week international confab that didn't produce any binding agreements to do anything, Caldicott and environmental activist groups were marginalized or, in the case of the delegates from Friends of the Earth, evicted from the main hall.

The upshot of the latest trends boosting nuclear power - although no nuclear reactor has been built in America since the 1970s - are indeed grim, she said. "Nothing's going to work to stop them but a meltdown," she said, fearing the prospects of such a calamity. "I don't know how else the world is going to wake up."

Her fears may sound apocalyptic, but as Truthout will explore in more depth in part II of this article, the dangers of a meltdown, terrorist attack and radiation damage are far greater than commonly known. That's because of what federal and Congressional investigators, advocacy groups and medical researchers say is a culture of sloppy security, health and safety oversight by a cozily pro-industry Nuclear Regulatory Commission. (An NRC spokesman denied those allegations in a written statement to Truthout.) The quasi-independent agency is funded primarily by fees from nuclear power plants. On top of all that, the Obama administration is planning to offer about $20 billion in loan guarantees to fund two new uncertified and risky reactors designs that have faced safety and cost overrun problems overseas.

Despite nuclear energy's apparent dangers, Dr. Caldicott was a Cassandra crying out at the Copenhagen conference with little or no attention from the major government and media players there. Caldicott, who was featured on major American TV news shows and magazines during the 80s, who met one on one with President Reagan and addressed about a million people opposing nuclear weapons in New York City in June, 1982, found herself speaking to groups as small as 50 people in Copenhagen. Although still an active lecturer, author and radio broadcaster, she was essentially ignored by the media, even with the six minutes or so she was given to speak to an outdoor rally of 100,000 protesting the global leaders' inaction inside the main hall. "I was muzzled," she said of her time in Copenhagen.

In her brief speech outdoors in bitterly cold weather, you can see her speaking more slowly than in her usual lecture, so that not one word or grisly fact is missed by her international audience. But you can almost sense her frustration at boiling down into just over six minutes all that she knows about the dangers of atomic weapons and nuclear plants. While inside the Bella Center, no official who really counted was bothering listening to her - or the protesters:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfKKNet7hJs
She told the crowd:
The Earth is in the intensive care unit, it is acutely sick. We are all now physicians to a dying planet ...

The nuclear power industry has used global warming to say "we're the answer." All the money to go into nuclear power, 15 billion dollars per power plant, is being stolen from the solutions to fix the earth - solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, conservation.

The nuclear power industry is wicked. The nuclear power industry was formed by the bomb makers - it's the same thing. Nuclear power plants are bomb factories - they make plutonium. Two hundred and fifty kilos a year of plutonium that lasts for 250,000 years. You need five kilos to make a nuclear bomb. Any country that has a nuclear power plant has a bomb factory.

If the Second World War were fought today in Europe, none of you would be here; Europe would be a radioactive wasteland because all the nuclear power plants would melt down like Chernobyl. So, war is now impossible in Europe. Do the politicians understand that?

Nuclear power produces massive quantities, hundreds of thousands of tons of radioactive waste, which will get into the water, concentrate into the fish, the milk, the food, human breast milk, fetuses, babies, children. Radioactive iodine causes thyroid cancer. Twelve thousand people in Belarus had thyroid cancer. Radioactive Strontium 90 causes bone cancer and leukemia, [it] lasts for 600 years. Cesium 137 - all over Europe now - in the reindeer, in the lands, in the food, lasts for six hundred years, causes brain cancer. Plutonium, the most dangerous substance on Earth, 1 millionth of a gram cause cancer, lasts for 250,000 years. Causes lung cancer, liver cancer, testicular cancer, damages fetuses so they are born deformed.

Nuclear power, therefore, nuclear waste for all future generations will cause cancer in young children because they are very sensitive, [will cause] genetic disease, congenital deformities. Nuclear power is about disease, and it's about death. It will produce the greatest public health hazard the world has ever seen for the rest of time. We must close down every single nuclear reactor in Europe and throughout the world...

That's hardly the spirit of acceptance granted the nuclear industry as part of a hoped-for climate deal by world governments and environmental groups.

She was there for the first week as a guest of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and a science adviser to the Spanish government. But for a woman whose organization, PSR, won the Nobel Peace Prize and who has been cited by the Smithsonian as one of the most influential women of the 20th century, she was still unable to wangle even a three-minute opportunity to address the delegates. After she returned home to Australia, she saw the dreary news about the chaotic final days of the conference and the loophole-laden climate "accord."

"I was deeply depressed," she said. "I hadn't done anything, and the world hadn't done anything in the face of an impending catastrophe."
It also reinforced her anger at those environmental groups that haven't strongly opposed nuclear power while they're supporting legislation that sees nuclear energy as a vital element in reducing carbon emissions. "They've sold their souls," she said bluntly, while attacking the ties of some key groups to the energy industry, especially in such alliances as the US Climate Action Partnership that includes such outfits as Duke Power and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The well-funded coalition is widely credited as having set the template for both the main House and Senate climate bills that have passed the full House and the Senate Environment Committee - all containing provisions for nuclear energy.

Al Gore's advocacy group, RePower America, also includes environmental and industry groups; a spokesperson said it hasn't issued any statements on nuclear power and declined to answer charges that by failing to actively oppose nuclear power, it was allowing the spread of nuclear plants to undermine renewable solutions to global warming. (In his writings and some interviews, Al Gore has offeredsome criticisms of nuclear power, but the Nobel Prize winner hasn't used his international platform to attack its role in pending legislation or potential treaties.)

In her interview with Truthout, she ripped into those environmental groups that didn't take strong, public stands against climate bills that included nuclear power, even while she, in turn, has been derided as a Luddite or politically naive. "Some of the people within these organizations are not well educated about the biological effects of radiation and mutation, and what actually happens in the human body and the food chain," she said. "So, they've gone soft on opposing nuclear power, and because they're all very worried about global warming, they're about to leap from the global warming frying pan to the nuclear fire."

She continued, "You don't replace one evil with another. Anyone who promotes an industry that will induce a global nuclear war that will mean the end of most life on earth, the final epidemic of the human race; or anyone who promotes an industry that down the time track will induce hundreds of thousands of cases of childhood cancers and leukemia, and babies being born grossly deformed; or anyone who would promote an industry that actively promotes disease when we're so worried about cancer and spend all this money trying to cure it - well, they have sold their souls as far as I'm concerned."

I noted, "They say they're not promoting it," they're just not actively opposing it.

"If you don't actively oppose it, it will get through. They know that," she responded - "especially with all the advertising being spent on by the nuclear industry which is a bunch of lies." She added, "If you talk to the average person, they believe all this stuff. The power of propaganda is enormous."

But environmental groups contacted by Truthout deny her claim that they've "sold their souls" or failed to vigorously criticize the nuclear industry, pointing to letters and testimony to Congressional committees. Tom Cochran, the senior scientist at NRDC's nuclear program and perhaps the leading progressive expert on nuclear reactors in the country, pointed out, "Our position is that we're opposed to additional federal subsidies for the construction of new nuclear plants, but NRDC is in favor of getting climate legislation through the House and Senate. In terms of process, we're happy to move the process along." He noted, for instance, "We don't support all the principles of Kerry-Graham-Lieberman," the most pro-industry proposal so far. "Our position is clear: we do not support additional subsidies."

When I asked at what funding amount of subsidies the NRDC might be willing to draw a "line in the sand" and oppose the legislation, he replied, "I'm not going to negotiate through your publication."

Caldicott and other experts say that even the claims that nuclear power is "clean air energy" fall apart when examined carefully. They have pointed out how over the full fuel lifecycle of a plant - from mining uranium to shipping it to "decommissioning" a plant - the nuclear process emits far more carbon and other greenhouse gases than the industry and its cheerleaders (and environmentalist enablers) admit. Indeed, according to one major study she cited, because of the need to find more uranium as higher-grade uranium disappears, using the poorer quality ores would "produce more C02 emissions than burning fossil fuels directly."

Even so, "there's a push for nuclear power," said Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth US. He noted that there were no limits on nuclear power in this latest nonbinding climate agreement - unlike the earlier Kyoto treaty, which the US didn't sign, that restricted subsidies for nuclear power. And grassroots groups largely aren't fighting back in a high-profile way against the industry's drive for a $100 billion bailout in federal subsidies. "Right now, the environmental community wants a climate bill," said Pica, whose group, along with Greenpeace and a few others, hasn't supported the legislation moving through Congress, asserting it's too industry-friendly.

In continuing her decades-long crusade against the health, financial and environmental dangers posed by nuclear energy, Caldicott and her outgunned allies are opposing an array of powerful institutional forces.
They include the Obama administration and its top scientists; an industry that has successfully sold itself as "clean air energy;" the tacit acceptance or muted opposition of such major environmental groups as the Sierra Club and the relative silence on the issue by most influential environmental journalists. All of them are joined in what critics view as a near-"conspiracy of silence" about nuclear power in order to advance the goal of supporting a purportedly carbon-reducing climate bill that can pass Congress.

Indeed, neither most grassroots environmentalists nor members of the broader progressive movement have been engaged to fight a nuclear bailout of $100 billion, if not trillions, in loan guarantees for nuclear plants that would, critics say, dry up funds for renewable industries that could be up and running quickly. In contrast, it takes as long as 10 years to build nuclear plants while the perils of global warming - from rising ocean levels to drought - have already begun.

The largely indifferent response to nuclear power has been in part because activists have taken their cues from leading national environmental organizations and progressive media outlets. And with a few exceptions, such as Mother Jones or Greenpeace, they have not aggressively opposed the advancement of nuclear energy in their eagerness for a climate bill. That stands in sharp contrast to the grassroots environmentalist opposition that coalesced against including a $50 billion bailout in 2007 energy legislation, including a superstar rock video. Despite new petitions today, the organizing against nukes is woefully outdone by supporters of the current climate legislation.

Yet, Helen Caldicott's passion for stopping nuclear power hasn't eased, and although she's older now, she still brings the same fervor and implacable determination to explain the dangers of nuclear energy that she did as a glamorous activist in her 40s speaking to a larger global audience. It was well captured in an Oscar-winning documentary short, "If You Love This Planet,"now the title of hersyndicated radio show and updated book.

Art Levine, a contributing editor of The Washington Monthly, has written for Mother Jones, The American Prospect, The New Republic, The Atlantic, Slate.com, Salon.com and numerous other publications. He wrote the October 2007 In These Times cover story, "Unionbusting Confidential." Levine is also the co-host of the "D'Antoni and Levine" show on BlogTalk Radio, every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. EST. He also blogs regularly on labor and other reform issues for In These Times and The Huffington Post.
__._,_.___

 


DON'T NUKE THE CLIMATE!


SEND A MESSAGE TO YOUR SENATORS NOW;

CALL THEM AND TAKE ACTION DECEMBER 11 & 12!


December 3, 2009

Dear Friends,

The Copenhagen climate negotiations begin next week, and the world's attention will be focused on the climate crisis.

Whether or not anything substantive comes out of Copenhagen, we who believe in a clean, safe, sustainable and affordable energy future have our work cut out for us.

Too many governments support their nuclear industries and seek to reverse our victory at COP 6 in 2000: they want to declare nuclear power as an acceptable means of addressing climate change.

In the U.S. too many in the administration (we're looking especially at you, Steven Chu!) the media, and in Congress--even some who should know better--are also supporting the nuclear industry.

We need to raise our voices louder than ever now. Take the first step and send a letter to your Senators and President Obama here.

And read on for more actions you can take, and more news from Washington.

It's as if there has been an ongoing collective case of amnesia. Some Senators in particular seem to have forgotten nuclear power's inherent dangers from accidents and everyday "routine" radiation releases, forgotten that there is no solution to the radioactive waste problem, forgotten that uranium mining devastates the environment and surrounding communities. They seem to forget, on a daily basis, the spiraling cost estimates for new reactor construction. How else can one explain recent media estimates of $4,000/kw for a new reactor when utilities' own cost estimates run as high as $9,000/kw?

They seem to suffer not only from amnesia, but wear blinders as well--not even noticing the cover story in the November 2009 Scientific American that lays out a concrete plan for the U.S. to be 100% renewable-powered by 2030!

The good news, however, is that Senators Kerry, Graham and Lieberman appear to be making little progress in selling the notion of adding billions of dollars in taxpayer bailouts for the nuclear industry to the Senate climate bill. As we predicted, those Senators who most want to divert taxpayer money to nuclear power are the least likely to support any real climate bill. And those who most want a climate bill recognize that nuclear power is not a genuine climate solution.

That gives us all more time to raise our voices and more reason to keep up the pressure.

1. Send a letter to your Senators and President Obama now, here. This letter will remind them of the inherent dangers and problems of nuclear power and explain that a climate bill that includes nuclear power (and coal, and offshore oil!) is not a climate bill at all--it's a bailout for the energy lobby. We need a new vision for the future, and there is still time to achieve that!

2. Support anti-nuclear campaigners in Copenhagen. If you haven't done so yet, sign the Don't Nuke the Climate petition here. We're closing in on 50,000 signers, let's get there this week! Organizations: endorse the Don't Nuke the Climate campaign here.

3. Support Don't Nuke the Climate Action Days on December 11 and 12. Organize actions outside your Senators' district offices, at Federal Buildings, on campus, wherever is appropriate for you. List your action on the International Action Page here. Let us know about your action (nirsnet@nirs.org), and we'll alert people in your region.

Here in D.C., we'll be gathering outside the Department of Energy headquarters for street theater at 11 am on Friday Dec. 11. Join us if you're in the area!

4. Tie in your action with the National Don't Nuke the Climate Call-in Day December 11 or just call your Senators (202-224-3121) on Friday, Dec. 11. Ask your friends and colleagues, congregations and college roommates, everyone you know, to call on Dec. 11 too. Keep the Senate phones busy all day long! Bring cellphones to your action and ask everyone passing by to call their Senators. Bring cellphones to a coffeeshop, bar, food co-op, shopping mall, wherever you go: ask everyone to call....Even if there is no action in your region, call!

We don't have the money to compete with the nuclear industry (which may be the real source of all that amnesia....); so we need to compete with numbers--that means all of us and more. Post this on Facebook, myspace, etc. Tweet it. Send to your lists and your friends. Spread the word....

And if you can help us with financial support this Holiday season to continue building this campaign, we'll be eternally grateful. You can do so here. If you can't, we know how it is, but don't forget to call your Senators December 11: 202-224-3121.

Thanks for all you do,

Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
nirsnet@nirs.org
www.nirs.org


SUPPORT INTERNATIONAL DON'T NUKE THE CLIMATE CAMPAIGN! DECEMBER 11-12 CALL-IN AND ACTION DAYS


November 23, 2009
Dear Friend of NIRS,

The behind-the-scenes maneuvering on the Senate climate bill is reaching a fever pitch, especially the efforts to add tens--or even hundreds--of billions of dollars in new taxpayer-backed support for the nuclear power industry.

Sens. Kerry (D-MA), Graham (R-SC) and Lieberman (I-CT) are actively shopping around potential benefits for the nuclear industry in a misguided means of garnering support for the climate bill. Sens. Webb (D-VA) and Alexander (R-TN) released an absurd bill last week calling for $100 billion in new taxpayer loan guarantees for new reactors, as well as billions more for breeder reactors, small reactors, and reprocessing. Sens. Udall (D-CO), Bingaman (D-NM) and Murkowski (R-AK) have introduced new legislation to jumpstart a 10-year program to develop new "small, modular" nuclear reactors.

The good news is that none of this is set in stone, none of it need be enacted--there is still time for us all to act and stop the folly of wasting our taxpayer dollars on dangerous and dirty nuclear reactors and direct our resources to the safer, cleaner and cheaper energy technologies that will power our future.

The December Copenhagen climate negotiations offer a terrific opportunity to send a message that nuclear power is neither an effective nor acceptable means of addressing the climate crisis. Our colleagues at WISE, Greenpeace, Sortir du Nucleaire, Friends of the Earth, International Forum on Globalization and others will be in Copenhagen with a strong Don't Nuke the Climate message.

On Saturday, December 12, they've called for an international day of action to support their efforts in Copenhagen. In solidarity, NIRS is calling for National Don't Nuke the Climate Call-In and Action Days to take place on December 11-12 across the US.

Here is what you can do:

*First: support the international movement by signing the Don't Nuke the Climate statement prepared by the French organization Sortir du Nucleaire. You can do so (in English) here. Organization and individual signers are all welcome and encouraged. Note: take a few minutes to look around this website! You can also post a photo of yourself and join more than 2600 others in the photo gallery, watch the great film Climate of Hope, and more.

*Second, prepare now for the national call-in days. On December 11-12, let's all call the Senate and tell every Senator loudly and clearly: no nukes in the climate bill!

*Third, don't stop there! Make these call-in days and support actions for Copenhagen special. Stage a small protest outside your Senators' district offices: bring cellphones and ask people walking by to call their Senators right there and then. Set up a meeting in a coffeeshop, student union, in front of a food-co-op or other public gathering place, and ask everyone who comes to call their senators. We call on every grassroots group to support our colleagues in Copenhagen with demonstrations at local proposed reactor sites, existing reactors, Federal Buildings or anywhere else you can think of. Or make up your own action!

Help get the most people involved as possible, and the most people calling in to the Senate as possible.

NIRS will help you organize in any way we can; for example, we can tell other people in your area about your event. We also will be providing talking points for phone calls, and for your outreach work and contacts with the media in your area.

After Thanksgiving, we'll also be providing you a new letter to send to your Senators, bringing the facts to them about the continuing dangers of nuclear power, the daily radiation releases, the deficient designs, the growing piles of lethal radioactive waste....Sometimes it seems our legislators have forgotten that nuclear power presents risks to our health and environment no sane society need accept. We will ask you to circulate that letter as widely as possible.

Finally, just like most small retail outlets, we receive nearly 50% of our annual revenue during the holiday season from November through January. Your most generous possible contribution now will help us do the outreach and actions necessary to change the tenor of debate in Washington throughout 2010. We're up to the job, if we have the resources. But we can't do it without you.


Thank you so much for all you do,
Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
www.nirs.org; nirsnet@nirs.org; 301-270-6477


NRC seeks public comment on draft safety culture policy for nuclear facilities and nuclear material users

Nov 12, 2009 -- NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION DOCUMENTS AND PUBLICATIONS/ContentWorks

> The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued for public comment a
> draft policy statement on "safety culture," including the Commission's
> expectation that any NRC-regulated organization will establish and
> maintain a positive safety culture.
>
> The Commission addressed the safe conduct of nuclear power plant
> operations in a 1989 policy statement and a safety-conscious work
> environment in a 1996 policy statement. After years of work in this
> area, and after the experience of incorporating aspects of safety
> culture into the Reactor Oversight Process effort, the Commission has
> approved issuing a draft policy statement that sets forth its
> expectation that all licensees and certificate holders establish and
> maintain a safety culture that protects public health and safety and
> the common defense and security. The draft policy defines safety
> culture as: "That assembly of characteristics, attitudes and behaviors
> in organizations and individuals which establishes that as an
> overriding priority, nuclear safety and security issues receive the
> attention warranted by their significance."
>
> A safety culture should include a work environment where
> personnel feel free to raise safety and security concerns without
> fearing retaliation, as well as prompt and thorough identification,
> evaluation and resolution of those concerns. The NRC is strongly
> committed to promoting a positive safety culture among the
> organizations it regulates.
>
> The NRC is interested in the public's comments in several areas,
> including:
>
> * Does the draft policy's safety culture definition need further
> clarification? * What specific safety culture characteristics relevant
> to particular types of NRC licensees should the draft policy address?
> * What characteristics in the draft policy do not contribute to safety
> culture? * How can the NRC better involve stakeholders in addressing
> safety culture?
>
> Comments on the changes will be accepted until Feb. 4, 2010,
> following publication of the draft safety culture policy statement in
> the Federal Register,
> (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-26816.pdf).
> Comments
> may be mailed to: Alexander Sapountzis, Office of Enforcement, Mail
> Stop O4 A15A, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC
> 20555-0001, or e-mailed to: alexander.sapountzis@nrc.gov.

 


Please sign onto this important letter to FEMA and President Obama re: Indian Point evacuation plans


Please sign onto the attached letter to President Obama and FEMA regarding the Indian Point evacuation plans.

In summary, we are asking that FEMA does not certify the annual evacuation plan for Indian Point,
when the local emergency authorities and New York State have not certified the plan, and the Witt Report found the evacuation plans unworkable and unfixable.

We need to get this letter out right away because the process has already started for this year's certification, so please
email back your permission to add your name or organization to the letter.

Thank you.

Susan Shapiro
(845) 596-5403 cell
(845) 371-2100 work

 

DRAFT LETTER:

11/11/09

 

 

President Barak Obama

1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW

Washington, DC 20500-0004

 

 

Director Craig Fugate

Federal Emergency Management Agency

500 C Street

SW Washington, DC 20472

 

 

 

RE:   FEMA certification of annual emergency evacuation plans for Indian Point and Reagan Executive Order #12658

 

 

Dear President Obama and Director Fugate:

 

Consistent with your desire to observe and adhere to regulatory standards and as a matter of national security we the undersigned, residents and organizations in the Hudson Valley and the New York City Metropolitan area of the Tri-State Region, respectively implore you not to permit FEMA and FEMA director Craig Fugate to automatically and arbitrarily certify the annual Indian Point Nuclear Radiological Emergency Evacuation Plan in disregard of the local and state authorities.

 

The radiological emergency evacuation plans for Indian Point are uniquely inadequate and in violation of the requirements set forth in the Atomic Energy Act for the following reasons:

 

1) An extensive evaluation commissioned by New York State and conducted by former FEMA Director James Lee Witt determined that the evacuation plans for Indian Point have major and unfixable flaws that render the evacuation plans for this region unworkable.

 

2) As a result of those findings, the local county and state authorities have not certified that the evacuation plans are workable since 2003 Governor Pataki who commissioned the study, publicly stated his belief that the conclusions were valid.

 

3) Indian Point is located in the most densely populated area of the country with 21 million people, about 8% of the US population living within 50 miles of Indian Point.  Fifty miles was defined by the CRAC2 Study conducted by Sandia Laboratories for the US House of Representatives as the Peak Injury Zone around the nuclear plant.

           

4) The population surrounding Indian Point has increased 10 fold since it  received site approval in the 60’s.  In 1979 Robert Ryan, then the Director of the NRC’s Office of State Programs, testified publicly that he thought that having a three unit nuclear plant on the banks of the Hudson, 25 miles north of New York City, was insane from an emergency planning perspective.  Public health and safety cannot be grandfathered in.

 

5) Numerous institutions and segments of the population, such as early childcare facilities, senior centers and prisons, as well as latchkey kids who would be home without parental supervision,  are not adequately addressed in the evacuation plan.

 

6) The geographic and geological topography of the region coupled with the limited road and bridge infrastructure make timely evacuation of the area impossible.  Entergy’s own traffic studies estimate that it would take 100% longer to evacuate the area than had been previously estimated.

 

7) Because of the obvious flaws that would render this plan unworkable the NRC is now recommending that residents shelter in place rather than evacuating the area.  Sheltering in place cannot be considered a reasonable option, as both FEMA and the NRC recognize that sheltering in place is not as effective in reducing the risk to the public as evacuation.  This is clearly stated in the February 21, 2003 report on emergency preparedness, footnoted below.  1

 

8)  The annual table top drills conducted by the plant operator under the observation of the NRC have been grossly inadequate to evaluate the capabilities of an evacuation plan.  These drills only consider a slow- breaking release, and have never pre-supposed an extensive radiological release, nor have they factored in the likely traffic congestion that would result from spreading awareness of a radiologic release

 

In fact, in July 2003, on the day that FEMA certified the evacuation plan as providing “reasonable assurance” that it would be effective despite the Witt reports findings and the withholding of State and County certification, a single car accident on the George Washington Bridge created a day long traffic jam on virtually all the roads that are to be used for evacuation in case of emergency.  Since then the traffic congestion has not improved, but has significantly worsened.

 

            In the post Katrina and 9/11 world FEMA’s automatic and arbitrary certification of the emergency evacuation plans for Indian Point in contradiction to local county and state emergency authorities cannot be justified. 

 

Therefore we are respectfully requesting that your administration, unlike the previous administration,  respect and honor the knowledge and hard work of local county  and state emergency planning authorities by not allowing FEMA to abdicate its responsibility to protect public health and safety by  signing off on an unworkable and unfixable evacuation plan

 

Additionally we respectfully request that you direct the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to withhold any acceptance or certification of an evacuation plan that FEMA does not certify.

 

Sincerely, 

Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition,

Susan Zimet, Ulster County Legislator,

Connie Coker, Rockland County Legislator,

Westchester Citizens Awareness Network,,

                                                            Michael Mariotte, Executive Director, NIRS

                                                            PHASE (Public Health and Sustainable Energy)                                                                      Council on Intelligent Energy & Conservation

                                                            Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion

 

Cc:       Senator Charles Schumer

            Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

            Senator Harry Reid

Congressman John Hall

Congresswoman Nita Lowey

Congressman Eliot Engel

Congressman Maurice Hinchey

Congressman Edward Markey

Governor David Paterson

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo

NYS SEMO Director John R. Gibb

Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano

Rockland County Executive Scott Vanderhoef

Orange County Executive Edward Diana

Putnam County Executive Robert Bondi



1 On page 6 of Attachment B of the report, the report states:  NUREG -0654, Appendix 1 issued in 1983 and enhanced in 1996, in the NRC Supplement 3 to NUREG-0654.FEMA-REP1 "Criteria for Protective Action Recommendations for Severe Accidents. States that “Since the publication of the original guidance extensive studies of severe reactor accidents have been performed.  These studies clearly indicate that for all but a very limited set of conditions, prompt evacuation of the area near the plant is much more effective in reducing the risk of early health effects than sheltering the population in the event of severe accidents.  In addition, studies have shown that except for very limited conditions. Evacuation in a plume is still more effective in reducing health risks that prolonged sheltering near the plant.  The NRC and FEMA recommend that the population near the plant should be evacuated.”  The NEI on the eve of Katrina presented a white paper whereby sheltering in place would replace required evacuation for the 10 miles radius due to the costs to the operators and the inability of adequate evacuation being accomplished.  The NRC has since accepted a 2 mile wedge evacuation as an adequate standard,  and sheltering  in place for the other residents of the emergency evacuation zone.

 

 

Act Now! Nuclear power lobby wants blank check from US taxpayersNuclear lobby pushes for "permanent funding platform"


Background: While President Obama and other leading Democrats went "wooing" wavering Senators on both sides of the aisle with more nuclear power incentives for the administration's Climate and Energy Bill, the Nuclear Energy Institute released its own nuclear policy incentive to Capitol Hill. NEI broadly outlined a plan on how to build 45 new reactors in the US by 2030. It aims to support a climate bill that includes a "permanent funding platform" under the Clean Energy Deployment Administration to start with more than an additional $100 billion in direct federal loans, loan guarantees and other credit support for new construction; to provide tax incentives to steeply ramp up nuclear power manufacturing and production facilities; to further streamline the federal licensing process and; to provide financial incentives for the development of "voluntary interim storage facilities for used nuclear fuel" (also known as "nuclear waste dumps").

Our View: The nuclear industry is essentially looking to hook up an umbilical attachment to the US taxpayer for limitless federal money necessary to build financially risky new reactors. Given the teetering global economy and the colossal cost of new nukes, this would once again tip the playing field and competitive markets against renewable energy and drain the life blood out from the real answers to global climate change. NEI seeks to further strip public interest groups of their due process to challenge new reactor construction on public health and safety and environmental issues and bribe economically hard hit communities to take timelessly toxic nuclear waste.

What you can do: Contact your Senators and tell them that a permanent infusion of massive amounts of federal taxpayer dollars into dangerous and financially risky nuclear power in the climate bill jeopardizes real solutions to addressing climate change through renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation.

 


Tell President Obama not to support dirty, dangerous and expensive nuclear energy!

Beyond Nuclear Bulletin

October 22, 2009

 

YOUR ACTION IS NEEDED TODAY!

 

Please sign our letter today

 

What's Happening: In a speech in New Orleans last week, when answering a question from the audience, President Obama said:

 

"There's no reason why technologically we can't employ nuclear energy in a safe and effective way. Japan does it and France does it and it doesn't have greenhouse gas emissions, so it would be stupid for us not to do that in a much more effective way."

 

What We Think: President Obama is either misinformed or uninformed if he believes that France and Japan have operated their nuclear power programs safely and effectively. Due to its dependency on nuclear power, France has an immense and unsolved nuclear waste problem including 81 + tonnes of plutonium sitting in canisters – enough for 10,000 bombs. Leukemia clusters have been found along the coast near the huge reprocessing plant and radioactively contaminated sites litter the country due to the 210 now abandoned uranium mines. Japan has suffered a series of tragic accidents at nuclear facilities in the past two decades including an accidental criticality at the Tokai-Mura uranium enrichment facility that killed two workers and exposed many hundreds of local residents and an earthquake that released radioactivity into the ocean from the Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power plant, the world's largest with seven reactors. If Obama is serious about addressing climate change he must get off the nuclear bandwagon and make a real commitment to meaningful progress on renewable energy.

What You Can Do: First, please sign the letter to President Obama on our Web site, asking him to keep nuclear funding out of pending climate legislation. Second, please write to him personally, letting him know that the failures of the French and Japanese nuclear systems must not be repeated in the U.S. Please send him our French Myths pamphlet and fact sheet – maybe if he gets hundreds of them his staffers will read them. You can order these from us or download them from the Additional Resources France section on our Web site. Finally, please make sure that Obama hears from the American public as often as possible. Please help to inform your local reporters; address audiences in your communities; write letters to the editor. These actions and others will send a strong message to President Obama that nuclear power has no place in climate change solutions. 

 

The French Nuclear Medusa

30 pounds of plutonium "turns up" at nuclear facility being shut down

 

Poor inventory practices was the mild conclusion drawn by French authorities when 30 pounds of plutonium that had not been accounted for was discovered at the Cadarache nuclear facility in Provence which is currently being shut down. The center had identified the presence of 18 pounds of plutonium, 30 pounds less than was actually there. The French Atomic Energy Agency admitted there might even be as much as 86 pounds of plutonium at the site. Only 5-6 pounds of plutonium is needed to make a nuclear weapon so the vagueness about the precise inventory at Cadarache is alarming. Furthermore, the discovery of the additional plutonium was made in June but the plant waited until October to alert the authorities.

 

"Nuclear Power: The Truth About A Taboo Subject"

 

PACE (People's Action for Clean Energy, Inc.), Three Mile Island Alert, and Beyond Nuclear are asking you, and/or the organization with which you are affiliated, to join a list of endorsers who support the presentation of this critical and unique public health event on November 21, 2009. Endorsement does not necessarily include financial support.  It simply means that you believe that the truth about nuclear power should be told to the public. Nuclear Power: The Truth About A Taboo Subject and A Clean Energy Exposition, will take place on Saturday, November 21, 2009 at the Unitarian Society of Hartford, CT. Please download the full endorsement form and submit to Judi Friedman (jfriedeco@aol.com) at PACE. If you would like to make a donation to PACE, the host organization, please send a check to: PACE, 101 Lawton Road, Canton, CT 06019 and memo the check as "Nuclear: The Truth". Please pass this e-mail on to other individuals and organizations who may wish to endorse and/or attend this event.

 

PLEASE DONATE TO BEYOND NUCLEAR TODAY! DONATE HERE

 

Beyond Nuclear aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abandon both to safeguard our future. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an energy future that is sustainable, benign and democratic. Beyond Nuclear staff can be reached at: 301.270.2209. Or view our Web site at:http://www.beyondnuclear.org/

CALL JOHN KERRY TO SAY "NO NUKES" IN THE CLIMATE BILL


Call 202-224-3121, ask for John Kerry's (D-MA) office, and tell him
we want No Nukes in the Climate Bill. Kerry's recent New York Times
 op-ed, co-authored with Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) advocates nuclear
 power as part of fighting global warming. But nuclear power
 can do nothing for global warming except make it worse. Please
 tell the Senator only true green energy and increased efficiency can
 save our ecology and our economy.
An article about this appears at:
 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harvey-wasserman/is-the-climate-bill-being_b_321824.html

Fight AP1000 Reactors

Hello Folks Fighting AP1000 Reactors:


Given the NRC's stunning announcement about AP1000 design problems and that DOE is about to issue "conditional loan guarantees" for utilities pursuing the AP1000, I will be sending the letter below to DOE's loan guarantee office. The letter is especially an attempt to slow down DOE's issuance of the loan guarantees to two utilities - Georgia Power and South Carolina Electric & Gas - which are pursuing the flawed AP1000 reactor and are on DOE's "short list" of four utilities about to receive conditional loan guarantees. Other utilities with AP1000s have also applied for loan guarantees so the letter also applies to them.


If you are working against AP1000 reactors anywhere (NC, SC, GA, FL, AL) and want to join Friends of the Earth and NIRS southeast office in this letter, please respond by noon on Saturday, October 17. Sorry for the short time-line but I am leaving early on Sunday for a week out of town & need to get this letter in now. Small edits and comments will be accepted.


In the NRC news release linked below, an "ML" number was given to access the NRC's letter to Westinghouse on the AP1000 problems. As usual, that ML number doesn't yet work but I have obtained a copy of the letter & can send it to you if you want it. (The NRC just sent out the letter as I was typing this...)


See the NRC's October 15 news release - NRC Informs Westinghouse of Safety Issues with AP1000 Shield Building at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/news/2009/09-173.html


Please don't pass this letter to the media or outside our network. As those of us in loan-guarantee short-list states (MD, SC, GA, TX) will soon be releasing a statement opposing the issuance of conditional loan guarantees for all reactor projects on the list we will hold the letter till then (possibly next Thursday).


See October 14 article here, where Secretary of Energy Chu said that loan guarantee announcements would be made soon: http://www.individual.com/story.php?story=108393550


Thanks for signing on, AP1000 folks!


Tom Clements

Southeastern Nuclear Campaign Coordinator

Friends of the Earth

Columbia, SC

803-834-3084

 

October 16, 2009

Secretary of Energy Chu
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20585

Mr. Richard Frantz
Director, Loan Guarantee Program
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20585

NRC Reveals AP1000 Nuclear Reactor Design Problems,
DOE Must Halt Issuance of Conditional Loan Guarantees to Utilities Pursuing AP1000

Dear Secretary of Energy Chu and Director Frantz:

In a surprise move with potentially serious impacts, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) revealed on October 15 that the AP1000 nuclear reactor design may be lacking ability to meet regulatory safety requirements. Thus, any announcement of conditional loan guarantees being considered by the Department of Energy (DOE) for issuance to utilities utilizing the unproven AP1000 design must immediately be halted.

Not only will the NRC news impact the already delayed review of the AP1000 design but will also possibly negatively impact the license applications of utilities which have applied for combined licenses based on the Westinghouse AP1000 design. The Southern Company and South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) appear to be at the top of DOE's loan guarantee short list but a number of other utilities pursuing the AP1000 also applied for loan guarantees, as you well know. This situation demands that DOE fully consider the implications of any move to issue loan guarantees involving all reactor designs under review and move to assure the public that utilities considering questionable reactor designs will not be backed by DOE.

In its unprecedented news release entitled NRC Informs Westinghouse of Safety Issues with AP1000 Shield Building, the NRC said that "staff has informed Westinghouse that the company has not demonstrated that certain structural components of the revised AP1000 shield building can withstand design basis loads," and stated that the unsuccessful efforts to secure information had gone on for a year. The NRC went on to say that "This is a situation where fundamental engineering standards will have to be met before we can begin determining whether the shield building meets the agency's requirements." This strong language, in short, makes it clear that there are grave doubts if the protective structure of the AP1000 nuclear reactor can withstand hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes and the impact of a commercial airliner, as required by the NRC's regulations. Additionally, questions have arisen about the shield building's ability to support the emergency cooling water tank on the top of the structure, which would up to 8 million pounds of water.

Given that the action by the NRC is so serious in nature, it is imperative that the Department of Energy immediately halt the issuance of any conditional loan guarantees to any utilities which are basing their plans on the AP1000 reactor design. Issuance of DOE loan guarantees at this time to companies which are considering a reactor which may well have serious design problems would not only heighten public concern about DOE's regard of oversight of nuclear reactor safety but would also further call into question the methodology applied by the DOE's Loan Guarantee Program as it considers which reactor applications garner a loan guarantee subsidy.

That the LGP has been considering issuing loan guarantees to reactors that do not have final certification and also do not have construction and operating licenses is now clearly revealed to be an extremely risky approach. As we now see that it is far from certain if reactors or combined licenses will win regulatory approval, any move to now issue conditional loan guarantees is premature and opens DOE to justified criticism.

The dramatic move by the NRC makes even clearer that there is now no established review schedule for the AP1000 design. On August 27, in a letter to Westinghouse, the NRC pointed out that the company had failed to respond to "fundamental questions" concerning issues related to cooling water circulation and went on to advise the company that a "revised schedule" for reviewing the reactor design would have to be established. While it is not clear if a new review schedule can ever be established, it is clear that a cascade effect of negative impacts to possible AP1000 reactor licensing is at hand and we urge extreme caution on the part of DOE's Loan Guarantee Program.

Given the serious issued now raised by the reactor regulatory agency itself, we call on DOE to immediately halt issuance of conditional loan guarantees and take action to publicly assure the public that this is the case.

Sincerely,


NATIONAL DON'T NUKE THE CLIMATE CALL-IN DAY--THURSDAY, OCTOBER 15


PICK UP THE PHONE! KEEP THOSE SENATE PHONES RINGING!
AND KEEP THOSE E-MAILS/FAXES COMING TOO!
TALKING POINTS BELOW
October 14, 2009
Dear Friends,
Tomorrow is the National Don't Nuke the Climate Call-In Day!
Please call both of your Senators offices and tell them to keep nuclear power out of the Senate climate bill. Recent events, like the John Kerry/Lindsay Graham op-ed in Sunday's New York Times calling for more nuclear power in the bill, add to the urgency of this call-in day.
Help keep the Senate's phones ringing all day long!
Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121.
And keep your letters and faxes to your Senators coming, and keep forwarding the action url to all of your lists: http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5502/t/5846/campaign.jsp?campaign_KE...
Post it on your Facebook pages, Tweet it, spread the word every way possible. More than 4,000 letters already have been sent to the Senate this week--but we'll need more than that to beat the nuclear lobbyists. And with 16,000+ people on this e-mail list, that means a lot of you haven't yet taken action, and haven't yet helped reach the millions more people across this country who also want to keep nuclear out of the climate bill.
So take action today. E-mail and/or fax your Senators here. Then spread the word to every list you have, everyone you can think of.
And take action tomorrow. Call both your Senators offices at 202-224-3121.
The basic talking point is simple. If you only get 30 seconds with your Senators' offices, or an answering machine, just tell them: No nuclear power in the Senate climate bill, no more taxpayer dollars to support the failed nuclear industry.
But if you get a little more time, below are some talking points you may want to use. These also will be useful for drafting letters to the editor, op-eds, blog postings and the like--all of which will be very helpful as well. The more noise and publicity we can make, the better off we'll be.
Talking Points
*Nuclear power already receives a competitive advantage when a price is placed on carbon. If the nuclear industry cannot compete with such an advantage, that's its own problem, taxpayers should not be expected to provide more help to the industry.

*Projected costs for new reactors are stratospheric. In early 2006, the Nuclear Energy Institute predicted costs for the first few new reactors would run $2,000/kw, going down to $1,500/kw over time. Instead, recent estimates include Turkey Point (Florida) at $8,200/kw and Calvert Cliffs-3 (Maryland) and Bell Bend (Pennsylvania) at about $9,000/kw, or $13-15 billion. For example, see: http://www.bellbend.com/faqs.htm

*Cost overruns have been a constant with the nuclear industry. A 1986 Department of Energy study found the average cost overrun for the first 75 U.S. reactors was 207%. Reactors coming online after 1986 typically experienced even larger overruns. The only two reactors now under construction in the West-Areva reactors in Finland and France-are currently 75% and 20% over-budget, with years to go before construction completion.

*Electricity from new reactors, as expected with such enormous costs, would make the 1980s concept of "rate shock" seem quaint. An August 2009 report from the California Energy Commission, for example, predicts kilowatt/hour costs for nuclear electricity as high as 27-34 cents/kwh-nearly a tripling from today's prevailing rate of less than 12 cents/kwh. This report is available at: http://www.energy.ca.gov/2009publications/CEC-200-2009-017/CEC-200-2009-...

*Nuclear power is not carbon-free. The nuclear fuel chain is responsible for fairly significant carbon emissions--at least three times those of wind power, for example. A recent study by Virginia Tech professor Benjamin Sovacool on this subject is available here: http://www.nirs.org/climate/background/sovacool_nuclear_ghg.pdf

*Nuclear reactors use enormous amounts of water, and water will become an increasingly precious resource in years to come, especially as we grapple with a warming climate. Allocating water to nuclear reactors now means less water for people and agriculture down the road. An August 2009 Virginia Tech study notes 36 states are projected to experience water shortages during the next decade. http://www.nirs.org/reactorwatch/water/sr46waterdependency.pdf

*Nuclear power is not even the only baseload alternative, as some in the industry claim. As cited in the August 6, 2009 Wall Street Journal for example, Spain is building large baseload solar thermal power plants for about $5,200/kw. While expensive, this is still $2,000/kw cheaper than the current low estimates for new reactor construction.

*Congress must not pre-judge the administration's re-evaluation of radioactive waste policy, which has not yet even begun. Specifically, no money should be spent on expensive, dangerous technologies like reprocessing, especially when the future direction of waste policy is unknown.
Tomorrow, NIRS staff will be going door-to-door in the Senate office buildings, delivering the thousands of postcards you sent to us (Thanks!) and the list of 629 U.S. organizations that have signed on to the simple statement on nuclear power and climate change. We hope to hear those phones ringing in every office we visit!
Thanks for all you do, but this week, let's all try to do just a little bit more....
Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
www.nirs.org
nirsnet@nirs.org


Letter to Sens. Boxer and Inhofe

October 14, 2009
Senator Barbara Boxer
Chair, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
410 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-6175
Senator James Inhofe
Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
456 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-6175
VIA FACSIMILE
Dear Chairwoman Boxer and Ranking Member Inhofe:
At 5:03 p.m. on Friday, October 9, 2009, at the start of the three-day Columbus Day weekend, the White House announced a nomination to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). President Obama's nomination of William D. Magwood to the post of Commissioner on the NRC should not be relegated to the shadows, but should be examined in the full light of public and congressional scrutiny.
Mr. Magwood's nomination violates the spirit of President Obama's "Ethics Commitment by Executive Branch Personnel Executive Order" (Ethics Executive Order). Since his retirement from government service in 2005, Mr. Magwood has been actively involved in efforts to advance nuclear industry business opportunities domestically and abroad. He founded Advanced Energy Strategies which provides "expert advice and analysis of U.S. and international energy policy activities; nuclear industry developments and prospects; and supporting business development efforts." Mr. Magwood has also been an investor in and President of Secure Energy North America Corporation, a company that is "working with industry and investors to develop novel approaches to finance new nuclear power stations in the United States." Prior to his government service, Mr. Magwood also managed nuclear policy programs at the Edison Electric Institute, an industry trade association.
Additionally, if Mr. Magwood were to be confirmed, it would undermine the oversight and regulatory function of the NRC. In 1974, the Atomic Energy Commission was abolished and split into two agencies because its dual missions of promotion and regulation of nuclear power was recognized as an inherent conflict of interest. As a result, the Department of Energy (DOE) was given the role of promoting nuclear power, while the NRC was created to regulate, inspect, and enforce regulations of the nuclear power industry. For 11 years, while with the federal government, Mr. Magwood was a strong proponent of nuclear power. First, he served as the
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