Saturday, March 23, 2013

Entergy Watch: FitzPatrick, Indian Point, Palisades, Pilgrim, Vermont Yankee

Entergy's dirty dozen atomic reactorsFitzPatrick
AGREE New York (Alliance for a Green Economy), working in partnership with Beyond Nuclear, have filed an emergency enforcement petition with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), seeking the immediate shutdown of the Fukushima-twin design FitzPatrick atomic reactor on the Lake Ontario shore in upstate NY.Help AGREE reach its goal of 1,000 signatures in support of its petition by signing on!
AGREE's website also covers a serious radioactive tritium leak at the adjacent Nine Mile Point nuclear power plant. As listed in Beyond Nuclear's "Freeze Our Fukushimas" pamphlet, FitzPatrick and Nine Mile Point Unit 1 are General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactors, identical in design to Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4. Nine Mile Point Unit 2 is a GE BWR Mark II, very similar in design to the Mark I. Beyond Nuclear's "Freeze Our Fukushimas" campaignseeks to permanently shut these demonstrably dangerous reactors, whose containment structures were known to be too small and too weak by 1972.
Presumably, the NRC Commission's vote this week, to require hardened vents at Mark Is and IIs as a "lesson learned" from the Fukushima catastrophe (but, by a 4 to 1 vote -- with NRC Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane the sole dissent -- to reject radiological filters on those hardened vents) will finally require FitzPatrick to install one. FitzPatrick was the only one of the 23 Mark Is in the U.S. to refuse to "voluntarily" install containment vents in an effort to compenstate for its too small, too weak containment. However, the newly ordered hardened vents are not required to be installed until Jan. 1, 2018 -- an inexplicable, unjustifiable five year delay!
Indian Point
Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps was honored to present "The Radioactive Waste Con Game & Reactor Risk Russian Roulette at Indian Point" at the invitation of the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition (IPSEC) at the Stony Point Center near Indian Point nuclear power plant on March 10, 2013. Featured at the IPSEC event were two U.S. Navy sailors who served aboard the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, Jaime Plym and Maurice Enis, whose story appeared on the CBS Evening News later that very same evening. Plym and Enis were exposed to Fukushima fallout as they provided rescue and recovery support to Japan in the aftermath of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. They've been seriously sick ever since, and have joined with over 100 fellow crew members in a lawsuit against Tokyo Electric Power Company.
Public pressure led to NRC holding a Webinar on March 19 about the embrittlement of Palisades' reactor pressure vessel (RPV) -- the worst at any U.S. atomic reactor -- and its vulnerability to a catastrophic fracture due to pressurized thermal shock. This was the third NRC Webinar about Palisades since October. The first two were about the long list of leaks and breakdowns that have occurred in recent months and years. NRC's next Palisades Webinar is slated for July, and will be about radiological releases. Beyond Nuclear has published a pamphlet about "routine radiation releases" from atomic reactors. Note that the photograph in the pamphlet, by Gabriela Bulisova, of a liquid radiological release pathway, was taken at Palisades itself. Beyond Nuclear's Paul Gunter also devoted an entire chapter of his April 2010 report, Leak First, Fix Later, to tritium leaks into groundwater at Palisades.
Both NRC and Entergy Nuclear have issued defensive statements, standing by the integrity and safety of Palisades' RPV, after a number of media outlets -- such as Reuters, and WOOD TV-8 in Grand Rapids, MI -- reported that Palisades will yet again violate NRC's already weakened PTS safety regulations by 2017, begging the question, will Palisades be forced to permanently shutdown? However, Mr. Hiromitsu Ino of Citizens Nuclear Information Center-Tokyo, in a technical paper, has warned that the Japanese nuclear industry has significantly underestimated embrittlement at its pressurized water reactors, a failure that is almost certainly true of the U.S. nuclear power industry as well.
On Monday, March 25, concerned local residents and environmental group representatives will meet with NRC Commissioner William Magwood IV in South Haven. Commissioner Magwood will tour the problem-plagued Palisades plant the next morning. This will be the second meeting with an NRC Commissioner by local grassroots watchdogs in 10 months. On May 25, 2012, 25-30 concerned citizens met with NRC Chairman Greg Jaczko just after he had toured Palisades.
On Tuesday, April 2, NRC will hold its annual End-of-Cycle-Review public meeting in South Haven. Concerned citizens are urged to attend. In 2012, citizens consistently packed a large number of NRC meetings, whether regularly scheduled or specially called.
Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps will discuss Palisades, and other radioactive risks to Michigan, at a Thursday, April 4 meeting of the South East Michigan Group of the Sierra Club in Bloomfield Hills. On Monday, April 8, he will speak at the Jackson, MI chapter meeting of the Sierra Club.
As reported by the Plymouth Patch, on March 15th, just an hour after the prosecutor moved to drop trespassing charges and the judge agreed, members of "the Pilgrim 14," and about 50 of their supporters, went back out to Entergy's Pilgrim atomic reactor near Boston, where five were arrested for trespassing again. The protestors had hoped to mount a "necessity defense," and had expert witnesses lined up to testify that Pilgrim's radiological trespasses against residents downwind justified efforts to shutdown the reactor.
Learn more about grassroots efforts to permanently shutdown Pilgrim at the websites of Cape Downwinders and Pilgrim Watch. Cape Cod Bay Watch, a member of the Pilgrim Coalition, has announced a "Save Our Bay Flotilla" for June 9th.
Vermont Yankee
March 21st is Vermont Energy Independence Day! It is also the first anniversary of the expiration of Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee's original 40-year operating license, as marked by Richard Watts in his blog "Failure to Navigate." The very next day, the first day of VY's state-contested, NRC-rubberstamped 20-year license extension, 1,500 rallied in Brattleboro, marching to Entergy's Vermont HQ, where over 150 were arrested for non-violent civil disobedience. Additional arrests took place at Entergy's Northeast HQ in Westchester County, NY near Indian Point nuclear power plant, as well as in New Orleans at Entergy's national HQ.
Watts is the author of Public Meltdown: The Story of Vermont Yankee, which chronicles the decline and fall of Entergy Nuclear, and its VY atomic reactor, in the Green Mountain State, from core asset and good neighbor, to rogue corporation and pariah. Watts, with the support ofthe Linthilac Foundation, has generously donated 50 copies of his book to Beyond Nuclear. They have sold like hotcakes at recent Beyond Nuclear presentations near Palisades and Indian Point. All proceeds have gone towards the grassroots groups, such as Michigan Safe Energy Future and Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, resisting Entergy on a local level.
The Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance, Safe and Green Campaign, and SAGE Alliance have announced a "Leaks, Lies, and Lawyers" parade and rally in Brattleboro on March 30th, featuring the Bread and Puppet Theater, protesting a year of illegal operations by Entergy's VT Yankee Nuke.
And, as reported by the Rutland Herald, even NRC has begun questioning Vermont Yankee's financial qualifications.
In addition, an accidental over-pressurization, and blow-out panel failure, has raised concerns about increased radiological releases during current re-fueling operations at Vermont Yankee. 
Raymond Shadis, senior technical advisor for the New England Coalition, was quoted by theRutland Herald:
"This incident is a downtime demonstration of the fact that secondary containment, as well as primary containment, is designed for failure of its ostensible purpose of containing radioactive releases in the event of a reactor accident...In short, even the most obtuse observer should now understand that Vermont Yankee’s containment safety systems have a very high probability of failure."
The Brattleboro Reformer also reported on the failure of VY's exhaust fans, resulting in over-pressurization of the reactor building and the blow-out of the panel. The panel was supposed to be secured with a wire cable, to prevent it from falling to the ground, but it landed on the turbine building roof nonetheless.

Beyond Nuclear - NUCLEAR POWER - Entergy Watch: FitzPatrick, Indian Point, Palisades, Pilgrim, Vermont Yankee

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