At Last! Good News About Nukes

By Michael Mariotte

Even while the tragedy of the Fukushima disaster continues and our thoughts and prayers remain with the people of Japan, there has been a spate of good news on this side of the Pacific.



*NRG Energy has pulled out of the South Texas Nuclear Project and is taking a $481 million loss–essentially ending that dangerous and unnecessary project.

*An NRC Licensing Board, saying that UniStar Nuclear is not eligible to build a reactor in the U.S. has ordered UniStar and the NRC Staff to show cause as to why they shouldn’t rule in NIRS’ favor, deny a construction license for Calvert Cliffs-3, and end the proceeding.

*A new Washington Post/ABC News poll confirms earlier polls: 64% of Americans now oppose new reactor construction–59% strongly oppose.

*An effort in Missouri to institute a Construction-Work-in-Progress (CWIP) bill to support Ameren UE’s efforts to license their proposed Callaway reactor failed in the state senate.

And Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has introduced a nuclear bill that is worth supporting. HR 1242 would:

*  Ensure that nuclear power plants and spent nuclear fuel pools can withstand and adequately respond to earthquakes, tsunamis, strong storms, long power outages, or other events that threaten a major impact.

* Require nuclear power plants to have emergency backup plans and systems that can withstand longer electricity outages.

* Require spent nuclear fuel to be moved into safer dry cask storage as soon as the fuel is sufficiently cooled to do so.

* Require the Department of Energy to factor in the lessons learned from the Fukushima meltdown when calculating the risk of default on loan guarantees for new nuclear power plants.

It’s not a perfect bill; it’s not all we want by any means. And given the nature of the current Congress, even this is unlikely to pass. But we believe it is important for this bill to garner as many co-sponsors as possible to help set the tone for real changes in the next Congress.

Please send a letter to your Representative now and urge him/her to co-sponsor HR 1242.

And more news…

*Many anti-nuclear actions are planned for the coming days and weeks.We’ve listed those we know about on our new Actions page. Take a look and join the action nearest you! Or, if you know of an action not listed, send us the info to And don’t see an action near you? Start one and we’ll list it and help publicize it.

*The ten-point Grassroots Post-Fukushima Program for Nuclear Safety and Security, to which many activists contributed through conference calls and e-mails, will be formally unveiled in a full page ad in The Nation published yesterday – the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl catastrophe.

It’s not too late to sign your organization on to this program. You can read the program and see the current list of organizational signers here. If your group would like to sign, please send your name, organization, city and state to us at

If you’d like to support the statement as an individual, please sign the petition here.

Here are two important ongoing actions:

* We are continuing to urge letters to Congress to end taxpayer funding of new reactors. You can take action here. More than 40,000 letters have gone in so far – let’s keep it up!

* We are continuing to urge the permanent shutdown of the 23 GE Mark I reactors in the U.S., which suffer from the same fundamental design flaws that contributed so greatly to the Fukushima diaster. You can support this campaign here, more than 6,500 people have done so already.

* Finally, NIRS is hiring a new Activist/Organizer/Campaigner to provide greater support for regional, state and local anti-nuclear campaigns. You can check out the job description and application instructions here.  Φ

Michael Mariotte is the Executive Director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, 6930 Carroll Avenue, #340, Takoma Park, MD 20912; 301-270-6477;;

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2 comments for “At Last! Good News About Nukes

  1. _craig_
    April 29, 2011 at 12:03 am

    Thanks, Michael (and OPW)! Good news (about anything) has been in short supply.

    The events in Fukishima have stirred several contributions to the PeaceWorker, including John LaForge’s April 1st laments about “plumes” of bad information –of the official whitewash variety. There’s plenty of bad information of the alarmist variety as well, but mostly we suffer from a dearth of good, trusted and understandable information.

    Only by the default of more qualified agency, I’m methodically monitoring ambient radiation and averaging readings here in Coos Bay, posting my results to:


    –which is updated Mondays and Fridays –or the same day, if my averaged readings reach 15 uR/hr (50% above the baseline here). (So “no news is good news” from me.)

    There you’ll find links to two private monitoring networks as well. (Unfortunately, the energy banded “gross beta” by our EPA doesn’t appear to provide useful public information, aside from posted bland assurances.)

    * While I can detect high level beta radiation with my Geiger counter, what I and the other private monitoring stations mostly detect is gamma radiation, which is also a harbinger of other radiation from fall-out particles, some of which I can’t detect.

    * We’ll have to mostly rely upon others to tell us about trace contamination in water, milk, and foods, since it has to get pretty “gross” before private efforts like mine could clearly detect it.

    ** So here’s some more good news (from the limited perspective of what my and other private volunteer efforts can detect): there has yet to be a significant wiggle of my graphed results since I started logging readings on March 17th. My averaged readings stay close to a low base line of 10 uR/hr (micro-REM per hour) –the traditional “background radiation” level. Nor am I aware of any sustained increases at any of the two private monitoring networks’ stations.


  2. Peter
    May 20, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Thanks for posting this helpful information, Craig.

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