Tag: Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Safety Eroding Further in the US Nuclear Weapons Complex

ROBERT ALVAREZ – Though the Cold War is long over, the Energy Department’s antiquated, contractor-dominated management system—in which safety goal posts are easily moved behind closed doors—continues to endure and, in some cases, thrive. Without the meaningful oversight of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, the nuclear weapons complex will predictably march back to a time, in the not-so-distant past, when public and worker safety was an afterthought—with serious consequences.

The Ethics and Politics of Nuclear Waste are Being Tested in Southern California

JAMES HEDDLE – In the US, as more and more energy reactors are being shut down and are entering the decommissioning process, the overriding question is becoming unavoidable at reactor communities across the country: What do we do with all these decades of tons of accumulated radwaste now being stored on-site? Each canister contains a Chernobyl’s-worth of cesium; each cooling pool, hundreds more.

7 Top NRC Experts Break Ranks to Warn of Critical Danger at Aging Nuke Plants

HARVEY WASSERMAN – Seven top Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) experts have taken the brave rare step of publicly filing an independent finding warning that nearly every U.S. atomic reactor has a generic safety flaw that could spark a disaster. The warning mocks the latest industry push to keep America’s remaining 99 nukes from being shut by popular demand, by their essential unprofitability, or, more seriously, by the kind of engineering collapse against which the NRC experts are now warning.

NRC Denies Nuclear Safety Petition

MICHAEL MARIOTTE – On April 9, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) formally denied a petition originally submitted by Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) and 37 co-petitioners to make modest improvements in emergency planning for nuclear reactor accidents.

“Nuclear Renaissance” Stumbles as Kewaunee Reactor Shuts Down

JOHN LA FORGE – With its October decision to end the Kewaunee nuclear power experiment on Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan shore, Dominion Resources has shown the over-hyped “nuclear renaissance” to be a “reactor reassessment.” Calling its decision final, Dominion said it will close the pressurized water reactor permanently next spring, store tons of ferociously radioactive waste onsite indefinitely, and send its workforce of 655 to unemployment lines in “phased layoffs.”

It’s Us or the Nukes

DAVID SWANSON – Three years later a Soviet Lieutenant Colonel acted out the same scene, with the computer glitch on his side this time. Then in 1984 another U.S. computer glitch led to the quick decision to park an armored car on top of a missile silo to prevent the start of the apocalypse. And again in 1995, the Soviet Union almost responded to a U.S. nuclear attack that proved to be a real missile, but one with a weather satellite rather than a nuke. One Pentagon report documents 563 nuclear mistakes, malfunctions, and false alarms over the years — so far.

Will Nuclear Power Continue to Hobble Along Despite Its Radioactive Achilles’ Heel?

ALLISON FISHER – Radioactive waste has often been referred to as the Achilles heel of nuclear power. It should be. It poses a threat to human health and our environment for hundreds of thousands of years. To date, a safe and viable way to permanently isolate it has not been identified. However, this dilemma has not kept nuclear out of the U.S. energy portfolio or dampened the zeal for a new generation of nuclear reactors by the industry and its congressional allies. A recent court decision, the termination of the Yucca Mountain geological repository and lessons from the Japan nuclear crisis present new arguments for why radioactive waste should be a chief reason we abandon nuclear power once and for all, but it is still might not be enough.

Catholic Activists Breach Tennessee Nuclear Weapons Plant in Protest

JOSHUA J. MCELWEE – Three Catholics broke into a guarded nuclear weapons complex in Tennessee on Saturday in an act of civil disobedience and made their way outside of its most secure facilities before they were arrested. The three, an 82-year-old religious sister and two middle-aged men connected with the Catholic Worker movement, were able to enter the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge early Saturday before a guard found them outside the complex’s storage facility for bomb-grade uranium.