“Consent based siting” is the process proposed by the Department of Energy (DOE) to locate radioactive waste dump sites around the US. Fairewinds Energy Education believes that such a process is biased against communities struggling financially due to factory closings and the global economy. Choosing an atomic waste dump is tempting to towns and villages so anxious to increase short term income and economic survival that they are willing to sacrifice long-term environmental damage in return for that income.

At its heart, the consent based process is an environmental justice violation as well as a DOE method to avoid finding an appropriate scientifically viable site to dump by foisting it on impoverished citizens who will not mount a protest.

Nuclear waste remains toxic for tens of thousands of years. The consent based siting proposed by the DOE lures currently underemployed citizens to commit their hometown community for hundreds of future generations of potential genetic damage in return for a short term income gain to a few individuals, who own that land.

While atomic power reactors have left all of us with mountains of radioactive garbage that will need monitoring and special handling for hundreds, and even thousands, of years, instead the DOE must find the best waste dump location, and not just stick the waste where the fewest individuals will launch protest actions. When Litchfield County Connecticut and Orange County California have an equal chance at being chosen to be the site of a nuclear waste dump as environmentally sensitive low income counties in Texas or Native American reservations in the west, the DOE will have succeeded in optimizing its search for a waste disposal site. The current Consent Based Siting process violates the basic tenants of environmental justice.

…read moreRead More


RE: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Radioactive Protective Action Guides (PAGs) and Water PAGs

Docket Number (EPA-HQ-OAR-2007-0268; FRL-9947-55-OW)

Dear Janet McCabe – EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation and the EPA Docket:

Fairewinds Energy Education has prepared this brief report in response to the EPA’s suggested changes to its Radiation Protective Action Guidelines (PAGs). Specifically, the EPA is suddenly recommending a huge increase to “allowable” public exposure levels from radiation releases caused by a mishap or disaster at an atomic reactor, waste storage site, fuel production site, etc. What does this mean? It means that the EPA is arbitrarily choosing to increase human exposure levels to atomic radiation releases without conducting an adequate scientific review and without quantifying the significant health consequences to people.

Fairewinds Energy Education’s scientific review of the data has found no evidence or basis in science to allow such a health compromising transfer of risk to everyone living in the United States. Therefore, Fairewinds Energy Education strongly objects to the implementation of these proposed rule changes that will compromise public health and safety and benefit atomic corporations by allowing a significant reduction in each corporation’s mandated cleanup of costly radiation catastrophes.

The EPA is proposing that levels of 500 millirem per year are acceptable in radioactively contaminated water for general public consumption and an increase to 100 millirem per year of exposure levels to pregnant women and young children. These levels far exceed EPA’s acceptable risk range for cancer causing radiation exposure levels.

Let me simplify this for you and for readers of Fairewinds’ comments. If implemented, this proposed change in radiation guidelines greatly increase radiation exposure to people to a totally unacceptable radiation risk level. At the same time, the changes will reduce radiation disaster cleanup costs to corporations and transfer that horrific risk and cost of cleanup to states, cities, towns, and villages that will already be suffering astronomical losses.

Since the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi and its decimation of much of the Fukushima Prefecture (state) due to extensive ongoing radiation releases, Fairewinds’ Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen has traveled to Japan three times on public speaking and scientific fact finding research and analysis. Most recently, Mr. Gundersen spent one month in Japan in February of 2016 measuring the ongoing radioactive releases from the atomic disaster, and interviewing numerous “survivors”, who have been exposed to radioactive releases from the meltdowns and are continuing to be exposed to the ongoing buildup and movement of significant amounts of radioactivity. Mr. Gundersen has two degrees in Nuclear Engineering and more than 44-years of atomic energy operations and risk analysis experience.

A thorough review by Fairewinds of the evidence collected and the available published literature proves that the proposed changes to the PAGs are a convoluted attempt to shift excessive radiation risks to a population of innocent bystanders at the same time the EPA is transferring excessive profits to the corporate owners of atomic power reactors, waste storage facilities, atomic fuel producers, etc.

Beginning in February of …read moreRead More


How does the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown disaster show the enormous risk potential for the continued operation of the Diablo Canyon atomic reactor? Filmed by Ecological Options Network (EON) at Point Reyes Station in California, Fairewinds Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen presents A World in Danger. This presentation from the 2015 California speaking tour precedes a panel discussion “Tell All” between chief engineer Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds founder and president Maggie Gundersen, and EON co-directors Jim Heddle and Mary Beth Brangan. The follow-up conversation can be found here.

Thanks to Ecological Options Network (EON) for producing the video.

Transcript

English

EMCEE: (:47) I want to begin with a quote by that celebrated and famous American philosopher, W. C. Fields, who once said, “There comes a time in human events when we must seize the bull by the tail and stare the situation squarely in the face.” And that’s what we’re going to do tonight. So Arnie Gundersen, please take it away. (applause)

AG: The thing I’d like to talk about, and Tim alluded to it, is how the nuclear industry has so successfully framed this argument on nuclear. There’s a book Don’t Think of an Elephant. What’s the first thing you think of – it’s an elephant. And the person who frames the argument usually wins the argument. We wind up being labeled as anti-nuclear this’s or that’s. We never call them pro-nuclear zealots. They’ve been able to frame the argument. Here’s an example. What’s wrong with this sentence – The Fukushima accident happened on March 11, 2011. (F: Accident) Accident. That’s one – there’s actually three, but the first – (F: It’s still happening) Yes. It’s still happening. When the nuclear industry talks about Fukushima in the past tense, the fact of the matter is that it’s still bleeding into the Pacific and it will take 100 years and a half a trillion dollars to clean up but they want you to think it’s over. So (1) is it’s still happening; (2) is the world accident. An accident is when you’re driving down the road and an owl flies in front of you and hits your window and takes you out. That’s an accident. You couldn’t foresee it. But the DIET commission – DIET is their parliament – has said this is not an accident. This was man-made. This was profoundly man-made. Engineers knew it for 40 years. So the wick on this time bomb was lit in 1967 when they started building it. And it happened to have exploded in 2011, but the accident was not an accident. It was a man-made disaster. So I try to remove that from my vocabulary but it’s so ingrained because I was an engineer and I would bet everybody would call it an accident. It’s ingrained. It’s not an accident; it’s a disaster. And the last one is – I said the Fukushima accident. Fukushima is a wonderful prefecture and …read moreRead More


This week TEPCO officials at a meeting with officials from the Nuclear Regulation Authority in Japan admitted that the ice wall they promoted as an impermeable barrier to prevent groundwater from entering the crippled reactor buildings and mixing with highly radioactive water has failed to work as billed and is technically incapable of blocking off groundwater.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant continues to be overwhelmed by enormous amounts of contaminated groundwater that is generated every day as it mixes and interacts with contaminated water in the basement of the reactor buildings. Currently 400 tons of groundwater flows into the damaged reactor buildings every day and mixes with the highly radioactive water in the basements.

Fukushima Daiichi - TEPCO - Ice Wall

TEPCO had developed the ice wall and installed subdrain wells around the reactor buildings to pump up the contaminated groundwater, treat it, and discharge it into the Pacific Ocean, in the hopes that it would reduce the amounts of contaminated water generated every day. The wall consists of a series of underground refrigeration pipes that freeze the soil around them.

Before installation of the wall, TEPCO described the project to the public, saying, “We will create an impermeable barrier by freezing the soil itself all the way down to the bedrock that exists below the plant. When groundwater flowing downhill reaches this frozen barrier it will flow around the reactor buildings, reaching the sea just as it always has, but without contacting the contaminated water within the reactor buildings.”

The ice wall began operating in March of this year, but has not yet made a meaningful impact on reducing the amount of groundwater that enters the reactor buildings.

Experts are concerned that the increasing levels of highly radioactive water in the reactor buildings could escape into the local environment in the event of heavy rainfall or a tsunami.

The post TEPCO admits that ice wall will not stop groundwater from entering crippled Fukushima Daiichi reactor buildings appeared first on Enformable.

…read moreRead More


Officials from the Palisades nuclear power plant in Michigan operated by Entergy have confirmed that 22 workers have been placed on paid leave after it was found that fire inspection records had been falsified.

One of the duties of security officers at some nuclear power plants is to conduct routine checks to ensure that there are no indications of fires. These fire inspections are part of a commitment made by licensees instead of upgrading or modifying nuclear power plants to remove the threat of fires affecting the performance of critical safety systems.

Val Gent, spokeswoman for the nuclear power plant said, “we cannot tolerate employees stating they completed a task when they didn’t, and we are obligated to fully investigate any such instances.”

Several of the security officers placed on leave have told reporters that they are being treated as scapegoats by plant management, and claim they were never trained to perform the fire inspections.

“Now the company [Entergy] lawyer is asking us questions, saying the NRC will be speaking with us…and that we could be criminally liable,” a suspended security officer told a reporter from WWMT News Channel 3.

The falsification of fire reports was discovered in June when physical documents indicating fire inspections had been performed were found to not match the digital records from security key cards tracking employee movements in the plant. Entergy began an internal investigation after finding the discrepancy.

In 2013 and 2014, employees at the Entergy-owned Waterford nuclear power plant in Louisiana were also found to have falsified nearly a year’s worth of fire watch logs.w

Source: Detroit Free Press

Source: WWMT

The post 22 security guards at Palisades placed on leave for falsifying fire inspection records appeared first on Enformable.

…read moreRead More


“Indian Point” is a film about the long problem-plagued Indian Point nuclear power plants that are “so, so risky—so close to New York City,” notes its director and producer Ivy Meeropol. “Times Square is 35 miles away.”

The plants constitute a disaster waiting to happen threatening especially the lives of the 22 million people who live within 50 miles from them. “There is no way to evacuate—what I’ve learned about an evacuation plan is that there is none,” says Meeropol. The plants are “on two earthquake fault lines,” she notes. “And there is a natural gas pipeline right there that an earthquake could rupture.”

Meanwhile, both plants, located in Buchanan, New York along the Hudson River, are now essentially running without licenses. The federal government’s 40-year operating license for Indian Point 2 expired in 2013 and Indian Point 3’s license expired last year. Their owner, Entergy, is seeking to have them run for another 20 years—although nuclear plants were never seen as running for more than 40 years because of radioactivity embrittling metal parts and otherwise causing safety problems. (Indian Point 1 was opened in 1962 and closed in 1974, its emergency core cooling system deemed impossible to fix.)

At Indian Point 2 and 3 there have been frequent accidents and issues involving releases of radioactivity through the years. The discharges of tritium or irradiated water, H30, which cannot be filtered out of good water, into the aquifer below the Westinghouse nuclear plants and also the Hudson River have been a major concern.

But it’s not just Indian Point that “Indian Point” is about. The film emphasizes: “With so much attention focused on Indian Point, the future of nuclear plants in the United States might depend on what happens here.”

“I would give the film an ‘A.’ I wholeheartedly recommend it for wide release throughout the United States,” says Priscilla Star, founder of the Coalition Against Nukes: “It is a stellar learning tool. It depicts the David-versus-Goliath struggle involving those trying to close these decrepit nuclear plants and the profit-hungry nuclear industry. It shows grassroots activists fighting the time bombs in their community.”

The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last year. For the past two weeks it has been showing five-times-a-day at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, also in Manhattan. That run will go until Thursday, July 21. On Friday, July 22, it is to open in Los Angeles. After its theatrical release, it will air on the Epix cable TV channel.

Among those in the film are anti-Indian Point activist Marilyn Elie and long-time environmental journalist Roger Witherspoon who has written extensively about Indian Point. And also Entergy employees appear. Meeropol and her crew were given full access to the nuclear plants.

The documentary provides a special focus on Dr. Gregory Jaczko. He was chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) when the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan began in March 2011. As notes Meeropol, Jaczko sought to have “lessons learned” from the Fukushima catastrophe—which involved General Electric nuclear plants—applied to nuclear …read moreRead More


Do children worldwide suffer from atomic power? Absolutely. Join CCTV host Margaret Harrington, and from Fairewinds Energy Education: President Maggie Gundersen, Program Administrator Caroline Phillips, and Board Director Chiho Kaneko, for Part 2 of their discussion on the health risks to children around the world from operating atomic power reactors and their burgeoning waste. Highly radioactive waste from the meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi has been left for “interim storage” in a schoolyard, Japan’s Environment Ministry has approved the use of radiated soil to be recycled for use under paved roads, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has introduced new radiation limits for the public that are at least 25 times higher than current exposure limits. Learn more by watching this episode of Nuclear Free Future as the women of Fairewinds lend their voices to protect the children.

Listen

Transcript

English

MH: This is Burlington and here we are in the Channel 17 newsroom at the Center for Media and Democracy in Burlington, Vermont. This is our series Nuclear-Free Future Conversation. I’m your host, Margaret Harrington. And viewers, let’s welcome back the women of Fairewinds Energy Education. On my right is Chiho Konako, Caroline Phillips is next. Maggie Gundersen is here. And Maggie, you’re the CEO and Founder of Fairewinds Energy Education. Caroline, you’re the Program Administrator; and Chiho, you’re the very active and engaged member of the Board of Fairewinds. So our subject is part 2 of Children Suffer Nuclear Impact Worldwide. And Maggie, just lead us into this conversation again. It’s a continuation of all of the facts that were brought up on our last show. So tell us what comes to mind first for you with the nuclear impact on children.

MG: Thank you, Margaret, for having us, first, and thank you for looking at this subject, because the media is not covering it. And we appreciate your bringing the truth forward. Children are much more radio-sensitive than adults. And what that means is that the children are more susceptible to radiation. They get ill more quickly, they absorb it more quickly in their bodies, and it’s really a major concern. And all the standards for radiation are based upon a male of 160 pounds or more. So it’s really a tragedy that children aren’t considered – how close they are to the ground where the radiation is in the dirt, that they tie their shoes and often lick their fingers. And so all of that radiation is getting right on the inside and on the outside.

CK: I can also add that on top of the physical impact of radiation on people, there are some social impacts as well. And recently, I was reading news that the Fukushima Prefecture government did research survey of evacuee families, and they said 47 percent of responders are now having two households. In other words, fathers living in some area, and it may be the same area …read moreRead More


This week, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will start to reconsider the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station settlement that was reached in March 2013 and left consumers on the hook instead of utility shareholders for $3.3 billion of a $4.7 billion negotiated settlement for a broken nuclear power plant that was forced to shut down after a radiation leak in January 2012. The commission itself has been under investigation since 2014 for its seemingly inappropriate relationships with the very utilities it is supposed to regulate.

Reopening the settlement allows ratepayers the opportunity to get a more fair and balanced position at the negotiating table while parties divide the costs of the failed steam generator replacement project that lead to the premature shut-down of the San Onofre reactors.

It has been discovered that the settlement that assigned ratepayers (not the utilities that owned and operated the plant) the majority of the costs for the premature shutdown, was negotiated and defined almost entirely in private communications and backroom meetings between the regulators and company officials, and not through the appropriately designed public process – which would have ensured that the public interest was being upheld.

The settlement process is designed to guarantee representatives from all stakeholder parties; regulatory agencies, the ownership organizations, and appointed representatives for the ratepayers, a seat at the negotiating table. Instead, Edison, the company that owned and operated the San Onofre nuclear power plant cooperated closely with regulators behind the scenes to subvert the public process and negotiate the terms of the settlement and strategy for dealing with the backlash from the public when the settlement would be presented.

In March 2014, Edison revealed the settlement to the public, portraying it as a $1.4 billion “rebate” for ratepayers – referencing the amount of costs that the utilities would cover for the premature closure of the plant. Consumer groups started criticizing the deal after it was learned that the ratepayers would be funding the other $3.3 billion of the $4.7 billion settlement.

Ultimately, it was the news media that uncovered the truth and laid it bare before the public. Reporters uncovered a wealth of e-mails and corporate correspondence which exposed the backchannel communications and how terms of the settlement were established.

Simply stated, Edison, a company that was supposed to be under investigation by the CPUC, was instead working covertly with the regulators that were supposed to be investigating them, to discretely negotiate a critical settlement that ultimately transferred billions of dollars of costs from the utility to the public.

One of the reasons that this corruptive behavior may have occurred was because both Edison and the CPUC shared an interest in obtaining documents from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries – the company that manufactured the faulty steam generators that ultimately forced the plant to shut-down. Edison is in court with Mitsubishi, seeking $7.6 billion for the failed steam generators.

For several months, commission lawyers worked directly with Edison attorneys to draft and issue subpoenas used in the case against Mitsubishi. The …read moreRead More