No Nukes is Good News – EON Digest 5-25-2012

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FEBRUARY 1, 2012. SAN CLEMENTE, CA. A surfer walks along the beach just north of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. A week of problems at the power plant has raised new safety concerns although officials insist that the plant is safe. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)

Update 5-28-12 Breaking (no pun intended):
Published on Monday, May 28, 2012 by Common Dreams
Growing Fear Over Fukushima Fuel Pool 4 as Wall Bulge Detected
TEPCO admits a bulge detected in the walls of Unit 4, stoking fears over the building’s stability

From Nukewatts to Negawatts
[Updated 5-26-2012]
As two members of the EON Team head south to a Nuclear Free California meeting about closing down California’s nukes, its good to be able to share some encouraging reports of shutdowns and protests along with the usual news of the nuclear nabobs’ negligence and nincompoopery.

Looking on the bright side – though many experts think fukushima’s Unit 4 fuel pool may be just one earthquake away from planetary disaster – Germany’s dump nukes policy seems to be working despite dire predictions, all but one of Japan’s nukes are down and it looks like California’s San Onofre nuke could be down for the summer unless Edison succeeds in its crazy plan of bringing it back on line at reduced power without fixing the problem.  

Of course the subtext of the San Onofre fight is: If it stays off all summer without blackouts, it shows it’s not needed.  So we hope the nuke owners aren’t tempted to do what Enron did and artificially create blackouts to scare people into thinking the reactors must be turned on despite the huge risk.  All this is totally unnecessary according to the numbers shown by the Independent Systems Operator. California’s ISO shows that the energy produced by the nuclear reactors at San Onofre could be replaced with energy efficiency programs that ratepayers have already been charged for in our electricity bills. The utilities already have over half a billion ratepayer dollars to spend for energy efficiency programs that must be used by the end of this year but instead of using this money for efficiency measures like buying energy efficient air conditioners for customers, the utilities want to reopen a dirty gas fired power plant in Huntington Beach.

A featured video in this edition is Womens Energy Matters Executive Director’s presentation at a recent Sierra Club ‘No Nukes Summit’ in Washington, D.C., showing how conservation and efficiency – what Amory Lovins calls ‘negawatts’ – can replace California’s nukes at San Onofre and Diablo Canyon. Here’s a digest before we hit the road, including some interesting videos. Eds.

Featured Videos
A disaster waiting to happen
Friends of the Earth (FOE) San Onofre 30 sec. spot

From Nukes to Efficiency, Conservation & Renewables – Barbara George

From Beyond Nuclear:
“Nuclear industry suffers major defeat in Iowa”
Friends of the Earth (FOE) reports that the Iowa State Legislature has ended its session without approving “Construction Work in Progress” (CWIP), a gimmick by which nuclear utilities can charge ratepayers on their electricity bill for the construction of atomic reactors, even if they never recieve one watt of electricity from their involuntary “investment.” The victory is thanks to the efforts of an environmental coalition, including FOE as well as grassroots groups such as Green State Solutions. More…

FOE story here.

EON Team Members on Radio:
Evidence of Harm – EON Team Members Mary Beth Brangan and James Heddle on Your Own Health and Fittness Radio [We talked about the obvious ‘double-jeopardy’ connection between (1) a national wireless energy grid vulnerable to hacking and blackouts and  (2) a national fleet of 104 nuclear power reactors dependent on outside power from the grid to keep their overcrowded intensely irradiated fuel pools cooled. Duh.]

‘Filmmakers Mary Beth Brangan and James Heddle from Ecological Options Network discuss what they’ve learned documenting the SmartMeter opt-out proceedings, the wireless summit in Washington DC, and a strategy summit designed to push environmental organizations to commit to resistance against nuclear energy.’

A control room plan of nuclear fuel rods at the former Rheinsberg nuclear power plant in Germany, which is being dismantled at a cost of €560. (Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Published on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 by The Guardian/UK
Busting the Carbon and Cost Myths of Germany’s Nuclear Exit
Critics of the atomic phase-out said energy emissions, costs and imports would all rise. They were wrong

by Damian Carrington
With the UK taking another step towards supporting new nuclear power on Tuesday – at either no extra cost to the consumer if you believe ministers, or substantial cost if you believe most others – it’s worth taking a look at what actually happens when you phase out nuclear power in a large, industrial nation.

That is what Germany chose to do after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, closing eight plants immediately – 7GW – and another nine by 2022. The shrillest critics predicted blackouts, which was always daft and did not happen. More

Published on Thursday, May 24, 2012 by RT
Fukushima in the USA</strong>
Paul Gunter from Beyond Nuclear joins Thom Hartmann

Homeland Security Newswire – Probability of nuclear reactor core meltdown higher than expected
Published 23 May 2012
Currently, there are 440 nuclear reactors in operation, and sixty more are planned; new research finds that reactor accidents involving a core meltdown, as were the Chernobyl and Fukushima, may occur once every ten to twenty years — some 200 times more often than estimated in the past; the authors of the study note that they did not take into account potential contributing factors to accidents such as the age and type of reactors, or whether reactors are located in regions of enhanced risks such as earthquakes

Catastrophic nuclear accidents such as the core meltdowns in Chernobyl and Fukushima are more likely to happen than previously assumed. Based on the operating hours of all civil nuclear reactors and the number of nuclear meltdowns that have occurred, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz have calculated that such events may occur once every ten to twenty years (based on the current number of reactors) — some 200 times more often than estimated in the past.[emphasis added.] More

San Onofre: Bad Vibrations
Arnie Gundersen reports for FOE

Arnie Gundersen on San Onofre

Published on Apr 26, 2012 by KPBSSanDiego
Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear energy consultant, talks to KPBS about the San Onofre Nuclear Generating System.

NRC head: San Onofre could prompt review of safety rules
Written by Morgan Lee U-T San Diego

Generator problems that have sidelined the San Onofre nuclear plant may point to weakness in safety regulations, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Wednesday.

At a news conference in Charlotte, N.C., Chairman Gregory Jaczko said root causes and a solution to steam generator deterioration at the sidelined San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station still have not been identified by plant operator Southern California Edison.

The dual-reactor plant, which supplies 20 percent of San Diego County’s power, has been offline since January as investigators look to alleviate rapid wear on steam generator tubes that are rubbing against supports and each other. The nuclear commission is looking into the approval of design changes to the recently replaced generators and whether Edison sidestepped a more lengthy review.
Jaczko said some at the agency are contending design issues would have been caught by with a higher-threshold review.

“If they (Edison) did it consistent with our regulations,” he said, “then we need to think about changing our regulations.”

Jaczko, who offered his resignation this week conditioned on the confirmation of a replacement, said the onus still is on Edison to identify what has gone wrong at the plant and submit a plan for resolving those problems. Regulators must approve any restart plan.

“We’re still waiting on that,” he said. “We don’t have a time-certain on that.”

Obama Nominates Replacement for NRC’s Jaczko

Thursday, 24 May 2012 05:40 PM
President Barack Obama is nominating Allison Macfarlane, a professor and member of panel studying disposal of atomic wastes, to be head the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, replacing Chairman Gregory Jaczko, who is quitting.

Macfarlane, an associate professor of environmental science and policy at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, received a doctorate in geology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Read more

US gov’t map shows radioactive particles took direct route to Tokyo after Reactor No. 3 exploded

Edison’s San Onofre plan could make things worse, consultant says [Updated]

May 15, 2012
A consultant who has criticized Southern California Edison’s handling of the troubled San Onofre nuclear plant issued a report Tuesday saying the utility’s proposed solution for bringing the plant back online could make the issues worse.

The plant has been offline more than three months because of excessive wear in steam generator tubes that carry radioactive water. The wear appears to be occurring when the plant is running at full power and the rate of steam flows causes the tubes to vibrate and rub against each other and against support structures, Edison officials have said.

Anti-nuclear protesters gather outside Shinjuku station, Tokyo. Photograph: Getty Images

Anxious Japan prepares for life without nuclear power
Japan has 54 nuclear reactors, but as of Saturday, not one of them will be in operation – how will the country cope?
Justin McCurry in Tokyo
May 3, 2012
This weekend Japan will begin a bold experiment in energy use that no one had thought possible – until the Fukushima Daiichi power plant suffered a triple meltdown just over a year ago.

On Saturday, when the Hokkaido electric power company shuts down the No3 reactor at its Tomari plant for maintenance, the world’s third-largest economy will be without a single working nuclear reactor for the first time for almost 50 years. More

S. Korea begins construction of 2 nuke reactors
By AKIRA NAKANO/ Correspondent May 05, 2012
The Asahi Shimbun

ULJIN, South Korea–South Korea has begun construction of two reactors in a nuclear plant facing the Sea of Japan.
It is the first nuclear project undertaken by South Korea since the nuclear disaster in Japan last year.
President Lee Myung-bak emphasized the need for nuclear power in resource-poor South Korea during the groundbreaking ceremony at the Ulchin nuclear plant in Uljin on May 4.

“Building a nuclear power plant is not a choice, but a necessity to South Korea, which has no single oil reserve,” the presidential office quoted Lee as saying at the event.

Nagoya mayor protests government moves to restart Oi reactors
Japan Times
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
The mayor of Nagoya lashed out at the government Monday for pushing to get two offline reactors restarted at the Oi nuclear plant 120 km west in Fukui Prefecture, saying a major accident at the complex could contaminate the Kiso River, which provides water to people of his city.

Mayor Takashi Kawamura told reporters, “I lodged a serious protest” over the push to restart the Oi reactors, during a meeting with vice industry minister Yasuhiro Nakane in Tokyo, arguing that there has yet to be completed a thorough verification on what caused the triple-meltdown crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

Bodies On The Line - Protestors blockade a truck carrying radioactive debris to their town. photo: SOURCE: @asat8

Oi Protests
Film shows ‘enraged Japanese public about to explode at its leaders’ — In the News: Residents block radioactive debris delivery — Only 2 towns support restart of Oi nuke plant, ‘acceptance’ has failed — Actor says help from outside country is needed (VIDEO & PHOTO)

Greenpeace activists and local people greet the Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano outside the Fukui Prefecture Government offices with songs and banners reading: “EDA NO” (no nuclear). The activists are protesting against the Government’s push to bring two reactors at the Oi Nuclear Power Plant back online – against public opinion and the recommendations of numerous experts. © Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert / Greenpeace

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