In response to some of the myths about nuclear energy advanced in the documentary, Pandora’s Promise – but in larger part in response to the pro-nuclear propaganda in circulation generally – Beyond Nuclear has released the following report:
This report, in the form of handy bullet points but fully referenced throughout, is designed to serve as a central source for many of the facts about nuclear power that are either ignored, obscured or mis-represented by the nuclear deniers. The different sections cover, among many topics: climate change; the health impacts of Chernobyl and Fukushima; Germany’s nuclear exit and France’s dependence on it; the flaws and impracticabilities of the “new” reactor designs; and various misleading arguments made by the pro-nuclear propagandists, from base load energy to bananas. Press Release (PDF)
- Nuclear power, no matter the reactor design, cannot address climate change in time. In order to displace a signiﬁcant amount of carbon-emitting fossil-fuel generation, another 1,000 to 1,500 new 1,000+ Megawatt reactors would need to come on line worldwide by 2050, a completely prohibitive proposition.
- So-called “Generation IV” reactor designs, including “fast” or “small modular reactors,” are the last gasp of a failing industry. Earlier versions of the fast breeder reactor were commercial failures and safety disasters. The ever soaring costs make nuclear power a ﬁnancial quagmire for investors, and expensive new prototypes commercially unattractive.
- Proponents of the Integral Fast Reactor, such as those in Pandora’s Promise, overlook the exorbitant costs; proliferation risks; that it is decades away from deployment; that it would not so much consume radioactive waste as theoretically transmute it; and that its use of sodium as a coolant can lead to ﬁres and explosions.
- The continued daily use of nuclear energy means continued risk of radiation exposure to surrounding populations. Ionizing radiation released by nuclear power plants, either routinely or in large amounts after an accident, causes cellular damage and mutations in DNA, which in turn can lead to cancers and other illnesses. Children are particularly vulnerable and their leukemia rates have been shown to rise the closer they live to an operating nuclear power reactor.
- Low-ball health predictions after nuclear accidents are not reliable. The 2005 IAEA/WHO Chernobyl report has been discredited for suppressing key data to justify low death predictions that do not stand up to scientiﬁc scrutiny. IAEA has a conﬂict of interest with a mandate to promote nuclear technology. Given the latency period of cancers caused by radiation exposure, it is too soon to predict the long-term health impacts of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, although some health effects are already being observed. The alleged “failure” of renewable energy sources to supplant coal, oil, nuclear and natural gas in the US is less a technological defect than a result of the enormous lobbying power of the traditional energy industries. In 2008, the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) spent $2,360,000 lobbying Congress, their highest tally to date. This political barrier ﬂies in the face of numerous studies that show wind and solar energy alone could produce orders of magnitude more electricity than currently used by US consumers and industry.
- The example of Germany — and numerous studies — demonstrate that both coal and nuclear can be phased out in favor of renewable energy. The German renewable energy sector already employs 380,000 people compared to 30,000 in the nuclear energy sector.
- The argument that only nuclear provides “carbon-free,” base load energy is out of date. Geothermal and offshore wind energy are capable of delivering reliable base load power with a smaller carbon footprint than nuclear energy. Energy efﬁciency is also an essential component in displacing nuclear and coal.
- Myths about the French nuclear program abound. Only 4% of the country’s high-level radioactive waste has been vitriﬁed and stored. Given its 80% dependency on nuclear power, when droughts and heat waves force reactors to power down or close, France has no other options and is forced to import electricity. France has an enormous, unsolved waste problem with no repository; a huge extra expense due to its misadventure with fast breeder reactors; and a radiological legacy from its 210 abandoned uranium mines which continue to pollute the environment today.
- There is no such thing as a “pro-nuclear environmentalist.” Environmentalists do not support extractive, non-sustainable industries like nuclear energy, which poisons the environment; releases cancer-causing radioactive elements; creates radioactive waste deadly for thousands of years and, if there is an accident, can render vast areas permanent sacriﬁce zones.
ENENews / Shannon Dininny and Mike Baker, Associated Press Article source →
“You couldn’t find a more perfect radioactive storm … I am alarmed about this on many levels. This raises concerns, not only about the existing leak … but also concerning the integrity of the other single shell tanks of this age.”Gov. Jay Inslee
The long-delayed cleanup of the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site became the subject of more bad news Friday, when Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced that a radioactive waste tank there is leaking.
On Friday, the U.S. Department of Energy said liquid levels are decreasing in one of 177 underground tanks at the site.
[...] Inslee said the tank is the first to have been documented to be losing liquids since all Hanford tanks were stabilized in 2005. His staff said the federal government is working to assess other tanks. [...]
“We’re out of time, obviously. These tanks are starting to fail now,” said Tom Carpenter of the Hanford watchdog group Hanford Challenge. “We’ve got a problem. This is big.” [...]
ENENews / Russia Today News Source →
Transcript at 3:30 in:
Host: What else do they say regarding mobile phone communications and radiation levels at the moment? [...]
Reporter: This is the zinc plant I was talking about. You will see in just a second that there’s a humungous hole in the middle of that building.
This is another thing we should keep in mind is that Chelyabinsk has been a closed region for a very long time. During the soviet era, it was essentially the center of the nuclear research. Top secret facilities are all over the place there. There is one nuclear storage facility called Mayak*.
A lot of people are saying this is really in the best graces that none of the asteroids, and there were at least 5 fragments of the asteroid, that it’s really fortunate that none of the asteroid had landed into that facility. Because that obviously, we would be talking about nuclear disaster there.
Again the minister of emergencies is saying all nuclear facilities in the region are working top notch, nothing out of the extraordinary happening there.
*Wikipedia: The Kyshtym disaster was a radiation contamination incident that occurred on 29 September 1957 at Mayak [Chelyabinsk-40], a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in the Soviet Union. It measured as a Level 6 disaster on the International Nuclear Event Scale, making it the third most serious nuclear accident ever recorded (after the Chernobyl disaster, and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, both Level 7 on the INES).
AFP: The Chelyabinsk region is Russia’s industrial heartland, filled with smoke-chugging factories and other huge facilities that include a nuclear power plant and the massive Mayak atomic waste storage and treatment centre.[...] “All Rosatom enterprises located in the Urals region — including the Mayak complex — are working as normal,” an unnamed Rosatom spokesman told Interfax.
Update from RT: “Officials did do preliminary testing of radiation levels in the area. They say that that is ok. But of course tests are going to continue throughout the day. [...] Radiation levels are ok at the moment but of course we’ll have to bring you up to date as the developments come in.”
Representative James Cantwell
An Act increasing nuclear power plant protections to a twenty mile radius. PDF
Amend Section 5K(E) of Chapter 111 to assess power companies $400,000 per reactor (Pilgrim, VY & Seabrook) to fund DPH radiation control program. PDF
Representative Sarah Peake & Ann-Margaret Ferrante
An Act increasing nuclear power plant protections to a twenty mile radius. PDF
MEMA to assess the present preparedness in Barnstable and Essex Counties and to determine the need for, and appropriateness of, any additional specific steps for a radiological accident at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station and Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant. PDF
Senator Dan Wolf
Increase Protections to 20 Miles (and including cities and towns located in Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket counties, as well as in the area known as Cape Ann in Essex county. PDF
On Thursday, the Atomic Safety Licensing Board denied a contention filed by the Jones River Watershed Association. The contention related to environmental effects on Atlantic Sturgeon and herring that call the Jones River home, was denied by the panel for failing to satisfy the criteria for reopening a closed record, and failing to satisfy ‘the (late-filed) contention admissibility criteria.’
Political fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster is fueling local opposition to the Pilgrim Nuclear Reactor in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The aging facility’s operating license expires on June 8, 2012, and its owners want a 20-year extension. It looked like it had a green light from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which recommended an approval vote. But out of nowhere, local opposition to the license grew and spread from town to town, stiffening the backs of state and Congressional representatives, the state Attorney General, and the Governor, who urged the NRC to deny the vote until outstanding public safety and environmental concerns can be resolved. The organizers of that remarkable effort join us for this interview. With South Shore activists Anna Baker and Pine Dubois of the Pilgrim Coalition, and Paul Gunter of the DC-based group, Beyond Nuclear. Live radio interview by Amy Grunder, first aired on “Sounds of Dissent” on WZBC 90.3 FM Boston on May 12, 2012.
Despite the Fukushima catastrophe in Japan last March, nuclear power is experiencing a rebirth in the United States. Billions of dollars in federal funding has been allocated to develop nuclear capacity; applications are under consideration to build more than a dozen new reactors; and last month, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced approval for the construction of the first new nuclear reactors in more than three decades.
But what about the nation’s existing fleet of aging reactors? Licensed to operate for 40 years, many of these plants are steadily, if quietly, getting extensions from the NRC. Seventy-one of the nation’s 104 plants already have won approval for 20-year extensions. This video takes a closer look into surprising problems in the NRC’s oversight of aging nuclear plants.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Volume 1181, Published in 2009
Alexey V. Yablokov, Vassily B. Nesterenko, Alexy V. Nesterenko, Janette D. Sherman-Nevinger (Consulting Editor) http://www.strahlentelex.de/Yablokov Chernobyl book.pdf