This just in from US activists:
Beyond Nuclear Bulletin
May 21, 2008
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Destroying Safety Review Documents
Background: The Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has discovered that the NRC safety review staff routinely destroys supporting documents after conducting safety reviews as part of the license renewal application process. The report comes after the NRC safety review staff was also caught by OIG last September plagiarizing industry safety reports included in license renewal applications and passing them off as their own so-called independent analysis. In both cases, the OIG concluded it was difficult to verify the accuracy and integrity of the NRC “independent” safety reports.
Our View: These revelations support, if not confirm, our suspicions that the NRC chooses to extend the licenses of aging reactors using nothing more than a large rubber stamp. The NRC destroyed the paper trail that would show how the agency decided that an aging reactor was safe enough to re-license for another 20 years. The public therefore has no way of knowing whether the agency actually conducted an independent safety analysis or whether it simply took the self-interested nuclear industry’s word that the reactors are safe. Finally, this practice of plagiarism and destruction of safety analyses is very likely illegal. There are agency directives that mandate retention of federal records.
What You Can Do: Check the NRC website to see if your local nuclear reactor is currently re-licensed or in the process. You can inform your community and call into question the legitimacy of reactor re-licensing process by writing letters to the editor. Contact your Congressional representatives asking that NRC destruction of federal records relating to public health and safety be made part of upcoming Congressional Hearings before the US House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
Help Stop the Single Biggest Nuclear Industry Money Grab in U.S. History
Background: Debate on the Senate floor on the Lieberman-Warner climate change bill (S. 2191, the “America’s Climate Security Act of 2007”) should begin June 2nd. The word “nuclear” is nowhere in the bill, but last year’s version of the bill that passed the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee contained over $500 billion in thinly veiled nuclear power subsidies. Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute recently estimated the nuclear power industry’s taxpayer subsidies over the past 50 years at more than half a trillion dollars. Therefore, the Lieberman-Warner bill would double the amount of taxpayer subsidies that the nuclear power industry has received in its entire history. Although EPW Chairwoman, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), blocked additional pro-nuclear amendments in Committee last fall, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and pro-nuclear Republican senators, including presidential hopeful John McCain (R-AZ), will likely attempt to insert pro-nuclear amendments into the current bill.
Our View: Handing over hundreds – or even just tens – of billions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies to the already heavily subsidized nuclear power industry would amount to giving it the keys to the U.S. Treasury. Having failed to solve its waste, safety, security and proliferation problems for 50 years, it’s time for nuclear power to exit the stage. It is neither self-sufficient financially, nor useful in addressing climate change since reactors are too expensive and take too long to build. Subsidies are badly needed instead for real climate change solutions including energy efficiency and renewable sources of electricity like wind and solar power.
What You Can Do: Call your two U.S. Senators today via the Capitol Switchboard, (202) 224-3121. Urge them to block any climate change bill or amendments that would provide subsidies to the nuclear power industry. Request meetings with your two Senators (or their staff) while they are back home for the Memorial Day recess next week. And organize media activities. These could include a media event demonstrating community opposition to nuclear power subsidies, and submitting letters to the editor or opinion-editorials to your local newspapers.
The French Nuclear Medusa: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will investigate an apparent violation of its transportation regulations after the French nuclear company, AREVA shipped used equipment to the Watts Bar nuclear plant in Tennessee that measured higher than permissible levels of radioactivity. According to an NRC press release, its inspector determined that AREVA’s procedures for decontaminating and packaging the equipment were not adequate to ensure external radiation would not exceed regulatory requirements. This comes on the heels of a similar shipping violation through Virginia in February when AREVA again transported equipment almost 400 miles that measured beyond regulatory limits for radiation.
(The French Nuclear Medusa, or La Meduse Française Nucléaire, will be an occasional feature of the Beyond Nuclear Bulletin (BNB) revealing the latest tentacled maneuverings by the French nuclear complex to gain a global stranglehold on nuclear energy. “Meduse” is French for jellyfish.)
Beyond Nuclear and the New Nuclear Winter: The Cold War is over but could a nuclear winter still happen? And what if a nuclear war occurred not between the U.S. and Russia but between India and Pakistan? Could a limited exchange cause a nuclear winter? The answer to the first question is still “yes.” And the answer to the last is “not quite.” However, the consequence of an India-Pakistan exchange could still be mass starvation and the collapse of global agriculture, similar to the effects of a nuclear winter. These are the conclusions of new research developed by a team of renowned scientists, some of whom worked with Carl Sagan on the original nuclear winter findings.
What You Can Do: You can bring these scientists to your community. Please contact Beyond Nuclear for details. In an exciting, multi-media presentation, the nuclear winter scientists and Beyond Nuclear first explain the problems that could lead to a near or actual nuclear winter, then offer solutions to avoid this unthinkable tragedy. Contact Beyond Nuclear today to bring the Nuclear Winter Tour to your community. Write:firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 301.270.2209 and ask for development director, Linda Gunter. Let’s work to prevent this tragedy while we can.
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Beyond Nuclear aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abandon both to safeguard our future. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an energy future that is sustainable, benign and democratic. Beyond Nuclear staff can be reached at: 301.270.2209. Or view our Web site at:www.beyondnuclear.org
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