Archive for the ‘Featured Articles’ Category

Three Mile Island

Pennsylvania Highways
October 29, 2007

Before March 28, 1979, hardly anyone aside from those living in Central Pennsylvania, knew where Three Mile Island was located. However, after that date, anyone in the world with access to a TV, a radio, or a newspaper could take a map of Pennsylvania and point to a sandbar in the middle of the Susquehanna River.

The TMI-2 reactor had just come online in December 1978, and was the same design as the reactors of the Shippingport Nuclear Power Plant near Beaver. The accident began in the early morning of March 28, when a little after 4:00 AM, pumps supplying water to TMI-2’s steam generators tripped. With no water, there would be no steam, and therefore the plant’s safety system kicked into action and shut down the steam turbine and the generator it powered. The nuclear reactions in the core continued until the system dropped the control rods into the core to halt the fission process, which is a process called “scramming.” Even with the control rods in the core, heat continued to rise because decaying radioactive materials left from the fission process continued to heat the water.

The accident fell into the laps of four men: William Zewe, shift supervisor for TMI-1 and TMI-2; Fred Scheimann, shift foreman for TMI-2; and two control room operators, Edward Frederick and Craig Faust. Each man had been trained by Metropolitan Edison and Babcock & Wilcox and licensed by the NRC. However, nothing in their training had prepared them for this problem.

The first word of the accident came at 8:25 AM, with a report from WKBO-AM in Harrisburg. Using a yellow Camero with a CB radio, the station’s traffic reporter Dave “Captain Dave” Edwards relayed information that police and fire fighters were mobilizing in Middletown. He also mentioned that there was no steam emanating from the plant’s cooling towers. Mike Pintek, then WKBO’s news director and who would later move onto KDKA-AM in Pittsburgh, called the plant to speak to someone in the public relations office. The receptionist, hurried as she was, instead connected him to the control room to a man who said, “I can’t talk now, we’ve got a problem. Call Reading and talk to them.” The man denied that “there are any fire engines,” and told Pintek to telephone Met Ed, owners of the plant, in Reading.

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Victory in Landmark Clean Water Act Challenge

PO Box 88 ~ Glendale Springs, North Carolina 28629 ~ Phone (336) 982-2691 ~ Fax (336) 982-2954 ~ Email:

FEBRUARY 20, 2009

Download in pdf format for printing.

Louis Zeller (336) 982-2691 or (336) 977-0852

Victory in Landmark Clean Water Act Challenge
League and Lake Residents Overturn Dominion Nuke Permit

Today a Virginia court in Richmond ruled that state agencies violated federal law and that the water quality permit for Dominion-Virginia Power’s North Anna nuclear station is revoked. Judge Spencer ruled that Lake Anna water quality is governed by the federal Clean Water Act and that Virginia’s Attorney General was wrong in supporting the state’s water permit.

This landmark decision favored the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League and co-plaintiffs residing near Lake Anna by determining that the so-called hot side of the lake is “waters of the United States.” The Virginia State Water Control Board must now go back to the drawing board to evaluate the adverse impacts of hot water discharges to Lake Anna from the two nuclear reactors.

Louis Zeller, Science Director of the League, said, “We and lakeside residents have long believed that Dominion is guilty of thermal pollution; however, we believe that the greatest impact of the Richmond court’s decision is that the Commonwealth and the people must reject the permitting of a third reactor at our endangered Lake Anna.”

The League is conducting research to see how many other power plants will be affected by this decision.


The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League’s Petition for Appeal was filed in Circuit Court for the City of Richmond on December 28, 2007 pursuant to Virginia Code §§ 62.1-44.29 and 2.2-4026 and Rule 2A:4 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia. The appeal sought judicial review of the October 29, 2007 decision by the Virginia State Water Control Board to re-issue Virginia Pollution Discharge Elimination System Permit No. VA0052451 to Dominion-Virginia Power’s North Anna nuclear power plant Units 1 and 2.

Opposition to Expansion of South Texas Project

60-Day Clock For Nuclear Opponents Starts Ticking: Opposition to Expansion of South Texas Project in Place

SEED   Public Citizen TX

For Immediate Release
February 20, 2009

Karen Hadden, Director, SEED Coalition, 512-797-8481
Susan Dancer, Director, South Texas Association for Responsible Energy, 361-588-2143
Cindy Wheeler, Consumers’ Energy Coalition, 210-367-8510
Matt Johnson, Public Citizen’s Texas Office, 512-637-9453

AUSTIN, TX The NRC posted notice today on the Federal Register regarding the opportunity to intervene in the application of South Texas Nuclear Operating Company (STPNOC) to build two reactors at the South Texas Project (STP) nuclear plant site, near Bay City. Citizens now have
only 60 days to prepare and present their legal case in opposition to the reactors. Citizen groups are opposing the proposed reactors, including the newly formed Bay City based organization, South Texas Association for Responsible Energy (STARE), Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition, Public Citizen, and others who will intervene in the case.

“New reactors would saddle homeowners and taxpayers with additional debt for infrastructure, more radioactive waste that would sit in our community, and more risk of nuclear accidents, health impacts and radioactive exposure” said Susan Dancer, Director of the South Texas Association for Responsible Energy in Bay City, Texas. “These are among the many reasons we will intervene in opposition to more nuclear reactors.”

“CPS Energy has been stealthily and irresponsibly getting San Antonio deeper and deeper into this nuclear boondoggle, which is already raising our utility rates," said Cindy Weehler of the Consumers’ Energy Coalition. “There are cleaner, more affordable ways to generate electricity. Energy efficiency should be prioritized, not put on a back burner. With the economic downturn, we shouldn’t generate power that’s not needed. San Antonio has reduced energy use by 16% over the past two years. Why should we even consider antiquated reactors that could cost $17.5 billion and would leave radioactive waste for generations to come?”

“The streamlined combined construction and operating license process is designed to cut citizens out and limit public involvement. Safety concerns are taking a backseat to cost-cutting measures and the public doesn’t even know it yet.” said Karen Hadden, Executive Director of the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition.

Nuclear opponents point out the troubled history of existing STP Units 1 & 2, reactors which ran six times over budget and were eight years late coming online. This sordid history includes harassment and illegal firing of employees who lodged safety complaints, theft of materials, subcontractor price-fixing schemes, and falsification of quality assurance/quality control reports. Before either unit was in operation The Austin Light newspaper reported on February 17, 1988, “There are currently more than 650 allegations concerning safety, costs and criminal activities brought by people who have worked on the project.” NRC Region IV became a target for a US Senate committee investigation for “corrupt” oversight of construction practices at STNP and Comanche Peak, another Brown and Root project. Sen. John Glenn said the agency is “more lapdog than watchdog.”

STPNOC includes NRG and CPS Energy, the municipal utility in San Antonio. Austin Energy, a partner in existing reactors at the site, has declined to participate in the proposed expansion. An indefinite suspension of the license hearing was obtained through a petition SEED Coalition filed last year, based on the incomplete nature of the application. That suspension has now ended with the notice issued today by the NRC on the Federal Register regarding the public’s opportunity to request participation in the hearing regarding the South Texas Project COL. The deadline for filing a request to participate is April 21. Citizens must develop their contentions, their legal case, during this extremely short time period, despite the fact that further revisions of the application are still anticipated.

The notice is entitled “South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company Application for the South Texas Project Units 3 and 4; Notice of Order, Hearing, and Opportunity To Petition for Leave To Intervene”. This federal register notice was published as Volume 74, No. 33, pages 7934-7938.

The federal register notice along with information regarding the history of the existing ST(N)P reactors will also be posted at

You can read the notice here.

Read the South Texas Nuclear Project-The Record

Cancer questions grow around Fermi

Cancer questions grow around Fermi nuclear plant
State health report shows 31 percent increase in cancer rate among young people in Monroe County since 1996

By Eartha Jane Melzer
Michigan Messenger

The cancer rate among people under the age of 25 in Monroe County rose at more than three times the rate of the rest of the state between 1996 and 2005, according to a report generated by the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH). Between 1996 and 2000, the average rate of cancer cases for this group was 18.5 cases per 100,000 people; between 2001 and 2005, the rate grew to 24.3 per 100,000. Between 1996 and 2000 the statewide rate of cancer for this group was 20.2 per 100,000; between 2001 and 2005, the rate was 21.9.

Read the full article.

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Benefiting safe energy organizations working toward a non-nuclear future

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Texas tour dates benefit Nuke Free Texas and SEED Coaliltion.

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