Category Archives: Chernobyl

Why Fukushima Can Happen Here: Secrets of the Nuclear Industry

Why Fukushima Can Happen Here: Secrets of the Nuclear Industry.


The well-known safety flaws of Mark 1 Boiling Water Reactors have gained significant attention in the wake of the four reactor accidents at Fukushima, but a more insidious danger lurks.

In this video nuclear engineers Arnie Gundersen and David Lochbaum discuss how the US regulators and regulatory process have left Americans unprotected. They walk, step-by-step, through the events of the Japanese meltdowns and consider how the knowledge gained from Fukushima applies to the nuclear industry worldwide. They discuss “points of vulnerability” in American plants, some of which have been unaddressed by the NRC for three decades. Finally, they concluded that an accident with the consequences of Fukushima could happen in the US.


NRC asked to take a breather

On Friday, April 15, 2011, the good Bob Audette, staff reporter for the Brattleboro Reformer, reported that “forty-five groups and individuals either opposed to or in support of increased safety measures at nuclear power plants around the nation submitted a petition Thursday to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission asking it suspend all re-licensing activities of existing plants and all licensing activities of proposed plants.” in order to give the NRC the opportunity to determine what lessons can be learned from the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan. (

One spokesperson, attorney Diane Curran, who specializes in nuclear safety and security, has gone so far as to state that the NRC has violated the law in granting the 20-year license extension to Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee within days of the damage done to reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

It seems quite reasonable that the NRC — whose role is to REGULATE nuclear power plants — would want to wait and see and carefully consider the events at Fukushima before granting a twenty year license extension to a leaking plant at the end of the lifespan it was designed for. Remember that Vermont Yankee is a boiling water reactor, the same type as the plant in Fukushima.

Japanese nuclear regulators declared this week that the severity of the disaster at Fukushima has been classified a Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale, putting it on par with the 1986 accident at Chernobyl. ( and

The license extension for Vermont Yankee is one of 21 proposed nuclear reactor projects in 15 states that would be placed on hold until the post-crisis analysis can be completed. There was a year and a half hold on nuclear projects after the accident at Three Mile Island. It is good common sense to step back now and learn everything possible about the events in Japan so that we can carefully assess our risk potential in light of this new and quite tangible information.

I wish to extend my thanks to the organizations like the New England Coalition and Pilgrim Watch — and the many individuals who comprise them — for their continued efforts to enforce common sense through legal channels, especially when the regulatory body we rely on does not appear to have the best interests of the public as their foremost priority.

Now is the time for continued damage control, thorough assessment, and thoughtful conclusions so that all current and future nuclear projects can be reviewed with greater clarity and accuracy.

Syfy Video – Ghosts of Chernobyl

Tune in… there may be something to after all…

[clearspring_widget title=”Syfy Video – Ghosts of Chernobyl” wid=”48e10f5e9dbb50aa” pid=”4abc319aa2941487″ width=”400″ height=”400″ domain=””]

The NRC is taking a closer look at the leaky old pipes

“A small leak can sink a great ship.”

– Benjamin Franklin

The good Bob Audette of the Brattleboro Reformer reports that the NRC has asked its technical staff to take a good look at how it oversees the maintenance and management of underground pipes.


“Although they have not jeopardized public health and safety, leaks from buried pipes continue to occur and we need to assess the NRC’s and licensee’s efforts to prevent them,” said Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko. “The agency’s handling of these events has focused on each incident as it occurs, but we need to look at what we’re doing on a generic level to determine what additional actions may be necessary.”

Thanks again, Bob Audette, for keeping the good folks of the evacuation zone apprised of what’s happening with the nuke plant down the lane.

And to those of you in the evacuation zone… wake up and stay awake. Make sure you raise your voice and your awareness to be sure that if Entergy is gonna run that ol’ nuke plant for twenty years beyond what it was built to sustain, you have every protection in place that you deserve. Those tax breaks won’t mean shit if that land is contaminated for 20,000 years. Nor will you ever forgive yourself if your kids and their kids and your great-grandkids are genetically doomed from exposure. You won’t have anyone listening if they get their approval. Stand up and be heard NOW, while you can.

Wasserman asks, “Who Pays for America’s Chernobyl Roulette?”

April 28, 2009

The Pricetag of Price-Anderson

Who Pays for America’s Chernobyl Roulette?


As the US attempts to dig out from economic collapse, a little-known nuclear industry liability could seriously derail Obama’s attempt to revive our finances.

It is the federal disaster insurance on 104 rickety atomic reactors. Because the industry cannot get its own insurance, we taxpayers are on the hook.

There is no “rainy day” fund to finance the clean-up after a reactor disaster. No one in government or industry can reasonably explain how we would pay for such a catastrophe.

Chernobyl’s lethal cloud began pouring into the atmosphere 23 years ago this week. Dr. Alexey Yablokov, former environmental advisor to the late President Boris Yeltsin, and president of the Center for Russian Environmental Policy, estimates the death toll at 300,000.

It also gutted the regional economy, and accelerated the Soviet collapse. By conservative accounts Chernobyl’s explosion has so far cost a half-trillion dollars, with its financial toll continuing to accrue.

A disaster at a US reactor could dwarf that number.

Chernobyl exploded in a remote rural region in an impoverished country. Eighty kilometers away, Kiev was heavily dusted with radiation.

Most American reactors are in what were once considered remote regions. But Indian Point is about half as far from Manhattan as is Chernobyl from Kiev. Likewise San Onofre from Los Angeles, Turkey Point from Miami, Byron from Chicago, Grand Gulf from Baton Rouge, Seabrook and Pilgrim from Boston, Limerick and Peach Bottom from Philadelphia, Calvert Cliffs from Baltimore, Perry from Cleveland, Prairie Island and Monticello from Minneapolis.

All these reactors were designed and built decades ago. Not one has private insurance beyond a tiny percentage of the potential damage.

When the nuke power industry first got going, utility executives refused to invest, citing the insupportable costs of a potential disaster.

Back then, the Sandia Laboratory’s WASH-740 Report warned that a melt-down at an American reactor could permanently irradiate a land mass the size of Pennsylvania. The fiscal costs, like the potential death toll, were essentially inestimable.

So reactor backers got Congress to pass the 1957 Price-Anderson Act, which protected utilities from all but a tiny portion of the potential damage. The industry assured the public that “within a few years” atomic technology would have advanced so far that private insurers would clamor for the business.

That was 52 years ago. No private insurer has stepped up to cover that first generation of reactors (check your home-owners policy for the standard exclusion clause). Neither will they do so for future reactors. The entire “new generation” of atomic plants now being so mightily hyped is also to be insured by the federal government, ie you and me.

The potential financial impact is beyond comprehension. The cost of abandoning several thousand square miles of the Hudson Valley down to Manhattan, or the Atlantic shore north of and into Boston, or the coastal regions along and into Los Angeles and the California central Valley, simply cannot be calculated. Mere trillions—2? 5? 20?—become meaningless. The collapse of the currency, the utter chaos of the economic system, the burial of health care, the devastating impact on millions of lives…all defy description.

All will be the responsibility of the federal government. By limiting responsibility of the reactor owners it has forced us to assume liability for the claims of those who survive long enough to sue.

There is no contingency plan for this in the federal budget. No secret reserve. No magic monetary bullet. Should one of these plants melt or explode, American economic life as we have known it could be essentially over.


Nuclear power’s implications go far beyond energy

Nuclear power is the orange amongst apples when evaluating America’s energy future. There exist factors that must not be ignored that do not apply to alternative sources.

In addition to the relatively unknown impact of long-term exposure to low level radiation for those living near a nuclear power plant, or the cataclysmic effects of a major accident such as the one that occurred at Chernobyl, there exist far-reaching consequences that come at an unfathomable price; one which no nation can afford.

nuclear power is always toxic

This, today, from the New York Times via the Boston Globe:

N. Korea reprocessing spent nuclear rods

Says material will be used to make nuclear weapons

By Choe Sang-Hun

New York Times / April 26, 2009

SEOUL – North Korea announced yesterday that it had begun reprocessing thousands of spent nuclear fuel rods, adding that it would use plutonium extracted from the rods to make nuclear weapons.

Reprocessing the rods, which were unloaded from the nuclear reactor in Yongbyon, 60 miles north of Pyongyang, the capital, “will contribute to bolstering the nuclear deterrence for self-defense in every way to cope with the increasing military threats from the hostile forces,” an unidentified North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman told the nation’s official news agency.

Reassembling the partly disabled Yongbyon complex to its operational state could take at least several months. But specialists and officials in Seoul have said North Korea could have quickly reopened the reprocessing plant to produce plutonium from thousands of spent fuel rods. Specialists say the rods can yield enough plutonium for one or two bombs.

Read the entire article:

NRC definitely having “issues” dealing with New England

Nuclear Regulatory Commission under fire over fire

Rep. Markey looking for answers from regulators on Pilgrim safety oversight

The Patriot Ledger
Posted Nov 05, 2008 @ 05:30 AM


U.S. Rep. Edward Markey is using a fire last week at the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth to turn up the heat on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Markey sent a letter to the federal agency on Friday, posing a long list of questions about the Oct. 29 fire in an outbuilding at the plant property that the plant operator says was contained to one room.

The Malden Democrat, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce committee, has longstanding concerns about the NRC’s oversight of its fire safety rules. Markey believes that the agency isn’t doing enough to ensure that nuclear plant operators meet or exceed the agency’s fire safety standards.

“I have yet to be persuaded that the NRC is on a path to do the right thing and require the nation’s plants to be brought (into) compliance with NRC’s fire protection regulations,” Markey wrote in the letter to NRC Chairman Dale Klein. “This latest event only heightens my concern and my interest in assuring that all appropriate measures are undertaken to protect these facilities against dangerous fires.”

Diane Screnci, a spokeswoman for the nuclear agency, said the two NRC inspectors assigned to the plant are investigating the fire’s cause and reviewing plant owner Entergy Corp.’s steps to ensure such a fire doesn’t happen again. Screnci said the agency received Markey’s letter and will respond as quickly as possible to the congressman.

Read the entire story >

Settlement Offered to Some Residents Near Pa. Nuke Fuel Plant

I have fielded many questions and accusations from friends, family and colleagues regarding nuclear power, based on their television understanding. I am nowhere near an expert, but does it require more than a few examples like the one below to get the big picture here?

 It seems to me that if people would wake the hell up and start questioning what they’re being fed on the surface, and have a quick look at what’s been slipping by their deficient radar, the overhead light bulbs would glow, cartoon-style. How could they not?


We know that this is true financially. Have a look at NUKEFREE.ORG’s ATOMIC ECONOMICS for details:

 We also know that nuclear power’s negative impact on the environment will always outweigh the dubious benefit of not releasing the same air pollutants as traditional energy sources. Check out nuclear power’s “Power Scorecard”:

But even if no other reason existed, isn’t it enough to know that radiation exposure… even small doses over a prolonged period of time… will cause cancers that destroy human life… and get passed on in the form of severe birth defects and more cancer?

Photographer Paul Fusco produced a multi-media photo essay and book on the lingering effects of the Chernobyl accident

Isn’t this enough?

Isn’t this enough?

Maybe this will be enough…

i hope so. -tk

February 08, 2008 (Associated Press YORK – Atlantic Richfield Co. has offered $27.5 million to settle claims that pollution from a nuclear fuel processing plant damaged nearby residents’ property and caused cancer and other illnesses.ARCO and plaintiff attorneys asked a federal judge to approve the proposed settlement in a joint motion filed in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh this week.

The case concerns the former Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp., or NUMEC, which processed uranium and plutonium for nuclear submarines and other purposes at a plant in Apollo borough and another in neighboring Parks Township, about 35 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. The Apollo plant was built in 1957, and the Parks plant was built a few years later.

Residents say they inhaled white radioactive dust for three decades and that microscopic particles of uranium from the plant caused an unusually high cancer rate. A doctor once testified that 351 of Apollo’s 1,895 residents, or nearly one in five, had been diagnosed with some form of cancer.

Atlantic Richfield Co. bought both plants in 1967 and sold them to Babcock & Wilcox Co. in 1971.

The settlement provides “a fairly nice cash award to each of our clients,” said Frederick M. Baron, a Dallas attorney who also represented Karen Silkwood in her radiation-poisoning case. “But more importantly, they retain their ability to continue against Babcock & Wilcox. They are the most responsible party in our view.”

More than 300 people filed claims that fell into three groups: property damage, personal injury and wrongful death.

Personal injury and wrongful death claims under the proposed settlement are “by and large are in the six-figure area,” Baron said Friday. Property damage claims would be $10,000 or less.

An attorney for ARCO declined to comment Friday.

But in court documents, attorneys for both sides called the proposed settlement fair because it’s not known what, if anything, the plaintiffs might ultimately win from ARCO.

Attorneys for the various companies who ran the nuclear plants have argued that radioactive emissions had been filtered out and that, even if residents had been exposed, radiation levels were too low to cause cancer or other illnesses.

In a 1998 U.S. District Court trial in Pittsburgh, eight test plaintiffs won $36.7 million from ARCO and Babcock & Wilcox. A judge, however, ordered a retrial after determining that she had wrongly allowed some evidence in the case.

The retrial was delayed when Babcock & Wilcox filed bankruptcy, largely because of unrelated asbestos litigation. ARCO opted to settle claims against it before they can be retried.

Earlier this year, former workers at the Apollo site became part of a special compensation class for sick nuclear workers. The fund entitles them to $150,000 each.

To qualify for the compensation, former workers must have worked at the Apollo plant for at least 250 days between 1957 and 1983 and have one of 22 different cancers. Sick workers who do not have one of the 22 cancers may be eligible for compensation, but must meet different criteria.

Atlantic Richfield is owned by BP plc.

my sticker collection

the nuclear plants are old and failing

wake the hell up before it’s too late

nuclear power is always toxic

meltdown ahead

no more toxic nuclear power

old & unsafe


Nip & Tuck

Tim Newcomb cartoon

Thank you, Tim Newcomb. And thank you, Lawrence, for sending it along!

For those unfamiliar with another great warrior in the anti-nuclear movement, point your browser to Special thanks to Vermont Yankee for the latest mishap which kept Lawrence out of retirement… and in his capable hands. That said, I’d be more thankful if Entergy would simply to do the right thing and begin the decommissioning process NOW. In the meanwhile, I am grateful to the great warriors for the insight, inspiration and motivation they provide.

The plants are getting old. It’s really time to wake up.

I must say that after many years of reading the Brattleboro Reformer, I was never especially proud to call it my hometown paper. In fact, it isn’t even my hometown paper anymore. With my move to the big/little city four years ago, I traded the Reformer for what should have been the improved, edgy, urban version of a hometown paper. Unfortunately, it was the Cambridge Chronicle… which provided my first reason for gaining a certain level of respect for Brattleboro’s daily rag.

Not to digress too much, suffice it to say that in my 38 years on the planet, i have never come across a local weekly newspaper who seems to go so far out of its way to scandalize any city news it can get its manipulative hands on, with particular dramatics applied to any news related to the city’s public school system, as I have in the Cambridge Chronicle.

Having the opportunity to work within the walls of the city’s only public high school, I can say that all of the amazing and positive things that I see happening every single day are largely ignored by the Chronicle so that they can bolster their campaign to erroneously prove that there is little more than crime and corruption blanketing the school. The most poignant example was on the high school’s graduation day in the first year that I lived here. While every other paper in the United States published photos of caps in the air amidst stories focused on the unlimited potential of their graduates, the Chronicle headlined something about the 70-odd kids who failed to pass the state’s MCAS exam who wouldn’t be joining their classmates at the ceremony that day,

The Chronicle failed to mention the number of students who spoke one of the sixty or so non-English languages amongst their nearly 2,000 graduates… or when these non-graduating students began their education within the city. That was my first experience of disgust with a local newspaper… and the first time, in reflection, that I gained any measure of respect for the Reformer.

Since the spring of 2006, my friend (and partner in crime) and I have been submitting periodic press releases to the Reformer regarding the anti-nuclear photography project we’ve created ( Not a single one was ever printed. Recently, a Letter to the Editor was published that said friend, John, had written in response to a previously published letter attempting to debunk the Chernobyl-Vernon connection with claims of superior technology and oversight in the Vermont Yankee plant. Due to its well-researched and highly technical nature, John’s response was printed in the paper… completely destroying all arguments made in the initial letter.

Due to a random stroke of luck, today I read the paper’s editorial of September 1st entitled, “Who’s Minding the Plant?” ( And today, I have recognized that, once in a while, even a small, local newspaper is capable of the courage necessary to let the truth override the politics of corporate contributions to the community and speak out about untenable situations that are otherwise being diminished or simply ignored by the larger media outlets.

Dear Brattleboro Reformer, you have gained my respect today. While your coverage of the plant has been mildly critical up to this point, I think you’ve finally managed to see the value of the contribution that you can make in terms of challenging the status quo of silence with regard to the impact that the nuclear plant has on the overall well-being of a wonderful and unique community. I applaud you for your decision to print this editorial, and welcome you to an elite group of intelligent individuals who recognize the NO-WIN situation regarding the extended licensing and increased output of an aging nuke plant that should, indeed, be moving towards decommissioning rather than these risky propositions.

You’ve made me miss Vermont all the more… a nuclear-free Vermont, that is. 

When John returned from the Ukraine with photos of the city surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear plant, it was immediately obvious that there were many similarities between that community (Pripyat) prior to the disaster and our own, beloved southern Vermont region. Upon seeing hundreds of images of the impact that the nuclear disaster had on the region surrounding the Chernobyl plant, I saw how urgent the need was to educate those who would be impacted most should the Vermont Yankee plant face a similar fate.

What’s it gonna take folks, a meltdown?

ENVY Cooling Tower Failure August 21, 2007 

ENVY Cooling Tower Failure August 21, 2007

ENVY Cooling Tower Failure August 21, 2007

ENVY Cooling Tower Failure August 21, 2007

ENVY Cooling Tower Failure August 21, 2007

Latest News:


Congressional delegation calls investigation into Yankee mishap

MONTPELIER, Vt. —Vermont’s congressional delegation on Thursday requested a thorough investigation into the collapse of a portion of Vermont Yankee’s cooling tower. MORE >


State Official: Closer Inspections Needed at Yankee

Vernon, Vermont – August 24, 2007Vermont’s nuclear engineer says better inspections are needed at the state’s only nuclear power plant. That statement comes after a water cooling tower collapsed at Vermont Yankee in Vernon earlier this week. The state says what happened is unacceptable, and the water cooling tower failure has raised questions about the safety of the aging facility.

Three days after a cooling tower collapsed, Yankee Nuclear is working to figure out what went wrong, causing the wooden beams to give way. MORE >


Nuclear plant damage is worse than reported

Published: Friday, August 24, 2007
By Sam Hemingway
Free Press Staff Writer

A cooling tower structure at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant that partially collapsed Tuesday underwent a full inspection as recently as this spring and was found to be in good condition, a company spokesman said Thursday. MORE >


State delegates press for thorough probe

By BOB AUDETTE, Reformer Staff

Friday, August 24

BRATTLEBORO — Vermont’s congressional delegation is demanding the Nuclear Regulatory Commission conduct “a thorough and complete investigation into the collapse of a portion of a cooling tower at Vermont Yankee.”  MORE >

Photo frames the worry over VY

Friday, August 24

The photo in Thursday’s Reformer of the collapsed wood structure that is one of 22 cooling cells at Vermont Yankee is unsettling, to say the least.

Entergy, owner of the Vernon nuclear reactor, continues to assert it practices impeccable maintenance protocol. If that is the case, it’s hard to understand why wooden beams and piping to the Connecticut River failed, sending water gushing to the ground.

We can’t fault the anti-nuclear activists, who must be saying, “We told you so.” We’re waiting for the NRC — and Entergy — to outline the cause of the failure and tell the truth plainly.


 Google News Search:,GGLD:2005-03,GGLD:en&q=news:+vermont+yankee+cooling&um=1&ncl=1119696841&sa=X&oi=news_result&resnum=1&ct=more-results&cd=1