Invitation to the 2011 Nuclear Heritage Network-meeting Czech Republic.
The first international anti-nuclear networking gathering in Europe after the Fukushima disaster organized by activists of the Nuclear Heritage Network will take place from August 1-5, 2011 in Ceské Budejovice (Budweis) in the Czech Republic close to the Austrian border and near to the controversial Temelín nuclear power plant.
As part of the gathering anti-nuclear activists from several countries will also meet with Czech and Austrian activists who cooperate in a unique cross-border network, which is partly coordinated and funded by the Upper-Austrian regional government. We will visit a group of Lower-Austrian activists, who have been organizing for years now so called "energy-meetings" and have become pioneers in using and making renewable energies popular.
The gathering is also supposed to get to know each other in person, to share experiences in the anti-nuclear field, and to develop mutual projects and campaigns. Goal is to improve the international anti-nuclear cooperations and to discuss how to provide more resources by the Nuclear Heritage Network as well as by activists and organizations out of the network for international anti-nuclear activities. Thus, the initiatives are supposed to strengthen the anti-nuclear movement as well as to face various obstacles within and outside the movement.
Swiss police clear Mühleberg protest camp.
On June 21, police cleared the protest camp against the Mühleberg nuclear power station which was set up in the city of Bern at the beginning of April. The city government issued a statement saying the decision to clear camp outside the headquarters of BKW Energy, which operates Mühleberg, had been taken after the activists had refused to dismantle the tents despite lengthy discussions. It said it would have been prepared to allow a permanent vigil, but had made it clear from the beginning that it would not tolerate a camp with a permanent population. It added that it had now withdrawn its permission for a vigil and would not allow the area to be re-occupied.
The Mühleberg Abschalten (Switch off Mühleberg) association accused the Bern city government of taking the side of the nuclear lobby after the cantonal parliament decided last week not to do anything to take Mühleberg out of the grid. But it said the protest would continue until the power station was switched off. Only a few hours after the eviction, about 200 people gathered around the site for a lunchtime protest picnic with flags and placar. In the evening of the same day, several hundred demonstrators marched through Bern peacefully to protest the clearing of the camp.
World Radio Switzerland, 21 June 2011 / Swissinfo.ch, 21 June 2011
Threats to nuclear reactors in US.
In July, the United States' Nuclear Regulatory Commission will release the final results of its 90-day reactor safety review. The NRC will claim that nuclear reactors in the United States are safe. But the report will leave out critical information that exposes that claim as a myth.
We've already seen in Japan the catastrophic combination of inadequate regulations, aging reactors and unpredictable weather. What will be missing from the NRC report?
*As severe weather becomes more frequent, nuclear reactors have become more vulnerable and less reliable. Flood waters have knocked out power at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station in Nebraska. On June 27, the barrier intended to keep water from immersing the reactor grounds was breached. The plant is now reportedly running on emergency generators to maintain the cooling systems. But floods are not the only weather phenomena to threaten reactors; extreme heat and droughts also force reactors offline. Nuclear power plants consume more water than any other energy technology. In recent summers, water rationing due to heat waves in the southeast has required shutting down nuclear plants in Tennessee and Florida. Current regulations - amazingly - fail to account for possibility of a single weather event or natural disaster knocking out electricity from both the grid and emergency generators.
*U.S. nuclear reactors are being pushed well beyond their operational design and the resulting deterioration undermines their safety. In the U.S., reactors were designed and licensed for 40 years, but 66 of the 104 operating units have been relicensed to operate for 20 more years. In fact, the NRC has never denied a renewal - not even for the Vermont Yankee plant, where problems like groundwater contamination from leaking tritium led the state senate to vote against renewing its license. Corroded underground piping in aging plants is responsible for radioactive tritium leaks at 75% of U.S. commercial nuclear power sites.
*Federal regulators are far too cozy with the nuclear industry. Together they are maintaining the illusion that the nation's aging reactors operate within safety standards by repeatedly weakening those standards or simply failing to enforce them. According to a recent investigation by The Associated Press, NRC officials have - time after time, and at the urging of the industry - decided that original regulations were too strict and argued that safety margins should be eased.
Immediate steps can and must be taken to strengthen the regulation of nuclear reactors. But ultimately, we need to shift away from nuclear to renewable, safer and more efficient power choices.
Public Citizen's Climate & Energy Program, 28 June 2011
Jellyfish block Torness.
Two reactors at the UK Torness nuclear power station have been shut down after huge numbers of jellyfish were found in the sea water entering the plant. The jellyfish were found obstructing cooling water filters. The plant's operator, EDF Energy, said the shutdown was a precautionary measure and there was never any danger to the public. A clean-up operation is under way, but according to the utility it could take a week to re-start again. Torness has two Advanced Gas Cooled Reactors but also relies on supplies of sea water to ensure it operates safely. It has filters which are designed to prevent seaweed and marine animals entering the cooling system. If these are blocked, the reactors are shut down to comply with safety procedures. Staff at the plant took the decision to shut down the reactors in the afternoon on June 30. In February 20101 one of the two reactors was also shut down following a technical failure which affected the transformer, causing an automatic shutdown.
BBC Scotland, 30 June 2011