Op Eds

November 24, 2009

by Harvey Wasserman


Yet another "perfectly safe" release at Three Mile Island has irradiated yet another puff of hype about alleged "green" support for new reactors. 


The two are inseparable. 

In 1979, when TMI's brand new Unit Two melted, stack monitors and other critical safeguards crashed in tandem. Nobody knows how much radiation escaped, where it went or who it harmed. Cancers, leukemia, stillbirths, malformations, asthma, sterility, skin lesions and other radiation-related diseases erupted throughout central Pennsylvania. Some 2400 families sued, but never got a full public hearing in federal court. 

Unit Two had operated just three months when it melted. By a 3-1 margin, three central Pennsylvania counties then voted that TMI-One, which opened in 1974, stay shut. But Ronald Reagan tore down that wall. 

This week TMI's owners were forced to evacuate 150 workers when radioactive dust "unexpectedly blew out of a pipe being cut by workers." Exelon was "trying to determine exactly how and why it happened." 


Cleanup postponed, jobs decline, waste increases 


(Harrisburg, Pa.: October 22, 2009) - The Nuclear Regulatory 

Commission’s approval of a license extension at Three Mile Island (“TMI”) Unit-1 

further delays the decontamination and decommissioning of Three Mile Island 

Unit-2 the site of a core meltdown in March 1979. 

Eric Epstein, Chairman of TMI-Alert, stated, “At this rate, TMI-2 won’t be 

cleaned up until the next century. Relicensing adds another 600 metric tons of 

radioactive waste on the Island in addition to the 1,000 metric tons of toxic 

garbage Unit-1 has generated since 1974.” TMI also stores low-level radioactive 

waste on site since Barnwell’s closing in 2008. 

Mr. Epstein added, “TMI continues to reduce staffing and has slashed 284 

jobs over the last ten years. I just hope we have enough money and trained staff 

in place in 2034 to clean up TMI-1, TMI-2, and 1,600 tons of radioactive waste.” 


By Harvey Wasserman
October 15, 2009

Is the Climate Bill morphing into an excuse to promote fossil fuels and new nuclear power plants?


Renewable "Community Power" is Gaining Ground to Real Energy Independence
Background: A recent Washington Post news article reports that renewable energy development is transforming electricity manufacturing into a reliable, locally-owned and locally-generated, clean energy industry.  The story highlights that an investment in renewable solar and wind power, is an investment in "community power" and energy independence.  Towns like Rock Port, Missouri are producing 100% of their electricity through wind turbines, while other communities are emphasizing more compact and less obtrusive solar power like California's "Million Solar Roofs."


Beyond Nuclear Bulletin   October 1, 2009


The "peaceful" atom leading to war with Iran


Background: The discovery of a second uranium enrichment facility in Qum, Iran prompted the government of Saudi Arabia to open its air spacefor potential Israeli air attacks on a growing number of nuclear infrastructure targets in Iran.

Ironically, "atoms for peace" have often led to wars. In 1980, Iran attacked Iraq's partially-built Osirak reactor, but French engineers repaired the light damage quickly. The very next year, Israel bombed Osirak before it could be loaded with fuel. These attacks set the precedent for future conventional military pre-emptive strikes against commercial or research atomic facilities, as a non-proliferation tactic. In 1984, Iraq initiated several years ofattacks against Iran's partially-built Bushehr reactor complex, inflicting severe damage on the facility. The following year, Bennett Ramberg publishedNuclear Power Plants as Weapons for the Enemy: An Unrecognized Military Peril. In 1991, during the Persian Gulf War, the U.S. bombed Iraqi research reactors at Tuwaitha, possibly causing radiological releases. In 2007, Israel bombed an atomic reactor being secretly constructed by North Koreans in Syria. Last year, Ramberg warned about the radiological consequences should the Dimona reactor, at the heart of the Israeli nuclear weapons manufacturing complex, be bombed.


Boston Globe, Letters to the editor


Enormous risk for taxpayers


September 27, 2009

MARVIN FERTEL of the Nuclear Energy Institute is right about one thing: an Environmental Protection Agency analysis of the Waxman-Markey climate bill did indeed state that by placing a cost on carbon, the bill would encourage the construction of some 187 new nuclear reactors in the United States (“Nuclear must be part of energy equation,’’ Op-ed, Sept. 21).

You’d think such a competitive boon would be enough for the nuclear industry. But no, they also want taxpayers - rather than electric utilities - to take the financial risk of building new nuclear reactors. And with recent cost estimates for new reactors ranging from $9 billion (Turkey Point, Florida) to $15 billion (Bell Bend, Pennsylvania), that’s an enormous risk for taxpayers to take.


The Nuclear Engineering Institute on the French energy legacy:


"French nuclear policy is neither green nor sustainable. The decision to separate and use plutonium – which French and UK accounts show at zero book value and negative market value – entails a radiological impact equivalent to all other nuclear activities in Europe combined."


To read the full commentary, go to: 




Arnie Gundersen, a former nuclear plant engineer dddresses the NRC: 

Mr. Szabo, 

I participated in the NRC meeting on Decommissioning on Thursday morning, August 20, 2009, via teleconference link and have the following broad formal comments that I anticipate the NRC will consider.  Fairewinds Associates, Inc is highly qualified to comment on this matter, as two years ago we developed the first Decommissioning White Paper identifying the likelihood of decommissioning fund shortfalls at Vermont Yankee, which proved to be quite prescient.

As I stated on the teleconference it is my opinion that the NRC continues to ignore three broad issues concerning Decommissioning.  



By Harvey Wasserman


The nuke power industry is back at the public trough for the fourth time in two years demanding $50 billion in loan guarantees to build new reactors. 

Its rust-bucket poster child is now the ancient clunker at Oyster Creek, whose visible New Jersey rust and advanced radioactive decay are A-OK with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which just gave it a twenty-year license extension.

The industry's savior may be France, whose taxpayer-funded EdF and Areva Corporations may be poised to build their own reactors on US soil using French and American taxpayer money. 



March 4, 2009

By Eric Epstein



The CEO of Westinghouse recently argued in the Post-Gazette 

that nuclear power can help cure global warming and make America

 energy independent ("Nuclear Empowered," Forum, Feb. 22).

The problem is, the numbers don't add up and our cars don't run 

on uranium pellets. Don't be fooled again by the same people 

who brought you electricity "too cheap to meter."