Beyond Nuclear Petitions US NRC for Suspension of 21 Atomic Reactor Licenses in Wake of Japanese Nuclear Catastrophe
Watchdog group alleges General Electric Boiling Water Reactor Mark 1 design’s weak containment, inadequate experimental venting back fit, and radioactive waste storage pool are accidents waiting to happen
TAKOMA PARK, MD - Today the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) docketed an emergency enforcement petition filed by the environmental watchdog group Beyond Nuclear. Beyond Nuclear’s petition calls for the suspension of operating licenses at 21 General Electric Boiling Water Reactors of the Mark 1 design (GE BWR Mark 1s). Beyond Nuclear has filed the petition in the wake of catastrophic failure of just such containment systems at identical atomic reactors in Fukushima, Japan at the Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant. In addition, Beyond Nuclear has highlighted the extreme risk posed by GE BWR Mark 1 high-level radioactive waste storage pools, at a total of 24 such reactors in the U.S., which lack emergency backup power supplies for circulating cooling water in the event of a loss of electricity from the primary grid. Lack of cooling water circulation in high-level radioactive waste storage pools can result in boil off, subsequent irradiated nuclear fuel fire, and large-scale releases of hazardous radioactivity directly into the environment, as has occurred at Fukushima Dai-Ichi Unit 4.
Gunter recounted that high-level U.S. nuclear power regulators have long identified the undue risks associated with GE BWR Mark 1 type containments. In 1972, Dr. Stephen Hanauer of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) warned about the buildup of explosive hydrogen gas during a reactor core accident in such relatively small containment structures, and urged that “the AEC adopt a policy of discouraging further use of pressure suppression containments…”.
Beyond Nuclear’s 2.206 emergency enforcement petition, and NRC’s docketing announcement, are posted at the top of Beyond Nuclear’s homepage, www.beyondnuclear.org, and can be provided upon request.
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.