Backyard Talk

Nuclear Reactor Shut Down Because Sea Water Can't Cool?

Why isn’t this front page news! Are people really still questioning Climate Change’s impacts? I’m in shock! The sea water . . . the ocean is too warm to cool the reactors, it’s not even believable. I only believe it because the huge energy corporations would never shut a reactor down unless they had too. Waterford, CT is not alone, a number of reactors across the country have been temporarily shut down in the past few days for safety reasons.

In Waterford, Conn., a reactor at the Millstone Nuclear Power Plant was shut down because the water in Long Island Sound was too warm to cool it. According to the reactor’s safety rules, the cooling water can be no higher than 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant has three reactors. The first began operation in 1970 and is now retired. The third was still running yesterday, but engineers have been monitoring the temperature in case that one also needs to be shut down. Temperatures this summer are the warmest we’ve had since operations began here at Millstone,” Dominion spokesman Ken Holt said (Matthew Wald, New York Times, Aug. 13).

At the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in southern Maryland, operators shut down one of the site’s two reactors because a control rod unexpectedly dropped into the reactor core on Sunday.

The plant’s staff is fixing the malfunction, said Kory Raftery, spokesman for operator Constellation Energy Nuclear Group.

Control rods are used to limit the fission taking place among a reactor’s fuel rods. An unplanned insertion of a control rod into a reactor core can “create an imbalance in the fissioning and pose challenges for reactor operators,” Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Neil Sheehan said. It happens infrequently at U.S. nuclear plants, he said (Timothy Wheeler, Baltimore Sun, Aug. 13).

The Palisades Nuclear Generating Station in Covert Township, Mich., was taken offline after officials discovered a “very small, very minor” cooling water leak. The leak, which has been monitored by officials for a month, is being repaired inside a containment building at the plant. No radioactive materials were released, spokesman Mark Savage said Sunday. “Palisades is taking this conservative measure at this time because of our unrelenting commitment and focus on nuclear safety,” he said in a release. “Palisades will be returned to service when repairs are completed.”

Backyard Talk

MI Nuclear Reactor Hurts Everyone

Michigan is pushing – not just supporting – another nuclear reactor, Fermi 3, on the banks of the Great Lakes. And the state and Detroit Edison are picking the pockets of tax payers and utility rate payers to pay for it. This makes no sense, especially if you look at the history and the need for such a reactor. Fermi 1 was shut down because of a partial meltdown; Fermi 2 is operating with serious problems including an accidental turbine missile mechanical explosion that resulted in millions of gallons of radioactive water being discharged into Lake Erie.

Fermi 3 is a new proposed reactor that Detroit Edison and the state are supporting. At stake, the tax payers and rate payers will pre-pay for the nuclear reactor. That’s right — pre pay for a reactor that is not needed nor is there any guarantee that it will even be built! The median income of households in the city of Detroit is $28,000 and the percentage of people below the poverty level is 26.1%. Unemployment is at 13%.

This is criminal. The city is near bankrupt, the population is barely hanging on, while Detroit Edison is forcing people to pay for the construction of a new nuclear reactor that may never be built to generate energy that is not needed and to place at risk Lake Erie which provides a solid economic base for jobs and businesses in the region.

This past weekend CHEJ facilitated a workshop in Detroit, on media training, framing the group’s messages, speaking to the media and finding other ways to reach the public about their issue. Twenty six community and group leaders, from across the region came together to fight this insane proposal. CHEJ worked with the leaders to help them come up with winning strategies to right the wrong and give the honest hard working citizens back their taxes and funds paid to the utility.

Leaders were very clear that Michigan does not need another nuclear reactor but does need economic opportunities and alternative energy. Recently a solar and wind turbine plants open in Michigan providing long term jobs, economic benefits and safe energy. The leaders strategies included encouraging subsidies be given to the alternative technologies like those that have already begun to build plants in the state and stop supporting dangerous technologies that place people and the environment at risk. Stay tuned as the efforts build.