Fairewinds’ report Vermont Yankee’s Decommissioning As An Example of Nationwide Failures of Decommissioning Regulation was presented to the Senate Committee for Natural Resources and Energy Wednesday April 22, 2015. The report evaluating Entergy’s plan to use the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) sanctioned SAFSTOR process to decommission Vermont Yankee was funded by a grant from the Lintilhac Foundation. The report, which was submitted to the NRC March 23rd, takes a comprehensive look at SAFSTOR, an NRC developed subsidy that benefits nuclear power plant owners like Entergy by providing them with a 60-year window to complete decommissioning of nuclear plants. In his testimony to the Senate Committee, Fairewinds’ Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen emphasized the lack of a basis in physics for the 60-year timeline and the potential dangers and burden to Vermonters should Entergy, a limited liability company (LLC), be allowed to take 60-years to decommission Vermont Yankee.
Starting with the financial issues that are present in the SAFSTOR model, Arnie pointed out how Entergy has already been allowed to raid Vermont Yankee’s decommissioning fund before decommissioning even has begun. Entergy has made it clear that it will not begin decommissioning Vermont Yankee until the decommissioning fund has grown enough to fully cover all decommissioning costs plus funding spent fuel storage costs, a growth process extended by Entergy’s premature extraction of funds. Furthermore, Entergy has announced that as a LLC, the federal government may not be able to hold Entergy financially responsible should the decommissioning process take longer than 60-years, leaving the VY carcass and financial burden to Vermonters.Read more
It’s been nearly 30-years since the tragic nuclear meltdown at the former Soviet Union Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine near the Belarus border. The massive amounts of radioactivity spewed during this catastrophe immediately destroyed thousands of lives, and the Soviet government’s inaction and cover-up of the amount of radiation has left thousands more with severe birth defects, cancers, and other life-long disabilities.
Spring should bring flowers in bloom, birds, sunshine, and renewed hope after a long winter, not nuclear meltdown. Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima Daiichi – all nuclear industry made disasters that started during springtime continue to forewarn us of the dangers of nuclear power. As Albert Einstein said, “The release of atomic power has changed everything except our way of thinking ... the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker (1945).”
Fairewinds Energy Education commemorated the nuclear catastrophes at Fukushima Daiichi and Three Mile Island during March and April and Sunday, April 26, marks 29 years since the horrific and memorable meltdown at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the Ukraine. Burlington, Vermont playwright and author Spencer Smith, who created the readers’ play Voices From Chernobyl joins Maggie Gundersen, president of Fairewinds Energy Education, in this week’s emotional and moving Fairewinds’ video production about the ongoing Chernobyl tragedy.Read more
The Uranium Waltz
By Sue Prent
Unless you’re a science geek who routinely trawls YouTube for entertainment, you probably haven’t seen this fascinating clip that observes a small pellet of uranium as it just sits sealed in a lighted cloud chamber infused with vaporized alcohol.
To the strains of a Strauss waltz, puffy little trails begin to erupt from the uranium in staccato straight lines, shooting through the alcohol cloud and radiating in all directions like soft white fireworks. It’s a mesmerizing sight to behold.Read more
TMI, A Human Perspective
By Maggie Gundersen
I was startled in October 2011, when I received a phone call and email from Karl Hoffmann, a German Public Radio and Television (ARD) correspondent and freelance journalist, requesting an opportunity to interview and film Fairewinds’ chief engineer Arnie Gundersen for an opera about the 1979 meltdown at Three Mile Island (TMI).
As the founder and director of Fairewinds Energy Education, I was inundated with requests for interviews, meetings, and technical information following the March 2011 triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi. As can be imagined, this request by Karl Hoffmann to be interviewed for an opera about the 1979 meltdown at Three Mile Island (TMI) was certainly a surprise.Read more
Funded by a Lintilhac Foundation Grant, Fairewinds Energy Education has evaluated Entergy’s plan to use the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) sanctioned SAFSTOR process to decommission Vermont Yankee. The full commissioned report filed with the NRC on March 23, 2015 can be found on our site along with a video of Arnie's testimony at the NRC hearing in Brattleboro February 19, 2015.
Developed by the NRC, SAFSTOR is a subsidy that benefits nuclear power plant owners like Entergy by providing them with a 60-year window to decommission nuclear plants. Entergy’s Vermont Yankee plant permanently ended operations December 29, 2014. Since its shutdown date, Vermont Yankee has continued to be newsworthy with the recent discovery of Strontium-90 leaks in at least four different test wells on the nuclear plant site. Stronitum-90 readily attaches itself to water, is extremely toxic, and has a direct link to leukemia and a host of other cancers.
Three Mile Island: Writing the Nuclear Accident Playbook
By Arnie Gundersen
People today who are familiar with social media think that TMI means “Too Much Information”. But to me, and anyone listening to the news in 1979, TMI will always represent the disaster at Three Mile Island, when the public received too little information, not too much.Read more
Nuclear expert and Fairewinds' Chief Engineer, Arnie Gundersen travelled across the pond to jolly ol' England. Invited to speak at the House of Commons on March 11, Arnie addressed the current status of the ongoing disaster at Fukushima Daiichi four years after nuclear meltdown began in 2011, and presented his expert assessment of nuclear risk in regards to the proposed construction of three AP1000 reactors in Cumbria, England.
Arnie enjoyed the hospitality of fellow scientist Dr. Ian Fairlie, and members of Radiation Free Lakeland as he made his way north from London to Cumbria. From his first ride on 'the Tube' to getting kicked out of school and his run in with the law...twice, Arnie shared his U.K. adventure with the Fairewinds Crew back home by snapping quick pictures. By the end of his trip, Arnie had compiled a beautiful photo journal that needed to be shared. Here are the pictures from his trip and a video of Arnie's House of Commons presentation!
The Fairewinds Crew is excited to announce the nomination of Fairewinds Energy Education for the international Design to Improve Life Award ! We are humbled and honored to have been spotted for nomination in the Community and Safety category.
By allowing nuclear energy corporations to raid nuclear plant decommissioning funds, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is granting an unreviewed and unregulated subsidy to the nuclear industry. Hosted by Chris Williams of Citizens Action Network, Fairewinds Energy Education’s Arnie Gundersen details how Decommissioning Stakeholders’ Fund-amental Rights are being trampled. This public meeting focuses on Entergy’s Vermont Yankee decommissioning and its threats to run roughshod over Vermonters. Vermont Yankee is one of the six nuclear power plants currently beginning the decommissioning process. This is a serious issue for all areas of the country since 8 or 10 additional nuclear plants are also considering decommissioning due to the cost of safety modifications as well as deteriorating equipment conditions that negatively impact safe plant operation.
Fairewinds’ Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen introduces the Fairewinds Fukushima Nuclear Timeline from a distance. Arnie is in the United Kingdom this week to commemorate the tragic triple meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on March 11, 2011 by speaking to the House of Commons and several other venues about the disaster.Read more