In April of 2015, Fairewinds’ Chief Engineer, Arnie Gundersen and the Fairewinds crew headed to Quebec City for the World Uranium Symposium. Attended by more than 300 delegates from 20 countries that produce uranium for nuclear power and weapons, the symposium brought together experts who are calling on governments throughout the world to end all uranium mining. In this presentation, Arnie shares how the nuclear industry refused to learn from their own mistakes and repeated the same failures at Fukushima Daiichi that caused widespread devastation at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.
Fairewinds has re-designed its website to be an easy to use educational hub for fact-based, undistorted nuclear energy information. Fairewinds’ website features podcasts and videos, in which we collaborate with experts in wide ranging fields to discuss nuclear energy issues.
Together with those who live in the shadow of nuclear power plants all over the world, Fairewinds is embarking on a new journey into the Age of Decommissioning.
Whereas safety and oversight of operating nuclear power reactors have been our principle focus throughout the early years of Fairewinds, issues surrounding decommissioning and long-term spent fuel management are destined to command more and more of our attention in the future.
The need to keep a watchful eye on aging nuclear power infrastructure and new technology remains, but there are many reasons to believe that demand for nuclear energy generation will continue its recent decline.
As older reactors age out, it seems likely that power companies increasingly will choose to abandon the nuclear platform entirely rather than to undertake the tremendous costs associated with upgrades or building new reactors.
Responding to nuclear emergencies and radiation releases with informed analysis will continue to be an important part of our mission. We will continue the effort to unpack the health and disease implications associated with those releases so that the general public may benefit from perspectives outside of industry interests.
We believe that Fairewinds newly redesigned website will serve as the ideal public portal for all of those evolving information streams. Explore and enjoy.
In his book Reinventing Fire Amory Lovins, a Friend of Fairewinds Energy Education, shows how business -motivated by profit, supported by civil society, and sped by smart policy- can get the US completely off oil, coal, and nuclear by 2050. Lovins reveals pre-existing market based solutions in transportation, building, industry, and electricity that don’t rely on energy from fossil fuels or nuclear and yet save industry trillions of dollars. Former President Bill Clinton hails Reinventing Fire as, “A wise, detailed, and comprehensive blue print.”
With the debut of Tesla’s Powerwall battery, Lovins’ book is more relevant than ever.
Fairewinds has caught the Nuclear Regulatory Commission red handed in an act of elusive behavior. The NRC withheld information to the public by removing a submitted event report of an unidentified drone flying over the waste abandonment site Maine Yankee Interim Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI). The Fairewinds Crew posted the event report on multiple social media sites but when we revisited the NRC webpage, the drone incident had been removed. Luckily, the event report was captured in an email and the Fairewinds Crew was able to save the drone event report to share with the public. The NRC’s action of retracting and withholding information directly related to the public’s safety begs us to ask the question, “How is the NRC protecting us?” Especially as the NRC oks utility companies’ decisions to cut costs by getting rid of security and emergency planning zones around nuclear sites like Vermont Yankee facing decommissioning.
Check out the missing event report:
Michael Howe, a nuclear health physicist with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), met with emergency planners from the recently shut down Vermont Yankee nuclear site to conduct an emergency drill based on a terrorist attack scenario with a focus on the site’s spent fuel. Howe, who routinely observes drills at nuclear power plants up and down the Northeastern coast, made the point that “as long as the high-level radioactive fuel is still so hot, even if it’s in the pool, emergency planning, which includes mass evacuation plans, is necessary.”
This statement by Howe is important as Vermonters fight Vermont Yankee utility owner Entergy’s request to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to drop emergency planning by April 2016. Limiting details of the drill from the public, Entergy broke decades of tradition and made the decision to ban press from its Joint Information Center. Entergy spokesperson Michael Cohn originally blamed this decision on the NRC and FEMA but Cohn later admitted that it was Entergy’s decision. Like dipping into Vermont Yankee's decommissioning funds before decommissioning has even begun for expenses not made public and deemed questionable by the NRC, Entergy has become known for this sort of dishonesty validating Vermonters request for protection and emergency planning to continue.
NBC 5 Investigates obtained documents that reveal that in the event of a nuclear meltdown, parts of Chicago lack nuclear-evacuation planning putting thousands of lives at risk. Chicago falls within the 50-mile radius of Exelon owned nuclear reactors. Exelon believes that providing evacuation planning for a 10-mi radius is adequate enough, but as we have learned time and again from Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima Daiichi, radiation knows no borders and radiation plumes spread as far and wide as the wind that carries them.