Oconee Nuclear in South Carolina
Oconee Nuclear reactors – all three of them – will be in the water pathway if there is a breach at the Jocassee Dam, only 12 miles away.  That would be the equivalent of
SIX Mississippi Rivers in a wall of water 19 feet high.  Can you say… “Fukushima?”

This Week’s Featured Interview:

  • Oconee Nuclear reactors at risk of inland tsunami from Jocassee Dam – Paul Gunter has been a critic of nuclear power for over 30 years. He is an energy policy analyst and activist who worked as the Director of the Reactor Watchdog Project for Nuclear Information and Resource Service for almost 20 years. In 2007, he joined Beyond Nuclear as their Nuclear Reactor Specialist, and that’s where he’s been ever since. We spoke on Monday, October 4, 2021.
Paul Gunter.  Photo by Ioanna Raptis/ Seacoastonline

Numnutz of the Week (for Outstanding Nuclear Boneheadedness):

U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t understand that “a little bit radioactive” is like “a little bit pregnant” and completely removes the ban on import of Japan’s Fukushima-area food.  Yet another reason to read labels.

LINKS:


Libbe HaLevy 

00:00:01

Nuclear safety reassurances faced with the disaster that was, and still is Fukushima. The nuclear industry likes to deflect the public’s safety concerns by pointing at other nuclear reactors and saying, Hey, don’t worry. It’s not like there’s going to be at tsunami here, Yuk, Yuk, Yuk. But then you hear from a genuine expert who explains that you don’t need an earthquake and tsunami in the ocean to flood out a nuclear reactor. And specifically regarding the South Carolina, oh, Connie nuclear reactor site, three nuclear reactors built downstream of two major dams. And he explained

Paul Gunter

00:00:46

If this dam was to fail it you’ll Cassie. It would send the equivalent of six Mississippi rivers of water within a matter of hours down the QE river to the nuclear reactor site and inundate it in estimates of 19 feet of water. So the Coney site could be under 19 feet of water. Now you get the comparison from our own Fukushima, an inland tsunami created by this dam failure.

Libbe HaLevy 

00:01:24

Well, if a destructive wall of water on power with Fukushima’s Toonami can be generated by an inland dam break and smack into three nuclear reactors. There is no doubt that this is yet another example of that impossibly dangerous seat that we are all stuck in

Announcer

00:01:46

Claire hot seat. What are those people thinking? Nuclear hot seat. What have those boys been braking clear hot seat. Ms. Sinking. Our time to act is shrinking, but nuclear Hotsy. It’s the bomb.

Libbe HaLevy 

00:02:17

Welcome to nuclear hot seat. The weekly international news magazine, keeping you up to date on all things nuclear from a different perspective. My name is Leiby Halevi. I am the producer and host as well as a survivor of the nuclear accident at three mile island from just one mile away. So I know what can happen when those nuclear so-called experts get it wrong. This week, we consider the problems at the Connie three reactor nuclear site. In South Carolina. We talk with Paul Gunter, who is director of reactor oversight project at beyond a nuclear. And boy, does he ever have a tale to tell? We will also catch up on nuclear news from around the world numnuts of the week for outstanding nuclear bone headedness and more honest nuclear information, then anybody could post out on Facebook yesterday. All of it coming up in just a few moments today is Tuesday, October 5th, 2021.

Libbe HaLevy 

00:03:19

And here is this week’s nuclear news from a different perspective, starting with some reactor news here in the U S according to ed Lyman, director of nuclear power safety at the union of concerned scientists, the Limerick one nuclear reactor in Pennsylvania is operating without a functioning high pressure emergency core cooling system. After it failed a surveillance test, the nuclear regulatory commission will allow it to operate for up to 30 days in this condition. 16 days longer than the tech specs allow when asked, when we could expect an update, Lyman replied not likely to get an update until the system is repaired. You can try contacting the NRC, but they will just tell you the increased risk is acceptable. Is that how they’re protecting people and the environment and at the north Ana nuclear facility in Virginia, a degraded condition was identified while the unit was shut down the event taking place on September 12th, according to NRC guidelines, this event is reportable in accordance for any event or condition that results in the condition of the nuclear power plant, including its principal safety barriers being seriously degraded in Illinois cancer rates in Grundy county, which is the site of the Dresden nuclear plant are among the highest Illinois and the worst for radiation sensitive cancers.

Libbe HaLevy 

00:04:50

These include childhood cancer up 18% thyroid cancer up 43% breast cancer up 24% and leukemia up 33% rates are taken from the national cancer Institute analysis of 2014 to 2018 with county specific data. Joseph executive director of radiation and public health project. And author of the report said, I am not aware of any county with a nuclear plant where radiation sensitive cancer rates are so consistently high Dresden reactors two and three are 43 miles from Chicago, have operated for over 50 years and are among the eight oldest reactors in the U S Exelon nuclear, which owns drugs intended to shut the plant in November of this year due to its unprofitability. But it recently received one of those large bailouts from the Illinois legislature, which will enable it to operate through 2026. At the federal level, a bipartisan group of lawmakers is renewing a push to expand Aus compensation program for people who were exposed to radiation, following uranium mining and nuclear testing carried out during the cold war.

Libbe HaLevy 

00:06:07

This is about the radiation exposure compensation act or Rica advocates have been trying for years to bring awareness to the lingering effects of nuclear fallout surrounding the Trinity site in Southern New Mexico, where U S military detonated the first atomic bomb and on the Navajo nation were more than 30 million tons of uranium, or were extracted over decades to support us nuclear activities. Under legislation introduced by us senators, Ben Ray Lujan, a Democrat from New Mexico and Mike crappo, a Republican from Idaho. Other sites across the American west would be added to the list of places affected by fallout and radiation exposure. Eligibility would also be expanded to include certain workers in the industry after 1971, such as minors, the legislation would also increase the amount of compensation. Someone can receive to $150,000 and provide coverage for additional forms of cancer. We covered this in depth at nuclear hot seat, number 5 26 from July 21st, 2021. And we’ll have a link to this up on our website under this episode and have now for the latest report on nuclear bone headedness

Libbe HaLevy 

00:07:30

Wednesday, September 22nd, the United States lifted an import ban on food products from prefectures hit by the earthquake to NAMI and triple nuclear meltdown disaster that struck Fukushima as Northeast Japan in 2011, the ban following the Toonami triggered meltdowns included rice peaches and Shataki mushrooms produced in Fukushima. This decision came after the U S food and drug administration determined quote, a very low risk to American consumers from radioactive contaminated foods, imported from Japan. Now let’s unpack that statement, which is a direct quote. First of all, anything that has any radioactivity in a is not no risk. It may be what they consider low risk, but low compared to what, just one atom of a radioactive element injusted into the human body that sticks there. We’ll continue irradiating it up close and personal with your internal organs for as long as it stays there, which could be until you die, possibly from its effect, which could include cancer.

Libbe HaLevy 

00:08:48

Also, they’re not saying that there is no radioactive contaminated food imported from Japan. They’re just saying it’s a very low risk, but they admit that there is radioactive contaminated food imported from Japan. Now this might be a Freudian slip. It might be semantic shenanigans or just another money-based nuclear decision to go, Hey, don’t worry about it. It’s not a problem, at least until it is. And that could take a lot of years to show up, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to. So, you know, for the sake of your health and your safety, it’s not that hard to read labels and just avoid anything that may have been imported from Japan. And in the meantime, this is why food and drug administration for this decision, you are this week’s,

Libbe HaLevy 

00:09:48

Awake in the new book peril by Bob Woodward and Robert Costus. They report that in the aftermath of the January 6th, insurrection, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff general, mark, a Miley fearing, what a president he deemed unstable might do told military officers. He was to be included in the nuclear launch process. If true Miley took an extraordinary step that undermines the long-held civilian military division of nuclear responsibility, but conversations on whether or not he should be removed and arguments over whether or not he is in the nuclear chain of command distract from the critical point, the U S nuclear process is long overdue for a change. And the problem was not with any one person or individual action it’s with the entire system. This is from an article by the bulletin of the atomic scientists, and we will link to it on our website, nuclear hot seat.com under this episode, number 5 37 links to other terrific articles that have shown up in the past few weeks are how nuclear power causes global warming by the esteem, Harvey Wasserman known for solar Topia and so much other activism.

Libbe HaLevy 

01:11:01

The record breaking failures of nuclear power by Linda Gunter of beyond nuclear and an article from time magazine on the overlooked American survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which draws upon historian Nalco, walkies 86 interviews with members of the U S community who were in either Hiroshima or Nagasaki when the bombs were dropped. This is part of her newly published book, American survivors, trans-specific memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki over to Japan where video footage released by Japan’s nuclear regulatory authority reveals a highly radioactive area in Fukushima Daiichi, which may affect decommissioning plans. We have no further details at this point. We’ll give you them when we get them just like all nuclear powers, Japan needs to find a way to get rid of its radioactive waste. And it’s come up with two really spiffy ideas. The first is that they are planning to ease regulations to allow exports of large disused equipment from nuclear power plants for overseas disposal.

Libbe HaLevy 

01:12:11

That’s their plan to reduce the mountains of radioactive waste, accumulating at home. These components range in size from five to 20 meters and weigh between 100 and 300 tons, but where are they planning to ship it? Because there is no place for it to go. So maybe they want to follow this plan for taking care of the massive amount of radioactive steel waste that contain a quote lower than clearance level, whatever that means of radioactive substances, because in Japan, it has been melted down and processed into bench legs and other items. The bench is being installed in locations, such as universities, high schools and technical colleges. They are also contemplating using this radioactive steel for making steel cans for soft drinks or infant beds. And in the standard abusive practice of praising the bullies who make you do things you don’t want to do, they are installing their benches and making the work known with bench installation, ceremonies, urging student leaders, to give a speech stating that the installed bench makes them feel closer to nuclear power generation.

Libbe HaLevy 

01:13:29

Oh yeah. And don’t forget that radiation monitor and Japan’s liberal democratic party held an election on September 29th for presidency of the party and had a chance to elect Terrell Kono minister of administrative reform, who was the only one among the candidates who clearly argued for phasing out nuclear power generation. Of course, he lost two full MEO cause Shito who is in favor of nuclear over to Scotland where the Scottish national party and the greens have vowed to block new nuclear reactors in Scotland. The pushback against Boris Johnson’s energy plans is being led by Nicholas sturgeon. First minister of Scotland. The country currently has two decommissioned nuclear reactors and two, which are active hunter student B and torness in the UK to mark the United nations international day for the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Sunday, September 26th, members of the campaign for nuclear disarmament demonstrated against BAE systems, which designs build tests and commissions nuclear powered submarines CNDS demonstration called on the UK government to scrap plans to upgrade the Trident nuclear weapons system and displayed sign saying nurses, not nukes and treatment not tried it as Philip Gillian’s of CND said, the government tells us that following the COVID crisis, the country is short of money to renew and restore our essential public services.

Libbe HaLevy 

01:15:10

Yet they seem to have no difficulty in finding money to upgrade nuclear weapons of mass destruction. The proposed renewal of the Trident system will squander at least 200, 5 billion pounds on an even more dangerous and ever more destructive nuclear weapon system. Their priorities are very wrong in Australia, Dr. Helen Caldicott sometimes referred to as the mother of us all for those who oppose nuclear has weighed in on the proposal by the United States and the United Kingdom to share nuclear submarine technology with Australia, Dr. Caldicott said, and here I quote, America has 18 Trident submarines powered by a highly enriched uranium, 2 35, which can be used as fuel for nuclear weapons. Each sub carries 24 missiles. Each one is armed with eight hydrogen bombs, which makes it 30 times the killing power of one Hiroshima bomb. That’s enough subs to produce nuclear, winter and end life on earth.

Libbe HaLevy 

01:16:15

Dr. Caldicott who originally trained as a pediatrician, led an Australian national movement to bring an end to the French atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons over the Pacific you Australian government eventually took France to the international court of justice and France was forced to test underground. Dr. Caldicott continued to set China up as an enemy is ridiculous. We don’t need super powers anymore. We need to reduce global warming. We’ve got to stop fighting and killing each other. Call the cop pointed out that most politicians are scientifically illiterate and that we need independent thinkers to stand up and run for government. Adding the human race must stop fighting and killing because if we don’t, it will lead to annihilation. And from the rabidly pro nuclear nuclear energy Institute comes this article entitled Russia confirms nuclear as green and touts Russia as a role model saying the assignment of the status of a green energy source to nuclear power generation in the Russian Federation should be a signal for other countries considering the inclusion of nuclear energy and their green lists, right?

Libbe HaLevy 

01:17:27

Like following Russia’s example in anything works out so well case in point 2020 us presidential elections, we’ll have this week’s featured interview in just a moment. But first the nuclear industry never lets up with their propaganda talking points, op EDS talk, show bookers, and other tactics to brainwash our politicians, reporters and public and did giving them whatever they want, which is money, money, money, and let’s face it. They have all the money in the world to fund their PR hacks and their agenda because this forms a business model with a terrific return on investment, because for whatever millions, the newscasters spend on public relations, propaganda, they stand to get billions of dollars back from ignorant politicians and hapless taxpayers with the nuclear bailouts. That’s just one of the reasons why you need nuclear hot seat for more than 10 years. This show has empowered listeners every week with a one hour hit of honest nuclear information.

Libbe HaLevy 

01:18:34

We provide in-depth interviews with genuine experts around up with international news numnuts of the week, bad puns, occasional bursts of musical theater. Where else can you find all this in a weekly counterbalance to nuclear industry lives, but up against that, industry’s unlimited financial resources. This show operates on a bake sale budget, and that budget is entirely dependent on you. The listeners to keep us going. That’s why if you’ve come to value, nuclear hot seats work, the time to support us with a donation would be right now, it’s easy. Just go to nuclear hot seat.com, click on the big red donate button and help us with a donation of any size. You can also set up a recurring donation as little as $5 a month. The same as a cup of coffee and a nice tip here in the U S you’ll be supporting us as we keep going.

Libbe HaLevy 

01:19:28

So if you value the different perspective on nuclear information, you get from nuclear, hot seat bias, that metaphor a cup of coffee or more, please do what you can now and know that however much you can help. I am deeply grateful that you’re listening and that you care here’s this week’s featured interview. The nuclear industry loves it’s smoke and mirrors when it comes to ignoring disguising or reframing its weak points as nothing important to see here, move along. And don’t worry your pretty little head about that, Missy. And that’s why it’s so important that we hear from veteran activists who can see through the nuclear bovine feces and tell us what’s really going on. Paul Gunter is one of those people he’s co-founder of the clamshell Alliance anti-nuclear group and was arrested at Seabrook station nuclear power plant for nonviolent civil disobedience on several occasions and energy policy analyst and activist Gunter worked as the director of the reactor watchdog project for nuclear information and resource service for almost 20 years. In 2007, he joined beyond nuclear as their nuclear reactor specialist. And that’s where he’s been ever since we spoke on Monday, October 4th, 2021, Paul Gunter, always great to have you with us here on nuclear hot seat.

Paul Gunter

02:20:52

Thank you very much, levy. Appreciate it.

Libbe HaLevy 

02:20:54

There is yet another set of problems coming up with the economy nuclear station you were explaining to me right before we got on the official into your view, what we’re going to be facing in terms of understanding the information. Could you provide that for our listeners?

Paul Gunter

02:21:12

You know, when we boil this down into soundbites, it’s important to realize that we have to start at the very beginning of a Coney it’s three nuclear power stations that were constructed and they began operation in 1973 and 74, but they never considered the consequences of building three large nuclear power stations in conjunction with two hydraulic dams. These plants are right downstream. So when duke energy introduced this project, it was a combined construction project for two electric power dams, Yule, Cassie dam, and the QE dam. And right below these dams are these three nuclear power stations, duke energy. This is in the time of the atomic energy commission, the predecessor of the nuclear regulatory commission. And they AEC lost their job because they were more interested in promoting nuclear power than regulating safety. And so duke convinced the atomic energy commission that it did not have to worry about a dam failure.

Paul Gunter

02:22:46

And the Yule Cassie dam is 385 feet tall. And it’s built in the mountains of South Carolina and the nuclear power stations are built right into the side of the Q we dam. So you have two large earth and stone dams that in the original design and construction of three nuclear power stations, it was never considered that they could fail. And this was in the sixties well, before climate change was even a concept. And so now we begin this dialogue with duke energy now trying to convince the nuclear regulatory commission that it can extend these three power stations operating licenses, not just for one 20 year extension, which they’re operating in right now until 2033 in 2034, but we’re facing a second license extension of 20 years out to 2053 and 2054. This is going to be right during major changes in what severe weather and the fact that duke and the NRC never really considered a dam over topping from unprecedented rainfall and flooding. And then that sending a wall of water. This is essentially going to be an inland tsunami and then just like Fukushima the Japanese and Tokyo electric power company. They never considered that a tsunami could be of such size that would inundate the Fukushima nuclear power station. And it was considered incredible, not a credible accident. They never prepared for it. And we’re in the same identical situation. Now with the Kony nuclear power stations only they’re unprepared. It was never even designed to look at protect against an inundation from a dam failure.

Libbe HaLevy 

02:25:21

I think it’s important for listeners who might not be familiar with this to understand that it wasn’t arbitrary that 40 years was chosen as the operating lifespan of a nuclear reactor. According to the engineers who originally built them, they could only be operated safely for 40 years because with the bombardment of the nuclear reaction inside that the metal parents would become embrittlement. In other words, they would become less safe and less secure in 40 years was the limit. So these extensions that you’re talking about 20 years let alone 40 years is completely beyond what was initially considered the safe limit to an operating nuclear reactor. And you’re saying that a Coney is already beyond that,

Paul Gunter

02:26:10

You know, this whole idea of the future of nuclear power, it’s becoming less and less likely that it’s going to be with new construction. The cost of nuclear power for new builds is just too much. The likelihood of completion of these projects is increasingly unreliable. So the future of nuclear power now is in license extensions, which become more and more extreme. So originally licensed as you out for 40 years. 90% of the fleet is now in this 40 to 60 year extension of the 93 reactors that are operating. Now, 90% of them are either operating or approved for a 40 to 60 year extension. And they’re already getting approvals for a 60 to 80 year operating license extension. And in these license extensions, particularly under the national environmental policy act, looking at the environmental consequences, for example, of a severe accident, the industry and the nuclear regulatory commission are supposed to be looking at internal threats and external threats.

Paul Gunter

02:27:35

So the internal threats like you bring up, you know, the aging of materials to the point that embrittlement can lead to component failure, but in a Connie’s situation, we’re looking at not only internal threats, but the external threat from a dam failure, a Coneys not only needs to be concerned about aging, but they need to be concerned about locating this nuclear power station 12 miles away from a very large dam. In fact, what the earlier examinations and analysis show is that if this dam was to fail, it you’ll Cassie. It would send the equivalent of six Mississippi rivers of water within a matter of hours down the QE river to the nuclear reactor site and inundate it in estimates of 19 feet of water. So the Coney site could be under 19 feet of water. Now you get the comparison from our own Fukushima, an inland tsunami created by this dam failure.

Paul Gunter

02:29:02

So we’re now in the process of challenging this license, renewal application process, based on the fact that the NRC and duke energy have not presented this application as the whole idea of a severe accident caused by flooding. They’re saying in this application that it’s small and insignificant yet the evidence that we’ll be presenting, if we can get this hearing is going to be presented a retired nuclear engineer, Jeff Mittman, who in fact is quite familiar with a Coney because he worked on the safety evaluation of operating a Coney with the risk of a yoke Cassie dam failure. He helped come up with a safety evaluation that the NRC gave to duke power in January of 2011, that says you should build a wall around the power block of a Coney station. That’s 19 feet high so that the water will be diverted from flooding key safety components as it was at Fukushima, for example, to divert that flood around the Coney site. However, although that safety evaluation has never been retracted and duke still needs to protect those systems structures and components against a large flood, the NRC is proceeding with this license extension on an application that doesn’t recognize these earlier evaluations that indicate that the cost is interfering with their production agenda. They’re trying to work around safety evaluations that were performed by NRC staff. One of whom is renowned, retired, and is very concerned that nuclear regulatory capture is jeopardizing public safety.

Libbe HaLevy 

03:31:42

What you mean about nuclear regulatory capture?

Paul Gunter

03:31:46

We have on the record, a safety evaluation report that is now a public document. And it’s important to note in this again, in this very complicated subject, that for 10 years, duke and NRC buried this safety evaluation as to security concern, they thought it was a matter of security not to make public this threat. And it wasn’t until to freedom of information act requests, one by Greenpeace and one by the union of concerned scientists challenged the suppression of public documents on a security claim and the freedom of information act released these documents. So now these documents are public so that we can see that duke energy, for example, had one evaluation of a flood caused by dam failure. That would be 16 and a half feet at the Occoneechee site. And with each succeeding evaluation, particularly the one, this original safety evaluation report in 2011, came out in January, which was two months before Fukushima where a tsunami caused a triple meltdown.

Paul Gunter

03:33:27

So there was another evaluation after that, that again, raised concerns, but in that event, duke, in fact, managed to lower the risk. As I’m trying to explain, this is a very convoluted subject with many moving parts and a long history. And what we’re requesting is a hearing before an atomic safety and licensing board to publicly sort this out, because in fact, again, it all goes back to the fact that duke energy built a nuclear power station, three units below these very large dams and in the original design and construction never contemplated, or when they did contemplate a dam failure, they said that it was not credible enough to incorporate into the design and construction. So we’re constantly back fitting this design at a Coney and they still haven’t really factored in the incredible uncertainty that climate crisis is going to introduce with increasing precipitation hurricanes. You know, what they previously thought is maximum probabilities, that influence designs, those are all out the window. Now it’s complicated by the fact that that all of the power companies looking at relicensing, you know, they have to be more conscious and protective of their financial investments. Then in the risk assessments that are accelerating and enlarging because of threats, both internal from aging and degradation and external threats from climate, for example,

Libbe HaLevy 

03:35:41

Yeah, nuclear and Sierra club are intervening on these three units at Kony to not allow to slip through what you are referring to as a regulatory Khyber pass. What does that mean?

Paul Gunter

03:35:57

We’ve known about the vulnerability of a Kony to flooding for decades. Certainly since the 1980s it’s been recognized, it’s been even more recently, it’s been recognized by NRC staff, conscientious members of the staff that were looking at the risk assessments and seeing the vulnerability to severe accidents from flooding. But there was no real opportunity for the NRC to address again, what we’ve recognized as a captured agency, where finances are more, they weigh in heavier than safety concerns. However, at the point of relicensing, particularly for the 60 to 80 year license extension, they have to come to a point in the regulatory oversight that narrows very tightly around the opportunity for the public to raise environmental concerns, particularly under the national environmental policy act and this narrow passage that duke energy and the nuclear regulatory commission must now go through the scrutiny potentially of a hearing to provide the level of transparency and disclosure of documents, public documents.

Paul Gunter

03:37:37

And we’re just as interested in protecting security related information as anybody it’s our collective security, but we have to incorporate public safety as a transparent item as well. And again, it is this passage through this regulatory process that is narrowing down now to an opportunity for a hearing to look at the public documents that are now on the record to scrutinize just how much protection against flooding in a time of climate crisis is being afforded by duke energy. If it’s going to keep these reactors operating, it has an obligation to be accountable to the cost of doing business during a climate crisis. And that means raising the flood protection levels around the Kony nuclear power station. It’s this narrowing of the regulatory process where the public is now in a position to intervene to create that transparency

Libbe HaLevy 

03:38:49

It’s been learned, the duke and the NRC withheld thousands of pages of documentation, critical documents revealing this inadequate flood protection. What did it take and what were the groups behind the foyers that got that information out? And when did that happen before

Paul Gunter

03:39:11

Boys were released by David locked bomb through the union of concerned scientists and Jim Rickio with green peace, they were focused in on some disclosures that had been made by nuclear engineers at the NRC that were made public through the press. And again, this was in revelations that not just to Kony, but a number of us nuclear power stations were not adequately protected from flooding and more particularly from flooding around below dams. And, you know, we’ve seen flooding along the Mississippi river, for example, the Cooper nuclear power station in 93 had occurred again at Fort Calhoun in a major flood that threatened to inundate both these nuclear power stations. So flooding had become quite a concern, but again, it’s this massive sudden flood created by dams that gained a lot of media attention and thus stimulated the freedom of information act requests from union of concerned scientists and Greenpeace.

Paul Gunter

04:40:36

You ask about the timing. I’m not quite sure it was within the last 10 years, but I can’t give you an exact date on that. It took a while, but these FOYAs redlined documents that had been withheld under security claims, the security claim was removed and the documents were made public. And that’s when we actually started seeing numbers on the extent of flooding that the Kony nuclear power station could face. And these were duke energies and the NRC staff’s own numbers, that it became clear that the nuclear power stations are not adequately protected from flooding. And that the agency as a whole, the NRC is not enforcing analysis to bring the level two adequate protection to legitimately make claims that they can operate a Coney for another 20 years, given all the uncertainties and the precedent, setting rain and flood and hurricanes that we’re seeing now due to the climate crisis.

Libbe HaLevy 

04:42:01

So where do we stand now in terms of getting this hearing? Is it in the works? Is it likely, is it going to take a lot of outside pressure to force this to happen

Paul Gunter

04:42:14

Beyond nuclear and Sierra club recently filed their request for a public hearing and the right to intervene based on contentions that duke has not provided adequate protection for flooding and through the expert declarations of a retired nuclear engineer who is familiar with Theo, Cassie dam and the OCONUS nuclear power station situation that is now being reviewed for the nuclear regulatory commission to impanel an atomic safety and licensing board, but they are now in the process of reviewing our claims for the request for the hearing. And they’re also looking at the reply of duke energy and the NRC staff to our contentions. And so we’ll get an opportunity to address the staff of the NRC and duke energy’s attorneys are going to say that the hearing request should be denied and we’ll then get a three hearing to iron this out. But, you know, it goes into a very, and again, this is part of the difficulty of navigating through a very arcane process, a legal process where the public is immediately faced with both the nuclear regulatory commission and the nuclear industry utility as adversaries.

Paul Gunter

04:43:58

We’re certainly looking at, into Wellington next year to see if we can get a hearing. Even beyond that, if we are granted a hearing, it’s really a challenge to put this into lay terms, other than to say that going back to the original premise that the Coney nuclear power stations in a joint project with duke energy, the nuclear regulatory commission and the federal energy regulatory commission simultaneously built three nuclear power stations below two major dams without doing a safety analysis on dam failure. And the possibility that severe accidents multiple severe accidents could occur. Like what was demonstrated at Fukushima, we are looking at an identical threat and identical circumstances to what happened at Fukushima where the public was told in Japan that tsunami of that magnitude was not credible. And so Tokyo electric power company was allowed to remove 18 feet of natural tsunami protection so that they could facilitate pumping cooling water into the Fukushima nuclear power stations.

Paul Gunter

04:45:34

So financial concerns of Tokyo electric power company lowered the natural shoreline protections from a tsunami so that they could make it more of a financial benefit. The same thing is happening at a county where they never considered a dam failure so that they could ignore the cost of safety to incorporate adequate flood protection for what turns out to be, you know, an 18 to 19 foot wall of water coming down the valley in the event of a dam failure. And now, so they’re trying to make up for that lack of protection, but again, facing the tremendous financial costs to now raise the level because you probably should have never cited that nuclear power plant there in the first place, and especially behind a 385 foot wall, damn,

Libbe HaLevy 

04:46:48

And the dangers would include to parallel with Fukushima. The dangers would include flooding of the nuclear reactor itself, flooding of the, and taking out the safety equipment that would be there, the backup generators in order to run the cooling. And also it would flood the spent fuel pool. Is that correct?

Paul Gunter

04:47:13

Well, I don’t know so much about the spent fuel pool, but many of the structures were never made water tight. So the inundation will mean loss of electrical, current reliability to power control and instrumentation the emergency core cooling system. When they finally did get around to analyzing the accompany station, they realized that they were going to lose in the event of a flood, the entire emergency core cooling system for three reactors. You know, a Coney in itself has a very unique design because they never incorporated emergency diesel generators at that site. They used the QE dam hydroelectric facility as the backup power system. So if the, you know, Cassie dam fails, it’s very likely almost assuredly that the QE dam will fail as well. And they will lose the emergency backup power system for a Coney by this single failure of the dam. Now, you know, post Fukushima, they did bring other emergency power systems in and what they call flex equipment, but that flex equipment, it’s not safety grade, it’s commercial grade equipment.

Paul Gunter

04:48:50

And the analysis doesn’t really include nor has it been demonstrated that they could actually use that emergency equipment in time. If in fact, you have the entire site inundated by as much as 18 feet of water that could be there long enough to cause fuel damage. And once you’re in the fuel damage stage with the loss of power, you know, you might not be able to bring emergency power equipment in time to keep that reactor safe and to keep it from a meltdown. And that’s the concern that all the analysis is now back-filling this chasm that was created by not doing the analysis in the original design and construction of these three reactors.

Libbe HaLevy 

04:49:46

Paul, what can we do to support this call for a hearing? Are there letters we need to write? Are there people we need to contact? What can the listeners to nuclear hot seat do to support this?

Paul Gunter

04:49:59

We’re asking for the public to pay close attention to not only this proceeding, but to all license renewal extensions for the 60 to 80 year period, because they all have a similar problem. That problem is that the nuclear regulatory commission and the nuclear industry as a whole have not done the, for the environmental impacts of operating nuclear power stations during this 60 to 80 year period, they’re using federal regulation that was formulated on evaluations made in 1996 for environmental consequences that were updated for the initial 40 to 60 year operating license. And within the regulation itself, it’s the letter of the law says that this law can only be used to exempt operators from doing additional environmental evaluation for the 40 to 60 year period. That law is being used to exempt plants that are going through this 60 to 80 year license extension. So the inner sea and the industry are not even following their own regulation to the letter of the law in their rush to keep extending these reactor operating licenses, to greater extreme, please pay attention to our work.

Paul Gunter

05:51:57

As we proceed to challenge this bogus use of NRC, antiquated environmental evaluations, all applies to all of the second license renewals that are currently underway. So that would be Turkey 0.3 and for peach bottom two and three Surrey one and two north Ana one and two, and again, a Coney one, two and three and point beach one and two as well. So they’re using an antiquated law that the plain language of the law itself says you can only apply for exempting environmental review of the environmental consequence of a severe accident for this 40 to 60 year period. When they’re now applying it for the 60 to 80 and trying to ignore or stall, having to bear up to the cost and accountability of looking at what we’re actually talking about 60 to 80 years,

Libbe HaLevy 

05:53:09

We will count on you to stay in touch with us and let us know what any new developments might be. And for now, Paul Gunter, thank you so much for this unraveling of a very complex issue and for being my guest this week on nuclear hot seat. Thank you very much. That was Paul Gunter, nuclear reactor specialist for beyond [email protected] And if you know anybody living in South Carolina, they probably would be interested in hearing this. So why don’t you forward this show to them so they can hear for themselves exactly what they’re up against when it comes to the nuclear reactors at a Kony

Libbe HaLevy 

05:53:59

Women transforming our nuclear legacy is presenting another of their excellent panel discussions. This time on journalism media and our nuclear legacy, the stakes challenges and opportunities. It will be on October 13 at noon, Eastern 9:00 AM Pacific time. And we will have a link up on our website so that you can sign up. There was a really good nuclear story on NPRs Radiolab program, focusing on the nuclear chain of command, and whether there are any legal checks and balances between as they put it us or a phone call for Armageddon, we’ll have that link up on our website as well. Global network against weapons and nuclear power and space has a new podcast space alert. We’ll have the sign up, you know, where to look nuclear hot seat.com under this episode, number 5 37, and congratulations to the filmmaker of in the dark of the valley, the film about the Sadducees and a field lab and the fight by mothers for its cleanup, the film just won best documentary at the Catalina film festival.

Libbe HaLevy 

05:55:10

Unfortunately, it’s only available when a film festival is showing it. At least that’s the deal right now. It needs a distribution deal so we can all see it. So, Hey Netflix, where are you when we need you? This has been nuclear hot seat for Tuesday, October 5th, 2021 material for this week show has been researched and compiled from nuclear-news.net, Dylan renard.wordpress.com beyond nuclear.org in eis.org. And I R s.org, the international campaign to abolish nuclear weapons, or I can.org I rad.world space. Number four, peace.org, patched.com U S news.com news break.com. The bulletin.org, mental floss.com Japan times.co.jp, my nietzsche.jp progressive.org counterpunch.org. time.com asahi.com C N I C dot J P dot English, the times.co.uk. Any I magazine.com and w email.co.uk. The echo.net dot AAU reuters.com dw.com truthout.org. And as always the captured and compromised by the industry. They’re supposed to be regulating nuclear regulatory commission. You know, you don’t have to risk missing out on nuclear hot seat any week.

Libbe HaLevy 

05:56:43

The way you do this, go to the website, look for the yellow opt-in box and fill in your first name and your email address. We don’t sell it. We don’t bug you, but you do every week. Get nuclear, hot seat delivered to your inbox along with a link to that week show and a brief description. FYI, the new website is coming along. We’re hoping to have it up by the end of October, no promises, but we’re dancing as fast as we can. And, you know, we rely on you to tell us what’s going on nuclear wise in your backyard. So if you’ve got a story lead, a hot tip or suggestion of someone to interview, send an email to [email protected] And if you appreciate these weekly verifiable news updates about nuclear issues around the world, take a moment, go to nuclear, hot seat.com. There’s a red button there for you to click on and some prompts for you to follow.

Libbe HaLevy 

05:57:38

And we will really appreciate anything you can do. This episode of nuclear hot seat is copyright 2021 Leiby Halevi and heart history communications, all rights reserved, but they’re use allowed. As long as proper attribution is provided. This is Libby Halevi of hardest street communications. The heart of the art of communicating, reminding you that luck is a terrible safety plan. When it comes to a nuclear reactor, especially if it’s downstream of two dams. There you go back has been your nuclear wake-up call. So your job now is to not go back to sleep because we are all in the nuclear hot seat,

Announcer

05:58:23

Clear hot seat. What are those people thinking? Nuclear hot seat. What have those boys been breaking their hot seat? The Ms. Sinking our time to act is shrinking, but Hotsy, it’s the bomb.