August 11, 2011
In mid-July we sent the Alert partially reprinted below about a critical EPA rulemaking that could end the use of environmentally devastating once-through cooling systems at nuclear reactors and coal plants. More than 3500 of you already have submitted comments--thank you! But that means many thousands of you have not yet submitted your views.
The comment period has now been extended until August 18. If you haven't already, please comment today! The sample comment letter is here.
The nuclear industry knows how critical this rulemaking is and they are continuing their all-out campaign to get nuclear backers and employees to send in comments. The industry knows that many of the aging reactors in the U.S. would close rather than spend the considerable money necessary to install modern cooling systems. We need to absolutely flood the EPA with our comments. Please act now.
By the way, it was great to see so many friends--old and new--at last Sunday's amazing MUSE concert! There are lots of photos and videos posted on our main Facebook page here. And you can see Aileen Mioko Smith's (from Green Action Japan) moving speech on conditions at Fukushima on our website. Thanks to all the musicians and everyone at Guacamole Fund for putting together this incredible event!
July 14, 2011
Thanks to years of inaction, hundreds of outdated power plants--mostly nuclear and coal--across the country use antiquated cooling water systems that scoop up massive amounts of water from local waterways and trap and crush aquatic life to death in the process. Each year these power plants kill billions of fish from our lakes, streams, and coastal waters.
Decades ago, the Environmental Protection Agency was supposed to come up with new, national requirements to modernize power plant cooling systems and fix this problem. But instead the agency is now caving to industry pressure and has proposed a new cooling water rule that takes a weak stance and punts decision making to the states on a case-by-case basis. This approach hasn’t worked in the past and won’t work now.
Even worse, the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) has launched an all-out campaign through its Nuclear Advocacy Network to demand an even weaker approach from EPA. NEI claims that more than 7,000 people already have sent letters to the EPA from its side. We need to counter their efforts, and quickly.
Urge EPA to stand up for our waters and wildlife. You can submit a comment here urging EPA to adopt a strong standard for modernizing power plant cooling systems in its final rule.
America’s aging power plants are not only the nation’s largest air polluters, they also withdraw more water than any other source, causing staggering aquatic impacts. And nuclear reactors are the largest water users of them all.
Power plants’ toll on fisheries rivals, and in some cases exceeds, that of the fishing industry. Fortunately, none of this damage is necessary because modern closed-cycle cooling systems recirculate cooling water, reducing withdrawals and fish kills by about 95 percent. Since 1972, Section 316(b) of the federal Clean Water Act has required power plants to use the Best Technology Available (BTA) to minimize the adverse environmental impacts of cooling water intake structures.
In 2001, EPA issued national regulations identifying closed-cycle cooling as BTA for new power plants. But many older reactors, typically although not exclusively those built more than 30 years ago, still rely on antiquated and damaging once-through cooling systems, which withdraw water directly from its source but do not recycle it. Instead the water is thrown back into its source at far higher temperatures than it was when taken in.
For more information on the environmental devastation caused by once-through cooling at nuclear reactors, see Licensed to Kill, a report published by NIRS and other groups in 2001 and available here.
The rule EPA proposed on April 20, 2011 would be a step backward in our collective efforts to safeguard America's waters. Basically, EPA has chosen the path of least resistance by caving into industry pressure and punting this issue to state agencies–agencies that too often lack the resources and the ability to stand up to industry on this issue. And if the Nuclear Energy Institute gets its way, things will get even worse. What is needed is a clear rule focused on modernizing power plants by stopping the use of once-through cooling.
Thanks to our friends at NRDC for being on top of this issue and providing us with the basis for this Alert and the sample comment letter.
Thanks for all you do,
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
Re posted by radiationalerts.blogspot.com