Limerick Can Be Closed Now, Despite Relicensing
The Mercury (http://www.pottsmerc.com)
URL: http://www.pottsmerc.com/opinion/20150127/relicensing-limerick-nuke-plant-ignores-safety-risks Top of Form
Relicensing Limerick Nuke Plant Ignores Safety Risks
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
It’s insanity for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to allow Exelon’s Limerick Generating Station to operate a total of 60 years, yet that’s the result of NRC’s reckless rubberstamp relicensing. To relicense Limerick, NRC negligently weakened its regulations reducing public protections and long term plant stability.
NRC rigged the game and dangerously tilted the playing field. NRC makes the rules, breaks them, then weakens and remakes them to let Exelon slide to save money, despite potentially devastating consequences to millions of people in the Greater Philadelphia Region. This constitutes regulatory malpractice. We need and deserve a Congressional investigation on NRC’s negligent relicensing of Limerick.
Though Limerick is a radioactive time bomb, NRC allowed dangerous loopholes, exemptions, delayed actions, and license amendments. NRC irrationally allowed Limerick to operate another 30 years, despite Limerick’s profound vulnerability to accelerated corrosion and age-related deterioration of its systems and equipment. For decades taxpayers and ratepayers subsidized this fault-riddled nuclear plant, with its defective reactors and substandard construction, none of which can be fixed.
Limerick cannot be completely protected from a cyber or other terrorist attack that can cause Limerick to spew enough radiation into our air to cause us to lose everything. Yet, Exelon, profiting from this insane gamble, is almost entirely shielded from liability for the public’s health and financial losses resulting from Limerick meltdowns.
Instead of protecting our health, safety, and the environment, NRC denies reality to defend this dangerous, dirty, risky, deteriorating, corroding nuclear plant. For another 30 years we will have no real protection from:
• Radioactive poisoning of our air and water
• Massive dangerous PM-10 air pollution from the cooling towers
• Schuylkill River depletion
• Pumping toxic mine water into the river for Limerick operations
• Producing deadly radioactive wastes for which there is no safe solution
• Meltdown threats from cyber, air, and missile attacks by terrorists
• Earthquake fault fractures under Limerick’s reactors and fuel pools
The good news is, like Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant, Limerick can still be closed now. Even though relicensed, Vermont Yankee was closed December 29, 2014. Vermont elected officials and dedicated activists worked together to get Vermont Yankee closed in order to protect public health, safety and the environment. Now, one less nuclear reactor threatens the U.S. with a Fukushima-like catastrophe.
If Exelon was compelled to comply with original NRC safety regulations, we believe Exelon may have closed Limerick due to costs required for meeting original NRC safer standards. In 2013, high equipment repair costs apparently led to the shutdown of two San Onofre reactors.
NRC’s middle management went to extraordinary lengths to nullify NRC staff’s own post-Fukushima safety recommendations and safety upgrades recommended for Limerick relicensing.
Our elected officials need to look at reality and stand up now to protect their constituents. Despite years of repeated ACE efforts to inform elected officials of Limerick’s unprecedented threats and harms, to date, our officials have chosen to ignore reality. We believe the lure of political contributions effectively silenced opposition to Limerick, despite undeniable unprecedented threats to the future of millions of people.
Silence protects Exelon profits, but allows us to continue to be victimized by Limerick Nuclear Plant operations. Our elected officials need commitment and courage to protect us like officials in Vermont and California, who had the political will to help close their nuclear plants.
Limerick must be closed now to minimize health threats, harms to the environment, and to prevent an avoidable catastrophe that would be devastating to all who live and work in the Greater Philadelphia Region and beyond.
We need our local, state, and federal PA officials to help close Limerick now. They need to hear from you. Ask them to review evidence compiled at www.acereport.org or call (610) 326-2387 for a presentation.
In reality, Limerick’s electric can be replaced now with cleaner, safer, and cheaper electric that won’t threaten our health and lead to a catastrophe.
Dr. Lewis Cuthbert
President, Alliance for a Clean EnvironmentTop of Form
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