Plumes of steam drift from the cooling tower of FirstEnergy Corp.'s Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor, Ohio.
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The Davis-Besse atomic reactor’s closure would not be premature. It is long overdue (Jan. 25, “Davis-Besse plant headed for closure”).
During our legal intervention resisting the 40-year old reactor’s 20-year license extension, we argued this disaster waiting to happen should be shut down for good on Earth Day last year, at the very latest. April 22, 2017, appropriately enough, marked the expiration of Davis-Besse’s initial operating license.
Instead, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) rubber-stamped the extended operating permit till 2037.
The agency did so despite the severe cracking of Davis-Besse’s concrete Shield Building, an integral component of its radioactivity containment structure. The cracking has grown, with every freeze-thaw cycle, for the past five years, FirstEnergy very belatedly admitted, after denying crack growth for over two years of critical NRC license extension proceedings. The company also kept its Ice-Wedging Crack Propagation report secret, until our environmental coalition contesting the license extension, represented by Toledo attorney Terry Lodge, had been dismissed by the NRC licensing board.
Once FirstEnergy won the license extension, then it openly acknowledged it had known from the start, in 2011, that the cracking was so severe, large chunks of exterior face Shield Building concrete could spall off, at risk of falling down onto safety-significant systems and structures below.
Thus, ironically enough, Davis-Besse’s collapsing containment structure could initiate a reactor meltdown, while simultaneously failing to contain the hazardous large-scale radioactivity releases onto the winds and waves.
Davis-Besse has had more close calls with catastrophe than any other single reactor in the country, and perhaps the world. It can’t close soon enough. In addition to making reactor meltdown impossible once the core is de-fueled, the fact that no more highly radioactive, forever deadly irradiated nuclear fuel would be generated is most good news.
Davis-Besse has made plenty enough already, a curse on all future generations, who will have to figure out how to prevent it from leaking into the living environment, no small challenge.
Takoma Park, Maryland
Editor’s note: Mr. Kamps, a radioactive waste specialist with Beyond Nuclear, a national watchdog on the nuclear power industry, was an official intervenor against the Davis-Besse license extension.
A balanced budget for Michigan
With the Michigan Legislature, Governor Rick Snyder has worked tirelessly over the last seven years to right the state’s budget and finances. This discipline has allowed us to reduce taxes for Michigan families and job providers, invest in important areas such as education and roads, and pay down long-term debt, all while putting money aside for the next economic downturn. This disciplined approach to our state’s finances is part of the reason Michigan has seen a tremendous rebound — creating more than 540,000 private-sector jobs and increasing family incomes at a faster pace than almost any other state.
As a growing state, we can do anything, but we cannot do everything if we are not responsible. If we work together, we can continue to reduce taxes and invest in priorities to improve the lives of all Michiganders. Nearly $3 billion in new tax cuts have already been made since Governor Snyder took office while still increasing investments in services for residents and paying down long-term debt.
As we begin the debate about additional tax reductions, we need to keep at the forefront our commitment to pass sustainable balanced budgets that do not leave our children, and their children, paying for the debts we incur today. A balanced budget is required by the constitution. But more than that, a smart, balanced budget that puts dollars in the pockets of Michigan families while investing in critical areas is an important part of securing Michigan’s future.
Michigan State Treasurer
TARTA buses remain empty
I continue to see large buses that are all but empty. It doesn’t seem like anything has been done about this since the levy loss. There seems to be some easy answers to the problem.
Obviously, large buses are needed during busy hours, morning, and late afternoon. Why not use small buses, vans, or some other smaller, more practical, more cost efficent type of vehicles during off times?
I understand empire building. More big buses and employees, the better for managements position and income, but this doesn’t work for the tax payers. Less big buses, less managers, less payroll, happier tax payers.
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