Contact Us

Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC)
PO Box 1166
Traverse City, MI 49685

(231) 946-6931

  • Anonymous
    followed this page 2021-07-22 23:32:30 -0400
  • followed this page 2021-07-22 23:31:50 -0400
  • Jason Lin
    commented 2021-06-30 22:06:11 -0400
    Hi team at NMEAC,

    I am Jason, a high school student from Cranbrook high school in Michigan. I am passionate about environmental issues and extremely interested in everything your organization stands for.

    Recently, my team and I are developing an app at the Launchx summer program for young entrepreneurs. Our app is called MVMNT. MVMNT strives to contribute to solving climate issues. On our app, we connect environmental activists and enthusiasts with organizations like you. You will be able to post information and events about your organization on our app, and users on our app in the Michigan area will be able to join your events or donate to you.

    Please let me know if you are interested. We will not charge organizations any money to be on our app. Also, if you are interested, would you be available for a quick online interview with our team, where we walk you through our idea and get feedback from you? We are striving to improve our app as much as we can so any feedback is helpful.


    Jason and the MVMNT team
  • Calista Rockwell
    commented 2021-06-28 11:07:10 -0400
    Hello, I’m reaching out to possibly set up an interview with someone from this environmental organization, I am a student conducting research with Dr. Sarah Mittlefehldt on a study that examines the risks and benefits associated with wood energy in Michigan, and different perceptions of those risks and benefits. Our goal is to provide a deeper understanding of how communities across Michigan have responded to woody biomass energy development.

    I would love to chat more about this, and would appreciate a way of contact!

    Thank you!
  • Barbara Krouse
    commented 2021-06-18 13:21:07 -0400
    I really need to contact someone about herbicide use near a loon nesting site on Duck Lake. Who can I contact! The situation is dire!
  • Timothy Young
    commented 2021-06-03 10:28:22 -0400
    Hey June. I have a ton of files somewhere regarding my time as chair and the primary project I worked on, that being the stopping of the land swap between the Homestead and Sleeping Bear which eventually led to the Conservancy buy-out and protection of sections of the Crystal River. Not sure when I’ll find the time to dig them up in the summer, but it would for a good winter project.

  • John Jordan
    commented 2021-04-21 15:53:29 -0400
    Do you know of any environmental watch dog groups that work in the Charlevoix area. The EPA is planning to remediate the superfund site in town and I am interested in having some outside oversight of the project. Can your organization lead me in the right direction?
  • Fern Spence
    commented 2021-03-01 21:09:53 -0500
    Please contact TV 7 and 4 to counter their special report about the need for Hartman Hammond bridge, it is a series that started tonight March 1 2021. I am not an expert to speak about the many recent improvements to E-W corridor, but I am sure you can reach out to them to recommend a more objective and non-biased special report. I did contact their newsroom tonight.
  • Anna Bunting
    commented 2021-02-03 14:35:44 -0500
    Hello – I am working with the Office of the Environmental Justice Public Advocate and I was wondering if you could provide the emails of your co-chairs? Thank you and take care! Anna
  • Ben Ditta
    commented 2020-10-11 12:29:09 -0400

  • Jill Hutchinson
    commented 2020-10-09 13:15:16 -0400
    Are you looking for a bookkeeper?
  • Ted James
    commented 2020-10-07 01:51:54 -0400
    Hi there,

    Given the uncertain real estate market at the moment, some potential home sellers are considering turning their home into a long-term rental rather than selling.

    It’s an option that’s definitely worth considering, but I thought it might be good to fully explore the pros and cons.

    Would you be up for an article on the pros and cons associated with turning a home into a long-term rental rather than selling it? I’ll be sure to address special considerations that need to be made given the uncertainty of the COVID-19 housing market. The article will also highlight your website.

    Thanks and all the best,

    Ted James : [email protected]
  • Troy Westergaard
    commented 2020-09-11 18:57:44 -0400
    My producing partner and I are attempting to contact Eileen Ganter, daughter of author Hugh Wray McCann. We are interested in the film and tv rights to his book on Johnny Nicholas. If you are indeed the Eileen Ganter we seek, would you please contact us or let us know who represents the book rights. Thank you for your time. Truly, Troy Westergaard ([email protected]) and Madelon Rosenfeld ([email protected]) Congrats on the Award!
  • Brynna Wesley
    commented 2020-09-06 12:01:11 -0400

    I am doing a profile on NMEAC for my college English class and I need to interview someone from NMEAC to include in my project. I was hoping to interview one of the board members, preferably Ann Rogers or Greg Reisig but any board member of NMEAC that is willing to be interviewed would be perfect! Please shoot me an email or give me a call. Thanks!
  • June Thaden
    followed this page 2020-09-04 12:02:34 -0400
  • Peter Braden
    commented 2020-08-31 10:55:26 -0400
    Hi, I recently joined this organization. I have also recently resigned from my March of Dimes board seat and am looking to be continue to be active in the community. When is the next meeting? Are you looking for additional board memebers?
  • Tameron Williams-Baker
    commented 2020-08-18 16:00:19 -0400
    Hey ,

    My name is Tameron, I’m the digital marketing specialist here at Gud Marketing. I’m reaching out to get more information about advertising opportunities on your platforms. I look forward to connecting with you. Let me know if you have any questions.

    Thank you
  • Susan Wheadon
    commented 2020-08-16 19:57:49 -0400
  • Kathie Wiley
    commented 2020-08-11 18:35:21 -0400
    Can’t hardly breathe.

    Biking around Logan’s landing, then Logan’s Pointe, then came back out

    to my fav. spot 4 birding, two guys getting out of trucks. Orange Vests. I asked what’s up…. they were there to design tree and brush removal and design the boardwalk going over the lake to continue the path.

    They are ripping out the home of Cedar Wax Wings, R. Wing B. B. , Red Starts, Tree Swallows, etc.

    They will have a Boardwalk Bridge right where the ducks migrate to and where the huge turtles have been undisturbed. Frick!!

    Their shortcut across that southern stretch of Boardman Lake will impact wildlife horribly.
  • Chico Luna
    commented 2020-08-09 09:34:27 -0400
    Who can I call about a morning dove with a broken wing
  • Dan Bertalan
    commented 2020-07-29 10:29:01 -0400
    Hi There,

    I’m producing a documentary for PBS on FishPass and would love to get NMEAC’s perspective on the project by interviewing Ann Rogers next month in TC. Would Ann please email or call so we can set something up?

    If however, you prefer another spokesperson to do the interview, please email the contact information.

    Thanks so much for connecting the dots… and all that you do.

    Best, Dan
  • Linda Greening
    commented 2020-07-14 10:12:06 -0400
    Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is celebrating 50 years of history in our region. We will be publishing a commemorative section in partnership with them. It will include historical photos, articles written by our editorial staff and information our readers and visitors will read and enjoy. The publication will be inserted into the Record-Eagle on Sunday, August 30th for locals and 5000 will be distributed to the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire and around the Traverse City area for visitors to use for free. You also get 10,000 impressions (ads) on

    Would you like to promote NMEAC and support Sleeping Bear Dunes for their 50th Anniversary? Let me know what you think. Thanks! Linda
  • Robert LaPorte
    commented 2020-06-23 14:57:32 -0400
    Want to know when the next NMEAC meeting will be?
  • Kevin Kamps
    commented 2020-06-11 00:10:36 -0400
  • Kevin Kamps
    commented 2020-06-11 00:09:48 -0400
    URGENT MI ACTION ALERT: Please sign your organization onto this coalition letter to MI Gov. Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Gilchrist, re: “Nuclear Power Safety Concerns in Michigan amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic,” by Mon., June 15, at close of business

    Dear Friends and Colleagues at NMEAC,

    Please consider signing your organization onto this short letter, below, to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. It is re: concerns about coronavirus spread at Michigan’s nuclear power plants, and beyond into the “host communities,” as well as concerns about large-scale deregulation of nuclear safety, security, health, environmental, emergency response, etc. regulations, under the bogus excuse of a supposed pandemic necessity. The letter serves as a short cover letter for the attached briefing paper, “Nuclear Power Safety Concerns in Michigan amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic,” also below, which goes into more detail about the various current concerns, and suddenly increased risks, at Michigan’s operating reactors, as well as its one closed nuclear power plant (Big Rock Point in Charlevoix County).

    You’ll see that myself, Michael Keegan, and Terry Lodge, have already signed on, on behalf of Beyond Nuclear, and Don’t Waste Michigan, respectively. So has a number of additional organizations and individuals across the state. We would like to have as many signatories from Michigan — both individuals and groups — as possible. To sign on, please email me at ; please send me your name, title if applicable, organization name, city, and email address.

    Given Fermi Unit 2’s impending unsafe restart, in mid- to late-June, we would like to submit this letter to the Gov. and Lt. Gov. ASAP. Thus the current sign on deadline is close of business on Monday, June 15th (we’ll extend it we can and need to, to boost the numbers signing on).

    Thanks for considering signing your organization on. And please spread the word to other Michiganders about this sign on opportunity! Thanks!


    Kevin Kamps

    Beyond Nuclear, radioactive waste specialist;

    Don’t Waste Michigan, board of directors member (Kalamazoo chapter);

    Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, advisory board member.

    Cover Letter:

    To: Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II

    P.O. Box 30013

    Lansing, Michigan 48909

    Submitted via email to: [email protected]

    June XX, 2020

    Dear Governor Whitmer and Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist,

    We respectfully ask that you, and the rest of state, county, city, and tribal leadership, as well as the U.S. congressional delegation, in Michigan, cc’d below, do everything in your power to protect nuclear power plant workers, as well as nuclear power plant host community residents downwind and downstream, against the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC), and the nuclear power industry’s, attempts to weaken regulations at this time. During a global pandemic, safety, security, health, environmental protection, and emergency preparedness and response regulations should be strengthened, not weakened.

    Specifically in Michigan, as detailed in the attached briefing paper below, we request that:

    Vital safety inspections, repairs and maintenance at Michigan reactors be carried out, not deferred or cancelled, including for example the torus inspection and repair at Fermi 2 prior to reactor restart ;

    The highly radioactive waste storage pools at Michigan reactors be carefully monitored and prepared for the potential loss of electric grid power to run safety and cooling systems, that is, that back-up emergency diesel generators be connected to pool cooling systems prior to an emergency, and that expedited transfer of irradiated nuclear fuel into on-site or near-site hardened storage be prioritized;

    There be no further reduction in safety margins at Fermi 2, Palisades, or Cook, even during refueling outage shutdowns — the COVID-19 emergency is no excuse to increase radiological risks;

    Emergency preparedness and response measures, complicated by the coronavirus pandemic, be comprehensively reviewed and addressed, including by state, county, local, and tribal agencies of jurisdiction;

    Given the reduced demand for electricity at the present time, keep Palisades shut down for good, and delay refueling outages, and postpone restarts, at Fermi Unit 2 and Cook Units 1 and 2, until post-pandemic, in order to prevent coronavirus outbreaks in southwest Michigan, as has already occurred in southeast Michigan at Fermi 2 due to very large, itinerant refueling outage workforces traveling in from outside counties and even other states.

    On April 22, 2020, four Michigan-based safe energy groups, and numerous national organizations with large Michigan memberships, wrote Vice President Pence as President Trump’s Covid-19 Task Force director. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration were copied on the letter. The letter regarded “Urgent Actions Required to Mitigate COVID-19 Impacts in [the] Nuclear Energy Industry,” and “Demand[s] for Immediate Corrective Action to Address Urgent COVID-19 Pandemic Risk.” A link to this letter is provided in the briefing paper attached below. We have not received acknowledgement of receipt of the letter, nor a direct response.

    But NRC’s Chairwoman, Kristine Svinicki, did write Vice President Pence on May 18th (a link is provided in the briefing paper below), enclosing our April 22nd letter. Her indirect response to our concerns was most unsatisfactory. We disagree with her claim the agency is on top of nuclear safety in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    As Michiganders, we are now writing to you, because our national concerns, conveyed in the April 22nd letter cited and linked above, very much apply to Michigan’s operational nuclear power plants (with additional concerns at Michigan’s sole closed reactor site, Big Rock Point in Charlevoix). The Fermi Unit 2 atomic reactor in Frenchtown Township, Monroe County, on the Lake Erie shore, is of the most immediate concern. However, similar concerns will grow more urgent in the months ahead at the Palisades atomic reactor in Covert Township, Van Buren County, and the Donald C. Cook atomic reactors in Bridgman, Berrien County; all three southwest Michigan reactors are located on the Lake Michigan shoreline, and have scheduled refueling outages in August and September, respectively. Nothing less than the Great Lakes themselves are now at elevated risk. (See, for example, this cautionary essay entitled “Downstream” by Fairewinds Energy Education nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen, who has served as an expert witness for nuclear power watchdogs in Michigan: Also at risk is a second wave coronavirus outbreak in southwest Michigan due to the refueling outages at Palisades and Cook.

    We are requesting to meet with the designated responsible department(s) to discuss our concerns. Who in your administration should we communicate with, regarding our concerns expressed in the April 22 letter to Vice President Pence, as well as our Michigan-specific concerns expressed in our briefing paper attached below? Which departments and staff persons in your administration are handling such concerns? We would be happy to meet with them by teleconference or webinar, or when applicable stay home/stay safe orders are lifted, in person while socially distanced. Many of our Michigan-based groups, or groups with large numbers of Michigan members and supporters, have been watch-dogging nuclear power plants and radioactive waste issues in the Great Lakes State for several decades, as we will continue to do in the future. We look forward to sharing with your administration our expertise, born of deep concern living downwind and downstream of Michigan’s atomic reactors and radioactive waste storage sites. We look forward to working with your administration on the current pandemic-related increase in nuclear risks, as well as future nuclear power and radioactive waste issues in our state.

    Please see our briefing paper, “Nuclear Power Safety Concerns in Michigan amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic,” attached below, which provides more detail on our concerns regarding nuclear safety amidst the coronavirus pandemic at Michigan’s operating, and even closed (Big Rock Point), atomic reactors. Thank you for your consideration. We eagerly await your response. The contact information for our coalition’s point of contact, Kevin Kamps, is immediately below.


    ORGANIZATIONS (alphabetical by organization name):

    Kevin Kamps

    Radioactive Waste Specialist

    Beyond Nuclear

    7304 Carroll Avenue, #182

    Takoma Park, Maryland 20912

    Cell: (240) 462-3216

    [email protected]

    (Don’t Waste Michigan Board of Directors Member, Kalamazoo Chapter; Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Advisory Board Member)

    Jesse DeerInWater, Community Organizer, Citizens’ Resistance at Fermi 2 (CRAFT), Redford, MI, [email protected]

    Michael J. Keegan, Co-Chair, Board of Directors, Don’t Waste Michigan, Monroe, MI,

    Terry J. Lodge, Legal Counsel, Don’t Waste Michigan and Beyond Nuclear, Toledo, OH,

    INDIVIDUALS (alphabetical by last name):

    Pam Barker, Monroe, MI, [email protected]

    Barry Lee Burnside, Kalamazoo, MI, [email protected]

    Karen Chadwick, Kalamazoo, MI, [email protected]

    Pedro Crespo, Fennville, MI, [email protected]

    Flo Friender, Scotts, MI, [email protected]

    Earl Hall, Kalamazoo, MI, [email protected]

    Joseph W Hess, East Lansing, MI, [email protected]

    Christopher and Lydia Hodshire, Kalamazoo, MI, [email protected]

    Carol McGeehan, Holland, MI, [email protected]

    Julius and Barbara Pellegrini, Benton Harbor, MI, [email protected]

    Pamela Rups, Kalamazoo, MI, [email protected]

    Ilze Skrupskelis, Kalamazoo, MI, [email protected]

    Karen Tomlonson, Kalamazoo, MI, [email protected]

    Lynne VandeBunte, Kalamazoo, MI, [email protected]

    Ineke Way, Kalamazoo, MI, [email protected]

    cc: Dana Nessel, Attorney General of Michigan

    Robert Gordon, Director, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

    Dr. Joneigh S. Khaldun, Chief Medical Executive, and Chief Deputy Director for Health, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

    Nicole Britten, MPH, Health Officer/Director, Berrien County Health Department

    Kim Comerzan, Officer/Director, Monroe County Health Department

    Jeffery L. Elliott, BBA, Health Officer/Administrator, Van Buren/Cass District Health Department

    Liesl Eichler Clark, Director, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

    James Clift, Senior Great Lakes Advisor, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

    Sally A. Talberg, Chairman, Michigan Public Service Commission

    Daniel C. Scripps, Commissioner, Michigan Public Service Commission

    Tremaine L. Phillips, Commissioners, Michigan Public Service Commission

    U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow

    U.S. Senator Gary Peters

    U.S. Representative Jack Bergman (MI-1st District)

    U.S. Representative Bill Huizenga (MI-2nd District)

    U.S. Representative Justin Amash (MI-3rd District)

    U.S. Representative John Moolenaar (MI-4th District)

    U.S. Representative Daniel Kildee (MI-5th District)

    U.S. Representative Fred Upton (MI-6th District)

    U.S. Representative Tim Walberg (MI-7th District)

    U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin (MI-8th District)

    U.S. Representative Andy Levin (MI-9th District)

    U.S. Representative Paul Mitchell (MI-10th District)

    U.S. Representative Haley Stevens (MI-11th District)

    U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell (MI-12th District)

    U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib (MI-13th District)

    U.S. Representative Brenda Lawrence (MI-14th District)

    Michigan State Speaker of the House, Representative Lee Chatfield

    Michigan State House Minority Leader, Representative Christine Greig

    Michigan State Senate Majority Leader, Senator Mike Shirkey

    Michigan State Senate Minority Leader, Senator Jim Ananich

    Chairman Bryan Newland, Executive Council, Bay Mills Chippewa Indian Community

    Chairman Thurlow “Sam” McClellan, Tribal Council, Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians

    Kenneth Meshigaud, Tribal Chairman, Hannahville Indian Community

    Warren C. Swartz Jr., President, Tribal Council, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community

    James Williams Jr., Tribal Chairman, Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians

    Larry Romanelli, Tribal Ogema, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians

    Regina Gasco-Bentley, Tribal Chairperson, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians

    Bob Peters, Tribal Chairman, Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Potawatomi Indians of Michigan (Gun Lake)

    Jamie Stuck, Chairperson, Naganijek/Tribal Council, Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Indians

    Matt Wesaw, Tribal Council Chairman, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians

    Tim J. Davis, Chief, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe

    Aaron A. Payment, Tribal Chairperson , Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians

    Attachment — Briefing Paper:

    Nuclear Power Safety Concerns in Michigan amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

    June 10, 2020


    On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, 2020, four Michigan-based safe energy groups, along with national organizations with large Michigan memberships, wrote to Vice President Mike Pence as President Trump’s Covid-19 Task Force director. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration were copied on the letter. The letter regarded “Urgent Actions Required to Mitigate COVID-19 Impacts in [the] Nuclear Energy Industry,” and “Demand[s] for Immediate Corrective Action to Address Urgent COVID-19 Pandemic Risk.” Please see the letter, linked here, signed by 86 organizations. We have not received acknowledgement of receipt of the letter, nor a direct response.

    But NRC’s Chairwoman, Kristine Svinicki, did write Vice President Pence on May 18th, enclosing our April 22nd letter. She thus indirectly, but most unsatisfactorily, responded to our concerns, by claiming the agency is on top of nuclear safety in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. We strongly disagree. She wrote the vice president:

    The steps taken by the NRC staff include the identification of regulatory requirements that could pose challenges during the declared public health emergency, and the areas where the staff believed that temporary flexibilities, such as approved exemptions, would not compromise the ability of licensees to maintain the safe and secure operation of NRC-licensed facilities.

    We are very concerned with NRC’s false confidence, that widespread, sudden rollbacks of hard-won and long-established safety and security regulations “would not compromise” safety and security, as well as environmental and health protection, for workers and the public.

    When NRC Chairman Svinicki wrote “The NRC staff communicated the processes available to licensees for requesting these flexibilities in a transparent way through public teleconferences,” she neglected to mention that every single one of the large number of such teleconferences included strong opposition to such regulatory rollbacks, expressed by a large number of safe energy and public interest organization representatives, as well as concerned citizens living in the shadow of nuclear power plants, including Michiganders. The concerns fell on deaf ears.

    We found Chairwoman Svinicki’s letter to Vice President Pence woefully inadequate. Contrary to her false assurances, the NRC Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation listing of “COVID-19 Regulatory Activities for Nuclear Reactors” is very revealing. A large number of “COVID-19 Power Reactor Approved Licensing Actions” are listed, including dozens of Exemption Requests. One example, discussed in the briefing paper below, is Fermi’s Part 26 Exemption – Work Hours. DTE requested the exemption on May 11, and by May 14 already had NRC’s approval. How NRC could comprehensively analyze the impacts of significantly weakening hard-won, long-established worker fatigue protections, on worker health and nuclear safety, in just three days, astounds us. NRC did not even list the regulatory rollback regarding safety-significant torus inspection and repair at Fermi 2, also discussed in the briefing paper, even though it is currently happening, amidst the coronavirus global pandemic. In addition, the utter silence and non-response from the White House Covid-19 Task Force deepens our alarm.

    We are concerned that this is but the tip of the iceberg of expedited regulatory rollbacks to come, amidst this global pandemic. Listed at a website section with the Orwellian title “Focusing on Safety While Providing Temporary Flexibility,” NRC has laid the groundwork for countless additional regulatory exemptions in the following areas, should nuclear utilities but request them: 10 CFR Part 20 Respiratory Radiological Protection Requirements; 10 CFR Part 26 Work Hour Requirements; 10 CFR 50.55a Owner’s Activity Reports; 10 CFR Part 55 Operators’ Licenses; 10 CFR Part 73 Physical Protection; and 10 CFR Part 50.48 Fire Brigade Requirements. We fear the operating Michigan atomic reactors could seek such safety-significant exemptions in the near future, increasing risks to workers and the public.

    NRC even appears to be prepared to weaken emergency preparedness and response requirements.

    COVID-19 and Radiological Safety Concerns re: the Fermi Unit 2 Atomic Reactor in Frenchtown Township, Monroe County, on the Lake Erie Shore

    Beginning in early May, a series of articles revealed the large-scale spread of COVID-19 infections among the Fermi 2 workforce, both permanent employees who live locally, as well as a very large temporary workforce, many of whom have come in from other Michigan counties or states, to perform various tasks during the refueling outage that began on March 21, 2020. These articles include: “Virus puts Fermi 2 refueling outage on hold,” by Tom Henry, Toledo Blade, May 4, 2020; “DTE temporarily suspends Fermi refueling work,” by Blake Bacho, Monroe Evening News, May 6, 2020; “Fermi 2 struggles with large COVID-19 outbreak among workers,” by Dave Battagello, Windsor Star, May 13, 2020; “Fermi-2 reactor in Michigan sees over 200 workers test positive for novel coronavirus during outage,” by Michael McAuliffe and Keiron Greenhalgh, S&P Global Platts, May 13, 2020; and “Refueling Outage at Fermi 2 complicated, delayed due to coronavirus cases among workers,” by Tom Henry, Toledo Blade, May 16, 2020.

    The May 16th Toledo Blade article reported on a company memo obtained by The Blade, which stated there were at least 147 positive cases as of May 4. But that number has risen steadily since widespread Fermi 2 workforce testing began, as reported by the Windsor Star and S&P Global Platts on May 13th.

    However, it is unclear whether the 237 coronavirus positive test cases at Fermi 2, as confirmed by Ron Maracle, vice president of Local 687 of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights (as quoted in the May 13th S&P Global Platts article cited above), includes any or all of the Monroe-based Laborers local union Fermi 2 workforce, which reportedly also suffers a large number of positive cases. In fact, yet to be confirmed social media posts, such as at the Monroe Evening News Facebook page as early as May 15th, allegedly posted by Fermi workers, claim the total number of coronavirus positives at the nuclear power plant then numbered over 300 individuals, with hundreds more self-isolating. How much more has coronavirus spread among the Fermi 2 workforce in the past three weeks? There has even been one COVID-19 death alleged at Fermi 2, but with no official acknowledgement.

    It is worth noting that a yet to be confirmed social media post by a Fermi worker alleged that the first coronavirus positive test case result was known at Fermi 2 as early as March 3rd. That would have been a full week before the first officially reported coronavirus positive in the State of Michigan. Of course, regardless of the permanent home address, even if in another state, of that alleged coronavirus positive individual working at Fermi 2, it would have marked the beginning of a high risk for spread of coronavirus, not only within the Fermi nuclear power plant workforce, but beyond, into the wider Monroe County community.

    The disconcerting lack of transparency originates not only from Fermi 2’s owner/operator, DTE Energy, but also from relevant federal agencies, and even from the county and state health departments, as reported on May 16th by the Toledo Blade, regarding the coronavirus infection outbreak at Fermi 2:

    Kim Comerzan, the Monroe County Health Department’s officer/director, declined to provide a specific number of positive test cases. Messages left for two spokesmen at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services were not returned.

    “I can only say that reports of positive cases are reported to the state of permanent residence,” Ms. Comerzan said. “We are in communication with Fermi regularly and working with them to manage the situation.”

    While officially reporting positive cases to the worker’s state of permanent residence is necessary, it is not sufficient. Of course the Monroe County Health Department, as well as the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, should also keep careful records of each individual coronavirus positive test case result, and conduct prompt, comprehensive follow-on contact tracing, in order to protect the Michigan host community’s health and safety, as well as to prevent further coronavirus spread in the Great Lakes State. Have some of these Fermi workers from other counties or states, testing positive for coronavirus infection, resided in Monroe County for the entire refueling outage, from March 21st till now? Have itinerant workers from elsewhere returned to Fermi 2, without self-isolating for two weeks, and without being tested before returning to the nuclear power plant worksite? What about the spread of coronavirus at Fermi 2 by asymptomatic workers who have not undergone testing?

    Underscoring such concerns, national media reports have indicated that coronavirus positive cases, and presumably also COVID-19-related deaths, in the State of Florida, could well be significantly under-reported, due to the DeSantis administration’s decision to not include data for those whose permanent residence is officially listed in other states. (Of course, a very large number of Michigander “Snowbirds” spend the winter months in Florida, before returning to Michigan to spend the warmer months at their home state residence.) Full transparency is essential to stopping the spread of coronavirus. But we have not seen full transparency at Fermi 2. Very far from it.

    DTE’s “extended safety stand down,” first reported by the Toledo Blade on May 4th, was a clear indication of the very serious spread of coronavirus among the Fermi 2 workforce. A major concern is that this will lead to further spread into the greater Monroe County host community, due in part to the presence of a large number of itinerant refueling outage workers, including those from other states or Michigan counties. The Fermi 2 refueling outage began on March 21st. Refueling outages typically last for around a month. But DTE announced in mid-May the refueling outage will last nearly three months (83 days), until mid-June. This means that at least a certain number of itinerant refueling outage workers could have remained in Monroe County throughout this three-month period, and/or that other out-of-state or out-of-county, itinerant refueling outage workers, could have gone away and then come back, to continue their work at Fermi 2 for the next weeks, despite their unknown coronavirus infection status.

    Radiological Safety Concerns at Fermi 2

    On April 16, 2020 attorney Terry Lodge of Toledo, Ohio, on behalf of Don’t Waste Michigan and Beyond Nuclear, filed a request for expedited relief with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), regarding a Title 10 Code of Federal Regulations Part 2.206 emergency enforcement petition at Fermi 2. David Lochbaum, a retired nuclear engineer who served for several decades at the Union of Concerned Scientists, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and in the nuclear power industry, is serving as technical advisor to intervenors Don’t Waste Michigan and Beyond Nuclear on the 2.206 petition. The petition focuses on the risks associated with DTE not conducting a comprehensive inspection, and repair, regarding the degraded torus at Fermi 2. The torus is a giant doughnut-shaped cylindrical ring structure at the base of the reactor, which plays a vital part in the plant’s pressure-suppression radiological containment system design, associated with containment from the environment of catastrophic amounts of hazardous radioactivity, in the event of a reactor core meltdown. Problems with inner liner degradation risking debris blockage of torus water flow have persisted, not for years, but for decades. We are most concerned that the national pandemic emergency not be exploited to serve as an excuse to forgo comprehensive inspections and needed repairs on the torus, as well as other safety-significant systems, structures, and components at Fermi 2. (See the Don’t Waste Michigan and Beyond Nuclear press release about the petition filing here, as well as additional documentation about Fermi 2 torus risks over the past years and decades.)

    Fermi 2 is Not Currently Needed for Electricity Reliability

    Along these lines, among the urgent requests for immediate needed actions in order to protect the health and safety of nuclear industry workers and the general public, the 86-group, April 22nd letter to Vice President Pence listed the following:

    “For any operations-related decisions prioritizing resumed or continued operation because of reliability considerations, ensure that any potential safety impacts are fully mitigated. In many regions of the country, grid operators enjoy installed capacity margins well in excess of what is required to ensure reliability of the electricity system, especially during the low load spring months, making the temporary postponement of refueling outages irrelevant to grid reliability. In addition, the pandemic has resulted in significant reductions in electricity consumption throughout the U.S. Local grid reliability needs must be objectively evaluated, in order to properly balance the public health risks of refueling and restarting reactors during the pandemic. NRC must not permit licensees to operate reactors with increased nuclear safety risks, under any circumstances.”

    In fact, Fermi 2 has been idled since March 21st, with no impact on local, regional, or state-wide electricity service reliability. During this time period, one of the reactors at D.C. Cook also went offline, for 10 days, due to an unplanned shutdown resulting from a reactor coolant leak, from the pressure boundary, above technical specification limits. Thus, two of Michigan’s largest atomic reactors were not generating electricity at the same time, for 10 days, and yet no negative impact on electrical reliability on the state-wide grid took place. Thus, given the excess electricity supply in Michigan, vital and comprehensive safety inspections and repairs, as with the dangerously degraded torus at Fermi 2, should be required to be completed before the reactor’s restart. (The specific situation at Cook is discussed in more detail below, towards the end of this briefing paper.)

    Radioactive Risks at Fermi 2

    The risks downwind, downstream, up the food chain, and down the generations, are just too dire to do otherwise. Fermi 2 is a General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactor, an identical twin design to the Fukushima Daiichi reactors in Japan, which suffered multiple explosions, a triple-meltdown, and a catastrophically large-scale release of hazardous radioactivity, beginning in mid-March 2011. Only, Fermi 2 is super-sized, nearly as large as Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 and 2 put together.

    An NRC-commissioned report, CRAC-II (short for Calculation of Reactor Accident Consequences, also known as the 1982 Sandia Siting Study, or NUREG/CR-2239), yielded such startling figures about the potential consequences of U.S. atomic reactor meltdowns, that the agency tried to suppress the results. But thanks to U.S. Representative (now U.S. Senator) Ed Markey’s efforts, the report was ultimately made public. Here are the shocking casualty and property damage figures from CRAC-II regarding Fermi 2: 8,000 peak early fatalities (acute radiation poisoning deaths); 340,000 peak early (radiation) injuries; 13,000 peak cancer deaths (latent cancer fatalities); and $136 billion in property damages (in 1982 dollar figures).

    But as Associated Press (AP) investigative reporter Jeff Donn revealed in his four-part series “Aging Nukes” beginning in June 2011, populations have soared around atomic reactors like Fermi 2. Thus, casualties would be even larger now. And when adjusted for inflation, property damages could exceed $364 billion in Year 2019 dollar figures.

    Counterintuitively, safety risks actually increase during refueling outages at General Electric Boiling Water Reactors (BWRs) like Fermi 2. As explained by Don’t Waste Michigan and Beyond Nuclear’s technical advisor David Lochbaum, the reason is because certain safeguards are relaxed or eliminated during a refueling outage, that are required during reactor operations. It is important to remember that even during a refueling outage, around two-thirds of the still-usable nuclear fuel remains in the reactor core, even before another one-third of fresh fuel is loaded prior to reactor restart.

    In addition, the indoor wet storage pool for irradiated nuclear fuel at Fermi 2 remains very densely packed to the gills, containing several times more highly radioactive nuclear fuel than the original design allowed for. This includes the one-third of a core of intensely thermally hot irradiated nuclear fuel just removed from the reactor. As Princeton researchers F. von Hippel and M. Schoeppner revealed in 2016, as reported by Science Magazine, a “spent fuel fire on U.S. soil could dwarf impact of Fukushima.” The case study, the Peach Bottom Unit 2 and 3 atomic reactors in Pennsylvania, are identical in design to Fermi 2, General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactors. The study shows that trillions of dollars (with a T) in property damages are possible downwind of Peach Bottom, in the event of an irradiated nuclear fuel storage pool fire. Potentially, the need to evacuate many millions of Americans could occur. In fact, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan revealed in February 2012 that he had ordered the secret contingency planning to prepare to evacuate 35 to 50 million people from northeastern Japan and metro Tokyo, in the event the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 storage pool had caught fire. The only reason it did not, as reported by the U.S. National Academy of Science (on which Princeton researcher F. von Hippel also served), was sheer luck. Thus, there can be no further reduction in safety margins at Fermi 2, even during the refueling outage shutdown; the COVID-19 emergency is no excuse to increase radiological risks.

    Regulatory Rollbacks at Fermi 2 Amidst the Pandemic Emergency

    Despite this, DTE applied to NRC on May 11th for exemption from worker fatigue rules. NRC approved the request three short days later. Our concerns about the risks of worker fatigue risk led to another urgent demand for action in our April 22nd letter to Vice President Pence, et al.:

    “Provide for immediate re-evalution by the Task Force of NRC exemptions to lift work-hour limits for reactor power operations from 72 to 86 hours per week during the pandemic, due to the increased levels of fatigue on (a) workers’ vulnerability to COVID-19 and (b) radiological health and safety.”

    In addition to grueling 86-hour work weeks, we remain concerned that workers can now be forced to work up to 16-hours per day (excluding shift turnover time!), and 12-hour shifts for 14 consecutive days. The dangers include the stress and fatigue levels weakening workers’ immune systems, and general health, to the point where they are even more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, or other ailments; and the increased risk of such stressed and fatigued workers making safety-critical mistakes on the job, that leads to incidents or even accidents, with radiological safety implications not only for the Fermi 2 workforce, but also for the general public downwind and downstream. NRC treats each of its mounting waivers, exemptions, and deferrals in isolation. But our April 22nd letter to Vice President Pence called for:

    “Subject[ing] all current reviews of licensee petitions for postponements and exemptions of scheduled maintenance and inspections of reactor systems, structures, and components (including those seeking expedited review during refueling outages) to (a) a cumulative risk analysis and (b) an integrated review by the COVID-19 Task Force.”

    Increasing worker fatigue must now be added to the list for a cumulative, integrated safety review, and risk analysis, at Fermi 2.

    Emergency preparedness and response concerns

    Another call in our April 22nd letter to Vice President Pence et al. stated:

    “Provide for immediate preparation of required Disaster Initiated Reviews (DIR) of the impact of the pandemic on emergency response plans at all reactor sites and fuel cycle facilities. Inexplicably, NRC has not yet done this, despite the express requirements of NRC Manual Chapter 1601, paragraph 03.02, and the FEMA Standard Operating Guide. Review of DIRs by the Task Force should be a high priority.” (internal citations omitted)

    DIRs published by FEMA on May 19th, for nuclear power plants in other states besides Michigan, were woefully inadequate. They appeared to be little more than short form letters, simply altering the names of the reactors and the FEMA region numbers. The DIRs we have been able to obtain thus far indicate the scope of the FEMA assessment was to merely examine the local off-site response organizations, which is necessary, but far from sufficient. A comprehensive examination of emergency response plans is what is needed. Hopefully the emergency response organizations in Michigan are intact, but the real question is, are the emergency response plans themselves workable in the pandemic? Social distancing and Personal Protective Equipment for congregate evacuation shelters, distribution of potassium iodide (KI) to protect residents’ thyroids downwind of a reactor meltdown, availability of medical personnel, radiological decontamination equipment, etc., are the real questions that should be addressed by FEMA DIRs, but this seems to not be happening.

    These concerns apply as much at the Palisades and Cook atomic reactors (addressed further, below) as they do at Fermi 2. Neither NRC nor FEMA have yet to explain how a mass evacuation in the event of a catastrophic radioactivity release during a disaster at an atomic reactor in Michigan, and mass sheltering at pre-established emergency evacuation centers, would comport with current stay-home, stay-safe and social distancing orders.

    In fact, Don’t Waste Michigan and Beyond Nuclear’s technical advisor, David Lochbaum, has addressed this exact failure of the federal agencies. See his May 1st “A Tornado in the Midst of a Pandemic,” featured in the publication Nuclear Intelligence Weekly.

    And of course, the May 19th dam failures and resulting floods near Midland, resulting in the mass evacuation of 11,000 people, showed clearly the complexity of emergency response, and especially mass evacuation and sheltering, during this COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, the research reactor at Dow Chemical dodged the bullet during the floods. And also fortunately, two proposed, large-scale commercial atomic reactors in Midland were cancelled in the 1980s, so no radioactive risks were present at that particular site during last month’s flooding. But the pandemic, now further complicated by a fast-breaking, volatile national crisis in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder by police, demonstrates the danger that Michigan’s already stretched emergency response capabilities could be overwhelmed by a radiological emergency at this time, such as one unfolding at any of Michigan’s four operable commercial reactors.

    The latest re: Coronavirus at Fermi 2

    Because of the lack of transparency by officials re: the worsening coronavirus infection rates at Fermi 2, watch-dogs have had to puzzle together developments through back channels. On June 1st, Michael Keegan of Don’t Waste Michigan and Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes, posted the following updates to the Facebook page of the Monroe Evening News:
    is quick count report:

    Toledo Blade reports May 17th that DTE acknowledged 147 persons positive with COVID existed at Fermi on May 4th; DTE would not provide updates.

    Platts/McGraw-Hill reports Carpenters Local went on record with 237 Fermi workers on May 13th.

    Laborers Local in Monroe reported to have been one of two trades hit hard. But no numbers given.

    Windsor Star reports May 12th that there are Facebook postings of 200 persons positive COVID at Fermi 2.

    Monroe News reports May 8th “a large group of” and has not reported out since.

    Facebook reports of over 300 and waiting on results of 2,200 on May 15th at Monroe News Facebook page.

    Traveling nuclear workers who are COVID positive are not getting reported for Monroe County, even though they have been in Monroe for several months, and continue to be in Monroe, be it now in quarantine or stay at home.

    Regardless if reported to other counties, these 2,200 workers have been living among the Community of Monroe.

    Citizens of Monroe County have the right to know about this “Shadow COVID Cluster.” Monroe News reported out May 8th but has not reported out since. Please see the Monroe News, Windsor Star, McGraw-Hill Platts, and Toledo Blade articles.

    Several open Facebook postings at Monroe News beginning 5/15/20 talking about over 300 persons positive with COVID, and these persons are not being included in Monroe County total because they came in from out of town to do the nuclear work.

    Facebook postings of Camper Trailer village of COVID positive workers at Fermi gate.

    There are workers being put up at MGM in Detroit, at Quality Inn in Monroe, and Camper Trailers. There was a 14 day quarantine which was up Monday May 18th. Work crews back to work on Monday, May 18th. But some work crews went back on May 4th, shortly after “Stand Down” – All of this posted up at Facebook, mostly Monroe News. Does the Community of Monroe have the right to know?

    Concerns re: Palisades Atomic Reactor in Covert Township, Van Buren County, on the Lake Michigan Shore

    As revealed in a Nuclear Energy Institute document (see page 5 of 5 on PDF counter), Palisades is scheduled for a refueling outage set to begin in late August, 2020. The large, out-of-county and even out-of-state, itinerant workforce, that would come in to perform refueling outage tasks would run the risk of spreading coronavirus in Van Buren County, and beyond in southwest Michigan, at around the same time that a second major wave is feared to potentially commence state-wide, and nationally.

    Palisades is already infamous for its long list of safety and security problems. One example is its badly embrittled reactor pressure vessel, the worst at any reactor in the U.S. and perhaps in the entire world, at risk of a pressurized thermal shock through-wall breach, which would cause a reactor core meltdown. Another example is its degraded steam generators, which were supposed to have been replaced many long years ago, but never were. Yet another example is its deteriorated reactor lid, also overdue for replacement by not years, but more than a decade. A steam generator tube cascading failure, or a lid breach, are also pathways to reactor core meltdown. Palisades is set to shut down for good in October 2022. In fact, Entergy had previously announced permanent shutdown by October 2018, but reneged.

    Thus, this refueling outage would very likely, and thankfully, be Palisades’ last. So why not power down the reactor to cold shutdown, and wait to see how Michigan is faring with the pandemic? As stated above, with reduced demand, and Michigan’s glut of electricity supply, Palisades’ generation likely will not even be needed any time soon, if ever. Why not avoid the pandemic risks of a refueling outage, and the radiological risks of long ignored and neglected major safety repairs and replacements, by simply shutting down Palisades for good, rather than refueling one last time? The wisdom of this precaution is enhanced by the worsening, historic Lake Michigan high water levels, which threaten the Palisades atomic reactor facilities proper, including the highly controversial, long troubled, shoreline irradiated nuclear fuel dry cask storage for highly radioactive wastes. The recent Midland flooding serves as a cautionary tale that the risks of flooding at Palisades cannot be ignored.

    As with the Fermi 2 CRAC-II figures cited above, Palisades’s CRAC-II figures are also sobering. Estimated casualties from a reactor meltdown at Palisades include: 1,000 peak early fatalities (acute radiation poisoning deaths), 7,000 peak early radiation injuries, and 10,000 peak cancer deaths (latent cancer fatalities). Of course, these casualty estimates are low, considering that the population around Palisades has soared since 1982. And property damages reported as $52.6 billion in Year 1982 dollar figures would now surmount $141 billion in Year 2019 dollar figures.

    Security concerns associated with worker fatigue

    Another concern at Palisades that deserves emphasis is the risk that owner/operator Entergy could yet seek fatigue rule exemptions regarding security guards. As mentioned above, DTE has sought, and gotten NRC approval for, lifting fatigue rules for security guards at its Fermi 2 reactor, which is already bad enough. But Entergy, including at Palisades, has long had security guard fatigue and other problems, going back not years, but decades. The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) published a report on the first anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks entitled “Nuclear Power Plant Security: Voices from Inside the Fences.” It focused on Entergy’s overwork of security guards at its Indian Point nuclear power plant near New York City (Unit 2 thankfully shut down for good on April 30, 2020).

    But Palisades (owned by Consumers Energy till 2007, and by Entergy since then) was also infamous for its security guard force fatigue at the time, after a security guard suffered a nervous breakdown on the job while heavily armed. Fortunately, no one was physically harmed, including the security guard.

    POGO identified NRC’s permissive authorization to nuclear utilities like Entergy, to work security guards 72 hours per week, week after week, to their breaking point, as a major contributing factor to the problems.

    Also on the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Palisades was the subject of an exposé in the New York Times, regarding a significant security breach. In 2007, after Entergy took ownership, yet another major security breach at Palisades was revealed in a cover article in Esquire Magazine. And just several years ago, Palisades security guards were implicated in a document falsification scandal, regarding visual fire watch inspections, as reported by News Channel TV-3 in Kalamazoo. The common thread to all these security failures and violations has been security guard force fatigue and overwork. But now, instead of 72-hour work weeks, NRC is allowing 86-hour work weeks for security guards and other safety-significant workers.

    This includes control room operators. As revealed in a March 11, 2013 article in the Japan Times, about a nuclear power plant in Illinois (“Toxic management erodes safety at ’world’s safest’ nuclear plant: Echoes of Fukushima at Exelon’s flagship Byron Station in Illinois,” by Dreux Richard), excessive fatigue and other stresses on control room operators can lead to stress-related ailments, that can prove fatal; in addition, two control room operators there even committed suicide (a tragedy that has similarly since been seen with an overwhelmed American emergency room physician in the context of COVID-19). Both on the security and safety fronts, as well as regarding environmental protection, such nuclear worker fatigue-induced mistakes and violations raise the specter of radiological harm to communities downwind and downstream from Michigan’s operating atomic reactors.

    And as our coalition warned NRC Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane, in a face-to-face meeting in June 2014 in Benton Harbor, Palisades’ location, immediately adjacent to Van Buren State Park (and along a state-designated kayak and canoe water trail, and a location already very popular with sail and power boaters), as well as Cook’s location very near Warren Dunes State Park, introduces the added risk of fatigued security guards interacting with beachgoers, swimmers, and boaters. These Michiganders and out-of-state visitors are often not warned, as by adequate or any signage or other notice, about the Michigan state law, enacted several years ago, giving nuclear power plant security guards indemnity for wounding or even killing innocent, unwitting “trespassers,” mistaken as dangerous terrorists. (In fact, the Republican Michigan State legislator who introduced the bill admitted, as reported by Lindsey Smith on Michigan Radio, that the legislation was meant to deter non-violent anti-nuclear and environmental protests at Michigan’s atomic reactors; troublingly, they should think twice before holding such protests, he was quoted as warning in the interview.)

    Palisades’ sister atomic reactor, Big Rock Point in Charlevoix County, Michigan, on the Lake Michigan shoreline, is also of concern during this time of coronavirus global pandemic. The eight dry casks containing highly radioactive waste (seven casks holding irradiated nuclear fuel, one holding so-called Greater Than Class C “low” level radioactive waste) must be monitored and maintained at all times, to prevent incidents or accidents, such as overheating, leaks, etc. Security is an ongoing concern as well, which is why Big Rock Point’s dry casks should be hardened.

    Concerns re: D.C. Cook Units 1 and 2 Atomic Reactors in the City of Bridgman, Berrien County, on the Lake Michigan Shore

    The same NEI document cited above also lists one of the reactor units at Donald C. Cook nuclear power plant as scheduled for a refueling outage in mid-September 2020. Thus, the concerns regarding spread of coronavirus among nuclear workers and the host community, expressed above re: Palisades, will either follow-on immediately, or even overlap, just 30 miles south, in Bridgman, in Berrien County. And as with worker fatigue rule exemptions already approved at Fermi 2, and which we fear may be sought in the weeks or months ahead at Palisades, we are also concerned about such worker fatigue rule exemptions being sought at Cook yet this year. As at Fermi 2 and Palisades, this could lead to increased radiological risks and consequences for worker and public safety and health, environmental protection, and security.

    In addition, in early May, a Preliminary Notification of Occurrence was issued by Cook to NRC. Cook Unit 2 experienced an “Unplanned Shutdown Greater Than 72 Hours Due to Reactor Coolant System Leakage Exceeding Technical Specification Limits.” Consequently, Cook 2 shut down on May 1st. As documented in NRC’s Power Reactor Status Reports for May 2020, Cook Unit 2 only began to power back up on May 12th, reaching 28% power levels that day. By the next day, May 13th, Cook 2 was back at 100% power levels. Thus, from May 1st to 11th, Cook 2 was not generating any electricity at all. It took two more days, till May 13th, for both Cook reactor units to be back at 100% electricity generation levels. And yet, from May 1st to May 11th, despite Cook Unit 2’s temporary unplanned shutdown, there were no electricity reliability problems in Michigan. (Around 90% of Cook’s electricity is exported to Indiana; only around 10% is consumed by Michiganders.)

    It just so happened that Fermi 2 was also simultaneously shut down during those ten days, and still is. Thus, even with two large nuclear reactors in Michigan shut down at the same time, there were no electric reliability issues. What this shows is, these reactors are not needed, as there is an excess of electricity on the grid in Michigan.

    NRC’s willingness to weaken fire brigade requirements at atomic reactors during this global coronavirus pandemic is also very alarming. Several years ago, a fire in a Cook turbine hall quickly surpassed the on-site fire brigade’s ability to bring it under control. Local fire departments from surrounding communities had to be called in to assist. The resulting damage kept one of Cook’s Units shut for more than a year, until repairs and replacements of damaged or destroyed turbine hall structures and components could be completed.

    Several years ago at Palisades, fatigued and overworked security guards who were tasked with performing manual fire watch inspections, instead falsified paperwork saying they had performed the tasks, when in fact they had not. This was brought to light by whistle-blowers, as reported by WWMT TV-3 in Kalamazoo. As it turned out, other Entergy reactors across the country had the same scandal happening. But nowhere worse than at Palisades.

    50% of the risk of an atomic reactor meltdown is related to fire risks. At a time of global pandemic, fire protections at Michigan nuclear power plants should be strengthened, not weakened.

    Wisdom of Suspension/Postponement of Michigan Atomic Reactor Refueling Outages

    For this reason, the refueling outages at Fermi 2, Palisades, and Cook can be suspended, and/or postponed, without any impact on electric reliability in the Great Lakes State. Given the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic emergency in Michigan, the risks of refueling outages at Fermi 2 and Cook can be mitigated with delays; at Palisades, a permanent shutdown, instead of a final refueling outage, should be seriously considered.

    Cooling and Containment Concerns at Cook

    Of added safety and environmental protection concern at Cook are containment problems that date back decades. Although a pressurized water reactor (PWR) design, Cook employs an ice-condensor, pressure-suppression, radiological containment and reactor core cooling design. That is, the containment is potentially too small, and too weak, to contain a large-scale, catastrophic release of hazardous radioactivity, if one or both reactors melt down at Cook. In fact, although boiling water reactors (BWRs), this is what happened at Fukushima Daiichi, Japan, beginning in mid-March 2011. The pressure-suppression containments there were either damaged or destroyed by the meltdowns and explosions, resulting in catastrophic radioactivity releases to the environment.

    Exacerbating these concerns, an NRC whistle-blower, Dr. Ross Landsman, in both an official Differing Professional View and an official Differing Professional Opinion, warned in the late 1990s and early 2000s that an area of degradation in the Cook containment structure made its failure risks all the more likely and dire. A significant amount of concrete and rebar were simply missing from an area of containment, due to age-related deterioration, creating an ominous weak spot. A pressure build up within containment could simply breach the structure at this weak spot, allowing hazardous radioactivity releases into the environment. To the best of our knowledge, this degradation has not been addressed since.

    (Landsman’s revelations came out around the same time as a whistle-blower at a twin-design nuclear plant in Tennessee, Curtis Overall at Watts Bar, revealed problems there that turned out to be even worse at Cook. Assisted by David Lochbaum, who then served as Union of Concerned Scientists Nuclear Power Safety director, NRC was forced to demand related inspections Cook was hoping to avoid. Once the severity of the problem was thus revealed — literally tons of debris blocking ice-condensor cooling water flow to the core; and a wall not revealed on blueprints doing the same — both Cook reactor units were shut down from 1997 to 2000, a very significant emergency safety shutdown of long duration. Even then, the lights stayed on in southwest Michigan. Cook’s electricity was not, and still is not, even needed, especially at this time of reduced demand due to the coronavirus pandemic economic downturn.)

    As with Fermi 2 and Palisades above, both Cook reactor units’ CRAC-II meltdown figures are shocking. Cook Unit 1’s casualties include: 1,900 peak early fatalities (acute radiation poisoning deaths); 80,000 peak early radiation injuries; and 13,000 peak cancer deaths (latent cancer fatalities). Cook Unit 2’s casualties include: 2,000 peak early fatalities; 88,000 peak early radiation injuries; and 13,000 peak cancer deaths. Of course, populations have soared downwind and downstream since 1982, so the casualty figures are underestimated. Regarding property damages, the figures expressed in 1982 dollar figures ($91.9 billion at Cook Unit 1; $101 billion at Cook Unit 2), when adjusted for inflation to Year 2019 dollar figures, would now top $246 billion, and $270 billion, respectively. If both reactor units were involved in a domino effect meltdown catastrophe (as happened at Fukushima Daiichi, Japan), the respective figures would have to be added together for an even more shocking grand total.

    [Briefing Paper Prepared by Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear radioactive waste specialist, and Don’t Waste Michigan board of directors member (Kalamazoo chapter), June 10, 2020]
  • Deyar Jamil
    commented 2020-04-02 09:38:09 -0400
    A big thank you to Ann Rogers for your 4/02/20 forum piece in the Record-Eagle. A reminder that all the earth’s creatures, from microscopic bugs to humans, are related. We need to respect each creature’s place in the chain to keep it from falling apart. Thank you for stating it so simply.
  • Bill McKinley
    commented 2020-03-27 18:30:32 -0400
    Hello; I am not a member of NMEAC but I was wondering if you have taken an official stand on the Cedar River Marina Project being proposed at the village park in Cedar this spring . I would appreciate hearing from you.

    Thanks for your time.

    Bill McKinley
  • steve kokette
    commented 2020-02-26 07:54:48 -0500
    I’m creating a national directory of businesses that have done renewable projects so consumers can patronize them. You can see what stage it’s at at I’m not satisfied with the Michigan list and was hoping your members could inform me about businesses in Michigan that should be on the list but aren’t.

    Steve Kokette

    This website is devoted to reducing global warming/climate change by informing consumers in the U.S., whether travelling or at home, where they might spend their money to reward businesses that have done (or whose landlords have done) renewable energy projects to make, store, etc., their products and services.
  • Al Frye
    commented 2020-02-12 16:37:40 -0500
    I am part of Carbon Free Manistee/ Plant One Million Trees located in Manistee. We would like to speak with you about a possible collaboration.
  • Noelle Riley
    commented 2020-01-15 10:58:47 -0500
    I’m the news director at IPR News. I’d like to interview someone with your organization about FishPass. My deadline is tomorrow, Thursday Jan. 16 at 1 p.m.


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