Sunday, July 24, 2016


This free blog was created as an experiment and as a temporary expedient, when there were some technical difficulties with malware reported on the regular Alliance To Halt Fermi 3 website. Those difficulties have been sorted out. In addition to moving to a new server, the website at has been switched to a new format - blog articles as the front page, more static pages accessed by the menu and the whole site on a "responsive" template.

That means the re-worked website will look different depending on whether it is viewed on a computer, a tablet or a smartphone. All the articles, pages and widgets will be available on all devices, but their arrangement will be suitable for each device.

All of the blog articles previously appearing here have been duplicated on the new ATHF3 server. All new material from ATHF3 will appear on the new server. This site will be mothballed until further notice. Please visit for both old and new material.


Art Myatt

Thursday, June 18, 2015


on the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

March and rally on August 8, 2015 10:30 AM Bissell Park, Oak Ridge, Tenn. [See,-84.2630897,18z?hl=en for location.]

About 1942, the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. produced a secret agreement and subsequently expanded it: to mine the uranium, build reactors to produce nuclear weapons material, expose humans and other life forms to ionizing radiation at whatever level necessary, produce, test, and use atomic weapons.

All other uses for nuclear reactors were an after thought and dependent on public funding and governmental indemnification of reactor owners; without which, no commercial reactor would have ever existed. Commercial reactors—-Watts Bar, TN—-produce nuclear weapons material today. The first purpose of Fermi 1 was to produce nuclear weapons material. Reactors and nuclear weapons are joined at the hip, spawning each other and an enormous legacy of high (lethal in minutes), mid and low level radionuclides; for which there is no solution except shield and monitor into eternity.
There is no safe level (National Academy of Sciences).

In 1945, 3 high level U.S. military commanders—-Generals Eisenhower and  Lemay (Army Air Force) and Admiral  Leahy (top military commander during WWII)—- opposed the use of the atomic bomb on Japan saying it was unnecessary and (Leahy) that it was immoral. Japan’s efforts to negotiate a surrender had been under way. General Lemay had said “there are no civilians in Japan” and had fire bombed Japanese population centers killing 900,000 civilians. Nonetheless, he said of atomic bombing of Japan, “It’s anticlimactic. The verdict is in”.

61 scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project to produce the atomic bomb opposed its use on Japan or other population centers. They were told by Secretary of State Byrne that this was about Russia, not Japan. President Truman had made the decision to use the atomic bomb.

General Groves, who oversaw the Manhattan Project, wanted a target that had not had any previous bombardment.

The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were listed as a test until 1998.

President John Kennedy was determined to end the threat of nuclear war and end the cold war. He achieved back channel communication and cooperation of Khrushchev and the support of Pope John the 23rd in avoiding nuclear war over the Cuba and Berlin crises. Steps were to be taken to achieve non-aligned or neutral status of other nations.

Kennedy said he knew he was a marked man and feared a coup but was determined in his efforts.The military was pushing hard for a first strike nuclear attack on Russia. Kennedy’s service to humanity was at the cost of his life. He clearly indicated that he understood that.

The Israeli Defense minister recently cited the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as precedent for action Israel might take.  In the Desert Storm war, Israel had its nuclear missiles pointed at Iraq.

In a survey reported in 2012, 73% of Americans said they supported abolition of nuclear weapons. Asked a different question, 78% said nuclear weapons are necessary for security. But the reality is that nuclear weapons combine homicide and suicide in a single act. Humans are the only species that, at an accelerated pace, is fatally destroying its own nest and maintains the requisite circumstances for its own extermination. 

The continuing disaster of  Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima and all of the nuclear reactor accidents on record and the development and testing of nuclear weapons, as well as “normal operation” of nuclear reactors have resulted in broad spectrum illness, morbidity and genetic mutations. In 2003, the European Committee on Radiation Risk estimated that there were 123,000,000 cancers with 61,000,000 deaths from nuclear weapons testing.

U.S. nuclear missiles remain on hair trigger alert and the U.S. has historically  asserted a prerogative of first strike preemptive use under varying circumstances.

The U.S. remains determined to build a new uranium production facility at Oak Ridge with a capacity of 80 new nuclear warheads per year. For more on this:   For transportation to the August 8th event [from the Metro Detroit area]: Kim Joy Bergier:  Cell 248-515-2380.

Philip Berrigan subsumed all of the nuclear legacy in saying “I go to my death with the firm conviction that nuclear weapons are the scourge of the earth. To mine for them, manufacture them, deploy them, use them is a curse against God, the human family, and the earth itself.”

Vic Macks, Michigan Stop the Nuclear Bombs Campaign, Peace Action of Michigan, Alliance to Halt Fermi 3

Article by Vic Macks; posted by Art Myatt

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Fermi 3, Round 2

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has given DTE Electric (DTE) the license it needs in order to build Fermi 3. They plan to build this new nuclear reactor on the shore of Lake Erie adjacent to Fermi 2.

The Sierra Club along with the Alliance to Halt Fermi 3, Beyond Nuclear and other anti-nuclear groups, was opposed to this license. We delayed its issuance by more than 3 years. There are still open objections which should have been resolved before the NRC issued the license, but that part of the process is finished for practical purposes.

We're still opposed to Fermi 3. The grounds on which we continue to fight have now shifted to Michigan state government. In particular, DTE will need the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to issue a "Certificate of Need" for "Construction Work in Progress." Once they have it, DTE can put an extra charge on the electric bill of every customer to cover the cost of building the reactor.

That cost is already estimated to be in the range of $7 billion to $15 billion. That would translate to an average cost of thousands of dollars (over a decade or more) on every electric bill in the DTE service area. Customers would be forced to pay for many years before a single watt of electricity is generated. DTE could make a profit on construction even if the reactor is never finished and never generates any electricity.

You may have heard that DTE does not actually plan to build Fermi 3. Don't believe it for a minute. If you were not planning to build something, would you spend $100 million developing the plans?

$100 million is DTE's number, not something made up for effect. They have already applied to the MPSC for "compensation" for $100 million to be added to their rate base.

We need to convince our state officials, both the elected ones and the appointed ones, that Fermi 3 is a bad idea. The facts are on our side. There are better - faster, cheaper, cleaner and safer - ways to generate electrical power in Michigan. If $7 billion to $15 billion were spent on solar and wind generation plus conservation and efficiency measures, we the people of Michigan would be much better off.

To start with, new electricity would start coming on-line in the first year, not in 10 years or 15 years or never. The new electricity would come with no danger of a meltdown. There would be no spent fuel and other radioactive waste to dispose of. There would be nothing spent on fuel that comes from far out of state. Finally, there would more jobs installing and servicing solar panels and wind turbines than there would be in reactor construction.

The problem, from DTE's point of view, is there would be less opportunity for them to profit, and definitely no guaranteed profit. The question is, what is the priority for our state government? Is it the people of the state, or DTE shareholders? That's the question we should put to the governor, our state legislators, and the members of the MPSC.

DTE did not ask for our permission to spend $100 million planning to build Fermi 3. We should not be forced to compensate them for it. We should certainly not be forced to pay for construction of an obsolete, dirty, dangerous and expensive nuclear reactor when so many better alternatives are available.

We don't have DTE's paid lobbyists on our side. We do have the ability to write letters - to the editor, to legislators and to the MPSC. We do have the ability to talk to our state elected officials - in Lansing and in their districts. We have the ability to bring up this issue to city councils and county commissions, even if all they can do is pass a resolution. We can certainly hold our own educational meetings to make the public aware.

We had better do all of these things, and more. Act now or pay later.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Without Warning

Not a lot of people living near the corner of Michigan and Ohio see stopping Fermi 3 and shutting down Fermi 2 as a high priority. That's understandable. Neither the current operation of Fermi 2 nor the prospect of building Fermi 3 poses an immediate threat comparable to the immediacy of numerous other issues.

Tar sands, for instance, have brought us very visible piles of petroleum coke on the banks of the Detroit River. The Marathon refinery in southwest Detroit which produces petroleum coke also produces choking fumes rising from the basements of nearby houses because of toxic chemicals the refinery dumps into the sewers. It also produces the occasional fire, explosion and neighborhood evacuation.

Enbridge's tar sands pipeline dumped over a million gallons of diluted bitumen into the Kalamazoo River in 2010. As the components separated, the bitumen sunk to the bottom where much of it remains five years later. The more volatile chemicals of the mix evaporated, causing enough air pollution that people living near the river had to be evacuated.

Fracking also causes a host of immediate problems. Before fracking even begins, drilling sites are cleared and a steady stream of tanker trucks and construction equipment dominate roads around the sites for months. Multi-thousand horsepower pumps producing multi-thousand horsepower noise run for days on end. Cancer-causing fumes travel downwind; cancer-causing chemicals show up in nearby wells; millions of gallons of contaminated water must be disposed in injection wells. In case of flooding, this contaminated water ends up downstream, as it did from thousands of well sites in Colorado in 2014.

Fracking is also responsible for the oil coming out of North Dakota. This fracked oil is more volatile and more flammable than typical crude oil. It's generally shipped by long trains of tank cars. These have earned the title of "bomb trains." National Geographic recently published a mapo sillustrating the astounding increase in bomb train accidents; 143 in 2014, up from 9 in 2010. ( The worst so far killed 47 people in Lac-Megantic, Quebec.

Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) also cause intense and immediate problems. In North Carolina, a single spill from a sewage lagoon sent 25 million gallons of concentrated sewage into the nearby river. With widespread flooding, sewage lagoons containing months or years of waste from thousands of animals ended up downstream, resulting in "black tides" along the seacoast when it finally reached the ocean.

Just operating "normally," CAFOs expose everyone nearby and downwind to ammonia and other components af bad odor. We have plenty of CAFOs in Michigan and Ohio which you can visit if you doubt the odor problems.

The possibility of a nuclear reactor disaster just does not have the same sights, sounds and smells that put our brains and bodies on high alert for immediate danger.

It is true that back in 1966, the original Fermi reactor experienced a fuel meltdown. This turned out to be a kind of partial and contained meltdown. Several hundred million dollars (1966 dollars, not todays much less valuable dollars) worth of rquipment was wrecked, but no evacuation was required. Many people living nearby did not even know it happened. There were more important things to worry about, such as being drafted to fight in Vietnam.

Today, Fermi 2 just sits there, producing electricity when it is not shut down because of one failed part or another. The cancer rate in the area has increased considerably since 1966, but that just quietly takes out one person at a time, and it is impossible to say which particular case of cancer came from radiation and which came from some toxic chemical. There's not much going on that would alert the whole community, and the authorities tell us there is nothing to worry about in any case.

For "Fermi 2," substitute the words "Chernobyl" or "Fukushima" and the above paragraph would be an accurate description of life around Chernobyl or Fukushima before those infamous disasters. Well, the worst did happen there, without a lot of warning. It can happen here.

Unfortunately, we have nothing but our intelligence to warn us. But fortunately, we do have our intelligence to warn us. It's up to each of us to listen to the warning, and act on it.

It's too late to prevent the meltdowns at Chernobyl and Fukushima. It is too late to prevent the meltdown of Fermi 1. It is not too late to prevent more meltdowns in Monroe, Michigan. Fermi 3 does not have to be built. Fermi 2 can be shut down (it has been shut down many times) and it can be dismantled. That's the only way we lill ever be safe from a local meltdown. If there is one, it's not hundreds or thousands of people who will need to be evacuated; it's at least hundreds of thousands; it could be millions. (About 5 million people live within 50 miles of Fermi.)

It's not fair, but that's the way the world is. We have to deal with tar sands and fracking and CAFOs and meltdowns and more (even an occasional personal issue) all at the same time. They are all important, and we can't just pick one and focus on that. If you do, you're setting yourself up to be blindsided.

Friday, May 1, 2015

DTE Doubles Down on Danger of Disaster

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued the final operating license that DTE Electric (DTE) needs in order to build Fermi 3, a new nuclear rector. They plan to build it on the shore of Lake Erie adjacent to Fermi 2, the world's largest example of a Fukushima-type reactor. Fermi 2 was already built next to the site of Fermi 1, DTE's first reactor which melted down in 1966. DTE is planning to double down on the risk of another meltdown.

The NRC, according to the law which created it, is supposed "to ensure the safe use of radioactive materials for beneficial civilian purposes while protecting people and the environment." We could count many ways in which they have failed, but the main failure is that they invent ways to justify building commercial nuclear reactors at all. They insist that commercial nuclear reactors are safe. Let's examine that claim.

In round figures, around less than 500 large nuclear power reactors have been built world-wide. Of these, one at Chernobyl and three at Fukushima have experienced meltdowns resulting in gross contamination of the surrounding areas. In the United States, the less catastrophic meltdowns at Fermi 1 and Three Mile Island are well known. These events both resulted in wrecked reactor cores and permanent decommissioning. Substantially the same was true of the Saint-Laurent Nuclear Power Plant in France in 1969 and the KS 150 reactor in Czechoslovakia in 1977 (the year of the most serious incident).

That gives us 8 meltdowns (so far) of varying severity out of less than 500 commercial reactors. That's an actual failure rate of well over 1%. If you only look at the two spectacular failures in the United States' reactors, out of a base of just over 100, then the US rate is closer to 2% than 1%. This reality shows the deception involved in official reassurances that nuclear power is safe because the chances of a catastrophic failure are calculated (by the NRC) to be vanishingly small. Apparently, there is something wrong with their calculator.

There have also been numerous meltdowns in smaller military and experimental reactors:  The NRX reactor at Chalk River, Canada, in 1952; the Windscale Piles in the UK in 1957; Chapelcross, in south west Scotland in 1967; The Lucens reactor at Lucens, Vaud, Switzerland, in 1969. And and there have also been meltdowns for a number of nuclear submarines - a sunken submarine is beyond anyone's control.

The actual odds of a catastrophic failure at Fermi 2 are already unacceptably high. If Fermi 3 is built on the same site, then any disaster at the new reactor makes it harder to control the old one. Any disaster at #2 will make it harder to control #3. Any big release of radioactive material from one reactor will heavily contaminate the entire site (and beyond), making it very difficult or impossible to operate the other reactor. That's how DTE is doubling down on the risk of disaster.

While we (Alliance to Halt Fermi 3 and other organizations) lost our fight to keep the NRC from granting a license for Fermi 3, that does not mean we are finished. The fight now moves into the arena of the Michigan Public Service Commission and Michigan state government generally. We need to convince our state officials, both the elected ones and the appointed ones, that Fermi 3 is a bad idea. There are better - faster, cheaper, cleaner and safer - ways to generate electrical power in Michigan.

DTE could make a profit from building Fermi 3, even if it never generates any power. If the Public Service Commission grants DTE a "Certificate of Need" for Fermi 3, the construction costs get added to our electrical bills. We, the people of Michigan, can't afford the cost or the risk. We don't want Fermi 3. We don't need it. We do need to persuade our state officials to represent us instead of DTE on this issue.

It's time for a lot of us to speak up:  letters to legislators and editors; guest editorials on all kinds of media; tweets; Facebook posts; speaking up at any relevant meeting, from city council to legislative session; and any other way you can think of to get the message across. Just say no to Fermi 3.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Michigan in the Solutions Project

Using only existing known technology, Michigan can transition to 100% wind, water and solar energy for all purposes (electricity, transportation, heating/cooling and industry) by 2050. That's the message from Prof. Mark Jacobson of Stanford University. The obstacles are purely political.

By this plan, Michigan's projected 2050 energy mix would be:
  • 40% Onshore wind turbines
  • 31% Offshore wind turbines
  • 18.8% Solar panel plants (utility-scale solar farms)
  • 3.5% Residential rooftop solar panels
  • 3.2% Commercial and government rooftop solar panels
  • 2% Concentrated solar power plants (utility-scale thermal from sunlight)
  • 1% Wave devices
  • 0.5% Conventional hydroelectric
The number of jobs created where a person is employed for 40 consecutive years would be 178,200; 108,700 in construction and 69,500 in operation.

Using wind, water and solar electricity for everything instead of burning fuel and improving energy efficiency means that much less energy is needed. Instead of 100 units of energy used today, only 36 units would be needed in 2050. Part of this comes from the greater efficiency of electric motors over gasoline and diesel motors. Part of it comes from better-insulated buildings and direct use of solar heat. Using less energy obviously saves money.

Other savings come from death and illness avoided because the pollution associated with burning fossil fuels would be avoided. The savings due to illness would amount to 4% of the state's “Gross Domestic Product,” in economic terminology. 1,740 deaths from air pollution would be avoided. The plan pays for itself in as little as 11 years from air pollution and climate cost savings. The new energy generators would have a direct footprint of 0.37% of Michigan's land, plus another 4.97%, mostly for adequate spacing between wind towers. The spaces between can still be used for farming.

Future energy costs in the period 2020-2030 are projected to be:
  • Average fossil fuel/nuclear energy costs = 20.1 cents per Kilowatt-hour.
  • Health and climate costs of fossil fuels add 5.7 cents per Kilowatt-hour.
  • Wind, water and solar average electricity = 6.2 cents per Kilowatt-hour.

The annual energy, health and climate savings per person in 2050 = $8000.
The annual savings on energy alone per person in 2050 = $5000.

All the above information comes from

Now, we all know that when 2050 rolls around, reality will not turn out to be exactly as described above. Reality today does not conform to the plans anybody made 35 years ago, and reality in 35 years is not going to conform exactly to the plans that anyone has today. 

The point is, it's technically and scientifically possible for our society to thrive without using the fossil fuels and nuclear power as it does today. The goal is feasible, and there are numerous reasons we ought to be moving in that direction.

To repeat - the obstacles are political. Altogether too many of our political and cultural leaders are trying to lead us in into an unsustainable future. Fossil fuels and nuclear fuels are getting ever harder to find and more expensive. A large and growing part of the expense is the pollution, both chemical and radioactive, that follows their use. No matter how often they say, "Jobs! Security! Economy!" there are no jobs, no security and no economy on a dead planet.

We need to learn how to say "Jobs! Security! Economy! And Sustainability!"  even louder, while we point in the direction of a clean energy future. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Michigan's Energy Future At A Crossroads

Written by Keith Gunter; posted by Art Myatt

Just after the fourth anniversary of the ongoing catastrophe at Fukushima in Japan on March 11, here in Michigan we stand at a pivotal moment in the direction of our state's energy future.  Although we are half a world apart from Japan, on closer examination we're really too close for comfort.

DTE Energy's Fermi-2 nuclear plant continues to operate just 30 miles from here (and the utility is seeking to extend Fermi-2's license from 40 to 60 years).  It has the same, documented, flawed containment design that failed so spectacularly on global media in March 2011.  It has been a major source of controversy in industry circles for decades.

Yet at the same time, DTE is now at the precipice of receiving approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for the construction and operation of a Fermi-3, which if built would be the largest single nuclear reactor in the world, right next to Fermi-2.  Cost projections are climbing towards $20 billion, and completion of a Fermi-3 will not be achieved without major federal subsidies in the billions, plus Construction Work In Progress (CWIP, translated billing the customer in advance with the approval of the Michigan Public Service Commission, MPSC).  DTE's 1500-plus megawatt Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor would be the first of its kind built anywhere.  It would require more concrete than to build the Pentagon, hardly a carbon-free operation.

Those who will remember will recall that Detroit Edison's Fermi-1 (also a prototype) suffered a partial meltdown on October 5, 1966, chronicled in John Fuller's excellent book, "We Almost Lost Detroit."

So as new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations are mandating the shutdown of coal-fired power plants around the state and the country, we stand at an energy crossroads.  After decades of pursuing the nuclear option at the direction of the "experts" and multi-million dollar ad campaigns with no solutions for permanent waste storage in sight, ever-multiplying reactor safety issues and construction price tags reaching into the stratosphere, at what point do we say "Yes!" in a big way to wind, solar, energy efficiency and conservation and green jobs?

Especially when electrical demand projections by independent analysts agree that electricity from Fermi-3 isn't needed.  Especially when there's some 650 tons of intensely radiated fuel (the most radioactive material on the planet) in Fermi-2's jammed storage pool with no national repository.  Especially when we come to the collective realization that safe, clean, "too cheap to meter" nuclear power has been a government/industry financed mirage all along?

Massachusetts Institute of Technology has estimated that global nuclear plant construction would have to triple to even begin to mitigate the effects of climate change with nuclear power.

But if DTE and the NRC go ahead with their choreographed power tangos for Fermi-3 and Fermi-2, challenges await them emanating from the public square---questioning the Certificate of Need for Fermi-3, and the 20-year license extension for Fermi-2.

From the public square, Albert Einstein once said, should come America's voice about nukes.

Keith Gunter of Livonia is co-chair of Alliance To Halt Fermi-3, a union of concerned citizens and 18 member and endorsing organizations opposed to the construction of a third Fermi nuclear plant near Monroe and in favor of the shutdown of the existing Fermi-2.

This op-ed was originally published Thursday, March 19, 2015 in the Livonia Observer.
The Monroe News has requested permission (which has been granted) from the Observer to reprint this op-ed.

Postscript from Co-Chair Keith Gunter:

On the very day of the publication of this op-ed in the Livonia Observer, Tokyo Electric Power Company (owner and operator of the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear complex) admitted that the entire reactor core of its Unit-1 nuclear plant has melted down, location unknown.  We are truly in the realm of the nuclear unknown.  We'll have to await and see whether the very worst "China Syndrome" scenario comes to pass.......