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  • Protecting Public Assets | PennPIRG
    agreement ought to look like please see the open letter that we released earlier this week with other consumer and environmental groups Keep Reading News Release U S PIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection Make VW Pay Leading Groups Send Criteria for Evaluating VW Settlement Four leading consumer environmental and public health organizations wrote an open letter in advance of the April 21 st deadline set by U S District Judge Charles R Breyer for a proposal that deals with Volkswagen s emission scandal Keep Reading News Release U S PIRG Consumer Protection The Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule for Investment Advice U S PIRG federal legislative director Jerry Slominski on The Release of the Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule for Investment Advice Keep Reading News Release U S PIRG Consumer Protection Financial Reform More Than 100 Groups Insist on No Riders in Spending Legislation The day before the White House is expected to release its fiscal year 2017 budget proposal a coalition of more than 100 groups including U S PIRG sent a letter calling on President Barack Obama and all 535 members of Congress to oppose any federal appropriations bill that contains ideological policy riders Keep Reading Media Hit Transportation 12 of America s Biggest Highway Boondoggles Given that expanding highways at great public cost doesn t improve rush hour traffic there are better ways to spend this money argue report authors Jeff Inglis of Frontier Group and John C Olivieri of U S PIRG They identify a dozen road projects costing 24 billion in all that are representative of the problem Keep Reading Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next last Report PennPIRG Education Fund Transportation Highway Boondoggles 2 Twelve proposed highway projects across the country slated to cost at least 24 billion exemplify the need for a fresh approach to transportation spending Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection Trouble in Toyland For 30 years PennPIRG Education Fund has conducted an annual survey of toy safety which has led to over 150 recalls and other regulatory actions over the years and has helped educate the public and policymakers on the need for continued action to protect the health and wellbeing of children Keep Reading Report US PIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection Mortgages and Mortgage Complaints Our sixth report analyzing complaints in the CFPB s Public Consumer Complaint Database evaluates mortgage complaints the number one source of complaints to the CFPB totaling 38 of nearly 500 000 complaints posted since 2011 Keep Reading Report PENNPIRG Education Fund Budget Following the Money 2015 Every year state governments spend hundreds of billions of dollars through contracts for goods and services subsidies to encourage economic development and other expenditures Accountability and public scrutiny are necessary to ensure that the public can trust that state funds are spent as well as possible Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund Transportation The Innovative Transportation Index This report reviews the availability of 11 technology enabled transportation services including online ridesourcing

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/issues/pap/protecting-public-assets (2016-04-27)
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  • All Issues | PennPIRG
    things that serve the public good yet we re handing out taxpayer subsidies to big agribusinesses to help subsidize junk food Read more about Stop Subsidizing Obesity Issue Stop The Overuse Of Antibiotics on Factory Farms The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least 23 000 Americans die every year from antibiotic resistant bacteria and warns that the widespread overuse of antibiotics on factory farms is putting our health at risk Read more about Stop The Overuse Of Antibiotics on Factory Farms Issue Consumer Protection Solid Waste Toxic Free Communities Read more about Toxic Free Communities Pages first previous 1 2 Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics Campaign for Safe Energy Democracy For The People Stop the Highway Boondoggles Close Corporate Tax Loopholes Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Label GMO Foods Reining in Wall Street Act Now Jobs Donate Newsroom Resources Reports Get our RSS feed Our Affiliates Our Sister c 3 Are you a student Our Federation Featured Position PennPIRG Internship Work on some of the hottest political issues of the day from fighting the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms to promoting campaign finance reform and tackling Citizens United improving

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/issues?page=1 (2016-04-27)
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  • Nuclear Power Threatens PA Drinking Water | PennPIRG
    in Fukushima can contaminate drinking water and food supplies as well as harm human health But disaster or no disaster a common leak at a nuclear power plant can also threaten the drinking water for millions of people As nuclear facilities get older leaks are more common In fact 75 percent of U S nuclear plants have leaked tritium a radioactive form of hydrogen that can cause cancer and genetic defects Local bodies of water also play a critical role in cooling nuclear reactors and are at risk of contamination In the case of the Fukushima meltdown large quantities of seawater were pumped into the plant to cool it and contaminated seawater was then dumped back into the ocean carrying radioactivity from the plant with it The Schuylkill River provides cooling water for the Limerick nuclear plant about 20 miles northwest of Philadelphia and could be at risk Meanwhile the Susquehanna River provides cooling water for three other nuclear power plants in the state Peach Bottom Susquehanna and Three Mile Island With nuclear power there s too much at risk and the dangers are too close to home Pennsylvanians shouldn t have to worry about getting cancer from drinking a glass of water said Miller The report recommends that the United States moves to a future without nuclear power by retiring existing plants abandoning plans for new plants and expanding energy efficiency and the production clean renewable energy such as wind and solar power In order to reduce the risks nuclear power poses to water supplies immediately the report recommends completing a thorough safety review of U S nuclear power plants requiring plant operators to implement recommended changes immediately and requiring nuclear plant operators to implement regular groundwater tests in order to catch tritium leaks among other actions The Pennsylvania

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/pap/nuclear-power-threatens-pa-drinking-water (2016-04-27)
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  • Too Close to Home | PennPIRG
    Iitate 28 miles from the plant kept a warning in place regarding drinking water consumption through May 10 A large amount of radioactive water escaped into the ocean through leaks and the dumping of 11 500 tons of seawater that was used to cool the reactor during the emergency According to data from the U S Environmental Protection Agency Americans in 35 states drink water from sources within 50 miles of nuclear power plants New York has the most residents drawing their drinking water from sources near power plants with the residents of New York City and its environs making up most of the total Pennsylvania has the second most including residents of Philadelphia Pittsburgh and Harrisburg The Indian Point plant in New York is close to the water supplies of the greatest number of people 11 million New York Connecticut and New Jersey residents drink water from sources near the plant Twenty one different nuclear plants sit within 50 miles of the drinking water sources serving more than 1 million people Of these plants six share the same General Electric Mark I design as the crippled reactors at Fukushima A total of 12 million Americans draw their drinking water from sources within 12 4 miles 20 km of a nuclear plant All land within 20 km of the Fukushima Daiichi plant has been mandatorily evacuated to protect the public from exposure to radiation Some areas within and even outside that radius may remain uninhabitable for decades Major cities including New York Boston Philadelphia San Diego Cleveland and Detroit receive their drinking water from sources within 50 miles of a nuclear plant New York City receives its drinking water from within 20 km of the Indian Point nuclear station Water contamination is not only a threat in the event of a major nuclear accident 75 percent of U S nuclear plants have leaked tritium a radioactive form of hydrogen that can cause cancer and genetic defects Tritium can contaminate groundwater and drinking water and has been found at levels exceeding federal drinking water standards near U S nuclear power plants A tritium leak from the spent fuel pool at New York s Indian Point Energy Center discovered in 2005 went undetected long enough for radioactive water to reach the Hudson River Tritium leaking from underground pipes at Braidwood Nuclear Generating Station in Illinois reached nearby drinking water wells the leak was discovered in fall 2005 The Fukushima nuclear reactor used seawater as a source of emergency cooling for the stricken reactors with large releases of radioactivity to the Pacific Ocean U S nuclear reactors draw their cooling water from a variety of important waterways including The Atlantic and Pacific oceans and the Gulf of Mexico Three of the five Great Lakes Michigan Erie and Ontario Key inland waterways such as the Mississippi Ohio Delaware Columbia Susquehanna and Missouri rivers The inherent risks posed by nuclear power suggest that the United States should move to a future without nuclear power The

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/reports/pap/too-close-home (2016-04-27)
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  • Tragedy in Japan a Terrifying Reminder of the Risks of Nuclear Power | PennPIRG
    could lead to a problem at any one of the reactors here in the United States There are countless combinations of acts of nature or man including hurricanes in the South ice storms in the Northeast tornadoes in the Midwest a terrorist attack human error or unexpected mechanical failure that could fuel a crisis at any nuclear reactor in the United States Twenty three nuclear reactors in the United States are the exact same design as the Fukushima plant Experts have criticized the ability of this reactor design to contain a disaster More than half of U S reactors have been in operation for longer than 30 years The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has extended the operating licenses of 59 U S reactors beyond the original planned lifetime of the facilities Some nuclear reactors are located at sea level particularly those on the East Coast such as Indian Point on the Hudson River north of New York City Seabrook Station in New Hampshire and Turkey Point outside of Miami Florida While these facilities have defenses against flooding it is conceivable that a large tsunami or hurricane driven storm surge could damage the plants If such an event coincided with a power outage or other risk factor the odds of a crisis developing would increase What planners can t predict they can t prepare for Because it is impossible to plan for every imaginable contingency it is impossible to build a fail proof nuclear reactor The consequences of nuclear accidents can be dire There is no known safe level of exposure to radiation which can cause health problems from nausea to cancer Even after a nuclear power plant shuts down spent fuel remains There is no safe and permanent storage solution for spent fuel which remains radioactive for tens of thousands of

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/pap/tragedy-japan-terrifying-reminder-risks-nuclear-power (2016-04-27)
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  • Unacceptable Risk | PennPIRG
    damage to the plant s control rods creating the conditions for rapid overheating of the reactor core and possible release of radiation In 1996 critical systems at a reactor at Catawba Nuclear Station in South Carolina were without power for several hours when the plant lost outside power at the same time that one of its emergency generators was out of service for maintenance In 1994 workers accidentally allowed 9 200 gallons of coolant to drain from the core of a reactor at Wolf Creek nuclear power plant in Kansas The plant s operators estimated that the condition had it persisted for five more minutes could have led to the plant s fuel rods being exposed and put at risk of overheating In 1991 valves and drain lines in an emergency shutdown system failed at the Shearon Harris nuclear power plant in North Carolina Had an emergency occurred during that failure the plant may not have been able to be shut down safely At least one out of every four U S nuclear reactors 27 out of 104 have leaked tritium a cancer causing radioactive form of hydrogen into groundwater Among the accidental releases of radioactive material from U S nuclear power plants in the past decade are The leakage of radioactive material into groundwater at New Jersey s Salem nuclear power plant a leak that was discovered in 2002 after it had already been going on for five years Subsequently a similar leak of tritium was discovered at New Jersey s Oyster Creek power plant just one week after the plant received a 20 year license extension The leakage of radioactive tritium into groundwater at the Braidwood Nuclear Generating Station in Illinois The leakage of both tritium and radioactive strontium from the spent fuel pools at the Indian Point Energy Center in New York which are located just 400 feet from the Hudson River The discovery of tritium in groundwater near the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant even though the plant s owner Entergy had stated several times in sworn testimony that the plant had no subterranean pipes capable of leaking radioactive material In recent years American nuclear power plants have frequently been forced to rely on safety systems to react to unexpected events However these safety systems often fail to work as expected Safety systems are the emergency diesel generators and emergency cooling systems that activate if the reactor loses power or needs to shut down rapidly In 2009 approximately 70 failures in key safety systems were found at U S nuclear reactors That same year U S reactors were required to activate safety systems approximately 24 times Should these two types of events overlap at the same facility a serious problem could result To protect the public from the inherent dangers of nuclear power the United States should take a time out on nuclear relicensing and construction until safety problems at nuclear plants are fully addressed and move away from nuclear power as a major source of

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/reports/pap/unacceptable-risk (2016-04-27)
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  • The High Cost of Nuclear Power | PennPIRG
    a new nuclear reactor reaching as high as 13 billion for a single reactor Many regulated utilities working to build new nuclear capacity are charging customers up front to finance reactor construction with no guarantee of final cost or even a guarantee that the plant will ever deliver electricity at all For example Florida regulators are allowing Progress Energy to start billing customers in 2009 for the planning development and construction of two nuclear power plants that will not begin delivering electricity until 2016 at the earliest As construction proceeds residential customers could end up paying as much as 25 more a month to finance the nuclear reactors Other utilities planning advance charges include Georgia Power South Carolina Electric Gas Santee Cooper in South Carolina and Ameren in Missouri Investing in clean energy solutions rather than a fleet of new nuclear power plants would yield greater benefits for America The United States has vast clean energy resources The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy composed of some of the nation s leading experts on energy efficiency estimates that the United States could cost effectively reduce its overall energy consumption by 25 to 30 percent or more over the next 20 to 25 years Progress at this level would ensure that America uses less energy several decades from now than we do today even as our economy grows At the same time America s entire electricity needs could be met by the wind blowing across the Great Plains or the sunlight falling on a 100 mile square patch of the desert Southwest or a tiny fraction of the natural heat just beneath the surface of the earth anywhere across the country Directing 300 billion into energy efficiency could eliminate growth in America s electricity consumption through 2030 and save consumers more than 600 billion Energy savings in 2030 would be equivalent to the output of more than 80 nuclear reactors Alternatively 300 billion could buy enough wind turbines to supply on the order of 10 percent of America s projected electricity needs in 2030 equivalent to the output of more than 40 nuclear reactors Research by the European Renewable Energy Council shows that clean energy resources in the United States could deliver substantial pollution reductions at half the cost and with twice the job creation that could be achieved with nuclear power and fossil energy sources Clean energy solutions are able to meet demand for electricity in small modular amounts posing far less financial risk than new nuclear power plants The 2008 meltdown of the U S financial system and the ensuing economic crisis could retard growth in demand for electricity As a result the demand a nuclear power plant is meant to serve may not materialize And since nuclear power plants are large and inflexible this possibility poses a serious financial risk for any utility considering a new nuclear power plant and its customers Construction of a nuclear power plant cannot be halted halfway to get half of the

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/reports/pap/high-cost-nuclear-power (2016-04-27)
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  • Campaign for Safe Energy Updates | PennPIRG
    the Risks of Nuclear Power Philadelphia PA Mar 16 Statement of PennPIRG State Director Megan DeSmedt in response to the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Read more about Tragedy in Japan a Terrifying Reminder of the Risks of Nuclear Power Report PennPIRG Education Fund Safe Energy Unacceptable Risk As the eyes of the world have focused on the nuclear crisis in Fukushima Japan Americans have begun to raise questions about the safety of nuclear power plants in the United States American nuclear power plants are not immune to the types of natural disasters mechanical failures human errors and losses of critical electric power supplies that have characterized major nuclear accidents such as the one at Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan Indeed at several points over the last 20 years American nuclear power plants have experienced close calls that could have led to damage to the reactor core and the subsequent release of large amounts of radiation Read more about Unacceptable Risk Report PennPIRG Education Fund Safe Energy The High Cost of Nuclear Power Nuclear power is among the most costly approaches to solving America s energy problems Per dollar of investment clean energy solutions such as energy efficiency and renewable resources deliver far more energy than nuclear power Read more about The High Cost of Nuclear Power Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics Campaign for Safe Energy Democracy For The People Stop the Highway Boondoggles Close Corporate Tax Loopholes Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Label GMO Foods Reining in Wall Street Act Now Jobs Donate Newsroom Resources Reports Get our RSS feed Our Affiliates Our Sister c 3 Are you a student Our Federation Featured Position PennPIRG Internship Work on some of the hottest political issues of the day from

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/node/187/content (2016-04-27)
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