The GE Stockholders’ Alliance (GESA) believes the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant meltdowns, explosions and continuing dispersal of radioactive waste could have been prevented if design deficiencies of the GE Mark I reactors, recognized in the early 1970s, would have been acted upon, instead of ignored.

A stockholder proposal submitted by the GE Stockholders’ Alliance (GESA) is on the agenda for the General Electric annual meeting, to be held 10 am EDT April 25, 2012 at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, in Detroit, MI. The GESA is particularly alarmed that 23 of the same aging GE Mark I reactors are currently operating in the U.S. All but one has received a 20-year license extension from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The only exception, the Fermi 2 atomic reactor located 35 miles south of Detroit in Frenchtown Township near Monroe, is expected to apply for an extension in 2014. Almost all the Mark Is have also been granted “power uprates,” meaning they are being run harder and hotter than originally designed, despite their age-related degradation.

Also of great concern to the GESA are the irradiated fuel rods that are unsafely stored at each reactor, for an indefinite duration, in an unprotected elevated fuel pool. The pools have been repeatedly re-racked to accommodate far more fuel rods than in the original design. Many U.S. GE BWR Mark I high-level radioactive waste storage pools hold more irradiated nuclear fuel than does the high-risk Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 pool in Japan.

Representing the GESA at the Detroit meeting will be two safe energy advocates: Kevin Kamps and Michael Keegan.

Kevin Kamps is the Radioactive Waste Watchdog of Beyond Nuclear, based in Takoma Park, MD ( In response to the Japanese nuclear catastrophe, Beyond Nuclear immediately launched a campaign, entitled “Freeze Our Fukushimas,” urging the shutdown of all 23 of the nation’s GE Mark I reactors.

Michael Keegan of Monroe, MI is a member of the board of directors of Don’t Waste Michigan, and is chairman of the Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes. Michigan environmental organizations have long been protesting the continued operation of the Fermi 2 reactor near Detroit, the largest GE Mark I reactor ever built.

There is now growing opposition to the proposed construction at the Fermi nuclear complex of a newly-designed General Electric-Hitachi so-called Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR). The ESBWR design is under consideration for approval by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

“The high-level radioactive waste storage pool at Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 is at precarious risk of failure, which would lead to a fire and catastrophic radioactivity release even worse than what has already occurred, due to the lack of radiological containment over the pool,” said Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear. “But the Fermi 2 pool contains far more high-level radioactive waste than Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4 put together, and is itself an accident waiting to happen. With the loss of ability to circulate water, the Fermi 2 irradiated nuclear fuel pool could begin to boil off in 4.2 hours.” [Please see upper right corner search for ML993440109 and ML072360053]

“The potential of a cataclysmic accident at an untested General Electric-Hitachi ESBWR design is always there. The next greatest immediate impacts are costs associated with the loss of opportunity to move toward renewable and energy efficiency,” said Michael Keegan of Don’t Waste Michigan. “With the cost of Fermi 3 now projected at $15 billion, and the potential of skyrocketing cost overruns, we can either go nuclear, or pursue the promise of efficiency and renewables, but we can’t do both,” he added. “To lock the state of Michigan into pursuit of the proposed Fermi 3 is a colossal travesty,” concluded Michael Keegan of Don’t Waste Michigan.

Reporters and the public can watch the GE Annual Meeting during a live webcast at 10 am EDT on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at GE Investors