Nuclear Energy

Anti-nuclear activists mark Fermi 1 incident

Michael Keegan of Monroe, a member of the Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes, was the rally organizer for the event at the Loranger Pavilion. Credit: The Blade/Jetta Fraser

Michael Keegan of Monroe, a member of the Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes, was the rally organizer for the event at the Loranger Pavilion. Credit: The Blade/Jetta Fraser

MONROE, MI — “Anti-nuclear activists marked the 50th anniversary of Fermi 1’s partial meltdown Wednesday with a peaceful rally at downtown Monroe’s Loranger Square Pavilion, during which they called for America to embrace more renewable energy and support efforts to safeguard the public from radiation exposure.

Area residents stopped by to pick up literature, listen to music, and chat. Three or four classes of journalism and English students from nearby Monroe Middle School, each with about 25 students, came by and used the event for a writing exercise, said rally organizer Michael Keegan of Don’t Waste Michigan.

Mr. Keegan said the commemoration was meant to inspire proactive discussions about future energy production, not just dwell on the near-catastrophic event that was reported to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office at precisely 3:09 p.m. Oct. 5, 1966.

Fermi 1, which is on the same site as DTE Energy’s operating Fermi 2 nuclear plant, was an experimental breeder reactor built during nuclear power’s fledgling era.

It operated from 1963 to 1966, when a blocked coolant line caused a partial fuel meltdown.

The event was America’s third nuclear accident, many of which the public knew little about until the much higher-profile half-core meltdown of Three Mile Island Unit 2 near Harrisburg, Pa., said David Lochbaum, nuclear safety engineer for the Cambridge, Mass.-based Union of Concerned Scientists.”

— Tom Henry, The Blade

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