April 18, 2022

Earth Day Speaker Will Explore Fermi 2 Dangers

Focus Series

Part of program will discuss small-modular reactors

Jesse Deer
Jesse Deer In Water

Jesse Deer In Water, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and a leader in CRAFT: Citizen Resistance at Fermi Two, will be the guest speaker as the Schoolcraft College International Institute’s Focus Series presents “Dangers of FERMI: The Day We Almost Lost Detroit” on Thursday, April 21.

CRAFT is a grassroots, Indigenous-led environmental activism group focused on protecting the Great Lakes. The Fermi 2 Power Plant, on the shore of Lake Erie in Newport, Michigan, supplies 20 percent of the power generated by DTE Energy.

A key focus of Jesse Deer In Water’s presentation will be the dangers of small-modular reactors, sometimes called “breeder” reactors because they produce more fuel than they consume. This is the same type of reactor that was used in Fermi 1, which suffered a partial meltdown in October of 1966 that prompted more scrutiny of the safety of nuclear power plants. Fermi 1 was permanently shut down in 1972.

“Fermi 1 had a small-modular reactor, which is the same technology that’s being pushed as new and a safe technology,” Jesse Deer In Water said. “That’s a total misconception. I’ll explain how small-modular reactors are potentially more dangerous because the fuel is enriched to a higher level, which means more heat and more waste. Plus, these plants themselves are smaller and less stable, which can lead to more problems if there’s a meltdown.”

Fermi 1 plant
The Fermi 1 plant had a partial meltdown in 1966.

“We’ll also talk about the solutions and what it’s going to take to replace facilities like Fermi 2 and to prevent small-module reactors from coming to our cities.”

Jesse Deer In Water, who lives in Redford, works both from the bottom up and the top down to build coalitions and understanding across the area, state and country.

“The burden of proof is on us as citizens, even though we have much less resources compared with energy companies and commissions,” he said. “We have to take things into our own hands because there’s no accountability.”

Watch a video interview with Jesse Deer In Water.

The presentation will be held from 2:30-3:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 21. You can join the Zoom meeting here. The Meeting ID is 870 6670 0492.

The event is sponsored by the Department of Sociology, the Native American Student Organization, and the Student Activities Office.

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