overactive bladder treatment

 

 

CCAM NEWS 2006

Connecticut Coalition Against the Millstone Nuclear Power Reactor

Blumenthal Intercedes In Whistleblower Case
Millstone Worker Raised Concerns About Security

By Patricia Daddona
2/28/2006 in Region

Clich Here For More pictures

Waterford –– State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has interceded in the case of a whistleblower who raised security concerns last year at the Millstone nuclear complex and then lost his job.
Sham Mehta of East Lyme has been employed for eight years at Millstone Power Station as a supervisor in the Employee Concerns Program. As a senior employee concerns representative, he is responsible for reporting safety and security concerns to superiors.
His employer, Dominion Nuclear Connecticut, purchased the Millstone complex from Northeast Utilities in 2001.
On Dec. 20, Mehta filed a complaint with the state Department of Public Utility Control, alleging Dominion retaliated against him after he raised serious safety and security issues regarding Millstone's “intrusion detection system.”
Dominion spokesman Pete Hyde refused to discuss the issues Mehta reported.
“At the station, we have a very strong Employee Concerns Program,” Hyde said. “We investigated (Mehta's) concerns, which I'm not going to go into because they're security-based, and we don't agree with the conclusions that he brought forward.”
Blumenthal said Monday that he met with Mehta last week and believes the worker is “clearly a whistleblower who has been a victim of retaliation,” regardless of whether Mehta's concerns are proved valid.
Mehta's “clearly articulated concern was the security of the site, which is fundamental to public safety,” Blumenthal said. “We discussed his concerns at length and he seems to have raised them in a very responsible way. He was not in any manner defying authority or unnecessarily alarming anyone. His concerns seem to be both legitimate and significant.”
Blumenthal declined to detail his involvement in Mehta's case or discuss the specific security issues Mehta raised. He said he still is investigating the facts of the case.
According to a Feb. 1 ruling from the prosecutorial arm of the DPUC, Mehta first reported his concerns to a manager after another employee pointed them out. Dissatisfied with the response, Mehta reported the matter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's on-site inspector.
Dominion forced Mehta to reapply for his job, rejected him for other posts, temporarily revoked his security clearances and on Jan. 31 fired him, according to the DPUC.
Retaliation against an employee by a company licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is illegal, according to state law.
The DPUC prosecutor found that Mehta suffered “adverse employment action” within a year of reporting his safety concerns, and consequently was entitled to be immediately reinstated to his job until the agency can investigate and rule on his complaint.
According to documents filed by Mehta's lawyer, Henry F. Murray of the firm Livingston, Adler, Pulda, Meiklejohn & Kelly of Hartford, Dominion said in a Feb. 9 letter that the company would not return Mehta to his post or an equivalent one. Murray contends the company's refusal to act also is a violation of state law.
NRC Region 1 spokeswoman Diana Screnci said she could neither confirm nor deny whether Mehta has complained to the NRC because the agency is obligated to protect whistleblowers. The agency investigates complaints brought to its attention, she said.
“If someone were to tell us afterward that they were discriminated against for raising that concern, we would look into it,” she said, “and we could take action against the company” if those concerns are verified.


Millstone Deliberately Deactivates Perimeter Security

State lawyers who reviewed the case concluded in a Feb. 1 internal memo that Mehta ''did suffer an adverse employment action within a year of his reporting his safety concerns" and that ''this establishes sufficient grounds to establish the rebuttable presumption that Mr. Mehta was retaliated against."
They recommended that Mehta's allegations be fully investigated and that he be reinstated.
Dominion is opposing efforts to reinstate Mehta, contending his position has been downsized. The plant's lawyer, David W. Bogan, argued in papers filed to the state that ''Mr. Mehta failed to meet his burden to provide facts and supporting evidence" that he was punished for his safety concerns, while ''Dominion provided clear and convincing evidence that its actions were taken for reasons unconnected" to Mehta's safety complaints.
But the company declined to discuss the specific allegations, citing security concerns.
''We have investigated every one of the allegations he has brought forward, and we simply disagree with his findings," said Peter A. Hyde, a Millstone spokesman. He later declined to say whether he was referring to the security concerns or Mehta's contention that he was wrongly relieved of his duties.
The NRC's regional office near Philadelphia said it, too, cannot discuss security-related matters, but spokesman Neil Sheehan said security complaints are usually forwarded to the Office of Investigations. If found to have merit, ''We could take enforcement action against the company, or we could refer the matter to the Department of Justice for their review."
The NRC is currently drafting new rules for nuclear-plant security based on guidelines in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The act ordered that the NRC must take into account a dozen possible scenarios, including attacks by multiple teams; the potential that insiders might assist terrorists; and the possibility of water-based or airborne attacks.
But there are growing concerns that the rule-making process is not stringent enough. Watchdog groups say current proposals assume that an attack would be launched by fewer than half of the 19 hijackers responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
''Instead of looking at the actual threat, the NRC bases security standards on what the NRC, or perhaps the nuclear industry, believes a private guard force can be expected to handle," said Stockton.
The nuclear industry argues, however, that there are limits to private security forces and that plants must be able to draw on local and state police to supplement their forces in the event of an attack.
''What gets lost in the dialogue is that our facilities are protected by private forces," said David Walters, director of security for the Nuclear Energy Institute. He said the nation's 64 nuclear plants have increased the number of guards by 30 percent since 2001 and invested an additional $1.2 billion in security.
''When you talk about defending against enemies of the United States, you reach a limit of your capabilities," Walters said. ''That doesn't mean we are not going to respond, but we may have to rely on local law enforcement, state resources, the federal government."
Still, many are expressing concerns that the NRC is shortchanging security standards.

Representative Edward J. Markey, a Malden Democrat who was instrumental in passing the 2005 legislation, said the federal government must take a stronger role in overseeing the security of nuclear plants.
''We cannot simply outsource the security of nuclear facilities to the nuclear utility industry and its subcontractors, with little or no federal oversight," he said in an e-mailed response to questions. ''We have learned that without strict government guidelines, private companies do not always act with national security as their first priority."
At a minimum, local activists are calling for a new electronic security system at Millstone.
''The safety system is more than 35 years old," said Nancy Burton of the Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone, a citizens action group. ''Millstone's owner has refused to spend the money required for its upkeep."
Bender can be reached at bender@globe.com. © Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company


 

Fuel spills onto Rte. 34, into Housatonic River
MATTHEW HIGBEE mhigbee@ctpost.com
Connecticut Post
ORANGE — A tanker truck loaded with heating fuel flipped onto its side Saturday morning, spilling oil into the Housatonic River and snarling Route 34 traffic near the Derby border for most of the day.
Lying with its red cab pinned against a telephone pole for more than seven hours, the truck and its punctured tank drew more than a 100 state and local emergency responders.
A half-dozen bystanders pulled the driver from the wreckage. He was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where officials said he is recovering. While the rollover and spill caused little damage to private property, the diesel gushed for more than 20 minutes into nearby storm drains, a
nd the brown skim floated along feeder streams to the Housatonic River more than two miles away.
"There was a good 10- to 15-foot-wide flow when we got here," said Thomas Lenart, chief of Derby's Storm Ambulance.
Storm Amublance's Hazmat crew worked in the muck to plug the tanker's leaks with wooden wedges.
Derby Fire Chief Alan Coppola estimated that between 1,200 and 1,600 gallons escaped from the 8,700 gallon aluminum tank through several gashes along its shell and a torn 12-inch dome cover.
Clean Harbors, a state Department of Environmental Protection contractor, placed cleanup teams at several points along the Housatonic River and its tributaries.
The truck was owned by Delta Bulk Transport and came from a West Springfield, Mass., terminal, officials said. A company official identified the driver as Harry Harrison of Springfield, Mass. Harrison, who is in his early 60s, had moved out of the emergency room and was in stable condition Saturday evening, according to Paul Noonan, whose family owns Delta Bulk.
Harrison had filled up at the New Haven fuel depot and was heading west along Route 34 at 8:45 a.m. He lost control at the intersection with Fernbrook Road. "Somebody pulled out of the side street and his reaction was to swerve," Noonan said.
Kathy Kafaro, a receptionist at Susan Thomas Salon, part of the shopping strip next to the accident site, said the truck started honking well before the intersection.
"It started laying on its horn," she said.
Kafaro and other witnesses said that a woman exiting Wal-Mart drove across the intersection in front of the truck, causing it to jackknife. "There is some indication that she had the right of way," said Orange Lt. James Kranich, whose department is investigating the accident with help from the State Police truck squad. Falling onto its side, the truck slid across the intersection into the eastbound lane, its cab coming to rest on a front lawn. Seconds later, Kafaro said several men jumped from their cars to rescue the driver.
"One guy was directing traffic and the others got him out. It was great to see, everyone pulling together like that. Just five or six guys trying their best," Kafaro said.
Traffic was closed until 5:20 p.m. along a 2-mile stretch of Route 34/New Haven Avenue, from Derby's Sodom Lane to Grassy Hill Road in Orange. Cars backed up for at least a mile in each direction and the detours sent a busy stream of cars through the typically quiet streets of Derby's Hilltop neighborhood. Immediately following the accident, police evacuated four homes on New Haven Avenue and closed a McDonald's and Heav'nly Donuts to make room for the cleanup operation. Heav'nly Donuts reopened a short while later to serve the firefighters from Orange, Derby, Ansonia and Watertown.
"They told me to close. Then they told me to reopen," said Ernie Badas, the franchise owner, as firefighters on break bought coffee.
The homeowners were allowed to return after the scene was cleared. Oil continued to flow into the several collection booms straddling brooks such as the one next to Marisa Heady's house on New Haven Avenue. As two men sopped up the fuel with white mats, Heady looked on from her driveway with little concern that the damage would be lasting.
"It's just fuel. It's just stinky," she said.


Peter Bowman, a mechanical design engineer and passionate anti-nuclear activist who campaigned against nuclear power and nuclear weapons over three decades, died of cancer on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2006. He was 78 years old.
Well known to the operators of the Millstone Nuclear Power Station for his sharp, insightful, informed comments challenging decisions to keep the facility operating, Pete testified at dozens of hearings and meetings before the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Waterford and he participated in court and administrative proceedings in Hartford and at rallies across the state.
In 1999, Pete testified in the Connecticut Superior Court in support of a temporary restraining order which kept the Millstone Unit 2 reactor shut down for more than a week during the peak of winter flounder larvae migration toward the plant’s intake structures. Pete was also actively involved in the groundswell of whistleblower complaints which resulted in Millstone's reactors being shut down for two years for extensive repairs.
Before Millstone Unit 3's reactor was built, Pete and his beloved wife and 40-year partner, Mitzi, participated in hearings convened by TNPEC (Temporary Nuclear Power Evaluation Council), to oppose the new reactor. They were joined by Dr. Helen Caldicott, a founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility.
Pete and Mitzi and their own organization, Don’t Waste Connecticut, were charter members of the Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone when it was created in 1999 to unite opposition to expansion of the Millstone Unit 3 spent fuel pool capacity. They volunteered one day a week at the Coalition’s storefront in Mystic from 1999 to 2000, recruiting volunteers and sharing information about the deadly health and environmental dangers of nuclear power and nuclear weapons.
Through Don’t Waste Connecticut, Pete and Mitzi intervened in a Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection proceeding objecting to the incineration of radioactive and other toxic materials at the regional WPCA sewage plant in New Haven.
Pete’s anti-nuclear activism began in earnest in 1976 when Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island planned to send six shipments of "spent" nuclear fuel rods on flat-bed trucks on the New London ferry into Connecticut, having been refused entry into New York City. The plan was to transport the high-level nuclear waste on I - 95 from New London to New Haven, then onto Route 34 through the Sandy Hook section of Newtown, past Pete and Mitzi’s home.
Pete and Mitzi organized to halt this dangerous shipping route and thus was born STOP (Stop the Transport of Pollution).
At that time, Pete had helped to organize local opposition to the war in Vietnam and was opposed to the testing and use of nuclear weapons, but he had little awareness of the problems created by commercial nuclear power until he learned of Brookhaven's plan. Having seen two trucks turn over near their home on the narrow, winding Route 34, Pete and Mitzi were concerned for their children's safety and they began making phone calls to Gov. Ella Grasso, Newtown's board of selectmen, their local representatives, organizations and neighbors.

Once Gov. Grasso took a look at the map, she ordered that the high-level nuclear waste be shipped via Routes 66 and I-84, avoiding Route 34.
During the STOP campaign, Pete and Mitzi were introduced by Newtown resident, songwriter and author, the late Ed Eliscu, to experts in the field of nuclear science and learned about the industry, its connection with nuclear weapons, and about the big lie that nuclear power was "clean, safe and would be too cheap to meter.”
Tanker Truck Rolls Over on Route 34 February 25, 2006 - Just as Pete & Mitzi Bowman Foresaw
From then on, Peter and Mitzi devoted themselves to the struggle to shut down the nuclear industry, including the three Millstone reactors in Waterford on Niantic Bay, Connecticut Yankee's reactor at Haddam Neck on the Connecticut River and the successful struggle to stop the Shoreham reactor on Long Island.
When the family moved to New Haven, Pete and Mitzi, with other residents, formed Don't Waste Connecticut, developed its resource center, spoke and were active in building opposition to this deadly industry involving demonstrations, hearings, lobbying and community outreach.
Peter Bowman was born on January 21, 1928 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, the youngest of three boys. During World War II, he joined the British navy and served on a mine-sweeper. Later, he migrated to Australia where he lived for about 12 years, working in the outback in a sheep-shearing shed. Other jobs as a laborer included working on a ferry in Sydney and tunnel building at Woomera. While in Australia he became a draftsman and was certified as a mechanical engineer. Pete spent a year in New Zealand working for the forestry industry. In his free time, he enjoyed spelunking, exploring caves on the "shaky island.”

Pete next traveled through South America, always taking third-class transportation and living simply among the peasantry.

Pete found a job as an engineer in Canada and then came to Connecticut to work as an itinerant "job shopper" in engineering in the mid-sixties. There he met his future wife, Mitzi Silver.

Shortly after their marriage in 1966, Pete was assigned to Schick Razor Co. in Milford where he was asked to "go captive.” There he worked as a mechanical design engineer until retirement. Pete earned his degree in environmental engineering from the University of New Haven.

If there is one message Peter wanted to impress on the people of Connecticut and beyond, it was that nuclear power, a killer of children and their elders, is a part of, and necessary, to the nuclear weapons industry. His hope was that the peace and anti-nuclear weapons movements and the anti-nuclear power forces would join together in fighting this major threat to our health and survival. He believed that without this alliance, we cannot win the struggle against this twin evil.

To advance our community's struggle for peace, security, health and social and environmental justice, Pete helped found the Progressive Action Roundtable and served actively on the board of its monthly newsletter until his 11 year battle against cancer overcame him.

Pete leaves two children, a grand-daughter, great grand-daughter and his wife, all of whom loved him dearly. Pete was dearly loved by all who came to know him.
Pete donated his body to the Yale Medical School in service to humanity.
A memorial service to celebrate Pete’s life will be held in the spring at a date to be announced.


Millstone 2 Shut Down When Valves Cut Off Water
By Paul Choinire
Published on 2/25/2006 The Day

The Millstone 2 nuclear reactor was manually shut down Thursday after two air-operated valves failed to operate properly, cutting off water between the plant's condenser and the steam generator, Pete Hyde, a spokesman for Dominion Nuclear Connecticut, owner of the Millstone Power Station, said.
The air line failure occurred while maintenance work was being done on the lines, according to an event report filed by plant operators with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Control room operators shut down the reactor at 10:22 a.m., according to the report. Auxiliary feed water was then fed into the steam generators to keep them from overheating, a normal procedure.
The uranium fuel rods in the reactor create the heat that forms pressurized water in a looped system that then carries the heat to the steam generator. In a secondary loop, the steam generator vaporizes the water into steam to drive the turbine, which produces electricity. A condenser then cools the water and returns it to the steam generator. The water flow problem occurred between the condenser and the steam generator.
Repairs were completed and the reactor was being prepared for a return to service, Hyde said Friday. Public safety was never endangered, and there was no release of radiation, he said.
Waterford


 

Stop Bush's Dangerous Violation of Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty

"We cannot break the nuclear rules established in the Nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty and demand that everyone else play by them."
--Representative Ed Markey (D-MA) In other words, we cannot preach temperance from a
barstool. Do as I say, not as I do never works. Unfortunately,
President Bush hasn't learned that lesson.
Last summer, President Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
announced a plan to resume full civilian nuclear cooperation for the
first time since India improperly used U.S. nuclear material for its
1974 bomb test. If it goes forward, this deal would send a strong
message to the rest of the world that the U.S. no longer plays by
the rules established by the international community in the Nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Bending these rules weakens efforts
to stop nuclear development in other countries around the globe.
Click here to write your Representative and ask
that they oppose this proposal.

Congress has the power to stop this proposal. Providing nuclear
technology to India requires a radical revision in U.S.
nonproliferation law, and President Bush can't do that without
Congress's approval. Representative Ed Markey (D-MA) and
Representative Fred Upton (R-MI) have introduced legislation that
opposes this plan. H.Con.Res. 318 would preserve the U.S. commitment
to preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. Please write your Representative
and urge them to support H.Con.Res.318. Use the sample letter we provide,
but remember that your letters have more power when they're in your
own words. Feel free to use other facts and arguments to expand
your letter.

Ukraine’s Greens Throw Eggs in Parliament Protesting Against Nuclear Waste Facility Plans Created: 23.02.2006 13:31 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 13:31 MSK MosNews
Three members of Ukraine’s Party of Greens have thrown eggs at indicator panel in the hall of the parliament, the Supreme Rada.
They were sitting at the guest seats. They threw eggs after the speaker Vladimir Litvin had opened the morning session on Thursday.
The ’greens’ were holding a poster saying ’It is enough of democracy — nuclear waste are in Ukraine already.’
Litvin ordered the parliament guard to detain the disturbers. He said later the Rada would not allow building “burial grounds of nuclear waste in Ukraine.” He added this would not happen “until this Supreme Rada exists.” “It is not here where one should come and throw eggs,” Litvin was quoted by Ukrainian media as saying.
In December, Ukraine’s president Viktor Yushchenko said he was ready to make a decision on burying nuclear waste from other countries at the territory of Chernobyl power plant if experts and the society approve it.
Former prime minister, Yulia Timoshenko, said on February 20 there was a contract signed by the local Energoatom nuclear company and U.S. firm Holtec International connected with building depository of nuclear waste at the territory of Chernobyl power plant.


Whistleblower Recovers Job Amid Dispute

Monday, February 27, 2006
By THOMAS D. WILLIAMS
Special To The Law Tribune
The State Department of Public Utility Control has ordered a Millstone nuclear plant whistleblower temporarily reinstated to his work, after he claimed he was fired for complaining that acritical plant-wide safety system stopping intruders had malfunctioned, and was not being fixed.
And, on Feb. 15, the whistleblower, Sham S. Mehta,visited State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal's office to reiterate and solidify his legal concerns. The Attorney General's office, which is investigating, has jurisdiction over state whistleblower complaints and advises the DPUC.
Peter Hyde, a spokesman for Millstone, said: "We strongly encourage employees to bring concerns to the attention of senior management. Every concern is carefully investigated and addressed, as were these. There are times when the employee disagrees with the final determination and the employee has the right to pursue the matter with the [federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission].
"We totally support those rights. In this case, Mr. Mehta is still an employee of Dominion [Nuclear Connecticut Inc.] and for the moment this remains an internal personnel issue. We have a policy that prevents us from discussing personnel issues."
Dominion officials have told state investigators that all of Mehta's claims to the DPUC are either false, or he does not have the evidence to prove them. His claim of a plant safety breech does not measure up to the facts, Dominion claims.
Earlier, Feb. 6, through Hartford lawyer Henry F. Murray, Mehta penned a complaint to the DPUC, the agency with regulatory oversight at the Waterford plant. Mehta alleged that Dominion Nuclear Connecticut Inc. repeatedly retaliated against him after he raised serious safety and security issues about the plant's intrusion detection system.
Specifically, Mehta alleges that on December 8, 2004, over the objections of his Dominion manager, Andy Vomastek, Mehta wrote a condition report describing serious safety and security concerns that could pose a serious security risk if not corrected. In late April 2005, when Mehta said he became convinced he was being ignored, he told plant security and management that he was complaining to a resident Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspector.
However, NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said recently that his agency cannot comment upon a security issue like this one.
It was after Mehta reported the alleged plant safety weakness to the NRC, Mehta said, that Dominion management began its retaliatory conduct. Mehta said management stopped him from going to a national nuclear meeting he regularly attended; reduced his performance ratings; made him reapply for his job assignment; punished him with a reprimand; revoked his plant security clearance; and rejected his applications for other jobs.
In September, after he was blocked from those assignments, said Mehta, he filed a retaliation complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor. Almost two months later, he said, he was interviewed for a new job, but more than a week after that he was informed that as of Jan. 31, his own job was being terminated.
In its answer to Mehta's complaints, Dominion denied management retaliated against him, and argued each of the retaliations he alleged had no merit. Mehta simply could not back up the allegations he made about the alleged deficiency in plant security, Dominion said.
However, the DPUC found that Mehta did suffer possible retaliatory problems with his employment within a year of his reporting his safety concerns. The DPUC said its preliminary inquiry established sufficient grounds to temporarily reinstate him pending a more complete inquiry. Mehta had been receiving salary and other benefits during part of the pendency of his complaint.

February 14, 2006
Big Question Marks on Nuclear Waste Facility
By MATTHEW L. WALD
New York Times
WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 — The Energy Department no longer has an
esttimate of when it can open the nuclear waste repository that it
wants to build at Yucca Mountain, 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas,
and it may never have an accurate prediction of the cost, the energy
secretary said on Monday.
The secretary, Samuel W. Bodman, said at a nuclear power industry
conference that his department was redoing research and design for
Yucca, which was supposed to start accepting civilian power-plant
waste in 1998. But it is a first-of-a-kind project, making cost
estimates difficult, he said, and the best that the department may be
able to do is publish an estimate with a very wide range of error.
Last week the deputy energy secretary, Clay Sell, hinted for the
first time that the money that the Energy Department had been
collecting from the nuclear utilities since the 1980's might not be
enough to pay for the project; the last published cost estimate was
$60 billion, in 2001. The last date given for its planned opening,
provided a year ago, was 2012. The department is facing lawsuits from
utilities that want to recover extra costs created by the delay.
Mr. Bodman spoke Monday to hundreds of nuclear industry executives at
a conference organized by Platts, an energy information division of
McGraw-Hill. Other speakers said that various companies were
considering building as many as 16 new reactors soon; none have been
ordered in this country since the 1970's.
A lawyer in the audience asked how the industry could build new
plants without assurances of a plan for the waste, as the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission requires.
Mr. Bodman did not answer, but instead began describing the problems
of the Yucca project.
For one, he said, government scientists and their commercial
contractors were trying to cope with research work that was done
poorly by the United States Geological Survey. Another problem is a
court decision that forced the Environmental Protection Agency to
publish standards governing leakage of radioactive waste for one
million years, he said; initially the Energy Department had planned
on a timeline of 10,000 years.
In addition, he said, the project managers recently decided that they
had to space the wastes more widely to prevent temperature inside the
mountain from reaching the boiling point, because the effects of
steam are more difficult to predict.
"There are problems with the U.S. Geological Survey work that was
done, there are problems with the E.P.A. standards that are there,
there are problems with the efforts of the Department of Energy.
There's plenty of blame to go around," Mr. Bodman said.
His comments came more than six years after the Energy Department
issued a "viability assessment" asserting that the mountain could
hold waste from power plants and nuclear weapons plants, and two
years after the department had planned to submit an application to
get a license for the project.
Mr. Bodman had come to talk mostly about the Bush administration's
new Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, a plan that includes
reprocessing nuclear wastes to reduce their volume and toxicity.
Despite a spirited description of the program, he got no questions on
that subject.
Some in the industry said, though, that the partnership introduced a
new complication for Yucca. If used reactor fuel were put through a
factory to recover reusable parts, as the proposal calls for, the new
wastes could not be buried at Yucca until the project was reanalyzed,
they said.
Another complication is that the department recently told utilities
that they should ship fuel to Yucca in containers that could go
directly into the mountain for burial. But some of the waste is now
packaged in other kinds of containers, in locations where the
reactors have been torn down, which means there is no easy way to
repackage the materials.
Other nuclear professionals present, including the chairman of the
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Nils J. Diaz, predicted that the
nation would shift to a system of above-ground interim storage and
perhaps the solution called for in the nuclear partnership: breaking
up old nuclear fuel to recover reusable materials. But this could
help spread material useful in nuclear weapons.

Chernobyl + 20: This Is Our Land ... We Still Live Here

The Ukrainian Museum is commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster with this multi-media exhibition that explores the accident's impact on the lives of residents in the territories of Ukraine most heavily contaminated by radioactive fallout.
The exhibition includes approximately 175 color photographs with accompanying captions. Supplementing the photographs are other visual materials - maps, charts, text panels - that place the accident in its historical context, describe the actions subsequently taken by authorities to mitigate the disaster (such as the relocation of area residents), and provide detailed information about population shifts, levels of radiation, and the like.
Visitors to the exhibition will also benefit from an interactive audiovisual program consisting of approximately 30 film clips, each about a minute long. The visitor-activated clips include interviews with residents of the irradiated territories, discussions by Ukrainian scholars working in the area, and musical performances and craft demonstrations by residents.
The Chornobyl disaster began on April 26, 1986, when the worst nuclear power plant accident in history resulted in a partial meltdown of the core in reactor No. 4 at the Chornobyl Atomic Energy Station just outside the city of Pryp'yat in what was then the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Over the next decade, more than 160 villages were evacuated; more than 160,000 residents were permanently resettled; and thousands of other families, many with young children, left voluntarily from the irradiated regions.
Nevertheless, more than one million people - nearly 70% of them elderly pensioners - continue to live in contaminated areas of Ukraine. Among them are several hundred mostly elderly former residents of the heavily irradiated 30 km Exclusion Zone around the reactor. They have returned to their homes to live out their remaining days in familiar surroundings, sometimes alone in their villages, often under conditions closer to the 18th century, largely forsaken by the 21st.
"Chornobyl + 20: This Is Our Land ... We Still Live Here" chronicles the lives of those people who, twenty years after the accident, make their homes within the "dead" (forcibly evacuated) villages of the 30 km Exclusion Zone, as well as those who still reside in the unevacuated villages that authorities deem "safe" enough to inhabit.
The photographs and videos in the exhibition are the work of its two co-curators: Professor Myron O. Stachiw of the School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation, Roger Williams University, Bristol, Rhode Island, who is currently in his second year as a Fulbright Fellow in Ukraine, and Serhiy M. Marchenko, a Ukrainian filmmaker and photographer living in Kyiv. The exhibition was designed by Alfredo Maul of Maul Dwellings, S.L., San Sebastian, Spain.
"Chornobyl + 20: This Is Our Land ... We Still Live Here" opens on March 12 and continues through May 28, 2006.
E-mail info@ukrainianmuseum.org
URL http://www.ukrainianmuseum.org/

Defense plans for security at nuclear plants criticized
By H. Josef Hebert, Associated Press | February 23, 2006
WASHINGTON -- A government defense plan for nuclear power plants assumes an attack would come from less than half the number of Sept. 11 hijackers, and they wouldn't be armed with rocket-propelled grenades or other weapons often used by terrorists overseas.
Such assumptions, say critics of the largely classified security document, could make plants vulnerable to a terrorist takeover even though the industry has pumped more than $1.2 billion into defenses at its 64 reactor sites in 31 states since the Al Qaeda attacks in 2001.
Because of the sensitive nature of security issues, Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials declined in interviews to discuss specific details of the defense plan. They said the requirements, expected to be final later this year, will demand a level of security that is ''reasonable" from a civilian guard force.
''I'm not going to get into numbers," said Michael Weber, deputy director of the NRC's office of security and incident response, who has been closely involved in developing the defense plan, known as the Design Basis Threat, or DBT.
Various sources, including congressional investigators, private watchdog groups, and industry representatives with access to NRC officials, say the defense plan assumes an attack force of roughly double the number that had been used in government planning before the 9/11 attacks. Back then, plants were required to anticipate no more than four adversaries, including an ''insider" accomplice.
Nineteen Al Qaeda terrorists were involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The NRC ''should require defenses against attacks . . . by groups at least as large as that involved in the 9/11 attacks," attorneys general from seven states wrote the agency last year, expressing concern that the upgraded defense plan falls well short of that number. The states together have 31 of the nation's 103 commercial power reactors.
''Instead of sizing the DBT on the actual threat, the NRC bases security standards on what the NRC, or perhaps the nuclear industry, believes a private guard force can be expected to handle," says Peter Stockton, a former security adviser at the Energy Department and now with the Project on Government Oversight, a private watchdog group.
Stockton said he has learned the commission rejected staff recommendations to require guard forces at reactors to be capable of defending against an attack force armed with a variety of weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades, powerful ''platter" explosive charges capable of penetrating 6 feet of concrete, and homemade torpedoes.
Those NRC decisions were confirmed by industry and congressional sources who are familiar with the deliberations on the defense plan, but spoke only on condition of anonymity.
''We feel pretty good on balance that we have the right level of protection," says Steven Floyd, vice president for regulatory affairs at the Nuclear Energy Institute, the industry lobbying group. © Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company


Mr. Blumenthal has a lesson in Millstone insecurity.



On February 18, 2006 at the New London High School, we explained to Attorney General Blumenthal how vulnerable Millstone is to a waterborne terrorist attack and how the U.S. Department of Homeland Security appropriated $1 million to provide Millstone with a barrier device such as those that protect all U.S. Naval installations and the sub base in New London. Dominion refused the free offer. Read more [Link to our website where we have the information about this.] Mr. Blumenthal said we should show the pictures to more people.

And so we showed them to Captain Peter J. Boynton, Commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Group, Long Island Sound, whose responsibility is to protect the safety and security of the Long Island Sound from terrorism.



And so we showed them to State Senator Andrea Stillman, who represents the communities surrounding Millstone and is co-chairman of the legislature’s Public Safety and Security Committee.



And so we showed them to State Representative Ed Jutila, whose district includes East Lyme, a town which faces Millstone across Niantic Bay.



Now that we have shown these pictures to them, we expect Attorney General Blumenthal, Admiral Boynton, Senator Stillman and Representative Jutila to do their job! Protect the families of southeastern Connecticut who are your constituents! Make Dominion install intake barriers to prevent waterborne terrorism and catastrophe!

Send emails to Mr. Blumenthal (attorneygeneral@state.ct.us);. Sen. Stillman (Stillman@senatedems.ct.gov); Rep. Jutila (Ed.Jutila@cga.ct.gov). Telephone Captain Boynton (203-468-4472) Thank them for their attention and demand action!


CHICAGO WOULD BE A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE!

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: February 20, 2006
Filed at 12:20 p.m. ET
SENECA, Ill. (AP) -- Operators at a nuclear plant
declared an emergency for several hours early
Monday when instruments indicated a problem during
a planned shutdown, but no damage was done,
officials said.
There were no injuries, no radiation released and
no equipment damaged at the LaSalle Generating
Station in LaSalle County, officials said. The
plant, which is owned by Chicago-based Exelon
Corp., is about 55 miles southwest of Chicago.
The nature of the incident -- a control rod not
going into the reactor -- automatically triggered
the declaration of a ''site area emergency,'' but
''it never really progressed into being a
danger,'' said Patti Thompson, spokeswoman for the
Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
A site area emergency is the second-highest of the
four categories in the federal Nuclear Regulatory
Commission's emergency response system. Emergency
operations centers were activated in LaSalle and
Grundy counties, Thompson said.
The plant was scheduled to shut down early Monday
for a refueling outage, but it did not shut down
properly, officials said.
Company officials said instruments showed three of
the 185 control rods failed to insert fully into
the reactor core and operators declared a ''site
area emergency'' at 12:28 a.m.
Operators reset the control rod position
indication system and then found one rod was out
of position, company officials said.
The investigation by Exelon Nuclear officials and
NRC officials was continuing.


U.S. in Iraq: Nuking 'Our Own'
The Sunday Times February 19, 2006
UK radiation jump blamed on Iraq shells
Mark Gould and Jon Ungoed-Thomas

RADIATION detectors in Britain recorded a fourfold increase in uranium levels in the atmosphere after the “shock and awe” bombing campaign against Iraq, according to a report.
Environmental scientists who uncovered the figures through freedom of information laws say it is evidence that depleted uranium from the shells was carried by wind currents to Britain.
Government officials, however, say the sharp rise in uranium detected by radiation monitors in Berkshire was a coincidence and probably came from local sources.
The results from testing stations at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Aldermaston and four other stations within a 10-mile radius were obtained by Chris Busby, of Liverpool University’s department of human anatomy and cell biology.
Each detector recorded a significant rise in uranium levels during the Gulf war bombing campaign in March 2003. The reading from a park in Reading was high enough for the Environment Agency to be alerted.
Busby, who has advised the government on radiation and is a founder of Green Audit, the environmental consultancy, believes “uranium aerosols” from Iraq were widely dispersed in the atmosphere and blown across Europe.
“This research shows that rather than remaining near the target as claimed by the military, depleted uranium weapons contaminate both locals and whole populations hundreds to thousands of miles away,” he said.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) countered that it was “unfeasible” depleted uranium could have travelled so far. Radiation experts also said that other environmental sources were more likely to blame.
The “shock and awe” campaign was one of the most devastating assaults in modern warfare. In the first 24-hour period more than 1,500 bombs and missiles were dropped on Baghdad.
During the conflict A10 “tankbuster” planes — which use munitions containing depleted uranium — fired 300,000 rounds. The substance — dubbed a “silver bullet” because of its ability to pierce heavy tank armour — is controversial because of its potential effect on human health. Critics say it is chemically toxic and can cause cancer, and Iraqi doctors reported a marked rise in cancer cases after it was used in the first Gulf conflict.
The American and British governments say depleted uranium is relatively harmless, however. The Royal Society, the UK’s academy of science, has also said the risk from depleted uranium is “very low” for soldiers and people in a conflict zone.
Busby’s report shows that within nine days of the start of the Iraq war on March 19, 2003, higher levels of uranium were picked up on five sites in Berkshire. On two occasions, levels exceeded the threshold at which the Environment Agency must be informed, though within safety limits. The report says weather conditions over the war period showed a consistent flow of air from Iraq northwards.
Brian Spratt, who chaired the Royal Society’s report, cast doubt on depleted uranium as a source but said it could have come from natural uranium in the massive amounts of soil kicked up by shock and awe.
Other experts said local environmental sources, such as a power station, were more likely at fault. The Environment Agency said detectors at other sites did not record a similar increase, which suggested a local source.
A MoD spokesman said the uranium was of a “natural origin” and there was no evidence that depleted uranium had reached Britain from Iraq.

The full report from Green Audit is at www.llrc.org/aldermastrept.pdf (558 Kb). Or go to www.llrc.org and follow links to the Depleted Uranium pages of the site.

U.S. offers Turkey help with nuclear reactors
SPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COMTuesday, February 14, 2006
The United States has offered to help build Turkey's first nuclear power plant.
Turkish and U.S. officials have discussed Ankara's plans to build up to eight nuclear reactors for energy production. They said the Bush administration has offered to help Ankara implement the project.
Over the last year, Turkey and the United States have claimed success in restoring military relations which have been strained by the election of an Islamist-leaning government in Ankara which resisted U.S. efforts to use Turkish bases to mount its offensive on Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Now, the Bush administration has renewed efforts to use Turkey as a base for reconnaissance operations against Iran, Middle East Newsline reported.

On Feb. 9, Turkish Energy Minister Hilmi Guler met U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman in Washington for a discussion on cooperation. Later, the two men toured a nuclear reactor at Lake Anna, Va.
[In an unrelated development, the London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation voted for a $6.8 billion takeover by the United Arab Emirates-based DP World. The vote would enable the Dubai firm to take over operations of six leading ports in the United States.]
"The rise in petrol prices has also influenced our thinking on this subject, as we see it is necessary to diversify resources and at the same time secure the supplies," Guler said. "That is one of the driving forces behind this visit and we want to put nuclear energy in our basket of supply sources."

COURAGEOUS MILLSTONE WHISTLEBLOWER
SEEKS REINSTATEMENT TO JOB:
FIRED FOR EXPOSING CRITICAL SAFETY BREACH
THAT DISABLED PERIMETER SECURITY

For Immediate Release February 4, 2006
Contact: Nancy Burton (nancyburtonesq@aol.com)

WATERFORD - A senior employee assigned to the worker safety concerns program at the Millstone Nuclear Power Station was recently fired by the station’s owner when he complained that a critical safety system had malfunctioned and was not being fixed, according to a complaint filed on December 20, 2005 with the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control.

The safety system, known as the Intrusion Detection System, is more than 35 years old. Millstone’s owner, Dominion Nuclear Connecticut, Inc. has refused to spend the money required for its upkeep, according to a confidential source who contacted the Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone from inside the plant.

As a result, under certain circumstances, intruders could enter the plant undetected, according to the source.

Such a circumstance occurred on January 14, 2005 when a fire in a circuit box at the Unit 2 turbine building led to a loss of perimeter security and an unprecedented site evacuation of all but non-emergency personnel, according to Nancy Burton, director of the Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone.

The DPUC complaint was filed by Sham S. Mehta, who had worked as a Senior Concerns Representative at Millstone since 1997.

Mehta identified his concerns about the perimeter IDS defects on December 8, 2004 in a Condition Report (CR-04-10903).

The fire broke out in the turbine building just a month later and less than a year later Mehta was fired, according to his complaint, on November 28, 2005.

Dominion has been aware of the malfunctioning system since the problem was reported to it by a worker in 2002, according to the Coalition’s confidential source.

The complaint alleges that Mehta was systematically subjected to retaliatory conduct by Dominion since he began raising serious safety and security issues.

DPUC’s investigative arm issued a preliminary recommendation on February 1, 2006 finding that Mehta’s complaint satisfies statutory criteria justifying his immediate reinstatement pending further investigation by the DPUC.

Dominion filed an objection to reinstatement, although the company agreed to pay Mehta fully salary plus benefits during the pendency of his case.

A decision whether to reinstate Mehta to his former position at Millstone will be made by the DPUC.

According to Mehta’s complaint, “on December 8, 2004, over the objections of his Manager Andy Vomastek, Mehta wrote a Condition Report describing serious safety and security concerns that could pose a serious security risk if not corrected.”

“When Mr. Mehta did not receive what he considered an adequate response he informed Security and his Manager in late April 2005 that he was taking his concerns to the Resident NRC Inspector,” the complaint alleges.

After he reported his safety concerns, Mehta was subjected to a series of allegedly retaliatory actions.

First he was denied an opportunity to attend a national meeting that he customarily had attended. In May 2005 he alleges that at his Performance Review when he asked what he could do to obtain more “C” ratings he was told that he was unlikely to get such ratings because of the safety concerns he raised.

He was later informed that there was to be a “realignment” of the Employee Concerns Program (ECP) and that he would have to reapply for his current position. As a result of these events Mr. Mehta filed a complaint with the NRC.

In June 2005, Mr. Mehta was interviewed for the ECP Manager’s position. He also requested that he be transferred to Virginia for the ECP position there. He was not hired for either of those positions, according to the complaint.

On September 29, 2005 Mr. Mehta filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor charging DNC with retaliation against him for having engaged in protected activity. On November 16, 2005 Mr. Mehta was interviewed for the ECP position at Millstone. He did not receive that job and on November 28, 2005 Mr. Mehta was informed that his employment was being terminated as of January 31, 2006.

Mr. Mehta alleges that the realignment was a pretext for eliminating his job because of his protected activity.

“If Mr. Mehta’s serious allegations are true, then Mr. Mehta, who was aggressively investigating safety concerns while in the Employee Concerns Program, got laid off while his boss who was harassing him is the only one left in the program,” Burton said.

“A new wave of harassment, intimidation and retaliation against safety-conscious workers is occurring at Millstone,” Burton said.

“Millstone had the highest number of harassment, intimidation and retaliation incidents against workers of any nuclear power plant in the country last year,” Burton said. See http://www.nrc.gov/what-we-do/regulatory/allegations/stats/discrimi.pdf

In 2005 Millstone recorded the highest number of worker allegations (10) during the most recent five-year period. See http://www.nrc.gov/what-we-do/regulatory/allegations/stats/rcvd.pdf

“Mr. Mehta’s complaint is sounding the death knell for Millstone and Dominion.” Burton said.

“A nuclear power plant that has to resort to firing the honest workers on its staff to avoid correcting critical safety defects and achieve profits is a doomed enterprise,” Burton said.

“This illegal and abusive conduct forced Northeast Utilities out of the nuclear business; Dominion is next in line,” Burton said.

- 30 -

Note to Editors: The DPUC’s prosecutorial letter and recommendation appear below.


February 1, 2006

Donald W. Downes, Chairman
William Palomba, Executive Director
Department of Public Utility Control
10 Franklin Square
New Britain, CT. 06051

Re: Whistleblower Complaint of Sham Mehta;

Dear Chairman Downes and Executive Director Palomba:

The Prosecutorial Unit (Prosecutorial) of the Department of Public Utility Control (Department) submits to the Department its recommendations regarding the whistleblower complaint of Sham Mehta. (See Attachment A). Prosecutorial submits its recommendation pursuant to Section 16-8a of the General Statutes of Connecticut and the Notice of Designation of Prosecutorial, dated January 4, 2006, 2005. A copy has been filed with the Acting Executive Secretary and provided to the parties of interest.



Sincerely,

Vivian Y. McWatt
Manager CA&I /ADR
By Miriam L. Theroux, Esquire



cc:
Charles C Thebaud, Jr., Esquire
David W. Bogan Esquire
Henry F. Murray Esquire
Sham Mehta
Louise Rickard, Acting Executive Secretary

Attachment A



COMPLAINT OF SHAM S. MEHTA PURSUANT TO CONNECTICUT

GENERAL STATUTES SECTION 16-8a

PROSECUTORIAL RECOMMENDATION

SUMMARY OF ALLEGATION


Mr. Mehta was employed by Dominion Nuclear Connecticut (DNC) at the Millstone Nuclear Power Station in Waterford Connecticut (Millstone). He worked as a Senior Concerns Representative (SCP) since July 1997. By letter dated December 20, 2005 Mr. Sham Mehta filed a formal complaint (Complaint) with the Department alleging, that he was systematically subjected to retaliatory conduct by DNC since he raised serious safety and security issues. Specifically, Mr. Mehta alleges that on December 8, 2004, over the objections of his Manager Mr. Andy Vomastek, Mr. Mehta wrote a Condition Report describing serious safety and security concerns that could pose a serious security risk if not corrected. When Mr. Mehta did not receive what he considered an adequate response he informed Security and his Manager in late April 2005 that he was taking his concerns to the Resident NRC Inspector.

Mr. Mehta further alleges that after he reported his safety concerns he became subjected to a series of allegedly retaliatory actions. First he was denied an opportunity to attend a national meeting that he customarily had attended. In May 2005 he alleges that at his Performance Review when he asked what he could do to obtain more “C” ratings he was told that he was unlikely to get such ratings because of the safety concerns he raised. He was later informed that there was to be a realignment of the Employee Concerns Program (ECP) and that he would have to reapply for his current position. As a result of these events Mr. Mehta filed a complaint with the NRC.

In June 2005, Mr. Mehta further alleges that he was reprimanded by Mr. Vomastek for allegedly saying Mr. Vomastek was unethical and untruthful. Mr. Mehta claims the accusations about his alleged comments were false. In July 2005 Mr. Mehta stated that he was informed that his Safeguard clearance was being revoked.







In June 2005 Mr. Mehta was interviewed for the ECP Manager’s position. He also requested that he be transferred to Virginia for the ECP position there. He was not hired for either of those positions. On September 29, 2005 Mr. Mehta filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor charging DNC with retaliation against him for having engaged in protected activity. On November 16, 2005 Mr. Mehta was interviewed for the ECP position at Millstone. He did not receive that job and on November 28, 2005 Mr. Mehta was informed that his employment was being terminated as of January 31, 2006.

Mr. Mehta alleges that the realignment was a pretext for eliminating his job because of his protected activity.

SUMMARY OF REPONSE

On January 25, 2005, DNC filed its Response to Mr. Mehta’s complaint. First DNC alleges that Mr. Mehta’s complaint should be dismissed because he has not made, and cannot make the required showing under Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 16-8a. DNC claims that the actions taken by DNC were not adverse or they have been shown by clear and convincing evidence to be unconnected to his alleged protected activity.

Further, DNC argues that Mr. Mehta became involved in the safety issue because the matter was brought to him by a concerned individual (CI). In accordance with his job responsibilities Mr. Mehta became involved with the matter. The other issues with which Mr. Mehta became involved evolved out of the initial concern raised by the CI. DNC also claims that when Mr. Mehta brought an issue to Security, it responded appropriately. DNC detailed the actions that it took to respond to the issues brought by the CI and pursued by Mr. Mehta. Mr. Mehta had several opportunities to review the actions of Security and his concerns were addressed each time.

Regarding the alleged adverse action, DNC claims that no animus was demonstrated against Mr. Mehta. First DNC stated that no employees from Millstone attended the national meeting Mr. Mehta requested because his supervisor did not see the training value of the conference. Additionally, DNC states that Mr Mehta’s claim regarding the comments made by Mr. Vomastek at the 2004 Performance review was false. DNC also indicates that the facts do not support Mr. Mehta’s claim that he was reprimanded for making a false accusation about Mr. Vomastek.” DNC also contends that the reason for suggesting revocation of Mr. Mehta’s Safeguard clearance was justified. Ultimately his clearance was not revoked.

Regarding the decision to not offer Mr. Mehta a position in the Fleet ECP program, DNC argues that the decision was legitimate and based on nondiscriminatory reasons. DNC provides what it considers clear and convincing evidence that the reorganization was based on business considerations and that the people selected were better qualified than Mr. Mehta. DNC also claims that since it offered Mr. Mehta an opportunity to become a Shift Technical Supervisor (STA) it demonstrated no animus toward him. However, ultimately Mr. Mehta was not able to be placed in that position.

Finally, DNC makes several legal arguments as to why the Department lacks jurisdiction to investigate Mr. Mehta’s claims involving the Virginia-based positions because the decision was made by Dominion Resources Inc. (DRSI) and not DNC. DNC also alleges that Mr. Mehta failed to provide facts and information to sustain the findings that he reported a safety issue, that adverse action was taken and that the adverse action followed his report closely in time. DNC alleges that some of the issues Mr. Mehta claims were retaliatory should not be considered adverse employment actions. DNC also alleges that under the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 (ERA) Mr. Mehta’s forwarding the complaints of the CI is not protected activity. Additionally, DNC also alleges that Mr. Mehta cannot state a claim under Section 16-8a premised on carrying out his required job as an ECP representative. DNC cites Sasse v. US Department of Labor, 409 F. 3d 773 (6th Cir. 2005) (Sasse) to support this contention. Finally, DNC states that Mr. Mehta’s safety concerns played no role in the decisions not to select him for the ECP manager and specialist positions.

PROSECUTORIAL RECOMMENDATIONS

Prosecutorial reviewed the Complaint and Response in accordance with the provisions of Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 16-8a. Section 16-8a (a) provides, inter alia that no Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensee operating a nuclear power generating facility in this state or any person, firm, corporation, contractor or subcontractor directly or indirectly providing goods or services to a licensee may take or threaten to take any retaliatory action against an employee for the employee’s disclosure of any matter involving the substantial misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance in the management of the facility. Additionally, Section 16-8a (c)(3) provides in part that unless the Department finds by clear and convincing evidence that the adverse employment action was taken for a reason unconnected to the employee’s report, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the employee was retaliated against for his disclosure.

First, Prosecutorial disagrees with the legal arguments made by DNC. While Mr. Mehta initially forwarded safety concerns made by the CI, he subsequently made additional reports of concerns with DNC personnel and with the NRC as well. It is clear from both the Complaint and the Response that Mr. Mehta did make his safety concerns or forwarded the CI’s safety concerns to DNC management. Regarding the Sasse case cited above Prosecutorial notes that a 6th Circuit decision is not binding on the Department. Prosecutorial also believes that the circumstances of the Sasse case, regarding the duties of a prosecutor is distinguishable from the circumstances in the instant case.

Prosecutorial further disagrees with DNC regarding the actions of DRSI. DRSI provides shared services with DNC. As such it clearly falls under Section 16-8a as a “firm” or “corporation” directly or indirectly providing goods or services to the licensee, in this case DNC. Therefore, Prosecutorial believes that the Department may consider the actions regarding Virginia-based positions as well as those regarding the Connecticut-based position.

Based on the evidence provided and pursuant to Section 16-8a Prosecutorial finds that Mr. Mehta did disclose the alleged misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance in the management of Millstone. Although he initially investigated safety concerns made by the CI he made subsequent reports based on additional concerns stemming from the initial complaints. Therefore Prosecutorial finds that as contemplated in Section 16-8a Mr. Mehta reported his safety concerns.

While the Department agrees with DNC that some of the actions taken against Mr. Mehta may not be adverse employment actions, the fact remains that his employment was scheduled for termination effective January 31 2006. Section 16-8a(c)(3) provides that unless it is demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that the adverse employment action was taken for a reason unconnected with the employee’s report of misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the employee was retaliated against in violation of the statute. While DNC provided evidence of the reasons for Mr. Mehta’s termination, Prosecutorial does not believe the evidence rises to the standard of “clear and convincing.” DNC did provide evidence of the selection process to support its contention that other candidates were more qualified than Mr. Mehta. However, Prosecutorial is not convinced that his protected conduct may not have had an impact on the process and the employment decision. Additionally, while DNC claims that it had no animus against Mr. Mehta and in fact offered him another position, Mr. Mehta was not able to take that position nor was he offered another position with the company.

Prosecutorial finds that Mr. Mehta did suffer an adverse employment action within a year of his reporting his safety concerns. Prosecutorial believes that this establishes sufficient grounds to establish the rebuttable presumption that Mr. Mehta was retaliated against for his protected activity. Prosecutorial also finds that DNC did not by clear and convincing evidence rebut the presumption that Mr. Mehta was retaliated against for his protected activity. Prosecutorial also finds that the adverse action was taken closely in time to Mr. Mehta’s reporting of his safety concerns. Prosecutorial concludes that further investigation pursuant to Section 16-8(d) is warranted.

Accordingly, Prosecutorial requests that the Department open a docket to consider this matter and issue an immediate order that Sham Mehta, pursuant to Section 16-8a of the General Statutes of Connecticut (Conn. Gen. Stat.) be reinstated to the position of Senior Employees Concerns Representative or other comparable position by (DNC) pending the outcome of further proceedings as outlined in Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 16-8a (4).


GLASTONBURY, CT: NUKE INSURANCE CAPITAL OF THE US
By Michael Steinberg
In an unassuming three story brick building at 95 Glastonbury Boulevard in the Hartford suburb of the same name you will find American Nuclear Insurers.
ANI, as it prefers to be called, provides insurance to the 103 currently operating commercial US nuclear reactors, including the Millstone nukes in Waterford.
The company’s origins go back to the 1950s. The federal government was encouraging the development of nuclear power through its “Atoms For Peace” program. But no insurance company was willing to risk providing coverage because of the prohibitive cost of messy nuke possibilities like meltdowns.
To get around this slight problem, pro-nuke forces pushed the Price-Anderson Act through Congress, which limited nuke plant financial liabilities for personal and property damages in case a catastrophic nuke “incident” came to be.
These same pro-nuke forces (e.g. the feds, GE and Westinghouse) cajoled the insurance industry into forming a pool of companies to provide the token coverage required by Price-Anderson for nuke plants.
And so ANI was born.
Since in those days Hartford was the self proclaimed insurance capital of the nation, ANI was sited in the area, initially in Farmington.
“Today, much of the financial protection is provided by about 60 U.S. property and casualty insurance companies, who are ‘members’ of ANI,” the company states. “They represent some of the largest insurers in the country.”

True Costs
Pro-nukers don’t like to talk much about things like meltdowns. Nor about the cost of damages caused by such “incidents.”
But back in1982 Sandia National Laboratory delivered a study of these costs for a serious accident at each of the nation’s nukes to a Congressional committee.
The report found that a severe meltdown at Millstone reactor 2 would cause 18,000 “peak early fatalities,” 18,000 “peak early injuries,” 33,000 “peak cancer deaths,” and $91.5 billion in property damages—in 1980 dollars.
For Millstone reactor 3 the calculations were 23,000 early deaths, 30,000 injuries, 38,000 cancer deaths, and $174 billion in property damages.
Millstone reactor 1 shut down permanently in 1996, but its spent fuel pool is still full of highly radioactive stuff that could cause a huge nuclear “incident.”
Rest assured that Millstone’s actual insurance coverage with ANI is only for pennies on all these dollars.
The report also stated that Millstone’s “peak fatality radius” was 20 miles, and its “peak injury radius” was 65 miles, the latter including most of Connecticut.
But business was booming for ANI during the ‘60s and ‘70s, until the partial meltdown at Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island in 1979. ANI had to cough up $300 million, the maximum amount of coverage, after that “incident,” and subsequently another $70 million to settle lawsuits out of court. No new US nukes were ordered after the “incident.”
When the USSR’s Chernobyl nuke blew in the Ukraine in 1987, business went flat at ANI, and stayed that way thereafter. “That was the only time I ever saw them sweat,” a former employee who worked there then said recently.
New Nukes
Now however, Bush and nuke companies like Dominion (Millstone’s owner) are attempting a “Nuclear Renaissance.”
Last November Millstone got permission from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to renew its operating licenses so that Millstone 2 can operate until 2035 and Millstone 3 until 2045.
They’re not alone. Altogether 50 nuclear power stations comprising 72 reactors have been granted such 20 year license extensions, are applying for them, or plan to apply in the future.
Of course this means 20 extra years of insurance premiums per reactor for ANI.
The Pilgrim reactor on Cape Cod and the Vermont Yankee nuke near Brattleboro planned to put in their applications this January.
Entergy, the owner of those nukes, and Dominion, are also in the forefront of energy companies that are planning to build new nuclear plants. And the Bush Energy bill passed last year will provides billions of dollars in taxpayers money to help make their radioactive dreams come true.
Also included in the Bush Energy bill was renewal of Price-Anderson.
All this is good news that will mean even better business for ANI. In 2004 one of its top executives, John Quattrocchi, told National Underwriter, an industry magazine, “We think this is exciting time for the nuclear industry and for us insurers.”
Not so exciting however are the high cancer rates and other health problems that constant radioactive emissions from nuclear plants contribute to. New London County, home of Millstone, has the highest state incidence rate of cancers for females, and second highest for males.
Then there is the ever present threat of a catastrophic accident, the deadly nuclear waste that keeps piling up, the vulnerability of nukes to attack.
Hereabouts the Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone is fighting to stop this madness by shutting the nukes down. You can contact them at: www.mothballmillstone.org.
Michael Steinberg is the author of Millstone and Me: Sex, Lies and Radiation in Southeastern Connecticut.

Cold snap affects Czech nuclear power plant reactor Jan 23, 2006

Part of the Czec Republic's controversial Temelin nuclear power plant was disconnected from the electricity grid for five hours overnight following a failure caused by the sharp drop in temperature.
"The external temperature affected the functioning of a sensor on a transformer. The automatic system reacted by reducing the power of the reactor and stopping the turbine," spokesman Milan Nebesar said Monday.

"Reactor power was cut by 38 percent and the block was disconnected from the network for about five hours on Sunday night," he said, adding that capacity would remain curtailed for the following hours.
The temperature at Temelin, in the south of the Czech Republic, fell to around minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus four Fahrenheit) on Sunday night, he added.
The Temelin plant has two blocks, each with a Russian designed VVER reactor with a production capacity of around 1,000 MW and security and control systems provided by the US company Westinghouse.
Around 60 kilometres (35 miles) from the Austrian border, the plant has been the target for vociferous protests from ecologists and anti-nuclear campaigners who argue that Temelin is unsafe.
Temperatures hit record lows in some parts of the Czech Republic on Sunday night, with minus 30 Celsius registered in the north of the country. The cold snap killed at least two homeless people in the capital at the weekend, pushing the winter death toll to at least 12, according to local press reports.

 

FirstEnergy to Pay Fines, Admits Cover-Up

By M.R. KROPKO, Associated Press Writer
Acknowledging that its employees covered up serious damage at a nuclear power plant, the facility's owner has agreed to pay $28 million in fines, restitution and community service projects, the U.S. Justice Department announced Friday.
Inspectors found an acid leak in 2002 that nearly ate through a 6-inch steel cap on the reactor vessel at the Davis-Besse plant owned by FirstEnergy Corp. Officials said it was the most extensive corrosion ever seen at a U.S. nuclear reactor.
Company and Nuclear Regulatory Commission investigations concluded that the rust hole had been growing for at least four years and that Davis-Besse's managers had ignored the evidence because they were focused on profits rather than safety at the plant, which sits along the Lake Erie shore about 30 miles east of Toledo.
As part of the agreement, FirstEnergy acknowledged that the government can prove that nuclear plant employees "knowingly made false representations to the NRC" at they tried to convince the commission the plant was safe to operate beyond 2001, the Justice Department said in a statement.
FirstEnergy issued a statement saying prosecutors agreed not to pursue criminal charges against the company in exchange for $23 million in fines and $5 million in other spending, including reimbursements to the government, Habitat for Humanity work and university research into energy efficiency.
The company said it accepts full responsibility for the "failure to accurately communicate with the NRC."
"We have learned much from this experience," said Gary R. Leidich, president of the company's nuclear operations.
U.S. Attorney Greg White, who began a criminal investigation of the plant in November 2003, said at a news conference that the government can prosecute FirstEnergy if the company breaks the terms of the agreement, which includes safety standards and prohibits the nation's fourth-largest investor-owned utility from passing along the fine to its 4.4 million customers in New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Late Thursday, a federal grand jury indicted two former Davis-Besse employees and a contractor, charging them with hiding damage from federal regulators.
Last year, the NRC levied a record $5.45 million fine against FirstEnergy for failing to stop the leak.
The plant was closed for two years but returned to full power in 2004. Akron-based FirstEnergy spent $600 million making repairs and buying replacement power because of the shutdown.
The indictment alleges that former engineering design manager David Geisen, 45, of DePere, Wis., former engineer Andrew Siemaszko, 51, of Spring, Texas, and consultant Rodney Cook, 55, of Millington, Tenn., were part of a scheme to block NRC-ordered emergency inspections by falsely convincing federal regulators that the plant was safe.
According to the indictment, the defendants helped fake documents that falsely claimed the reactor lid had been totally cleaned and inspected in 1996, 1998 and 2000.
They also are accused of writing letters and signing off on reports to the NRC that omitted important facts about previous inspections, including that employees had trouble accessing some equipment because of leaks.
The three also are accused of altering an inspection videotape sent to the NRC. Parts of the tape showing "substantial deposits of boric acid" on the reactor vessel were edited out, according to the indictment.
No telephone listings for Siemaszko or Geisen could be immediately found Friday. Messages left Thursday at numbers listed under Rodney Cook and for Siemaszko's attorney had not been returned by Friday morning.
Siemaszko has said he was wrongly fired and that his managers had rejected his calls for the reactor to be cleaned.
Another Davis-Besse employee, 60-year-old design engineer Prasoon Goyal of Toledo, has entered into an agreement with the government, the statement said. Details were not immediately available.
The indictment asserts that other FirstEnergy employees provided false information to regulators, but it does not name them or indicate whether further charges are pending.
___
Associated Press writers Connie Mabin in Cleveland and John Seewer in Toledo contributed to this report.

 

Fire In Millstone Storage Room Under Investigation


By PATRICIA DADDONA Day Staff Writer, Waterford Published on 1/17/2006
Waterford — The fire brigade at Millstone Power Station put out a fire in a room used to store equipment for security guards early Monday night.
The fire started shortly after 5 p.m., said Pete Hyde, a spokesman for Dominion Nuclear Connecticut, which owns Millstone. It was extinguished in about a half-hour, he said.
No one was in the room at the time of the fire, and no one was injured, Hyde said.
The room in which the fire occurred, one of several so-called “security lockers” on the site, is located in an administrative building inside the power station's protected area. It is not near the nuclear reactors or spent fuel pools, Hyde said.
The protected area is enclosed behind a security fence and encompasses buildings and equipment used to generate electricity. The building where the security locker is located is known as Building 437 and also houses medical, human resources and credit union staff, Hyde said.
“There's no evidence at this time of sabotage or any kind of interloper or any evidence of any disgruntled employee or foul play,” Hyde said. “We're still investigating, but it has not compromised the security of the station.”
Hyde would not comment on the type of security equipment in the room or the extent of damage from the fire. The room is not guarded, he said.
More information may become available once a Waterford fire marshal determines the cause of the fire, Hyde said.
According to Hyde and First Selectman Daniel M. Steward, Dominion's fire brigade had the fire under control by the time firefighters arrived. The Jordan, Oswegatchie and Goshen volunteer fire companies and a crew from Niantic stayed to help the fire brigade clean up, Hyde said.
Waterford police were made aware of the incident, Steward said.
Dominion informed the resident inspector for Millstone of the fire, Hyde said. The inspector works for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the federal agency that oversees nuclear reactor sites and operations.
p.daddona@theday.com

© The Day Publishing Co., 2006


Wilderness To Block Nuclear Waste A Done Deal
Bill Creates 100,000-Acre Cedar Mountain Wilderness Area

WASHINGTON President Bush on Friday signed a defense bill officially creating the 100,000-acre Cedar Mountain Wilderness Area, a move Utah's congressional leaders say will add one more obstacle for a proposed temporary nuclear waste storage site.
Utah officials oppose plans by Private Fuel Storage, a group of utilities, to store 44,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel above ground on the Skull Valley Goshute Indian Reservation, about 50 miles southwest of Salt Lake City near the Utah Test and Training Range.
Utah officials have worked for years to create the wilderness area, which blocks a rail spur the company hoped to use to deliver waste to the site.
``It feels good to finally see it become law,'' Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, said in a statement. ``This proposal always had three important elements. It protects the test and training range, which is key to national security and military preparedness. It creates wilderness the right way. And it substantially hinders the transportation of high-level nuclear waste to the Goshute Reservation.''
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission in September authorized a license for Private Fuel Storage, adding urgency to Utah's attempts to stop the proposal.


U.S. Storm Water Rules Revised to Exempt Oil and Gas Development
WASHINGTON, DC, January 4, 2006 (ENS) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a new regulation that exempts most storm water discharges from oil and gas exploration, production, processing, treatment operations, or transmission facilities from the requirement to obtain National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit coverage. The exemption also covers associated construction activities.
The revision to storm water regulations, proposed by the EPA on December 30, 2005, seeks to implement a provision of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
In a fact sheet issued with the revision, the EPA says it interprets this exclusion to apply to construction of drilling sites, waste management pits, and access roads, as well as construction of the transportation and treatment infrastructure such as pipelines, natural gas treatment plants, natural gas pipeline compressor stations, and crude oil pumping stations.
Construction activities that result in a discharge of a reportable quantity release or that contribute pollutants - other than non-contaminated sediments - to a violation of a water quality standard are still subject to permit coverage, the agency says.
This action also proposes to add text encouraging operators of oil and gas field activities or operations to implement and maintain Best Management Practices to minimize erosion and control sediment during and after construction activities to help ensure protection of surface water quality during storm events.
Shortly after issuance of EPA’s first general permit specific to storm water discharges associated with construction activity - Final NPDES General Permits for Storm Water Discharges From Construction Sites, September 9, 1992 - EPA Region 8 raised a question to EPA Headquarters about the applicability of the permit requirements for oil and gas-related construction activities.

Coalbed methane gas development in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming. This aerial photo shows ridge-top roads, infrastructure and drilling pads for a few of the 51,000 wells forecast for this area by 2008. (Photo by Ann Fuller, Powder River Basin Resource Council)
Region 8 covers the oil and gas producing states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.
On December 10, 1992, EPA Headquarters sent a memorandum to Region 8 stating that all construction activities that disturb five or more acres must apply for a permit, including those construction activities associated with oil and gas activities.
This memo was legally challenged by a collection of trade associations, the Appalachian Energy Group, who asserted that the memorandum was unlawful and requested that the court set it aside as inconsistent with the Clean Water Act.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit dismissed this challenge on the grounds that the internal EPA memorandum itself did not constitute an action reviewable by the courts.
The EPA promulgated the final Phase II storm water rule on December 8, 1999 with a requirement that storm water discharges from small construction activities disturbing between one and five acres obtain NPDES permit coverage beginning on March 10, 2003.
Based on public comments on the January 9, 1998, proposed Phase II rule, EPA had considered including oil and gas exploration sites in its economic analysis for the rulemaking, but further analysis suggested that few, if any, of these sites would actually disturb more than one acre of land. EPA decided that separate analysis of this sector was unnecessary.
After promulgating the final Phase II rule, EPA says the agency "became aware that close to 30,000 oil and gas sites annually may, in fact, be affected."

Gas well in the southern Piceance Basin of Colorado (Photo courtesy USGS)
The EPA now believes that the majority of such sites may exceed one acre when the acreage attributed to lease roads, pipeline right-of-ways and other infrastructure facilities is apportioned to each site.
In view of this information, on March 10, 2003, the EPA postponed for two years the permit authorization deadline for NPDES storm water permits for oil and gas construction activity that disturbs one to five acres of land.
Between 2003 and 2005, EPA gathered information on size, location and other site characteristics to better evaluate compliance costs associated with the control of storm water runoff from oil and gas construction activities.
After visiting oil and gas production sites and conferring with stakeholders, the EPA says its preliminary analysis indicated that there could be "significant and potentially costly administrative delays in the permitting process for oil and gas construction sites that were not considered in the original economic analysis for the 1999 Phase II rulemaking."
As a result, on March 9, 2005, the EPA postponed the date for NPDES regulation for an additional 15 months until June 12, 2006, to provide additional time for the agency to complete its evaluation of the economic and legal issues that were raised and to assess procedures and methods for controlling storm water discharges from these sources to mitigate impacts on water quality.
The Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit for review of the March 10, 2003 deferral rule, asserting that the deferral rule represents the agency's first acknowledgment that the NPDES regulations apply to construction activities associated with oil and gas activities, but that such regulations are inconsistent with the Clean Water Act. On June 16, 2005, the Fifth Circuit dismissed the petition on the grounds that the issue is not ripe for review because of the EPA’s ongoing analysis of the issue.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005, enacted in August 2005, put an end to this maneuvering by specifying that uncontaminated storm water discharges from oil and gas field activities do not require federal Clean Water Act permits.
This proposed rulemaking applies to all states, federal lands and Indian Country regardless of whether EPA or a state is the NPDES permitting authority.
However, the EPA says, the proposal "is not intended to interfere with the states' authority to regulate any discharges, pursuant to state law, through a non-NPDES program."
Public comment is welcome for 45 days after publication of the revision in the Federal Register, which is expected within the next several days.
For further information, including a copy of the proposed rule, and instructions on how to file public comments, visit: http://www.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/oilgas

 

JANUARY 7 PROTEST OF NEW HORIZONS
PLUTONIUM LAUNCH AT CAPE CANAVERAL
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Bruce Gagnon (207) 729-0517
Maria Telesca (Florida) (321) 632-5977
The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space has announced a demonstration at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on January 7 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. The protest will highlight opposition to NASA’s planned New Horizons launch that will carry 24 pounds of radioactive plutonium on board.
NASA acknowledges in their Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the New Horizons mission that there is a 1 in 300 chance of an accident resulting in release of the plutonium. In the event of such an accident the EIS states that the deadly plutonium could be carried by winds for a 60-mile radius throughout Central Florida. Clean-up costs for a plutonium accident would range from $241 million to $1.3 billion per square mile.
NASA has big plans to expand the numbers of nuclear launches in the coming years. The DoE is now planning a $300 million expansion of their laboratory in Idaho just to make more plutonium for space missions.
According to Global Network Coordinator Bruce Gagnon, “As people in the U.S. and around the world learn about NASA's plan to launch plutonium into space they become angry with the space agency. People say we don't want our tax dollars used to launch nuclear power into space. The public understands the threat to the planet and to our children's future. NASA is destroying their credibility with the very people who pay for these missions. We might have escaped Cassini, we might escape New Horizons, but with plans to put nuclear reactors on the moon to power bases there in the coming years NASA will be launching a host of these missions. One thing we have learned is that sooner or later, space technology can fail.”
The protest is being co-sponsored by the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice. For more information check the Global Network website at: http://www.space4peace.org

Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 729-0517
globalnet@mindspring.com
http://www.space4peace.org
http://space4peace.blogspot.com

Why The Rate Hike For Renewable-energy Use?
Published on 1/5/2006 Letters To The Editor: The Day
In response to the Department of Public Utility Control's op-ed piece titled “Trust us: No way to duck high power rates,” published Jan. 2, explaining its approval of a 22.4-percent electrical rate increase, I would appreciate an answer to a question I have as a consumer who signed on last April to purchase 100 percent of my electricity through CL&P from Sterling Planet, a company that produces electricity from renewable resources. CL&P marketed the opportunity to purchase electricity from renewable resources in a pamphlet included in my bill last March.
The pamphlet stated, “Your purchase will show as a separate line on your monthly CL&P bill. A customer using 700 kilowatt-hours (kWh) will pay an additional $3.85 to $8 per month, depending upon the option chosen.” My additional charge has averaged more than $15 per month because I use more than 700 kWh per month. CL&P implied I would be “purchasing,” through it, the amount of electricity I use from Sterling Planet. Now, here we are with a 22.4-percent rate increase, two-thirds of which is attributed to increased costs of fossil fuels.
If CL&P can figure how much extra to charge me for purchasing electricity from renewable resources, a process which was more expensive than generating electricity from nonrenewable resources, why am I being required to pay the entire 22.4-percent increase, even though I am purchasing electricity from a company whose generation rates have not increased?
The reason for the 22.4-percent increase to my bill based on the cost of fossil fuels escapes me. If CL&P can figure how much more to charge me for using renewable resources for the production of the electricity I use, why can't it figure out how much less of an increase to impose now?
Diane Hillyer
Salem

 

Pakistan in talks to buy Chinese reactors
By Farhan Bokhari in Islamabad
Published: January 2 2006 21:52 | Last updated: January 2 2006 21:52

Pakistan is negotiating the purchase of between six and eight nuclear power reactors from China during the next decade in the most ambitious expansion yet of the country’s nuclear energy capability.
The deal could cost $7bn-$10bn and would involve adding 3,600-4,800 megawatts of capacity using a series of 600MW reactors. The plants are expected to be completed by 2025, with construction starting by 2015, a senior Pakistani official told the Financial Times.
The installation of Chinese nuclear power reactors would take Pakistan a long way towards meeting government targets of raising its nuclear power generation capacity to 8,800MW by 2030, up from a current capacity of 425MW.
Disclosure of negotiations with China follows the formal start of construction last week of a Chinese-supplied nuclear plant at Chashma in Punjab province.
The new Chashma-2 plant is expected to be completed during the next five years and is to be built beside the existing 300MW Chashma-1, also supplied by China. Pakistan also operates a 125MW Canadian-supplied reactor in the southern port city of Karachi.
Pakistan’s increasing reliance on China as main supplier of its nuclear reactors is likely to raise concerns within the anti-nuclear proliferation lobby in the west.
China has been suspected of assisting Pakistan with development of its nuclear weapons programme, which led to the country’s first nuclear tests in 1998.
Pakistan emerged at the centre of global concerns about nuclear proliferation in 20004 when it was revealed that A.Q Khan, father of its nuclear bomb project, sold nuclear expertise and technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea.
Mr Khan, a national hero and iconic figure in Pakistan, was forced to appear on public television and admit he had made a mistake by selling nuclear technology. He has lived effectively under house arrest since. In an apparent attempt to pacify western concerns about proliferation, Shaukat Aziz, Pakistan’s prime minister, stressed last week that the country’s nuclear programme was for peaceful purposes.
“We have established an effective command-and-control authority to ensure the safety and security of our strategic assets. We have also adopted wide-ranging controls to prevent leakage of nuclear materials”, he said.
A senior western diplomat in Islamabad said Pakistan’s increasing reliance on China may be a reaction to a US offer to sell reactors to India, its neighbour and nuclear rival. “This could be meant to tell Washington that Pakistan has other options,” he said.
But Lieutenant General [retired] Talat Masood, a Pakistani commentator on security affairs, said discussions with China had been going on for some time:
“Pakistan has a long-term relationship with China and there is a great trust factor,” he said.


Bomber planned to hit reactor [Captured at Gaza Checkpoint]
YNet News Jan. 2, 2006 | Anat Barshkovsky
Posted on 01/02/2006 3:03:10 PM PST by Alouette
Cleared for publication: Gaza Strip resident indicted over plans to target nuclear reactor in Dimona, as well as southern town of Ashkelon. Suspect also planned simultaneous suicide bombings across Israel
Cleared for publication: Ramzi Salah, a 22-year-old Gaza Strip resident, planned to detonate himself with other suicide bombers at Israel's nuclear reactor in Dimona or in other cities across the country, an indictment served Monday revealed.
Salah was captured about two weeks ago in possession of an explosive belt near an Israeli community in the western Negev. At the time of his arrest, he was apparently planning to carry out another attack.
Salah is facing 14 charges, including attempted murder, armed infiltration, membership in a terror group, conspiring to carry out a crime, and receiving banned military training. According to the indictment, he was a party to numerous terror attack plans, including one where he was supposed to blow himself up at the Dimona reactor. Another plan called for Salah and other suicide bombers to detonate themselves simultaneously in several Israeli cities.
The indictment charges Salah formed tied with the Popular Front and al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. The terror groups provided him with training and equipped him with weapons and an explosive belt. In one case, he attempted to infiltrate Israel in order to blow himself up at a bus stop or another crowded venue in the Ashkelon region.
In his infiltration attempts, Salah enlisted the assistance of Israeli and Egyptian collaborators.
Terror involvement at 17
According to the charges, 24 hours before being caught, Salah arrived in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza wearing an explosives belt.
He was met by two terror group members and a contact man, whose job was to aid Salah in crossing the border and detonating the explosives.
Salah waited with his three abettors for a person on the Israeli side who was supposed to receive them, but the individual failed to show, and the terrorists returned back home.
Only the next day was communication established with the individual on the Israeli side, and at 4:00 a.m. Salah left Gaza in the direction of Israel. He cut the border fence and entered the country but was eventually captured in the Nir Am region.
Salah's record shows that this was not his first involvement in terrorist activity. In 2000, when he was just 17, he began speaking to terrorist organizations in order to target IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians.
In the last five years, he attempted to cross the border from Gaza into Israel a number of times while strapped with an explosive belt, but was unable to do so. He also tried to enter Israel through the Egyptian border, but Egyptian efforts prevented him from crossing.
According to the indictment, Salah was also involved in attempts to target IDF soldiers in Gaza.
Salah wrote out a will, wore military cloths, and read his will before a video camera while armed with a Kalashnikov rifle, RPG launcher, and grenades.
At the end of 2003, the accused headed out, for five nights, to the Karni crossing armed with two grenades, where he spied on the movements of IDF soldiers and gathered information in order to carry out shooting attacks. He did not go through with the attack after Palestinian Authority officials warned him not to go through with his plans.


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