nuclear reactor at Browns Ferry, Alabama
July 9 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush plunged into the
cotton fields of northern Alabama last month to fete the restart
of the Tennessee Valley Authority's oldest, most troubled nuclear
reactor after a $1.8 billion renovation.
``We want to start building plants,'' said Bush, whose administration
is promoting loan guarantees and tax breaks to get the first new
U.S. reactors constructed since 1996.
U.S. electricity producers aren't leaping to embrace that vision.
Bankers and their utility clients are demanding more generous loan
guarantees than the Bush administration is offering. And consumers
probably will have to pay more for power to make the $4 billion
needed to build each new reactor a worthwhile investment.
``It's a whopping amount of money,'' says Rob Graber, vice president
of EnergyPath Corp., an energy consulting firm.
Far more than safety and environmental concerns, the biggest hurdle
to fulfilling Bush's ambition to build the equivalent of three new
nuclear plants a year by 2015 is money.
U.S. utilities will have to invest about $350 billion by 2025 to
satisfy the country's growing appetite for electricity, according
to Cambridge Energy Research Associates, a Cambridge, Massachusetts,
At a time when the Nuclear Energy Institute, a Washington trade
group, is heralding a ``nuclear renaissance,'' TVA is alone in executing
the objective. Of the 16 U.S. electricity producers that have told
the government they are interested in building new nuclear plants,
none has committed to the projects.
The challenges TVA faced at Browns Ferry, a former stagecoach crossing
11 miles (18 kilometers) southwest of Athens, Alabama, demonstrate
how difficult it will be to relaunch the U.S. nuclear power industry.
The tasks range from lining up billions of dollars in financing
to securing scarce components in a manufacturing sector decimated
decades ago, and hiring and training a new generation of skilled
workers at a time when about one-third of the industry's existing
workforce is close to retirement.
Yet, now that TVA has finished the overhaul of its Browns Ferry
Unit One reactor, which is generating enough electricity to light
650,000 homes, the company is already looking to build or complete
three other reactors it abandoned in the 1980s.
U.S. nuclear power utilities have scared away investors ever since
the 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island plant near Middletown,
Pennsylvania. These days, the overwhelming stumbling block is that
it costs about 28 percent more to build a new nuclear plant than
the value Wall Street assigns to existing reactors.
New Versus Old
Investment banking consultant Gary L. Hunt, president of Global
Energy Advisors in Sacramento, California, estimates the cost of
building a plant at $2,214 per kilowatt of generating capacity.
The market places a value of $1,730 per kilowatt of generating capacity
on currently operating reactors, he says.
TVA's renovation of Browns Ferry Unit One was attractive because
it retooled an old reactor for just $1,558 per kilowatt.
By comparison, traditional coal-fired plants cost $2,022 per kilowatt
to build, Hunt says. And Congress is considering clean-air legislation
that would add about $500 per kilowatt to the cost of those conventional
Because nuclear power runs on uranium, it doesn't emit the greenhouse
gases associated with carbon-emitting coal. Its disadvantage is
producing permanent stores of radioactive waste.
To satisfy an estimated 40 percent increase in U.S. electricity
demand by 2025, the Bush administration is promoting nuclear power's
development with tax credits, loan guarantees and a streamlined
regulatory review process.
Several state governments in the south -- Florida, Georgia, Louisiana
and South Carolina -- have assured utilities they will be able to
recapture the costs of new nuclear plants through higher electricity
rates, says Mary Quillian, director of business and environmental
policy at the Nuclear Energy Institute.
James Curtiss, an energy lawyer at the Washington law firm Winston
& Strawn LLP, predicts that applications to build and license
the new reactors will start coming in to the government overseer,
the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, or NRC, at the pace of about
one a month beginning in the fourth quarter. That would surpass
the peak of applications in the 1970s.
Still, bankers and utility executives say more incentives are necessary
to make the projects viable. That is because $3 of nuclear power-generating
assets -- reactors hooked up to steam generators -- are needed to
produce $1 of revenue, making it the most capital intensive of all
major industries, according to Cambridge Energy Research Associates.
In March, five bankers told U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman
-- who accompanied Bush to Browns Ferry -- that the administration's
offer to support new plant development with loan guarantees covering
72 percent of a reactor's construction costs should be increased
to 80 percent.
In a letter, energy partners at Goldman, Sachs & Co., Citigroup
Global Markets Inc., Credit Suisse Securities LLC, Lehman Brothers
Inc. and Morgan Stanley told Bodman that without the added concession
it wouldn't be possible to raise financing for new nuclear plants
``on commercially reasonable terms.''
Democrats' hold on Congress, meantime, has taken some steam out
of the nuclear lobby. ``It is not unqualified or unambiguous support
we are enjoying,'' says the Nuclear Energy Institute's chief executive
officer, Frank L. ``Skip'' Bowman.
Morgan Stanley Executive Director Caren Byrd says political consensus
may not emerge until after the 2008 presidential election: ``Both
parties -- certainly the Democrats -- are concerned about the environment.
But I don't see a lot of Democrats pounding the table of new nuclear
Shift to Customer
Government backing is necessary, says Goldman Managing Director
John Gilbertson, a signatory on the bankers' letter to Bodman.
``Nobody can have confidence now that when the bell rings and the
time comes to go raise the money that they'll find it,'' he says.
Government incentives are too generous already, says Peter Bradford,
an NRC commissioner from 1977 to 1982. Now a critic of nuclear power,
he says the state and federal programs to promote a nuclear revival
shift investment risks from the utilities to consumers and taxpayers.
``The reforms of the '80s said, `Let's put the risk on the utilities
and the builders because they're in charge of managing these projects
and are in a position to assess and manage the risk,''' Bradford
says. ``What's offensive about what's happening now is Congress
and the state legislatures are doing it in much the opposite direction.''
$300 Million New
TVA, with its headquarters in Knoxville, Tennessee, was created
by Congress in 1933 as a self-regulated utility and development
corporation to produce jobs and electricity in the rural South.
Today, TVA is the largest U.S. power producer, serving 8.7 million
people in seven states.
``It really broke a mold of what we call total poverty,'' says sketch
artist James Croley Smith, 83, of Athens, Alabama, who remembers
life without electricity before TVA changed the landscape in the
seven states the Tennessee River traverses.
TVA began building the Browns Ferry plant in 1967. It completed
Unit One in 1974 for $300 million.
At the time, TVA was promoting plans to build 17 reactors to contend
with forecasts for rising energy costs and fast- growing demand
-- a scenario much like today's.
It completed only six, including three reactors at Browns Ferry,
while spending $10.9 billion on 11 unfinished projects.
$3.3 Billion Debt
The debacle almost led to TVA's insolvency and saddled it with $3.3
billion in debt still on its balance sheet.
The last U.S. nuclear plant completed was TVA's Watts Bar I reactor
in Spring City, Tennessee. It was finished in 1996 for $6.9 billion,
after a quarter-century of management missteps, shifting regulations
and spiraling costs.
During those years, TVA spent $1.8 billion on a second, uncompleted
reactor at Spring City and about $4 billion on another uncompleted
reactor in Hollywood, Alabama.
Meanwhile, danger signs dogged its existing fleet.
A fire at Browns Ferry Unit One in March 1975 -- caused by an electrician
working with a candle -- burned out of control for almost seven
hours. The reactor, then only eight months old, was closed for 1
From 1980 to 1985, the NRC assessed TVA's nuclear fleet with more
than 1,000 regulatory violations.
`A Certain Arrogance'
In March 1985, TVA closed the Browns Ferry plant due to safety concerns
that temporarily sidelined its entire fleet of reactors and prompted
it to abandon the costliest nuclear energy building program in U.S.
history. The NRC says 28 U.S. nuclear plants have shut since the
1960s, 16 are being decommissioned and 97 were canceled before completion.
Craven Crowell, TVA's chairman from 1993 to 2001, says hubris brought
on the government enterprise's ills.
``There was a certain arrogance at TVA that `We can do anything,
we can build anything': `We've harnessed a river, we've built carbon
plants, and there's nothing different about how a nuclear plant
boils water,''' Crowell says. ``It took until the mid-80s until
people realized there had to be a different approach to how people
managed the nuclear program.''
Today, Ashok Bhatnagar, 51, TVA's senior vice president of nuclear
development, defends the decision to rehabilitate the 1960s-era
Browns Ferry reactor.
``These are very robust designs,'' he says. ``And there is so much
experience built in over the years, you can't discount what the
experience is worth to you.''
Andrew C. White, who runs nuclear operations for General Electric
Co., says the refurbished unit is fully modern. General Electric
designed the original Browns Ferry reactor and performed $170 million
in renovation work on it.
``This has probably brought in all the latest and greatest technology,
fuel, instrumentation and technology that we have today for an existing
plant,'' White says.
Yet building nuclear reactors will remain challenging, as revealed
by TVA's efforts to secure the scarce components -- which took it
from Brazil to Japan -- and the skilled personnel it needed to bring
back the Browns Ferry reactor.
The Nuclear Energy Institute estimates that only about 10 percent
of the U.S. manufacturing capacity that existed to build the current
generation of nuclear reactors remains.
Most companies that produced the heavy steel forgings, cables, pumps
and valves that went into U.S. reactors in the 1960s and 1970s have
since been acquired by non-U.S. companies or folded, making parts
hard to find and expensive.
Former TVA Chief Nuclear Officer Oliver Kingsley says, ``I don't
believe the United States is really ready to start the new construction
of nuclear reactors. We've lost our previous infrastructure, and
it wasn't too good.''
Thomas Retson, president of EnergyPath in Wilmington, North Carolina,
takes a more hopeful view. ``The entire supply chain has been weakened
over the years,'' he says. ``This project has brought back into
the game the functionalities, some of which had gone dormant.''
The Browns Ferry restoration also cost federal regulators more than
60,000 hours of review time over five years. The restoration was
replete with surprises, from welding defects to an unexpected shutdown
of the reactor during testing in June.
``It's absurd,'' says Faith Young, a Hartsville, Tennessee, environmental
activist who has opposed TVA's nuclear program since the 1970s.
``I think they learned no lessons.''
NRC Chairman Dale E. Klein responds that the time and care taken
shows how much has been learned. ``What I hope Browns Ferry does
is give the public and industry confidence in the NRC,'' Klein says.
``This was a massive undertaking.''
TVA will have to continue to expand. Peak demand for its electricity
is increasing by 1.9 percent a year, resulting in the need for new
generating capacity comparable to Browns Ferry Unit One every 20
TVA CEO Tom Kilgore told his board May 31 that the enterprise will
have to buy $1.06 billion of power on the open market this year
to cover its generating shortfall.
The situation is heightened by a drought in the Tennessee Valley
that has reduced by 50 percent TVA's river-based hydro- electric
generation, its cheapest energy source.
``We need to be self sufficient,'' Kilgore said.
The CEO told his board he would like to finish the uncompleted Spring
City reactor by 2013, if cost studies support the project. Some
TVA managers, contractors and government inspectors already have
moved from Browns Ferry to Spring City. Kilgore said TVA also is
considering whether to build two reactors by 2019 at its Hollywood,
Even the Browns Ferry renovation was a financial stretch. TVA funded
the project in part by borrowing $1.3 billion against its gas-fired
turbine generators and other equipment. It also raised cash through
the pre-sale of $1.5 billion in electricity, at about a 1 percent
discount, to its largest customer, the city-owned Memphis Light,
Gas and Water utility.
TVA's Bhatnagar says the Browns Ferry restart will pay for itself
in five years. ``We've shown the value of nuclear once again as
a good source of energy for the country,'' he says.
Within the nuclear power industry, TVA's example is seen as a symbol
of progress that others may follow.
``They did go procure nuclear-grade materials on a global scale,''
says Randy Hutchinson, senior vice president of nuclear development
at New Orleans-based Entergy Corp., which is considering building
two nuclear plants, in Louisiana and Mississippi. ``They were able
to go out, and -- even though it was difficult -- to marshal a workforce
to do this.
``They brought a nuclear plant that had been shut down for a number
of years -- that everybody in the industry thought would never restart
-- and they started it,'' he says.
To contact the reporter on this story: Elliot Blair Smith in Athens,
Alabama at esmith29@ bloomberg.net
Last Updated: July 9, 2007 00:10 EDT
Staff Attorney/Policy Analyst
828 South Broadway
Tarrytown, NY 10591
the nuclear Blackmail.
No more Nuclear Hocus Pocus!
Billions spent on another centralized power station
Controlled by the Cor-“pirate’ War Machine!
With little white men,
Running around in little white coats.
Extracting money from your wallets!
Why do we need a middleman?
All hail the power of greed.
Load all the nuclear waste into cannons
With a half life of a million years.
Get your sons and daughters to sit on top,
Pull the trigger and
Shoot it everywhere!
All over the world.
That’s what’s happening NOW!
Bush & Co’s idea of conservation.
What a waste!
It’s a crime.
A crime against humanity!
Imagine everyone having a wind mill or solar panel in their backyard,
Connected to the grid.
Selling all the extra energy back to the companies,
We need to decentralize power production.
Take the energy out of the hands of the Enron’s
And give it back to the people.
Do we really need?
Telling us what to do?
A decentralized energy production system.
Is the answer.
Energy produced at point of consumption.
Millions of wind mills and solar panels.
Power to the people.
Spend those billions on clean renewable energy.
Effect higher efficiency standards.
This benefits all of the people,
All of the time.
Our myopic economic system,
Run by greedy psychopaths!
Is a failure.
Or haven’t you noticed?
It benefits the few
At the cost of the many.
It is passé.
It is over.
We are witnessing the death throws of
Greedy Cor-“pirate” Dinosaurs.
Left over from the Fossil Fuel age.
Frozen in time.
Fossils of a bygone age.
Trying to perpetuate their monopoly.
Beyond the point of extinction.
At gun point.
We need a decentralized system that stops wasting energy transporting
goods all over the world.
Everything should be point of source.
Local food production.
Local energy production.
Stop the Corpirates and help free the world.
article and blog on Alternet
Shrouds Accident at Nuclear Plant By Matthew
L. Wald The New York Times 5/7/2005
Washington - A factory that makes uranium fuel for nuclear reactors
had a spill so bad that it kept the plant closed for seven months
last year and became one of only three incidents in all of 2006
serious enough for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to include
in an annual report to Congress. After an investigation, the commission
changed the terms of the factory's license and said that the public
had 20 days to request a hearing on the changes.
But no member of the public ever did. In fact, no member of the
public could find out about the changes. The document describing
them, including the notice of hearing rights for anyone who felt
adversely affected, was stamped "official use only," meaning
that it was not publicly accessible. "Official use only"
is a category below "Secret" and, while documents in that
category are not technically classified, they are kept from the
The agency would not even have told Congress which factory was involved
were it not for the efforts of one of the five commissioners, Gregory
B. Jaczko, who named the company, Nuclear Fuel Services, of Erwin,
Tenn., in a memo that became part of the public record. His memo
said that other public documents would allow an informed person
to deduce that the factory belonged to Nuclear Fuel Services. Such
secrecy by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is now coming under
attack by influential members of Congress who complain that the
agency is withholding numerous documents about the country's nuclear
facilities in the name of national security, but that many withheld
documents are not sensitive. The lawmakers say the agency must move
to balance its penchant for secrecy with the public's right to participate
in the licensing process and its right to know about potential hazards.
Additional details of the 2006 incident are coming to light now
because of a letter sent on Tuesday to the nuclear agency by the
House Energy and Commerce Committee. The committee chairman, Representative
John D. Dingell, and the chairman of the oversight subcommittee,
Representative Bart Stupak, both Democrats from Michigan, complained
that the N.R.C. "went far beyond" the need to protect
sensitive security information by keeping documents about Nuclear
Fuel Services, a private company, from the public. The agency, the
congressmen complained, "has removed hundreds of otherwise
innocuous documents relating to the N.F.S. plant from public view."
Mr. Jaczko, in a telephone interview, said, "ultimately, we
regulate on behalf of the public, and it's important for them to
have a role." He said that he believed other information about
Nuclear Fuel Services that should be public had been marked "official
With a resurgence of nuclear plant construction expected after a
30-year halt, agency officials say frequently that they are trying
to strike a balance between winning public confidence by regulating
openly, and protecting sensitive information. A commission spokesman,
Scott Burnell, said that the designation as "official use only"
was now under review.
As laid out by the commission's report to Congress and other sources,
the event at the Nuclear Fuel Service factory was discovered when
a supervisor saw a yellow liquid dribbling under a door and into
a hallway. Workers had previously described a yellow liquid in a
"glove box," a sealed container with gloves built into
the sides to allow a technician to manipulate objects inside, but
managers had decided that it was ordinary uranium.
In fact, it was highly enriched uranium that had been declared surplus
from the weapons inventory of the Energy Department and sent to
the plant to be diluted to a strength appropriate for a civilian
reactor. The factory is under contract to prepare such uranium for
the Tennessee Valley Authority.
In a puddle, the uranium is not particularly hazardous, but if it
formed a more spherical shape, according to the commission, it could
become a "critical mass," a quantity of nuclear fuel sufficient
to sustain a chain reaction, in this case outside a reactor. According
to the letter sent by the lawmakers, the puddle, containing about
nine gallons, reached to within four feet of an elevator pit. The
letter from the congressmen says the agency's report suggests "that
it was merely a matter of luck that a criticality accident did not
If the material had gone critical, "it is likely that at least
one worker would have received an exposure high enough to cause
acute health effects or death," the commission said. A spokesman
for the company, Tony Treadway, said the elevator was better described
as a dumbwaiter, meaning it was far smaller than a passenger elevator.
Almost anywhere else, the commission would have disclosed the details.
But in 2004, according to the committee's letter, the Office of
Naval Reactors, part of the Energy Department, reached an agreement
with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that any correspondence with
Nuclear Fuel Services would be marked "official use only."
The plant processes high-enriched uranium for Navy submarine propulsion
The memorandum that declared such correspondence to be "official
use only" was itself designated "official use only."
Expansion is a Pipe Dream, Says Report
By John Vidal The Guardian UK Wednesday 04 July 2007
Hope for new era of cheap, clean power is a "myth." Building
more stations would increase terror risk.
A worldwide expansion of nuclear power has little chance of significantly
reducing carbon emissions but will add dangerously to the proliferation
of nuclear weapons-grade materials and the potential for nuclear
terrorism, says a leading research group that has analysed the possible
uptake of civil atomic power over the next 65 years.
The Oxford Research Group paper, funded by the Joseph Rowntree charitable
trust, says that the worldwide nuclear "renaissance" planned
by the industry to provide cheap, clean power is a myth. Although
global electricity demand is expected to rise by 50% in the next
25 years, only 25 new nuclear reactors are currently being built,
with 76 more planned and a further 162 proposed, many of which are
unlikely to be built. This compares with 429 reactors in operation
today, many of which are already near the end of their useful lives
and need replacing soon.
For nuclear power to make any significant contribution to a reduction
in global carbon emissions in the next two generations, the paper
says, the industry would have to construct nearly 3,000 new reactors
- or about one a week for 60 years.
"A civil nuclear construction and supply programme on this
scale is a pipe dream, and completely unfeasible. The highest historic
rate [of build] is 3.4 new reactors a year," says the report.
The paper - Too Hot to Handle? The Future of Civil Nuclear Power
- comes as the UK government consults on a new generation of nuclear
power stations and at a time of increased terrorist activity. It
argues that worldwide stocks of high-grade uranium are expected
to have run dangerously low within 25 years and that a significant
increase in nuclear power beyond then will require a new generation
of "breeder" reactor.
Though this will reduce the need for high-grade uranium, it says,
it will also add immensely to the amount of weapons-grade plutonium
being produced. "Even a small expansion in the use of nuclear
power for electricity generation would have serious consequences
for the spread of nuclear weapons to countries that do not now have
them and for nuclear terrorism," it says.
The researchers say that nuclear proliferation is inevitable in
the next decade. If all the reactors planned today are built, a
further seven countries will have nuclear power. Nine more potentially
volatile Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia and Syria,
have expressed interest in civil nuclear power, says the paper.
In addition, future demand for electricity will come from the world's
poorest countries, which are expected to add nearly 3.5 billion
to their populations in the next 60 years. "If nuclear power
is to play more than a marginal role in combating global warming,
then nuclear power will have to be operated in countries like Bangladesh,
Congo, Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan, which at present have no
nuclear reactors", it says.
"According to the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency,
within 30-40 years at least 30 countries are likely to have access
to fissile materials from their civil nuclear power programmes that
can be used for nuclear weapons and competent nuclear physicists
and engineers who could design and fabricate them.
"Future breeder reactors will be fuelled with plutonium and
only a small input of uranium. The plutonium will be of a type suitable
for use in the most efficient nuclear weapons. The normal operation
of these reactors will, as a matter of course, multiply the amount
of weapons-usable plutonium available across the world.
"If the decision to go with nuclear power is taken, then the
UK will implement a flawed and dangerously counter-productive energy
"The question is whether in the 21st century the security risks
associated with civil nuclear power can be managed, or not? Society
has to decide whether or not the risks of proliferation and nuclear
terrorism in a world with many nuclear power reactors are acceptable."
A scramble for uranium to feed the new generation of nuclear plants
in China and Russia has led to a huge price increase: the commodity
shot up 45% to $138 a pound in the past three months alone - as
compared with $10.75 in early 2003, when atomic power was out of
favour and nobody wanted to construct facilities. Nuclear is now
seen as one way of meeting soaring energy demand while keeping greenhouse
gas emissions low.
Jump to today's Truthout Issues:
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Research Group: Nuclear Industry's Proposal for Clean Power Is a
Myth 750,000 a Year Killed by Chinese Pollution Sunbathers: Beware
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Cool Hand Nuke: Paul Newman endorses
WASHINGTON (AP) — Call him Cool Hand Nuke. Actor and salad
Paul Newman weighed in Wednesday on the Indian Point nuclear power
in the New York suburbs, pronouncing it safer than military bases
Newman, the star of such films as Cool Hand Luke,Slap Shot and Nobody's
Fool, visited the Buchanan, N.Y., facility on Monday, according
Steets, a spokesman for Entergy Nuclear, the company that owns Indian
The veteran actor, restaurateur and organic-food producer praised
nuclear power facility as an important part of the region's energy
because it doesn't produce greenhouse gases, which contribute to
Through a statement issued by an industry group, Newman said he
impressed with the safety measures in place at Indian Point —
a key worry
point for local residents, some of whom want the plant, 35 miles
midtown Manhattan, shut down as a potential target of terrorism.
In stark contrast to his Cool Hand Luke character, who was always
break out of prison, Newman was apparently given a security card
the highly sensitive area.
"What I saw exceeded my expectations," Newman said in
the statement. "No
Army or Navy base I've ever visited has been more armored, and I
walk 30 feet inside the plant without swiping my key card to go
another security checkpoint."
Newman, who has electrified audiences for decades with his 100-watt
and raffish charm, called the plant an important source of electricity
millions of New Yorkers.
He also sounded confident that the spent fuel rods are safely stored
pool that, in my younger days, I could jump across."
Steets, the Entergy spokesman, called Newman's visit "a terrific
"We had a good time showing him around the plant," Steets
said. "He was very
engaging, very interested in the issues."
USA TODAY 5/23/2007 Copyright 2007 The Associated
Indian Point Campaign Director
storm" blamed for nuclear-plant shutdown
Robert Lemos, SecurityFocus 2007-05-18
Anti-Nuclear Network (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The U.S. House of Representative's Committee on Homeland Security
called this week for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to
further investigate the cause of excessive network traffic that
down an Alabama nuclear plant.
During the incident, which happened last August at Unit 3 of the
Browns Ferry nuclear power plant, operators manually shut down the
reactor after two water recirculation pumps failed. The recirculation
pumps control the flow of water through the reactor, and thus the
power output of boiling-water reactors (BWRs) like Browns Ferry
3. An investigation into the failure found that the controllers
the pumps locked up following a spike in data traffic -- referred
as a "data storm" in the NRC notice -- on the power plant's
control system network. The deluge of data was apparently caused
separate malfunctioning control device, known as a programmable
In a letter dated May 14 but released to the public on Friday, the
Committee on Homeland Security and the Subcommittee on Emerging
Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology asked the chairman
of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to continue to investigate
"Conversations between the Homeland Security Committee staff
NRC representatives suggest that it is possible that this incident
could have come from outside the plant," Committee Chairman
Thompson (D-Miss.) and Subcommittee Chairman James R. Langevin (D-RI)
stated in the letter. "Unless and until the cause of the excessive
network load can be explained, there is no way for either the
licensee (power company) or the NRC to know that this was not an
external distributed denial-of-service attack."
The August 2006 incident is the latest network threat to affect
nation's power utilities. In January 2003, the Slammer worm disrupted
systems of Ohio's Davis-Besse nuclear power plant, but did not pose
safety risk because the plant had been offline since the prior year.
However, the incident did prompt a notice from the NRC warning all
power plant operators to take such risks into account.
In August 2003, nearly 50 million homes in the northeastern U.S.
neighboring Canadian provinces suffered from a loss of power after
early warning systems failed to work properly, allowing a local
outage to cascade across several power grids. A number of factors
contributed to the failure, including a bug in a common energy
management system and the MSBlast, or Blaster, worm which quickly
spread among systems running Microsoft Windows, eventually claiming
more than 25 million systems.
No digital contagion has been fingered in the latest incident, said
Terry Johnson, spokesman for the Tennessee Valley Authority, the
public power company that runs the Browns Ferry power plant.
"The integrated control system (ICS) network is not connected
network outside the plant, but it is connected to a very large number
of controllers and devices in the plant," Johnson said. "You
up with a lot of information, and it appears to be more than it
The device responsible for flooding the network with data appears
be a programmable logic controller (PLC) connected to the plant's
Ethernet network, according to an NRC information notice on the
incident (PDF). The PLC controlled Unit 3's condensate demineralizer
-- essentially a water softener for nuclear plants. The flood of
spewed out by the malfunctioning controller caused the variable
frequency drive (VFD) controllers for the recirculation pumps to
Such failures are common among PLC and supervisory control and data
acquisition (SCADA) systems, because the manufacturers do not test
the devices' handling of bad data, said Dale Peterson, CEO of
industrial system security firm DigitalBond.
"What is happening in this marketplace is that vendors will
their own (network) stacks to make it cheaper," Peterson said.
it works, but when (the device) gets anything that it didn't expect,
it will gag."
In many cases, a simple vulnerability scan will even cause the
devices to crash, Peterson said. During tests in an electrical
substation, Nessus running in safe scan mode crashed devices, he
said. In some cases, sending out broadcast data on the network will
crash several of connected devices, he added.
"If you were to test any control systems that have any more
three or four different network-connected devices, they could be
knocked over very easily," Peterson said.
The Browns Ferry nuclear power plant has had its share of
difficulties. All three units of the plant were shutdown in 1985
to performance and management problems, according to the NRC. Unit
was restarted in 1991, and Unit 3 started operating again in 1995.
Tuesday, the NRC gave the Tennessee Valley Authority permission
restart Unit 1.
The Committee on Homeland Security gave the NRC until June 14 to
respond to its letter.
Copyright 2006, SecurityFocus
Highways Would Be Conduit for
New England Radioactive Waste Transport
Under Bush Nuke Waste Transport Plan
For Immediate Release May 22, 2007
Kevin Kamps 301-270-6477 ex 14
John Sticpewich 828-675-1792
Nancy Burton at NancyBurtonCT@aol.comNIRS
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
6930 Carroll Avenue # 340 Takoma Park, Maryland 20912
May 22 – Connecticut will be a conduit for all high-level
nuclear waste from nuclear facilities in New England states to be
transported to new dumpsites in the south if a measure proposed
by the Bush Administration is approved, the Connecticut Coalition
Against Millstone reported today.
Shipments of thousands of tons of deadly radioactive waste from
nuclear reactors in Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire
would converge on Connecticut’s three interstates - 91, 95
and 84 - and pass through the state’s major metropolitan areas
in hundreds of trips as well as along railroads routes and waterways,
the Coalition reported.
“This unprecedented migration of nuclear waste - containing
plutonium, americium and other deadly radioisotopes in large quantities
which remain deadly for thousands of years - would be a mobile Chernobyl,
posing unparalleled opportunities for terrorists and ordinary transit
accidents,” said Nancy Burton, Coalition director.
“This plan represents nuclear madness to an extreme,”
“The Bush Administration’s deadly love affair with the
atom must be stopped by Congress and public opinion,” Burton
At present, the thousands of tons of high-level spent nuclear fuel
generated by New England’s six nuclear power stations over
nearly 40 years is maintained at each site in storage pools or above-ground
“At present, in situ storage is the safest way to keep this
spent nuclear material,” Burton said. “A massive migration
of deadly nuclear waste across our highways, over our rails and
along our rivers and waterways poses unacceptable risks to all the
communities that will be unwitting hosts.”
The Coalition joined 40 other community-based groups nationwide
teaming with Nuclear Information and Resource Service and the Common
Sense at the Nuclear Crossroads Campaign are releasing new maps
showing likely transport routes (road, rail and water) that high-level
radioactive waste (irradiated or spent fuel) would take from nuclear
power reactors to the federal Savannah River Site in South Carolina
for reprocessing, if that location is chosen under the federal Global
Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP).
Eleven sites are currently under consideration for GNEP; two in
South Carolina. Implementation of GNEP would redirect the transportation
of this waste, previously assumed to target the flawed and unsuitable
Yucca Mountain site in Nevada.
Part of a study by John Sticpewich entitled “A Study of the
Problems With Transport and Reprocessing of Nuclear Waste in the
Carolinas,” the maps were generated using Department of Energy
(DOE) data and the on-line DOE routing program, TRAGIS.
“Credit analysts on Wall Street have suggested that moving
the accumulated high-level waste from the reactor sites would make
investment in new nuclear power more likely,” said Sticpewich.
“This report documents the huge tonnage of radioactive waste
that must be dealt with, the very high costs of transporting it,
and the potential for impact that such a move would have on hundreds
of communities along the way.”
John Sticpewich did this work on behalf of the Common Sense at the
Nuclear Crossroads Campaign based in Asheville, NC.
and his report are available at: http://www.nuclearcrossroads.org/secondreport.htm
If implemented, GNEP would move accumulated waste from 75 sites
in 33 states. Due to limited resources, the new maps show only a
defined “study area:” waste sites that are east of the
Mississippi River, and from the Carolinas, north. While routes are
shown in all states east of the Mississippi, those in MS, AL, GA
and FL include only out-of-state waste – the reactors in those
states are not included as a points of origin – though they
would be under the GNEP program.
“This case study of one scenario and a limited study area
includes two thirds of the nation’s reactors. It is a good
start on looking at the impact of bringing the nation’s high-level
waste into the South,” said Mary Olson, Director of the Southeast
Office of Nuclear Information and Resource Service. “Another
scenario we do not show is a possible plan for this deadly waste
to be centralized for storage at a “parking-lot dump”
-- a top candidate for so-called “temporary” storage
is the Piketon site in Appalachian Ohio” concluded Olson.
Piketon is another of the 11 sites being considered under GNEP.
“NIRS coined the slogan ‘Mobile Chernobyl’ back
when Congress weighed shipping this high-level nuclear waste to
Nevada to a parking-lot style dump. It refers to the elevated risk
of accidents or incidents that will travel with this deadly waste
if put on the roads and rails,” said Kevin Kamps, Nuclear
Waste Specialist with Nuclear Information and Resource Service.
“The risk of terrorist attack means that these shipments are
potential dirty bombs on wheels or water,” says Kamps. “The
big news in these maps is the water routes to SRS – the Great
Lakes could be hit by many hundreds to thousands of these shipments,
along with rivers, canals, and coastlines in every region.”
Although Yucca Mountain cannot be approached directly by water,
DOE proposed barge shipments for segments of transports there as
“Coincidentally, Dairyland Power’s intensely radioactive
Genoa atomic reactor pressure vessel shipment by train from LaCrosse,
Wisconsin to Barnwell, South Carolina for dumping in a ditch, is
about to roll – perhaps as early as today -- down the tracks,
most likely via IL, IN, KY, TN, and GA, the very routes identified
in this new study,” said Kevin Kamps of NIRS. “This
real-life shipment, happening right now, has its own radiological
hazards, but these are dwarfed by the many thousands of high-level
radioactive waste shipments that would follow it in years ahead
if South Carolina opens a reprocessing facility,” said Kamps.
“There are 32 new reactors moving forward, and of these 30
are in the South,” said Mary Olson. “In 2005 Congress
started talking about reviving the failed, unprofitable reprocessing
technology – that would bring the worst nuclear waste to South
Carolina. This is a major shift in ‘the deal.’ We were
told that nuclear waste would not be a problem—effectively
it would be dumped on someone else! Now if GNEP goes forward, more
of the real cost of those new nuclear power reactors will be clear:
nuclear waste would stay here in the South and more would come from
all over the country – and possibly the world!” concluded
Groups taking participating in the May 22nd release:
Common Sense at the Nuclear Crossroads (Asheville, North Carolina);
Nuclear Information and Resource Service (Takoma Park, MD and Asheville,
North Carolina); Physicians for Social Responsibility of Western
North Carolina; Citizen’s Awareness Network (Massachusetts);
Green Party of Onondaga County (New York); Central New York Citizens
Awareness Network; Syracuse Peace Council (New York); Don't Waste
Michigan; Nuclear Energy Information Service (Chicago, Illinois);
Earth Day Coalition (Cleveland, Ohio); Southern Ohio Neighbors Group;
Citizen Action Coalition of Indiana; Yggdrasil/Earth Island (Kentucky);
Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League; The Canary Coalition (North
Carolina); Nuclear Watch South (Atlanta, Georgia); Citizens For
Environmental Justice (Savannah, Georgia); Atlanta WAND (Georgia);
Action for A Clean Environment (Georgia); South Carolina Chapter,
Sierra Club; HIPWAZEE (Columbia, South Carolina); Environmentalists
Inc. (Columbia, South Carolina); Carolina Peace Resource Center
(Columbia, South Carolina); Columbia Meeting of the Religious Society
of Friends (South Carolina); Charleston Peace (South Carolina);
Thinking People (Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina); South Carolina Alliance
for Sustainable Campuses + Communities; Environmental Coalition
on Nuclear Power (Pennsylvania); Energy Justice Network (Pennsylvania);
Don't Waste Connecticut; Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone;
North American Water Office (Lake Elmo, Minnesota); Citizen Alert
(Las Vegas, Nevada); Southern Nevada Group of the Toiyabe Chapter
of the Sierra Club; NatCap Inc. (Colorado); Coalition for a Nuclear-Free
Great Lakes (Monroe, Michigan); Citizens Resistance at Fermi Two
(Livonia, Michigan); Toledo Coalition for Safe Energy (Ohio), Port
Hope Community Health Concerns Committee (Port Hope, Ontario), Canada
Voices for Earth Justice (Roseville, MI), Citizens for Alternatives
to Chemical Contamination (Lake Station, MI), Huron Environmental
Activist League (Alpena, MI).
CSNC is preparing to release a second report on the problems of
the transport of high-level radioactive nuclear waste. This report
considers the implications of the proposed Global Nuclear Energy
Partnership program for reprocessing the waste from commercial power
generating reactors. The routes that would be used to transport
the waste by road, rail and water if the Savannah River National
Laboratory or Barnwell are chosen as locations for reprocessing
The report will be released
in the third week of May at public meetings and made available on
this web-site. Printed coppies of the report will be made available
to the public. We are asking readers to consider a donation of $5
per copy to defray printing costs. Media inquiries about the upcoming
report should be directed to: email@example.com.
Summary Maps from the Report.The maps below are the summary maps
for the road, rail and water routes to SRS that are presented in
the report. A PDF version of the map can be downloaded by clicking
on the title of each map.
environmental groups join CT Coalition Against Millstone and Soundkeeper
in call to convert Millstone to closed cooling
On May 1, 2007, the Connecticut Fund for the Environment and Save
the Sound intervened in the proceedings before DEP on Millstone's
Clean Water Act permit renewal to advocate for Millstone conversion
from once-through to closed cooling.
CCAM and Soundkeeper are already intervenors in the case.
The intervenors argue that convertion to an environmentally-friendly
closed cooling system would substantially eliminate mortality of
billions of marine organisms at the Millstone intakes, the harmful
thermal plume and the discharge of toxic chemicals and radionuclides
to the Long Island Sound.
The intervenors maintain conversion to a closed cooling system is
required as a result of a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals,
in which Connecticut Attorney General Richard S. Blumenthal argued
that closed cooling is a superior technology to reduce adverse ennvironmental
impacts from nuclear power plants. However, in the current DEP proceedings,
Blumenthal is advocating on behalf of Dominion's position, to maintain
the status quo.
Read more: http://www.theday.com
SPITZER JOINS FORCES WITH CONGRESSMAN HALL AND NEW YORK'S HUDSON
VALLEY CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION TO CALL FOR INDEPENDENT SAFETY ASSESSMENT
OF INDIAN POINT
April 26, 2007
ELIOT SPITZER, GOVERNOR
CONTACT: Christine Anderson
Governor Eliot Spitzer joined with Congressman John Hall and New
Hudson Valley members of Congress, including Congressman Maurice
Congresswoman Nita Lowey, Congressman Eliot Engel, Senator Charles
and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in calling on Dale Klein, Chairman
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), to order an Independent Safety
Assessment (ISA) at Indian Point Energy Center before the plant
In his letter to Chairman Klein, Governor Spitzer detailed the issues
plaguing the Indian Point facility and the need for swift action
on the part
of the NRC.
"I continue to be gravely concerned about the safety and security
Point, especially given the recent operational problems at the plant,"
Governor Spitzer. "Public safety must be our foremost concern
and for that
reason it is imperative that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission conduct
Independent Safety Assessment to fully review the facility before
Governor Spitzer endorsed H.R. 994 and S. 649, and commended Congressman
Hall for his leadership in introducing the legislation in the U.S.
Representatives. He lauded the dedication of the bill's co-sponsors:
Hinchey, Lowey, and Engel and Senators Schumer and Clinton for introducing
companion Senate bill.
On February 12th Congressman Hall introduced legislation, co-sponsored
Hinchey, Lowey and Engel, requiring the NRC to oversee an in-depth
independent inspection at Indian Point. Hall's bill, H.R. 994, would
require that the plant comply with the ISA recommendations or be
license extension in 2013. Senators Schumer and Clinton reintroduced
companion bill (S.649) in the Senate.
On Monday the NRC fined the owners of Indian Point, Entergy Nuclear
Operations Inc., $130,000 for failing to meet last week's deadline
for a new
emergency siren plan.
Congressman John Hall said, "Indian Point is the nation's most
power plant in the nation's most densely populated corridor. With
8% of the
population of the United States within a 50 mile radius of the plant,
Nuclear Regulatory Commission needs to give this plant the special
it requires. Entergy's inability to install a functioning alert
the seemingly weekly string of mishaps at Indian Point make it clearer
ever that the NRC needs to conduct an Independent Safety Assessment
allowing this plant to get re-licensed."
Congressman Hinchey said, "I am very pleased that we continue
strides in our efforts to convince the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
agree to an Independent Safety Assessment at Indian Point. The recent
downs and siren failures at Indian Point clearly show that the plant
functioning properly, which is why we desperately need a thorough
examination of the plant that would then lead to improvements. The
act soon before an accident with greater consequences occurs."
Congressman Engel said, "Today Governor Spitzer continues his
his willingness to take on industries that threaten the well being
Yorkers. Only a truly independent assessment will give our residents
hope of feeling safe with Indian Point in their backyard."
Schumer said, "When it comes to nuclear safety and security,
we expect the
highest standards. Safety must be the number one priority, that's
need an independent investigation."
Senator Clinton said, "I applaud Governor Spitzer for joining
the call for
an Independent Safety Assessment at Indian Point. It's time for
the NRC and
Entergy to heed the call that is echoing throughout the community
gets louder as more incidents occur. It is way past time for the
undertake a detailed, independent review of the plant to answer
questions that more and more New Yorkers have about the safety of
Deputy Secretary for Public Safety, Michael Balboni said, "The
continues to work with the counties in the emergency planning zones
as the federal government to ensure that we are doing everything
ensure the security of the plant during its operation. The Governor
indicated that he would support the closure of Indian Point at such
when alternative energy sources are developed and which meet the
needs of the region. Until that time, we must do all that we can
sure that the Indian Point facility complies with all federal laws
regulations and is operated as safely as possible."
Last week, Governor Spitzer established an energy conservation goal
the most ambitious in the nation. The plan focuses on energy efficiency,
conservation, and investment in renewable energy sources as the
achieving economic and environmental goals.
A copy of the Governor's letter to Chairman Dale Klein is attached.
Congressman John Hall (NY-19)
1217 Longworth HOB
202.225.5441 (o) 202.253.7700 (c)
Sign up for Congressman Hall's E-newsletter at
disregards the law,
slapping Entergy on the wrist for Indian Point siren failure:
What do 20 million people within 50 miles of IP matter?
shirks its public guardian responsibilities - again
23, 2007, the NRC announced it had proposed a $130,000 fine on the
owner of Indian Point for the company's failure to provide backup
power to emergency sirens as it had been ordered to do.
Small potatoes. It's a David Copperfield-styled antic designed to
provide the mere appearance of regulatory "bite." But it's
The NRC's authority to fine Indian Point's owner for violating federally
mandated requirements is contained in Section 2.205 of Title 10 of
the Code of Federal Regulations. (Available online at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/cfr/part002/part002-0205.html
Specifically, paragraph (j) in 10 CFR 2.205 specifies the amount of
"(j) Amount. A civil monetary penalty imposed under Section 234
of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, or any other statute
within the jurisdiction of the Commission that provides for the imposition
of a civil penalty in an amount equal to the amount set forth in Section
234, may not exceed $130,000 for each violation. If any violation
is a continuing one, each day of such violation shall constitute a
separate violation for the purpose of computing the applicable civil
The first sentence of this two-sentence paragraph limits the fine
to a maximum of $130,000 per violation.
The second sentence of this two-sentence paragraph says that "if
any violation is a continuing one [as this Indian Point violation
be], each day of such violation shall constitute a separate violation...".
The NRC apparently lost interest and didn't read the second sentence
of this two-sentence paragraph. Or read it and deliberately chose
to ignore it.
Entergy violated the NRC's order. The NRC determined that violation
to be deliberate. The applicable federal regulation calls for a fine
of $130,000 per violation per day. The NRC proposed a mere $130,000
fine as if it were a one-day violation and not a continuing violation.
$130,000 appears to be a hefty sanction. But not to a billion dollar
company like Entergy. Entergy spends far more than $130,000 to sponsor
events like golfing tournaments such as the Southern Farm Bureau Classic
( http://www.sfbclassic.com/sponsor-info.php ) and the Louisiana Pelican
Classic ( http://www.lapelicanclassic.com/sponsors.php ).
Congress, which passed a law that required the NRC to make Entergy
install backup power for the emergency sirens at Indian Point, might
want to ask the NRC why the agency opted to apply only half of its
enforcement arsenal and issue a token sanction. Congress might want
to ask the NRC why the agency opted NOT to fine Entergy for each and
every day of its continuing violation as provided in the regulation.
Director, Nuclear Safety Project
Union of Concerned Scientists
1707 H Street NW Suite 600
Washington, DC 20006-3962
(202) 223-6133 (office)
(202) 331-5430 (direct line)
(202) 223-6162 (fax)
Point Nuclear Plant Stable After Explosion
Tony Aiello Reporting (CBS) BUCHANAN, N.Y.
Investigators are working
to determine the cause of Friday's explosion and fire on the grounds
of the Indian Point nuclear energy center.
The incident forced the shut down of the Indian Point 3 nuclear reactor,
and caused plant owner Entergy Nuclear Northeast to issue a "notice
of unusual event."
Plant safety director Michael Slobodien said an electrical transformer
exploded and caught fire near the reactor shortly after 11 a.m.
"It's in an area outside the nuclear part of the plant,"
Slobodien told reporters. "The plant shut down safely and is
"Anytime you have something of this nature that affects a major
component like the transformer, you would shut down for safety sake
and to conduct an investigation," Slobodien said.
The transformer takes electricity from the reactor and feeds it to
overhead power cables. It was protected by a sprinkler deluge system
that automatically knocked down much of the fire, Slobodien said.
The plant's own fire brigade also worked to put out the fire. The
Verplanck Fire Department sent several units to Indian Point to serve
as mutual aid, but they were not needed.
Westchester County sent health workers to monitor air quality near
the plant after the fire. The monitors detected no release of radiation,
according to Tony Sutton, the county's Commissioner of Emergency Services.
"We always want to err on the side of caution," Sutton said.
"That's why we dispatched a couple field teams to monitor air
quality and check for radiation."
"We have nothing to indicate this had any impact at all on public
health and safety."
Smoke from the fire was visible across the Hudson River in Rockland
County, and prompted concerned calls from many residents.
Rockland County Executive Scott Vanderhoef complained it took Entergy
30 minutes to notify the county of the event.
In Buchanan, many residents took the scare in stride.
"I didn't even really get scared when I saw the fire trucks,"
said Norma Barrett. "I just went with the flow."
The fire marked the fourth time since July that Indian Point 3 was
forced to shut down. Critics said the problems illustrated the need
for an independent safety analysis of the entire plant.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission downgraded the plant's safety rating
after the fire, from green, the best rating, to white, one step lower.
The commission said the plant would be under increased scrutiny for
Operations at the Indian Point 2 generator were not affected, Entergy
(© MMVII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
Nuclear Power 'Can't Stop Climate
by Geoffrey Lean Published on Saturday, June 26, 2004
by the lndependent/UK
Nuclear power cannot solve global warming, the international body
set up to promote atomic energy admits today.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which exists to spread
the peaceful use of the atom, reveals in a new report that it could
not grow fast enough over the next decades to slow climate change
- even under the most favorable circumstances.
The report - published to celebrate yesterday's 50th anniversary of
nuclear power - contradicts a recent surge of support for the atom
as the answer to global warming.
That surge was provoked by an article in The Independent last month
by Professor James Lovelock - the creator of the Gaia theory - who
said that only a massive expansion of nuclear power as the world's
main energy source could prevent climate change overwhelming the globe.
Professor Lovelock, a long-time nuclear supporter, wrote: "Civilization
is in imminent danger and has to use nuclear - the one safe, available,
energy source - now or suffer the pain soon to be inflicted by our
His comments were backed by Sir Bernard Ingham, Lady Thatcher's former
PR chief, and other commentators, but have now been rebutted by the
most authoritative organization on the matter.
Unlike fossil fuels, nuclear power emits no carbon dioxide, the main
cause of climate change. However, it has long been in decline in the
face of rising public opposition and increasing reluctance of governments
and utilities to finance its enormous construction costs.
No new atomic power station has been ordered in the US for a quarter
of a century, and only one is being built in Western Europe - in Finland.
Meanwhile, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden have all pledged
to phase out existing plants.
The IAEA report considers two scenarios. In the first, nuclear energy
continues to decline, with no new stations built beyond those already
planned. Its share of world electricity - and thus its relative contribution
to fighting global warming - drops from its current 16 per cent to
12 per cent by 2030.
Surprisingly, it made an even smaller relative contribution to combating
climate change under the IAEA's most favorable scenario, seeing nuclear
power grow by 70 per cent over the next 25 years. This is because
the world would have to be so prosperous to afford the expansions
that traditional ways of generating electricity from fossil fuels
would have grown even faster. Climate change would doom the planet
before nuclear power could save it.
Alan McDonald, an IAEA nuclear energy analyst, told The Independent
on Sunday last night: "Saying that nuclear power can solve global
warming by itself is way over the top." But he added that closing
existing nuclear power stations would make tackling climate change
© 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd
activists scale nuclear cooling tower in France today 3/27/07
activists on Tuesday scaled a nuclear cooling tower in central France
in a spectacular stunt to draw attention to its campaign against nuclear
Activists from eight different countries targeted a plant in Belleville
sur Loire, climbing the tower's outer ladder and absailing half-way
back down to spray-paint the words "EPR = Danger".
Construction of France's first so-called "third-generation"
European Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR), located in Flamanville near
the English Channel, is due to begin by the end of the year.
But the project is opposed by anti-nuclear activists, who drew tens
of thousands of people into the streets in protest earlier this month."We
want to denounce the dangers of nuclear power in general and the EPR
in particular," said a Greenpeace spokeswoman Adelaide Colin.
France derives more than three-quarters of its electricity from nuclear
power, the highest ratio of any country in the world, and many of
its 58 reactors are nearing the end of their usefulness.
Designed to generate power for 60 years, the EPR will gradually take
over as the reactors currently in service are start to be decommissioned
Around 60 police officers, backed by elite commando squads and four
helicopters, were mobilised during the operation, although the power
provider Electricite de France said the demonstrators had not come
close to any dangerous installations.
March 27, 2007
Nuclear power: neither as secure, nor carbon-free, as industry hacks
have you believe.
Posted by brianfit
Twelve activists, from eight countries, have managed to get inside
the security perimiter of a nuclear power plant at Belleville Sur
Loire in France and scale the cooling tower. Notable in this video
(in French) is the complete lack of any security personnel whatsoever.
(More here from Greenpeace France)
To be honest, I think I'd prefer to see our banner-hanging sprees
foiled by security than know that a potential source of dirty bomb
material can be gotten into with equipment little more advanced than
And if you're of the school that says "ok, it's a risky technology,
vulnerable to break-ins by unsavory types who might take an interest
in dirty bomb or fissionable material, but at least it doesn't cause
climate change," you may want to read this article in Business
Is [nuclear power] really as clean as supporters contend? A report,
released on Mar. 26 by a British nongovernmental organization called
the Oxford Research Group, disputes the popular perception that nuclear
is a clean energy source. It argues that while nuclear plants may
not generate carbon dioxide while they operate, the other steps necessary
to produce nuclear power, including the mining of uranium and the
storing of waste, result in substantial amounts of carbon dioxide
pollution. "As this report shows, hopes for the climate-protecting
potential of nuclear energy are entirely misplaced," says Jürgen
Trittin, a former minister of the environment in Germany and a contributor
to the report. "Nuclear power cannot be promoted on environmental
grounds." [...] "The assumption has long been that the [greenhouse]
effect is zero, but the evidence shows otherwise." The report
comes as British Prime Minister Tony Blair is pushing to build a new
generation of nuclear plants in the name of curbing global warming.
Environmental groups like Greenpeace, the Rocky Mountain Institute
and Germany's Öko-Institut have argued in recent years that nuclear
power comes with hidden carbon emissions. But the Oxford Research
Group study is the most quantitative and up-to-date advancement of
this assertion...So lets see. It's not safe. It's not a solution to
climate change. Even the Nevada Nuclear Test Site is a non-starter
for storing the waste. What exactly is left to argue for Nuclear Power?
Ah, of course! It's "too cheap to meter." Oh wait, that
one fizzled years ago, didn't it...
NRC Cover-Up Time - March 22!
The NRC's Region I inspectors are holding their annual "performance
assessment" public meetings on Thursday, March 22, 2007 in Waterford.
You can speak at two public sessions:
3 P.M.: Sillin Training Center, Millstone Nuclear Power Station, Rope
Ferry Road, Waterford (prepare to provide photo ID);
6 PM: Waterford Town Hall, Rope Ferry Road, Waterford
Help us to expose a corrupt federal agency and a corrupt corporate
profiteer! Set the truth free! BE THERE!
During last year's annual assessment meeting, the NRC inspectors covered
up the truth about Dominion's illegal retaliation against Sham Mehta
because he truthfully reported that Dominion routinely disables its
security system to save money - putting the public at high risk of
During last year's annual assessment meeting, Millstone Unit 2 was
running at 100 per cent power with a broken pump system. Dominion's
top brass and the NRC kept us in the dark about this high safety risk
during the meeting. When the meeting was over and the inspectors and
Attorney General Blumenthal and the media all went home, Millstone
Unit 2 tripped to an unplanned and very dangerous shutdown, releasing
excessive levels of radiation to the surrounding residential environment.
This year, the NRC inspectors will congraulate Dominion for a "job
well done" as they do every year. THEY ARE LYING. Dominion's
top brass will then disappear from the meeting. The public will then
be given a brief period to make comments and ask questions of the
NRC which will be answered if at all through falsehoods and contorted
logic contrived to cover up Dominion malfeasance and misfeasance and
deliberate illegal conduct.
Tell the NRC you demand answers from Dominion. Make Dominion's management
accountable to the people, not their lapdog government "regulators."
You can speak at two public sessions:
3 P.M.: Sillin Training Center, Millstone Nuclear Power Station, Rope
Ferry Road, Waterford (prepare to provide photo ID);
6 PM: Waterford Town Hall, Rope Ferry Road, Waterford
Help us to expose a corrupt federal agency and a corrupt corporate
profiteer! Set the truth free!
TERRY BACKER JOINS
CT COALITION AGAINST MILLSTONE
CALLING FOR MILLSTONE MODIFICATION
TO SPARE FISH, PROTECT LONG ISLAND SOUND
March 19, 2007 at 9 A.M.
Contact Nancy Burton: 203-938-3952--cell 203-545-9252-NancyBurtonCT@aol.com
Contact Terry Backer: 203-943-2764-- Soundkeeper@gmail.com
Long Island Soundkeeper Terry Backer joined the Connecticut Coalition
Against Millstone today in calling for converting the Millstone nuclear
reactors to a fish-friendly cooling system.
“Once-through cooling - what is used at Millstone - is equivalent
to a fish-killing machine and it needs to stop,” said Backer.
“Millions of marine organisms are doomed to die this spring
when they’ll be swept into Millstone’s once-through cooling
system,” said Nancy Burton, Coalition director.
“Millstone is the worst predator of fish in the Northeast,”
Burton said. “Indigenous fish species are being driven to extinction
by the Millstone cooling system.”
Backer and Burton spoke at a press conference prior to a hearing in
the Hartford Superior Court on Burton’s application for a temporary
injunction to place Millstone’s two operating nuclear reactors
in “cold shutdown” during the peak period of larval entrainment,
April 1 through May 15.
A cold shutdown would reduce water intake by nearly 70 per cent yet
allow sufficient inflow to cool the Unit 2 and Unit 3 reactors and
nuclear components, Burton said. It would substantially reduce the
entrainment of the fish larvae.
Burton is seeking a court order to force Dominion Nuclear Power, Inc.,
Millstone’s owner, to convert the two operating reactors to
a closed cooling system.
“Dominion’s notorious excess profits should be diverted
to a program to stop killing fish by converting to a closed cooling
system,” Burton said.
“That would virtually eliminate entrainment of marine organisms,
stop the routine discharge of toxic and radioactive waste products
to the Long Island Sound and reduce the thermal plume,” Burton
Burton’s lawsuit asks the court to relieve the state Department
of Environmental Protection of its role in the Clean Water Act permitting
process that allows Millstone to operate its once-through cooling
“DEP has allowed Millstone for operate 10 years after its discharge
permit expired in 1997,” Burton said, “and for the past
7 years DEP has allowed Millstone to exceed the conditions of the
expired permit with illegal ‘emergency authorizations,’”
“Clearly, DEP has demonstrated that when it comes to Millstone
it lacks the will to uphold the public trust in the environment,”
Note to Editors: Long Island Soundkeeper Terry Backer and Nancy Burton
and others will appear at a press conference on Monday, March 19,
2007, at 9 A.M. in front of the Hartford Superior Court, 95 Washington
Street, Hartford. A court hearing on Burton's application for a temporary
injunction is scheduled for 9:30 A.M. in Courtroom 2.
DEP Commissioner Regina McCarthy and Attorney General Richard S. Blumenthal
are fierce opponents of Broadwater, the Shell Oil-TransCanada Pipelines
Ltd. proposal for an aircraft carrier-size floating liquefied natural
gas terminal in Long Island Sound.
Blumenthal calls Broadwater “an unacceptable security danger,
an environmental atrocity and an aesthetic monstronsity.”
To demonstrate the point, in January, Blumenthal “took the plunge”
into the Sound at Branford with other Broadwater opponents to attract
publicity for the cause.
As bad as Broadwater would be, it is a hill of beans compared with
the “unacceptable security danger, environmental atrocity and
aesthetic monstronsity” that Millstone poses TODAY and EVERY
DAY IT OPERATES.
We invite Mr. Blumenthal to “take the plunge” against
Broadwater AND Millstone at Pleasure Beach in Waterford across Jordan
Cove from Millstone.
The Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone is challenging Regina
McCarthy’s tentative decision to allow Millstone to continue
dumping toxic and radioactive waste into the Sound along with its
thermal plume. The Coalition demands that McCarthy order Millstone
converted to a closed cooling system that would avoid fish kills and
pollution and heating of the Sound.
The Coalition has asked Mr. Bumenthal to intervene in the proceedings
in support of the Coalition’s position. So far, Mr. Blumenthal
has ignored the challenge.
Mr. Blumenthal: Won't you take a public plunge at Pleasure Beach?
Coalition Against Millstone Statement to Energy & Technology Committee
on Advance Radiation Release Notice and the Nuclear Whistleblower
“Millsteam” April 17, 2005 - Class II Emergency
March 6, 2007
Energy & Technology Committee
Legislative Office Building
Hartford CT 06106
Re: An Act Concerning Whistleblowers and Planned Releases
Raised Bill H.B. No. 7312
Dear Committee Members:
My name is Nancy Burton. I am Director of the Connecticut Coalition
Against Millstone, which consists of safe-energy organizations, Millstone
whistleblowers and families throughout the state. The Coalition was
organized in 1998 to educate the public about the dangers of nuclear
power and the need to replace it with clean, safe, renewable energy.
We serve as a watchdog over operations of the Millstone Nuclear Power
Station in Waterford.
With comments, we support Raised Bill H.B. No. 7312, An Act Concerning
Whistleblowers and Planned Releases: To Protect Nuclear Whistleblowers
and to Require Nuclear Plant Operators to Notify the Public in Advance
of Planned Radiation Releases.
Planned Radiation Releases
On April 17, 2005, Dominion Nuclear Connecticut, Inc., Millstone’s
corporate parent, declared a Class II - on a scale of four - emergency.
For more than ten hours, steam, accompanied by clamorous noises, gushed
uncontrolled from Unit 3. A major unplanned release of radiation occurred
during this event. From the outset of the event, Dominion released
knowingly false information to the public on its website and through
the news media. Compare Dominion’s website pronouncement on
the day of the event (“No release of radioactive material has
occurred [later revised to ‘during the event’] beyond
those minor releases Associate with normal plant operations. These
minor releases pose no danger to the public or plant workers. The
minor releases are below federally approved operating limits, below
natural background levels and can not be detected at the site boundary.”)
with its website pronouncement on April 20, 2005 (“There were
no injuries and no radioactive materials were released as a result
of this event.”) Further compare these statements with those
of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in press releases (April
17: “Radiological monitoring by the company to this point indicates
there have been no detectable releases of radioactivity from the plant.
There has been no impact on public health and safety.”)(April
20: “No injuries resulted from the event and preliminary evaluations
indicate there were no releases of radioactivity above allowable levels.”)(May
11: There were no injuries due to the event and any releases of radioactivity
were small and well below allowable federal limits.”)
The Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone demanded a full explanation
by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which responded with a
public information meeting a month later. At that time, the NRC admitted
that there had been unusual radiation releases of noble gases on April
17, 2006, including radioactive krypton which quickly decays to the
deadly radioisotope strontium-90. The NRC representatives acknowledged
they withheld information from the public to avoid panic. Thus we
learned long after the event that the public had been exposed to a
significant unplanned radiation release to the air we breathe.
Greater accountability is required to protect the public.
A necessary first step is to mandate that Dominion notify the public
in advance of all planned releases of radiation. Millstone routinely
releases radiation to the environment. On occasion, Dominion plans
“batch” releases of radioactive effluents which have been
stored to allow for radioactive decay. The public has a right to know
that this is occurring before it happens. Children, pregnant women
and the elderly are most vulnerable to radiation exposure. Cell damage
leading to fatal cancers begins at the molecular level. It does not
take a large dose of ionizing radiation to trigger this fateful process.
No dose is safe and the human body bioaccumulates radiation exposures.
Unlike other carcinogens, radiation cannot be seen, smelled or tasted.
It also cannot be felt or heard. It is an insidious killer.
At present, the public learns of Millstone’s routine releases,
if at all, long after they have occurred, when Dominion publishes
its “Annual Radiological Environmental Operating Report”
for the prior year. Dominion’s report for 2005 - released on
April 27, 2006, a year after the “Millsteam” Class II
Emergency - refers to the event in its totality as follows: “In
April, Unit 3 was temporarily shut down due to safety injection caused
by a tin whisker.” There is no mention of the unplanned radiation
Millstone’s owners are presently required to report unplanned
releases of radiation to the Department of Environmental Protection
after they occur. Connecticut General Statutes Section 22a-135. They
are not required to report planned releases in advance of their occurrence.
During proceedings before the Department of Public Utility Control
in 2000-2001 on the sale of Millstone to Dominion, we asked Dominion’s
representatives to commit to providing notice to the community in
advance of planned releases. Dominion refused, stating that such notification
is not required by the terms of Millstone’s federal license.
While that may be technically correct, it is no barrier to the state
enacting the proposed bill. Connecticut General Statutes Section 22a-135(b)
already provides that a nuclear licensee must report to the DEP “any
additional occurrence, incident or abnormal circumstance which is
not required to be reported within twenty-four hours or sooner to
the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.”
We request that you impose upon nuclear power plant operators in the
state the requirement that they post on their website - in Millstone’s
case www.dom.com - all plans for releases of radiation to the atmosphere,
including dates, times and fissile materials, as soon as such releases
are scheduled. In the event of routine and continuous releases, these
should be noted.
To ensure that the nuclear power plant operator is acting fully consistent
with the law, we recommend that DEP designate an individual to be
assigned on a full-time basis to the nuclear power plant in order
to carry out DEP’s statutory charge (Connecticut General Statutes
Section 22a-135(a)(4)(to “monitor radiation originating from
nuclear plants”). This individual’s salary should be paid
by the nuclear licensee. The DEP monitoring should be subject to annual
Finally, we recommend that a monetary penalty and criminal sanctions
be imposed in the event the nuclear power plant operator fails to
conform to this law. Should members of the public carry out independent
radiation monitoring which leads to such penalties, they should be
recipients of the monetary sanctions.
Nuclear Whistleblower Act
The current Connecticut Nuclear Whistleblower Act (Connecticut General
Statutes 16-8a et seq.) Is an abominable failure.
While intended to protect nuclear whistleblowers at the state’s
nuclear power plants, in practice it does the opposite: it has been
applied to insulate the corporate owners from accountability when
they retaliate against conscientious employees who have raised serious
issues by firing them, thereby creating a workplace environment hostile
to whistleblowing and heightening the risk of the nuclear operation.
There is no greater danger to the public health and safety than a
nuclear power plant whose owners and operators retaliate against whistleblowers
with impunity. Yet this has occurred at least three times in the recent
past. The law provided no protection when it was so needed. The following
information is gleaned from information in the public domain.
A. Pete Reynolds
Pete Reynolds worked in maintenance at Millstone while Northeast Utilities
was the corporate parent. He reported safety violations to OSHA which
were verified correct and as a consequence NU had to pay thousand
of dollars in fines. Reynolds was a committed employee of high integrity.
NU created a pretext to fire him. Reynolds filed a Whistleblower complaint
with the DPUC. Whistleblower complaints follow a two-step process.
Once a complaint is filed, a preliminary investigation occurs. (Connecticut
General Statutes Section 16-8a(c)). Within 30 days, the DPUC must
issue written findings. If DPUC finds preliminarily that the whistleblower
has satisfied statutory standards, it must order the employee reinstated
immediately. In Reynolds’ case, he succeeded at the initial
phase. The DPUC ordered Reynolds reinstated - but it stayed its own
order (a step the law does not allow), because NU brought a lawsuit
to have the Whistleblower Act declared unconstitutional in a federal
court action. (In that case, the Attorney General’s office and
NU made a secret deal that Reynolds would not be reinstated to his
former employment, notwithstanding the pendency of the DPUC order
for reinstatement. Reynolds was not even brought in as a party to
defend his rights. Reynolds v. Blumenthal, Civ. No. 3:04CV218 (PCD))
Reynolds brought an action to the Connecticut Superior Court seeking
to avail himself of the remedies provided in the Whistleblower Act.
Astonishingly, the Connecticut Supreme Court dismissed his case on
procedural grounds (Reynolds v. Department of Public Utility Control,
266 Conn. 606 (2003)), agreeing with a Superior Court judge who observed:
“It is ironic, that Section 16-8d provides a whole set of remedies
for a cause of action that the General Assembly failed to formulate.”
(Reynolds v. Department of Public Utility Control, 48 Conn. Supp.
188(2001)). These are harsh consequences for a conscientious nuclear
whistleblower thrown out of work and left without financial means
B. Sham Mehta
Sham Mehta was a trusted employee in employee concerns when he discovered
in 2006 that Dominion was routinely disabling Millstone’s security
system -intended to keep out malevolent intruders - because it was
recording hundreds of false alarms per day which it did not wish to
investigate in contravention of federal law because it is more cost-effective
to simply disable the system. Mehta’s complaints to Dominion
management and the NRC produced a disgraceful result: Dominion fired
Mehta under the pretext of “downsizing” the employee concerns
program. Mehta complained to DPUC under the Nuclear Whistleblower
Act. He won the first round. Therefore, DPUC should have ordered him
reinstated forthwith. However, DPUC sat on the case and did nothing
for six months. Mehta was finally reinstated - although not to his
former job - and he subsequently entered into a confidential agreement
with Dominion whereby he resigned, presumably for a monetary settlement.
Attorney General Richard S. Blumenthal, who had intervened on Mr.
Mehta’s behalf, initially urged the DPUC to continue its investigation
of the circumstances of Mr. Mehta’s firing, but DPUC declined
to do so and Mr. Blumenthal did not appeal.
C. Harry Blank
Harry Blank worked at Dominion as an engineer. He discovered many
of his co-workers were being diagnosed with cancer or were dying from
cancer. He reported this fact to Dominion management, which created
a pretext and fired Mr. Blank in 2006. Mr. Blank appealed to the DPUC,
which failed to act within the statutory period. Ultimately, DPUC
dismissed Mr. Blank’s complaint and Mr. Blank did not appeal
because he could not find an attorney to take his case on terms that
he could afford.
In each of these three tragic instances, conscientious, dedicated
nuclear workers were fired in retaliation for whistleblowing and the
Nuclear Whistleblower Act accorded them inadequate or simply no relief.
The larger consequence is the creation of a workplace culture at Millstone
in which workers will fear to do their jobs properly and report safety
or operational defects to Dominion for fear of retaliatory firing.
This phenomenon bodes ill for the protection of the health and safety
of the public.
We recommend that the Nuclear Whistleblower Act be revised as follows:
I. Provide that nuclear whistleblowers be reinstated within 30 days
of a preliminary finding in their favor; should DPUC fail to comply,
the worker shall have an immediate remedy: a special state attorney
will make application to the Superior Court for immediate reinstatement
at no charge to the employee; for each day the worker is not reinstated
he shall be paid treble damages by the nuclear operator; if the worker
is not reinstated within 10 days, the nuclear facility must shut down
until such time as the worker is reinstated.
2. In clear language, address the Superior Court finding in Reynolds,
as affirmed by the Supreme Court, that “Section 16-8d provides
a whole set of remedies for a cause of action that the General Assembly
failed to formulate.”
3. DPUC has failed to enact regulations implementing the Nuclear Whistleblower
Act. See Section 16- 8a(f) (“The Department of Public Utility
Control shall adopt regulations, in accordance with Chapter 54, to
carry out the provisions of this section.”) The General Assembly
should take it upon itself to draft such regulations and enact them
as statutory law.
4. The proposed revision to Section 16-8a(c)(3) (substituting “a
fair preponderance of the” for “clear and convincing”
should be stricken. The more stringent standard is appropriate.
5. In Section 16-8a( c )(4), the order for immediate reinstatement
should accompany the findings to avoid delay.
6. Proposed Section 16-8a(h) should be incorporated in Section 16-8a(d)
and a maximum amount set commensurate with the heightened risk to
the public attendant upon the operation of a nuclear power plant with
a degraded safety culture.
7. In order to correct the harsh results to Messrs. Reynolds, Mehta
and Blank, and in light of the Judicial Department’s faulting
of the General Assembly for providing an unformulated remedial statute,
it is highly recommended that the Nuclear Whistleblower Act revisions
recommended herein be made retroactive whereby Messrs. Reynolds, Mehta
and Blank - and a potential body of other unknown nuclear whistleblowers
- may revive their actions to avail themselves of all the remedies
provided in Connecticut General Statutes Section 16a-8d and find justice
under law. This result would help correct a culture of fear among
nuclear power plant workers in the State of Connecticut.
We thank you for considering our comments.
Please reply to:
147 Cross Highway
Redding Ridge CT 06876
ON ACTIVIST’S LAWSUIT
FOR MILLSTONE INJUNCTION
March 5, 2006
Contact: Nancy Burton Tel. 203-938-3952 / NancyBurtonCT@aol.com
WATERFORD - A hearing has been scheduled for March 19, 2007 in the
Superior Court on an environmental activist’s application for
an injunction against the Millstone Nuclear Power Station in Waterford.
Nancy Burton, director of the grassroots Connecticut Coalition Against
Millstone, seeks an order for Millstone cooldown during the upcoming
fish larvae spawning season which peaks from April 1 through May 15.
Burton also seeks an order by which a judge will assume the task of
adjudicating the application to renew Millstone’s water discharge
permit because she alleges the state’s Department of Environmental
Protection is unwilling to protect the public from environmental impacts
of the nuclear facility.
“Millions of fish larvae will be destroyed at the Millstone
intakes if this injunction is not granted, bringing indigenous fish
species close than ever to extinction” Burton said.
The fish larvae are about to undergo the spring migration from their
spawning habitat in the Niantic River, Burton explained. En route
to the sea, the microscopic specimens are swept into the Millstone
intakes, which suck more than two billions gallons of water per day
from the Long Island Sound to cool the components of the two operating
The lawsuit seeks an order to main Units 2 and 3 at “cold shutdown”
mode with just enough flowage to keep the reactor components cooled
Eight years ago, Burton won a temporary restraining order as attorney
for Fish Unlimited which kept Unit 2 shut for ten days during the
Niantic winter flounder larvae migration period.
“Since that landmark decision, Connecticut’s DEP has allowed
Millstone to operate on an expired Clean Water Act permit and has
done nothing to protect the irreplaceable fisheries,” Burton
“DEP recently convened proceedings to renew the permit, which
expired in 1997, but the proceedings are a rubber stamp for Dominion,
Millstone’s corporate owner,” said Burton, who is an intervenor
in the administrative case along with the Coalition.
“The obvious solution to spare the fish from entrainment and
spare the Sound from discharges of radioactive and toxic wastewater
discharges is to make Millstone convert to a closed cooling system,”
“I will ask the judge to issue the order which DEP lacks the
political will to issue,” Burton said.
- 30 -
Note to Editors: A copy of the complaint appears below.
RETURN DATE: MARCH 27, 2007 : SUPERIOR COURT
NANCY BURTON : JUDICIAL DISTRICT
: OF HARTFORD
REGINA McCARTHY, :
DEPARTMENT OF :
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION :
DOMINION NUCLEAR CONNECTICUT, :
INC. : MARCH 2, 2007
1. The Plaintiff, Nancy Burton, is a citizen of the state of Connecticut
who institutes this action pursuant to the provisions of the Connecticut
Environmental Protection Act (“CEPA”), Connecticut General
Section 22a-1 et seq.
2. The Defendant, Regina McCarthy (“Commissioner McCarthy”),
appointed by Governor M. Jodi Rell to serve as successor to Arthur
Rocque, Jr., as Commissioner of the Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) and has such authority as is set forth in Connecticut
General Statutes Section 22a-2, including authority to adjudicate
Pollution Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) applications
discharge pollutants into public waters pursuant to Connecticut General
Statutes Section 22a-430, as duly delegated to do so by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency, and to enforce the conditions of
3. The Defendant, Dominion Nuclear Connecticut, Inc. (“Dominion”)
the owner and operator of the Millstone Nuclear Power Station
(“Millstone”) located in Waterford, Connecticut.
4. Millstone consists of two operating nuclear reactors and one nuclear
reactor undergoing decommissioning.
5. Millstone utilizes a “once-through” cooling system
which sucks in
approximately 2 billion gallons of water per day from NianticBay/Long
Island Sound to cool and clean the reactors and their components;
the water is discharged as waste treatment effluent into Jordan Cove/Long
Island Sound polluted with toxic chemicals and radioactive byproducts
the nuclear fission process; the wastewater exits Millstone at heightened
temperatures as a thermal plume.
6. The toxic chemicals and radioactive waste byproducts discharged
Millstone into the Long Island Sound are washed ashore by waves, tidal
action and wind to the closest estuaries, Niantic Bay and Jordan Cove,
which are public recreation and swimming areas, and beyond; in 1997,
Millstone’s environmental laboratory caught a fish in Niantic
contaminated with cesium-137, a deadly radioisotope which causes cancer
in muscle tissue and which it admitted was discharged into the Niantic
by Millstone; other radioisotopes have accumulated in the estuaries.
7. At the reactor intakes, billions of microscopic and larger marinelife
are destroyed through entrainment and impingement annually; the
cumulative impact of Millstone’s intake suction during the 37-year
of the nuclear power plant has devastated the populations of indigenous
fish and other species, according to reports filed by Dominion’s
operators with DEP.
8. The Millstone discharge of effluents and devastation of marinelife
so described herein constitute unreasonable pollution of the waters
state within the meaning of CEPA; in addition, they are believed linked
the area’s high incidence of cancers, associated diseases and
9. Virtually all of the adverse environmental effects of Millstone’s
through cooling system would be radically reduced if not virtually
eliminated if Millstone were converted to a “closed” cooling
would recirculate cooling water from an onsite pool.
10. The State of Connecticut has taken the position with regard to
power plants that a closed cooling system is a “clearly superior
technology” to a once-through cooling system, according to a
filed on April 18, 2006 by Connecticut Attorney General Richard S.
Blumenthal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in
case of Riverkeeper, Inc. v EPA., 04-6692.
11. According to the said State of Connecticut brief, other power
stations have been ordered to convert to closed cooling systems from
once-through cooling systems, including the Palisades Nuclear Power
Plant near Kalamazoo, Michigan, as well as fossil fuel plants in Rhode
Island (Brayton Point, owned by Dominion), Florida (Crystal River)
South Carolina (Jefferies).
12. In 1993, Millstone’s then-owner, Northeast Utilities, produced
report on the feasibility of converting Millstone to a closed cooling
and pronounced the option feasible; the report was filed with DEP
pursuant to its request but DEP ignored it and failed to implement
13. Most recently, on or about December 14, 1992, DEP issued a
renewed NPDES permit to Millstone permitting it to maintain its once-
through cooling system and thereby pollute the waters of the state,
thermal plumes and destroy billions of marinelife annually, for a
14. The NPDES permit expired on December 14, 1997 and has not
been renewed; in the interim Millstone’s prior owner, Northeast
pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court to committing federal felonies
wilfully violating the terms of the NPDES permit over a period of
including by discharging the highly toxic carcinogen hydrazine in
forbidden by the permit.
15. Beginning in 1998, Commissioner McCarthy’s predecessor,
J. Rocque, Jr., routinely issued “emergency authorizations”
for an indefinite
term and without public notice or hearing purportedly pursuant to
Connecticut General Statutes Section 22a-6k at the request of Millstone’s
owners and operators to increase permissible water discharges and
discharges of pollutants, as otherwise forbidden by the NPDES permit.
16. Commissioner Rocque himself believed he lacked legal authority
issue and renew such “emergency authorizations” but issued
nevertheless.” See Exhibit A.
17. Commissioner McCarthy has permitted Millstone to operate
pursuant to the illegal “emergency authorizations” since
18. On or about August 29, 2006, Commissioner McCarthy published
notice of a “draft permit” permitting Millstone to continue
operating its once-
through cooling system and thereby discharging toxic chemicals and
radioactive waste byproducts and a thermal plume into the Long Island
Sound and assuring the destruction of billions of marineline through
entrainment and impingement at the Millstone intakes.
19. Commissioner McCarthy has commenced proceedings on an
application by Dominion to renew the NPDES permit which expired in
1997, ten (10) years ago.
20. The proceedings are presided over by a hearing officer who suffers
from a conflict of interest and bias related to her past employment
executive director of the agency which oversees transport of radioactive
waste produced at Millstone to a dump in Barnwell, South Carolina.
21. Commissioner McCarthy and the DEP have prejudged the Millstone
NPDES application as evidenced by the terms of the draft permit, by
Millstone to continue operating pursuant to illegal “emergency
authorizations,” by refusing to consider the environmental impacts
radiological releases to the Long Island Sound and other relevant
and by refusing to condition renewal of the permit on a conversion
nuclear facility to a closed cooling system; exhaustion of available
administrative remedies is therefore futile; moreover, collusion and
corruption characterize the relationship between DEP and Dominion.
22. The period between April 1 and May 15 is recognized as the peak
period of indigenous Niantic winter flounder larvae migration when
cent of entrainment at the Millstone intakes occurs.
23. On April 27, 1999, State Trial Referee Robert Hale issued a
temporary restraining order, at the request of environmental
organizations, keeping Millstone Unit 2 shut down for a period of
days during the period of peak larvae migration. A copy of Judge Hale’s
Memorandum of Decision in Fish Unlimited v. Northeast Utilities Service
Company, 1999 Conn. Super. LEXIS 1180, is appended hereto as Exhibit
24. If the Millstone intakes are not shut down to “cold shutdown”
that which allows sufficient availability of water for reactor and
cooling purposes - between April 1 and May 15, it is inevitable that
millions if not billions of marinelife will be destroyed through entrainment
and their population dynamics further threatened.
25. If Millstone is not ordered to convert forthwith to a closed cooling
system, it is inevitable that unreasonable, deadly and avoidable pollution
and destruction of the waters of the state will occur with harmful
and avoidable impacts
to the marine and human environment.
WHEREFORE, the Plaintiff seeks the following relief:
1. A temporary restraining order and a temporary injunction ordering
Dominion to reduce Millstone Units 2 and 3 water intakes to “cold
levels from April 1 through May 15, 2007;
2. That this Court order Dominion to convert Millstone to a closed
cooling system by a date certain prior to 2010; and
3. That this Court find the DEP’s existing administrative and
inadequate for the protection of the rights within the meaning of
Statutes Section 22a-20 and the public trust in the environment and
such proceedings pending judicial adjudication of the Millstone NPDES
3. Such other relief as is appropriate.
147 Cross Highway
Redding Ridge CT 06876