Connecticut Coalition Against the Millstone Nuclear Power Reactor
CCAM NEWS FOLLOWUP
Fukushima Fallout (updated March 13, 2011):
Former Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Nils J. Diaz, Responds to Japanese Nuclear Crisis
Webster’s defines “psychopathic personality” as follows: a “person whose behavior is largely amoral and asocial and who is characterized by irresponsibility, lack of remorse or shame, perverse or impulsive (often criminal) behavior.”
Diaz was appointed as chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission 2003 by President George W. Bush. Following his tenure at the NRC, he went back to work for the nuclear industry.
Ever faithful to the economic interests of the nuclear industry ahead of public health and safety, he faults Japanese authorities for sacrificing nuclear power plants (by electing to forestall nuclear meltdown by flooding the reactors with seawater, a corrosive agent that will likely lead to mothballing of the reactors) to avoid exposing the population to deadly radiation.
Here’s Diaz’ comment about the ongoing catastrophe at the Fukushima nuclear complex in Japan, as reported in The New York Times on March 13, 2011:
“Mr. Diaz suggested that the Japanese might have acted too slowly to prevent overheating, including procedures that might have required the venting of small amounts of steam and radiation, rather than risk a wholesale meltdown. Fear among Japanese regulators over public reaction to such small releases may have delayed plant operators from acting as quickly as they might have, he said — a problem arising in part from the country’s larger nuclear regulatory culture.
“’They would rather wait and do things in a perfect manner instead of doing it as good as it needs to be now,’ Mr. Diaz said. ‘And this search for perfection has often led to people sometimes hiding things or waiting too long to do things.’”
Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/world/asia/13nuclear-industry.html?hp.
We applaud the Japanese authorities’ decision to sacrifice their nuclear reactors in the interests of the public health and safety.
Sixth Nuclear Reactor at Fukushima Loses Core Cooling System
From KYODO News
TOKYO, March 13, Kyodo
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Sunday another reactor of its quake-hit Fukushima nuclear power plants had lost its cooling functions, while at least 15 people at a nearby hospital were found to have been exposed to radioactivity.
The utility supplier notified the government early Sunday morning that the No. 3 reactor at the No. 1 Fukushima plant had lost the ability to cool the reactor core. The reactor is now in the process of releasing radioactive steam, according to top government spokesman Yukio Edano.
It was the sixth reactor overall at the Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 plants to undergo cooling failure since the massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami struck Japan on Friday.
The disaster raised fears over radioactive leaks from the plants after cooling systems there were hampered, most seriously at the No. 1 reactor.
An explosion Saturday at the No. 1 plant blew away the roof and the walls of the building housing the No. 1 reactor's container.
The government and nuclear authorities said there was no damage to the steel container housing the troubled No. 1 reactor, noting that the blast occurred as vapor from the container turned into hydrogen and mixed with outside oxygen.
Tokyo Electric Power has begun new cooling operations to fill the reactor with sea water and pour in boric acid to prevent an occurrence of criticality. Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano said in a press conference Sunday morning that there had been no major changes in the results of monitoring radioactivity near the No. 1 reactor.
Following the explosion, the authorities expanded from 10 kilometers to 20 km the radius of the evacuation area for residents living in the vicinity of the Fukushima plants.
The Fukushima prefectural government said Saturday that three people had their clothes contaminated with radioactive substances while fleeing from the No. 1 nuclear plant.
The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Sunday that 15 people were found to have been contaminated at a hospital located within 10 km from the No. 1 reactor. Edano said there was a possibility that nine people who fled on a bus had been exposed to radioactivity.
Meltdown Caused Nuke Plant Explosion: Safety Body
TOKYO (Nikkei)--The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) said Saturday afternoon the explosion at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant could only have been caused by a meltdown of the reactor core.
The same day, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501), which runs the plant, began to flood the damaged reactor with seawater to cool it down, resorting to measures that could rust the reactor and force the utility to scrap it.
Cesium and iodine, by-products of nuclear fission, were detected around the plant, which would make the explosion the worst accident in the roughly 50-year history of Japanese nuclear power generation.
An explosion was heard near the plant's No. 1 reactor about 3:30 p.m. and plumes of white smoke went up 10 minutes later. The ceiling of the building housing the reactor collapsed, according to information obtained by Fukushima prefectural authorities.
At a news conference Saturday night, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano discounted the possibility of a significant leak of radioactive material from the accident. "The walls of the building containing the reactor were destroyed, meaning that the metal container encasing the reactor did not explode," Edano said.
The amount of radiation detected inside the plant after 4:00 p.m. slightly exceeded the dose people can safely receive in a year, according to information obtained by the Fukushima prefectural government.
The No. 1 reactor shut down automatically soon after a massive earthquake hit the area Friday, but its emergency core cooling system failed to cool the reactor's core sufficiently.
NISA is affiliated with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
(The Nikkei March 13 edition)
Obama calls nuclear power “clean energy” in State of the Union
Orwell is spinning so fast in his grave, he’d qualify for electricity production tax credits: Congressman Markey (D-MA) made that joke at a Friends of the Earth anti-nuclear summit several years ago. That event was focused on countering the “Nuclear Power Renaissance” -- more aptly dubbed the nuclear power relapse -- and especially the threat of federal loan guarantees to pay for it, since private investors have refused to for several decades running. But Markey’s joke could also apply to President Obama’s decision – despite 45 groups, including Beyond Nuclear, urging him not to – to declare nuclear power “clean energy” in his State of the Union address to Congress last night, and his call for its expansion at taxpayer risk and expense despite 2007-2008 presidential campaign pledges against such subsidies.
Obama equated nuclear power to being as “clean” as renewables like wind and solar, despite the “routine” and “accidental” radioactive and toxic releases (as well as greenhouse gas emissions) at each and every step of the uranium fuel chain, from mining to milling, processing, conversion, enrichment, fuel fabrication, reactor operations, decommissioning, and radioactive waste storage and disposal. Obama said “clean energy,” including nuclear power, represents “investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.” To the contrary, more nuclear power facilities would: create yet more “dirty bombs in our backyard” vulnerable to terrorist attack; worsen nuclear weapons proliferation risks; be the most expensive, and slowest, way of all to address the accelerating climate crisis, and the least cost-effective way to put Americans back to work.
Ironically, Obama’s “handing out money” from hardworking American taxpayers to the filthy rich nuclear power industry, in the form of current and impending U.S. taxpayer-backed loan guarantee offers, would benefit foreign firms and governments: $8.3 billion to build two new Toshiba-Westinghouse (a Japanese firm) AP1000 reactors at Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia; $2 billion to build the Areva (French government owned) “Eagle Rock [Uranium] Enrichment Facility” in Idaho; $7.5 billion to build an Areva “Evolutionary Power Reactor” at Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant in Maryland, a project currently 100% owned by the French government’s Electricite de France; and yet-to-be-announced billions for two new Japanese-designed Hitachi-GE “Advanced Boiling Water Reactors” at South Texas Project nuclear power plant, a venture co-owned by Japan's Toshiba and nuclear utility Tokyo Electric Power Company.
Obama urged that “instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s,” without mentioning that nuclear power is now 54 years old, and has gobbled up the lion’s share of federal subsidies for energy research and development that entire time, as well as numerous other forms of taxpayer and ratepayer subsidy (not to mention shareholder loss!). Despite all this disproportionate public support, nuclear power currently provides only 11% of our country’s primary energy -- tied with renewables, which have received so much less support over the past half century. [link EIA nukes and renewables tied at 11% doc, per Ken Bossong] Despite this, Obama called for expanding taxpayer subsidies for nuclear power R&D, explicitly praising such projects at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. [CES R&D]
Numerous anti-nuclear groups responded immediately to Obama’s “Nukespeak,” [link to Nukespeak book website here] including Friends of the Earth [link], Chicago-based Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS), [link to Dave’s 3 pager] Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), [link to NIRS four pager] and the Sierra Club’s Anti-Nuclear Committee [link to Lee Evan’s piece].
Please help educate President Obama that nuclear power is actually dirty, dangerous, and expensive [link to Kay’s pamphlet], and urge him to support and promote truly clean energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar [link to renewable renaissance page], as well as the most cost-effective of all, efficiency (not even mentioned in the State of the Union!)
phone the White House comment line at (202) 456-1111;
write President Obama via the White House webform at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact; snail mail him at The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500; or fax him at (202) 456-2461. You can also write him a personal note on Beyond Nuclear’s solar or wind post card, [link to post cards blurb on website] as you can your Members of Congress, State Governor, State Legislators, and other decision makers. To order postcards, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Louise Reiss, Pioneer Who Exposed Levels of Strontium-90
in Baby Teeth from Atomic Fallout
The Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone honors Dr. Louise Reiss, who directed the study of hundreds of thousands of baby teeth for strontium-90 levels during the period of atmospheric nuclear weapons testing in the 1960s. Her pioneering work help bring about a ban of nuclear testing in the atmosphere.
Dr. Reiss died on January 1, 2011 at age 90.
Her obituary appears here in The New York Times:
Dr. Reiss’ study led to conclusions that radioactive fallout from nuclear fission was entering the food supply and being taken up by the bones and teeth of human babies.
Strontium-90, a byproduct of nuclear fission from bombs as well as nuclear power plants, mimics calcium in its chemical properties and is a carcinogen.
The study found that children born in St. Louis in 1963 had 50 times as much strontium-90 in their teeth as children born in 1950, before most of the atmospheric nuclear testing occurred.
Her work is being carried on by the Radiation and Public Health Project. www.Radiation.org.
RPHP executive director Joseph Mangano published results of a new study last month in The International Journal of Health Services.
The study found that donors of teeth from the original project who died of cancer by age 50 had more than twice the average strontium-90 levels of donors who were healthy at age 50.
The finding suggests a correlation between higher levels of strontium-90 and an increased cancer risk.
24 Years Later
The Consequences of Chernobyl
By KARL GROSSMAN
Monday is the 24th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear plant accident. It comes as the nuclear industry and pro-nuclear government officials in the U.S. and other nations try to “revive” nuclear power. It also follows the just-released publication of a book, the most comprehensive study ever made, on the impacts of the Chernobyl disaster.
Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment has just been published by the New York Academy of Sciences. It is authored by three noted scientists: Russian biologist Dr. Alexey Yablokov, former environmental advisor to the Russian president; Dr. Alexey Nesterenko, a biologist and ecologist in Belarus; and Dr.Vassili Nesterenko, a physicist and at the time of the accident director of the Institute of Nuclear Energy of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. Its editor is Dr. Janette Sherman, a physician and toxicologist long-involved in studying the health impacts of radioactivity.
The book is solidly based—on health data, radiological surveys and scientific reports—some 5,000 in all.
It concludes that based on records now available, some 985,000 people died of cancer caused by the Chernobyl accident. That’s between when the accident occurred in 1986 and 2004.
More deaths, it projects, will follow.
The book explodes the claim of the International Atomic Energy Agency—still on its website – that the expected death toll from the Chernobyl accident will be 4,000. The IAEA, the new book shows, is under-estimating, to the extreme, the casualties of Chernobyl.
Comments Alice Slater, representative in New York of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation: “The tragic news uncovered by the comprehensive new research that almost one million people died in the toxic aftermath of Chernobyl should be a wake-up call to people all over the world to petition their governments to put a halt to the current industry-driven ‘nuclear renaissance.’ Aided by a corrupt IAEA, the world has been subjected to a massive cover-up and deception about the true damages caused by Chernobyl.”
Further worsening the situation, she said, has been “the collusive agreement between the IAEA and the World Health Organization in which the WHO is precluded from publishing any research on radiation effects without consultation with the IAEA.” WHO, the public health arm of the UN, has supported the IAEA’s claim that 4,000 will die as a result of the accident.
“How fortunate,” said Ms. Slater, “that independent scientists have now revealed the horrific costs of the Chernobyl accident.”
The book also scores the position of the IAEA, set up through the UN in 1957 “to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy,” and its 1959 agreement with WHO. There is a “need to change,” it says, the IAEA-WHO pact. It has muzzled the WHO, providing for the “hiding” from the “public of any information…unwanted” by the nuclear industry.
“An important lesson from the Chernobyl experience is that experts and organizations tied to the nuclear industry have dismissed and ignored the consequences of the catastrophe,” it states.
The book details the spread of radioactive poisons following the explosion of Unit 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear plant on April 26, 1986. These major releases only ended when the fire at the reactor was brought under control in mid-May. Emitted were “hundreds of millions of curies, a quantity hundreds of times larger than the fallout from the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” The most extensive fall-out occurred in regions closest to the plant—in the Ukraine (the reactor was 60 miles from Kiev in Ukraine), Belarus and Russia.
However, there was fallout all over the world as the winds kept changing direction “so the radioactive emissions…covered an enormous territory.”
The radioactive poisons sent billowing from the plant into the air included Cesium-137, Plutonium, Iodine-131 and Strontium-90.
There is a breakdown by country, highlighted by maps, of where the radionuclides fell out. Beyond Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, the countries included Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The radiological measurements show that some 10% of Chernobyl poisons “fell on Asia…Huge areas” of eastern Turkey and central China “were highly contaminated,” reports the book. Northwestern Japan was impacted, too.
Northern Africa was hit with “more than 5% of all Chernobyl releases.” The finding of Cesium-137 and both Plutonium-239 and Plutonium-240 “in accumulated Nile River sediment is evidence of significant Chernobyl contamination,” it says. “Areas of North America were contaminated from the first, most powerful explosion, which lifted a cloud of radionuclides to a height of more than 10 km. Some 1% of all Chernobyl nuclides,” says the book, “fell on North America.”
The consequences on public health are extensively analyzed. Medical records involving children—the young, their cells more rapidly multiplying, are especially affected by radioactivity—are considered. Before the accident, more than 80% of the children in the territories of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia extensively contaminated by Chernobyl “were healthy,” the book reports, based on health data. But “today fewer than 20% are well.”
There is an examination of genetic impacts with records reflecting an increase in “chromosomal aberrations” wherever there was fallout. This will continue through the “children of irradiated parents for as many as seven generations.” So “the genetic consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe will impact hundreds of millions of people.”
As to fatal cancer, the list of countries and consequences begins with Belarus. “For the period 1900-2000 cancer mortality in Belarus increased 40%,” it states, again based on medical data and illuminated by tables in the book. “The increase was a maximum in the most highly contaminated Gomel Province and lower in the less contaminated Brest and Mogilev provinces.” They include childhood cancers, thyroid cancer, leukemia and other cancers.
Considering health data of people in all nations impacted by the fallout, the “overall [cancer] mortality for the period from April 1986 to the end of 2004 from the Chernobyl catastrophe was estimated as 985,000 additional deaths.”
Further, “the concentrations” of some of the poisons, because they have radioactive half-lives ranging from 20,000 to 200,000 years, “will remain practically the same virtually forever.”
The book also examines the impact on plants and animals. ”Immediately after the catastrophe, the frequency of plant mutations in the contaminated territories increased sharply.”
There are photographs of some of these plant mutations. “Chernobyl irradiation has caused many structural anomalies and tumorlike changes in many plant species and has led to genetic disorders, sometimes continuing for many years,” it says. “Twenty-three years after the catastrophe it is still too early to know if the whole spectrum of plant radiogenic changes has been discerned. We are far from knowing all of the consequences for flora resulting from the catastrophe.”
As to animals, the book notes “serious increases in morbidity and mortality that bear striking resemblance to changes in the public health of humans—increasing tumor rates, immunodeficiencies, decreasing life expectancy…”
In one study it is found that “survival rates of barn swallows in the most contaminated sites near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant are close to zero. In areas of moderate contamination, annual survival is less than 25%.” Research is cited into ghastly abnormalities in barn swallows that do hatch: “two heads, two tails.”
“In 1986,” the book states, “the level of irradiation in plants and animals in Western Europe, North America, the Arctic, and eastern Asia were sometimes hundreds and even thousands of times above acceptable norms.”
In its final chapter, the book declares that the explosion of the Chernobyl nuclear plant “was the worst technogenic accident in history.” And it examines “obstacles” to the reporting of the true consequences of Chernobyl with a special focus on “organizations associated with the nuclear industry” that “protect the industry first—not the public.” Here, the IAEA and WHO are charged.
The book ends by quoting U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s call in 1963 for an end of atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons.“The Chernobyl catastrophe,” it declares, “demonstrates that the nuclear industry’s willingness to risk the health of humanity and our environment with nuclear power plants will result, not only theoretically, but practically, in the same level of hazard as nuclear weapons.”
Dr. Sherman, speaking of the IAEA’s and WHO’s dealing with the impacts of Chernobyl, commented: “It’s like Dracula guarding the blood bank.” The 1959 agreement under which WHO “is not to be independent of the IAEA” but must clear any information it obtains on issues involving radioactivity with the IAEA has put “the two in bed together.”
Of her reflections on 14 months editing the book, she said: “Every single system that was studied—whether human or wolves or livestock or fish or trees or mushrooms or bacteria—all were changed, some of them irreversibly. The scope of the damage is stunning.”
In his foreword, Dr. Dimitro Grodzinsky, chairman of the Ukranian National Commission on Radiation Protection, writes about how “apologists of nuclear power” sought to hide the real impacts of the Chernobyl disaster from the time when the accident occurred. The book “provides the largest and most complete collection of data concerning the negative consequences of Chernobyl on the health of people and the environment...The main conclusion of the book is that it is impossible and wrong ‘to forget Chernobyl.’”
In the record of Big Lies, the claim of the IAEA-WHO that “only” 4,000 people will die as a result of the Chernobyl catastrophe is among the biggest.
The Chernobyl accident is, as the new book documents, an ongoing global catastrophe.
And it is a clear call for no new nuclear power plants to be built and for the closing of the dangerous atomic machines now running—and a switch to safe energy technologies, now available, led by solar and wind energy, that will not leave nearly a million people dead from one disaster.
Karl Grossman is professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury. He is author of Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power, Power Crazy and The Wrong Stuff: The Space Program’s Nuclear Threat To Our Planet and writer and narrator of television programs among them Nukes In Space: The Nuclearization and Weaponization of the Heavens (www.envirovideo.com).
YOU are now paying for the NEXT 3 Mile Island
March 27, 2010
As radiation poured from 3 Mile Island 31 years ago this weekend, utility executives rested easy.
They knew that no matter how many people their errant nuke killed, and no matter how much property it destroyed, they would not be held liable.
Today this same class of executives demands untold taxpayer billions to build still more TMIs. No matter how many meltdowns they cause, and how much havoc they visit down on the public, they still believe they’re above the law.
Fueled with more than $600 million public relations slush money, they demand a risk-free "renaissance" financed by you and yours.
In 1980 I reported from central Pennsylvania on the dead and dying one year after. Dozens of interviews documented a horrifying range of radiation-related diseases including cancer, leukemia, birth defects, still births, malformations, sterility, heart attacks, strokes, emphysema, skin lesions, hair loss, a metallic taste and much more. As reported by the Baltimore News-American among others, such ailments also ripped through the animal population.
To this day no one knows how much radiation was released at the 1979 TMI accident, where it went or whom it harmed. The official line that "no one was killed" is arguably the biggest lie ever told in US industrial history. It is to public health what the promise of power "too cheap to meter" was to public finance.
It parallels Soviet lies about the 1986 catastrophe at Chernobyl, whose health effects continue to skyrocket. A devastating summary report issued by the New York Academy of Sciences (Yablokov, Nesterenko & Nesterenko: Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People & the Environment) says at least 980,000 people are likely to die from the fallout.
That would be a small fraction of the casualties had 9/11 terrorists dived into the two reactors at New York’s Indian Point instead of hitting the World Trade Center.
In a time of deep financial stress, it also counts that the TMI accident turned a $900 million asset into a $2 billion liability in a matter of minutes. Chernobyl has cost Belarus and Ukraine at least $500 billion and counting. And the price tag on a major meltdown anywhere in the US is virtually beyond calculation.
Thus those who think a flood of new nukes will flow unimpeded into the American pocketbook haven’t been paying attention:
1) Four northeastern nukes---in Vermont, New Jersey and the two at Indian Point--- are under intense public pressure to shut within the next two years. Numerous other elderly reactors are likely to go down long before any new nukes could come on line.
2) French President Sarkozy is demanding that world financial institutions buy a bevy of new French-built reactors. But huge delays and cost-overruns at French projects in Finland and France itself have made the investment community wary to say the least, thus prompting his foot-stomping.
3) Documents leaked from inside France’s national utility EDF indicate cost-cutting has made the new French reactor design exceedingly prone to explosion, further unsettling potential investors.
4) The future of new US reactor construction hinges on massive loan guarantees and handouts. The public number is $54 billion, but the Nuclear Information & Resource Service says the real bill could top a trillion.
5) In the polarized, cost-conscious wake of the health care bill, and the apparent demise of cap and trade as a centerpiece of climate legislation, the idea of such huge sums flowing to a deeply polarizing energy source has become increasingly problematic. Without a clear trade-off for fossil/nuclear giveaways, and with stiffening resistance from the rightist National Taxpayers Union, Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation, the nuke bonanza is anything but certain. The technology may now, in fact, be "too expensive to matter."
6) An attempt by Entergy to shift six reactors into an asset-free corporate shell has been nixed by New York authorities, leaving liability for Vermont Yankee, Indian Point and other northeastern nukes in limbo.
7) As elderly nukes stumble toward oblivion, various funds allegedly set aside for decommissioning may be significantly under-funded, deeply exacerbating the financial battles that now encircle the industry.
8) As a lame duck, George W. Bush signed agreements apparently obligating the feds to assume responsibility for enough radioactive waste to fill two of the cancelled Yucca Mountain waste dumps. The complete lack of even one such facility means the potential taxpayer bill is beyond meaningful calculation.
9) Above all the exemption from liability for a major accident---first perpetrated by a pro-nuke Congress in 1957---remains the largest potential cost to us all. Renewed by Bush in 2005, some believe the statute is clearly unconstitutional.
To this day the families of those harmed by radiation at Three Mile Island have been denied the right to make their case in federal court.
But now the shoe is on the other foot.
Desperate for cash, the nuclear industry wants us all to pay hundreds of billions for the joy of living downwind from still more 3 Mile Islands for which they intend to assume NO liability.
They want our money AND our lives.
From central Pennsylvania after 31 years, the message is clear: Just Say NO!
Harvey Wasserman’s SOLARTOPIA! is at www.harveywasserman.com, as is THE LAST ENERGY WAR. He is senior advisor to Greenpeace USA and the Nuclear Information & Resource Service. =
Indian farmers battle against nuclear plant
A robust people's movement against a major nuclear power project has built up in a cluster of small villages on India's picturesque Konkan coast. The BBC's Zubair Ahmed reports:
Some 350km (220 miles) from India's commercial capital, Mumbai, lies the village of Madban overlooking the vast expanse of the Arabian Sea.
It is in this village that a 10,000 megawatt nuclear power plant is proposed - and farmers and fishermen, backed by campaigners, are hardening their stance against it.
People from Madban believe the project will cause havoc to the environment and to their livelihoods.
Pravin Gavhankar, a local farmer who is leading the campaign against the plant, expresses his resolve in no uncertain terms: "We have been living here for centuries; we will die but not abandon our ancestral homes and farms."
“ The nuclear plant will amount to raping the gift of nature that we have here ”
The nuclear power plant's director CB Jain is seemingly unperturbed by the villagers' opposition.
He says: "We are very much excited that we are going to implement this particular plan of the government of India very soon."
Plans for the government's ambitious nuclear power plant came after the September 2008 Indo-French agreement. This was implemented soon after the global body, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, lifted international restrictions and permitted other countries to collaborate with India on civil nuclear deals.
The French nuclear company Areva is set to install six nuclear reactors, each able to produce 1,650 megawatts of power, in this part of the coastline of western Maharashtra state.
The long coastal stretch between Mumbai and Goa is stunning in its beauty and dotted with horticultural activity. The only big industrial activity here is the Dabhol power plant.
The villagers are not just opposed to the nuclear plant in their backyard but also to nine other power projects in the region which are in various stages of being commissioned.
Mr Gavhankar believes they will destroy the region's ecology.
"The nuclear plant will amount to raping the gift of nature that we have here," he says.
But Mr Jain disagrees.
"The site is most suited to the plant. It's totally barren, 80 percent of it surrounded by sea, water is available in abundance."
He says that despite the protests, the first phase of the project, that of land acquisition, is over.
Mr Jain says that the next phase - procuring environmental clearances - will be over soon.
His optimism is a cause for real concern among villagers.
In Madban and other villages on the proposed site of the plant, local people refuse to believe that land officially acquired last month has suddenly ceased to be theirs.
Milind Desai, a local medical practitioner, says: "There is not even a hypothetical possibility of us leaving the village. We know the plant is not coming here."
Campaigner Mr Gavhankar owned 150 acres of land until last month.
The government acquired his land - along with land belonging to 2,400 other farmers - in four villages.
On it, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India is to start work on the project next year - along with Areva.
The aim is to fuel energy-starved India's continued economic growth. Over the next decade alone, the contribution of nuclear energy is expected to rise from just 3% to 6% of India's total needs.
But Mr Gavhankar argues that the government would do well to look at other alternatives to produce electricity.
"We are not against progress. Nature has given us air, water and sunlight. You can make solar energy from sunlight, wind energy from air and the water in this long coast of the Arabian sea produces enough waves to generate thousands of megawatts of power. Why are they not using these natural resources?" he asks.
Campaigners from around India have now joined the resistance movement set up by farmers and fishermen.
They have all decided to stage a protest march in Ratnagiri on 17 March to highlight what they say are safety issues overlooked by the plans, as well as compensation schemes in case of accidents.
Adwait Pednekar, a security expert in the energy sector, is opposing the nuclear plant because of the dangers he says that it poses.
"First is the impact on the environment and the long term impact because of radioactivity on human beings and biodiversity, including sea life," he says.
"The entire area taken by the government is quite productive in terms of horticulture and all that will be lost."
Environmental groups like Greenpeace support the campaign, arguing that the area is environmentally and ecologically sensitive.
But the government insists that the proposed nuclear plant will not harm the flora and fauna of the region and that eventually opposition to it will fade away.
"It'll die down because it's not our project. It's their project. It's for them," said plant director CB Jain.
It seems that for the time being at least the two sides remain on a collision course.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2010/03/16 00:37:00 GMT
NEWS FROM NIRS
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
6930 Carroll Avenue, #340, Takoma Park, MD 20912
301-270-6477; email@example.com; www.nirs.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Michael Mariotte
February 17, 2010 301-270-6477
NUCLEAR LOAN GUARANTEES AREN’T JUST GUARANTEES:
THEY ARE ACTUAL TAXPAYER LOANS
President Obama’s announcement yesterday of a “conditional” $8.3 billion loan “guarantee” to the Southern Company for construction of two nuclear reactors in Georgia obscured an important fact about the loan guarantee program: taxpayers are not just providing a guarantee, they also will be providing the actual loans.
According to a press release from Southern Company yesterday, “Total guaranteed borrowings would not exceed 70 percent of the company's eligible projected costs, or approximately $3.4 billion, and are expected to be funded by the Federal Financing Bank.” (Note: the discrepancy in amounts--$3.4 billion vs $8.3 billion, is because Southern Company is only a partial owner of the two reactors, the rest of the funds will go to the other owners).
The Federal Financing Bank (FFB) is a little-known government entity that more typically makes loans to universities, colleges, rural electric co-ops and other small-scale projects. Interest rates from the FFB may be lower than offered by private financial institutions. Use of the FFB means that the loans themselves for new reactor construction will come from taxpayers, putting taxpayers in the risky business of both providing the loans and guaranteeing to themselves that the loans will be repaid.
Similarly, UniStar Nuclear, which is said to be on the Department of Energy’s “shortlist” of loan guarantee applicants, states in its license application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, “It is expected that, with respect to the portion of the debt guaranteed by the Department of Energy under the loan guarantee program, the source of financing will be the Federal Financing Bank, and with respect to the portion of the debt insured by export credit agencies, the source of financing will be commercial banks.”
“This is not like Dad co-signing a loan for a child’s first car,” said Michael Mariotte, executive director of Nuclear Information and Resource Service. “The idea that these are just loan “guarantees” is fictitious: these are actual loans. Giant nuclear utilities will be raiding the federal treasury for money to build reactors, and they are expecting the taxpayers to bail them out if the project goes bad.”
“Coupled with Secretary Chu’s astonishing admission yesterday that he was unaware of the Congressional Budget Office report estimating a 50% failure rate for new reactor projects, the administration has chosen a path of enormous risk to taxpayers and is obscuring the real nature of that risk,” said Mariotte.
For Immediate Release: February 16, 2010
Contact: Kevin Kamps, 240.462.3216 (cell)
Beyond Nuclear denounces President Obama’s decision to transfer financial and safety risks of new reactors to U.S. taxpayers
TAKOMA PARK, MD – Beyond Nuclear today denounced President Obama’s granting of a conditional loan guarantee to Southern Nuclear Operating Company for the construction of new atomic reactors at its Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant site in Waynesboro, Georgia. Two new Westinghouse-Toshiba Advanced Passive (AP) 1000 reactors are proposed at Plant Vogtle. President Obama’s award comes despite an announcement by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in October of a major safety flaw with the AP1000 design.
An NRC media release dated October 15, 2009 documents that the AP1000 shield building, as currently designed, is vulnerable to severe weather such as tornadoes and hurricanes, and natural disasters like earthquakes. This raises the concern that the design is also vulnerable to terrorist attacks such as intentionally crashing airliners. Thus, the shield building’s intended protection of the reactor’s primary radioactivity containment is questionable, as is its ability to provide radiation shielding during normal operations as well as to support a large emergency cooling water supply tank.“It is utterly irresponsible of President Obama to risk public safety and the environment by financing the incomplete and flawed AP1000 design at Vogtle and, worse still, at taxpayers’ financial risk,” said Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear. “Even if ultimately fixed, the AP1000’s major design flaw risks delays in construction and cost overruns, the same problems that delivered death blows to scores of atomic reactors three decades ago.”
The Congressional Budget Office has predicted that over half of new reactor owners will default on their loan repayments. The federal nuclear loan guarantees would finance up to 80% of the total project cost for a new reactor. Cost estimates for certain proposed new reactors in the U.S. have already surpassed $10 billion. The two new reactors at Vogtle are currently estimated by proponents to cost $14.5 billion, a figure expected by critics to significantly increase.
“Making federal atomic reactor loan guarantees conditional upon a Nuclear Regulatory Commission license won't protect U.S. taxpayers,” Kamps said. “The nuclear industry has a long history of defaulting on loans in the post-licensing period due to design flaws, construction mistakes, cost overruns, lengthy delays, and other problems that President Obama and Energy Secretary Chu cannot foresee, stumbling blocks which are not eliminated by NRC granting a construction and operating license,” Kamps added.
In the past, 21 atomic reactors were cancelled during construction, 22 were cancelled after receiving a license but before construction began, and 1 was even cancelled after construction had been completed.
President Obama’s award of billions of dollars in taxpayer-backed loan guarantees to Southern Nuclear is intended to resurrect the nuclear power industry, after a 36 year hiatus in the building of new atomic reactors in the U.S. This loan guarantee is the first to be disbursed from an $18.5 billion atomic reactor loan guarantee fund appropriated by Congress, and approved by President George W. Bush, at Christmas, 2007. The nuclear loan guarantee program was first authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005.BACKGROUND
Due to Toshiba-Westinghouse’s proposed seventeenth revision, the AP1000 design cannot receive final NRC approval until a year from now, at the earliest. In addition, the Vogtle Units 3 and 4 combined Construction and Operating License Application (COLA) itself cannot receive NRC approval until mid-2011, at the earliest.
The two reactors currently operating at Vogtle were originally predicted to cost only $660 million to construct, but the price tag ultimately skyrocketed to $8.87 billion, a 13-fold or more than 1,000% cost overrun.
Earlier this year, DOE’s short list for nuclear loan guarantees was revealed by media reports to also include: Constellation Energy and Electricite de France, which propose a French Areva “Evolutionary Power Reactor” (EPR) at Calvert Cliffs, Maryland; NRG Energy and CPS Energy, which propose a Toshiba-Westinghouse “Advanced Boiling Water Reactor” (ABWR) at the South Texas Project nuclear plant near Bay City, Texas; and SCANA Corp. and South Carolina Electric and Gas, which propose an AP1000 at the Summer nuclear power plant in South Carolina.
Nuclear safety regulators in France, Finland, and the U.K. have recently questioned the safety of the EPR design. A nearly 75% cost overrun, and three year construction schedule delay, have resulted from 3,000 documented design and construction flaws at an EPR being built at Olkiluoto, Finland.
NRG and CPS are now battling in court over a $4-5 billion cost escalation in the price tag for the two ABWRs proposed at South Texas Project.
Thus, each of the new reactors under consideration by DOE for the initial nuclear loan guarantee awards is plagued by safety flaws, incomplete designs, skyrocketing costs, and/or construction delays. More information about this can be found at: http://www.psr.org/nuclear-bailout/.
Beyond Nuclear aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abandon both to safeguard our future. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an energy future that is sustainable, benign and democratic. The Beyond Nuclear team works with diverse partners and allies to provide the public, government officials, and the media with the critical information necessary to move humanity toward a world beyond nuclear.
6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 400
Takoma Park, MD 20912
Tel: 301.270.2209 Fax: 301.270.4000
Web site: www.beyondnuclear.org
From the Ecology Party of Florida 2008 Presidential candidate:
From: "Ralph Nader"
A generation of Americans has grown up without a single nuclear power plant being brought on line since before the near meltdown of the Three Mile Island structure in 1979. They have not been exposed to the enormous costs, risks and national security dangers associated with their operations and the large amount of radioactive wastes still without a safe, permanent storage place for tens of thousands of years.
All Americans better get informed soon, for a resurgent atomic power lobby wants the taxpayers to pick up the tab for relaunching this industry. Unless you get Congress to stop this insanely dirty and complex way to boil water to generate steam for electricity, you'll be paying for the industry's research, the industry's loan guarantees and the estimated trillion dollars (inflation-adjusted) cost of just one meltdown, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, plus vast immediate and long-range casualties.
The Russian roulette-playing nuclear industry claims a class nine meltdown will never happen. That none of the thousands of rail cars, trucks and barges with radioactive wastes will ever have a catastrophic accident. That terrorists will forgo striking a nuclear plant or hijacking deadly materials, and go for far less consequential disasters.
The worst nuclear reactor accident occurred in 1986 at Chernobyl in what is now Ukraine. Although of a different design than most U.S. reactors,! the res ultant breach of containment released a radioactive cloud that spread around the globe but concentrated most intensively in Belarus, Ukraine and European Russia and secondarily over 40% of Europe.
For different reasons, both governmental and commercial interests were intent on downplaying both the immediate radioactively-caused deaths and diseases and the longer term devastations from this silent, invisible form of violence. They also were not eager to fund follow up monitoring and research.
Now comes the English translation of the most comprehensive, scientific report to date titled Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment whose senior author is biologist Alexey V. Yablokov, a member of the prestigious Russian Academy of Sciences.
Purchasable from the New York Academy of Sciences (visit nyas.org/annals), this densely referenced analysis covers the acute radiation inflicted on both the first-responders (called "liquidators") and on residents nearby, who suffer chronic radioactive sicknesses. "Today," asserts the report, "more than 6 million people live on land with dangerous levels of contamination--land that will continue to be contaminated for decades to centuries."
Back to the U.S., where, deplorably, President Obama has called for more so-called "safe, clean nuclear power plants." He just sent a budget request for another $54 billion in taxpayer loan guarantees on top of a previous $18 billion passed under Bush. You see, Wall Street financiers will not loan electric companies money to build new nuclear plants which cost $12 billion and up, unless Uncle Sam guarantees one hundred percent of the loan.
Strange, if these nuclear power plants are so efficient, so safe, why can't they be built with unguaranteed private risk capital? The answer to this question came from testimony by Amory B. Lovins, chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute, in March 2008 before the [House of Representatives of the U.S.] Select Committee on Energy I! ndepende nce (rmi.org). His thesis: "expanding nuclear power would reduce and retard climate protection and energy security...but can't survive free-market capitalism."
Making his case with brilliant concision, Lovins, a consultant to business and the Defense Department, demonstrated with numbers and other data that nuclear power "is being dramatically outcompeted in the global marketplace by no and low-carbon power resources that deliver far more climate solution per dollar, far faster."
Lovins doesn't even include the accident or sabotage risks. He testified that "because it's [nuclear power] uneconomic and unnecessary, we needn't inquire into its other attributes." Renewable energy (eg. wind power), cogeneration and energy efficiencies (megawatts) are now far superior to maintain.
I challenge anybody in the nuclear industry or academia to debate Lovins at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., with a neutral moderator, or before a Congressional Committee.
However, the swarm of nuclear power lobbyists is gaining headway in Congress, spreading their money everywhere and lunching falsely exploiting the concern with global warming fed by fossil fuels.
The powerful nuclear power critics in Congress want the House energy bill to focus on climate change. To diminish the opposition, they entered into a bargain that gave nuclear reactors status with loan guarantees and other subsidies in the same legislation which has passed the House and, as is usual, languishing in the Senate.
Long-time, staunch opponents of atomic power who are leaders in countering climate change, such as Cong. Ed Markey (D-MA), have quieted themselves for the time being, while the Republicans (loving the taxpayer subsidies) and some Democrats are hollering for the nukes. All this undermines the valiant efforts of the Union of Concerned Scientists, NIRS, Friends of the Earth, and other established citizen groups who favor a far safer, more efficient, faster and more secure energy future for our count! ry and t he world.
Just recently, a well-designed and documented pamphlet from Beyond Nuclear summarize the case against nuclear power as "Expensive, Dangerous and Dirty." The clear, precise detail and documentation makes for expeditious education of your friends, neighbors and co-workers.
You can download it free and reprint it for wider distribution from www.BeyondNuclear.org. It is very well worth the 10 to 15 minutes it takes to absorb the truth about this troubled technology--replete with delays and large cost-overruns--that has been on government welfare since the 1950s.
NEWS FROM NIRS
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
6930 Carroll Avenue, #340, Takoma Park, MD 20912
301-270-6477 firstname.lastname@example.org www.nirs.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Michael Mariotte, 301-270-6477;
January 30, 2010 cell: 301-395-7463
SAFE, CLEAN ENERGY ADVOCATES REJECT OBAMA’S CALL FOR MORE NUCLEAR POWER;
MORE THAN 3,000 WRITE OBAMA IN LESS THAN 48 HOURS
Supporters of genuinely safe, clean energy technologies sent more than 3,000 letters to President Obama in less than 48 hours demanding an end to proposed federal loan guarantees for new nuclear power reactors and challenging his State of the Union statement that nuclear power is safe and clean.
Pointing to radioactive tritium leaks at more than 20 nuclear reactors sites discovered in the past few years, many of the letters asserted forcefully that nuclear power has proven neither safe nor clean. Letter writers also took strong issue with reported accounts that President Obama is considering tripling the amount of money available for taxpayer-backed loan guarantees for new reactor construction.
“President Obama needs to remember what Candidate Obama promised: no more taxpayer subsidies for nuclear power,” said Michael Mariotte, executive director of Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS). “Renewables and energy efficiency provide both greater carbon emissions reductions and more jobs per dollar spent than nuclear. Unlike nuclear power, they are relatively quick to install, and are actually safe and clean.”
NIRS provided a link to a youtube video in which then-candidate Barack Obama expressed concern about his daughters even living in Chicago, which is surrounded by nuclear reactors, and said he opposed taxpayer subsidies for nuclear power. The video can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-R52J2D5QQU.
“The American people have made clear they are tired of taxpayer bailouts for giant corporations,” said Mariotte. “And the nuclear loan guarantee program could end up being the largest bailout of all. The Congressional Budget Office predicts 50% of new nuclear projects will fail and leave taxpayers holding the bag. That translates into potentially tens of billions of dollars in losses if the loan guarantee program is expanded.”
“President Obama must rethink his priorities, and quickly,” said Mary Olson, Southeast Regional Coordinator for NIRS in the region where the majority of new reactors are proposed. “Nuclear power accounts for some six times the carbon emissions of wind power per kilowatt/hour of electricity produced, and 2-3 times the amount of solar power. Energy efficiency programs are dozens of times less carbon-intensive. Nuclear is not a climate solution; indeed, it would make the problem worse by diverting tens of billions of dollars that could be spent on safe, clean, cost-effective energy sources.”
“If the President actually submits such an outrageous loan guarantee proposal—and we still hope he won’t—we call upon the Congress to reject it quickly and decisively,” said Mariotte. “Nothing could be more counterproductive to addressing the climate crisis and setting our economy on course for new green jobs than to waste our limited resources on dirty, dangerous and extraordinarily expensive new nuclear reactors.”
The count of letters sent to President Obama, and to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, is based on figures submitted directly through NIRS’ website. It does not include many phone calls and letters submitted outside NIRS’ site.
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
PO Box 7586 Asheville, North Carolina 28802
828-252-8409 cell 828-242-5621
MILLSTONE 3 TRIPS
Power Reactor Event Number: 45583
Region: 1 State: CT
Unit: [ ] [ ] 
RX Type:  GE-3, CE, W-4-LP
NRC Notified By: NORMAN KUZEL
HQ OPS Officer: VINCE KLCO Notification Date: 12/20/2009
Notification Time: 00:06 [ET]
Event Date: 12/19/2009
Event Time: 22:53 [EST]
Last Update Date: 12/20/2009
Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY
10 CFR Section:
50.72(b)(2)(iv)(B) - RPS ACTUATION - CRITICAL
50.72(b)(3)(iv)(A) - VALID SPECIF SYS ACTUATION
RICHARD BARKLEY (R1DO)
Unit SCRAM Code RX CRIT Initial PWR Initial RX Mode Current PWR Current RX Mode
3 A/R Y 100 Power Operation 0 Hot Standby
AUTOMATIC REACTOR TRIP CAUSED BY A TURBINE/GENERATOR ELECTRICAL FAULT
An automatic reactor trip occurred due to a turbine trip caused by a generator electrical fault trip. The cause of the electrical fault is under investigation. All rods fully inserted into the reactor. The auxiliary feedwater pump started and is maintaining steam generator level. The reactor is NOP and NOT. The post trip electrical line-up is being back-fed from off-site power through the RSST transformer. All other post trip actions are standard and all systems are operating as expected. There was no affect on Unit-2.
The licensee will contact the NRC Resident Inspector.
=Letter to Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Opposes "Clean Energy Bank" Funding for New Atomic Reactors
Background: National environmental groups, including Beyond Nuclear, have urged the U.S. Senate's Energy and Natural Resources Committee to strengthen the Clean Energy Deployment Administration proposed in the Senate energy bill so that the cleanest – that is, the most efficient at reducing greenhouse gas emissions -- and the most cost-effective energy technologies are prioritized in terms of access to funding. Such criteria, along with enhanced congressional appropriations oversight urged by the letter, would effectively place new nuclear reactors at the bottom of the list of funding recipients. For Washington Post coverage, see here.
Our View: While it is outrageous that nuclear power is even being considered eligible for "Clean Energy Bank" funding, such common sense criteria as listed in this letter should be instituted to protect U.S. taxpayers and the climate from the dead end that is nuclear power.
What You Can Do: Call your U.S. Senators via the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to draw their attention to this letter, and urge them to vote accordingly.Study Shows Trillions of Dollars in Excess Costs If U.S. Builds 100 Nuclear Reactors
Background: An important new study, shows that the cost to build 100 new reactors in the U.S. would run to trillions of dollars. Dr. Mark Cooper, a senior fellow for economic analysis at the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School, unveiled his report entitled "The Economics of Nuclear Reactors" on a press conference call today. The report finds that it would cost $1.9 trillion to $4.1 trillion more over the life of 100 new nuclear reactors than it would to generate the same electricity from a combination of more energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.
Dr. Cooper said: "We are literally seeing nuclear reactor history repeat itself. The 'Great Bandwagon Market' that ended so badly for consumers in the1970s and1980s was driven by advocates who confused hope and hype with reality." The study finds that new reactor costs are now more than four times greater than original "renaissance" projections.
Also commenting, former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission member Peter Bradford said, "This study makes clear that new nuclear reactors can only be built if taxpayers or customers assume the very large risks that investors would normally bear in the U.S. economy."
Dr. Cooper and Commissioner Bradford can be heard commenting on the report in an audio streaming from the Vermont Law School website. For a press release on the report, see here.
What You Can Do: Call your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative via the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to inform them about this new report, and urge them to oppose any further nuclear power subsidies.Dell Inspiron 15: Now starting at $349Jordan Awan
John R. Bolton, former United States ambassador to the United Nations, characterizes the Obama administration’s nuclear arms control efforts as “deeply troubling to America” (“A Fast Way to Lose the Arms Race,” Op-Ed, May 26). Rather, it is his insistence on clinging to irrelevant weapons systems whose primary purpose is mass destruction that is scary.
The nuts-and-bolts work of treaties and agreements President Obama set into motion with his Prague speech represents our best hope for true safety, and it is exciting, not “eyelid lowering.” When United Nations delegates met in New York earlier in May to discuss next year’s review of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the United States played a constructive role, and real progress was made.
At a time when the world community is grappling with the difficult — but not insurmountable — work of seeking security in a world free of nuclear weapons, Mr. Bolton’s gloom and doom scenarios are dangerous and counterproductive.
Brooklyn, May 26, 2009
The writer is senior program associate of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation.
To the Editor:
The fallacy in John R. Bolton’s argument is the assumption that a “national” missile defense can protect America’s population from a missile attack. As I have pointed out in Congressional testimony and a series of publications, even a perfectly successful destruction of every incoming nuclear-tipped missile could not prevent the deaths of a large number of people.
That is because of the enormous amount of highly radioactive fallout that would result from the explosion of the nuclear warheads, whose biological damage was vastly underestimated when nuclear weapons were first designed and tested.
It is now clear that our safety can be assured only by the eventual elimination of all nuclear weapons and the technology to produce the plutonium and enriched uranium needed for their construction by any nation on the planet.
Ernest J. Sternglass
Ithaca, N.Y., May 26, 2009
The writer is professor emeritus of radiological physics at the University of Pittsburgh.
Gina McCarthy’s Nomination Is Stalled -
For the Wrong Reason
President Barack Obama nominated Connecticut’s Commissioner of Environmental Protection, Gina McCarthy, to serve as director of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Air and Radiation (OAR).
On April 2, 2009, McCarthy cruised through the confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Public Works and Environment Committee, whose members approved her with one exception: Wyoming Republican John Barrasso.
Senator Barasso is blocking a confirmation vote on McCarthy’s nomination by the full Senate because of his concerns about EPA’s plans for regulating carbon dioxide.
The Senator is right to block the confirmation - but for the wrong reason.
Eclipsed by the hubbub over the new President’s vows to curb global warming, a stealth agenda is making headway in the Capitol and McCarthy is key to achieving the new President’s objectives: Obama’s drive to push new nuclear energy development in the United States and abroad.
EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation has awesome power to regulate radiation emissions to the air by setting standards for offsite radiation dose exposure. Nuclear power plants are designed to routinely release radiation - in the form of radioisotopes as byproducts of nuclear fission and which are potent carcinogens.
OAR aspires to” be the leader in the U.S. and the world in protecting human health and the environment by preventing air pollution and exposure to radiation through effective management of public and private resources,” according to the EPA web site, http://www.epa.gov/air.
In her five-year tenure as Connecticut’s Commissioner of Environmental Protection, McCarthy made a point to avert her eyes every time the opportunity arose for her office to address radiation releases from the Millstone Nuclear Power Station located in Waterford, as well as Millstone’s environmentally destructive practices.
When the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission sought her comments regarding Millstone’s application to extend the operating life of its two reactors still functioning, McCarthy made sure there was no paper trail. Her comment: No comment.
When Millstone’s owner sought to extend the life of Millstone Unit 2, where the spent fuel pool had reached design capacity, her designated representative to the state agency which considered the application championed Dominion’s plans. He did not disclose to the public that he had joined an entourage Dominion invited to tour out-of-state nuclear facilities at Dominion expense (a possible violation of the state’s ethics rules).
When goat milk sampled by Dominion five miles downwind of its nuclear facility showed excessively high levels of strontium-90 - which mimics calcium and settles in teeth and bone to cause bone cancer and leukemia, both of which are on the rise in the Millstone community - McCarthy released a report exonerating Millstone as a possible causative factor. Two nuclear experts independently discredited the report as “bogus” and “junk science.” The report may have been ghost-written by Dominion; McCarthy kept the purported DEP author of the report from meeting with the independent scientists to address their critiques.
And when a young mother appeared at her DEP office to meet with McCarthy to share the tragic tale of her pregnancy - which produced a valiant baby boy born with cancer in his jaw - McCarthy declined. The mother had swum regularly in Niantic Bay, unaware that the public beach where she swam was designated as within Millstone’s “mixing zone” where its toxic releases need not meet effluent limitation standards. She wanted Commissioner McCarthy to post signs at the public beaches near Millstone warning other young mothers that they risked exposure to radioactive waste byproducts and toxic effluents by swimming there. McCarthy would not make herself available.
When Dominion recently applied to the NRC for a license amendment to increase its power generation at Millstone Unit 3 by 7+ per cent - a change which would also result in a 7-9 per cent increase in levels of radiation released to the air and water, according to Dominion’s environmental assessment - McCarthy’s comment again: No comment.
On June 2, 2009, the Connecticut Supreme Court will officially release a groundbreaking decision directing a lower court to commence a hearing to determine inter alia whether McCarthy has deliberately permitted Millstone to operate illegally in violation of DEP’s statutory standards.
Millstone’s “once-through” cooling system has killed nearly 5 billion Niantic River winter flounder since the 1970s, according to company estimates. As a result, the indigenous subspecies stocks have plummeted. On April 2, 2009, the very day she appeared before the Senate Public Health and Environment Committee, McCarthy dispatched DEP’s lawyers to intervene in a lawsuit brought on behalf of the fish to block an injunction against use of Millstone coolant during the critical spring period when the migrating flounder larvae are sucked into Millstone’s intakes in massive numbers. Although McCarthy possesses the power to direct Millstone to reduce its water intake volume and velocity to avoid harmful entrainment impacts, she instead joined with Millstone to ask the judge to dismiss the suit. The likely consequence is that the Niantic River winter flounder - deemed “precious” and “finite” natural resources under DEP statutes - are being driven to extinction by Millstone’s cooling system as McCarthy awaits Senate confirmation.
There is another cause for concern about the McCarthy nomination: the ringing endorsement of her nomination released by Senator Joe Lieberman. Lieberman is the Senate’s staunchest advocate of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy.
“I was thrilled when the President announced her nomination,” Lieberman exclaimed in a press release issued on April 2, 2009. When faced with the opportunity to order a vast clean-up of radioactive contamination at the U.S. Navy submarine base in Groton, Connecticut, because of its threatened closure, McCarthy was spared the trouble when government funds saved the base from closing.
Finally, McCarthy’s prior dealings with the EPA and her disregard of EPA standards make her nomination untenable.
While Millstone’s application for relicensing was pending before the NRC, the EPA’s regional administrator in Boston sent McCarthy correspondence addressing his concerns that Millstone’s once-through cooling system was having significant impacts on the fish that were not being adequately addressed. McCarthy did not forward the correspondence to DEP personnel assigned to the issue and she did not further address the concerns. Apparently, there was no follow-up. Again, No comment.
Recently, McCarthy’s office has recommended renewal of Millstone’s Clean Water Act permit - without making a finding of what is “Best Technology Available” as required by the EPA-administered Clean Water Act. The permit simply states that Millstone’s present once-through cooling system is not BTA. As a matter of law, this is inadequate and is tantamount to Commissioner McCarthy awarding a gift of great monetary value to Dominion.
The Senate’s Public Works and Environment Committee needs to extend another invitation to Commissioner McCarthy to reconcile her demonstrated disregard for the environment, the rule of laws and the EPA itself.
Senator Barrasso is correct to put a hold on this critical nomination.
Urgent Plea of the Niantic River Winter Flounder
To Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers:
SAVE US FROM EXTINCTION!
On April 30, 2009, Connecticut Superior Court Judge James J. Devine denied an emergency application for a temporary injunction on behalf of the Niantic River Winter Flounder to order a Millstone shutdown until early June - sought because the indigenous fish stocks otherwise face likely extinction from entrainment at the Millstone intakes during their spring larval migration.
Dominion Nuclear Connecticut, Inc., Millstone’s owner and operator, admits Millstone has killed nearly 5 BILLION winter flounder since 1976 from Millstone entrainment.
Yet, Dominion is operating Millstone Units 2 and 3 at full power during the critical 2009 period when the threatened subspecies undergoes its annual larval migration from the Niantic River to the Long Island Sound.
Nancy Burton, director of the Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone, informed Judge Levine at a hearing on April 2, 2009 that Connecticut’s Department of Environmental Protection classifies the Long Island Sound/Niantic Bay area as Class SA surface waters - where industrial cooling water discharges such as Millstone releases are PROHIBITED.
Thus, Millstone’s use of the Long Island Sound for its once-through cooling system - which is responsible for decimating the winter flounder population as well as releasing toxic and radioactive waste byproducts to our public beaches - violates Connecticut law and is illegal.
Judge Devine denied the injunction four weeks later on the dubious grounds that DEP alone is responsible for regulating DEP shutdowns to protect fish - despite the fact that DEP’s Commissioner intervened in the case to oppose an injunction to spare the fish from extinction.
Connecticut’s Environmental Protection Act (CEPA)- enacted in the 1970s to give all citizens the right to seek meaningful relief from environmental harm in the state’s courts - recognizes that Connecticut’s natural resources - including the Niantic River winter flounder - are “finite and precious.”
CEPA gives the courts wide authority to step in to protect the state’s natural resources when its environmental agency lacks the will to do so.
Judge Devine’s decision is a grave misinterpretation that deprives CEPA of its core meaning.
CEPA does not contemplate nor tolerate deliberate extinction of the state’s precious and finite natural resources - especially when the water use responsible for the extinction violates state law.
An emergency application is pending before Connecticut Supreme Court Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers to allow an immediate appeal from Judge Devine’s decision.
We urge Chief Justice Chase to grant the application forthwith and take the necessary steps to save the Niantic River winter flounder from unnecessary extinction.
EXTINCTION IS FOREVER.
URGENT: STOP THE UNLIMITED NEW NUKES LEGISLATION
(posting courtesy www.nirs.org 5/14/09)
The "Clean Energy Bank" legislation sponsored by Senate Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman and Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) includes UNLIMITED taxpayer loan guarantees for construction of new nuclear reactors. Not $50 Billion, or $100 Billion. UNLIMITED!
In other words, under the guise of a clean energy program, the nuclear power industry could get taxpayer money to build as many reactors as they wanted, regardless of their cost, regardless of their projected default rate.
That's just unacceptable.
We need to act on this as loudly and clearly as possible.
Write your House member and Speaker Nancy Pelosi now. And then forward this message to everyone you can think of.
Write your House member here.
Write Speaker Nancy Pelosi here.
PLEASE forward this Alert to everyone you can think of. We need to generate at least 10,000 letters to Pelosi and House members to stop this fake "clean energy" bank. Please help everyone you can think of to send letters now by forwarding this Alert. Phone calls to House members would be very effective too: 202-224-3121.
The period of “Chornobyl’s decay”
Ukraine will be exposed to residual radiation for hundreds of years. What can be done today?
By Oleksandra SHEPEL
Photo from the website rian.com.ua
Twenty-three years have passed since The Day of April 26 divided human fates into “before” and “after” the disaster at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Until this day it is the world’s worst anthropogenic catastrophe unmatched for its environmental impact.
For Ukraine Chornobyl is an everyday reality and a host of global-scale problems. Unfortunately, the problems caused by the catastrophe are as acute today as they were 23 years ago. Can one get used to devastated villages and abandoned fertile land?
Today nothing prevents us from learning in detail what was happening on the banks of the Prypiat in late April—November 1986. In May 1986 foreigners were the first to learn the truth: on April 30 a Geiger counter on a Swedish nuclear power plant detected an unacceptably high level of radiation. After the Swedish government ascertained that the discharge did not take place in Sweden, it made an official inquiry. Mikhail Gorbachev addressed the people only 18 days after the disaster, on May 14. And three years passed before the information on the radioactivity conditions was declassified and publicized.
After the explosion at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the scientists at the Institute for Nuclear Research (National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine) identified two groups of radionuclides emitted from the damaged reactor. One of them included volatile radioactive substances carried up high in aerosols with the streams of warm air (iodine-131, iodine-135, cesium-134, cesium-137, and strontium-90). Nearly 30 percent of cesium accumulated in the reactor core was emitted.
The other group included radionuclides with relatively high boiling temperature, which were emitted as part of the nuclear reactor core. Their emission rate was lower (nearly three percent of the total amount of fuel). These 5–6 tons of crushed uranium, the products of its fission, and transuranic elements (plutonium, curium, and americium) dealt the heaviest blow to the environment in terms of radioactivity.
According to the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), 20 radionuclides had a major effect on the irradiation of people (particularly, isotopes of barium, magnesium, iron, curium, tellurium, etc.). Seven of them, carbon-14, cesium-137, zirconium-94, ruthenium-106, strontium-90, cerium-144, and iodine-131, are encountered more frequently than the others.
Radioisotopes of iodine, which were present in the air in the largest quantities, were the most dangerous for people. Therefore, Ukrainians who were outside under the radioactive clouds in the last days of April and early May picked up plenty of this isotope. Their thyroid glands accumulating this substance, received the largest dose of irradiation of all the parts of body, and suffered worst. As a result, several years after the Chornobyl disaster, doctors registered a spike in thyroid cancer among children.
Some experts assert that the life of radioactive iodine is short, so it cannot be affecting our health today. In fact, radioactive iodine does not disappear within eight days, as some write, but plants itself in the thyroid of its victims and stays there for 80 days.
Back in 1978 the children’s doctor Helen Caldicott warned humanity that the silence of doctors about the consequences of nuclear technologies and radiation would lead to an increase in cancer and hereditary diseases. In 1982 Ukraine published data of foreign authors proving the dangerous influence of radiation on the health of pregnant women and children, specifically mentioning children with inborn defects born of irradiated parents.
Before the Chornobyl catastrophe, in 1985, academician Valeri Legasov argued that the residual radioactivity after nuclear plant explosions increases with time because of accumulation of long-lived radionuclides. Alice Stuart, an expert on the effects of low levels of radiation, studied the state of health of the employees of the Hanford military plant, and victims of nuclear bombing in Japanese cities, and proved that small doses of radiation over a longer period of time are more of a carcinogenic threat than a one-time equivalent.
Are the restless experts of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) aware of this? Do they understand that this danger of long-time effect of low levels of radiation is the terrible “tail” that an explosion of a nuclear reactor leaves behind, causing new cases of serious diseases. This question found an answer in 1959, when the IAEA and the World Health Organization concluded a secret agreement not to disseminate data concerning the consequences of accidents at nuclear power plants for people’s health if these data contradicted the interests of the IAEA. The goal of the IAEA is to impose on the public the opinion that nuclear energy is safe, develop it in the world, and receive big money for its needs. Therefore, the thesis on the safety of small quantities of radiation has been repeated under cover of the UN.
Nowadays, cesium-137 is the main dose-forming radioactive nuclide that the Chornobyl explosion left us with. The contribution of strontium-90 to the total level of radiation is somewhat lower, while those of plutonium and americium are very small. Scientists forecast that 30 years after the catastrophe the cesium-137 soil contamination level will halve because of the natural decay of this isotope’s nuclei. And only in 300 years will this indicator fall under 37 kilobecquerels per square meter, except for the 30-kilometer zone around the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant and isolated spots in Polissia, where the contamination level is the same as in the exclusion zone.
These lands will become safe in terms of radiation only much later. A similar situation is with strontium-90: the periods of its half-decay are nearly the same (30 and 29 years, respectively). Since these radionuclides are quite mobile, their movement in the ground and the consequences of their migration are hard to predict. And plutonium, unlike previous isotopes, is hardly absorbed by plants, so it does not get into the human organism in any significant amounts through the nutrition chain. This highly toxic substance barely migrates in the ground, remaining on the place of the radioactive cloud fallout.
At the same time, plutonium-241 will “leave the arena” in a century — it will be replaced by more mobile “long-lived” americium-241. Experts are afraid that this isotope, able to percolate into the ground, will contaminate the subsoil waters and will spread from the worst contaminated zone to clean territories over several thousands of years.
It is worth analyzing the problem of our population’s health. The greatest harm to people’s health was done by the absolute passiveness of the leaders, whose official duties included protection of the population in extreme circumstances. The “fathers” of the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant and the nuclear city Prypiat did not dare to warn people about the danger and start an immediate evacuation without Moscow’s permission, and wasted many hours in order to contact it.
It is known that the population could have been saved from the radioactive iodine quickly and efficiently using pills that contain non-radioactive isotope. Filling the thyroid, the non-harmful iodine would have blocked the accumulation of radionuclides in this sensitive and important organ. The state leaders did not do anything to protect the population, and later explained their inaction by reluctance to spread panic. The iodine protection was applied only beyond Ukraine and the USSR: in Poland, Sweden, Germany, and other countries. The timely warning of the population about the ecological situation linked to the disaster at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant would not have provoked panic. Rather it would have spared thousands of people dozens of unnecessary rems.
The fact that the Chornobyl catastrophe was a direct result of human activity makes us once again analyze its causes and aftermaths and seek answers to a never ending string of questions. The average longevity in Ukraine has been decreasing not because the Chornobyl disaster occurred, but because under the given circumstances the government was not able to take into consideration the new factors in order to minimize all possible risks. If everyone involved in governing the state were able to recognize these risks, we would have a better situation now.
#13, Tuesday, 28 April 2009STOP BILLIONS FOR NEW NUKES!
April 28, 2009
Hello from NukeFree.org
This Thursday, April 30, will be a national call-in day in opposition to federal subsidies for nuclear power and coal burners..
Three times in the last two years the nuclear industry has come to Congress asking for $50 billion in handouts to build new atomic reactors that Wall Street won't finance.
Your activism has made the difference. All three times these attempts have been stopped.
Now we must do it again. Please support the national call-in.
Time and again grassroots activism has paid off because people like you have ACTED when it was needed.
So please join Thursday's call-in....and keep checking in with us at NukeFree.org.
We welcome your feedback. And your activism!
***ACTION ALERT ***
NATIONAL GRASSROOTS CALL-IN DAY TO STOP NUKE/COAL SUBSIDIES
Wednesday, April 29th, 2009
LET'S KEEP CONGRESSIONAL PHONES RINGING ALL DAY LONG!
Both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are beginning to consider separate legislation that could have an enormous impact on our nation's energy future. It is essential that we all weigh in now, in the strongest possible manner, to help shape that energy future. Let's tell Congress loud and clear to support renewable energy and energy efficiency programs and to stop any more taxpayer support for dirty and dangerous nuclear power and coal technologies.
Washington-based groups like NIRS, PSR, FoE, NRDC, NukeFree.org, and others are working hard to stop this legislation from becoming a gift to the nuclear power and coal industries. But the nuclear and coal industries have far more lobbyists and far more money than we do.
What those industries don't have is YOU.
And YOU can make the difference.
On Thursday, April 30, let's keep the phones in the Senate and House ringing all day long with a simple message: YES to renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, NO to any more taxpayer subsidies for nuclear power and coal.
Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121.
In the Senate, the Senate Energy Committee will begin considering a major new energy bill sponsored by Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). Efforts will be made to add nuclear power to the bill's Renewable Electricity Standard, to add nuclear power to a so-called "Clean Energy Bank," to add still more taxpayer loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors and coal plants, and so forth.
In the House, the House Energy Committee will begin considering the Waxman-Markey climate crisis legislation. And we're going to see similar efforts in the House to add the same kind of nuclear and coal nonsense.
On April 30, please call both of your Senators and your Representative with the simple message: YES to renewables and efficiency, NO to nuclear power and coal.
And to help set the stage for thousands of phone calls, let's now start clogging the Congressional e-mail boxes with thousands of your letters! You can e-mail your Senators here and you can e-mail your Representative here.
Please forward this Alert as widely as possible, please make sure all your friends and colleagues know about it and can participate. Post the info on your websites, blogs, Facebook & MySpace pages, Twitter it, spread the word! It will take many thousands of us to overcome the nuclear and coal industry's lobbying efforts. But we CAN do it!
By John LaForge*
March 28 marks 30 years since the partial meltdown and radiation disaster at Three Mile Island (TMI) near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
News accounts noted the reactor’s loss-of-coolant, fuel melting, multiple explosions, venting of radioactive gases, dumping of contaminated water and the buildup of explosive hydrogen inside the reactor vessel. The accident caused such a nationwide scare that the expansion of nuclear power ended in the United States.
Yet the environmental and health consequences of the TMI disaster aren’t widely understood. Official cover-ups, industry propaganda, and ignorance of radiation-induced illnesses have led to present-day trivialization of TMI and a supposed revival of new reactor construction. Any such revival is totally dependent on billions in federal subsidies, because, as Forbes magazine once blazoned across its cover: “The failure of the U.S. nuclear power program ranks as the largest managerial disaster in business history, a disaster on a monumental scale.”1
The nuclear industry’s attempt to raise nuclear power from the dead involves denying the damage resulting from TMI itself and flies in the face of 30 years of science regarding the effects of low-dose radiation. One Wisconsin legislator said on the record in 2007, “Three Mile Island was a success of containment.”
Things weren’t much different in 1979, when President Carter’s Kemeny Commission hurriedly finished its report on the disaster issuing it in October. The commission did not consider any data on the effects of wind-borne radiation, although the wind blew 6-to-9 mph toward upstate New York and western Pennsylvania.
Over 10 million curies of radioactive noble gases including 43,000 curies of krypton-852 -- which stays in the environment for 100 years -- as well as 15-to-24 curies of radioactive iodine-1313, were vented from the “containment” building. (A curie -- 37 billion disintegrations per second -- is a huge amount of radiation.) As the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) later noted, several “deliberate but uncontrolled releases” were used to vent radioactive gas. Official airborne release estimates are just guesses, because of the insufficient number of outside radiation monitors half weren’t working, and a large number of them went off-scale.4
On the third day of the venting of these gases, half the population within 15 miles -- 144,000 people -- fled the area. By this time the bulk of the accident’s airborne radiation was already spewed and drifting on the wind.
In addition, approximately 400,000 gallons of radioactive cooling water that had leaked from the reactor were secretly dumped into the Susquehanna River, a source of drinking water for nearby communities.5 Later about 2.3 million gallons of radioactively contaminated cooling water were allowed to be “evaporated” into the atmosphere.6
In 1980, Pennsylvania State Health Department authorities reported a sharp rise in hypothyroidism in newborn infants in the three counties downwind from the reactor. Late in 1979, four times as many infants as normal were born with the disease. The NRC said the increase was unrelated to radiation released by TMI.7 Upwind incidence of the disease had dropped to below the national average.
The same year, six workers entered the heavily contaminated reactor building. Five of the six later died of radiation-induced cancers. David Lochbaum of the Union of Concerned Scientists reports that UCS opposed license renewal for the surviving TMI units and demanded health studies for neighbors. The NRC refused.
In the county where TMI is located infant deaths soared 53.7 percent in the first month after the accident; 27 percent in the first year.8 As originally published, the federal government’s own Monthly Vital Statistics Report shows a statistically significant rise in infant and over-all mortality rates shortly after the accident.9
Studying 10 counties closest to TMI, Jay M. Gould, in his meticulously documented 1990 book Deadly Deceit, found that childhood cancers, other infant diseases, and deaths from birth defects were 15% to 35% higher than before the accident, and those from breast cancer 7% higher. These increases far exceeded those elsewhere in Pennsylvania.10
Gould suggests that between 50,000 and 100,000 excess deaths occurred after the TMI accident.11 Joseph Mangano of the New York-based Radiation and Public Health Project (RPHP) says, “The NRC allows reactors to emit a certain level of radiation, but it does not do follow-up studies to see if there are excessive infant deaths, birth defects or cancers.”
Leukemia deaths among kids fewer than 10 years of age (between 1980 and 1984) jumped almost 50 percent compared to the national rate.12
Mangano reports that “between 1980 and 1984, death rates in the three nearest counties were considerably higher than 1970-74 (before the reactor opened) for leukemia, female breast, thyroid and bone and joint cancers.”13
The Spring 2000 edition of Environmental Epidemiology and Toxicology Mangano and Ernest Sternglass reported that in counties adjacent to nuclear reactors, infant mortality falls dramatically after the reactors close. The RPHP study found that in the first two years after the reactors were shuttered, infant death rates fell 15-to-20 percent. In communities near Big Rock Point in Michigan for example, the decrease in infant mortality rates was 54 percent; at Maine Yankee, the percentage decrease was 33.4%.14
The evidence of cancers caused by reactor operations brings to mind the words of Roger Mattson, former Director of NRC Division of Systems Safety, who said during the TMI meltdown, “I’m not sure why you are not moving people. I don’t know what we are protecting at this point.”
*John LaForge is on the staff of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental action group in Wisconsin. His articles on nuclear power, weapons and waste have appeared in New Internationalist, Z Magazine, Earth Island Journal, The Progressive, Psychological Imagination, the opinion page of the Miami Herald the Mpls. Star Tribune and elsewhere.
(1) James Cook, “Nuclear Follies,” Forbes, February 11, 1985, cover and p. 82.
(2) Nuclear Regulatory Commission: < http://www.nrc.gov/POA/gmo/tip/tip10.htm>.
(3) John May, The Greenpeace Book of the Nuclear Age, Pantheon, 1989, p. 82.
(4) Dr. John Beyea, study for the National Audubon Society, 1984, in John May (note 3), pp. 220-221.
(5) Allen Hedge, Cornell Univ., “Systems Thinking,” August 2007, <ergo.human.cornell.edu/ studentdownloads/DEA325/ pdfs/ systems.pdf>; Stephen Pople, Oxford, Explaining Physics, GCSE Edition, Sec. 8, Electrons and Atoms, 1990, p. 323; and Report of the President’s Commission on the Accident at TMI, October 30, 1979.
(6) The Washington Post, March 28, 1989.
(7) Boston Globe, February 23, 1980.
(8) Joseph Mangano, Low-Level Radiation and Immune System Damage: An Atomic Era Legacy, New York, Lewis Publishers, 1999, p. 65.
(9) Jay M. Gould and Benjamin A. Goldman, Deadly Deceit: Low Level Radiation, High Level Cover-Up, New York, Four Walls Eight Windows, 1990, p. 59.
(10) Mangano, note 8, pp. 65-66.
(11) Gould, note 9, p. 4.
(12) Mangano, note 8, p. 67.
(14) Ernest Sternglass & Joseph Mangano, Radiation and Public Health Project, NY <www.radiation.org>Nukewatch
740A Round Lake Road
Luck, WI 54853
Al Gore at the Annual Meeting 2005 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 30, 2005 Photo by Severin Nowacki.3/18/2009In an interview with the Guardian last week Al Gore talked about the climate negotiations in Copenhagen this year, the European carbon market, climate change deniers, smart grids and nuclear energy.
The most surprising comment from Gore was about nuclear energy and its role in fighting climate change. According to Gore nuclear energy is not the answer to our problems because it’s dirty, too expensive, unsafe and that it poses a threat to world peace.
“I’m not a reflexive opponent of nuclear. I used to be enthusiastic about it, but I’m now sceptical about it. There’s a few reasons. Let’s assume for the moment that we will solve the problem of long-term storage of radioactive waste. Let’s assume also that we’ll figure out how to standardise their design as [each plant] is currently unique and that enhances the risk of operator accidents. Let’s assume we can solve the terrorism threat to nuclear reactors. That still leaves a couple of very difficult problems.First and foremost, economics. The nuclear industry cannot give any reliable cost estimate for how much it will take to build a nuclear plant. When a utility is confronted with the absence of any advances for how much the construction cost is going to be, then that’s a problem. Because the economics of nuclear only work at scale. You’ve got to have a 1,000 megawatt plant for it to be efficient and competitive. In the current environment, if you run a large utility that sells electricity you’ve got a certain amount of money to allocate in your budget. If you’re looking at the trends towards more conservation and the rapid introduction of renewables, it’s hard for you to project what your demand is going to be with as much precision as when the world was more predictable. As a result, you are less inclined to take all of your money and place one big bet on something that matures 12-15 years from now at an uncertain cost. That what’s called a “lumpy investment” and they want smaller increments that give them smaller flexibility. In the US, there hasn’t been a new order for a new reactor in 36 years.
Yes, there is [more appetite for nuclear power now]. And because of the carbon crisis there will be more nuclear plants built and some of those being retired will be replaced by others. I think it will play a somewhat larger role, but it will not be the main option chosen.
Whatever countries such as the US and the UK do, it will have a demonstration effect for the rest of the world. As the world comes to grips with how to solve the climate crisis, we in the US and the UK have a leadership role. If we told the rest of the world that nuclear is the answer [they would follow]. For the eight years that I spent in the White House every nuclear weapons proliferation problem we dealt with was connected to a reactor programme. People have said for years that there are now completely different [nuclear] technologies. OK, but if you have a team of scientists that can build a reactor, and you’re a dictator, you can make them work at night to build a nuclear weapon. That’s what’s happened in North Korea and Iran. And in Libya before they gave it up. So the idea of, say, Chad, Burma, and Sudan having lots of nuclear reactors is insane and it’s not going to happen.”
MILLSTONE 2 AND 3 TO RUN AT FULL POWER IN SPRING 2009:
IS THIS ARMAGEDDON*-TIME FOR THE NIANTIC WINTER FLOUNDER?
Date: March 19, 2009
Contact: Nancy Burton 203-938-3952
At a hearing on March 23, 2009, Nancy Burton, Director of the Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone, will implore a judge of the Superior Court in New London to impose sharp intake limits at the Millstone Nuclear Power Station in Waterford, Connecticut, in a desperate measure to avert the probable collapse and extinction of the Niantic winter flounder fish stocks this spring.
Dominion Nuclear Connecticut, Inc., Millstone’s owner and operator, plans to keep Units 2 and 3 operating at full power during the entire period of seasonal migration of the Niantic winter flounder larvae, which occurs annually from late March to early June.
“Dominion’s unconscionable disregard for the indigenous Niantic winter flounder, once an abundant stock, will likely pound the nail into this species’ coffin,” Burton said. “Extinction is forever.”
Burton has instituted a lawsuit under the state’s Environmental Protection Act which empowers “any person” to seek judicial relief to stop unreasonable destruction of the state’s natural resources.
* Armageddon: Last clash between the forces of good and evil before Judgment Day; catastrophe
“The indigenous Niantic winter flounder subspecies was once an abundant resource and important component of the Niantic area marine environment,” Burton said.
“But Millstone has been the worst predator of fish in the entire Northeast, entraining billions of marinelife as it sucks in more than 2 billion gallons per day of Long Island Sound seawater for cooling,” Burton said.
The stock has suffered a dramatic decline since Millstone has operated its three nuclear reactors in the 1980s. (Unit 1 is now permanently shut down.)
The suit seeks an injunction that would severely limit the volume of water sucked in at the Units 2 and 3 intakes and thus radically reduce entrainment of billions of marinelife, including the microscopic migrating winter flounder larvae, during their impending seasonal migration from Niantic River spawning grounds to Niantic Bay.
Dominion deliberately scheduled its recent refueling outages for the fall 2008 and fall 2009 for Units 2 and 3, rather than during the known peak period of winter flounder larvae migration, to serve its profit-driven interests, Burton said.
According to Dominion’s own estimates, between 1976 and 2003 Millstone destroyed more than 4 billion winter flounder at its intakes and more than 154 billion fish representing seven species in all stages of life.
“This suit is the voice of a subspecies crying out to be spared extinction,” Burton.
The hearing in Nancy Burton v. Dominion Nuclear Connecticut, Inc., is scheduled for March 23, 2009 at 9:30 AM at the New London Superior Court, 70 Huntington Street, New London.
Dear President Obama: Investigate - Not Nominate - Regina McCarthy!
147 Cross Highway
Redding Ridge CT 06876
March 16, 2009
Hon. Barack H. Obama
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 20500
Re: Regina McCarthy
Dear President Obama:
I am writing to express outrage at your selection of Regina McCarthy to serve as Assistant Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency for Air and Radiation.
For the reasons I enumerate below, I call upon you to withdraw the nomination forthwith.
Since 2005, Regina McCarthy has served as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”), a political appointee of Governor M. Jodi Rell.
Her actions and inactions as Connecticut’s chief environmental regulator have needlessly exposed thousands of Connecticut families and their children to ingestion of toxic air and water and resulting devastating health effects and caused unnecessary harm to our critical natural resources.
During her tenure at Connecticut’s DEP, Commissioner McCarthy acted in disregard of the state and federal laws governing DEP regulation, acted counter to the public interest and betrayed the public trust in the environment in matters concerning the Millstone Nuclear Power Station in Waterford, Connecticut.
These are strong accusations. Please investigate them without delay in light of the following facts before you permit the nomination to proceed:
(1) The federal Clean Water Act requires that a regulator such as Connecticut’s DEP identify and then order a facility such as Millstone to implement “best technology available” (“BTA”) to minimize adverse environmental effects from its cooling water system.
According to records maintained by the Federal Government, Millstone is the worst predator of fish in the Northeast by virtue of its continuous entrainment of billions of marine organisms at its once-through cooling water intake structures.
In the case of Millstone, conversion to a closed cooling system would meet the “best technology available” requirement of federal law because it would virtually eliminate entrainment impacts. In September 2007, DEP personnel drafted a new permit for Millstone which identified a closed cooling system as BTA and would require Millstone to convert to a closed cooling system or some other system which would have equivalent performance standards. The draft permit complied with federal law.
However, Commissioner McCarthy permitted Millstone’s owner to meet in secret with DEP personnel involved in the permitting process - after which the permit provision requiring Millstone’s conversion to closed cooling was deleted. DEP went on to enter into a secret stipulation with Millstone’s owner such that a renewed Clean Water Act permit would not make a BTA determination and would not require a closed cooling system.
This conduct violates the letter and spirit of the Clean Water Act, which mandates a BTA determination in a permit renewal proceeding. Commissioner McCarthy’s DEP deliberately acted in violation of the Clean Water Act after being pressured to do so in secret sessions by Millstone’s corporate owner.
Commissioner McCarthy and her DEP should be investigated by federal authorities for this deliberate violation of our federal environmental laws.
(2) President John F. Kennedy decided to end U.S. atmospheric nuclear weapons testing in the 1960s once he became aware that strontium-90, a carcinogen released in the detonations, was being absorbed into the teeth of developing babies. Strontium-90, (a by-product of fission for nuclear bombs and nuclear power), he knew, was a time-bomb when it came to the health of our children. Strontium-90, mimicking calcium in its chemical composition, causes bone and other cancers, leukemia and diseases of the immune system.
Milk collected in 2001 from goats grazing five miles north of the Millstone Nuclear Power Station was sampled and analyzed for strontium-90 presence by DEP and Millstone’s owner. The results were alarming: all samples were elevated - and one sample contained a concentration of 55 picoCuries per liter of strontium-90 - a level TWICE that of the highest levels of strontium-90 found in milk sold commercially in Connecticut during the peak of nuclear atmospheric weapons testing.
When the results were brought to the attention of Commissioner McCarthy, she directed the Connecticut DEP’s Air and Radiation director, Edward Wilds, to make an assessment. The report released by DEP exonerated Millstone as a potential source of the high strontium-90 levels in the goat milk. A pro-nuclear expert in radiation instrumentation and detection, himself a proponent of nuclear power, pronounced the report’s methodology “bogus.” A distinguished expert in radiation health physics also examined the report at length and found it to be fraudulent. He concluded that Millstone was the likely source of the high radiation levels and that the nuclear power plant was a grave threat to the public health. Commissioner McCarthy refused to meet with critics of the report and would not make Wilds available for questions in a public forum.
Commissioner McCarthy again failed to put the public health and welfare first. The report released under her authority requires investigation and provides an example of how Commissioner McCarthy has betrayed the public trust.
(3) In correspondence dated August 23, 2005 Robert W. Varney, Administrator of EPA’s Region I, expressed grave concerns of the collapsing population of the indigenous Niantic River winter flounder, as attributable to entrainment and impingement at the Millstone intakes. The letter states that Millstone’s intake velocities are “two to three times greater than the industry standard” and that reduction of the Millstone intake velocities would directly reduce entrainment.
Although Commissioner McCarthy was copied on this letter, it appears that she did not share it with the DEP personnel involved in Millstone permitting. Regardless, Commissioner Mccarthy’s DEP has ignored EPA’s recommendations and taken no action to date to reduce Millstone’s intake velocities. Under Commissioner McCarthy’s watch, because of her inaction, we are likely to lose a subspecies of indigenous fish forever.
Commissioner McCarthy’s manifest disregard for EPA recommendations to spare indigenous fish from extinction and her disregard for federal and state law as well as the public interest must be considered disqualifying factors with regard to her proposed service as a high-level EPA administrator for air and radiation.
For your information, I have served as director of the Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone (www.MothballMillstone.org), an environmental advocacy organization, for ten years.
Thank you for your attention and consideration.