NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSIONS hears comment – CALL NOW to arrange an opportunity to hear two upcoming NRC meetings in Rockville, Md. Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 29 & 30.

NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSIONS hears comment.
CALL NOW to arrange an opportunity to hear two upcoming
NRC meetings in Rockville, Md. Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 29 & 30.

A toll-free bridge line and a toll-free conference call are available to
listen in on two meetings in Rockville, Maryland at NRC headquarters, 10
miles north of DC. There is a conflict of schedules on November 30, so you
may have to choose between these concerns. On Nov. 30 Traprock Peace Center
in Deerfield, MA will dedicate two phone lines and speaker phones to the
process, beginning at 8:30 am and continuing to the close of NRC business
expected to be at 8pm. We encourage town boards of health and public service
organizations to make this service available at public locations.

> 1. Leave a message now? Ralph Caruso, (301 415-8065)
If you get the machine you can ask for the toll-free number, and the access
code. Ask Mr. Caruso to sign you up to hear the Advisory Committee on
Reactor Safeguards, which is hearing testimony early this week on the
hazards (and the smooth sailing imagined) for the proposed uprate at New
England’s oldest reactor in Vernon, Vermont.

Recent fires, loss of highly radiated spent fuel, prior failure of tests
on meeting threats, requests for exemption of stack radiation monitors,
indicate lack of readiness for additional risks. In written comment you may
want to ask about corrosion, cracking, vibration or containment
overpressure, hazards the NRC sees of greatest concern. Ralph Caruso gave
me the address to send your comments, which could be considered on Dec. 7.
(At the ACRS meeting in Brattleboro, VT on Tuesday, November 22, one member
of this advisory committee said he felt uncomfortable about the timeline
pressuring the committee to come to a decision soon.)

Advisory Com. On Reactor Safeguards
Attn. Ralph Caruso (or particular member)
Mailstop T2E26
US RRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission)
Washington, DC 20555

Members of the committee can be addressed individually. Their names are
posted at www.nrc.gov

PLEASE CALL NOW if you agree that a thorough Safety Assessment is needed.

—————————————————————

> 2. Steven Hoffman (301 415-3245)
For information on how to listen in from home or work, on an NRC meeting at
10am on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at the NRC offices in Rockville, MD, call Steven
Hoffman, 301 415-3245.

Entergy Nuclear will propose to lump together license renewal requests
for the nuclear reactors they manage in Plymouth MA and Vernon, Vermont.
You may have an opportunity to comment, before the call ends mid-day. Ask
for the toll-free number, the access code, and the exact time to call.
Steven Hoffman said fifteen lines were available when I called last
Wednesday for Traprock. (I recommended adding more lines. Your early call
will help them to prepare.)

—————————————————————
> 3.

Saturday, Dec. 10
*** SAVE THE DATE!!! ***

12:30-6:30 pm, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2005
Confer with experts and neighbors,
this Human Rights Day,

Greenfield Community College
*** Greenfield, Mass. ***

This is in the Cafeteria, but the cafeteria food service is closed. Please
come after lunch. Co-sponsors can set up a card table for literature or a
display beginning at noon. Doors pen for the public at 12:30.

Keynote speaker Ernest Sternglass, PhD., formerly a GE employee, speaks at
1PM and shows graphs on downwind health effects following nuclear testing
and reactor operations. There’s reason to address the 26% increase in breast
cancer mortality over a 30-year period in Franklin County. Ernest is a
brilliant man with both practical and theoretical understanding. He designed
the instrument that captured the first image of the earth rising, from the
moon. He once had a 5-hour conversation with Einstein. Students will enjoy
conversation with him over tea. He is 82 but looks and acts 62, visiting
here from Pittsburg, PA.where he has retired as a professor.

Sally Shaw of Gill will introduce Ray Shadis, the Technical Advisor for the
New England Coalition. He will speak about the particular hazards of the
proposed power uprate at New England’s oldest reactor. Ray is from Maine and
can answer questions about how a thorough safety assessment of the Maine
Yankee reactor, proclaimed to be well maintained, was shut down after a
thorough safety assessment, because there was simply too much wrong to fix.

..Home

It’s not enough to be grateful that Ray and Sally work hard on these issues.
Please pitch in. Ask your questions! Make a phone call? Survive and help
your town thrive, at panel discussions and workshops on Evacuation Planning,
Radiation Monitoring, and the Powers of Nonviolent Action. During the last
session, choose which issue you want to focus on.

We willingly address realities that can help us avoid the hardships of
ongoing low-level contamination, or nuclear catastrophe. Land trusts,
parents, nurses, activists, Hospice, big brothers, big sisters, sustainable
energy proponents, cancer survivors, please join us as we notice what will
move us toward solutions as a society. Will your town Board of Health come
to hear about radiation monitoring?

Treat yourself to the panel discussion on healing and recovery. We are
excited that author Alice Epstein, “Mind, Fantasy, and Healing” will join us
and bring some of her out-of-print book describing her recovery from cancer.
After being given a diagnosis of cancer and as little as a year to survive,
X-rays showed that her kidney cancer had already spread to the lungs. Diet,
exercise, meditation and therapy were her chosen treatments, about ten years
ago. Claudia Sperber will show us acupressure for health maintenance and
self-care. Kathleen Becker demonstrates Breema massage, for a little heaven
on earth.

DIRECTIONS: Take US91 & 2-West, turn north onto Colrain Rd. and proceed to
the beautiful campus of Greenfield Community College. We’d love to hear
who’s coming. We’d love to hear you’re coming.

Free and open to the public. Wheelchair accessible. Donations welcome.
Donors support conference and travel costs, web access & radio use of audio
recordings. Transcribing help welcomed. Volunteers who can help in any way,
please call Sally Weiss, 413 584-9887 or Sunny Miller, 413 773-7427.

To Co-sponsor or reserve space for your card table, please mail $25 today to
Traprock Peace Center, 103A Keets Road, Deerfield, MA 01342.

***********************************************

> 4. Thanksgiving in a Neighbors’ Network to End War
The Nuclear Age is at our door, knocking.

Who will answer?

Dear Colleagues,

Thanks for considering how you will (or won’t cover) this important story. I
urge you to consider that preventing a melt-down may be worthy of placement
above the fold in all our media. If a melt-down would earn that front-page
placement, why not the efforts (of all the players) to prevent one? Town
Boards of Health, school and hospital administrators, nursing home and
hospice attendants, daycare providers, homeless shelters, all would have
enormous responsibilities during an accident.

We have seen by FEMA’s performance in New Orleans that the federal agencies
will be of little help during a radiological emergency. In Plymouth,
towspeople are considering sheltering in place, rather than sending kids out
in buses into a veritable parking lot. This would mean moving to the
interior hallways and basements, locking down doors, windows and ventilation
systems, and using the foodstuffs on hand.

Windows provide no protection against gamma radiation, but closure can limit
inhalation of the most dangerous alpha emitters. Wooden buildings are
estimated to provide 20% protection, and masonry buildings can provide up to
80% protection from gamma, when shelter is available as far downstairs as
possible.

We maintain that because MEMA and FEMA will not be prepared for an
evacuation on the scale that will be needed, all schools and healthcare
facilities need radiation monitors on hand, so that accurate and responsible
decisions can be discussed and made, based on fact, rather than on fiction,
as current evacuation plans suggest.

Sunny Miller, Executive Director, 413-773-7427
Traprock Peace Center
103A Keets Road
Deerfield, MA 01342

http://www.traprockpeace.org
——————————-
(over 2000 visitors daily)

What wouldn’t you do to prevent a melt-down?

Background:
The Vernon, Vermont reactor is just 15 miles from here.
In June the Vermont legislature gave away the store, and linked
payments for new radioactive waste storage on the shores of
the Connecticut River to a 20% increase in power output.
This is the highest power increase ever proposed.
The NRC has not yet denied a single request for a power uprate.
Will they rubber stamp this one,
or require a thorough safety assessment?

Please let us know if you have friends in DC who can
attend the NRC & ACRS meetings.

We have concerns about the loss of a back-up cooling pump,
increased water pressure and operating temperatures, and
the reduction of the melt-down margin.

Dec 10 – Surviving the Vernon Reactor Conference – Greenfield Community College

Confer with experts and neighbors,
this Human Rights Day,
12:30-6:30 pm, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2005
Greenfield Community College
*** Greenfield, Massachusetts ***

This is in the Cafeteria, but the cafeteria food service is closed. Please come after lunch. Co-sponsors can set up a card table for literature or a display beginning at noon. Doors pen for the public at 12:30.

Our Keynote speaker Ernest Sternglass, speaks at 1PM and shows graphs on downwind health effects following nuclear testing and reactor operations. Ernest is a brilliant man with both practical and theoretical understanding. He had a 5-hour conversation with Einstein once. He is 82 but looks and acts 62, here from Pittsburg.

Ray Shadis, the Technical Advisor for the New England Coalition will speak about the particular hazards of the proposed power uprate at New England’s oldest reactor. Ray is from Maine and can answer questions about how a thorough safety assessment of the Maine Yankee reactor, proclaimed to be well maintained, was shut down after a thorough safety assessment. http://www.necnp.org

Survive and thrive at panel discussions and workshops on topics such as Evacuation Planning, Radiation Monitoring, and the Powers of Nonviolent Action.

We willingly address realities and what will move us toward solutions as a society.

Treat yourself to the panel discussion on healing and recovery. We are excited that author Alice Epstein, “Mind, Fantasy, and Healing” will join us and bring some of her out-of-print book describing her recovery from cancer. After being given a diagnosis of cancer and as little as a year to survive, X-rays showed that her kidney cancer had already spread to the lungs. Diet, exercise, meditation and therapy were her chosen treatments, about ten years ago.
Claudia Sperber will show us acupressure for health maintenance. Kathleen Becker demonstrates Breema massage, for a little heaven on earth.

Take US91 & 2-West, turn north onto Colrain Rd. and proceed to the beautiful campus of Greenfield Community College. We’d love to hear you’re coming.

Free and open to the public. Wheelchair accessible. Donations invited. Generous donors support web access & radio use of audio recordings. Transcribing help welcomed. Volunteers please call Sally Weiss, 413 584-9887 or Sunny Miller, 413 773-7427. We’d love to hear you’re coming.

To Co-sponsor or reserve space for public display, please mail $25 or more to Traprock Peace Center, 103A Keets Road, Deerfield, MA 01342

Call Now – Independent Safety Assessment is needed.

CALL NOW – Independent Safety Assessment is needed.

CALL NOW to later hear NRC meetings in Rockville, Md.!
Your wisdom could affect NRC decisions.
Use toll-free bridge line or conference call to listen in.

1. Leave a message now? Ralph Caruso, (301 415-8065)
If you get the machine you can ask for the toll-free number, the access
code, the time and date to call. Ask him to sign you up to hear the Advisory
Committee on Reactor Safeguards hearing testimony early this week on the
hazards (and the smooth sailing imagined) for the proposed uprate at New
England’s oldest reactor in Vernon, Vermont.

Recent fires, loss of highly radiated spent fuel, prior failure of tests
on meeting threats, requests for exemption of stack radiation monitors,
indicate lack of readiness for additional risks. Ask about corrosion,
cracking, vibration and containment overpressure, hazards the NRC sees of
greatest concern. Ralph can also give you the address to send your
comments, to be considered on Dec. 7.

2. Steven Hoffman (301 415-3245)
If you want to listen in on an NRC meeting at 10am on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at
the NRC offices in Rockville, MD. Entergy Nuclear wants to lump together
license renewal requests for Pilgrim and Vernon. Merry Christmas! You may
have an opportunity to comment and persuade the committee that this is
inappropriate, before the call ends around noon. Ask for the toll-free
number, the access code. Fifteen lines were available on Wednesday when
Sunny called.

D. Ray Shadis, Sally Shaw and Dorothy McIver ask …
Please take part in this Rutland Herald poll,
and vote no on the uprate.

The Rutland Herald is currently conducting a poll on the Entergy Nuclear
Vermont Yankee e xtended power uprate. The web address is listed below,
Please take a minute to make your feelings known and please pass this
message on to your contacts/lists and/or members of your organization.
Thank you! http://www.rutlandherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/frontpage

At the bottom of their page:
……………………………………………………………….
Should federal regulators grant the Vernon nuclear
Reactor a 20% power increase? (They call it a “plant.”
………………………………………

Traprock Peace Center, 413 773-7427

Flaws found at nuke plant – Camera uncovers possible leak sources

Friday, November 4, 2005
Flaws found at nuke plant
Camera uncovers possible leak sources
By Greg Clary

The Journal News

BUCHANAN — Entergy engineers told a group of elected and public officials yesterday they have isolated three locations inside Indian Point 2’s spent fuel pool that may be the source of leaking radioactive water at the site and will start to work on those areas next week.

They also said they will start drilling at least five new wells at the same time to make sure the leak has been contained properly.

Though the tests are not yet conclusive, engineers said the flaws in the tank which range in size from 1 to 6 inches were discovered this week at joints along a quarter-inch stainless steel pool liner during an underwater camera inspection of the 400,000-gallon tank.

By next week, a diver will go into the pool and place a box over two of the locations between 16 and 22 feet from the top of the pool to create a vacuum and verify if the flaws are actual openings. If the leaks are coming from those locations, officials said, divers will seal the spots with new welds or an industrial coating.

The third location, according to officials, is too far down to allow a diver and would have to be sealed by another means, which engineers are still considering.

The five new wells, as deep as 90 feet into the ground, will be dug to test how the underground water around the fuel pool is moving. State health officials yesterday asked for samples of the earth and water collected during those borings and were promised they could independently analyze whatever is found.

Officials from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and New York state’s Department of Environmental Conservation corroborated the leakage findings, announced during a presentation and tour of the plant for about four dozen elected officials, their representatives and members of government agencies.

Entergy Nuclear Northeast, the owner of Indian Point, invited the group to answer officials’ growing concerns and questions about the leak, which was discovered in August and continues to produce between 1 and 2 liters of radioactive water per day.

“We don’t have all the answers,” said Fred Dacimo, an Entergy vice president in charge of Indian Point. “We’re working to get all the answers.”

Two hairline cracks at the base of the spent fuel tank were found Aug. 22. Since then, samples near the leaks have turned up cesium, cobalt and tritium, all radioactive elements.

After touring the site of the leak, officials from Westchester, Putnam and Rockland counties said they had a better idea of what the problem was and what Entergy was doing to fix it.

“I think it puts things in perspective,” said Susan Tolchin, Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano’s chief adviser, adding Entergy’s effort to educate leaders about the leak didn’t change Spano’s call for the plant’s closing.

Greg Clary can be reached at gclary@thejournalnews.com

62 cracks found at Vt. Yankee

http://www.reformer.com/Stories/0,1413,102~8860~3126276,00.html
62 cracks found at Vt. Yankee

By KRISTI CECCAROSSI
Reformer Staff

BRATTLEBORO — There are 62 cracks in an important piece of equipment at Vermont Yankee, but plant officials and federal regulators say that’s not a problem.

The hairline, surface cracks in the plant’s steam dryer were found this month during a routine shutdown. Entergy Nuclear, owners of the plant, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said the cracks pose no safety threat.

The cracks are not structurally significant and they are probably from the plant’s early years of operation, according to Neil Sheehan, spokesman for the NRC. They “appear to be old,” he said.

However, nuclear watchdogs say the cracks are one more reason why the NRC should put the brakes on Entergy’s plans to boost power at the plant to 120 percent. A so-called “uprate” at Vermont Yankee is pending final review by the NRC.

In other nuclear plants that have been uprated, cracks in the steam dryer have been a persistent concern.

Vermont’s congressional delegation has identified the cracks as a problem, too. The state’s senators and sole representative wrote to the NRC on Thursday, urging the agency to evaluate the steam dryer issue before approving the uprate.

The Vernon reactor has been off line for re-fueling since Oct. 22. During the outage, plant engineers looked at the reactor and the steam dryer, located at the top of the reactor. They found 42 cracks, ranging from 1 inch to 5 inches in length, said Rob Williams, spokesman for the plant.

The other 16 cracks were discovered in March 2004, during the last refueling outage.

The cracks could have been on the steam dryer more than 20 years, but they’ve only been discovered now because engineers are using cameras with higher resolutions than ever before.

The images show the cracks have been reviewed by Entergy officials, as well as the NRC and General Electric.

Vermont Yankee is a boiling water reactor that started running in 1972.

When the reactor heats up, it produces steam which, eventually, produces power. Before the steam hits the plant’s turbines, it passes through the steam dryer, where any traces of water are removed.

The Quad Cities Generating Station in Illinois, also a boiling water reactor that went on line in 1972, was granted a 17.5 percent uprate by the NRC in 2002.

Since then, the steam dryer has failed twice because of cracking. In one instance, a piece of the dryer broke off and damaged other components of the reactor. The plant has been shut down a number of times to try to fix the problem.

The NRC is scrutinizing the steam dryer issue at Vermont Yankee as a result. This fall, it told plant officials that in order to have their uprate approved, they’d have to adhere to more stringent maintenance of the steam dryer. Entergy agreed to the condition.

Ray Shadis, technical advisor for the nuclear watchdog New England Coalition, said the added oversight amounts to “an experiment on the banks of the Connecticut River.”

“They are now making the assertion that because these are surface cracks, they will go no further.”

And particularly in light of a 20 percent boost in power output at the plant, Shadis said, “that’s preposterous.”

Entergy officials have until the end of the month to prove that the cracks won’t be exacerbated by an uprate, said Sheehan, of the NRC.

Plant engineers will evaluate the steam dryer and submit a report to the NRC for review. The NRC will not investigate the issue itself.

However, in a letter to the NRC chairman, Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., and Rep. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., indicated that’s what they’d like the agency to do.

“We request that the condition of the steam dryer be fully evaluated, using the techniques of the most recent inspection and any other appropriate means,” the letter states. “… it is essential that our constituents receive needed information about whether the plant’s steam dryer will be able to withstand boosted power conditions and operate safely and reliably.”

While Vermont Yankee was shut down, plant officials refueled the reactor with a fuel specifically designed for the plant’s “uprated” production, according to Williams, plant spokesman. During last year’s outage, plant officials installed the same fuel.

Entergy has reportedly done other work at the plant in preparation for the power boost, but Williams could not say how much officials have spent in anticipation of an uprate.

The uprate has been approved by the state’s Public Service Board, a quasi-judicial panel that handles all matters related to utilities. The board’s approval is not final, however; members are still deliberating whether they want an independent safety assessment of the plant done first.

The NRC is the last, major agency that must endorse the uprate. This month, it all but granted tentative approval. It’s “draft” evaluation will bear public review on Nov. 15 and 16, when an agency panel hosts hearings at the Quality Inn in Brattleboro.

NRC officials have said they will issue a final evaluation of the uprate early next year.

Kristi Ceccarossi can be reached at kceccarossi@reformer.com.

62 cracks found at Vt. Yankee

http://www.reformer.com/Stories/0,1413,102~8860~3126276,00.html
62 cracks found at Vt. Yankee

By KRISTI CECCAROSSI
Reformer Staff

BRATTLEBORO — There are 62 cracks in an important piece of equipment at Vermont Yankee, but plant officials and federal regulators say that’s not a problem.

The hairline, surface cracks in the plant’s steam dryer were found this month during a routine shutdown. Entergy Nuclear, owners of the plant, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said the cracks pose no safety threat.

The cracks are not structurally significant and they are probably from the plant’s early years of operation, according to Neil Sheehan, spokesman for the NRC. They “appear to be old,” he said.

However, nuclear watchdogs say the cracks are one more reason why the NRC should put the brakes on Entergy’s plans to boost power at the plant to 120 percent. A so-called “uprate” at Vermont Yankee is pending final review by the NRC.

In other nuclear plants that have been uprated, cracks in the steam dryer have been a persistent concern.

Vermont’s congressional delegation has identified the cracks as a problem, too. The state’s senators and sole representative wrote to the NRC on Thursday, urging the agency to evaluate the steam dryer issue before approving the uprate.

The Vernon reactor has been off line for re-fueling since Oct. 22. During the outage, plant engineers looked at the reactor and the steam dryer, located at the top of the reactor. They found 42 cracks, ranging from 1 inch to 5 inches in length, said Rob Williams, spokesman for the plant.

The other 16 cracks were discovered in March 2004, during the last refueling outage.

The cracks could have been on the steam dryer more than 20 years, but they’ve only been discovered now because engineers are using cameras with higher resolutions than ever before.

The images show the cracks have been reviewed by Entergy officials, as well as the NRC and General Electric.

Vermont Yankee is a boiling water reactor that started running in 1972.

When the reactor heats up, it produces steam which, eventually, produces power. Before the steam hits the plant’s turbines, it passes through the steam dryer, where any traces of water are removed.

The Quad Cities Generating Station in Illinois, also a boiling water reactor that went on line in 1972, was granted a 17.5 percent uprate by the NRC in 2002.

Since then, the steam dryer has failed twice because of cracking. In one instance, a piece of the dryer broke off and damaged other components of the reactor. The plant has been shut down a number of times to try to fix the problem.

The NRC is scrutinizing the steam dryer issue at Vermont Yankee as a result. This fall, it told plant officials that in order to have their uprate approved, they’d have to adhere to more stringent maintenance of the steam dryer. Entergy agreed to the condition.

Ray Shadis, technical advisor for the nuclear watchdog New England Coalition, said the added oversight amounts to “an experiment on the banks of the Connecticut River.”

“They are now making the assertion that because these are surface cracks, they will go no further.”

And particularly in light of a 20 percent boost in power output at the plant, Shadis said, “that’s preposterous.”

Entergy officials have until the end of the month to prove that the cracks won’t be exacerbated by an uprate, said Sheehan, of the NRC.

Plant engineers will evaluate the steam dryer and submit a report to the NRC for review. The NRC will not investigate the issue itself.

However, in a letter to the NRC chairman, Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., and Rep. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., indicated that’s what they’d like the agency to do.

“We request that the condition of the steam dryer be fully evaluated, using the techniques of the most recent inspection and any other appropriate means,” the letter states. “… it is essential that our constituents receive needed information about whether the plant’s steam dryer will be able to withstand boosted power conditions and operate safely and reliably.”

While Vermont Yankee was shut down, plant officials refueled the reactor with a fuel specifically designed for the plant’s “uprated” production, according to Williams, plant spokesman. During last year’s outage, plant officials installed the same fuel.

Entergy has reportedly done other work at the plant in preparation for the power boost, but Williams could not say how much officials have spent in anticipation of an uprate.

The uprate has been approved by the state’s Public Service Board, a quasi-judicial panel that handles all matters related to utilities. The board’s approval is not final, however; members are still deliberating whether they want an independent safety assessment of the plant done first.

The NRC is the last, major agency that must endorse the uprate. This month, it all but granted tentative approval. It’s “draft” evaluation will bear public review on Nov. 15 and 16, when an agency panel hosts hearings at the Quality Inn in Brattleboro.

NRC officials have said they will issue a final evaluation of the uprate early next year.

Kristi Ceccarossi can be reached at kceccarossi@reformer.com.

62 cracks found at Vt. Yankee

http://www.reformer.com/Stories/0,1413,102~8860~3126276,00.html
62 cracks found at Vt. Yankee

By KRISTI CECCAROSSI
Reformer Staff

BRATTLEBORO — There are 62 cracks in an important piece of equipment at Vermont Yankee, but plant officials and federal regulators say that’s not a problem.

The hairline, surface cracks in the plant’s steam dryer were found this month during a routine shutdown. Entergy Nuclear, owners of the plant, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said the cracks pose no safety threat.

The cracks are not structurally significant and they are probably from the plant’s early years of operation, according to Neil Sheehan, spokesman for the NRC. They “appear to be old,” he said.

However, nuclear watchdogs say the cracks are one more reason why the NRC should put the brakes on Entergy’s plans to boost power at the plant to 120 percent. A so-called “uprate” at Vermont Yankee is pending final review by the NRC.

In other nuclear plants that have been uprated, cracks in the steam dryer have been a persistent concern.

Vermont’s congressional delegation has identified the cracks as a problem, too. The state’s senators and sole representative wrote to the NRC on Thursday, urging the agency to evaluate the steam dryer issue before approving the uprate.

The Vernon reactor has been off line for re-fueling since Oct. 22. During the outage, plant engineers looked at the reactor and the steam dryer, located at the top of the reactor. They found 42 cracks, ranging from 1 inch to 5 inches in length, said Rob Williams, spokesman for the plant.

The other 16 cracks were discovered in March 2004, during the last refueling outage.

The cracks could have been on the steam dryer more than 20 years, but they’ve only been discovered now because engineers are using cameras with higher resolutions than ever before.

The images show the cracks have been reviewed by Entergy officials, as well as the NRC and General Electric.

Vermont Yankee is a boiling water reactor that started running in 1972.

When the reactor heats up, it produces steam which, eventually, produces power. Before the steam hits the plant’s turbines, it passes through the steam dryer, where any traces of water are removed.

The Quad Cities Generating Station in Illinois, also a boiling water reactor that went on line in 1972, was granted a 17.5 percent uprate by the NRC in 2002.

Since then, the steam dryer has failed twice because of cracking. In one instance, a piece of the dryer broke off and damaged other components of the reactor. The plant has been shut down a number of times to try to fix the problem.

The NRC is scrutinizing the steam dryer issue at Vermont Yankee as a result. This fall, it told plant officials that in order to have their uprate approved, they’d have to adhere to more stringent maintenance of the steam dryer. Entergy agreed to the condition.

Ray Shadis, technical advisor for the nuclear watchdog New England Coalition, said the added oversight amounts to “an experiment on the banks of the Connecticut River.”

“They are now making the assertion that because these are surface cracks, they will go no further.”

And particularly in light of a 20 percent boost in power output at the plant, Shadis said, “that’s preposterous.”

Entergy officials have until the end of the month to prove that the cracks won’t be exacerbated by an uprate, said Sheehan, of the NRC.

Plant engineers will evaluate the steam dryer and submit a report to the NRC for review. The NRC will not investigate the issue itself.

However, in a letter to the NRC chairman, Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., and Rep. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., indicated that’s what they’d like the agency to do.

“We request that the condition of the steam dryer be fully evaluated, using the techniques of the most recent inspection and any other appropriate means,” the letter states. “… it is essential that our constituents receive needed information about whether the plant’s steam dryer will be able to withstand boosted power conditions and operate safely and reliably.”

While Vermont Yankee was shut down, plant officials refueled the reactor with a fuel specifically designed for the plant’s “uprated” production, according to Williams, plant spokesman. During last year’s outage, plant officials installed the same fuel.

Entergy has reportedly done other work at the plant in preparation for the power boost, but Williams could not say how much officials have spent in anticipation of an uprate.

The uprate has been approved by the state’s Public Service Board, a quasi-judicial panel that handles all matters related to utilities. The board’s approval is not final, however; members are still deliberating whether they want an independent safety assessment of the plant done first.

The NRC is the last, major agency that must endorse the uprate. This month, it all but granted tentative approval. It’s “draft” evaluation will bear public review on Nov. 15 and 16, when an agency panel hosts hearings at the Quality Inn in Brattleboro.

NRC officials have said they will issue a final evaluation of the uprate early next year.

Kristi Ceccarossi can be reached at kceccarossi@reformer.com.

Nuclear advisory panel turns thumbs down on uprate

November 22, 2005

Nuclear advisory panel turns thumbs down on uprate
By Mary Fratini | Special to the Vermont Guardian

posted November 22, 2005

MONTPELIER – In a half-day meeting punctuated by sharp and sometimes personal disagreements, the Vermont State Nuclear Advisory Panel passed a resolution Tuesday recommending that the Public Service Board and Legislature deny Entergy’s request for a power uprate at Vermont Yankee altogether, or approve it only under certain financial protections.

“In simple words, Vermont gets a disproportionate share of the risks of uprate,” said Tim Nulty, of Burlington, the VSNAP member who introduced the resolution. “This is not anti-nuclear in any way, but about protecting Vermont’s vital interest in the continuing reliable operation of this nuclear plant.”

Under the current contract with Vermont Yankee through 2012, the state anticipates an economic benefit of $492 million, primarily through energy cost savings, according to David Lamont of the state Department of Public Service (DPS). “In 2006, every kilowatt hour that Vermont Yankee generates is worth 6.78 cents and we pay only 3.9 cents for it,” he said. “The net present value of the contract is $311 million and that’s a major benefit to ratepayers.”

Under questioning from Rep. Steve Darrow, D-Putney, however, Lamont agreed that if Vermont Yankee were to go offline after the expiration of the ratepayer protection plan in 2007, “these numbers go from positive to negative and we have to pay full price of the market alternative.”

VY spokesman Rob Williams said the reliability question has been adequately addressed in two years of public hearings before the Public Service Board. “The Public Service Board took the time to address the question of reliability, and the decision that the PSB came to was in the best interest of the state of Vermont.”

While VSNAP members agreed that the threat of that economic reversal should Vermont Yankee go offline was important to consider, they disagreed over the potential impact of uprate on reliability and the merits of the independent engineering assessment.

Both Darrow and Russell Kulas cited the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s 2004 inspection of the plant as insufficient to support claims of safety or reliability. “The most important risk is that uprate equals relicensing, which equals the production of more high-level nuclear waste,” Darrow said. “What I got from the assessment is that we really need what we asked for, which is a complete top to bottom physical before they soup it up an additional 20 percent.”

Williams said the uprate is getting a full review before the NRC, which is expected to make a decision in February.

Public Service Commissioner David O’Brien, who chairs VSNAP, voted against the resolution, saying, “This to me dismisses the assessment as if it had not value and did not contribute to reliability. All the testimony today is for worst-case scenarios and yet we have a record of operational integrity [at Vermont Yankee] with no indication that it won’t operate for the next six years.”

If the PSB approves the uprate, the resolution recommends that it do so only with a contract protecting Vermont ratepayers against “any loss of power production beyond what would have been the case in the absence of the extended power uprate” and any safety risks that occur from the uprate, even if they fall within the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s “safe” ruling.

“I was surprised to hear today from an investor-owned utility that if Vermont Yankee breaks down they will essentially pass through the extra energy costs,” said Sen. Mark MacDonald, D-Orange, before voting for the resolution. “I would be satisfied with saying the numbers don’t add up and they should deny the uprate, but if this board found an option to mitigate the risks by getting this company to bond or indemnify ratepayers, then we will have solved the problem of financial consequences to Vermonters.”

Razelle Hoffman-Contois voted against the resolution, representing Larry Crist from the Vermont Department of Health, as did John Sayles, representing Secretary Tom Torti of the Agency of Natural Resources.

Raymond Shadis
Staff Technical Advisor
New England Coalition

Traprock Peace Center
103A Keets Road
Deerfield, MA 01342

Best regards, Sunny

Proposed Bio-weapons Lab, for Roxbury and the east coast; and Proposals for new Nuclear Risks For all of New England, in Vernon, VT.

November 20th

PROBLEMS:

Proposed Bio-weapons Lab,
For Roxbury and the east coast;
and Proposals for new Nuclear Risks
For all of New England, in Vernon, VT.

SOLUTION:

Communication for EAST-WEST Solidarity,
(and the fullness of witness with unconditional regard)

———————————————-

Dear Friends,

I think of one verse of We shall Overcome — “We are not afraid …”

Though the threats are very real and serious, faith in the fullness of our potential, and the power of joining together, adds to my hope that both these affronts will be met and overcome by wise people undertaking concerted action. If we don’t collaborate, I think local efforts will not be enough to prevent disaster in either location.

On Monday, Nov. 7, I was arrested (along with 6 other women) at the Entergy Nuclear headquarters in Brattleboro, VT for approaching their offices with my letter requesting funds for radiation monitors for all schools in a 50-mile radius of the reactor. The Vernon reactor has been plagued these past years by several incidents including failing a security test, a fire in the transformer, lost fuel rods, a sudden drop in cooling water, heavy rains that probably put several contaminants into the Connecticut River, etc.

Solidarity between our metropolitan/inner city neighbors threatened by the Bio weapons lab, and our vale/hill-town neighbors (suffering a 26% increase in breast cancer mortality rates over a thirty year period in Franklin county), requires that together we put our faiths into action.

Please respond to this appeal for with your thoughts on next steps to prevent the bio terror lab from being built in Roxbury; and in the west preventing an uprate in risks at the Vernon nuclear reactor— oldest in New England.

I ask for your consideration of how faith communities can help us address the challenges we face.

For example, two hours west of Boston there will be an important conference at the Greenfield Community College on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 1-6:30 PM, beginning with a keynote speaker on radiation health effects, Ernest Sternglass at 1PM. Ernest is brilliant, full of energy, and 82. He once had a 5-hour conversation with Einstein. Please consider whether your faith based group can co-sponsor the conference. ($25) I met with a religious education committee in Greenfield today and it looks like they will co-sponsor.

Workshops will include radiation monitoring (recommended for schools and healthcare facilities); evacuation planning; uprate & reactor safety concerns; healing, recovery, and the power of nonviolence! Your groups sponsorship will mean a great deal as we reach out to neighbors. Please discuss which of your members will be able to attend.

Beverages provided. Wheelchair accessible. Music to uplift us!

Can east and west converge at one another’s conferences, or help with advance press work on events that will precede important conferences or meetings. Has the Boston media even touched on our troubles?? They would report on a melt-down. How can we get them to report on preventing one??

Likewise western Mass media has rarely addressed the Bio-Weapons Lab, yet we often visit Boston and could be affected. What will help our media see and address these linked issues. Both are the results of hubris, and a supremacist attitude that says we need the best (worst) weapons and the hottest reactors, while threats are made against Iran and Korea for even thinking of building reactors.

Sunny Miller, 413 773-7427

http://www.traprockpeace.org
————————————–
in a Neighbors’ Network to End War

—— Forwarded Message
From: Vicky Steinitz
Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2005 23:26:50 -0500
To: UJP Steering , community ed
Subject: [UJPSteering] Grim Update on Biolab Bill

Hi everyone,

After months of stonewalling, the Environment Committee has drafted a revised version of Gloria Fox’s bill which seeks to regulate and monitor BSL 3 & 4 labs. To call the draft a revision is really a misnomer. The draft completely recasts the legislation and guts every major provision of the original bill. It takes out the moratorium on construction until regs are in place, provides no enforcement mechanisms, no penalties if labs don’t follow guidelines, removes the Community Oversight Boards, gives BU a free pass by exempting any BSL4 facility that has been sited before the effective date of the regs from the siting requirements, etc. This draft is completely unacceptable.

To make matters worse, the Co-Chairs, Rep. Frank Smizik and Sen. Pam Resor were both co-sponsors of the original legislation as well as well known progressives. Despite repeated offers to meet with them to answer questions about the original bill, etc., the Co-Chairs met only once with Rep. Fox and Gene Benson, at which meeting they gave no indication of serious concerns about the bill and no warning of what was to come.

Raising the suspicions of those of us with conspiratorial leanings, the confidential draft (which I don’t believe has yet been officially released although it has been sent to many, including the BU lobbyist, by the committee staff) was circulated three days before the end of the legislative session and the day before the Boston Public Health Commission released its own proposed new regulations. It’s interesting that the city now proposes stronger regs than the committee draft version but the BPHC regs are still much weaker than the original Fox bill. In my view, it’s pretty apparent that Menino, DiMasi and BU have cooked this all up together to insure smooth sailing for the BU lab and Smizik has followed his marching orders.

A small victory: Mike Cohen submitted an Article to Brookline Town Meeting endorsing the original Fox bill. This article was passed by the Board of Selectmen on a 3-2 vote, by the Advisory Committee to Town Meeting on a 16-5 vote, and then by Town Meeting overwhelmingly Thursday night. While Town Meeting members were informed about the gutted draft, we kept the emphasis on passing the motion endorsing the original bill.

Where do we go from here? The Legislative Committee of the Stop the Bioterror Lab Coalition has asked our Brookline members to mobilize Brookline Peaceworks members and other progressives in Brookline to let Smizik know that we are furious at his complicity in this travesty. In the next days, we will be letting all the legislative co-sponsors know what has happened as well as getting back in touch with all those who testified at the hearing on the bill last spring. There will be a Stop the Bioterrorism Lab Coalition strategy meeting next Tuesday to figure out next steps.

I wanted to let the many people in UJP who have worked on the bill know where things stand. I’ll be back in touch once we’ve figured out how best to keep fighting the BU BSL4 lab

Vicky Steinitz

News – Millstone Press Conference and Rate Increases in CT for decommissioning

1. Millstone Press Conference on HOT Spot

2. Rate increases in CT for decommissioning

——————————————-
From: NancyBurtonEsq@aol.com
CONNECTICUT COALITION AGAINST MILLSTONE
www.mothballmillstone.org

MAJOR PRESS CONFERENCE TODA at NOON

1. KATIE THE GOAT EXPOSES NRC DECEPTION;
GOAT PASTURE-RADIATION HOT SPOT
POISED FOR RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT

Date: November 14, 2005
Contact: Nancy Burton 203-938-3952/cell 203-545-9252

The Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone will present Katie the Goat –
who has served as Millstone’s key environmental radiation monitor in
Waterford and whose milk has shown super-high concentrations of toxic
strontium-90 from eating pasture grass 5 miles north of Millstone.

Katie’s home has been sold. She’s being taken out of commission as a
radiation monitor in the hot zone.

Katie will expose the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s flagrant
deceptions to cover up the truth about Millstone radiation emissions.

The Coalition will present Dr. Ernest Sternglass, professor emeritus of
radiology specializing in radiation physics at the University of Pittsburgh
Medical Center and scientific director of the Radiation and Health Project.
Dr. Sternglass will reveal that Millstone radiation releases which settled
on Katie’s pasture – which is about to be developed as a 14-lot subdivision
– pose a significant threat to public health.

Location: State Capitol in Hartford. If weather permits, we will assemble on
the steps facing Bushnell Park. In the event of rain, we will assemble in
the Press Room at the State Capitol. (Take elevators and steps to Press
Room.)

Date: TUESDAY NOVEMBER 15, 2005 – Time: 12 noon.

————————————————————————2.
Big lawsuits ..
What we have to look forward to….
 
 
http://www.courant.com/news/local/hc-cynukemess.artnov12,0,6222764.story?col
l=hc-headlines-home

State Questions Nuclear Rate Hike

Electric Customers Could Get Rebates
If Judge Deems 456 Percent Increase Excessive

By GARY LIBOW
Courant Staff Writer
November 12 2005

The state’s consumer counsel Friday questioned whether the 456 percent rate
increase given Connecticut Yankee Atomic Power Co. to decommission the
Haddam Neck plant is justified.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission quietly allowed Connecticut Yankee
to increase its annual decommissioning ratepayer charge from $16.7 million
to $93 million in February. The rate increase was included in customer bills
with little fanfare.

Consumer Counsel Mary Healey said her office, the state Department of Public
Utility Control and attorney general have been fighting the “awfully high”
decommissioning charges, now estimated at approximately $831.3 million.
“Just the order of magnitude raises questions whether it was prudent or
not,” Healey said.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, in a telephone interview Friday, said
he considers the performance of Connecticut Yankee’s management “incompetent
and outrageous.” Ratepayers shouldn’t be forced to subsidize Connecticut
Yankee’s mismanagement, he said.

An administrative judge is reviewing Connecticut Yankee’s cost estimate to
determine its validity and is expected to make a recommendation to FERC in
December. FERC typically grants the rate increase requests quickly to keep
from burdening the applicant financially while the request is deliberated.
Costs deemed excessive would be rebated.

Connecticut Yankee spokeswoman Kelley Smith said the utility, which had the
burden to prove its rate increase was prudent and justified, cites four
primary causes for the increase.

Smith said the 9/11 terrorist attacks resulted in increased security and
insurance costs. The Department of Energy’s continued failure to permanently
remove Connecticut Yankee’s spent fuel was likewise costly, she said.
Connecticut Yankee has built concrete casks to house more than 1,000
uranium-laden spent fuels. The utility claims the costs to continue to store
the rods and provide around-the-clock security continues to mount and the
federal government has not taken steps to move the contaminants off-site to
a permanent repository.

Smith also pointed to the negative impact of declines in the financial
markets during 2000-2002 that cut earnings on the decommissioning fund and
termination of the decommissioning contract with Bechtel Nuclear that left
Connecticut Yankee to complete the work itself.

If FERC determines the $93 million decommissioning price isn’t prudent,
Connecticut Yankee would be directed to issue rebates.

Blumenthal, the DPUC and other state consumer watchdogs say Connecticut
Yankee’s lengthy avoidance in measuring levels of potentially cancer-causing
Strontium-90 at its decommissioned plant will cost ratepayers millions of
dollars.

The ratepayers are customers of the nine utility companies, which include
Connecticut Light & Power Co. and United Illuminating Co., that own
Connecticut Yankee.

Strontium-90 is found in nuclear reactor waste, a by-product of the fission
of uranium and plutonium in nuclear reactors.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency considers Strontium-90 “one of
the more hazardous constituents of nuclear wastes.” Internal exposure to the
chemical similar to calcium is linked to bone cancer, cancer of the soft
tissue, and leukemia, the agency states.

Jim Reinsch, president of Bechtel Nuclear, the firm Connecticut Yankee
contracted in 1999 to decommission the site and later fired, testified under
oath that plant ownership didn’t want to test for contaminants like
Strontium-90.

When Strontium-90 was found in 2001 to have “severely contaminated” the
nuclear plant’s groundwater, Reinsch testified Bechtel informed Connecticut
Yankee of the urgent need for extensive groundwater characterization and
monitoring.

“CY would not own up to its responsibilities to determine the extent of
groundwater contamination and then develop a cost effective means to address
it and would not accept Bechtel’s recommendations for doing so,” Reinsch
stated.

Bechtel sued Connecticut Yankee for $93.5 million, accusing the utility of
grossly understating the levels of groundwater contamination making it
impossible for Bechtel to complete the job on schedule and within budget.
Connecticut Yankee counter-sued Bechtel, accusing the company of delaying
the decommissioning and failing to abide by the terms of its contract.
Bechtel, which was fired in 2003, is seeking $90 million from Connecticut
Yankee for unlawful termination.

Blumenthal said Connecticut Yankee has a moral and potentially legal
responsibility to identify contamination.

“It seems like a see no-evil, hear no-evil avoidance of responsibility,”
Blumenthal said Friday. Connecticut Yankee “had a very profound moral
responsibility to disclose any such problems, which it failed to do.”

In its 2001 groundwater report to the state Department of Environmental
Protection, Connecticut Yankee reported tests for “gamma emitting”
radionuclides and tritium were good.

Strontium does not emit gamma radionuclides, just beta, according to Haddam
resident Ed Schwing, a former member of the Citizens Decommissioning
Advisory Committee.

Connecticut Yankee stated in the 2001 report it would perform quarterly
groundwater sampling from 20 monitoring wells, with analysis including
tritium, boron and “gamma spectroscopy.”

DEP in 2001 requested that Connecticut Yankee conduct more extensive
sampling, including hard to detect radionuclides such as Strontium, Schwing
said. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission also urged Connecticut Yankee to
test more comprehensively, he said.

“Connecticut Yankee neglected the groundwater contamination issue until they
were forced to do it, but kept on dragging their feet,” Schwing charges.
Mike Firsick, a DEP health physicist, said the state in 2001 told
Connecticut Yankee” to test the site for possible strontium contamination.
“Typically, if you don’t look for it, you don’t have a problem with it,”
Firsick said Friday. “I wanted [testing] to be all inclusive. Since they
were decommissioning, I wanted to make sure they would check for everything.
It was for the purpose of being thorough and complete.”

Firsick said DEP continues to closely monitor Connecticut Yankee.
“I think we have the origin of groundwater contamination well-bounded,” he
said. “There is a through review of the groundwater monitoring, reports
quarterly.”

When Connecticut Yankee states the decommissioning is completed, Firsick
said DEP plans to test the site for 18 months to ensure the environment
isn’t contaminated.

Copyright 2005, Hartford Courant
————————————————————————

Forwarded by Sunny Miller, Executive Director,
Traprock Peace Center
103A Keets Road
Deerfield, MA 01342
413-773-7427

http://www.traprockpeace.org
————————————–
in a Neighbors’ Network to End War