Sample Letters to VT Public Service Board on Vernon Reactor Increase

July 28, 2004

Town of Gill, Massachusetts

Vote of Concern regarding Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power:

The Gill Selectboard, as a community adjacent to the power plant and within its evacuation zone, considers the engineering assessment to which NRC agreed as inadequate to provide protection to its citizenry. It is therefore the order of this board that a comprehensive Independent Safety Assessment be conducted to demonstrate the system can meet current regulatory standards for operating conditions as they now exist and in support of the proposed uprate of 120% power for the safety and security of its citizens.

It is furthermore the opinion of this Board that such review should include the emergency core cooling system, the containment system, design criteria, the design life of Vermont Yankee and a complete vertical slice of each system to be assured that the “Defense in Depth” concept is retained.

Additionally, the Gill Select board wishes to voice extreme dissatisfaction regarding the unacceptable fiasco where plant operators failed to securely monitor highly dangerous fuel rods.

The above concerns are to be conveyed to the NRC, the office of the Governor of Vermont and Massachusetts, State Sen. Stan Rosenberg, Rep. Chris Donelan, US Senators Kennedy and Kerry, Congressman John Olver, in addition to editorials in the Greenfield Recorder, Montague Reporter and Hampshire Gazette.

The Gill Select Board
dated July 28, 2004

VT Public Service Board
112 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05620
Drawer 20
February 12, 2004

Dear Chairman Dworkin and Public Service Board Members:

The Gill-Montague Regional School Committee thanks you for the opportunity to go on record in opposition to the proposed uprate of the ENVY nuclear power plant in Vernon, VT. We feel it is unwise and irresponsible to approve an increase in power for the oldest and last remaining “Yankee” plant without a thorough and independent safety assessment, similar to the one conducted at Maine Yankee some years ago. The ENVY plant should also be required to meet all current safety standards and should not be “grandfathered” because it was built before newer safety requirements were on the books.

Our school district has 6 schools and hundreds of children within approximately 15 miles of the VT Yankee plant. One of these schools, Gill Elementary, is in the emergency evacuation zone. We are not satisfied that the evacuation plan is adequate to ensure the safety of our children even under current operating conditions, as it has never been fully tested. We are concerned that with a 20% hotter core, the safety margins for operator response time in the event of an accident may be reduced, and the evacuation area should be much larger. We are aware that two private pre-schools in our district have been overlooked in emergency evacuation simulations in the recent past, and find this inexcusable. ENVY has been so confident of approval of their uprate request that they started construction in anticipation of approval. We find this highly improper and cause for concern regarding the approval process.

Please carefully consider the potential costs of an accident at this aging, embrittled plant in full light of an independent safety assessment before coming to any conclusions on whether the uprate is in the interest of Vermonters, or we citizens in neighboring states.

Thank you for your considering our concerns.

The Gill-Montague Regional School Committee

DU find in Hawaii promts call for probe

Traprock Homepage

Schofield uranium find prompts call for probe

January 6, 2006
By Rod Ohira
Honolulu Advertiser Staff Writer

A coalition of environmental and Native Hawaiian rights groups are calling for an independent investigation and disclosure by the Army of depleted uranium munitions use in Hawai’i based on recently obtained information confirming its presence at Schofield.

The Army confirmed yesterday that this tail remnant and 14 like it from training munitions made of depleted uranium were found at Schofield. U.S. Army photo.

The Army said yesterday that the depleted uranium in question poses no threat.

The coalition DMZ Hawai’i/ Aloha ‘Aina cited a Sept. 19 e-mail message from Samuel P. McManus of the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center in Huntsville, Ala., to Ronald Borne, an Army employee involved with preparations for the Stryker brigade at Schofield Barracks. The e-mail involved the high cost of unexploded ordnance removal in preparation for the construction of a new Stryker brigade battle area complex at Schofield. In the e-mail, McManus noted, “We have found much that we did not expect, including the recent find of depleted uranium.”

DMZ Hawai’i/Aloha ‘Aina believes the e-mail obtained with a Freedom of Information Act request is reason for concern since “it means either the records are inaccurate or the U.S. Army’s representatives misled the public” in repeatedly denying depleted uranium use here, most recently in the March 2005 draft environmental impact statement for Makua and at a public hearing for the Stryker brigade EIS in 2004.

The Army confirmed yesterday that in August, 15 tail assemblies from spotting rounds made of D-38 uranium alloy, also called depleted uranium, were found by Zapata Engineering while the contractor was clearing a range area of unexploded ordnance and scrap metal. The tail assemblies are remnants from training rounds associated with an obsolete weapon system that was on O’ahu in the 1960s, and their low-level radioactivity represents no danger, the Army said.

The Army also stated that other than the armor-piercing rounds for the Abrams tank and Bradley fighting vehicle, there are no other weapons in its current stockpile that use depleted uranium. “There is no record of the Abrams and Bradley DU rounds ever being stockpiled in Hawai’i or being fired on Army ranges in Hawai’i,” the statement said.

The 15 tail assemblies recovered have been triple-bagged, stored in metal containers and secured pending disposition instructions, the Army said.

The Army statement was issued several hours after a DMZ Hawai’i/Aloha ‘Aina news conference announcing the e-mail findings, which was attended by representatives of six groups and concerned residents.

Depleted uranium munitions have raised concerns because they generate aerosolized particles on impact that can lead to lung cancer, kidney damage and other health problems.

Ann Wright, a retired diplomat and retired Army colonel, said she supports passage of a bill before the Legislature that calls for helping Hawai’i National Guard troops returning from Iraq and the Persian Gulf in obtaining federal treatment services that include health screenings capable of detecting low levels of depleted uranium.

Gail Hunter, a registered nurse, cancer survivor and Makaha resident for more than 20 years, wants more proof that there’s no depleted uranium at training sites in Makua, Kahuku, Schofield and Pohakuloa that could be threatening drinking water, land and air.

“We’re downwind of the (brush) fires in Wai’anae so I want to know if we’re breathing it in,” Hunter said.

Kyle Kajihiro, program director for American Friends Service Committee, called on the state Health Department to begin investigating and testing for military toxins. He said the revelation about depleted uranium being found in Hawai’i “is very disturbing because it may just be the tip of the iceberg. This is a smoking gun in a sense that there has been depleted uranium expended in our environment. We don’t know how much, we don’t know where and we don’t know what its effects are.”

Of the Health Department, he said: “We are asking them to be more aggressive in protecting public health. There are methods of testing but they require resources and some commitment. There should be testing of the environment and health screenings in the community (for military toxins) to determine if people have been exposed.”

Reach Rod Ohira at