MA Guard campaign in last week; Ritter coming to WMass; NRC committee comes to VT

December 31, 2005 – Petition Update – The drive was ended by organizers as it did not have sufficient numbers to get on the ballot.

We’re on a brief break. A new newsletter will come out in January.

A. Petition Drive for the Massachusetts National Guard is in final days.
B. Scott Ritter tours CT Valley, Iraq Confidential — Dual Deception
C. Tuesday, Wednesday, Nov. 15 & 16
Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards
PUBLIC MEETING on PROPOSED VERNON REACTOR UPRATE

A. Petition Drive for the Massachusetts National Guard is in final days.
****************************************************

Volunteers are collecting signatures in the final days of a petition to put
a question on the November 2006 MA ballot. Several web-driven organizing
campaigns, including True Majority and MoveOn have joined the effort and may
help reach the required 65,000 registered voters needed to put the question
on the ballot. Organizers emphasize these pointers:

1. Registered voters sign on a page for their town only, so that voter
registration can be confirmed.
2. Voters need to sign LEGIBLY,
3. stating street address (and apartment #), NOT PO box,
4. and avoid extraneous marks on the page.
5. It is illegal to interfere with the collection of signatures.
6. Petitions can be printed directly from the website, using laser
printers. (Ink that can smear is not valid for this legal petition.)
http://www.HomeFromIraqNow.org
7. Volunteers are asked to mail in signatures this week for a tally party
in Brookline this weekend. The address is on the front of the petition.
Even one signature is worth mailing in!

B. Scott Ritter tours CT Valley, Iraq Confidential — Dual Deception
****************************************************

6:30 pm Thursday, Nov. 17, 2005
Grace Episcopal Church Parish Hall,
*** Amherst, Massachusetts ***

Scott Ritter, UN Weapons Inspector for seven years, was right. Disarmament
worked. Every time he speaks we learn something new. Ask your questions
about Iraq or Iran. Truth builds bridges for mutual benefit as veterans,
students, pacifists — all neighbors are invited to confer at a discussion &
reception to follow. Presentations in Shelburne Falls and Amherst are free &
open to the public. Doors at the Grace Church Parish Hall open at 6 pm.
Representatives of several Amherst peace groups will be invited to make
statement or pose a question. Donations are welcome. Reserved seating is
available by mail or online, Traprock, 103A Keets Rd, Deerfield, MA 01342,
www.traprockpeace.org

Traprock donors support bringing Ritter’s appeals for truth in government
and truth in media to students at area high schools, radio and by web
audiences. Plans for the day include stops at area schools on Thursday.
Mohawk Regional School in Shelburne Falls will open the program to the
public at 9:15 AM. Scott Ritter’s topic will be, “Truth in the Media.” At
Frontier he will discuss, “Truth in Government.”

BACKGROUND:
With the support of donors, Traprock Peace Center began working with Ritter
in December of 2002, and prepared a radio interview with him for WMUA.
Traprock has sponsored and co-sponsored public programs and press
conferences in Northampton, Amherst, Greenfield, Deerfield, Springfield,
Boston, Wichita, Chicago, Indianapolis and Baltimore, and provided contact
information to many groups across the nation who have brought Ritter to
speak about disarmament in Iraq. In December, 2003, Traprock arranged for
Ritter to speak at three area high schools on the topic, “Disarmament Works,
but Requires Political Will.”

Former UNSCOM Inspector and Marine Intelligence Officer, Scott Ritter is …
a seasoned media commentator, and has been interviewed by Congressional
staff and committees as well as CNN, MSNBC, NPR and the BBC, and on such
shows as Hardball, Crossfire, Frontline, and Donahue. His assessments stem
from nearly a decade of professional on-the-ground experience in Iraq.

A former intelligence officer with professional experience of planning
military operations inside Iraq. Ritter served directly under General
Schwarzkopf during the 1991 Gulf War. Ritter can speak with unusual depth
and detail to the logistics of launching military operations. His
right-on-the-money analysis made him a Pentagon “whistleblower” during that
war, when he single-handedly refuted US military claims that it was shooting
down Scud missiles.

A recognized expert on Iraq’s program for weapons of mass destruction. In
the course of his UNSCOM career, Ritter participated in 30 weapons
inspection, 7 of them as chief inspector. The Iraqi government branded him
a “spy” for his aggressive inspection style. Before the rush to war, Ritter
addressed questions on concealment, noncompliance, and the effective
destruction of weapons and production capabilities in Iraq. Ritter explained
why he trusts surveillance and forensic sampling, not Iraqi disclosures or
the U.S. administration‚s proclamations. Working with intelligence agencies
from many nations has given him a unique perspective on the “War against
Terror.“

Author of Endgame: Solving The Iraq Problem Once And For All, and Frontier
Justice, Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Bushwhacking of America.
Ritter’s writings have appeared in the Boston Globe, New York Times, Los
Angeles Times, Financial Times, The Guardian, & Arms Control Today.

————————————————-

C. Tuesday, Wednesday, Nov. 15 & 16
Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards
PUBLIC MEETING on PROPOSED VERNON REACTOR UPRATE
*************************************************

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC ‘s) Advisory Committee on
Reactor Safeguards will hold a public meeting on Entergy Nuclear’s proposal
to increase electrical output, along with profits and radioactive waste
output, at New England’s oldest operating nuclear reactor in Vernon,
Vermont. The Committee will hear public comment in the Grand Ballroom at the
Quality Inn and Suites, 1380 Putney Road, Brattleboro, Vermont, for two
days, on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 15-16, 2005.

The committee sits until 7:30 PM on both days.

WHAT’S the PROBLEM?

Increased operating temperatures and loss of a back-up cooling pump,
increased water and steam pressure and velocity, increased speed of the
rotors, excess vibration, and containment overpressure are some of the
concerns bound to be addressed.

In the past, the NRC has not allowed discussion of counterfeit, and probably
substandard parts used in the original construction. A biological organism
was found to infest and damage welds, but regulators said their provisions
concerned animal threats, not plants as threats. Indeed there are many
unanswered questions. Please bring yours, and hear an earful. This is a
tremendous opportunity to hear the details and address concerns.

This meeting is announced as the final opportunity the public to comment
before a recommendation is made to allow or NOT allow the increases.
Entergy Corporation of Louisiana, the owners of the Vernon reactor which
began operation in 1971, have been pushing for a 20 percent reactor power
boost before the Vermont Public Service Board and the NRC since February of
2003. Their effort has been stalled because the questions being asked by
regulators, interveners, legislators, town select board members, and
citizens about the suitability of the uprate have still not been answered.

Entergy Corporation is the second largest electric generating company in the
U.S., with a net value of $14 billion and over 14,000 employees. Entergy’s
application before the NRC, filed in September 2003, has required 36
amendments and has taken twice as long as expected to gain NRC technical
staff approval. Entergy has hired the giant law firm of Pillsbury,
Winthrop, Shaw, Pitman with over 900 lawyers to fend off technical and
safety challenges by interveners, the Vermont Department of Public Service,
and the New England Coalition. The Department’s Office of Public Advocacy
boasts just six attorneys and has hired outside counsel: long-time
environmental champion Anthony Roisman of Legal Scholars in Hanover, NH.
New England Coalition is represented without an attorney by its staff
advisor, Raymond Shadis.

Electronic recordings will be permitted. Signs will not be permitted in the
meeting room. Phone: 301-415-8065

Members of the public who wish to provide oral statements and/or written
comments were asked to notify a Designated Federal Official, Mr. Ralph
Caruso (Telephone: 301-415-8065) at five days prior to the meetings, and
asked to check again for schedule changes at the same number at least two
working days prior to the meeting to be advised of any potential changes to
the agenda. No evening hours were announced, substantially limiting public
comment. The agenda for the meeting was announced as follows:

Tuesday, November 15, 2005–8:30 a.m. until 12: Overview by NRC Staff ,
Sub-Committee Review of Technical Issues (including Full Transient Testing).

1 PM until the conclusion of business: Public Questions and Comment.
Perhaps this is the afternoon to discuss full testing of evacuation plans.
In order to make informed decisions about evacuation in hills and valleys
with variable wind patterns, Traprock Peace Center asserts all schools need
radiation monitors in at least a 50-mile radius of the Vernon reactor. On
Monday seven women who went to raise this concern and others at the Entergy
Nuclear offices were arrested for tresspass. Neither Entergy spokesperson
Rob Williams, (802 258-4181) nor Community Relations staffer Larry Smith
(802 258-4118) have responded to calls requesting a meeting at another site.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005–8:30 a.m. until 12: Sub-Committee Review
of Technical Issues, including Emergency Core Cooling Pumps and the August
2004 NRC Team Inspection. Entergy is likely to argue that the inspection is
it equal to the V.T. PSB ordered Independent Engineering Assessment and many
members of the public will argue that it is far from adequate.

1 PM until the conclusion of business: Public Questions and Comment.

Thermal-Hydraulics

According to a press release from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the
ACRS Subcommittee on Thermal-Hydraulics will review the application by
Entergy Nuclear Northeast (Entergy) for an extended power uprate for the
Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station.

The Subcommittee will hear presentations by and hold discussions with
representatives of the NRC staff, their contractors, Entergy and other
interested persons regarding this matter (these interested persons include
expert witnesses for the New England Coalition). The Subcommittee will
gather information, analyze relevant issues and facts, and formulate
proposed positions and actions, as appropriate, for deliberation by the full
Committee.

Further information regarding this meeting can be obtained by contacting the
Designated Federal Official between 7:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. (ET).

For more information contact Joe Bish, Outreach and Events Coordinator for
the New England Coalition, P.O. Box 545, Brattleboro, Vermont 05301
joebish@necnp.org 802-257-0336, or see

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