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




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

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

Big lawsuits ..
What we have to look forward to….,0,6222764.story?col

State Questions Nuclear Rate Hike

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

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

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

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

“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

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

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
in a Neighbors’ Network to End War