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

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

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

..Home

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

..Home

DU contamination in Iraq

Traprock Homepage

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4425562.stm

November 10, 2005
BBC
UN warns on Iraq environment fate

Inspectors found much of the waste rotting and abandoned.

Derelict factories, military scrapyards and battle sites across Iraq pose a threat to the environment and to public health, the United Nations has said.

The UN Environment Program has trained Iraqi specialists in detoxification, but says any clean-up could cost up to $40m (£23m).

Chemical spills, unsecured hazardous material and pollution by depleted uranium are among the issues.

Without clean-up, heavy metals can poison ground water, causing illness.

The Unep has examined five sites as part of its training efforts, and is concerned by the results.

“There are hundreds, probably thousands of other sites with the need of assessment,” said Mural Thummarukudy, Unep’s manager in Iraq, who appealed for donations.

String of wars

Among the five sites already probed are a metal plating facility at al-Qadyissa that was bombed, looted and then demolished in 2003.

Iraqi doctors say cancer cases have increased, especially among children.

Several tons of cyanide remain on the site, which is now an unsecured area used as a playground by local children.

The other sites include an old sulphur mine, a munitions factory containing unexploded ordnance and an abandoned petrochemicals plant.

Narmin Othman, Iraq’s environment minister, said that some 311 sites were polluted by depleted uranium, the Associated Press reported.

Many of Iraq’s potential danger spots were either damaged or destroyed during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, the 1991 Gulf war or the US-led invasion in 2003.

In addition, many of the sites have been looted in recent years as insurgents and militias raid them for weapons and materiel, with little thought for potential environmental effects.

Support Spreading for counter-recruitment protesters

Support spreading for counter-recruitment protesters
Hands off Dave!

By Eric Ruder | November 11, 2005 | Page 2
Reprinted with permission of Socialist Worker

DAVE AIRHART never thought that when he hung an antiwar banner on top of a climbing wall brought to his campus by military recruiters, it would land him in trouble with police and administrators at Kent State University in Ohio.

As a combat veteran who was stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, before he was honorably discharged last year, he witnessed the killing of innocent civilians and was encouraged to abuse detainees. For his service, the Marine Corps awarded him the Combat Action Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Presidential Unit Citation and Joint Meritorious Unit Award.

To Dave, climbing a wall and hanging a banner that said, “Kent, Ohio, for peace,” didn’t seem nearly as offensive as the combat experience the Marines had commended him for.

But the military recruiters, one of whom assaulted Dave for hanging the banner, didn’t see it that way. Neither did police who cited Dave for disorderly conduct, nor campus administrators who scheduled a November 16 disciplinary hearing to decide whether he should be suspended or expelled.

This crackdown on counter-recruitment protests is part of a pattern at campuses around the country–from Holyoke Community College in Western Massachusetts, where an activist was maced by campus security; to the City University of New York in Manhattan, where three students and a staff member were arrested last year; to San Francisco State University, where administrators and campus right-wingers went on a witch-hunt against groups that organized the protests.

But there was something else Dave hadn’t counted on–that when campus administrators targeted him for exercising his right to dissent, it would generate an energetic support campaign on campus and beyond. “I really am shocked and elated by the support,” he said.

Around the country, activists leading the struggle on this new front of the antiwar movement are also finding backing from opponents of the war hoping to see a deeper resistance develop.

At Kent, activists from the Kent State Anti-War Committee (KSAWC) sprang into action, organizing a “Hands off Dave” campaign that filled the campus with stickers, flyers and petitions about protecting the right to dissent.

“This wouldn’t have been a big deal if I had just climbed the wall and hung a banner,” said Dave. “It’s a big deal because the university has tried to discipline me. We’ve gotten a lot of outside support–from people like Howard Zinn, Cindy Sheehan and other prominent antiwar figures. And a lot of the faculty at Kent has written in and said they’d be willing to appear on my behalf at the November 16 hearing.”

KSAWC activists are already planning for a demonstration on the same day of the hearing and are spreading awareness of Dave’s case.

“Our campus paper, The Daily Kent Stater, isn’t printing any articles or opinion pieces that we have produced,” said KSAWC member Nikki Robinson. “But they’re certainly publishing the views of the other side. For example, the editorial board wrote a piece that called Dave’s action ‘a cheap stunt.’ So we’re going to make massive numbers of copies of our articles, and distribute them ourselves.

“Last week, we were going to have a large counter-recruitment action, but the Army didn’t show, even though they had a table reserved. They were MIA. So the 15 or 20 who showed up to counter-recruit went around with stickers and petitions to talk to people. This is something that’s making the war hit home and making it real. And talking to people at a table on campus, I’ve only had a couple people say I don’t want to sign. The sentiment I’m hearing is how dare Kent State punish an Iraq vet for hanging a sign against the war.

“Being part of the Campus Antiwar Network, we’re working with schools all around the U.S. that are also fighting repression. Other campuses are getting behind ‘Hands off Dave’ because it’s about the greater issue of free speech, not just an individual.”

Defend Dave Airhart by telling Kent State University President Carol Cartwright to end the disciplinary hearing–call 330-672-2210 or e-mail carol.Cartwright@kent.edu.

http://www.socialistworker.org/2005-2/565/565_02_HandsOffDave.shtml

Index to November 11, 2005 issue:
http://www.socialistworker.org/Storylist.shtml

To Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee

From Traprock Peace Center
103A Keets Road
Deerfield, MA 01342
November 4, 2005

To Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee
223 Old Ferry Road
Brattleboro, VT 05302Dear Sirs,

I write to request a meeting to discuss concerns about the health
effects of the proposed uprate at the Vernon reactor. In a phone
conversation today was glad to hear your spokesperson, Mr. Williams express
concern for safety during a demonstration on Monday morning, but I suspect
that your concern for traffic safety is a bit misplaced. I don’t expect a
large group to demonstrate on a Monday morning.

I ask for a meeting to discuss with you a pressing need for radiation
monitoring equipment for all schools, and medical facilities in a 50-mile
radius of the Vernon reactor, and for all residents without cars. Mr.
Williams assures us that the industry is thoroughly regulated, but after the
fact, no NRC fines or closure of facilities will adequately address
radiation exposures during an accident. School administrators need accurate
and exact radiation monitoring on site, in order to decide whether to impose
a lock down with closure of entrances and windows at schools, and removal of
children from classrooms with windows to interior hallways and more
protected areas such as basements; or to work instead to achieve evacuation
on roads that may be veritable parking lots, when everyone who has a car
tries to leave an area at the same time. Because wind directions vary
greatly in our hills and valleys, on site monitoring at your perimeter will
be of quite limited value.

In addition we can’t trust government sources of information. For
example our understanding of the 3-day delay in evacuating women and
children after the accident at Three Mile Island; the federal government’s
long-standing traditions of brutality and misinformation during atomic
testing; and other, more recent non-disclosures of information regarding
contamination at reactors cause us to insist that we need accurate and local
access to radiation monitoring immediately.

Please meet with me and with my neighbors who share these concerns on
Monday morning. Because I fully expect that all the employees at the Vernon
reactor and Entergy Nuclear hold the welfare of our communities and our
nation in high regard, I ask that you reconsider your decision to meet with
no one on Monday morning. I am reachable by voice mail message, and will
look forward to hearing from you by phone, or in person on Monday when I
hope to visit your offices. Thank you for your thoughtful consideration.

Sincerely,

Sunny Miller, Executive Director, 413-773-7427
(cc’d to responsible & concerned neighbors)