Traprock Peace Action Report – September 15, 2006

Declaration of Peace, in 50 states! + OUR Communities, Our Water! + Hot
shipment of rad-waste to PA

Friends, you’re adept at short emails and I’m not.
Please forward your favorite bit?

Declaration of Peace !
Saturday, Sept. 23, 10AM – 10PM

Nation-wide, people are organizing to insist on peace.
We’re calling Congress, visiting, speaking up: 202-224-3121!

In Franklin County permits are pending for a Declaration of Peace on the
Greenfield Common from 10 am to 10 pm, Saturday, September 23. We declare
our commitments to peace, sharing a bounty of love and hope. You are invited
to participate in any or all of the day at Main and Federal Streets, where
Routes 2A and 5/10 intersect. Celebrate with the Greenfield Vigil at 11 am
and the Greenfield Farmers Market, until 12:30. Bring a lawn chair or a
blanket if you like. Let’s be comfortable, as we share the bounty.

10 am – Setting out tents and displays
11am – Making or holding banners, with the weekly Greenfield Vigil
12:00 – Speak-out, Sing-out with a public signing of the Declaration of
Peace
1-4:00 – Free workshops and community conversations, including:
I. The History of Nonviolence, Finding Your Support Group, &
Students Against War
II. Youth Talent to “Give Peace a Chance,” Theater Improv for Peace
III. Who’s hurt by war? How do we heal? A Poem to Heal By
4:30 – Pot-luck supper, at Second Congregational Church Parish Hall, by the
Common
Brendan Kenny brings corn bread. I’ll bring pears and bake
potatoes.
5:30 – Sing for Justice, also indoors, then pour out onto the street for a
6:30 – Candlelight Vigil on the Greenfield Common
7:30 – evening conversation, with last songs & late snacks for all who help
break camp.

Traprock Peace Center’s request for a permit calls for a row of tents on the
Common along Bank Row, honoring war dead and wounded from all nationalities.
Carlos Arrendondo of Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts will bring a display
honoring his son Alex Arredondo, killed on August 25, 2004 in while Najaf,
Iraq, at the age of 20 years and 20 days. Arredondo invites the community to
speak with him in Spanish or English.

According the National Priorities Project, Massachusetts taxpayers will
spend $480 million on nuclear bombs in fiscal year 2007. Traprock Peace
Center supporters are looking for art for a poster asking that $480 million
to be spent on human needs in Massachusetts rather than on weapons that
would burden generations. What’s your better idea for $480 million? Share
your talent as part of a bountiful peace

To volunteer your tent, your talent, your candles, drums, poems, foods or
other help, please call
Bob McCormick 413-367-9682, or Traprock Peace Center, 413-773-7427.

SIGN THE PLEDGE, GET CONNECTED, SPEAK UP FOR HOPE & GLADNESS.
Look for events in all 50 states, Sept. 21-28.

For more info see
http://www.declarationofpeace.org
http://www.nationalpriorities.org
http://www.traprockpeace.org

“OUR COMMUNITIES, OUR WATER!”
CONFERENCE, Amherst, MA, Sept 22-24
Description: (September 22-24th, 2006 – Umass/Amherst,
with a dance Sept. 23 in Northampton, MA.)

Project Partners
* Massachusetts Global Action
* North American Alliance For Fair Employment
* Alliance For Democracy
* Food and Water Watch
* Polaris Institute
* Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Sponsors
* American Friends Service Committee – Cambridge
* Council of Canadians

Endorsing Organizations
* American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees,
Local 93
* ARISE for Social Justice
* Boston Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador
* Cambridge Alliance for Democracy
* Citizens for a Strong United Nations
* Concerned Citizens of Lee
* Corporate Accounting International
* Grassroots International
* Greenfield Community College, Behavioral Sciences Department
* Hands Off Our Water!/Lawrence
* NH Water Table
* SAGE
* Sierra Club – Atlantic
* Traprock Peace Center
* U. Mass, Social Thought and Political Economy Department
* UNITE Local 2261
* Vermonters for a Clean Environment
* Western Mass AFSC
* Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – Boston Chapter
* Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – National Save
the Water Campaign

We will also have sneak previews of a rough-cut of the soon to be on PBS
documentary entitled “Water Warriors” and “Water First” film short. Live
music and dancing will follow with The Reagan Babies and Friends. This even
will take place at the Northampton Center for the Arts on Saturday night the
23rd.

Films that will be “Sneak Previewed”

Water First (Amy Hart) is an ongoing documentary film project about global
water issues. The section shown at this event is set in Johannesburg South
Africa where residents are protesting against the installation of pre-paid
water meters. Many of the residents cannot afford to pay for water, much
less to pay ahead. When they cannot pay, their water is shut off. Many
residents claim their water was cut off despite the fact that they owe
nothing. While the government official from the South African Department of
Water And Forestry insists that the water is never cut off, since it goes
against the constitutional rights of the people, we go into homes where the
water has been shut off for over 3 months. In the streets, police threaten
to shoot at the chanting crowd but they stand strong and are willing to die
for the sake of clean water.

Water Warriors (Liz Miler)

Water Warriors, is the story of one community’s determination to fight the
seemingly inevitable path of privatization. The film will capture up close
the passionate and determined players in this dramatic conflict: seasoned
community organizers, local workers, corporate managers pleading for
efficiency; and local government officials, torn between state directives
and citizens needs.

Highland Park, U.S.A. was once the center of a thriving car industry and the
birthplace of Henry Ford’s assembly line. Today the city is on the verge of
financial and physical collapse and as a result is under a state take over.
A team of corporate emergency managers have been appointed to get the city
out of its financial crisis and to do this they have raised water rates,
attached unpaid bills to property taxes, and are looking to privatize the
community’s remaining valuable resource – the water plant.

These measures have resulted in an unprecedented number of water shut offs
and residents are at risk of losing their homes and their voice in what
happens to this public resource. For the residents of Highland Park the
threat of water privatization is simply the last straw, and an impetus to
fight back.

List of Workshops (Not Complete)

Local Initiatives for a Human Right to Water —
Equitable access to sufficient, safe, affordable water (human right to
water) is a key problem facing our communities, whether the water services
are public or private. This workshop hopes to address the gap in the
existing legal framework – neither Canada nor the US recognize the
international obligation of the human right to water. Should communities
establish local laws that will implement minimum rates for the “40-60 liters
/ day / person” right to water, a ban on water shutoffs, democratic
participatory decision making for water rates (affordability), quality (safe
water) within their utility? What might be effective strategies for a local
initiative?

Global Water Struggles: Communities Resist Worldwide against Corporate Water
Grab

Hear about worldwide resistance to water privatization; from Cochabamba,
Bolivia to Nicaragua, to India and beyond citizens are successfully fighting
multi-national control of their water.

Can’t Live Without It so the Fight is On! How grassroots social movements
are claiming their right to land and water.

Water and Land are resources that we all can’t live without, but access to
safe water and land to grow food is becoming increasingly unequal in our
world today. In this interactive workshop, participants will look at the
impact of global trade and neo-liberal policies on communities around the
world and at examples of grassroots social movements in Haiti, the U.S.,
Brazil and Mexico organizing to regain control over these vital resources.

Water and Trade

How do trade agreements such as NAFTA, CAFTA, WTO agreements like GATS and
other international trade agreements threaten the ability of communities to
protect their water resources? How do they promote privatization of
water/sewer services? What does it mean when the World Trade Organizations
says that local regulations cannot be “more burdensome then necessary”?

Myths of Privatization

What are the myths that corporations use to control the dialogue around
privatization? Learn the tools for understanding these myths and effectively
counter them with your own organizing.

Taking on the Soft drink Giants

Learn about the International Coke Boycott and the ongoing work against both
Pepsi and Nestle that is underway and how it connects directly to the issue
of control of water as well as labor rights worldwide.

Pumping for Profit: Bottled and Bulk Water

A massive international marketing campaign by the big four beverage
corporations to turn water into a designer food item is threatening the
water supplies for communities’ world-wide and undermining public confidence
in municipal water systems. Find out what happens when a bottled water
company comes to town and what you can do about it.

Municipal Water Systems: Public Ownership, Private Ownership, and the
Challenge of Public Private Partnerships.

What happens when a privately owned municipal water system is put up for
sale? Who controls the town’s water? What happens when a water management
corporation proposes to manage the municipal system for a fee? What can
communities do to keep their water supply locally owned and operated? What
does having a public private partnership mean when it come to water? Find
out from our presenters who have been there already. How do you work
politically in a municipality to educate the public and the politicians in
advance of privatization? How do you give them a tool kit of state
regulation’s and other things to use to challenge the thing when it rears
its ugly head in a local city/town?

Faith communities and Water Roundtable

Water has been symbolic of life, blessings, spiritual cleansing in the
writings and ceremonies of many faith communities throughout the world. Find
out how some Faith communities are participating in a dialogue about
protecting water. We will share stories about actions and programs in our
faith communities in a roundtable format with help from several resource
people who will serve as facilitators. We will inspire each other as seek
collaborations.

Public Trust and the Commons Does your state law say that the groundwater
and surface waters of our state are held in the public trust. What does this
mean for your community? How are these laws applied? What rules and legal
principles govern them?

Strengthening Public Systems —Public/Public Partnerships Learn about
public-to public alternative to the pro-privatization “public-private
partnerships” model. One way to head off privatization of municipal
water/sewer systems is to have a well-functioning public system. The
workshop will describe how workers and managers with public systems can help
other public systems improve their operations.

New Paradigm Organizing: Communities Just Say NO to Corporations Frustrated
with regulations that let corporations pollute your community and planet?
Some communities are taking a new approach to stop corporate predation and
pollution in its tracks. Learn how communities in PA and NH are just saying
NO.

Biographies of Presenters posted on our calendar,
http://www.traprockpeace.org

http://www.vermontguardian.com/local/092006/VYShipment.shtml
Radioactive VY shipment lands in Pennsylvania
By Kathryn Casa | Vermont Guardian

Posted September 6, 2006

Editor’s note: This is a revised and corrected version of a story posted
earlier this morning.

BRATTLEBORO — A container shipped from Vermont Yankee on Aug. 31 ended up at
its destination later that night with radiation readings four times higher
than those allowable under federal law, according to a report filed Sept. 1
with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

The shipment — a box measuring 6x7x8 feet containing a machine used to cut
and crush control rods, the devices inserted between fuel rods in the
reactor to control the fission process — registered no more than 60 millirem
per hour before it left Vermont, according to Vermont Yankee (VY) records.
That level is well below the federal Department of Transportation’s (DOT)
200 millirem hourly contact exposure limit.

However, when it arrived at the Susquehanna reactor in Berwick, PA, the
bottom of the container registered 820 millirem per hour, more than four
times the DOT limit.

The container was shipped on a flatbed truck by a private contractor —
Hittman Transport Services of Barnwell, SC. As of Tuesday the container
remained closed in a controlled area at the Susquehanna plant, while
inspectors made special preparations before opening it, according to NRC
spokesman Neil Sheehan.

He said they planned to open the container Wednesday.

En route to its destination, the truck stopped at rest stops on the
westbound side of the Massachusetts Turnpike and on southbound Interstate 87
after existing Interstate 90, according to an incident report filed by
Susquehanna officials, who were required to make a report to the NRC because
of the high radiation recording.

“No one to the knowledge of the driver came in contact with the shipment,”
the report states. The truck arrived at Susquehanna at 8:45 p.m. and the
driver, who was wearing a radiation detection monitor, slept in the vehicle.
Sheehan said the driver’s dosimeter showed readings well within acceptable
levels.

A spokeswoman for the trucking company said she had no knowledge of the
incident.

According to the NRC report, the shipment was formally received at the
Susquehanna facility at 8:05 a.m. the next morning. The high reading was
recorded at 11:15 a.m., and Susquehanna officials notified the NRC at 12:15
p.m.

The shipment showed no signs of surface contamination, the report declared,
and it exceeded the dose rate limit only on the bottom of the container once
it was lifted off the truck. “Doses under the trailer prior to lifting the
shipment did not exceed the limit,” the report states.

“Unless someone got right up under it, the probability that someone would
have received any kind of exposure from that configuration is low,” said
Deputy Regional Administrator Marc Dapas.

VY spokesman Rob Williams also emphasized that despite the unexplained high
radiation levels, the shipment represented no threat to public health and
safety in transit because the radioactive side was against the bed of the
truck, which provided additional protection, he said.

“At no time during the shipment was there any additional exposure to anyone
because the flatbed truck provided adequate shielding,” Williams said. “In
fact, the radiation level in question was detected only at the bottom of the
package, and only after it was lifted off the flatbed, so this had no impact
on public health and safety.”

Vermont Yankee is responsible for shipments while in transit, Williams
noted. Two experts from VY’s radiological shipping group had left for
Pennsylvania to determine what may have caused the increase, he said
Tuesday.

“We’ve reviewed our radiological survey and confirmed that the package left
here in compliance,” Williams noted.

Sheehan speculated the increase might have been due to the machine shifting
during transit, resulting in a part with higher contamination levels closer
to the bottom of the box. Or, he said, a piece of debris from the VY spent
fuel pool could still have been attached to it.

The tool is what Sheehan called a cutter-shearer machine that crushes
control rods in order to ship them more easily. Control rods are used to
separate spent fuel rods in the reactor. They are inserted between the fuel
rods in crucifix form, with a centerpiece and four blades inserted between
the fuel bundles, and later stored in the plant’s spent fuel pool, Sheehan
said.

He said reactor operators periodically install new control rods and remove
old rods from the fuel pool.

Anti-nuclear activist Ray Shadis, technical advisor to the Brattleboro-based
New England Coalition, speculated that the discrepancy in radiation readings
could have been due to inaccurate VY detection equipment.

“What is serious is the possibility that VY radiation detection was off by a
whopping factor of four and/or the probability that the contents of the
package leaked and/or became more exposed as shielding shifted or settled,”
Shadis said in an e-mail to the Vermont Guardian.

At 820 millirem per hour, a person exposed to the hottest part of the
container could have, in one hour, received eight times the annual dose
allowed by the NRC, or their annual allowable dose in less than eight
minutes, Shadis noted.

Unlike the DOT, the NRC does not set a contact exposure ceiling, but the
agency limits exposure for members of the public to 100 millirem annually.

“This is just a real sloppy performance,” Shadis continued. “Let’s hope it
is an exception and not the standard.”

THANKS, Sally Shaw,
The New England Coalition

..Home

Best regards,

Sunny Miller
Traprock Peace Center
103A Keets Road
Deerfield, MA 01342
413-773-7427
——————————-
http://www.traprockpeace.org

in a Neighbors’ Network to End War