From: "Russell D. Hoffman" <>
Subject: Davis-Besse Newsletter #13, May 27th, 2002  -- What did we know and when did we know it?

What did we know and when did we know it?
Davis-Besse Newsletter #13
Memorial Day Special -- May 27th, 2002
The latest news, views, and interesting correspondence.
Edited by
Russell D. Hoffman, Concerned Citizen

This newsletter is intended to be the most accurate information available anywhere.
Corrections welcome...

(1): Who knew?  BUSH KNEW!  But the question is: What does he know NOW?

(2): We are the Guardians of life on Earth (Letter to the Editor by
Barbara Bailine)

(3):  Anthrax attacks: FBI cover-up and NY Times whitewash (by
Patrick Martin, May 15th, 2002)

(4): Lawmakers question NRC (by
Jim Mackinnon, Beacon Journal, May 15th, 2002)

(5): TVA thinking about restarting an old nuke (Reuters, May 15th, 2002)

(6): Nuke companies buying Congress (AP, May 14th, 2002)

(7): Nevada senators spar with Abraham during Yucca hearing (
Steve Tetreault, LVJR, May 17th, 2002)

(8): Yucca Mountain won't even be big enough!  (AP / NY Times)

(9): Whistleblowing makes for great TV. But the aftereffects can be brutal (
Cora Daniels, Fortune, April 15th, 2002)

(10): Leaking fuel assemblies at Vermont Yankee prompt swap with spent fuel for summer

(11): A blast from the past:  1996 AAAS article on nuke waste cleanup

(12): BBB Rules Nuclear Energy Institute Ads Inaccurate

(13): Closing remarks / Subscription Information / Contact Information for the author of this document

Previous Davis-Besse newsletters are available online here:

Please distribute freely.  Please contact the author (email address is given at the bottom) if you feel you have received this document in error or wish to unsubscribe.  Thank you for reading. -- Russell. D. Hoffman.

(1): Who knew?  BUSH KNEW!  But the question is: What does he know NOW?:

Bush knew.  NOW, the whole world knows that nuclear power plants are being targeted by terrorists.  But while we condemn Bush for doing too little before 9-11, we let him slide now on something that could be vastly worse:  Nuke plant safety.  All reactors need to have their control rods dropped permanently and immediately and without compensation to the "owners" -- terrorists who endanger our lives for personal profit.

To explain why they took no significant action despite numerous and dire clues, the Bush Administration asserts that the 9-11 plot was so outlandish and diabolical that no one could have thought of it.

This claim is made despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, including:

1) An FBI agent's hand-written note from July 2001 indicating that the agent believed the person he was investigating was capable of flying a plane into the World Trade Center.  Many people now believe that the suspect the memo refers to was part of the 9-11 terrorist plot.

2) 1993 WTC bombing.

3) Post-Three Mile Island discussions in numerous newspapers in 1979 -- more than 20 years ago -- about the dangers of a airplane strike at a nuclear power plant. These discussions were based on studies by Sandia National Laboratories which clearly showed that the plants could not survive a jumbo-jet airplane strike.  It was widely assumed that if a plane struck a nuclear power plant, terrorists would be responsible.  However, everyone (outside the nuclear industry) knows that accidents will happen.

4) An incident that occurred 30 years ago.   The following is the start of a September, 2001 AP report which talks about the incident: "OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (AP) Twenty-nine years ago, hijackers took over an airliner with 27 passengers and four crew aboard and threatened to crash into the government's nuclear weapons production complex in Oak Ridge."  After 9-11 a few in the media recalled this incident, but Bush still can't remember.

For the President, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Tom Ridge, John Ashcroft, and Donald Rumsfeld to support nuclear power around the world shows they believe they will "beat terrorism to death", just as they, and those who came before them, tried to beat the drug trade to death, tried to beat illegal immigration to death, tried to beat welfare to death...  All failed.  America's meager attempts at nuclear safety will fail too.

-- rdh

(2): We are the Guardians of life on Earth (Letter to the Editor by Barbara Bailine):

To: <>
Cc: "Jersey Shore Nuclear Watch" <>
Subject: [JerseyShoreNuclearWatch] JSNW ON y

Barbara wrote the  letter to the editor as a representative of Jersey Shore Nuclear Watch. -- Edith Gbur
124 Springfield Avenue
Pine Beach, New Jersey  08741-1051

May 9, 2002

44 Washington Street
Toms River, NJ 08753



With response to your editorial of May 5, 2002 concerning the YUCCA MOUNTAIN as the lone option to depositing the poisonous waste of our Nuclear Power Plants, I submit the following:

1. Moving highly poisonous waste rods from local reactors to Yucca Mountain where it will remain deadly for over 10,000 years will not release us from having the tons of radioactive deadly waste continually piling up at our home sites.  Only poisonous waste that is five years old can be moved out from our location.  This terrible waste will keep building up in our own backyard even while we are filling up Yucca Mountain.  Saying that Yucca will solve the terrorist problem is a profound untruth.  It only adds one  more site to the other 131 sites we need to protect. These 131 nuclear sites that are the targets you list in your editorial will not in anyway become less vulnerable to terrorists when we ship the older waste rods to Yucca Mountain.  The spent fuel pools and the dry cask storage at each nuclear site will always be filled to capacity as these nuclear plants continue to produce this radioactive poison.

2. You state that the government has shipped this monstrous nuclear waste substance safely for years.  But now we are talking about transporting the most deadly stuff on earth across roads like the Garden State Parkway and Route 280 each and every day for 38 years.  It will only take one mishap to demolish the whole region.  The nuclear waste would travel thousands of miles by truck, train or boat.  In New Jersey that trip would bring waste from Indian point in New York and from Connecticut's closed Millstone reactors and all the other nuclear reactors in New Jersey.  It would go on roads that are through the nation's most heavily populated areas.  It would travel on Route 287 and Route 80 and through Bergen, Passaic and Morris counties ... it would go in and out of Newark and on barges past the Statue of Liberty and the New Jersey Shore.  Thousands of truckloads would cross New Jersey from New York and Connecticut's reactors.  Besides the possibility of an accident, we must think about hijacking or a bomb planted in a gasoline truck that would pull alongside a nuclear hauling truck.  These trucks will be hauling for a projected 38 years.  These events might happen very rarely but if it happens even one time ...  it's curtains for the whole area at that accident--even an entire state!  We are not dealing with toxic chemicals.  We are dealing with a substance that risks our planet.  A risk that is that great should never be taken.

3. You state that a fifth of the nation's electricity is nuclear generated and that we must first have alternatives before we disband nuclear energy.  We do have alternatives right now.  1700 megawatts of windpower were installed last year in our country.  That is more than twice as much capacity as provided by that dilapidated nuclear plant in Ohio that had to be closed down this last February for emergency patchwork repairs that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission admitted it had not foreseen.  I refer to a nuclear power plant called Davis Besse in Ohio and that almost destroyed that state.  It has been closed down since they discovered the hole in the reactor's lid.  The closing of Davis Besse has caused no blackouts or any strain on the electric grid that supplies northern Ohio.  We can supplant nuclear power quickly -- IF WE WANT TO.

Albert Einstein warned us when he said:

The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and thus we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.

Sincerely yours,


Barbara Bailine


Comment on the above item by rdh:

Bravo, Barbara Bailine!

-- rdh

(3):  Anthrax attacks: FBI cover-up and NY Times whitewash (by Patrick Martin, May 15th, 2002):

From: "Lloyd Strecker" <>

Mailing-List: list; contact
Delivered-To: mailing list
Date: Wed, 15 May 2002 15:57:16 -0700
Subject: [greenaction] Fw: Anthrax attacks: FBI cover-up and NY Times whitewash

----- Original Message -----
From: "Brian Tokar" <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, May 15, 2002 9:15 AM
Subject: Anthrax attacks: FBI cover-up and NY Times whitewash

Biotech Activists (    Posted: 05/15/2002

WSWS : News & Analysis : North America

Anthrax attacks: FBI cover-up and New York Times whitewash
By Patrick Martin
15 May 2002

A new genetic analysis of the anthrax used in last fall's terrorist attacks
has pinpointed the source as the US government's own germ warfare program.
This finding explodes the pretense, long maintained by the Bush
administration and parroted by the media, that little is known in the
investigation into the attacks, which killed five people and disrupted the
lives of millions.

As few as 20 scientists may have had the combination of technical knowledge
and access to secret anthrax stocks-maintained illegally by the US
government in violation of international treaty obligations-required to
perpetrate the attacks. Yet the FBI continues to claim that it has made no
progress in the investigation and that no suspects are being actively

This cover-up has a clear political motivation: either the perpetrator is an
individual with powerful friends in high places in the Bush administration,
whose influence is stalling the probe, or the perpetrator is actually a US
government agency-in which case the anthrax mailings to two top Senate
Democrats constitute an attempted political coup against the official
opposition party.

In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee May 8, FBI Director
Robert Mueller relegated the anthrax probe to a single paragraph. But
Mueller was already in possession of the results of the genetic analysis,
conducted by geneticists Timothy Read and Clare Fraser of The Institute for
Genomic Research (TIGR) and Paul Keim of Northern Arizona University. The
study was delivered to the FBI two weeks ago, but held back from publication
in the journal Science until Thursday, May 9, the day after Mueller's
appearance before the congressional committee.

The study confirms, on the basis of DNA analysis, what has been widely
suspected: the anthrax spores mailed to three media outlets and the offices
of two Senate Democrats, Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy, were derived
genetically from the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious
Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Maryland, the center of US germ warfare

The three scientists suggest that new, more detailed genetic comparisons may
narrow down the source of the anthrax spores to a just one of the 15 to 20
government and private laboratories involved in work on the Ames strain of
anthrax. All derive their stocks of the deadly bacteria from Fort Detrick.

Moreover, by measuring minute differences due to mutation in the genetic
structure of the mailed spores, compared to spores that never left Fort
Detrick, it should be possible to determine how long ago the anthrax used in
the terrorist letters left the US government facility. This would aid the
investigation in honing in on the source of the attacks.

While the genetic evidence lays out a virtual blueprint for the
investigation into the anthrax attacks, there are more accounts of
foot-dragging by the US government. ABC News reported April 4 that US
military and intelligence agencies have refused to provide the FBI with a
full listing of the secret facilities and employees working on anthrax
projects. The Los Angeles Times, in an article April 21, cited criticism by
scientists of an FBI email sent to the 32,000 members of the American
Society for Microbiology three months after the attacks, seeking cooperation
in the probe. "They wonder why the FBI outreach came so late, and so
broadly, when the number of scientists with expertise and access to anthrax
materials is probably closer to 200," the newspaper said.

Mystification by the New York Times

Perhaps the most politically significant response to the new study came in
the form of an editorial in the New York Times May 11, headlined, "The
Deepening Anthrax Mystery." Published in the leading US newspaper, this
commentary deliberately distorts the evidence brought to light so far, in
order to cover up for the FBI's stalling on the probe. It is a matter not so
much of "mystery" as of mystification.

The editorial cites the progress made by the genetic researchers, but adds,
"for now the goal of identifying where the anthrax came from and who might
have sent it through the mails remains as elusive as ever." But as the
Washington Post wrote, in its news article on the latest genetic analysis:
"it is now indisputable the mailed microbes are direct descendants of the
germs developed at Fort Detrick."

In other words, the first question, where the anthrax came from, has been
definitively answered. The attack on two leading Democratic senators used
biological warfare material from American military stockpiles, a fact of
profound political significance.

The New York Times editorial claims, "the universe of potential suspects
seems to be growing. Although investigators once hoped to narrow the list to
a few dozen suspects or less, lately they seem to be acknowledging that
hundreds or even thousands of individuals, in this country and abroad, are
probably capable of making the substance that was mailed, provided they
could gain access to the needed germs."

On the contrary, the genetic analysis has already made it possible to narrow
down the number of possible targets to a relatively small number, according
to scientists knowledgeable in the field. Biological warfare expert Steven
Block of Stanford University told the Dallas Morning News, in an interview
published April 1, that no more than 250 people in the US had the knowledge
required to make the attacks. Another expert, Barbara Hatch Rosenberg of the
Federation of American Scientists, has put the number at no more than 20,
when factors like access to classified information and germ warfare
materials are considered.

Block suggested a political reason for the FBI's delaying the investigation.
The perpetrators of the attack "either had to have information from the
United States or maybe they were the United States," he said. The FBI also
might be holding back "because the person that's involved with it may have
secret information that the United States government would not like to have

Cramming even more disinformation into a few paragraphs, the Times editorial
concludes: "The FBI remains convinced that the attacks were carried out by
an American with scientific training, not by Al Qaeda or a rogue nation, but
critics fear the bureau is so wedded to this theory that it has become blind
to other possibilities."

Here the Times echoes the campaign being waged by the Wall Street Journal,
the leading organ for the US extreme right, whose answer to every social,
political and foreign policy problem is the same: launch an American war
against Iraq. For obvious political reasons the Journal has vehemently
opposed suggestions that the anthrax attacks were launched by right-wing
elements within the United States, preferring to blame Iraq despite the lack
of any evidence.

The Times editorial directly contradicts its own reporting on the anthrax
Investigation. Only two months ago, on February 25, a Times article noted:
"The Federal Bureau of Investigation has identified a 'short list' of 18 to
20 people who had the means, opportunity and possible motive to have sent
the anthrax-laden letters last fall, law enforcement officials said.

"Officials said the list was compiled mostly through tips from scientists
and an analysis by investigators of people with skills to have made the
highly concentrated anthrax spores that killed five people and prompted
doctors to prescribe antibiotic treatment for 30,000 people."

The February 25 article noted the widely reported statement of White House
press spokesman Ari Fleischer, who denied claims that the FBI had identified
a chief suspect, saying, "unfortunately, there are still several suspects."
The FBI, he said, has not "narrowed it down to just one." This White House
statement clearly implied that, far from a list of thousands of potential
suspects, federal investigators were focused on a core group of suspects.
Yet two months later, the Times claims "the universe of potential suspects
appears to be growing."

Copyright 1998-2002
World Socialist Web Site
All rights reserved

Francis A. Boyle
Law Building
504 E. Pennsylvania Ave.
Champaign, IL 61820 USA


Comment on the above item by rdh:

What a surprise that it takes a socialist web site to question Bush policies these days!  The NY Times should be crying foul too!  The Anthrax attack was in many ways more devastating to America's freedoms, way of life, and moral fortitude, than the awful destruction of 9-11 because, while on 9-11 the perpetrators COULD have targeted nuclear or chemical facilities, the anthrax attackers showed they could kill us all any time they want to, that they intend to target specific people and don't care who dies along the way, and worse still, they attacked our news media (whom I may not like much on nuclear issues, but at least I value their right to be journalists).

Any real American Patriot is going to be terribly pained by the idea that the anthrax attack was domestic in origin, but there seems to be little doubt of that now. Domestic terrorism is particularly worrisome because we have given our military such awesome weapons of mass destruction.  WORSE, we are now telling them that they are being trained to be an ARMY OF ONE.

That won't do us much good if they get out of the military and become disgruntled citizens.  They'll be "armies of one" without an elected leader (not to say, that they have an "elected" leader right now).

-- rdh

(4): Lawmakers question NRC (by Jim Mackinnon, Beacon Journal, May 15th, 2002):

To: "" <>,
        UNPLUG Salem Campaign <>,
        "" <>
Subject: [JerseyShoreNuclearWatch] Lawmakers question NRC


> Subject: NRC's future
> Date: Thu, 16 May 2002 08:23:57 -0400
> The Akron Beacon Journal
> Posted on Thu, May. 16, 2002
> Lawmakers want NRC to prove self
> Damage at Davis-Besse leads them to question nuclear panel's fitness
> By Jim Mackinnon, Beacon Journal business writer
> Calling the damage found in FirstEnergy's Davis-Besse power plant the
> country's most serious nuclear plant incident since Three Mile
> Island, two members of Congress say they want the Nuclear Regulatory
> Commission to prove the agency is up to the task of preventing a
> catastrophe.
> Democrats Marcy Kaptur, whose Toledo-based district includes
> Davis-Besse, and longtime nuclear power critic Edward Markey of
> Massachusetts wrote an eight-page letter to NRC Chairman Richard
> Meserve asking for answers to detailed questions about how the
> regulatory agency is investigating Davis-Besse.
> The two ask whether the NRC should have taken steps years earlier at
> Davis-Besse that would have prevented boric acid, part of the reactor
> coolant, from leaking and then eating two cavities into the top of
> the reactor vessel head, a 150-ton safety component that covers the
> radioactive fuel core.
> ``These events indicate that we only very narrowly averted a nuclear
> catastrophe of the magnitude of Three Mile Island or worse,'' the
> letter says.
> The letter, sent May 1, is intended to ensure that the NRC answers
> the ``important questions'' and focuses on the ``important issues''
> about nuclear power plant safety and Davis-Besse, said Kaptur
> spokesman Steve Fought.
> Kaptur, who represents Ohio's 9th District, and Markey wrote that the
> NRC in previous years dismissed safety concerns at nuclear power
> plants ``and insisted that such problems would be detected long
> before they became significant safety problems. The events at
> Davis-Besse clearly indicate this was not the case.''
> NRC staff members have called the damage found at Davis-Besse
> unprecedented and beyond what was thought possible. None of the
> nation's 102 other nuclear plants have similar damage, the agency
> says.
> Kaptur may renew a previous request to the NRC for an on-site
> inspection of Davis-Besse that includes members of Congress, Fought
> said. Kaptur has said she believes the power plant, which has been
> shut down since mid-February, should not reopen.
> The more than 70 questions posed by Markey and Kaptur need to be
> answered before the NRC allows FirstEnergy to restart the plant,
> Fought said.
> ``FirstEnergy needs to show it can operate the plant safely,'' he
> said. ``It's up to the NRC to hold their feet to the fire.''
> NRC spokesman Jan Strasma said the agency will answer all questions
> by mid-June, and should be able to answer some of the less technical
> questions sooner.
> ``We hope the NRC will take a real long look at all power plants,''
> said Markey spokesman Israel Klein. ``Davis-Besse has not gotten the
> attention it deserves. We're waiting eagerly for answers.''
> If the acid leaking in the Davis-Besse vessel head had eaten all the
> way through the more-than 6-inch-thick steel, the resulting ``loss of
> coolant accident'' would have spewed thousands of gallons of hot,
> radioactive coolant inside the power plant's containment chamber. A
> thin stainless-steel inner lining, used as a corrosion barrier,
> prevented boric acid from breaching at the largest cavity. The
> stainless steel lining was not designed to hold back the coolant and
> began to bulge slightly outward under the high pressure inside the
> reactor.
> If safety systems don't kick in or fail, such an accident could lead
> to a fuel-core meltdown, nuclear power opponents say.
> The NRC and FirstEnergy have said the safety systems would have
> worked, with no release of radioactivity into the environment.
> All safety issues will be addressed by the NRC prior to the
> restarting of Davis-Besse, said FirstEnergy spokesman Todd Schneider.
> The company has acknowledged its responsibility for the damage, he
> said.
> ``We are responding to the situation. We are taking steps to ensure
> that it never happens again,'' Schneider said. ``We expect to return
> Davis-Besse to safe and reliable performance.''
> Those steps include a management shake-up at Davis-Besse that the
> company announced last week. The plant, in Oak Harbor along Lake Erie
> about 25 miles east of Toledo, employs more than 800.
> FirstEnergy continues to look at either installing a replacement
> vessel head at Davis-Besse or repairing the damage, Schneider said.
> The company has said it hopes to have the plant restarted before the
> third quarter is over at the end of September, although at least one
> stock analyst believes it won't restart until well into 2003.
> The NRC has the final say on when the plant can safely restart,
> Schneider said. ``I can't speak on what the NRC's timetable is.''
> The FirstEnergy staff is conducting intensive inspections of a
> possible replacement vessel head in Michigan, he said.
> Until the inspection is completed, the company won't know if the
> unused vessel head can be certified for use by the NRC, Schneider
> said. Another vessel head, at a nuclear plant in California, could be
> a replacement as well, he said.
> FirstEnergy has ordered a new vessel head, but that will take about
> two years before it can be delivered and installed.
> The letter to the NRC from Kaptur and Markey is posted at Markey's
> Web site, Click on ``Newsroom'' and then
> ``Nuclear Power/Nuclear Waste.''
> Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or
Coalition for Peace and Justice and the UNPLUG Salem Campaign; 321 Barr Ave.,
Linwood, NJ 08221; 609-601-8583 or 609-601-8537;  UNPLUG
WEBSITE: The Coalition for Peace and
Justice is a chapter of Peace Action.
"First they ignore you; Then they laugh at you; Then they fight you; Then you win.
(Gandhi) "Why walk when you can fly?"  (Mary Chapin Carpenter)

[Yahoo ads clipped]


Comment on the above item by rdh:

The NRC cannot prove the nuclear power plants are safe, because that proof is unavailable -- they ARE NOT SAFE.  Also, other reactors are not being inspected as thoroughly or quickly as implied by the above article.  One San Onofre reactor, for example, won't be shut down and inspected until January, 2003.  And for the umpteenth time, it was not a lining that saved Ohio, it was a cladding.  It's interesting that a "stock analyst" is the expert on when Davis-Besse might restart.

-- rdh

(5): TVA thinking about restarting an old nuke (Reuters, May 15th, 2002):

(This was sent in by Molly Johnson):

Subject: Fwd: TVA Wants to Restart Alabama Nuke
To: "Russell D. Hoffman" <>

Date:         Wed, 15 May 2002 15:40:15 EDT
Reply-to:     Federal Facilities/Nuclear Waste Working Group           

From:         David Orr <>
Subject:      TVA Wants to Restart Alabama NukeTVA considers restarting mothballed Alabama nuke

May 15, 2002

NEW YORK - The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), one of the nation's largest power producers, will this week consider restarting its 1,065 megawatt Browns Ferry nuclear power unit 1 in Alabama, which has been mothballed for 15 years, the company said.

TVA's board of directors at a public meeting Thursday will consider asking the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for permission to restart Browns Ferry 1 and extend operating licenses at the adjoining Browns Ferry nuclear units 2 and 3, each with a generating capacity of 1,065 MW, a spokesman said.

Browns Ferry 1, in Decatur along the Tennessee River in northern Alabama, could be restarted in about 5 years at a cost of $1.7 billion to $1.8 billion, TVA spokesman John Moulton told Reuters Tuesday.

Generation from Browns Ferry 1 is needed to meet rising power demand in the Southeast, which TVA estimates to be growing by about 3 percent a year.

The Browns Ferry 1 unit began service in 1974, but was shut in 1985 along with units 2 and 3 amid ongoing safety concerns.

Browns Ferry 2 returned to service in 1991 and Browns Ferry 3 returned in 1995. Both units are generating power today.

"The TVA board will consider a staff recommendation regarding the recovery and restart of Browns Ferry nuclear unit 1 and the extension of licenses to operate all three units an additional 20 years past the current 40-year operating license," Moulton said.

The operating license for Browns Ferry 1 expires in 2013, while the operating license for unit 2 expires in 2014, with an expiry of 2016 for unit 3.

The TVA board will consider asking to have all three operating licenses extended by 20 years.

TVA, a government owned company headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, supplies power to nearly eight million people throughout Tennessee and parts of Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.

The company has about 29,500 MW of generating capacity, about half of which comes from coal-fired power plants, 20 percent from nuclear power plants, 20 percent from hydroelectric dams, and 10 percent from natural gas and oil-fired plants.

One megawatt of electricity is enough to power about 1,000 homes.



Comment on the above item by rdh:

Reopen Browns' Ferry?  What's really happening here is that the Federal Government has destroyed our right to have licensing hearings on new construction at currently licensed nuclear facilities.  Thus, San Onofre can get dry casks without public hearings, or even new reactors for that matter, Davis-Besse can be reopened by slapping a new Reactor Pressure Vessel Head on top of it, and Browns Ferry can be rebuilt.  Nearly $2 Billion in startup costs is hardly a simple case of dusting off the consoles and flipping a switch.  That's essentially a WHOLE NEW REACTOR.  I suppose it might work better than the old one, and that's good -- but it will create SPENT FUEL WASTE and be a TARGET FOR TERRORISTS.  Do we really need another?

-- rdh

(6): Nuke companies buying Congress (AP, May 14th, 2002):

Date: Thu, 16 May 2002 05:22:45 EDT
Subject: [DOEWatch] Nuke companies buying Congress



Watchdog finds millions in nuclear contributions to senators

Associated Press

Companies with ties to nuclear power have contributed $5.2 million to U.S.
senators over the past five years, according to a new report by a watchdog

Public Citizen said Monday that 75 corporate members of the Nuclear Energy
Institute have donated to the campaigns of all but seven senators since 1997,
including $1.3 million to incumbents and challengers running this year.

The political watchdog agency called the money an indication of the
industry's clout on issues such as the federal government's proposal to bury
radioactive waste beneath Yucca Mountain, 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

"This report is the tip of the nuclear iceberg,"Public Citizen policy analyst
Lisa Gue said. She said it does not include tens of millions of dollars
in"soft money"donations, bundled contributions from individuals and personal
lobbying by industry executives on nuclear matters.

The Nuclear Energy Institute is the lobbying arm of the nuclear power
industry and a chief proponent of plans to build the nation's nuclear waste
repository at Yucca Mountain.

President Bush has endorsed the project and the House has approved it. The
Senate is due to cast a deciding vote this summer.

NEI spokesman Mitch Singer said the report was exaggerated and that some NEI
members, such as General Electric, have far-ranging interests beyond nuclear
energy. GE has an industrial arm that designs and services nuclear plants.

"They have obviously lumped every kind of PAC contribution,"Singer told the
Las Vegas Review-Journal."That is just not correct."

Even at that, Singer said,"the American system allows for all groups to have
a role in the process of legislating. We're going to continue to support
people who show us support."

Sen. Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, received $143,582, the most PAC money from
NEI members, Public Citizen said. Murkowski is the top Republican on the
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and an advocate of nuclear
waste burial in Nevada.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., received $26,500 from NEI member companies over the
past five years, according to the Public Citizen accounting.

Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., was given $25,500 between 1997 and 2000.

Ensign said Public Citizen"is really stretching on this one."He said the
report appeared to include companies with a peripheral connection to nuclear

In managing his campaigns,"we really tried to scour everything to show we did
not have (donations from) nuclear power companies,"Ensign said."We did
everything we could to stay away from even those appearances."

"Nobody in the Senate, the state of Nevada and the country would say that
Sen. Reid is moveable on this (Yucca Mountain) issue,"Reid spokesman Nathan
Naylor said.

Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal


The Magnum-Opus Project---The Mission: To do a greater good.
Righting the wrongs of the Manhattan Project's deceit and treachery national security methods using openness and accountability.
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A news list combined with scientific studies to expose the problems.
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Insoluble toxic metals and fluorides, via a pneumonia like dust in lung process, concentrate in lymph nodes and cause foreign body granuloma damage to node macrophages, leading to false cytokine stimulation, then rising viral waste damage to mitochondria, and this leading to illnesses.  See the analysis at

In the 1980's, Oak Ridge managers established a national alliance of DOE friendly supplanted activists and old DOE scientists to mislead gullible fluoride affected sick workers and communities in order to fabricate a health mystery and avoid the extreme liabilities of the fluorides health damage to uranium gas diffusion chemical plant workers and communities.  Don't let DOE and its minions stone wall known disease processes known for millennia and involved in religion icon imagery.

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Comment on the above item by rdh:

Contributions from nuke companies to Senators?  Well how did you THINK this crazy idea ever got started back in the 1950's?

I suspect Murkowski's love for Nevada as the site for America's nuclear repository stems from him knowing that ALASKA is nearly everyone's #2 choice.  What a great patriot he is!  NOT!  And the two Senators from Nevada aren't much help either, because they are both pro-nuclear -- just anti-Yucca Mountain.

-- rdh

(7): Nevada senators spar with Abraham during Yucca hearing (Steve Tetreault, LVJR, May 17th, 2002):

Date: Fri, 17 May 2002 07:54:41 -0700
Subject: [DOEWatch] Nevada senators spar with Abraham during Yucca hearing
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

Friday, May 17, 2002
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Nevada senators spar with Abraham during Yucca hearing

Energy secretary advocates advance of nuclear waste project at committee


WASHINGTON -- Nevada's senators threw pointed questions at Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham Thursday, their first chance to challenge him publicly on President Bush's selection of Yucca Mountain as a burial site for nuclear waste.

Abraham appeared before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to explain Bush's decision to designate the Nevada site to be the nation's repository for spent nuclear fuel.

He urged senators to support a resolution that would finalize the designation over the veto of Gov. Kenny Guinn.

But he found Sens. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and John Ensign, R-Nev., among his questioners after committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., permitted them to participate.

Near the end of a two-hour hearing, the Nevadans initiated testy exchanges with Abraham. Ensign said the Energy Department has "tunnel-visioned" on Yucca Mountain. Reid suggested Abraham was using his Harvard Law School education to evade senators.

"You don't answer the questions," Reid said.

Abraham gave back, telling Ensign he was willing to have the independent Nuclear Regulatory Commission judge the Energy Department's repository work, "and if you believe you are right, you should be willing to do that as well."

The exchanges highlighted the first of three hearings the committee has scheduled before it votes June 5 on the resolution confirming Bush's selection of Yucca Mountain, 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, for storage of 77,000 tons of nuclear waste from commercial power plants and government facilities.

Guinn has been invited to participate in a Wednesday hearing, while the committee has scheduled a third hearing May 23 to hear from scientists and environmental regulators.

Abraham told senators that nuclear waste would remain contained safely within Yucca Mountain even after figuring for the effects of possible volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and "human intrusion" thousands of years in the future.

"I am convinced of the scientific soundness of the recommendation I have made," he said. "The soundness of this project has been established, and we should move ahead."

Abraham picked up support from several Republicans and from Democrat Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. Eight of 23 committee members showed up, although under a fast-track process the Yucca Mountain resolution will move to the Senate floor even if the committee votes it down.

Reid and Ensign restated Nevada's position against the Yucca Mountain Project. They questioned whether it is necessary to move forward now and whether nuclear waste can be shipped safely across the country by truck and train.

"There are scientists who say leave (waste) where it is," Reid said. "That would certainly be safer than trying to move it around."

The Nevadans were supported by Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo. He pointed out there will be no way for nuclear waste shipments to avoid Glenwood Canyon west of Denver, where there were 126 truck wrecks between 1993 and 2000.

"There's no question trucks are crashing all the time," Campbell said.

But Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., criticized such concerns, saying, "We don't live in a risk-free society."

Campbell, who so far appears to be the only Republican aside from Ensign who plans to vote against the Yucca Mountain Project, said it is "morally wrong" to generate nuclear waste elsewhere and dump it in Nevada. He compared it to someone who builds a house and tries to install its septic tank on a neighbor's property.

Reid took exception to an Abraham statement that nuclear waste can be transported safely based on the government's record of managing 300 million shipments of hazardous waste.

"It's Harvard logic, but we're here to sort right though that," Reid said.

Reid said materials classified as "hazardous waste" include lightly contaminated items such as medical tools and hospital gowns.

"You add all those together, and it wouldn't pack the punch of one truckload of nuclear waste," Reid said.

Ensign questioned how Yucca Mountain would solve the country's nuclear waste problems when it appears power plants will be generating 2,000 tons of new nuclear waste almost as fast as 3,000 tons of old materials would be sent to Nevada each year. Already, 45,000 tons of waste are waiting to be relocated.

Applying that math, he said, Yucca Mountain will be full within decades, with thousands of tons of nuclear waste still stored around the country.

"This stuff is still going to be around," Ensign said.

Abraham acknowledged that waste would remain at some power plants, but not at plants already decommissioned and not at government facilities. And, he said, the repository will relieve a storage space crunch at many plants.

Afterward, Abraham said a Yucca Mountain dump could be expanded in the future, a point Las Vegas project managers freely discuss. The mountain  could support storage of up to 120,000 tons of waste in the long run, they say.


Comment on the above item by rdh:

The DOE mentions an "independent Nuclear Regulatory Commission".  I've certainly never heard of such an organization!

I have, however, heard about a well-paid arm of the nuclear industry which operates by that name, under color of Federal authority.

I wonder if we're talking about the same commission?

-- rdh

(8): Yucca Mountain won't even be big enough!  (AP / NY Times):

Forwarded by Bill Smirnow:
Yucca Mountain Not Enough for Waste

Filed at 7:38 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham acknowledged on Thursday that a proposed Nevada waste dump will be too small to accommodate all the nation's nuclear waste and might have to be expanded.

Under intense questioning from Nevada's two senators, Abraham conceded that the Yucca Mountain repository as currently envisioned could handle only a fraction of the waste expected to be generated by commercial power plants and the government in the coming decade.

Thousands of tons of ``this stuff is still going to be (stored) around the country,'' Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., told Abraham, who acknowledged that probably would be the case.

The Bush administration has argued repeatedly that the proposed Nevada repository should be built so that radioactive waste now at commercial power reactors and federal sites in 39 states can be consolidated and better protected at a single location.

About 45,000 tons of radioactive waste currently are kept around the country. Another 20,000 tons are expected to be generated by power reactors before Yucca Mountain can be opened, Abraham said.

If a federal license is obtained, the Yucca facility would be scheduled to accept its first waste shipments in 2010. Abraham said it would receive a minimum 3,000 tons of waste a year for 23 years. The industry has estimated that reactors produce about 2,000 tons of new waste annually.

Ensign and his Nevada colleague, Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, said those figures debunk the administration's national security argument, since thousands of tons of waste will remain without a central repository even after Yucca Mountain becomes filled to capacity.

Still, insisted Abraham, any waste taken to Yucca Mountain would be waste no longer kept in less-safe temporary facilities including some near highly populated or environmentally sensitive areas.

After the hearing, Abraham opened the possibility that the Yucca Mountain facility eventually might be expanded. Congress has limited its initial design to 77,000 tons of waste, but Abraham said a future energy secretary after 2007 can consider expansion.

Abraham said the Nevada site has room for more than the initial 77,000 tons. It was unclear how such a move would affect the project's licensing or the likelihood of further legal challenges by Nevada.

President Bush designated the Nevada site as the country's central nuclear waste repository and said he would seek a federal license for it. As was its right under a 1982 nuclear waste law, Nevada filed a formal objection. That can be overridden only by majority vote of both chambers of Congress.

The House already has overridden the Nevada veto. The Senate must vote before July 26, or the Nevada objection will stand. The Nevadans are waging a difficult fight. A survey in this week's National Journal magazine showed that 48 senators already planned to vote against Nevada, with 32 undecided.

Abraham reiterated his conviction that the Yucca Mountain site, which has been studied for two decades, is geologically safe to hold the waste, which will remain highly radioactive for thousands of years.

Nevada's senators have long argued that even if Yucca Mountain were built, thousands of tons of used reactor fuel would still be kept at reactors around the country. They also have argued shipping wastes through 43 states would pose greater risks than leaving the caches where they are.

Abraham rejected the claims that the waste would pose a transportation hazard. The government and nuclear industry has had ``30 years of safe shipment of spent nuclear fuel ... without any harmful radiation release,'' said Abraham.

On the Net: Yucca Mountain:


Comment by Molly Johnson on the above item:

Subject: Abraham: Yucca Not Enough for Waste
To: HopeDance <>,
        Global HopeDance <>

So if there isn't room enough for all the nation's high-level radioactive
waste at Yucca Mountain where does that leave San Luis Obispo County?  How
much highly irradiated fuel do we want to sit, possibly forever, on our
coastline?  Diablo Canyon makes more every day.  Every day they produce
the most deadly substance on the planet with no real idea of what is to be
done with it. The pools that the irradiated fuel is stored in now are
unsafe and vulnerable to natural and man made assault. PG$E's proposed
on-site dry cask storage isn't, in any way, the least harmful way of
"temporary" or "interim" storage (remember, things being as they are,
there is no guarantee that there will ever be a "permanent" storage
facility) There is no solution in sight and the only thing that anyone
really seems to agree upon is that there is NO SAFE WAY TO STORE OR
TRANSPORT IT. How much sense does this make? As a friend of mine says,
"When the bathtub is overflowing, the first thing you do is turn off the
tap."  Well, Diablo Canyon is overflowing with highly irradiated fuel rods
and I think it's time we turned off the tap!



Comment on the above item by rdh:

Molly Johnson, of Mothers for Peace in San Luis Obispo, California, is right of course.  We have to turn off the tap.  Until we do that, there are NO solutions.

San Onofre, SoCals' two-reactor facility, has over TWO MILLION POUNDS of spent fuel in its pools and, like Diablo Canyon, is intent on building dry cask storage.  It's time to STOP PRODUCING MORE WASTE!  Every gram is a terrorist's delight.

-- rdh

(9): Whistleblowing makes for great TV. But the aftereffects can be brutal (Cora Daniels, Fortune, April 15th, 2002):

Subject: [DOEWatch] WHISTLEBLOWING 'It's a Living Hell'

<A HREF=""></A>


'It's a Living Hell'
Whistleblowing makes for great TV. But the aftereffects can be brutal.
Monday, April 15, 2002
By Cora Daniels
Randy Robarge, a nuclear power plant supervisor, never intended to be a
whistleblower. To Robarge, raising concerns about the improper storage of
radioactive material at ComEd's Zion power plant on Lake Michigan was just
part of doing a good job. The 20-year veteran was so respected when it came
to safety issues that ComEd used him to narrate the company's training video
on safety, which is still used throughout the industry. So he never expected
that speaking up would end his career.

At first the harassment was subtle. He says he was routinely denied days off
and asked to cover for employees who were out. Co-workers kept their
distance, and supervisors began criticizing his work. Three months later
Robarge was out of a job. Over the next two years a federal investigation
would prove that Zion's radiation containment procedures--the ones Robarge
had complained about--were lax, and the plant was eventually shut down. The
Department of Labor also ordered the company to pay Robarge a small
settlement for his improper treatment. In the eyes of the court, Robarge was
vindicated. But six years after speaking up and hundreds of job applications
later, Robarge still can't get a job in his industry. "It's a living hell,"
says Robarge, 49, who supports himself with savings and odd jobs. "This is my
livelihood, what I love to do. But I'm off limits. No one wants to touch me.
I was labeled as a whistleblower."

Unfortunately Robarge is not alone. About half of all whistleblowers get
fired, half of those fired will lose their homes, and most of those will then
lose their families too, says C. Fred Alford, author of Whistleblowers:
Broken Lives and Organizational Power. "For every Sherron Watkins, there are
200 to 300 whistleblowers you never hear about who don't fare so well."
Overall, 90% of whistleblowers can expect some kind of reprisal--public
humiliation, isolation, career freezing, firing, blacklisting--from their
company. "The forms of organizational harassment are limited only by the
imagination," says Tom Devine, head of the Government Accountability Project,
a whistleblower advocacy group. Its Whistleblower's Survival Guide is a
mainstay in legal circles.

Since co-workers and even friends rarely rally behind whistleblowers,
feelings of isolation and betrayal run high. "It is lonely," says Michael
Lissack, the former Smith Barney banker who became a whistleblower celebrity
after exposing a municipal finance scam on Wall Street in 1995. "My wife
said, 'Thank you for ruining both our lives,' and walked out the door." There
is even an annual retreat for whistleblowers to help them deal with the
stress and repercussions of speaking up, headed by psychologist and
whistleblower expert Donald Soeken.

Even for those who don't lose their jobs, the debilitating effects on their
careers can be just as damaging. Mick Andersen was a former manager in the
Justice Department who complained in 1997 about various forms of misconduct,
including sexual favoritism in hiring, breaches of security, and visa fraud
in the overseas criminal training program. His complaints led to a shakeup of
the department and a settlement for him, as well as recognition last summer
from the Office of Special Counsel. But after voicing his concerns, he says,
he immediately was banished to "corporate Siberia" and was forced to use a
storage closet for an office. Ignored by co-workers and superiors, he went
for months without any assignments and spent his days reading Civil War books
before finally resigning. "I was a true believer in the system, and it
failed," he says. "Professionally I felt slimed."


Before You Blow
Advocates say it's better to look the other way than blow the whistle
April 15, 2002
By Cora Daniels

 'It's a Living Hell' 
1. Most whistleblowers insist that for all the trouble, they'd do it again.
But before saying a word, make sure you have the support of family and
friends. Everyone will feel the repercussions.

2. Could you be overreacting? If not, can the problem be solved through the
proper channels? Informally gauge what co-workers think.

3. Seek advice beforehand. Advocacy groups:
National Whistleblower Center, 202-342-1902,;
Government Accountability Project, 202-408-0034,;
Project on Government Oversight, 202-347-1122,;
Dr. Donald Soeken, 301-953-7353,

4. Maintain anonymity. (Your cover will be blown if you're the only one who
had access to the information.) If you can't do it quietly, develop a
strategy to use the press, legal groups, and professional organizations for

5. Make sure you have proof. Keep copies of all supporting documents before
speaking up in case evidence disappears or you lose access once you blow the
whistle. Likewise, record everything that unfolds before and afterward. A
diary of your work activities as well as events in the workplace that relate
to the wrongdoing is essential. Note any harassment too.

6. Afterward, be on your best behavior. No lateness, no long lunches, no
whistleblowing activities during working hours--most likely someone will be

The Magnum-Opus Project---The Mission: To do a greater good.
Righting the wrongs of the Manhattan Project's deceit and treachery national security methods using openness and accountability.
DOE Watch List--Where toxic health damage is not a mystery.
A news list combined with scientific studies to expose the problems.
DOE Watch OR Web page:
Rocky Flats EIN page:

Insoluble toxic metals and fluorides, via a pneumonia like dust in lung process, concentrate in lymph nodes and cause foreign body granuloma damage to node macrophages, leading to false cytokine stimulation, then rising viral waste damage to mitochondria, and this leading to illnesses.  See the analysis at

In the 1980's, Oak Ridge managers established a national alliance of DOE friendly supplanted activists and old DOE scientists to mislead gullible fluoride affected sick workers and communities in order to fabricate a health mystery and avoid the extreme liabilities of the fluorides health damage to uranium gas diffusion chemical plant workers and communities.  Don't let DOE and its minions stone wall known disease processes known for millennia and involved in religion icon imagery.

Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to


Comment on the above item by rdh:

Whistleblowers are among America's greatest heros.  We need a lot more whistleblowers, especially out of the Nuclear Navy, where some of the biggest nuclear lies are produced, along with about 30% of this country's nuclear waste.

-- rdh

(10): Leaking fuel assemblies at Vermont Yankee prompt swap with spent fuel for summer:

To: "Jersey Shore Nuclear Watch" <>,
        <>, "NucNews" <mail>,
        "NRC CONCERNS" <>
Cc: "Ellen Thomas" <>, <>,
        "Norman Cohen" <>
Subject: [JerseyShoreNuclearWatch] VYNPS Leaky fuel, Bad Chemistry

Vermont Yankee looks for more faults

May 9, 2002, The Rutland Herald
(from the Front Page section)

By SUSAN SMALLHEER Southern Vermont Bureau

VERNON — Vermont Yankee officials say that up to 40 suspect nuclear fuel assemblies might have to be replaced during this weekend’s shutdown of the company’s nuclear power plant in Vernon.

Vermont Yankee is shutting down Saturday, five months earlier than planned, to replace the faulty fuel assemblies to assure that the plant can generate power reliably through the high-demand summer months. The plant is expected to be down for two weeks.

While the problem fuel is emitting elevated levels of radioactivity, the radioactivity is well within federal limits.

Four or five fuel assemblies are known to be leaking radioactivity into the reactor core, and Yankee officials are worried about other assemblies that are similar in age and design.

Robert O. Williams, a Vermont Yankee spokesman, said 36 additional assemblies that share similar characteristics also would be examined for possible replacement.

If the 36 other assemblies are found to be defective, they will be replaced in the reactor core with some of the fuel now sitting in the spent fuel pool, he said. Those 36 assemblies are currently not showing any problems, he said. There are 369 fuel assemblies in the reactor core, and typically one-third of them are replaced every 18 months.

Williams said of the possible 40 assemblies that will be under scrutiny, the company has 16 new assemblies on hand to replace the leaking ones, and 24 would be removed from the spent fuel pool, if needed.

“We expect to replace four,” Williams said. Williams said he didn’t know if the plant had insurance to cover the cost of the faulty fuel.

Replacement of the fuel is running into the millions of dollars and is being borne by Vermont Yankee’s current owners, rather than Entergy Nuclear Inc., which is negotiating to buy the plant. Additionally, Vermont Yankee’s power customers are going to have to purchase replacement power while the plant is offline.

The cause of the leaking fuel is a matter of a high-level engineering guessing game, but one leading theory is the reactor’s new hydrogen gas-noble metals water chemistry system.

While the problem first cropped up in December in the reactor core, and hydrogen wasn’t injected into the cooling water until January, the noble metals were added to the reactor core’s coolant last May, when Yankee last shut down for refueling and repairs.

Brian McDermott, an inspector for the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said last week that the noble metals puts a very thin layer of the metals on the core’s internal parts. It helps to reduce corrosion and cracking, a serious problem in aging reactors.

In the-mid 1980s, Vermont Yankee shut down for nine months of repairs because of stress corrosion cracking. Its recirculation piping system had to be replaced. Minor cracking was discovered in the core’s shroud in 1995.

Vermont Yankee decided to install the new General Electric Co.-designed system in an effort to prevent stress and to ensure its operation to at least 2012. “The noble metals makes the hydrogen more effective,” McDermott said.

McDermott and others stressed that they didn’t know for sure that the hydrogen system was responsible for the fuel problems, but they say that is the only thing that had changed in the plant’s operation in the past year.

“You look at what changed, and the one difference is the noble metals,” he said.

According to Neil Sheehan of the NRC’s Region 1 office, Vermont Yankee was one of the last boiling-water reactors in the country to adopt the anti-cracking treatment.

Sheehan said Saturday’s shutdown is not a NRC-driven shutdown because of safety concerns, but an economic one made by Yankee.

Leaking fuel also can be caused by a manufacturing defect or debris in the reactor core. Vermont Yankee has had to replace faulty fuel twice in the past several years.

Vermont Yankee has been operating at reduced power — 91 percent — in an effort to control the radiation leaks.

McDermott said that while the radioactivity contamination is within safety standards, no plant wants to add to its contamination level.

Contact Susan Smallheer at


Comment on the above item by rdh:

Spent fuel is removed when it doesn't make a HEFTY PROFIT for the reactor's owners.  For a million years, people will PAY and DIE thanks to these greedy profiteers.  This was unmentioned in the article.

Also unmentioned, but obvious, is that the real root cause is almost surely poor fabrication of the fuel -- in other words, negligence during manufacture or at some time prior to putting the fuel into the reactor.  (It's possible that loose objects inside the primary coolant loop are tearing apart the fuel, in which case impact damage should be apparent.)  One way or another, "stress corrosion cracking" is an endemic problem at all reactors, which can lead directly to catastrophic failure, and ALWAYS leads to releases of radiation into the environment -- below allowable regulatory limits, of course.

-- rdh

(11): A blast from the past:  1996 AAAS article on nuke waste cleanup:

Department of Energy: Researchers Vie for Role in Nuclear-Waste Cleanup

Andrew Lawler

RICHLAND, WASHINGTON--Scientists designed the U.S. nuclear arsenal, but they
have had little to do with cleaning up the toxic brews left behind at former
weapons facilities like the Hanford site here. A Department of Energy (DOE)
grants program begun in 1995 was supposed to rectify that situation by
enticing researchers to lend a hand, but now that effort is flagging. A
report this week from the National Research Council (NRC) criticizes how the
grants program is being run, and later this month DOE officials, under
pressure to act from states and environmentalists critical of the cleanup,
will unveil a 10-year plan that some researchers say leaves little room for

Congress ordered DOE to set up the $50-million-a-year science program in
1995 to find cheaper and safer ways to handle waste at sites like Hanford
after lawmakers complained that the Office of Environmental Management (OEM)
favored near-term technology efforts over longer term research. "They're
engineers--they like to build things," says one congressional staffer. The
hope was that by adding basic research to the mixture, DOE could lower costs
and reduce the uncertainty in an effort that could total $220 billion over
70 years. Last August, DOE awarded $47 million to 138 peer-reviewed research
projects (Science, 30 August 1996, p. 1165). The new program accounts for
only 1% of the $5 billion a year allocated to cleanup (see chart), and DOE
has requested just $42 million for 1998.


A sliver of science. Researchers hope DOE will leverage their tiny share of
the overall cleanup budget.


But limited funding is not the problem. DOE officials involved in the
cleanup say they cannot wait for basic research to mature, and they are not
alone in questioning the program's impact. The NRC report, from a panel
headed by physicist John Ahearne of Duke University, says the program must
be revamped if it is to produce the long-range solutions needed to clean up
the thousands of leaking storage tanks, tons of radioactive scraps, and the
contaminated ground water that are the legacy of a half-century of the Cold
War. DOE should "examine the [program's] entire review process," the panel
says, to make it less closed and more credible. While the first round of
awards appears meritorious, the panel said it was not able to compare them
with unsuccessful proposals nor determine how they were selected. The report
says the program lacks clear objectives and needs a program director as well
as an outside review of its quality. DOE, it adds, also should do a better
job explaining the eventual utility of the research.

Scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), located just
south of Hanford, say they are already working hard to convince engineers
that the research can be valuable. PNNL recently opened a $225 million
environmental and molecular lab largely to help Hanford find lower cost
solutions to its cleanup problem, and in the first round of awards its
researchers won about 20% of the available lab funds.

Roy Gephart, a senior PNNL manager who specializes in waste cleanup, says
scientists can help by understanding the way contaminants are moving beneath
the surface, analyzing the contents of Hanford's storage tanks, and
gathering data on the risks to workers and nearby populations. Over the
years, the addition of a host of chemicals in many old tanks to stabilize
wastes instead has created a dangerous brew of vapors, liquids, and solids.
Understanding the complex interactions among the various chemical compounds
is critical for safety purposes, PNNL researchers say.

Research also could lay the foundation for less costly technologies,
including the use of plants to extract contaminants from the soil. All of
these could mean big savings. Gephart notes that one big problem PNNL
scientists hope to tackle is whether it makes sense to remove waste so that
it can be vitrified, or combined with glass to seal in contaminants.
"Instead of making 30,000 glass logs at $1 million a shot," he says, it
might prove far cheaper and safer to treat the waste where it is stored.

DOE officials agree that such studies eventually could have an impact--but
not soon enough. "Science can help with the long-term issues of wastes that
must be isolated for thousands of years," says OEM director Alvin Alm. But
he adds that he cannot put cleanup on hold while waiting for research to
bear fruit. Alm is now putting the finishing touches to a plan that aims to
clean up most of the nuclear mess by 2006.

DOE is being pushed by states and environmental groups, who are threatening
lawsuits if the department does not move quickly. In this charged
environment, research is viewed by some as a potential excuse for further
delay. "You can study this forever, but let's get on with it," says Marilyn
Reeves, who chairs the Hanford Advisory Board that represents local and
environmental interests. "We of course want science to be used, but we also
want [DOE's] obligation carried out."

PNNL officials sympathize with their impatience. "The states are screaming"
for cleanup, says Thom Dunning, director of the new laboratory. "That's not
very conducive to a good attitude toward basic research." But Dunning says
it is just a matter of time before the cleanup community realizes the value
of science. "We may not seem important now, but once something goes wrong in
the [Hanford] tanks, they'll want all the research they can get."

Gephart and other scientists worry that Alm's plan ignores many of the
possible solutions science could offer. But no matter how aggressive DOE is
in cleaning up, there will be plenty of waste left over after
2006--particularly at the most polluted sites such as Hanford. "We're going
to make significant progress, but it's going to take a little bit longer
than Al Alm thinks," concedes Carol Henry, OEM science and risk policy
director. In fact, last week Alm told a congressional panel that the Hanford
cleanup could extend to 2050.

Ahearne agrees that research can play a role, even with a 10-year strategy
that many see as putting science on the back burner. "I don't think the plan
eliminates the need for science," he says, noting that the toughest
issues--what to do with high-level waste and contaminated ground water--will
be around long enough for basic research to make a difference. But just
doing the research will not be enough, according to PNNL researchers, DOE
officials, and the NRC report. The challenge for scientists will be to
convince the engineering and environmental communities that the basic
research gamble has the potential for a big payoff.

Jonathan Weisman

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has been dragged reluctantly into the
dispute over a planned low-level radioactive waste dump at Ward Valley,
California. If the Department of Energy gives the nod, Livermore scientists
would examine how fast radionuclides deposited decades ago by nuclear tests
are permeating the soil at the dump site. The results could indicate whether
contaminants from the dump--designed to hold waste from utilities,
hospitals, and laboratories--could seep into California's water supply. But
supporters of the dump view the study as a delaying tactic, and opponents
question Livermore's impartiality.

Volume 271, Number 5255, Issue of 15 Mar 1996, pp. 1488-1489.
Copyright © 1996 by The American Association for the Advancement of Science.
All rights reserved.

Comment on the above item by rdh:

Nuclear engineers are arrogant.  All they want to do is create nuclear waste and then play with it.  When one of their numbers dies, perhaps decades earlier than they should because of cancer from the radiation, a youngling is ready to take over his position as director of the department or whatever.  There's a lot of money to be made in nuclear production, but practically none in nuclear waste.  What a crazy world we live in!

Hanford is still an incredibly dangerous place with essentially nothing having been done since 1996, or ever.  Some slightly new pumps were designed recently  -- nothing the least bit spectacular in pump technology (and I would know!) -- but somewhat longer-lasting than what they were using before.

-- rdh

(12): BBB Rules Nuclear Energy Institute Ads Inaccurate:

----- Original Message -----
From: "Molly Johnson" <>
To: "Global HopeDance" <>
Sent: Monday, May 13, 2002 10:44 AM
> Subject: BBB Rules Nuclear Energy Institute Ads Inaccurate
> WASHINGTON, D.C.  -- The Better Business Bureau today said a Nuclear
> Energy Institute (NEI) advertising campaign, which touts nuclear energy as
> "environmentally clean," is inaccurate and it recommended that the
> industry trade group refrain from making such claims.  The ruling comes on
> a complaint filed by a coalition of groups, including Public Citizen,
> which challenged the truthfulness and accuracy of the industry's print
> advertising.
> "This decision, while non-binding, sets an important precedent," said
> Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook.  "It means that `greenwashing' by
> electric utilities and the nuclear industry won't be tolerated.  Consumers
> often don't have the knowledge to see through the industry's manipulation
> of the facts."
> The decision came from the National Advertising Division (NAD), a part of
> the Better Business Bureau that examines complaints about deceptive
> advertising.  The bureau is a private non-profit, self-regulatory
> organization supported by business and professional groups.  Claybrook
> said that if the NEI does not pull the deceptive ads, or modify them to
> remove the misleading claims, then Public Citizen will file a complaint
> with the Federal Trade Commission, which has the authority to order
> removal of the ads.  The NEI's advertisements, which have been published
> in the New York Times, the Washington Post and other major newspapers and
> magazines, make the claim that "Nuclear energy generates electricity
> without polluting the air and water" and that it is "environmentally
> clean."
> The NAD, however, concluded that nuclear plants do cause thermal water
> pollution and that the processes needed to produce the uranium-enriched
> fuel for nuclear plants cause air pollution.  "NAD recommends that water
> and air pollution claims be carefully qualified to avoid any potential for
> consumer confusion and that broad, unqualified claims that nuclear energy
> is `Environmentally Clean' or produces electricity `without polluting the
> environment' be discontinued." Moreover, the NAD said that the
> "environmentally clean" claim is "premature at best," because as yet there
> is no permanent disposal system for highly radioactive waste created by
> nuclear plants.  "Given the potential health and safety problems
> associated with exposure to radioactive materials, until the questions
> regarding a permanent repository for radioactive waste are resolved, NAD
> recommends that the advertiser refrain from using overly broad claims that
> nuclear energy is `Environmentally Clean' or produces electricity `without
> polluting the environment.' "
> Wenonah Hauter, director of Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy Project,
> said the ruling comes at a critical time for consumers, because electric
> utilities across America are arguing that they no longer need regulation.
> And consumers will in many states have to choose a supplier for
> electricity.  "Many electricity suppliers in deregulated markets are
> trying to appeal to environmentally conscious consumers, and often these
> claims are distorted, misleading or even totally inaccurate," Hauter said.
>  "Consumer protection agencies need to police false green marketing
> claims."


Comment on the above item by rdh:

I don't think the nuclear industry has ever run any honest ads.

-- rdh

(13): Closing remarks / Subscription Information / Contact Information for the author of this document:

The creation of 10 NEW tons of High Level Radioactive Waste EVERY DAY in America (about 50 tons around the world) is the #1 environmental issue today.

EVERY DAY enough NEW nuke waste is created for terrorists to destroy hundreds of cities if they get their hands on JUST the NEW waste!  Mother Nature also gets a new target.  And "Murphy" ALSO gets a new target.  In short, GOD (or whatever benevolent forces there might be in the Universe) gets yet more things to worry about for the next million years or so. 

Why do we keep creating more waste every day and not switch to renewable energy?  Because we don't have the moral willpower to say "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!", that's why!  So instead, while we debate Yucca Mountain and 1000 other unworkable ideas, THE TERRORISTS ARE FREELY GIVEN MORE WAYS TO KILL US.

One day's output from America's nuclear generators isn't very big.  It's only a couple of cubic yards.  Anthrax and other poisons come in small packages too, it's true.  But you can destroy anthrax, and the danger is GONE.  Radioactive waste cannot be rendered harmless.  And we don't have an anthrax-based energy system.  Most (if not all???) anthrax is in a few highly secured government laboratories.  And the world supply of anthrax is probably not going up, as more and more nations renounce bioterrorism (and hopefully ours will too, soon).  And it's certainly not going up by 50 tons a day!

EVERY DAY, America's nuclear reactors run on the verge of catastrophe.  They are vulnerable, they are old, they are poor.  YES, THEY ARE POOR.  You see, the owners keep taking all the excess money, and on a day-to-day basis, the plants have little money for investing in things like new equipment.  Nearly everything is replaced only AFTER failure -- including pumps, pipes, valves, switches, bearings, straps, hooks, hydraulic lines, control room electronics, etc. etc. etc..  There are litanies of accidents at nearly every plant.  Many plants have earned reputations for poor operation over the years.  It's an endemic problem in the industry, caused in part by the price of alternative energy which is very competitive to coal, oil, and nuclear.  The cost of running nuclear power plants has to stay low, or renewables will be a clear alternative to nuclear -- but that means there is less money to actually run the nuke plants!





If America changes to green energy, who LOSES?  Only the world's most corrupt, secretive, dangerous AND lucrative "industry" -- the NUCLEAR MAFIA.  The rest of us WIN.  Nuclear isn't vital.  It never was.  Now, it's vital that we get rid of it.  Terrorism got you down?  Try a meltdown.



Just suppose I'm wrong.  What happens if people listen anyway?  Dependency on foreign oil soon goes DOWN as we turn to renewables, "clean coal" becomes the next-worst environmental challenge for activists, and our dangerous waste piles and terrorist targets stop GROWING DAY-BY-DAY.

I certainly WISH that I was wrong in every particular, and that we could snap our fingers and make the problem go away.  But we can't.  HOWEVER, we CAN "snap our fingers" and STOP MAKING THE PROBLEM WORSE.

Isn't it time, America?  BEFORE an accident or a terrorist attack?

This newsletter was written by Russell D. Hoffman, a concerned citizen.
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